While I’m waiting for my Millennium to be delivered, I’d like to know what rulers you use the most. I’m assuming these to be beneficial to start custom quilting as opposed to doing things free-hand?
Welcome to the APQS family! Your new Millennium has features that will definitely help you with custom quilting. If that’s your goal, rulers will certainly help with some techniques. However, before you invest hundreds of dollars into ruler sets or different shapes, take the time to get to know your new machine and practice your freehand skills. Invest an hour a day for the next month so practicing with your machine. Your muscles will develop “memory” and skills that you earlier thought may require a guide or ruler could be conquered without them! For example, you can find template sets designed to help you make perfect “continuous curve” shapes around each block seam. They perform as promised, but you’ll also easily double or triple the amount of time it takes you to get that quilt done. With repetitive practice you’ll soon find that continuous curves can be “free-handed” pretty successfully with a lot less work.
That said, I do have a ruler or two that are my most-used.
The first one is a straight edge ruler that is ¼-inch tall (a requirement for your Millie, along with an extended base for its throat). If you purchase a Hartley Extended Base from APQS, it will come with a 12-inch ruler with a handle to get you started. A ruler that is about 8 to 10 inches long and 3 inches wide is also great for beginners. This shorter length trains new quilters to keep their hands positioned across from the needle and hopping foot for ultimate control. The smaller width allows you to hold your ring finger or pinky off the edge of the ruler. They act like a back stop so you don’t feel the need to push down so hard on the ruler for control. Then your thumb and other fingers can rest on top and can actually steer the ruler around all sorts of round shapes, even though the ruler has a straight edge.
My second favorite ruler is a small ruler about 6 inches long and about 2-1/2 inches wide. This petite ruler lets me easily outline applique and other tiny shapes with precision. Be sure to put some “grippy dots” on the underside of your rulers for a little friction and holding power, similar to what you’d put under your rotary cutting ruler.