BERNINA Rulerwork Quilt-along Part 1

Hi everyone! My name is Amanda Murphy and I’m a Quilting and Longarm Spokesperson for, and a huge fan of, BERNINA. As you all know, rulerwork is all the rage right now. You don’t need to have fancy shapes to do beautiful rulerwork. Basic shapes like circles and straight lines can make a myriad of different designs. One of my favorite things about teaching at many BERNINA stores across the US, is the opportunity to see people discover the creative possibilities rulerwork adds to their quilting arsenal. So I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this knowledge online with the WeAllSew audience.

BERNINA Rulerwork Quilt-along

I designed a Rulerwork Quilt-along specifically for BERNINA’s WeAllSew blog to help you learn some of my favorite patterns. You’ll need a straight line quilting ruler and also a set of circle rulers that quilt 1”, 2”, 3”, and 4” circles. (Both the BERNINA Sit-Down and Frame rulers sets include these shapes.) Here’s a preview of this month’s quilting:

This piece measures 24-1/2” x 24-1/2”, so it is the perfect size on a domestic machine. I used. I filmed mostly on my BERNINA Q24 Longarm (since it is easier to film myself without help) but I’ve also included tips and tricks for domestic quilting. I also used Aurifil’s beautiful new 40 weight quilting thread in a contrasting on some of my white-on-white fabric for Contempo of Benartex so you could really see what I was doing, but if you are nervous about seeing mistakes by all means you can opt to use thread that more closely matches your fabric.

I’ll be posting a video with PDF instructions each month for four months here on the WeAllSew blog. Ready to get started? You can download the first set of instructions here.

BERNINA Rulerwork Sampler Quilt-along Week One

For this post, I’ve filmed a video for the basic layout and each of the first three sections of the BERNINA Rulerwork Quilt-along Sampler. Don’t forget to watch the tips I put at the end of some of the videos especially for domestic machines!

Quilting Area 1 of the BERNINA Rulerwork Sampler

Quilting Area 2 of the BERNINA Rulerwork Sampler

Quilting Area 3 of the BERNINA Rulerwork Sampler

Tips for Rulerwork on a Domestic Sewing Machine

If you would like to see more quilting tutorials, please join me on my Facebook Group, Quilting with Amanda Murphy, and also keep an eye out for me here on WeAll ew!

Happy quilting!


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64 comments on “BERNINA Rulerwork Quilt-along Part 1”

  • Thank you! I was so glad to hear your comment about the lack of lines on the Bernina rulers. Hopefully, Bernina is listening — a few more lines on all of their rulers would be very helpful to the quilter. The lack of lines, horizontal, vertical and diagonal was one of the first things I noticed. It makes the rulers harder to use – more time consuming to stop and apply tape and reapply for all the different increments and the diagonals would really have helped immensely in lining up the rulers, too.

    • No ruler will have every line you need, so feel free to put in additional lines yourself. Sometimes, when you are beginning, too many lines can be confusing. Other times you want more. You begin to know which rulers would be most helpful to our quilting. People always ask me what types of rulers to buy after a basic set and they answer is that that is really dependent on you and the style of quilts you like to make. For instance, there are some awesome medallion rulers out there but, because I make quilts to sell fabric, I don’t often do large unpieced squares in solids or blenders. Medallions would be lost on the types of quilts I do. But they might be awesome for someone who DOES do that type of thing. You’ll learn what you like as you practice more!

    • I have practiced a lot, so I can pretty much stitch regulate without thinking about it too much, but there was DEFINITELY a time when that wasn’t true. If you have a smaller machine set it up with the ruler foot and some practice sandwiches and you’ll end up practicing more, just because you don’t have to change the machine setup you have on your 880 for a bigger project. Practice is key for anything that is reliant on muscle memory!

      • I never drop my feed dogs. I know there are many videos out there about doing it either way. With my feed dogs up, and hopping foot, I get much more uniform stitches. Leah Day was the person I first saw do this, (many videos), and it changed my life!
        As for the feed dogs “working for or against you”, as you said…that’s not how it works. When the hopping foot rises, the feed dogs move to their highest position, when the foot comes down, the feed dogs are in their lowest point of rotation. I can easily move in any direction.
        Try it on a scrap sandwich piece…it really is my favorite way to FMQ.

  • This quilt along is exactly what I need. I’ve been saying I should practice for months and haven’t done anything. Is there an info sheet or do I just follow the videos?

  • Amanda,
    Wish I could see your additional ruler quilting tutorials, but I do not have (or intend to join) FACEBOOK. Is there another site or web page that I can get your additional tutorials???

  • i am sewing on a bernina 1130. i’ve had it for years and i love it. recently i tried to buy a ruler foot and some rulers and was told that there is no option for my machine and i would have to buy a newer model. is that the case, or is there a possible solution? thank you for answering,

    • At this time, BERNINA does not make a Rulerwork Foot #72 for the retired BERNINA models. There are third party options that may be considered, however you really have to be careful. The BERNINA #72 foot has a spring in it, so if you forget to put down the presser foot and you put your needle down, the spring is a safety feature that prevents your needle bar from colliding with your presser foot, which is a costly repair. Third party feet don’t have that feature. You know best how you use your machine, but be aware the BERNINA warranty does not cover damage to the machine caused by non-BERNINA parts and accessories.

    • I also have a model 1130 machine. I have been using a Westee ruler foot Short shank with a Bernina #77 shank adapter. Works great. Check out YouTube for videos.

  • pattom
    I would love to participate in the Bernina Ruler Quilt-Along process. I have a personal FaceBook account, but have not had time to use it. I prefer to spend my time with my Bernina 580 and 830. Will it be possible for me to participate and receive the instructions? I have all the necessary equipment but need the lessons and support to launch this new and wonderful process.

