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Ruler Work on the George


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Thanks for all your kind words!  There are  alot of things you can place on the backside of the ruler to keep it from sliding.  I started out using small pieces of sandpaper that I got from my husband (he's a woodworker so he had lots of "cast off" sandpaper with adhesive backing that he could give to me.)  It worked great but the sandpaper made it hard to read some of the lines on the rulers.  I switched to a product called Nexcare tape and I really like it.  it's a bandage tape that you can find in the first aid section of the drugstore and it sells for around 44.49 per roll, so it's very affordable.  One roll will last your lifetime. It has a "grid" embossed into it, and that irregular surface is what gives it the "non-skid" property.  Make sure you buy the clear version as this makes it easy to read all the ruler lines.  If you are looking for more info on doing ruler work as a sit down quilter, the very best source of info on the net is Amy Johnson's blog.  It's a wonderful blog for all things related to FMQ, but she's done many, many posts on this topic.  If you go there, be sure to scroll all the way back because she has lots of really wonderful info.  Here's the link to her blog:



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Hi Patsy, I watched your video even though I have a Millie because I have been thinking that someday I might go back to a sit down (because of space, when I finally retire and downsize) and I would definitely pick a George.

Your quilting is so beautiful!

I really enjoyed your video, and am excited to see that ruler work is an option, because I love ruler work! I am going to try the tape on my longarm rulers, what an inexpensive solution!

Thanks for the great teaching video!

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First off, I would like to thank Patsy for all the outstanding instructional videos you have produced and/or place on YouTube for all to watch.  The have greatly improved my first free motion quilting class I took in February.  


I am in the process of purchasing a used George.  I have a few questions if you would not mind answering them, as a few of them seem appropriate to this thread.  Can do ruler work with the earlier edition small hopping foot on George?


I was told by a non-ABQS or George quilter that I should simply get the 3/8 inch thick rulers so the hopping foot would not jump over the top of the ruler if I was unable to put a ruler foot on George or any other quilt machine.  She also said the extra weight from the thicker rulers helped stabilize them when quilting.  Do you agree with her opinions?


Concerning the hopping foot, with the hopping foot being attached to George at a slight angel, does the rear of the bracket interfere with the ruler/guide template when using the back of the hopping foot, say when using a circle template?  I am concerned about this as the bracket would appear to contact the ruler as it comes around that side with the thinner foot.


I was taught to stitch in the ditch (SITD) to stabilize my quilt before starting free motion quilting.  I have a DSM with a 10 inch throat to do this, but would it be easier to simply do this on George with a straight edge ruler, or do you continue to do this sort of work on our DSM?  


If you SITD on George, what length straight edge ruler do you suggest getting?  I figure that I would never move my hands much more than 12 inches before stopping the needle and repositioning my hands, so I would like to know if a 6 inch or 12 inch ruler would be more beneficial for stitching in the ditch or straight line work.


Lastly, and I know the answers are all personal opinion, but what ruler/templates to you suggest starting out with at first?


I thank all of you in advance for you responses, and have a Happy New Year.



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Hi Cagey,  I'm a Lenni owner, but use to quilt on my DSM,  and found 2 things real fast.


First, is how much finished quilt can I roll up on the DSM? 

How much Quilting Space will I have when I get to the end?


Well, the sizes of course depend on the batting used.. thicker leaves a lot to be desired.

Thinner batting allows more qult to finish and roll onto the take-up roller inside the neck.


I think any ruler that works on the APQS machine should work on George, could be used on the


As for Quilting space at the end.. I'd start with maybe a 6 or 8" space, but when I got towards

the end, and not being able to move the machine as far,  I found  it doubly hard to maintain

any design over 2" or 2.5".  Compare those two spaces from a base line on a piece of scrap

paper..  draw one straight line to represent the edge of the piecing pattern.  Then Draw a parallel

line 2" from the base line, then draw one at 2.5" and two more,  one at  6" and one at 8".


There is a vast difference.. right?  now take a larger design that will fill in all the way from

base to 8" line, and pencil draw it in to fit.  THen take the same design and draw it to fit the 2"

space.  Bet it looks entirely wonky, right?  Those are the designs I stayed away from.  The larger ones

that is. 


