Quilting Rulers

I feel the need to re-run my thoughts on rulers because I am appalled by what many quilting shops are offering. In May, I visited Shipshewana, IN, an Amish quilting Mecca. The only rulers at both the Yoder Department Store and Lilly’s, the two impressively large quilting stores in town, were Creative Grids rulers with an extra 1/2″ added which I hate. Despite the huge array of sizes displayed, there were no rulers without the extra 1/2″. I wanted to get a ruler for my friend who is a beginning quilter and could not bring myself to buy her the 6-1/2″ x 24″ which is so confusing. I do not understand the logic of producing rulers like this except for 9-1/2″ and 12-1/2″ squares which can be used for easily cutting finished-sized 9″ and 12″ blocks for applique. I am a huge fan of Omnigrid rulers without the extra 1/2″ and always recommend these to my students.


The Omnigrid rulers are clear and easy to read. If I could only have one ruler for all my quilting, I would choose the 6″ x 24″ and this is the one I advise new quilters to purchase. With my 6″ x 24″ I can use either long side for measuring my cuts. For the Creative Grids 6-1/2″ version I get confused by the extra 1/2″ and I find it easy to make a mistake if the ruler is turned round the wrong way. My second favorite is the 15″ square which I find extremely useful for cutting large squares and squaring up my Kaleidoscope and Op-Art Kaleidoscope blocks. Another I like is the 6″ x 12″ ruler. This is especially good for cutting strip sets into segments which I do frequently when making my Bargello block quilts. When you are making these repeated counter-cuts, it is easier to use this smaller ruler rather than the long 6″ x 24″. You can line up the horizontal lines on the ruler with the seam lines on the strip-sets which helps to keep everything square and even.


I realize that part of this is simply due to habit and what I’m used to, but for me it is hard work using rulers that have the extra 1/2″ or that have variable divisions in the measurements marked on the ruler. I have seen some appalling specimens on my teaching travels and my students get frustrated when their rulers are so difficult to use.

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