A quilting ruler is indeed a lifesaver in times of need. If you are into crafts, then you must know that like any other craft, quilting requires the right type of tools to make cutting and sewing in a more convenient, accurate way.
The other day I was quilting a table runner for a friend, and I had to redo the edges…. Like ten times! That’s when I had to find something to help me! As a fine quilter in the making, I was overwhelmed to find these remarkable quilting rulers that gave me not only accuracy but also saved ample time.
For individuals whose source of income happens to be quilting, you can’t provide clients with uneven fabrics. It would make you look bad. So, what can you use to make sure the fabric you have cut or sewn is even? For that, you can use a ruler.
What is the best tool for quilting?
A ruler in quilting does what it does in any other field it might be used for. During your childhood, you used it to make sure the lines you are sketching are straight. Now, the ruler is no longer a simple ruler. Instead, it is a treasure for you.
The good news is that in the market, many quilt rulers are very easy to use and manage to serve their purpose well. It doesn’t matter how good of a sewing machine you have, without the right ruler, it would be of no use. Quilting, in no way, is an easy thing to do, especially for those who have just entered the real quilting world.
While selecting the best quilting ruler, make sure to look out for the following features:
- The size of the ruler – Depending on your project, you may need big or small rulers.
- Markings must be clear – It should be easily readable
- It should be sturdy
Where to store the quilting rulers?
You must be thinking this right now. It turns out, for this, you have ruler racks.
A ruler rack will help your rulers stay at one place.
This way, your energy, as well as your time will be saved since all the rulers that you might use would be at once place.
All the above information is for you to understand that without a great ruler for quilting, it would be hard for you to take right measurements and without a ruler rack, much of your time will be spent searching for the rulers.
Quilting tips for beginners
‘I have spent most of my life making quilts. The rest I have just wasted.’
That was my mother’s favorite quote. I would always see my mother quilting. That is a lot to say considering now I am 34 years old, and the first memory of my mother quilting must be of when I was eight years old, if not younger. She started quilting at a very young age. Though she was always fascinated by colors and the patterns of the fabrics, she began quilting when she was just 12. She had a separate room where she would do her quilting.
Though quilting can sometimes become a messy art, my mother always used to keep her quilting room neat and clean. ‘Always remember: After using any equipment or tool from the room, return it to its place. This would not only help you in finding it again but also keep your room organized’.
My mom is now 65 years old, and she has never lost a thing. She still quilts, as do I. I am not quite as good as her, but there are a few tips she told me back when I started quilting. She would always tell me that if a quilter says that she has never made a mistake in her life, she is definitely lying. Everyone makes mistakes, especially those who have just started. She was a stubborn lady. She never went to classes to learn it; she did it all on her own.
Even after quilting for over 50 years, she makes mistakes. However, thanks to technology and the internet, you can prepare yourself and how to avoid those mistakes. Following are some of the tips she told me (which I have framed in my room), which also happen to be answers to many problems:
Problem: Fabric colors are running
Solution: Prewash your fabric (unless the instructions say otherwise)
Remembering each and everything can be a burden sometimes. Sometimes, one is so excited to start the new quilting project they have been thinking about that they forget to do the first step in quilting: wash the fabric.
Mostly quilts are made of 100% cotton, which means that they are machine washable. During the fabrication process of a quilt, there are some chemicals used. For example, the color red tends to run like blood later on. But when you wash it beforehand, the excess color will wash away. Don’t worry about the excess color. It is the chemical that is being washed away. Nothing will happen to the red color. Some fabrics such as silk shouldn’t be prewashed. The best way to know whether a fabric can be prewashed or not, read the small chit or the paper that is on it.
Problem: Quilting doesn’t look right
Solution: Choose an easy pattern.
A design may look easy when you are looking at it, but quilting is not an easy thing to do. The design you are looking at may have been done by someone who has been quilting for years.
It requires a lot of dedication, patience, and commitment. So, for now, the best tip would be to start with an easy pattern. After you have practiced with it a lot, you can start with the medium ones, and then the hard ones. Remember: quilting is a process in which you must follow steps.
Problem: Not enough fabric
Solution: Buy enough fabric
You went to the market and bought the perfect fabric. You came home, washed it and pressed it. In short, you checked all the boxes that were required before starting a quilting project. Much to your surprise, just after cutting a few pieces of the fabric, you found out that there isn’t any more fabric to cut. You leave everything be, head out to the fabric market to buy more of the fabric, only to find out that they have run out of that fabric.