I don't agree with needing to buy the 3/8" thick rulers, and think they would be considerably

harder to find, and limit your choices.   I used the 1/4" for cross hatching, with the DSM.  I found

the longer they are, the harder to use, as you are in limited space, and have to change your

holding hand placement quite frequently.  I also think that nearly any ruler thickness can be

jumped.  I know I have with the 1/4" rulers and it wasn't that hard to do.  The rulers don't jump

around at the back of the foot.. it's shape doesn't allow the foot to come down right onto the ruler.


Measure from the back of the foot, to the needle, then compare to the sides and front.. the foot 

that is on Lenni is further from the needles than the sides and front. 


I have various results when I SID the top before I start quilting and I always do that on the frame,

I find I'm not SID around the whole quilt,  nearly as often as I use to and find it is working better,

The measurements should give you how much difference from the nedle in back compared to sides

and front.  Then you would need to figure out what the diff is in threads.. and use that for all the places

you want to SID on the back side of the foot.  I use 3 threads widths on Lennibut found out that

doesn't work quite as well for all fabrics.. it will depend on the weave,  Tight, loose, and how many

threads difference it makes for that particular fabric.  This method works, and I hate it.  lol.. it's

hard on the hands and eyes. 


I've not heard one complaint about the back of the foot, hopping onto the ruler, to be specific to George.

If that  were so, I think we would be hearing rumbles about it, on this forum.


Take the opinions of a APQS  owner to be MUCH more accurate than from someone who doesn't

own one.  I have my opinions about the HQ, personal knowledge, but won't be throwing them out

here.. thus being an apqs site, with other machine owners welcome!


I have 2 things I'd like to get rid of and they are used extensively, the glass top cooking stove and

the refridgerator.  They work, but not the best and to me the stove is the most irritating,,  then the fridge,

and they are different brands.  I wouldn't blast other owners appliance as there are so many variables

and cleaning to be done in far diff manner than I would think.


Also notice, if there is a feature on any of the APQS machines,  the owners will agree or disagree.


The two features I hate not having on Lenni, is the fabric advance and  changeable hopping foot,

and the changeable foot wasn't available for the first 4 or 5 years I owned it.


If you liked the George features enough to buy it, just learn how to do different things, maybe

keep a note book saying what you did and how you solved it, then keep those notes.. It's amazing

how quickly we can forget something.


I also keep notebook notes on threads how they act with what bobbin thread, prewounds or self wounds,

and what the machine settings were, and how I solved that problem.


Oh, on rulers, I find the longer ones are much harder to control, so use the smaller, but then have to

really look to make sure you aren't going to get a step in that sidewalk.


Phew!!!!!!!!!  that felt good.  lol, I usually don't stop talking without exertion, when I'm either on steroids

or haven't had an adult conversation for a while.


Sorry I'm so long winded.

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I have had a George for 5-6 years now.  So far, I haven't gotten the ruler process to work, but haven't spent that much time trying yet, either.  When I have done SID on George I just use my gloved hands to spread the seam flat and do it free hand, starting from the top to the bottom works best for me.  I do most of my quilting freehand movement but special designs use chalked stencils as guidelines. 


One of the tools you might want to look into are the Martinelli quilting rings.  I have the 8 and 11 inch rounds and the 12 inch square. I keep them hanging on the back of the throat of George and flip down the one needed.  They are a nicely heavy plastic with grip on the bottom and two knob handles to hold and help move the quilt.  My hands do not get as tired as fast using those (no gloves needed with them either!).


As to the interchangeable foot, I just talked to Amy at APQS last week about the costs of having my George fitted with the new feet.  The factory can do that job for under $500 with all the new feet (if my notes are right) or you could check to see if a dealer close to you is able to do it, there are some critical measurements that need to be watched for, but APQS is great with phone talk instructions.  Right now the factory is booked out to end of March for this service. 


I would encourage you to take your time to get to know your George and how you work best with him.  What works for me might be different for you depending on how you sit at George, the comfort level and stretch of your arms or hands, etc.  Enjoy getting to know your machine and be sure to come here with questions.  Everyone is great to help when needed. 


I am working to do more marking on my tops for George and that helps my free movement designs look that much better.  I don't do any stipple or meandering, my mind just doesn't travel in those lines and shapes.

