Quilt Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Ruler Work

C&T Publications sent me their latest releases to review.  I was super excited to see this book, The Ultimate Guide to Ruler Work Quilting by Amanda Murphy.  I have long wondered how longarmers and domestic machine quilters hand holding a ruler and running their machine.  I have tried a time or two with rulers and I’ve had no luck.  I was hoping this book might give me a few good tips and I might try again.


I have to laugh.  I am not at all on the forefront of what is going on it quilting.  I don’t claim to be and don’t want to be.  So here’s what I learned while writing this review.  I must be under a rock.

The same week this book came I got a message from Whittle Fabrics in my email and they had THREE different lines of fabric all from Amanda Murphy.


Yep…I was under a rock and was not at all keeping up with the quilting world.

To prove my point even more…a flyer came in the mail from Inspired to Sew in Cedar Rapids….look who their featured teacher is.


Can you believe that I had no idea who this person was and now I had seen something about her three times in the course of two days?

This is the description of the book….
Use quilting rulers to their fullest

Straight lines, curves… there are rulers for every kind of quilting! Amanda Murphy shares an in-depth guide to everything you need to know about rulerwork quilting on both domestic and longarm machines. With recommendations for choosing templates and feet, this technical guide is great on its own, but also makes the perfect sidekick to Murphy’s popular Rulerwork Quilting Idea Book. Plan your quilting to perfection and learn to combine rulerwork with free-motion quilting. Watch your quilting aesthetic begin to evolve; helpful photos show you how to execute quilting designs with basic straight-line and circle rulers, as well as specialty shapes like waves, clamshells, and feathers
Become a rulerwork expert! Achieve the quilting you want every time
Work on your longarm or domestic sewing machine, with troubleshooting and ergonomic tips for each
Buy the right rulers and feet, plan the quilting, and execute rulerwork with finesse

Well that sounded amazing.  I hope it wasn’t too good to be true.

She is an author, fabric designer and teacher, I better take the time to check out her book.  Well the first thing I noticed.  She has her own line of rulers….You can see them HERE.

The book is really interesting.  Many of the pictures in the book are like the ones you see below….


There is a nice picture of plain fabric with her using the ruler.  There is a nice explanation of how to use the rulers and the different looks you can get from each ruler.

It’s awesome if you have her rulers…if you don’t, I think you could apply some of the information to your own rulers but not all of it.

She does tell how to achieve the look whether you are using a dometic machine, sit down machine or a long arm.

One problem with the book is that the examples that are shown of finished projects really don’t show the quilting.  There is no pattern for the placemats below…but more importantly, I cannot see any of the machine quilting.  If the book is about machine quilting, I think it would be beneficial to see the machine quilting.

This project is better…still not the best.  I can see it some spaces, but can’t in others.


I wish they would have had projects made from solids and the quilting done in white or a noticeable color.

After checking it out this is the conclusion I came up with.  To best use the book, you need her rulers.  If you want to invest in the book and rulers, you can use it with any machine.

For me…this is not my thing.  I am not patient enough or find enough joy in working so meticulously.  I’ll edge to edge and fudge my custom quilting.  One time someone suggested I do long arming as a business.  NOPE.  That isn’t for me at all.  I’m pretty content with a stipple.  Of course I admire quilting like this…

but if I want that done, I’m sending my quilt to my friend Carla of Longarm Quilting Inspirations.  She did this quilt, our “On the Bright Side” Quilt…and if I need fancy custom quilting done, I’m paying the money and Carla is going to do it.  Seriously…I have no patience or time to do that.  It’s one of those things I wish I did…but I don’t.  The beauty of aging is knowing that about yourself.

Do you like custom quilting with ruler work?  Do you do it yourself?  How do you get your quilts quilted?  Curious minds like to know….

You can find the quilt book HERE on Amazon
or
HERE at C&T Publishing.

18 thoughts on “Quilt Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Ruler Work

  1. Linda Lewis

    I know about this designer and I have one of her rulers, a straight edge. It is very useful on my mid arm. I like doing my own quilts with custom designs. I mostly freehand everything else, sometimes an overall stipple on a busy area. Since I’ve been trying to get more proficient, a lot of my quilts have detailed quilting. I enjoy the texture it gives the quilts and i like to have it reflect the personality of the quilt and quiltmaker!

  2. Anita B.

    I love machine piecing and hand quilting. But I am getting too worn out trying to hand quilt anything larger than a twin size. Plus, it causes the arthritis in my hands to hurt so. I am finally going to find a local long arm quilter and enjoy the quilts I have pieced.

  3. Gwen

    I have no interest in quilting my quilts. I do enjoy hand quilting but only do that on small projects. I am happy to pay someone to quilt my quilts. I find my enjoyment in picking out fabric and piecing. I also enjoy putting the binding on. I love hand stitching the binding over to the back. I can pay to have a lot of quilts quilted for the price of a long arm.

  4. Joanne Lytle

    I have a mid-arm and do some ruler work, but it takes a lot more time and a fair amount of hand pressure to keep that ruler where you want it. I have learned to do free motion quilting and enjoy it. Truthfully, I cannot imagine using a ruler with a domestic machine, unless the quilt is small. I quilted several full and queen quilts on my Bernina, but trying to manipulate a ruler and a large quilt boggles the mind.