  • I am enjoying your tutorials. I’ve done a few small pieces with the rulers to try and learn them, but your sampler is ideal!

    I have a Bernina 830 and am having problems with the stitches forming when I am trying to stitch backwards or sideways. Is there something special I need to do to be able to do this? Otherwise I have to turn the quilt piece rather that turning the ruler.

    • If you are using a relatively new needle and are still getting skipped stitches a lot of time it has to do with the foot height relative to the machine bed. The bottom of the ruler foot should just skim the surface of the fabric. It shouldn’t indent the fabric, because then the fabric will be hard to move. But it also shouldn’t hover over the fabric so that there is a gap between the bottom of the foot and the fabric – that will cause skipped stitches.
      If you are using cotton batting you will most likely have her foot in the lowest (or at least lower) setting. Turn the gold dial on the foot to adjust its height. Supreme Sliders can also help by decreasing the friction between the machine bed and the fabric, plus it raises the machine bed height a little. Don’t lower the foot so much that it inhibits fabric movement, though.

  • Thank you so much for agreeing to present this quilt along. It looks very easy but I know I am going to find getting a uniform stitch length! Practise, practise, practise. I am going out to get some supplies and getting straight into it. Bev Hunt

  • Thank you for the lessons. I will be quilting and all of sudden the machine jams and I get a thread nest underneath. I have a 790+.
    I have remove the free hand knee lever so I am not hitting it with my knee. Any suggestions?

    Thank you. Penny

    • I would check that there is absolutely no little bits of thread stuck in the bottom of the machine. Even a little bit can cause problems. I would also check the upper thread – make sure it is seated in the tension disks and it isn’t getting caught around the spool pin, etc. Most of the time those nest happen because of problems with the top thread, even though it looks like it would be the bottom.

    • I have had this same problem since I’ve gotten my 770 last fall. I’ve tried everything the dealer and the National Service Center have suggested – changed the thread, the needle, the stitch plate, the bobbin case, cleaned and serviced the machine, changed the height and pressure for the presser foot. No luck – still have the problem. Have you found a solution to your issues with the thread nest? (I know this is 3 years later!) Anyone have any solutions to this?

      • Hello! Thank you for your comment. We are sorry to hear about the nesting issue with your machine. There are many variables that can be causing this to occur. We suggest continuing to work with your local BERNINA dealer and to arrange a time to sew in store with the staff to demonstrate the issue. This will allow your dealer to get a much better idea of what may be happening. If you need further assistance, please connect with our Customer Service team here: Thank you for reading WeAllSew!

  • Hi, Amanda – I LOVE the way you teach! I’ve done Part 1, Areas 1, 2 and 3 on your Rulerwork Quiltalong tutorial. Where can I find the link to do Areas 4-13?
    Thanks in advance,

    • At this time, BERNINA does not make a Rulerwork Foot #72 for the retired BERNINA models. There are third party options that may be considered, however you really have to be careful. The BERNINA #72 foot has a spring in it, so if you forget to put down the presser foot and you put your needle down, the spring is a safety feature that prevents your needle bar from colliding with your presser foot, which is a costly repair. Third party feet don’t have that feature. You know best how you use your machine, but be aware the BERNINA warranty does not cover damage to the machine caused by non-BERNINA parts and accessories.

  • When I took class on Ruler Works I was told by the instructor she always quilted with feed dogs up, When I tried with feed dogs down The needle went yo fast. I couldn’t control it. My Bernina has a stitch regulator but was told it wouldn’t work.

    • No, unfortunatelyyou cannot use the stitch regulator with the ruler foot. The laser light that reads the fabric has to be right down on the fabric for it to work, and thus would block a ruler, plus you need a higher profile foot with a circular shape for rulerwork. The ruler edge (and the edge of the foot itself) must be 1/4” away from the needle in all directions.. (The only BERNINA machines that have stitch regulators for rulerwork are the Q20 and Q24s, because the regulators are in the base of those machines.) When you do rulerwork you need to move the rulers all the way around the high profile of a ruler foot, so you can’t use your stitch regulator. I definitely would recommend keeping your feed dogs down. When you have them up it will “help” you when you head in the direction in which they move, but it will hinder you when you stitch in all other directions, so it is very hard to be even. If your machine is moving too fast, I would recommend turning your speed speed slider down to a lower setting. That should help.

  • Amanda – this may be off subject a bit but you commented on the big long jump stitch when you move your hands before the needle is ready to move. I only get those big long jump stitches when I attempt to use my stitch regulator. I am sewing on my 830 but do not have a clue on what I’m doing wrong. I had my BSR checked and was told that it was user error. Do you have any ideas what I might be doing wrong. Thanks in advance for any advise you might have for me.

    • A couple of things. The first thing I’d advise is using the regulator in mode 1 if you aren’t already. That is becuase Mode 1 is designed to be able to do a few stitches together in one place – when you stop moving but are still holding down the foot pedal, it keeps going. (In Mode 2 when you stop it stops.) The second thing is that, even with the stitch regulation on it still is possible to “jump” the machine because, if you are pushing the fabric too fast when the needle comes up, it can’t prevent you from doing a jump stitch. I’d see how it goes if you almost think of stitching in place for a stitch before moving each time you start.

      • Thank you Amanda for your suggestions!! I will definitely try your suggestions (and practice!!) I am looking forward to your future workshops and tutorials – I have enjoyed and learned so much from you.

  • Hello Amanda I have just bought the ruler and want to start. Are the paper instructions downloadable. I see that you have referenced them . Thanks Louise eager to start playing with my rulers

  • I recently bought the new 570qe. It has an adjustable height presser foot. Do I need the #72 presser foot with this model? Is there a recommended setting for the built in presser foot height?

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