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Hi Cagey,


I'm not an expert on George or on doing ruler work with a sitdown machine.  My answers are based on my limited experience on the George as well as my experiences playing around with non-ruler feet on home domestic sewing machine.


1.  My George was also puchased as a used machine.  When you refer to the older smaller edition hopping foot, I believe you are referencing the general purpose hopping foot that comes standard on all George machines.  If you were very, very careful, you probably could do some ruler work with that foot, but I would strongly discourage you from even trying.  I say that for 2 reasons:

-the general purpose hopping foot does not have a high collar.  This means that you do not have a nice "wall" against which you can position your template and you need that nice "wall" so the template has a relaible brace as you are moving the quilt/template against the foot. I have heard people say that if you are very careful, you can get away without that high collar, but I learned the hard way that letting your focus drift for even a fraction of  a second will give that template the opportunity to rise above the foot and your needle will hit that template dead on.  Not only will this probably damage or destroy the template, but it will throw your timing out of whack.  I did this with my Babylock Ellisimo when I didn't have a proper foot and it meant I didn't have my machine for 3 weeks while it was getting fixed and it cost me about $150 to get it fixed.  These George machines are great machines but as owners, we need to take care of them.  Part of taking care of them means not placing them in harms way and doing ruler work without a proper ruler foot will place your machine in harms way.

-the general purpose hopping foot also has a tapered edge to it, so not only is it lacking a high collar, but it's not even a flat surface.  This would make it an even more unstable surface against which to brace a template/ruler.

APQS offers an add-on "ruler package" that includes an open toe free motion foot, a closed toe ruler foot, and an open toe ruler foot.  I think I paid $200 for this package and it was well worth it.  I use all 4 of these feet all the time, so they are all very handy to have on hand.


2.  While the 3/8 in templates are nice, I don't belive they will protect you 100% from a needle/template collision.  I would guess that about 95-98% of the rulers/templates available for long arm use are 1/4 inch thick and they work just fine.  I don't think there is anything wrong with a 3/8 inch template, but I don't think it's necessary and I don't think it will completely protect you.


3.  For me, the inside of the foot (where the shaft comes down and attaches to the collar of the foot) is a difficult place for me to hold the ruler.  It's possible to do it, but I always rotate my quilt so it's in an orientation to avoid placing the template in that position.  It is not at all hard to rotate your quilt to avoid that position because the George's harp space is so big, so this really is nothing to worry about.


4.  You can continue to do SID quilting on your home machine using the feed dogs or you can do SID quilting on George.  I do it on George now because it's  a good way to get practice doing ruler work with a straight edge template.  When I started doing ruler work, I thought I'd always want the longest template possible so I didn't have to keep moving my hands.  It didn't work out that way!  For one thing, it's easier to hold small to medium size rulers as opposed to the large rulers, and you will also need to move your hand positions more frequently doing ruler work because you're using them to apply a slight pressure against that ruler foot.  As you're advancing the quilt, the angles you're applying pressure in will also change, so this will force you to stop and adust where your hands are holding/applying pressure on the template.  For me, I am usually using  a 6-10 inch long straight edge ruler for this kind of work.


5.  You will develop your own preferences when it comes to rulers, so I can only tell you what helped me.  I think the easiest rulers to learn on are the Fine Line rulers by Accents in Design.  I say that because they all come with 2 handles and using those handles made it much easier for me to have a good "grip" on the ruler/quilt unit.  I do not like the velcro strip on the bottom of their rulers so I removed the velcro and replaced it with Nexcare tape.  To start out, I would recommend the Fine Line 8 inch straight ruler and the Fine Line 6 1/2 in and 10 in continuous curve rulers.  Having 2 different curve rulers will allow you to create 2-sided arcs and that will make them much more interesting.


I hope you buy the used George; they are great machines!



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Thank you for all the information, it was not too long.  While I am new to free motion quilting, I have done a number of quilts on my DSM.  I have learned how to fluff and stuff/shove the part of the quilt I am not working on through the throat of the machine.  I have learned to start from the center and work out though the quadrants to lessen the extra fabric in the throat.  While I will have more throat space on George, I believe I will still do it the same way.


So as I read your statement, you would suggest getting the shorter rulers, as the longer rulers get unwieldy as they get longer.  So bigger is not always better.


