When I started quilting 30+ years ago, there was no such thing as using a quilt ruler, rotary cutter and mat. At least not that I recall. I learned to quilt using templates. Lots and lots of templates traced onto fabric and cut apart with a good pair of sewing scissors. I made my first Lone Star quilt within a year of learning how to quilt, just by using templates. I wouldn’t say it was pretty, especially if you looked at it close enough…but, my brother loved it and that is what makes a quilter’s heart go pitter-patter. A quilt that is loved and is used is the best kind!
I certainly cannot recall when the rotary cutters, quilt rulers and mats made their appearance for quilters but I do recall MY first quilt ruler – and I recall it because I’ve bought a half-dozen of them over the years! I still USE the very first quilt ruler I ever purchased all those years ago. It’s nothing special, lightweight plastic and easy to accidentally cut if you don’t pay very close attention to where your rotary cutter is cutting. 🙂
My first quilt ruler was a Dritz Quilting See-Through Drafting Ruler. When I looked it up with a search engine, I giggled because it not only showed up at sewing places such as Joann’s but it also showed up at Sears!
Dritz Quilting See-Through Drafting Ruler
After a while, some better crafted quilt rulers came on the market. The new rulers were still just straight rulers, though they varied in the color of the lines, the size and the markings on the rulers. I think this is the second quilt ruler that I purchased:
Omnigrip Neon Quilter’s Ruler-8-1/2″x24″
But WOWSER, in the last five (at least) years, there’s been a quilt ruler-splosion!!! I cannot believe the number of quilt rulers that have cropped up lately! There are numerous quilt pattern books that require a special ruler all over the place -from proprietary usage to universal usage! There are professional and amateur quilters who have designed their own rulers, to be used with their own patterns or with other patterns. And there are professionals who have designed their own special quilt rulers, who have gone on to sign the rights away to a larger company to distribute them for the designer.
I believe I now possess the following quilt rulers beyond the two that I mentioned above:
- Omnigrid Quilting Square Ruler 12.5″ x 12.5″
- Omnigrid Quilting Ruler 6″ X 12″
- Omnigrid Right Triangle-Up To 8″
- Omnigrid Quilting Grid Ruler 6.5″ X 6.5″ Diagonal
- EZ Quilting Easy Rule Jr. Acrylic Ruler 3 1/2″ x 9 1/2″
Not a whole lot but they fulfill all of my quilting needs perfectly.
Besides these basic shaped rulers, I have noticed something else about the new quilt ruler-splosion…many of them have truly created templates into rulers. We’ve come full circle from when I learned to quilt 30+ years ago to today. Templates are fabulous and I would recommend any new quilter learn to quilt the more difficult way (with templates) than staring anew with a quilt ruler, rotary cutter and mat. They will learn the true basics of quilting and then increase their quilt knowledge through independent study (aka trial and error) or by taking quilt classes.
The quilt ruler-splosion doesn’t seem to be stopped anytime soon, but make the most it while it lasts!