In a previous article I talked about using templates when accuracy is important. This is the first of three articles that describe different types of templates offered by Creative Grids. I wanted to start with accessories because they are used throughout the quilting process. Included are two rulers, a stipple stitcher and a (free) spacer.
Starting with what is probably the most useful tool in the set, look at the Straight Stitchers, which come in two sizes. Some call these rulers, and in fact, they are.
Item # BDQSS2
Rulers are templates with a straight edge and the ability to measure – both very useful features. In addition to this, look at the photo showing the BDQSS. It is smaller, and it fits nicely in one hand. For people with small machines, the smaller size is essential for measuring, marking and stitching any vertical lines.
Look closely at how the template is held. Although people have been taught to press down hard on a ruler so it doesn’t slip, that really isn’t feasible when quilting. Pressing down hard on a ruler prevents the machine from moving, making it very hard to quilt. Instead, learn to hold the template, so it is secure in your hand. You will exert some downward pressure, but the stability comes from how it is held. Notice that the fingers are touching the fabric too. This is very important because if the template starts to slip, the fingertips know instantly. If the hands are not touching the fabric, there can be small slips that add up to bigger mistakes. This is true for all machine guides.
Notice also that the rulers have the patented Creative Grids Gripper Strips, which really help prevent slipping. This is the same technology used in other Creative Grids rulers, but these are strips instead of dots. This helps visually differentiate the two.
Rulers designed for rotary cutting are NOT safe to use as a machine guide because they are not thick enough to prevent the ruler from sliding over or under the hopping foot. Note: the concepts described here apply to all quilting machine templates.
Look closely at the longer ruler. This picture shows it being used for Stitch-in-the-Ditch (SID). Notice also that there are several white reference lines, at quarter inch increments. These are very important when doing echo quilting or outlining.
Another very useful accessory is the Stipple Stitcher. It becomes a secondary set of handles for your machine when doing tiny microstitching, like stippling.
The Stipple Stitcher is designed to fit around the hopping foot of most longarm machines, which is why it has four slightly different size keyholes. It must be a close fit, but still allow the hopping foot to ‘hop’ without moving the tool up and down too.
Notice that it comes with four indentations along the outer edges, which is where you will hold it. By having your fingertips control the movement of your machine, you can get excellent control when doing microstitching.
Because of the shape of the hopping foot, any time a template is used as a stitching guide, the stitchline is offset by (about) ¼”. Therefore, if you choose to mark a quilt before stitching (a very good idea for beginners) the marked line needs to be offset by ¼” also. So, mark your stitchline using the template and a ¼” spacer.
There are spacers on the market that will do this for you, but as a free gift to Checker customers, I will send a free heart-shaped spacer to you if you request it and while supplies last (see photo below).
Just use the comment section of the newsletter to request one, and remember to provide your complete name, street address and email so I can get it to you.
More articles about how to use the Creative Grids Quilting Machine Templates will follow.
Always “checking” for a better way to quilt!
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