I was asking about the bracket that attaches to the actual circle hopping foot, as it looks to me to rise up from the circle and then angle up into the machine.  My concern was that bracket itself might struck the rule when on the inside which might distort the line or pattern of the ruler/template.  Other machine hopping feet I have looked at have the bracket that attaches to the ring hopping foot go straight up on towards the inside of the circle, and thus unable to interfere with rulers/templates.  The did not see this as just an issue with George but all APQS machines as how their bracket attaches to the circle/open toe foot.


I did not know the needle did not come down into the center of the hopping foot.  I figured it would be pretty much exactly centered inside the circle foot.  I will have to check that out on my George, before I use a template that uses all sides of the hopping foot to complete the design.  


On my DSM, I always used a walking foot to SID, and to stabilize the quilt before free motioning inside the blocks/open areas.  With the larger throat, I figured it would be easier to use George for this verses my DSM, but was not sure if you used a ruler for this or just TLARed (that looks about right) it.  I normally use monopoly for this to cut down on the noticeability of any poor piecing or when stepping out of the ditch.  


I have learned that it is a great idea to get a small pocket notebook, and record all your thread/needle/tension/fabric/batting combinations to make it easier to properly setup the machine for the next quilt.  There are just too many combinations to remember in your head.  The notebook truly speeds up the process, and makes it much more enjoyable when things workout easily.  Since you seem to simply increase or decrease upper tension on longarm machines, do you use any type of gage for upper thread adjustments/setups?  I plan on getting lower bobbin gauge, but was not certain how to do it with the upper setting.  Its much easier to set a digital upper thread adjustment on my DSM.


Thank you again for your comments.





Thank you for sharing our comments with me and the group.  I will check out the rings/square.  I do not like wearing gloves when quilting as it seems difficult for me grasp the thread tails.  For this reason, I use batt scooters on my DSM.  I will have to see how they work on George.  


Until this afternoon when I called APQS to ask some more questions, I was under the impression that I could not upgrade to the interchangeable feet without going through an expensive gearbox upgrade.  Amy at APQS told me that I can install the interchangeable bracket myself, and that I would only have to upgrade the gearbox if I wanted to use M sized bobbins.  As I do not quilt for business, but for pleasure I can handle the approximately 20 yards smaller L sized bobbin.  I had been told during previous APQS discussions that the representative felt the L bobbin provided slightly better stitch quality when doing small stippling or small detail work.  I am sure this is a matter of opinion.  Though, I can use saved funds for rulers/templates or other things that I am sure I will "need" for George.  I was trying to stretch those funds by getting in on the end of year deals.  


Thank you again for your thoughts and comments.  






Thank you for the thoughtful, and informative reply.


1.  Yes, when I referenced the earlier edition small hopping foot, I believe I was/am referencing the "Flip Flop" foot.  As I stated earlier, I just learned today that I can upgrade to the interchangeable hopping foot bracket much cheaper than expected as I do not actually have to upgrade the gearbox.  That makes it much less expensive, and affordable to do ruler work on George.   I am very glad that I spoke with Amy at APQS to learn this today, as it looks like I will simply get the ruler foot for George, and not have to worry as much about messing up the machine by attempting to quilt the ruler.


2.  Since I am just starting out with George and ruler work, I will take your suggestion and try the 1/4 inch rulers. 


3.  I asked the question about the inside of the foot, as I was wondering if the mounting bracket would hit on the inside if quilting on the inside of circle, square, etc. template.  It just looks like it might his the template and distort the design.  


4.  I will have to practice my ruler and SID quilting on some NICU blankets like I have been practicing my free motion quilting.  It helps the kids, and helps me build my skills. 


5.  I guess I will start with those three rulers you suggested.  I have had good luck following my instructors inputs, and learning from yours and other nationally renowned quilting instructors.  I thank you again for all of your YouTube videos, and training videos.  They have been truly helpful, as I have only been quilting since February.  A year ago, I never thought I would be spending my free time quilting, but I have grown to enjoy giving of myself and my time to others through my or my guilds community quilts.  I have truly learned how much more a homemade gift means when someone opens it.  If my work is 1/5th as good, as yours I will be truly blessed.  Please keep your videos, blogs, and posts coming for all of us to learn from you.  



