It's Wednesday and I'm still playing with pretty colors!
This week I also received a rather timely question about rotary cutting rulers. Since I'm busy cutting up a storm it was easy to shoot some pics and share the goods with everyone! Here's the question:
"Hi Leah, You said something on one of your videos about using the same kind of rulers. What is the brand that you use? I'm just starting out with quilting and would like to be on the right track with my measurements."
This is a great question, especially for someone just starting out. The quilting world has really blown up in the last 3 years especially with more tools, rulers, gizmos, and gadgets than ever before. What is really necessary to get started?
The short answer is not much. You will need a cutting mat, rotary cutter, and some rulers. This quilter's question was specifically about rulers so let's focus on that specifically.
All rulers are marked differently. In fact, some companies have even patented the way they mark their rulers (ridiculous!) so some rulers are marked more clearly than others. And because rulers are marked so specifically, switching from one brand to another might be a recipe for cutting disaster.
For example, if you get a 12.5" ruler, how is the extra 1/2 inch marked out? It's really easy to flip your ruler around while cutting and accidentally cut 1/2 inch bigger or smaller without meaning to. If you switch from one brand to another, are they marked the same or different?
The marks on a ruler itself can also be thick or thin and this changes with every manufacturer. When you line up your ruler on your fabric, you need to INCLUDE the line you are measuring to. Yes, measuring to include or exclude just the marking line can make a difference in how accurate your cut is.
But some rulers have super wide lines that are meant for the fabric to line up through the middle of the line. These I find flat out confusing and refuse to use them. Still, some quilters swear by them.
The trick again is to have ONE method of measuring, one type of line to line up with, so you have the greatest chance of cutting properly and the least chance of accidently cutting a piece or strip too small.
Personally I got started with Optima brand rulers back in 2005 and I still have my original set - 12.5" square, 6" x 24" rectangle, and 6" x 12.5" rectangle. Unfortunately Optima rulers are no longer being made even though they were some of the most clear and easy to use rulers of all the different brands.
Yes, this really is what I started quilting with - just 3 rulers - and these served me for more than 4 years before I needed different shapes. I really don't think you need much more than a 12.5" square and a long rectangular ruler to cut 99% of the things you'll want to cut in your first years quilting.
So when is it time to buy different rulers?
I've invested in a handful of special rulers that do really specific things. These rulers have been investments for particular quilts or projects and they're definitely fun to have around, but...I haven't used them much after the project they were intended for.
Now that is the minimalists approach to ruler buying - get two shapes of the same brand and cut away!
Let's go quilt,