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Thread: Quilting rulers.....which ones to buy?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Stitch124's Avatar
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    Quilting rulers.....which ones to buy?

    Ladies--

    I need some schooling on quilting and rulers. In my beginning quilting class, the instructor said to use the same manufacturer's rulers throughout the measuring and cutting process...don't switch up between different ones. Same applies to cutting mats.

    I see so many rulers and mats by different companies. What's the general rule for rulers and mats? When to use, which ones, differences, etc. I'm starting to build my tools and supplies up and want to spend money wisely and still get what I need. Some kits say to buy a certain ruler to help make the triangles, etc. Is that always necessary? Just need your wise advice, please.

    Thanks,
    Julie

  2. #2
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    If you want to stick with one brand of rulers I would suggest Creative Grids rulers. They are quality made and there are many specialty rulers and basic rulers available from them. I don't use the mat lines to cut so I have different brands of mats all over my sewing room. If the pattern calls for a certain ruler it is usually easier to cut the shape with it but not necessary if you know how to use a basic ruler. The last few years I have been using a Go die cut machine and rarely cut with a ruler anymore so be careful about buying a whole lot right at first.
    Got fabric?

  3. #3
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    I really recommend June Tailor's Shape Cut rulers. They are wonderful. I love to buy quilting rulers and the best ruler I have bought is my Shape Cut ruler. They make cutting strips so fast and easy! I watched a demo of using a die cutting system to make strips for a Log Cabin,the lady teaching using the Accuquilt. She took 2 rulers to make sure she had the ruler straight, then she took the one ruler away and cut a portion of the fabric so that it would fit in the cutter. Then she cut some strips.As I watched I thought how much easier it would be if she just used the Shape Cut. When using the Shape Cut,you put the fabric on the mat,put the Shape Cut ruler on top of the fabric, make sure the ruler is level and start cutting. Easy as that. Welcome to the world of quilting.

  4. #4
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    I agree with BellaBoo - I love Creative Grids. Also try out some of the rulers that they have at different shops, see which works best for you. I used to love the ones with the yellow but now I have a hard time seeing with them. I like the non slip feature of Creative Grids, but think you need to really use or at least put it down on fabric, move it areound and see if you like it. Remember you are not just buying a ruler, but a tool that is the start of all of your projects.

    Personally I have gotten the you have to use the same brand speech also, but really don't get it. An inch is an inch, and I have put ruler upon ruler and not seen any difference (at least not yet). I think the real issue is how good you can use that brand of ruler and do you read the other a little differently - like is the line thicker so maybe you don't get as good of a measurement?

  5. #5
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    If I could only have 2 rulers I would choose a 6 inch X 24 inch, and a 6 inch by 12 inch. Both of mine are by Omnigrid. My only requirement for a cutting mat is that it be self-healing. I, personally, only use the lines on the cutting mat for lining up fabric - not for measuring or cutting.

    You should always use the same brand of rulers (omnigrid, Olfa, etc) throughout a project because the width of the markings on the ruler could be different among different companies. As far as which brand to buy, that is personal preference. Some have black and yellow lines. Some only have black. Some have 1/8 in markings and some do not.

    If I were buying now, I would like to try the Olfa frosted non-slip ruler. I would like to see how 'non-slip' it is. I have added Invisigrip to my Omnigrid rulers to help prevent slipping.


    You do NOT have to have a specialty ruler to cut triangles! However, you will have to learn the rules for calculating the size of strips, squares, etc. for cutting various types of triangle - 1/2 square, 1/4 square etc. Some of the triangle rulers are useful but really not required. I have both the easy angle and the companion angle rulers but have only started using them recently.

    Buy what you can afford.

