I have recently rewritten my Quilting with Rulers Class. When considering my own use of rulers, it was a ‘penny dropping moment’ when I realised that I favoured a straight ruler and one curved ruler for 90% of my own ruler work. Why would I teach anything else? Using only a single straight quilting ruler is an excellent way to start (and continue in my case!). So, what should you look for in a straight ruler?
- Echoing lines – Normally this would be at ¼” intervals and ideally they would be on either of the long sides.
- Angles – The more useful rulers will also have 45” and 60” angles (both to the left and right) marked on them and if they have a straight line across the short side of the ruler, all the better.
- Length – There is a trade-off in the length of the ruler. Ideally, the ruler should be long enough so when stitching straight lines the frequency of stopping and repositioning the ruler is minimised. However, a long ruler is too bulky to use within a domestic machine environment. I believe the optimum length is between 6” and 10
Rulers made for use with long arms are 6mm (1/4”) thick. They work perfectly fine on domestic machines when the ruler is at the front of the ruler foot or either side of it, but may not fit behind the foot of a low shank machine. The Australian company Westalee have made their rulers 4.5mm for high shank domestic machines and 3mm for low shank machines. My own experience is that all my school machines are low shank and I find the 6mm (1/4”) fine to use.
If you don’t know what type of shank your machine is, then refer to your machine manufacturer or check any Westalee ruler sales website, they often will have reference charts available.
- Basic Quilting Set from Silesian – a curve and straight – good quality and lots of marks and angles. It is 8” long and 6mm thick. It is £29.95 direct from Silesian
- Westalee Basic Ruler – curved on one side and straight on the other, it does come in a 3mm/low shank option. At 6” long and doesn’t have angles, but does have a great set of echo curve lines. It is £20.95 from Cotton Patch
- Amanda Murphy’s Every Angle Ruler – It is 10” long and 6mm and has lots of angles. It is available from Quilt Direct at £25.90
- Handquilter Skinny Ruler – probably the top brand long arm rulers.. Great quality is clearly printed with all the angles – it is 10” and 6mm. thick. It is £24 from Pinhole Quilting.
How to Learn More
In the class, Introduction to Ruler Quilting, you will learn 18 straight ruler designs which can be used in borders, shapes and as fillers. The class comes with its own 2 ½ hour video, yours to access forever, which demonstrates each design so you never forget. I’d love to see you on the next Zoom class there are just a few places left– click here for details.