Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In My Humble Opinion

This morning I read Amy's review of the Top Anchor Rotating Baptist Fan Ruler. (You do read Amy's blog, don't you? If not, you'd better start.) Even though I gave up trying to FMQ on my domestic machine, she is amazing to watch. I invested in a long arm, not for a business, but for personal use.

Coincidentally, I had just loaded my Swoon quilt onto my Lucey. (It had mellowed just enough to be ready to quilt.) I have been anxious to use the Top Anchor Rotating Baptist Fan Ruler on this quilt. I love the traditional look of the Baptist Fan quilting pattern and couldn't wait to give this ruler a try on a real quilt. I had it on my Christmas list for 2014 and DH ordered it for me. I had watched the YouTube videos and decided that I wanted the ruler rather than a pantograph that would give the same old-time look. In the meantime, I have done several practice panels with it, but this is my first attempt on a full quilt.

Amy's opinion was that the ruler was tricky to use on a domestic machine, and in my humble opinion, the same is true of a long arm. There are several reasons why I do not like this ruler.

1. I have to have a hand underneath the quilt top in order to secure the pins for the pivot point. This is problematic. I quilt from the top of the quilt to the bottom. Each time I change the pivot point, I have to reach under all of the quilt top and all of the batting to reach the point where I have to insert the pins for the pivot point. I have to crumple up my carefully ironed quilt top and batting into a wad in order to reach the pivot point. Annoying and possibly a cause for distortion in my carefully squared quilt top.

2. Even though the directions describe a way for continuous quilting, I need to end and restart quilting with every move of the pivot point. The extended table is necessary for using any ruler safely on a long arm. It can't be removed during the quilting process.

 Maybe someone has a hand eensy weensy enough to get under the quilt top and between the extended table and the spot where the needle is down, but I certainly can't.
My seam ripper is pointing to the pivot point where I have to insert the magnetized pin and the needle where the next line of quilting needs to begin. Are you kidding?  I can't maneuver a couple pins in and out at that point so close to the needle.

3. The overall look is good enough, but the pivot point is not stable enough to create consistent arcs of stitching. It rocks as I keep my left hand on the ruler near the needle as I sew. My hopping foot doesn't fit perfectly in the hole and with the vibration caused by the needle going up and down, I am afraid that I will hit the ruler with the needle and throw off the timing of my machine.

4. Pin holes. I hope these will go away, but I have no way of knowing.
At every pivot point, there are  definite holes created by the pins.

My bottom line, I wish I had purchased a pantograph instead of this ruler. A panto would have been cheaper, and it would not have had the downsides that I am experiencing with this ruler.

Thanks for stopping by.


Patti said...

I came here forms Amy's blog. Very very interesting review.

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Thank you - I wish every review was as honest as yours is. Too many times the downside and negative aspects of using the "tool" being reviewed are glossed over or totally ignored. A classic example for me is the "twister" ruler - no one seems to mention or even notice that the block edges are all on the BIAS after they are cut. Not my cup of tea. My opinion only - you may disagree - but hey, tell it like it is, folks - that's what reviews are for. I think - ;))

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

Thanks you! Good to know, I have a sit down long arm...and I am afraid the anchor pins might scratch my pverlay too.

Amy @ Amy's FMQ Adventures said...

This design can be done with a set of circle or semi circle templates too. Takes a little longer to line things up maybe.

Amy @ Amy's FMQ Adventures said...

Oh, the pin holes do go away fine. I usually encourage them with a spritz of water and a rub with my finger. As a domestic quilter, I do find this one hard to use, but on a frame system, I've never had to reach under the frame to put the anchor pin in. (I've played with these on a friend's longarm.)

Betty Bland said...

Karen, thank you for your honesty in relating your experiences using our Baptist Fan quilting template. We need feedback like yours to show us where customers need the most help.
Please see my latest blog where I addressed most of your comments.