4 Measuring Skills Quilters Can’t Live Without – Part 1

Before I begin this post, let me say “thank you” to Cheryl@ Meadow Mist Designs and her 2015-2016 Midnight Mystery Quilt Series. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my measurements were off in some cases by 1/2″.  Yes, I am admitting that as a long time quilter, and I am not the least bit ashamed. I’m actually glad it happened, because I re-learned some basic skills, and found out some new information, and discovered some better products for me.

1. Today’s quilter’s rulers are more refined today than they were in 1994 when I began quilting.

My old, but trusty, 14″ x 6.5″ ruler has really thick lines on it, as you can see above. I lined it up next to the popular quilter’s basic green cutting board lines. Notice how they are thicker than the yellow lines?  This is not a good thing.

I learned long ago that the yellow lines are too thick to use for exact measuring. The yellow lines are rough guides for setting up fabric for folding, and then cutting, but not to be used for exact and precise measuring and cutting. 

The black lines are the ones to check horizontally and vertically for cutting. BUT, if the black lines are even thicker than the yellow, of course measuring and cutting could be way off. And mine was. Then multiply that by several times, and it’s not hard to understand why I could be 1/4″ to 1/2″ off.

Honestly, I try to save money everywhere, but not to the extent I would purposefully have the wrong tools to do my projects right, right? I didn’t notice that all these new rulers had come out with much skinner lines on them making them WAY more accurate, until one of my studio mates pointed it out to me. Thank you!! Ahhh precision!!

So much better, right?

And I purchased a new 20″ square ruler with much skinner lines too.  

This is just a small portion of the 20″ square ruler.

And here’s the thing, even putting money and economics aside; when you’re not in the market for a new product, you often don’t notice that something better is in the marketplace. For example, have you ever noticed that you may have not noticed big improvements in the automobile market until you are out there shopping for one?  That’s happened to me. Then I begin to notice everything on the road.  Well now I am looking at all my measuring tools and replacing what’s outdated, and purchasing new ones where there are improved products.

The HST ruler to the left is another old one with thick lines. The other two are new and have thin lines, making for precision and accuracy.

2. I am short. Very short. Barely 5’1″ to be exact. And what I’m about to write may be true for taller people too, but I can’t speak for them. I’ve always noticed this being short woman; tables are built for those who have a waist higher up than mine, and they can lean over and have more control of their rulers and other objects, when cutting than I do. In essence, the taller you are, the more leverage you have over doing tasks such as measuring and cutting fabric.

There are great products out there to help prevent the ruler slipping issue no matter how tall or short you are.

The handle gripper and the little gripper above are both made by Gypsy, that I purchased on Amazon a few years ago.  They work great.

This Klutz Glove, I purchased several months ago through the Fons and Porter online shop.  It works really well too.

There are so many non-slip rulers out there made by many manufacturers. And there are many circular non-slip circles and strips that can be adhered to the bottom all these rulers.  They are quite good too.  I’ve tried them when I’m at weekly studio, because I don’t drag all my rulers to the quilt shop. They supply the rulers that are non-slip, and have the sticky grippers on the bottom for a non-skid experience.

I will show photos of them in part 2 of this series.  Also in part 2, I’m going to discuss something really obvious, but most of us don’t think about that affects our measuring and cutting, but have a huge impact. Stay tuned. 

Linking up with Lessons Learned with Afton@quiltingmod. And in the spirit of getting rid of tools that are old, (from the 1990’s), and no longer useful for quilting, linking up with Throwback Thursday with Jenn@QuarterofanInchFromThe Edge.

Thanks to everyone who sent me good wishes on my shoulder surgery. It went well. I can raise my arm and hand straight up high, with no pain. It’s getting better and better:) 

And, of course,
Happy Quilting!!

I love comments and read every one of them! 🙂

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  • Reply Mary Ann March 5, 2016 at 12:02 am

    Another great thing to put on the back of your rulers is Nexcare flexible clear tape. It is sold by the medical supplies. Your rulers will not slide…also since it is clear, you can see the lines clearly on the ruler.

  • Reply Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts March 8, 2016 at 2:12 am

    Yep, tools have come a long way. It does help to have the right tools for the job. I came to this realization when we remodeled our kitchen. Now when my hubby says he needs a particular tool for a job I understand exactly what he means. Same for quilting. I hate to spend money on a new ruler when I already have one, but the newer ones do allow for more precision cutting. I'm looking forward to Part 2!

  • Reply The Colorful Fabriholic March 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Glad your shoulder's doing well. Thanks for this post – I'm even shorter than you and I'm always looking for ways to make my cutting more accurate. I'll check my rulers and the thickness of the lines on them. I have noticed that the lines on my newest green cutting mat are not quite the same distance apart as the lines on my favorite ruler. Something's off!

  • Reply Kate @ Smiles From Kate April 16, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Interesting to read about the stitching aids. I'm 5' 2" and understand about table heights, although my rulers are non slip I think there are still advantages to the grippers which would be worth the investment. Thank you for an excellent post.

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