  6. #6
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I started with Olfa cutting mats and Omnigrid (now Omnigrip) rulers and stay that way. i do have one Creative grid ruler i think. maybe two. one i know is very long with a lip on one end. i used that when cutting black out fabric for the back of some curtains. otherwise, it's just hanging in my sewing room.
    i love square rulers, my 8x24 ruler and 12x8 one (think that is the right measurement). close enough anyway to get the idea. i also got recently the 20 inch ruler. it has side and corner triangle measurements on it for on point block design.

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    Now, see...you've all got me confused. I apparently don't know how to use my rulers properly.

    I fold my fabric, and press the fold line.
    I line up the folded edge on the MAT line.
    I take my ruler, and I line IT up with the (perpendicular) MAT LINE where I'm going to cut.
    I cut on the MAT LINE against the ruler.

    How the heck am I supposed to NOT use the mat line to cut??? Do tell because I obviously am not doing it right.
    Thanks!

  8. #8
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    there's no problem in using the mat lines as long as you have checked the measurement of them. some mat grids are not accurate.
    Nancy in western NY
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  9. #9
    Super Member Gladys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnNan View Post
    there's no problem in using the mat lines as long as you have checked the measurement of them. some mat grids are not accurate.
    Something I learned the hard way!

    I agree with lakekids response and if that frosted non-slip ruler works please please let me know.

  10. #10
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    OK. I like a lot of different brands of rulers. I am back to using the sandpaper dots on the underside of my rulers to help me as my arthritis makes using rulers a tad difficult at times.

    If I were starting out again I would stick with Omnigrid because of the line going all the way across and down the ruler. Start with the 6" x 24" and the 6" x 12". The have the lines for the different angles so you won't need specialty rulers probably at first. The I would add the Martingale/That Patchwork Place square up ruler for my 3rd ruler.

    I prefer my Martelli mat. It has outlasted any other mat by far! It doesn't seem to dull the blades of my rotary cutters as fast either.

    I only use the mat lines to line up the fabric. However, I do use my ruler to make sure the first cut - the trim cut - after folding the material properly, is straight. This is much more accurate for me.
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  11. #11
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teeler View Post
    How the heck am I supposed to NOT use the mat line to cut??? Do tell because I obviously am not doing it right.
    Thanks!
    If your method works, then continue using it. I never line my fold line with the mat. Instead I use a cross line on the ruler along the edge of the fold. I still get a 90 degree angle that way and it works for me.

    I like the rulers that are marked with yellow and black. I find them easier to align. My favorite sizes are the 6x12 and the 6 1/2 square. However, I also use the 15 square and the 6 x 24 for squaring the top, and I recently bought some more squares for my blocks. (9 1/2 and 12 1/2).

    The triangle rulers I bought were a waste of money (for the mose part). I generally use the angle line on the 6 x 12 ruler to do my angled cuts.
    Last edited by MadQuilter; 03-13-2013 at 10:49 AM.
    Martina
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  12. #12
    Super Member QuilterMomma's Avatar
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    Oh goodness me, I think I own almost every ruler out there. My family buys them for me as gifts. If the project requires a specialty ruler, i get it. I know, spoiled I suppose but there is a place for them when working on certain projects.

    As a beginner, I love the 6 x 24 ruler and the 6 x 12. Then my second purchase would be a 6.5" square up ruler and a 4.5" square up ruler, and a 2.5" square up ruler. These rulers can come in packages sold as such.

    As for preference on brand, I prefer the yellow and black lines of Omnigrid. I can see them the best thru all fabrics. I find that the clear ones with black lines are hard to see when cutting my black and white fabrics or a dark fabric.

    I have learned that using the ruler to cut is faster and more accurate. I love to do minature quilts and using your mat will mess it up for sure. You cannot get an absolute accurate cut from the mat. I have a friend who does nothing but cut from the mat. She looses her points quite often in her quilts or she has to recut or fudge, plus takes her much longer. They call me Mrs. Edward Scissorhand because I can cut a quilt twice as fast as anyone else in my group and just as or more accurate.

