Accurate measurement is important for accurate piecing. To make straight cuts with a rotary cutter, choose a ruler of thick, clear plastic. A good size to start with is a 6x24" rectangular ruler marked in 1/4" increments.
Look for clear markings and accurate increments by measuring the ruler. Check to see if the 1" marks are the same crosswise and lengthwise.
Rulers come marked in a variety of colors. Try different rulers on cutting surfaces to see which is most easily visible for you. There are rulers for every type of project and cutting need. Some rulers are almost like templates in that they create squares or right triangles in varying sizes. Some triangle rulers enable you to trim the points before joining the pieces together. If possible, try out rulers before you buy them or ask for a demonstration at a quilt shop and understand how to use them to get the maximum benefit from your purchase.
Rectangular rulers, such as a 6x24" ruler marked in 1/4" increments with 30-degree, 45-degree, and 60-degree angles, are a good beginner’s purchase. As you become more proficient you may wish to purchase additional acrylic rulers and templates in a variety of sizes and shapes.
A good second ruler is the 6x12" size. It is easier to handle than the 24" ruler and can be used for smaller cuts and to make crosscut strips. It also can be used with the 6x24" ruler to cut 12" squares or to make straightening cuts. Square rulers, good for secondary cuts and cutting and squaring up blocks, are available in a variety of sizes.
For squaring up large blocks and quilt corners a 12-1/2"- or 15-1/2"-square ruler works well. This ruler can also be used for making setting triangles.
There are many rulers available that make cutting triangles, diamonds, and hexagons easy. A 45-degree triangle ruler is useful for mitering corners and for cutting half- and quarter-square triangles and some diamonds and parallelograms. A 60-degree triangle ruler is helpful for cutting equilateral triangles, diamonds, and hexagons. Specialty rulers and templates are a great time-saver when cutting fans, arcs, Dresden Plates, Kaleidoscopes, some star patterns, and more. Curved rulers and templates help cut Double Wedding Ring and Drunkard’s Path pattern pieces.
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