Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Quilting Rulers (The Best Rulers Every Quilter Needs!)

Quilting rulers are something that quilters cannot live without. Not only do rulers help cut straight lines, they can cut specific shapes as well as help to square up your finished blocks so that all the pieces of your quilt fit together perfectly. 

Quilting Rulers

With so many quilt rulers available it can be hard to know which ones to get. Which ones are most useful? Which ones will help you speed up the quilting process? Which ones do you need? And which ones are not necessary? In this article, I do my best to help you find the answers to these questions.

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overhead look at several quilting rulers
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This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details. Many of the rulers mentioned can be purchased several places. For each ruler I list, I will include several places to purchase the ruler. You can do the price checking and determine the best option for you.

WHAT QUILTING RULERS DO I NEED?

The vast quantity of quilting rulers and templates available today can be quite overwhelming. How many do you actually need?  In an attempt to help the novice quilter, I am going to separate this article into 3 categories. 
  • Essential or necessary quilting rulers that every quilter needs
  • Rulers that make quilting easier
  • Specialty quilting rulers and templates
Essential rulers are ones that I deem necessary to perform the basics needed in quilting. They can be used for multiple functions and they are the ones that I use the most. 

Rulers that make quilting easier perform a specific function that speeds up the quilting process or simplifies it. 

Often the result of using these rulers is a quicker way to complete the same task that another ruler could accomplish. It's just makes it easier. They are convenient to use. 

Specialty rulers and templates are made for a specific type of quilt block or quilting technique. They definitely make things easier, but are not necessary unless you decide to make a project utilizing that block/technique and want to make the process easier.

It is my hope that this list organized in this way will help you determine which rulers you need and should get first. Once you have those, you can expand your collection to include rulers that will make quilting easier.  The specialty rulers can spark inspiration and creativity and should only be purchased if needed for a specific project.



RULERS EVERY QUILTER NEEDS (ESSENTIAL)

The most vital rulers needed for quilting include a large ruler (6X24), a smaller ruler (6X12), and square rulers. 

Large Quilters Ruler - 6 1/2 X 24 1/2 inch

The first quilting ruler I ever got, I got long before I started quilting. It's actually a 5" X 24" ruler with a lip that will sit on the edge of your mat and help you get straight lines.

I use. it. all. the. time. for every type of sewing project. It is my go-to for making strips and squares. I really like the lip on it. However, if you prefer to have one without there are a lot of other options as well.

Some of the rulers have bright yellow markings, some are just clear with black markings. Some prefer the yellow. For me it's just too busy and hard to read. I prefer just the plain black with simple, easy to read markings. 

Below I've listed each major brands version of the large ruler. They are all slightly different, but perform the same basic functions. I've included several places where they are available for purchase, you can determine the best option.


Small Quilters Ruler - 6 1/2 X 12 1/2 inch


These smaller rulers are great for cutting pre-cuts and smaller items. No need to pull out the long ruler to cut a 10 inch square in half. 

There are SO many different sizes of smaller rulers and there's a place for many of them. But you probably don't want to buy them all to start out. The 6 X 12 size is quite versatile and a good option to start with. It's large enough to cut wider pieces, but not too large. It's a handy ruler to have around.



Square Quilting Rulers


In my journey with quilting, I have quickly learned that no matter how carefully I sew, my finished blocks are never perfectly square. And that's where square rulers are vital.

My go-to is called an Easy Square Jr. It's easy to read and has 45 degree markings to line up and square half square triangles as well. It is 6 1/2 inches square and has clear markings so you can square up smaller blocks if needed.

If you decide this quilting thing is going to become part of your life, it's handy to have specific sized squares. Get the size(s) that you use the most.



RULERS THAT MAKE QUILTING EASIER

Some rulers are just handy to have around and make quilting so much easier. 

My favorite is ruler for this category is the half square triangle ruler. Since HST's are one of the most basic blocks I use, I've spent lots of time using my square ruler to trim one side of the HST and then flipping it to trim the other side. 

This handy little ruler allows you to trim both sides at once. The trick lining up the seam with the appropriate line on the ruler while it is still folded. Two quick cuts and you've squared all four sides of the block. 


As you determine which of these rulers you may want or need, consider how often you will use the specific ruler. If you make the type of block it helps with often, then it's a no-brainer to get it. 

If not, then it will probably sit there collecting dust.

Below are a list of rulers that will help with common blocks and techniques.

Specialty Quilting Rulers and Templates

There are so many types of specialty quilting rulers. Many of them you may never have a need for. However, when making a quilt using a special type of block or technique a specialty ruler can speed up the process and make it so much easier. 

For many of these rulers, there are several types and sizes available. Double check the size you need before purchasing. 


SO WHAT ARE THE BEST QUILTING RULERS?

For me, the best rulers are ones that are easy to read. They are not cluttered up with too many lines, dashes, etc. Honestly, I'm more likely to make a mistake if there are too many lines cluttering up the surface of the ruler. I prefer simple and easy to read markings. 

I'm not partial to a specific brand, but rather ease of use.

WHERE CAN I BUY QUILTING RULERS?

Quilting rulers are now widely available. In writing this article, I have found that Fat Quarter Shop has quite a large selection of lots of different rulers.

 Connecting Threads and Create for Less also have quite a few options. Amazon and Walmart are other places you can buy rulers. I included links to specific rulers as I discussed them.

Of course, your local quilt shop will probably have a wide array of rulers as well.

HOW DO I KEEP MY QUILTING RULERS FROM SLIPPING?

There's not much worse than making a cut only to realize that your ruler slipped in the process and the cut is not square or straight. 

Try adding these products to your ruler to prevent it from slipping. (You may even have a couple of these items at home already!)

Rubber Cement

Place dabs of rubber cement on the back side near the corners and edges of the ruler. Let dry completely. Now the ruler will have a bit of grip to stay in place. It dries clear and is easy to remove if needed.

Clear Bandage Tape

Cut strips of clear bandage tape  and place them on the back of the ruler along the edges. The tape causes just enough friction to prevent the ruler from slipping. 

Non-Slip Grip Stickers

You can purchase ruler grip stickers to place on your rulers. They are round clear stickers that are easy to use. 

Omnigrid Invisible Grip Roll

Omnigrid invisible grip roll is another product made specifically for the purpose of adding more grip to your ruler. Sold in a roll, you can cut a piece and place it on the back of the ruler. It's not adhesive, but rather clings to the ruler like a window cling. It's invisible when applied and there's enough in a roll to back several rulers.

Sandpaper Dots

Did you know you can buy sandpaper dots? They're sticky backed and made specifically for the purpose of adding grip to your rulers. They are very easy to use. Another option is to use an adhesive backed sanding disc and cut it into small squares. (Use a high grit, like 180 or 220)
One downfall is that they're not clear.



MORE ABOUT QUILTING



Don't forget to pin it!!
overhead look at several quilting rulers


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