Archive for January, 2010


Adding Dimension to Your Quilt; The Ruffler

January 31, 2010

Last week I looked briefly at using the automatic ruffler to make ruffles. This week I’d like to look at the settings on the ruffler to adjust the closeness and depth of the ruffles.IMG_4942

The first setting I’d like to look at controls how close together the ruffles are. At the top front of the ruffler there is a plate that has four slots. The slots are marked “0”, “12”, “6” and “1”. A little metal tab sticks through one of the slots to mark which setting the ruffler is on.


When set at slot “1” the fabric will be ruffled, or pleated, at every stitch. At slot “6” the fabric will be ruffled at every sixth stitch. At slot “12” the fabric will be ruffled at every twelfth stitch. At slot “0” the ruffler is disengaged.  Take a look at this photo to see how the settings change the look of the ruffles.


On setting 1 the ruffles are at every stitch so the ruffling is very close and compact. On settings 6 and 12 the ruffles are spread out so to be almost unnoticeable.

The second setting controls the depth of each ruffle, that is, how much fabric is tucked into each ruffle or pleat. This setting is controlled by a screw on the top directly behind the slots we were just talking about. The lower the screw is turned the more fabric is included in each ruffle. You can see those effects in the following two photos.


In this first photo the screw has been lowered all the way so that the maximum amount of fabric possible is being tucked into each pleat. It’s a little crammed together on setting 1 but the settings 6 and 12 make a nice arrangement of pleats.


In this second photo the screw has been backed out about 1/16th of an inch for pleats that are not quite as full.

This setting is far from precise as it is a matter of eye-balling how far in or out the screw is. I found that a ruler held up to the screw helped me to judge how far in or out the screw is.

Now, let’s say I like the full tuck of the screw on 0. But as I look at my samples the tuck of every stitch is too close and the tuck of every sixth stitch is too far apart. How can I space those tucks farther apart with no setting between 1 and 6? What I can do is lengthen the stitch length. I did my initial samples with a 2.5 stitch length. So I can lengthen the stitch length to 4.0 and use the setting 1. There will be a pleat at every stitch but they will be spread out farther because each stitch is longer.


The middle sample in this photo is the look I was going for. The ruffles are not crammed together as densely as in the top sample and they are not spread out as loosely as in the bottom sample. So remember that you can also adjust the stitch length to change the look of your ruffles.

Debra Spincic of Debra’s Design Studio has some tips for making ruffles. She suggests:

One thing I have found helpful is to make a few samples with the various settings & write the settings directly on the ruffle as a reference.

It is smart to measure the length of fabric first and then do the ruffle to see how much ruffle is made so you get the correct fabric : ruffle ratio (such as 2, 2.5 or 3). You can add this information to your sample piece. You do not want to be in the middle of a ruffle and run out of fabric! And, believe me, you will not remember the next time you sit down to make ruffles.

Those are all good tips, Debra. Thanks! I marked each of my ruffles with the setting used, the depth of the screw, the stitch length, the length of the fabric before ruffling and the length of the finished ruffle.

Next time we’ll go step by step through making a length of ruffle for a quilt. Until then, have a quilty day!


Interpret This Reveals

January 29, 2010

Interpret This

Have you been to the Interpret This Reveals? A group of gals are revealing self-portraits this week for the Interpret This group. There is some awesome work coming out of that group. If you have some time stop by and take a look!!


Eight Point Star

January 27, 2010


My friend Linda pieced this lovely lap quilt. It features an Eight-Point Star set on point inside a plain block with an Irish Chain surrounding it.


I love the color scheme she chose for this quilt; cranberry reds, asparagus greens and a bit of cheddar cheese thrown into the border. Delicious!


Adding Dimension to Your Quilt: The Ruffler

January 23, 2010


The ruffler is a great little attachment I have for my sewing machine that makes ruffling fabric a breeze. The ruffler looks somewhat complicated, takes some effort to figure out and get used to and it can be pricey but, believe me, it is worth it. A ruffler is the easiest way to get the best ruffle.

