We all have them, quilting rulers. They have become one of the basic necessities of quilting. The invention of the rotary cutter and quilt ruler has transformed the way we make quilts. But not all rulers are created equal. This post is not about the actual measuring but about the features of some basic rulers.
Before we get started I want to say I'm not sponsored by any company. I'm on no ones payroll, I've not been asked to review any of these rulers. This is just me giving my opinion. Should I say something negative about a ruler you love, please don't take it personal. If you love it and it works for you, it tickles me pink.
Before making any purchase these days I always like to do my homework with a little online research. This is not the time for Google. Googling for reviews is just asking for a promoted ad paid for by the company. Another bad idea is the company website or a "famous" quilter that works for the company. She/he is getting paid to say good things about the product. One of the best resources for honest reviews is Amazon. People rarely leave good reviews if they love a product, but they love to complain about bad products. Again, be careful, take it all with a grain of salt. Some people are just grouchy. If an issue keeps coming up in the comments it might be a good idea to do a google search to see if the company has addressed the issue. Or you could contact the company via email and ask what steps they have taken to fix the issue. Facebook or quilting forums are also great resources for asking questions. I belong to several quilting Facebook Groups and let me tell you, everyday, several times a day someone asks what the group thinks about this product or that product and boy do quilters love to give opinions. HUNDREDS of quilters will tell you exactly what they think good or bad. Then, more often than not, they start arguing until a moderator shuts off comments. Even though it's drama filled I find it to be the most honest reviews.
During this review of rulers I will not be mentioning any brands but you will be able to plainly see the brand of the product. I also will not be adding links to products.
So lets get started with the 6 x 24. I've owned several over the years, many have been tossed in the trash. These are the two I currently own.
This one I really like for its thin lines and extra markings. It's great for the beginner quilter who jumps in with both feet but needs a little extra help with those odd measurements. The only things that I can find bad about this ruler is the paint and it slides. After about a year of use, the markings on the edge were wearing off. Even with it's paint issues I would recommend it to a beginner as long as they add something to the back to keep it from sliding.
Next is the newest to my collection of rulers. I've had this one about 6 months. So far the paint is holding up great. The lines on the ruler are thin which makes for better accuracy. I think the circle around the numbers are over kill and get in the way, and I find them a bit confusing. So when I use this one I'm extra cautious. The thing to remember with this ruler is, if the number is upside down don't use it! But I love this ruler and I'm glad I finally made the purchase. The little textured dots on the back of the ruler help to stop it from sliding on the fabric.
6.5" Square rulers. As you can see I have several. 2 I have purchased and 2 were gifts.
This is the most recent addition. And I have to say I can't find a thing about this one that I don't like. At first I thought the frosting was going to be an issue.
But as you can see, it's not. It's AWESOME! No sliding but at the same time it doesn't over grip the fabric like little sandpaper dots. The lines on this one are perfect. They are thin and not overly lined. Overly lined? You know some rulers have too manly lines. It can be hard sometimes to find the line you need. This one is simple and to the point. No big circles around the numbers. Yep I'll be purchasing more of this brand. I plan to look at their website before making any new ruler purchases.
Next is a square up ruler. There's 4 of these in a set 4.5", 6.5", 9.5" and 12.5". The lines are thin, and you know I love that! The paint is still on the ruler just like the day it came into my life over 10 yrs ago. My only complaint about these is the blue frame. It's too dark. On some fabrics I can't see the edge of the fabric.
The only good thing I say about the next one is it doesn't seem to slip as bad as most rulers. It has too much paint, which is still in place because I rarely use it. What's the point of the yellow? The yellow makes it hard to see the fabric. It's hard to tell where the line is landing on the fabric below. Then there's the mini grid in the upper 3". Very poor design in so many ways. I've been tempted to throw this in the trash but for some reason I keep it around.
This one is fairly new and it's the second one I've owned. Great lines and markings, nice visible numbers. But I know the paint will wear off the edges. It is super slippery and without the tape on the backside I have a hard time getting to stay in one spot.
Up next is another one that is lucky it hasn't hit the trash yet. I keep it only because its narrow and long, and it comes in handy sometimes when squaring up smaller cuts of fabric on a clutter cutting table.
It would be a perfect ruler if it didn't have the white paint around the lines. The white paint makes it almost impossible to get accurate cuts. Can you see the teeny tiny little gap in the line that allows you to see the edge of the fabric? You might need to get a magnifying glass, its tiny.
