Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tuesday Tips - Rulers

Learn from MY mistakes experience

My tips today concern rulers. Heed well, My Friends, but please don't ask me how I know!

  1. Try to use rulers from the same manufacturer because they tend to use the same line weight and labeling on all their products, making it easy for you to see and find your reference point.
  2. Look for rulers with the finest line weight. (I prefer Creative Grids for this reason.)
  3. Save the directions that come with your specialty rulers! (and don't hesitate to refer to them)
  4. Store notes with UFOs on what ruler you used and what you intended.

1.  I know some of the pros say it doesn't matter if you mix and match brands, but I have found there may be very slight variations in dimensions.  The biggest and best argument, though, is once you become accustomed to a manufacturer's labeling you will become more adept at using those rulers consistently.

60-degree triangle rulers
Clearview Triangle (left) and Creative Grids (right)
2.  All lines have a dimension;  bold lines have a wider dimension than thin ones. Look at the lines on the left triangle ruler: 

Which side of those bold lines are you going to use when lining up your fabric?  The important thing is to consistently use the same side of the line throughout your project.

3.  You can frequently find several different specialty rulers to accomplish the same task, the 60-degree rulers here, for example. Because these are designed by different people, usually for a specific purpose, there is little consistency in how they are marked and intended to be used.  Some highlight the finished block size, and some make the size of strip you are working with more prominent. Bottom line: refer to the instructions and don't intermix different brands in the same project.

4.  If there is a lapse of time between starting and completion, it's easy to forget what you were doing. Leave notes for yourself, particularly as it relates to specialty rulers. I try to label my project boxes if a special ruler is required. This accomplishes two things: If I'm grabbing a box for a sew day, I know to check and be sure I have packed the ruler. And the inverse of that, if I'm missing a ruler, I know where to look for it!

This whole topic came to mind last night when a situation arose with my current project, Waffle Town.
Waffle Town
As I said yesterday, this project began as a class sample with step-outs. What I failed to note with the UFO is that I was experimenting with the newly acquired Creative Grids triangle -- the one on the right that is designed to compensate for the overlapping seams at the peak by having a flat top.  When I resumed work on it this week I used the Clearview Triangle on the left.  Without going into the geometry of why it happens, I'll just tell you that the new blocks were smaller than the first batch I had made several years ago.

New triangle on top
Each triangle was this much too small and there are 6 triangles in each block!  Fortunately the situation was salvageable by taking apart the first batch of blocks and trimming using the Clearview ruler.

I hope you'll find these tips helpful. I'm always glad to answer any questions you might have.


  1. Great points, Libby. I don't use a lot of specialty rulers, but will make sure to look for the ones with finer lines.

  2. Excellent points, thanks for sharing. Too bad you had to take apart some already completed blocks, but I'm glad your project was salvageable.

  3. I keep the information regarding my projects on a spreadsheet. I hadn't thought to add the info on rulers, but I will now. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Very useful tips, thank you, Libby. Too bad they were learned such a hard way((

  5. Interesting comparison. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. A very helpful tip. Thankfully you were able to salvage the rest of the blocks.


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