  5. Karin Callander

    Oh, I would SO love to do this on my quilts. However. I followed your link to her rulers, and that is just not gonna happen. I watched a video of a Westalee demo the other day, and had THE PERFECT place to put exactly that design. But not at 69 bucks plus shipping! And you’re right about showing the quilting in the photos, so, if they can’t be bothered with it, I can’t be bothered to buy the book I might have been tempted, cuz I could freehand some with a marker, and freemotion over the lines, but, coming up with the idea is half the battle. And if I can’t see that, well, no need to buy pictures of piecing. Thanks for the truth tea (Mollie Sparkles). :)

  6. Judith Fairchild

    I quilt on my home sewing machine in sections. Taking a spin from Georgia Bonesteels lap quilting. It works nicely and I’m not pushing heavy loads of material around. I have been practicing free motion quilting it’s fun but time and thread consuming.

  7. Hedy

    No rulers for me. I’m just not into custom work on my quilts. I do great on pantographs and my own designs, learning more all the time. If I think I need fancy work, I get it done by check. Your quilt is beautifully quilted.

  8. Lisa B

    I have been under a rock too as I have never heard of this woman. She seems quite talented though. I send my big quilts out to be machine quilted by a LAQ friend. I can do small crib size straight line stitch, in the ditch, or diagonal on my home machine but it’s not my favorite part of the process.

  9. Sue

    I quilt all my quilts on my domestic machine. I use my walking foot some and also free motion. I have seen the machine quilting rulers, quite expensive. I guess because they are thicker than cutting rulers. I can’t imagine using rulers with a domestic. I think I’d be too stressed rather than having fun. And I quilt for the joy it gives me. So no rulers for me.

  10. Kimberly Clark

    I am one of those geeks out there that just loves to long arm!!! I think the reason I got into quilting 5 years ago was so I could do the longarm quilting!!! I endure the process of piecing, but in reality it’s just so I can get something on my longarm!!! I’m getting better about enjoying the piecing, but if I could just spend all my time learning and growing in my longarm techniques I would be one happy camper!!! I watch videos almost every night before bed about longarm techniques!!! I love to see other people’s ideas, while developing my own style at the same time! Lol! It takes all kinds!!!

  11. Terry

    I love quilting with rulers! I find it as rewarding as creating the quilt. I use the Westalee rulers and have a acquired a large selection of them. It’s another creative outlet for me. I do it on a domestic machine which is more challenging but doable. I love reading your blog. Thanks for the book review.

  12. JustGail

    I have a couple of rulers, but the prices and variations (sometimes minor) are mind boggling. I did not get the flyer from Inspired to Sew (yet??) only their emails full of FB things. And machine sales. Anyway, I haven’t been able to use the rulers I do have much, as I need to get a level surface to use them. The HQ Sweet 16 sat a bit above the table so the rulers would wobble, and there is no support on the Q-Zone frame, so I need to order the ruler work table. Grrr.

    I do have Amanda’s Rulerwork Quilting Idea Book and the quilting designs are all shown as line drawings, with some photos of rulers, and “action” shots of how to hold or place the rulers. I’d take that over photos that you can’t see the result, or locked into one brand to make most use of the information. The book I have used mostly Bernina brand rulers, but does show other options that are available.

  13. Barbara Vannet

    I use rulers on my domestic machine and find they help me be more accurate if I want a specific look. I haven’t tried on a long arm as I am a novice on that platform! I have also attended a workshop with Amanda and she is a dynamo. Very talented quilter and designer, but not really my style. I relate much more to Angela Walters of the midnight quilt show. Angela has a line of rulers too, more reasonable prices.

  14. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I have a longarm and I love using rulers! I have quite a few and don’t really see the need to buy additional rulers because I can figure out how to use what I have to do most any design I want to do. I love the precision rulers give me. I really struggle to see an all-over pattern on any quilt I’m quilting…I only really “see” custom quilting! I have done a stipple on one quilt when I first started longarming and have not gone back to it except as microstipple and even then I much prefer anything else. Good thing there is room for all different kinds of quilts and quilting!! You are completely correct…if you are trying to teach someone to quilt via a book, use solid fabrics and high-contrast thread!!

  15. Barbara Firesheets

    I don’t quilt anything bigger than a table runner on my PFAFF machine. I prefer to send my quilting out to my long arm quilter. My enjoyment comes from piecing the quilts, not quilting them.

  16. Gail Osmond

    I can’t comprehend how you can write a book on using rulers both on a longarm and a domestic machine as they are completely different. The most obvious difference is the long arm requires the movement of the machine whereas the domestic requires movement of the fabric. Both require completely different skill sets.

  17. Carolyn Sullivan

    I’m making that quilt!!!! I’ve been using the stars as a leader ender for Frolic. Not sure How big I will get, I don’t want it as big as yours. Maybe twin sized. I do like to piece and I like to quilt But I am SO SLOWW. it takes me quite a while to finish a quilt. I do not have computer on my machine, so it’s free motion and rulers.

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