A Few of My Favorite Things

There are so many “favorite” tools in my longarm arsenal. Some have been rarely used and others I can’t work without. These are some of the ones I use regularly along with what I’ve done with them. If I know where I purchased them, that information is also included.

I use these tools while quilting with my Handi-Quilter machine and don’t do a lot of quilting on my domestic machines. You might be able to use them there, but I can’t imagine using them on a domestic machine without a stitch regulator. Maybe you can, but I am not sure you could control the template and manage the bulk of the quilt at the same time. (Let me know if you try and if you are successful.)

Handi-Quilter Templates

Straight Edge

First and foremost is a large straight-edged ruler. My Handi-Quilter came with one that has been used so often that the 1/4” lines (two along each edge) have just about worn away. They have since improved the ruler by etching the markings so they won’t wear away like mine have.

This is a picture of the new ones with etched lines. This and others mentioned as Handi-Quilter tools can be found at http://www.handiquilter.com/category/handi-gadgets/hq-rulers/.

Versa Tool

Handi-Quilter has a tool that is fast becoming a “go to” template. The Handi Versa Tool is great for sewing straight lines in small spaces, for accurate 90 degree designs, clamshells and small arcs and there are two cut-outs that make outlining applique shapes a breeze.



The 2” and 4” clamshell template from Handi-Quilter has registration lines so there’s no guesswork about where to place the template and how to line up the next row to produce the perfect clamshell shapes. Or, use it in a border by placing arcs along the border, then flip the template and run the arcs the other direction.

The white squares in the image are actually nearly-clear gritty stickers to grip the fabric to stabilize the ruler.


Quilters Rule

Recently, I bought another straight-edge that has 1/4” lines marked along the entire length. Love this one because it gives me the flexibility to do stitch-in-the-ditch, 1/4”, 1/2”, 3/4”, etc. gridwork.

The picture isn’t good, but you can see the 1/4” lines and the various angles that can be used for aligning the ruler using sashing lines or blocks.

This ruler is from www.quiltersrule.com.


Off-The-Edge Templates

Before I bought the Versa Tool, my “go to” ruler for small areas was The Key. Originally purchased from the Gadget Girls at Off-The-Edge Quilting, but they have unfortunately gone out of business. You might be able to find some of their rulers/templates elsewhere on the web, but only until all product is sold out.


Also from the Gadget Girls is another ruler with a straight edge and a gentle curve which is good for small areas and the curve can work for doing continuous “outlining” on small blocks.


Triple Play Templates

The Triple Play templates are very versatile and have been used to create flower shapes, arcs, and other designs. The web site used to have (may still have) a tutorial describing how they can be used.

The Large template has arcs for 5”, 6” and 7”. The Medium has 2.5”, 3” and 4” arcs. The Small has 1.5”, 2” and 2.5”.

They have the “gripper” stickers for stability.

Available from Lakeside Quilt Company at www.LoveToQuilt.com.


Deloa Jones Templates

These rulers were purchased at one of the national quilt shows and make great curved cross-hatching. I love that the lines are etched every 1/4” and have registration markings to help with alignment. Available from www.deloasquiltshop.com.


Circle Templates

I can’t honestly say where I got these circle templates. This set came with 3”, 4”, 5”, 6” and 7” templates. I added the cross-hair marks to help with alignment. I’ve since seen a similar set at Handi-Quilter that have etched markings that would be nicer and perhaps easier to use.

I’ve done a number of things with these including creating the center spines for feathered wreaths and Baptist fan motifs.


I have a lot of other rulers and templates, but I have found these to be the most useful. Contact me if you have any questions.

Until next time, take at least 15 minutes a day and do something quilt-y!

Prepare Your Quilt for the Longarm Quilter

More than one of you has completed a quilt top and had no idea how to “quilt as desired” or the time to do it yourself, or the desire to wrangle a queen-size quilt under your domestic sewing machine. So, you contact your local quilt guild and seek the services of a professional longarm quilter. Now what?

After getting contact information, you call the quilter and arrange to meet to show your quilt top and get an estimated cost to do the quilting. There are several questions you may be asked:

What is the intended use for the quilt? The answer to this question will help the you and the quilter determine how much quilting is appropriate for the project. For instance, you may not want to spend the additional money to have heirloom (fancy) quilting done on a baby quilt that will be dragged around, laundered frequently and loved to death.
What is your budget? Decisions about the type of quilting may be influenced by the answer to this one.
What services are being requested? I offer a number of services. (See my Services blog page for more details and estimated pricing.)

  • Quilting only (you do the binding)
  • Basting only (prepared for you to do hand quilting
  • Applying binding after quilting (by you or me), but not hemming
  • Hemming binding already applied to a quilted project (by you or me)
  • Making, applying and hemming the binding

I also make custom quilts from start to finish.

What size is the quilt? Cost is based on total square inches (Length X Width).
What is the expected completion/ delivery date? Allow six to eight weeks for completion (longer if hand quilting is requested). We may be able to finish sooner depending on number of projects in queue. Additional charges apply for rush jobs.
Quilting design: Other longarm quilters may have different “categories” for quilting services. These are the ones I use to determine the price structure:

  • Large meander or all-over design
  • Small meander or all-over design
  • Custom quilting in borders and blocks (moderate)
  • Custom quilting in borders and blocks (extensive)
  • Hand quilting

You can see a few of my other customers’ quilts on Quilted Treasures photo page. I’ve just started adding photos, so not all customer quilts are represented right now.

Backing fabric (purchase new or use from my stash?) You may provide your own backing or purchase from me. NOTE: The backing must be a minimum of 6-8” larger all around than the quilt top and neatly pressed with seams pressed open.
Batting preference You may purchase your own batting (with approval) or select from batting available from me:

  • Polyester, low loft
  • Thermore
  • Hobbs 80/20 (cotton/polyester)
Special instructions Do you have a thread color preference or quilting motif in mind, or other special instructions?

After a discussion of your quilt project, you’ll get an estimate before work commences.

I hope this helps you to prepare your quilt for the longarm quilter. I’ll be glad to answer any questions or provide an estimate for your project. Contact me at donna.nicholson49@gmail.com.

Until next time, take 15 minutes and do something quilt-y.