Again, I thank all of you for sharing your thoughts and comments.  I look forward to learning more on George, and on this forum.  Take care, and have a Happy New Year.



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Cagey, I use batt scooters with George a lot.  As for the Martelli rings, I learned about them on the forum and it was suggested to sign up for their e-mails so you can learn about their sales, since the rings are quite pricey.  That paid off for me because last month they had them half off!  



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Hi Patsy,

The video is very helpful & I love your work!  Was wondering if anyone has tried the Ideal Quilt Guide from "sew very smooth"?

I bought the 8" one at Houston Show & it works great on DSM but not sure if sticky strip will last very long &

if it is replaceable.  Anyone have experience with it?

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Thank you for sharing your comments about the batt scooters.  I learned a lot from Paula in her Fluff and Stuff class, and got the bat scooters from her.  I am glad to see they work well on the George too.  While I do not have the room for a long arm, I enjoy the feel and texture of fabric while quilting.  The batt scooters allowed me to easily pull of the bobbin thread, while still having great control of the quilt sandwich.  


Thank you for sharing.  Have a great day.








I am not sure how I missed you addressing the issue of the hopping foot bracket interfering with the rulers/templates at 11 minutes 25 seconds of your video.  I have learned to download copies of yours and other instructional quilting videos off of you tube for reference.  It allows me to save them to my tablet and watch them while traveling without internet connections.  Watch the video again today, I see you addressed my concern.  Sorry for being a little slow.


I also found this video today;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-RU9crwO_k by Angela Huffman and APQS instructor.  In the video at 5:10 you can see her using the low profile hopping foot to do ruler work.  She does address the concerns you raised earlier, but I thought it was interesting as we were discussing the matter her on the thread.





Check out Angela's video I referenced above.  At 9:45 of the video, she addresses how to care for the sticky strip.  I have never seen or touched Ideal Quilt Guide, she does mention to not scrap off the rubber with your fingernail or scrubby while cleaning the strip.  For this reason, I do not believe it is replaceable.  Though I may be wrong.  I hope this helps.



Happy New Year to all of you on the forum.



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The sticky bit on the back of the Angel Guide and the Quilt Guide is cleanable but not replaceable. Just give it a good cleaning when it fills up with lint and it will last a good long while. In the video mentioned above I show how to clean it. I have started using Scrubbing Bubbles to clean my sticky rulers. Just don't use a scrubby pad or your finger nails as it isn't actual adhesive on the back- it is a thin piece of rubber. If I'm working with super linty stuff I may have to leave the scrubbing bubbles on it overnight or just clean it multiple times. The best idea with super linty stuff is to stop and clean it mid stream so it doesn't get caked in lint. 


I don't like using the low profile foot on George with rulers as it makes me super nervous. I certainly know folks who do use rulers with the low profile foot but I can always feel my anxiety level sky rocket when I see them doing it! Things are much, much safer when you have the ruler foot on George for use with rulers/templates. :)


I hope that helps! Rulers on George is a match made in heaven!

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Hi Angela,

Thank your for the information.  I will get Scrubbing Bubbles today!  I like to quilt on flannel & it fills up fast.  Also, purchased polish at the quilt show in Nov. & polished my table & insert yesterday.

Wow what a difference.  Did not know I could use it on table surface too.  Thanks for that one also!

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I am totally pumped now about rulers on George.  I bought one 3/8 inch ruler, and gave it a try with some simple parallel lines and the 'standard' foot.  Here is what I learned...

1) Holding the ruler still is NOT so hard.  You already have two hands on the quilt - now you just have a ruler UNDER your hand or hands.  I went nice and easy, and got beautiful parallel lines.

2)  the ruler doesnot want to slide so much - now I was doing straight lines, which helped. 

3) Like the posters above - I was a little nervous using the regular foot...

4) I wrote Dawn Cavenaugh at APQS, who sent me a file showing the potential feet, and recommended a source for rulers as well.  She is the expert, and so helpful.  Just use the "Contact" button on the website. 


summary:  this is completely doable - and the lines I stitched look wonderful - straight, regular, and beautiful stitches.  I had been really disappointed at not being able to do straightline designs - now I can !


APQS has the feet on sale on their site.  I'm ordering !!!!


Love having new toys...

Thanks to all who are posting on this topic. 

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