Square Up Rulers. These are rarely used in my Studio. I prefer to square up block units if needed so I don't need to square up a block. You know how I feel about the blue framed rulers so we'll focus on the other one. Well, we'll focus on what we can see of it. As you can see or not see, the paint is badly worn away after very little use.
However even with the paint gone I still really like this ruler. Can you see the raised numbers and lines on the back? This comes in very handy.
I'm not going to mention any brands but this ruler LOCKS in place on HST's just like another brand that is currently on the market. The locking in place on the edge as well as on the angle makes squaring up HST's a breeze. This one is much cheaper than the other brand and you can do up to 12.5" HST or block.
So that's it for the basic rulers. I'm not a gadget person but I do like good tools. When I first started quilting money was a little tighter and I used what I could afford. I always try to encourage everyone to buy what they can afford whether its fabric or tools. Fancy gadgets and designer fabrics do not make a quilter great. It's the love hobby and the willingness to get out of the comfort zone and push past the failures. Over the years I've learned some of the best quilters have struggled in the beginning to have the basics. When you have those kind of challenges you learn so much more.
I like the Omnigrids and I use that 6"x24" all. the. time.ReplyDelete
Fantastic ruler overview! I stick to the ones with the yellow lines, and haven't thought to shop for any others. Now I see there are tons of other designs out there - thanks for opening my eyes!ReplyDelete
Great review Lea Anne of ruler...I'm like you...don't collect gadgets..not in my budget...but I feel there are a few essentials ones to have like you've shownReplyDelete
Can you pm me on that lock in hst ruler...cheaper brand??? Thanks...
Thanks great post! Personally I use omnigrid and creative grid rulers. I prefer the creative grid but still use both.ReplyDelete
Super post. We did a program on rulers and usage at one of our guild meetings. We even had a couple of us demonstrate how you could use your good ole' standard 6.5" x 24.5" ruler to make those cuts that those fancy, overpriced rulers do - save some money gals. I love Easy Angle because of the visibility. Olaf for my large square ups and OmniGrid for my tinyReplyDelete
I have tried many different types of rulers, Deb Tucker’s rulers are fantastic for squaring up blocks and making flying geese.ReplyDelete
I really like the quilters rule and have had it the longest, but I am sad the paint didn't sayReplyDelete
I use only the Olfa frosted rulers and I love them. 6.5 x 24, 6.5 square, 12.5 square, 16.5 square. These are the only all-purpose rulers I use, for cutting and squaring up. It's important to always use rulers of the same brand so the markings are consistent and you get consistent cutting results for more accurate piecing.ReplyDelete
I have always loved Creative Grids rulers. Then I got a free Quilter's Select ruler for renewing my The Quilt Show membership. These rulers are my new favorite! You've got to try them. They don't slip.
My favorite is the Shape Cut ruler by June Tailor because of the slots. It cuts whole numbers and 1/2" and the larger Shape Cut has a 1/4" line to cut too. But you can't cut like 3/8" unless you get another ruler, which I have plenty of brands like you. I lie the Shape Cut because I just put the rotary cutter into the slot and cut. I add clear medical tape on the back of all my rulers to help grip and still be able to see the lines and numbers. I think when you add a clear film or medical tape on the ruler backs they don't wear the paint away either, since they are printed from the back side. So that is 2 reasons to add something to the back of rulers to keep the paint from wearing away and to keep the ruler from sliding. So many ruler have so many lines that I would never use or even know how to use that it makes it harder to see what you are doing. I think they add the white or yellow around the lines and numbers so you can use the ruler on both dark and light fabrics, but if the lines are too thick, then where do you line up your fabric? You could be off a 1/32" or more and it could really add up, but then sewing a 1/4" or scant quarter inch can affect the size too. I started quilting before there were rulers, so I was never sure what rulers worked best. Like you, I love some, don't like some and most are just okay. I have seen some pricey ones at quilt shows, but you have to fiddle with screwing something on and off to get the cuts you need and that is a pain, even though they cut great and no lines because each ruler just cuts a certain size width and that's why they are so pricey.ReplyDelete
I used the rulers with the yellow lines for a long time and finally replaced them. I hate those yellow lines!
I like Olfa but my very favorite are Quilters Select. They are fantastic! Great visibility and they don't move.
Thanks for the review.
Great post, Lea Anne. I tend to use the Creative Grids rulers and have given away most of my others! I'm with you on the yellow paint!ReplyDelete