Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rulers - The Right Tool for The Job

I'm a sucker for rulers. Quilt shops, quilt shows, trunk shows, workshops - if there is a ruler for sale I'm always looking, and usually buying.

When I started quilting, the yellow OmniGrid rulers were really the only ones available. In combination with the rotary cutter, rulers  were probably the most innovative thing to happen to quilting since the sewing machine. When I started quilting, rotary cutters and rulers had just come out, so I've never really quilted without them.

Now Creative Grids, special order rulers, designer specific, as well as other ruler companies have joined the game and there are rulers out the wazoo.  And I own a lot of them. Not as many as I could (that's how I rationalize it), but a lot.

Let's start with what I call the "traditional" rulers - most of mine are Creative Grids. I love the Creative Grids website, they have videos on how to use the rulers, which is especially helpful for the specialty rulers. Traditional rulers are the rectangle and square rulers, used for cutting squares and rectangles for piecing, and squaring up blocks. But there is so much more I can do with these basic rulers. 45 and 60 degree lines enable me to cut bias strips and triangles. The extra lines help me cut specific sizes like .25 inch seam allowances after completing foundation paper pieces. I have a long (6.5 x 24.5) and medium (6.5 x 12.5) as well as some smaller ones (2.5 x 12.5 and 4 x 12.5). Several shops have 2.5 x 6 rulers with the shop name on them - I have 2 or 3. 

Square rulers are handy for cutting, fussy cutting, as well as squaring up blocks after piecing. Technically, I could use one large ruler to square up blocks the size of the ruler and smaller. But, its much easier and always preferable to use the ruler that matches the size of the block. So - I have 3 of them - a 14.5 inch square, an 8.5 inch square, and a 6.5 inch square. And of course I covet a few more to fill in all the sizes.

OK, so these are the necessary, but somewhat boring rulers. Now, for the more exciting, enticing specialty rulers. There are tons, so I'll highlight just a few of my favorites - Stripology Squared (in this post), Hexagon and Side Kick, Trimmer by George, and  the Quick Curve Ruler (in a later post).

I learned about Gudrun Erla's Stripology ruler about a year ago and have used it a lot to make jelly roll strips and smaller strips for fabric bowls. A cool ruler.

But then Gudrun came out with her Stripology Squared ruler. It does everything the Stripology does and more - squaring up, fussy cutting, and cutting blocks in specialty patterns.

I took a class from Gudrun sponsored by Prairie Point Quilt Shop and learned all sorts of fun things to do with her new ruler - most involving layer cakes (the fabric kind, not the chocolate kind). Gudrun also designed a bunch a cool patterns to accompany the ruler. In class I worked on her Valerie pattern with these great bright fabrics from the For You collection by Zen Chic. I added some solids to have enough layer cake squares for the pattern, and some popping orange for the sashing.

This cheery quilt is in my rotation as the "free spot", so hopefully it will be finished soon. I'd better start looking for some yardage for the backing. For You is an older collection, so there isn't a lot of yardage still out there.

Next time - more specialty rulers.
I'm curious - what are your favorite specialty rulers? Let me know.

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