Does this sound too real? Well, I am speaking from my own experience.
I have gone through this ordeal many times to know how frustrating it is. Though you might find a lot of books and other stuff that will tell you what to do in a case like this, my mother always told me to follow the thumb rule, and then an extra half yard. Sure, it may cost a little more but hey! No more running out of fabric. Even if that fabric remains, you can always use it for your next project or even return it.
Problem: Wrinkled fabric
Solution: Iron the fabric
I think this one you already guessed, but those who didn’t, pressing the fabric is a lot more important than you think. This is a common mistake. After washing the fabric, people leave it to dry. As soon as the fabric is dried, they start working on it and end up with a lot of wrinkles. That should be avoided.
Instead, before working on it, it should be pressed. It gets trickier here: Do not press the fabric for too long.
If you do so, the fabric will start stretching. The easy way to do this is to find a heavy thing to press the fabric, such as iron, and keep checking it after a few seconds. If you leave it for long enough, at first the fabric will stretch and even before it does that, it might get burnt. So, set the iron at a neutral level, keep ironing it after every few seconds and as soon as the wrinkles are gone, remove it and start working on it.
Problem: Rough edges around the fabric
Solution: Use the right tools
Though my mom may be old fashioned when it comes to her ideas and thoughts, there are some things in which she is as modern as a teenager of this world. The only time she was impressed by technology was when Magneto stopped the incoming missiles with just a wave of his hand in X-Men: First Class and when she used Fiskars 95237097J Rotary Sewing Cutting 3 piece set. The rotary sewing set was able to cut multiple layers and hold the fabric for accurate, straight cuts without any irregular edges. The cutting mat, which was extra-large 18 x 24 inch has an easy-to-read measuring grid which makes it easier for my mum to handle her quilting projects.
Problem: I can’t see the fabric when I am using a ruler
Solution: Use a transparent ruler
Now, this is funny. During our childhood, we used rulers to make sure the lines we were drawing were straight or to make diagrams. One would think that our dependency on rulers ended right then and there, but if you happen to be in quilting, you would know how wrong you were as ruler is to quilting as Tom is to Jerry, one’s existence without the other is incomplete.
When you go to the market to buy a quilting rule, you might be presented with many options such as longarm quilting ruler, free motion quilting ruler, quilting square rule, curved quilting ruler, quilting with rulers on a home machine. In short, quilting with rulers is a job done easy.
Omnigrip 6-Inch-by-24-Inch Non-Slip Quilter’s Ruler happens to be a ruler that is made especially for quilting projects. Due to its unique numbering and angle system, it is sure to help you with your projects. Omnigrid Non-Slip Ruler, 6″ x 12″ is another ruler that is used in quilting that is famous because of its transparent background. Individuals using it will have an idea of what they are using.
Problem: What quilting rulers are the best?
Solution: It depends.
I say it depends because if you happen to be a beginner, then you might want to use the standard 6-inch X 12-inch ruler. When I was just starting, I used that ruler. I still keep it with me in case I might use it.
These days, I use Fiskars 12-87577097J Acrylic Ruler, 6×24 Inch because the angle indicators, such as the 30-, 45- and 60- make it easy for me to cut angles and because of its lasting durability (You can thank the 3 mm thick acrylic for that) and ARTEZA Acrylic Quilters Ruler Set & Non Slip Rings (4.5″X4.5″, 6″X6″, 9.5″X9.5″, 12.5″X12.5″, Set of 4) for when I am working on a bigger project.
My mom happens to be left-handed while I am right handed, but we both use this ruler. How one might ask. Well, all the angles on this ruler are vertically mirrored, so it doesn’t matter whether you are right handed or left handed, this ruler would help one and all. Apart from that, the contrasting bright and dark lines make it easier to see the fabric you are working on regardless of the color of that fabric.
These rulers are made so well and clear that the quilter knows exactly what he is doing. So now you get it. There is no specific ruler which the best depends on where you are starting from.
There are some rulers, however, that my mom says everyone should have once they get the gist of basic quilting. They are a big square ruler, a long rectangular ruler, a small rectangle and the add-a-quarter ruler.
Above were the underlying problems that people who are starting quilting face. Don’t be afraid when you encounter a lot of it when you are just beginning. It is quite common. Commit yourself in never making them again and as my mother would say: Quilt away!