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Quilting rulers: what size should I buy?

If you have just started to investigate the world of quilting, the vast array of quilting rulers consisting of squares, rectangles and triangles can be overwhelming! Do you have to own every single shape in every single size? No, you don’t need every single ruler that is out there, but there are a few that are helpful. omnigrid6x24

There are three rulers that are my favorite and that I cannot do without. I use them for cutting, marking and multiple other things. The first ruler I love using is my long Omnigrid 6″ wide by 24″ long ruler. The long edge of the ruler provides a long straight edge for cutting long strips and borders. I can cut long pieces in one long length without having to reposition my ruler multiple times.


The next ruler I use much of the time is my 6″ x 12″ ruler. It is an easy size to handle, twist around and cut small pieces. The 6″ width gives plenty of room for easily cutting 2″ – 6″ wide squares or strips. My Omnigrid 6 x 12 also has 30, 60 and 90 degree angled markings. This is the ruler I use for most of my mitered corners of a quilt border or a mitered pillow flange. It’s the perfect size and the 90 degree angle makes cutting miters a breeze.

My third favorite ruler is my 3″ x 18″ and the one I use the most. The length of 18″ is perfect for many of the 14″ – 18″ quilt blocks I most often use in my quilting and embroidery. It is easy to pick up and use without having to work with a really long ruler. The 3″ width gives me a few inches to work with when I am marking straight lines and measurements.

omnigrid3x18rulerI not only use my quilting rulers for cutting quilt blocks and pieces, but also for measuring and marking lines on the fabric. On the quilt I am currently working on, MarJen for Error, I need to cut the quilt blocks 18″ square. For cutting these, I will use my 24″ long quilting ruler. I can cut the 18″ in one cut and not have to reposition the ruler. Then I mark a horizontal, vertical and two diagonal lines on the block to mark the center for embroidery placement. I use my 18″ ruler for this job. The longer ruler tends to get cumbersome as I am marking, but the 18″ ruler is just right for the job!

You will find out that certain rulers are more helpful for certain types of blocks or pieces you are cutting. Start with a couple rulers and see what works the easiest for you. You can always add to your ruler collection as your quilting ability grows. There are triangular and specialty rulers that will aid you in special projects. But at first, stick to the basic rulers and learn how to cut multiple kinds of pieces from each one.


Serena Nabeta is an avid embroidery and quilting enthusiast living in Colorado. Creating new projects and sharing them with others through online lessons is one of her greatest joys. Visit her website, Embroidery Treasures, for details on her machine embroidery online classes and DVDs.


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©2007 Serena Nabeta
Embroidery Treasures

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