I have a Husqvarna Viking sewing machine so I bought the Husqvarna ruffler to go with it. The different brands of rufflers probably are slightly different and have some variations so I want to make it clear that I am talking about the Husqvarna ruffler here.


To attach the ruffler to my machine I first remove the presser foot and ankle by unscrewing the ankle screw. I keep this screw finger tight so l won’t need a screwdriver but if it were too tight I’d use the screwdriver that came with my machine.


As I slide the ruffler into position I make sure the fork-shaped part slides over the needle clamp screw at the top. Once the ruffler is in position I replace the ankle screw to hold the ruffler in place.

Very Important: Only the straight stitch can be used with the ruffler. There is only a small hole for the needle to go through which could mean  major damage for the machine if the wrong stitch were selected. I double check to make sure I am using a straight stitch.


The fabric is inserted from the left into the ruffler between the two plates at the bottom. The fabric must always move away from me through the ruffler; pulling it toward me could damage the ruffler.


And finally,  I lower the presser foot and sew! Slow and steady yields the best results. What could be an easier way to get perfect ruffles? All of the gathers are evenly spaced and of the same depth which gives a consistent, professional  look to the gathers.


Next time I will take a look at how to vary the density and depth of gathers with the ruffler.


Camera Eye

January 21, 2010

libby amish

I wanted to share with you this lovely design by my friend Libby Fife. I’ve always loved Amish quilts and Libby has done and especially good job with this one. It reminds me that I’ve always wanted to do an Amish Storm at Sea. Maybe one of these days…

Please take a closer look at Libby’s quilt on her blog Libby Fife- Art Quilts. She has lots of other designs there too.


Colorful Winter Quilt

January 19, 2010


This quilt top was very fast and easy to put together. The pattern is called Oh Henry and it is published by creative sewlutions.


I used some very colorful fabrics with winter motifs. Any focus fabric would be nice with some support fabrics.

This pattern would be great to use for a quick gift or service quilt.


More Appliqué

January 15, 2010

Quilting appliqué is really more fun than a person should be allowed… are you sure it is legal? Ha-ha! I hope you enjoy the photos!IMG_4906





January 11, 2010

One of my favorite flowers is the Cyclamen. It is a beautiful plant that blooms in December and January. Mine are pink. They also come in reds and whites.

The blooms have always intrigued me. They have an interesting way of unfolding. They emerge from the center of the plant on a long stem with the petals tightly wound.


As they slowly unfurl the petals will spread much like a daisy.


And the final stage of the bloom find the petals folded back on themselves and standing upright.


Looking down on the top of a bloom reminds me of a pinwheel.


A grouping of them in the breakfast room makes a fine mid-winter display.



Add Dimension to your Quilt with Gathering: Crossing a Seam

January 8, 2010

I learned a neat trick lately to use when gathering fabric across a seam. When gathering stitches have to cross a seam that joins two pieces of fabric, that  extra layer of seam allowance fabric thickens the gathering and it will not lay as smoothly as the rest of the gathering.

Here is a simple way of avoiding this problem. Stitch the two pieces of fabric together and press the seam allowance open.


Mark the points where the gathering stitches will cross the seam. I like to use the purple disappearing markers.


Then notch the seam allowances and remove the fabric at those points. Take the notch as close to the seam as possible without compromising the seam.


Stitch the gathering stitches through those notches and gather as needed.


This will free up the seam allowance from the gathering and the gathering will lay smoother.


And it will work whether you are hand gathering, machine gathering with a basting stitch or machine gathering using a ruffler.


Dressed for Dinner

January 5, 2010

I’ve been enjoying quilting on my Dressed for Dinner quilt. I’m trying to keep the quilting simple so that it will enhance the appliqué.

IMG_4880 IMG_4882 It looks like the quilting will be done this week. To finish the quilt then I will only need to do the binding and embellishments. With some luck it actually might be done by Thanksgiving 2010!!