Back when I started up with SMS as a dealer, I had a pretty big “opening order” to make, so I went looking for a number of tools that could make my sewing and quilting life easier.
It can be really hard sometimes to tell the gimmicks from the gadgets and the gadgets from the really necessary tools.
One of the “frightening” concepts for a new quilter is “bias edges”. I thought that any tool I could come up with to help me with that would be great.
I stumbled upon the Quilter’s Rule Quick Quarter 2. Knowing that I would “eventually” be making something with half square or quarter square triangles, this seemed like just the thing. (Not to be mistaken for the Quick Quarter. That one looks like a square acrylic swizzle stick.)
The Quick Quarter 2 ruler is a really simple tool. After you stack your 2 cut pieces of fabric right sides together, it helps you draw 3 straight lines in parallel to each other. You stitch on the two outer lines, and you cut the middle one to separate your 2 half square ( or quarter square) triangle blocks.
Doing a search on sites like Amazon, it got good reviews, so I figured it was a safe bet. Right?
I’ve used it now for 2 different projects – The Labyrinth I showed you a few months ago and the Aphrodite quilt from Patti Carey (*) using Northcott’s Stonehenge Aphrodite fabrics in the Indigo colorway – and have come up with a couple of pros and cons of it.
- It’s very portable – this makes it great for plopping on top of my (really crowded) desk when I sit in front of the TV at night with Ryan. I can mark blocks without pushing everything else off my desk – Which is a really good thing, since one of the permanent residents of said desk is my laptop.
- Used correctly, it’s quite accurate.
- It’s sturdy.
- I find that it seems like the fabric walks under it quite a bit. It seems like the ruler is a little bowed and so it’s not tight to the fabric the whole length of the ruler. There are spots to put your fingers to hold it down, but I can only get my fingers on 2 of 5 at a time, so the end I’m not holding tends to float, and so does the fabric under it. This might be less of a problem if your block is the same size diagonally as the ruler is, as there are 3 spots where there are raised portions that are meant to hold the fabric: One at each end, and one in the middle. This is OK, as I mentioned with larger blocks, but with smaller ones, chances are you’re only going to catch one, or at best 2 of these, and your fabric will travel more than is ideal.
- The 5 1/8″ blocks I was working on tonight were stretching a 1/4″ or more when I marked the edges of the bias edges with my chalk pencil. This may happen with the other methods, but it seems to be to a greater degree with this ruler than with the others I’ve tried. I believe this might be a symptom of the problem above of not being able to hold the whole ruler tight against the fabric at once.
- Unfortunately for me, this is a big one: It’s too small to easily grip while drawing around it. I find myself shifting my hand back and forth to move out of the way of my pencil. This tends to make me move the ruler, and if I don’t catch it in time, this means that I’ll have marked the fabric wrong. I find that because it’s so small, it’s also very light, which tends to mean that it drifts easily when I draw against it.
Add to that the small shake I have in my hands some days and I struggle with this ruler. I’ve gone back to my 6(.5)” x 24″ ruler which has a little 505 spray on it. I can slam my whole hand down on it and it sticks to the fabric for me, doesn’t move and I don’t see as much “shifting” in the bias edges as I’m marking.
I can’t give it 2 paws down, but I can’t give it two up either.
So, one paw up and armed with the points I’ve made above, I guess you’ll have to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons for you or not. For me, they didn’t and this one will likely be shoved to the back of a drawer, unfortunately.
Let me know below what you thought of it, if you’ve used one? And I’d love to hear about suggestions to make it a little easier to get along with. I might try 505 spray on it before it gets stuffed in a drawer, just for the heck of it.
* – The Aphrodite is the first quilt I saw before I was a quilter (so, since it was in last winter’s Quilt Trends, that should tell you how new a quilter I am) that I said I’d make exactly as it was. Well, about a year later, I’ve mocked it up in EQ and made a few minor changes and am making it that way instead. Photos and a write up to come when I have more than 2 blocks completed. 😉