At the last Denver Mancuso Quilt Festival, I purchased some quilting tools that looked extremely promising. The first was a tool for trimming perfect half-square triangle blocks from Bloc Loc. The second was a set of tools from guidelines4quilting that promised to make cutting strips easy and ruler-slippage a thing of the past!
From guidelines4quilting, I was enamored of an add-on kit you could buy to add Grip Strips to the long edges of your acrylic ruler and an adjustable fabric guide against which you can slide your straight fabric edge. Pressing near the ruler’s edge now presses on the Grip Strips and the ruler no longer slides around on the fabric. This seems to work so well, I bought some extra Grip Strips to put on my other rulers. (Grip Strips are clear and removable / repositionable, though I’m not planning on removing them ever!)
When using this product, be sure not to push the edge of your fabric too hard against the fabric guide. The guide is held onto the ruler with clips on the ends and some clear elastic. If you push the fabric too hard, the guide will move just a little because of the elastic.
I also decided to buy their ruler set for making squares, half-square triangles, and quarter-square triangles. The custom ruler has a fabric guide, but the guide is rigid. You choose the square size you want to make and set the guide on that line. Then, depending on whether you want to make squares (S), half-square triangles (H), or quarter-square triangles (Q), you add the appropriate attachment to the ruler. These add the necessary seam allowances for the shape you are trying to make. I tried the ruler for 5″ squares, 3″ squares, 2″ and 1″ squares. The ruler set is shown on the left and some results are on the right:
The sewn squares came out pretty darn close to the target square size, but were not perfect. So I tried one more time using the same tool plus the Bloc Loc I had purchased. I set the fabric guide to 3.25″ squares with the idea of making 3″ squares. I cut squares for half-square and quarter-square triangles and sewed them together. Using the Bloc Loc I could square them off very precisely.
The Bloc Loc has a groove underneath the ruler within which a quarter inch seam fits perfectly. You put the Bloc Loc on your sewn square and can slide the ruler over the seam, allowing you to both square it up and trim it perfectly:
Bloc Loc makes the square ruler in different sizes, but you can certainly use a larger one with smaller squares. They also make a similar product for flying geese blocks.
I am really pleased with my latest acquisitions. The guidelines4quilting Grip Strips really work nicely to keep my acrylic rulers from slipping. It’s a blast to be able to cut squares, half-square triangles and quarter-square triangles with my Guidelines Ruler and the Seam Allowance additions. For perfect squares, set the fabric guide to about 1/4″ larger than your target size. Then use the Bloc Loc ruler to square up the sewn blocks. These are all great tools that I hope to use on a future quilting project.
Disclaimer: I was not given these tools nor was I asked to review them. I simply thought they looked useful and decided to give them a try.