Monday, August 13, 2012

Rulers Old and New--and a Sneak Peak

Trying new techniques often calls for new gadgets or tools, including rulers. Or just learning how to use the ones you already have.
My favorite ruler is my 3x18 ruler, because I can do just about everything: cut strips, trim seam allowances, mark seam allowances on foundations. My toddler used it for a surfboard or train tracks on the carpet and broke the tip off at the hanging hole, so I recently added a 6.5x24" ruler. Love it too-- longer reach! I also love my set of Olfa square-up rulers: a 4.5", a 6.5", a 9.5" and a 12.5".
But I'll talk about three in particular today: 45 degree ruler, EZ Dresden, and Leaves Galore.
1--45 degree: it's an Olipfa, and the very first of two rulers I owned. My mother bought me that one, plus a rotary cutter, 12x18 mat, plus a triangle ruler, when I was taking my first quilting class at Snow College. (What a great care package in the mail at my dorm away from home!) I've never used the 45 degree angle on the ruler before. I decided that I wanted to try the Love in a Mist and Blazing Star from Sylvia's Bridal Sampler for my quilt. They both call for strip-piecing two sets of two strips in pairs, then cutting 45 degree angles into the strips to make paired diamonds.

Ok, the illustration from the book looked simple, but how was I going to get the 45 degree angle in the first place? Ah, my ruler! I cut the angle, then rotated the ruler to parallel the cut I made, to measure and cut the width of the diamond specified.

2--Next, the EZ Dresden Ruler. I followed the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild's EZ Dresden Challenge kickoff Blog Hop, and got really inspired. I wanted to join the challenge but had no ideas for a quilt or design. Meanwhile, I've been wondering for quite some time how to make a certain block, whether paper-piecing or templates or whatever, and getting stumped because the design is very curvy and stylized and nothing I looked at was working. One afternoon in July, I was trying to take a nap, but thinking about the blog hop and my block puzzle, when suddenly the two ideas merged and I had a way to do both! I use the EZ Dresden Ruler and go from there. Here is the first sneak peak:

Then I cut and pieced together my Dresden quarters and was stumped again: how was I going to cut the curves I needed, to look even, balanced, and pretty?

3--Enter the Leaves Galore Template Ruler by Sue Pelland ( Practically the day I got stumped, I was tidying my cutting table and stopped to flip through my new August/September 1012 Quilter's Newsletter. I saw the article spotlighting this new ruler, and my idea clicked again! I immediately went on Sue's website, and also found the rulers at Clotilde. I bought the largest, Grande, because I didn't know which size I needed. The Grande can cut 8" curves and 4" curves, the Norme can cut 6" and 3" curves, and the Petite can cut 5" and 2.5" curves. It worked great! Sue sells them separately, or all 3 in a set, on her website. I'm very excited. Tips for that I learned from QN Magazine for this template ruler: it's designed to use with a 28 mm cutter, and cut slowly and hug the ruler with the rotary cutter.

Wow! Learning new things every day!


  1. Good for you. Learning and accomplishing new things is just part of the fun of quilting.

  2. Love the new use of my templates! Can't wait to see the finished product!