    Also, on the rotary cutter, that is a definite personal choice no matter what. I use the Fiskars rotary cutter because of how it sits in my hand, so much more comfortable for me. There are those that love Olfas and swear by them. It is how you like to hold them. be sure to try them out if can to see which one cuts better for you. My first one was an Olfa and I sliced the side of my finger right on down the side. Had no meat on my finger for quite some time. I then got a Fiskar and have not had the problem at all. It is all in the way you can handle it. I cut it years ago.

    As for mats, since I cut by ruler, the self healing mat is about all for preference. I have not seen the the other brand of mat so I can't say how it is, but I may purchase it next after I wear out the other three the family bought me.
    Life is short, live it while you still can. QuilterMomma

  13. #13
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    I don't see why the need to buy the same brand rulers/mats. An inch is an inch is an inch.
    That being said, you may discover you prefer the markings on a particular brand of rulers over the other ... but that's personal preference, not the need to match the equipment.

    As for inaccurate measurements ... I have not noticed that at all.
    Perhaps if there are problems it is an off-shore knock-off type? Or perhaps they are metric and not imperial .... a cm is a cm is a cm .... and yes, should not be mixed with imperial inches, etc.!

    As for myself, I have an assortment of ruler brands. My preference are the frosted rulers as I get less glare with the lighting, plus the lines are finer for measurement accuracy. The one that has the full grid markings on it is nice, though at times I find it drive me nuts, as it;s not easy to distinguish between 1/2" vs. 3/8" (for example). Again, that's a personal preference ... and I still use that one a lot, as it's just the right size when I am trimming PP work.
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  14. #14
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    I have a collection of rulers given to me by a friend when she was downsizing..I have never used one of them. I have my original fiskar 6X24 ruler with the attached rotary cutter that I use all the time from the day I started quilting 8 years ago...Too bad the do not make them anymore, as I would get another one....I keep watching ebay etc for a used one for sale...I have a June Taylor mat which works OK...I rarely use the lines except when I want to "level" the fabric to cut

  15. #15
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I inherited several rulers and such. The ones I use regularly are the 6"x24" and the big 16" square one that is marked in 1/4" increments. I also use the 6" square one, but not as often. I did not like the yellow printed one although I can understand how it would be useful on dark fabrics.
    The only time I use the grid on my cutting mat is when I'm cutting something wider than 6", such as fabric for a tote lining.

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    I would suggest going to a shop (either LQS or JoAnn's) and pick up just about every manufacturer's ruler they have. Pick out a bunch of different fabric colors that call to you. Ultimately these will be the colors you will go back to time and again. Lay the various rulers onto the fabrics. See which colors of lines on the rulers are easiest for you to see. Stick with that brand and get at least the 6 x 24 (or an 8 x 24 if available - works well for borders). I would also pick up a 6-10" long ruler by at least 3-4" wide...easier to manage when doing some trimming or small work. As for a 'square up' ruler...I only own a 12.5". I can use that on up to a 12.5 x 12.5 block to square or anything smaller. Make sure the main (6x24) ruler has at least 45 and 65 degree lines on it. They will become your friends.

    While it's true that 'an inch is an inch is an inch' some lines may be thicker/thinner on the various rulers. Hence the recommendation to use at least the same brand throughout a project. Check to see that the rulers you like have 1/8" markings. As your quilting expertise progresses, you'll want these.

    As to mats...I use a self-healing. Frankly, I don't care about brand either but I do have Olfas. I generally don't use the lines on the mat for measuring...I use the ruler. I place a perpendicular line on the ruler on the fabric fold. I then use the measurements on the ruler for cutting. Remember to keep the piece of fabric you want to keep under the ruler!

    Just use the same method throughout your project whichever method you decide works best for you.

  17. #17
    Super Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    Here's my 2 cents. Cutting mats are OLFA. For most cutting I use the unmarked side. Less time to just lay the fabric down, then trying to line it up. Also, this saves the markings for when cutting very long strips. The rulers have the markings for inches, etc. Martelli mats were mentioned-I'll look for that at the next show.

    Rullers: my go to brand is Creative Grids for the size of the marking lines, non-slip feature and the extra 1/2" on the size of the rullers. First size is 8 1/2" x 24 1/2". This allows a longer line to get the cross cut from the fold very accurate. Also, I use the "Power Cutting" method and get more cuts before having to start over. Second is 4 1/2" x 12 1/2". Then, although it isn't used often, I love the 20 1/2" sq for squaring the quilt after being quilted. Another choice is the 2 1/2" x 36 1/2" for cutting binding.

    More on rullers: The "Power Cutting" method for 1/2 sq triangle and setting triangles is very accurate. It requires special rullers by Omnigrid 96, 96L, 98 & 98L. When PP, a 12" "add a quarter" is very helpful. I love hexegons so I have 3 sets of those and equilateral triangle. I have a whole lot more that were added as I had a special need.

  18. #18
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    I just measured the lines on my mat and all are spot on.....I have been cutting by the lines on the mat since the beginning and have no trouble with losing points or getting straight cuts.....shows me that there are still different strokes for different folks

  19. #19
    Senior Member cizzors's Avatar
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    I don't use my mat for measuring/lining up. Ruler only. I had been using a 6" X 24" EasyRule forever. Went and bought a 6" X 12" Creative Grid a week ago and Monday went back for the 6" X 24". These rulers come with the grippy things etched into the ruler-kind of like etched glass. I checked both old and new rulers and switched to the new mid-project. Top came out square.

    As far as the mat goes, I have an Omnigrid. Depending on my fabric color, I will flip the mat over to the grey side to see the fabric thru the ruler easier.
    Never outsmart your common sense.

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  20. #20
    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
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    I do this also and never have had an issue with using the mat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Buckeye Rose View Post
    I just measured the lines on my mat and all are spot on.....I have been cutting by the lines on the mat since the beginning and have no trouble with losing points or getting straight cuts.....shows me that there are still different strokes for different folks

  21. #21
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    Hi, So many thoughts about ruler's can probably make your brain spin. I have an interest in different rulers but don't really buy the specialty rulers. 6x24 is a must I do use a little 6inch ruler all the time when paper piecing to measure my 1/4 inch, since I don't have a 1/4 inch ruler with that little wedge. I have a 6inch square and would like a 12 inch square. You really don't need to much. Later on if you really want a specialty ruler, go for it but it is not necessary. Any name brand is a good choice and I do mix and match.
    Create something beautiful from scraps.

  22. #22
    Super Member CajunQuilter2's Avatar
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    I love my Martelli mat and I have slowly replaced all of my rulers with the Creative Grids rulers as I find I like them much better than the other brands I have used. Good luck deciding....
    Myrna

    They say money does not buy happiness, but it buys fabric & fabric makes me happy!!

  23. #23
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    I just bought a 3x9" Quilt Sense ruler. I love it. No yellow lines on it. It is so hard for me to see past those yellow lines to see where the actual cutting line is. If there was less yellow, that would be helpful. The little 3x9" is so handy for trimming small things. So much easier than fighting with a larger one. Even the 6x12 seems too big at times. But I don't see a lot of the Quilt Sense rulers in the store. Just a few sizes.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  24. #24
    Junior Member bobbiesboutique's Avatar
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    I am totally with ya on this one

  25. #25
    Super Member carslo's Avatar
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    Oh boy! I am numerous rulers and 4 cutting mats and I intermix them all the time. The stars must be all aligned as I have not had any trouble yet with my piecing so I must be doing something right. I will try and stick with the same ruler/ruler maker for my next project - having said that somethimes a smaller ruler works better after the large piece has been cut. The most important thing is to have a sharp blade! I try to stretch my blade useage far too long sometime.
    I perfer Creative Grids ruler I wore the markings off my Olfa ones.
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