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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quick Strips, Circles, Hearts, Triangles, Diamonds, Hexagons and Squares for Quilters

This is somewhat of a follow up from yesterdays post about Fabric Cutters.  As I said, I get lots of e-mails and phone calls about which Fabric Cutter is the best etc.  Typically the first thing I ask is, "What are you planning to do with it?" 

I know for myself I first became interested in buying a Fabric Cutter when I participated in Karen's I-Spy Block Exchange.  I cut so may 5 x 5 or 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch blocks (I can't even remember now) with the same ruler.  I'm a pretty particular person (just ask MJ) when it comes to cutting.  There were so many different size blocks when I was finished I was frustrated and disgusted.  Because the blocks were going to be swapped, I certainly did not want to be the one swapper that gave blocks that you could not have a 1/4 inch seam allowance and still come out with the same size block as the rest of the swappers.  So I bought an AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter.  All my blocks were exact and that was huge for me. 

So, what is it that draws you to a Fabric Cutter?  Is it your hands?  If you have pain in your hands or are unable to use a rotary cutter safely or easily then you may find a Fabric Cutter a great way to continue doing the hobby that you love for a very long time.  If it is your hands....are you going to be able to comfortably turn the handle on a Fabric Cutter?  Are you wanting to cut a few layers at a time or do you want to cut more than 6 at one time?  Is it time you want to save?  Are you planning on making kits where you will be using your cutter more than a few times per month?  Are you mainly cutting blocks, strips, circles, triangles or do you love applique and want to be able to cut some fun designs that are almost impossible without a Fabric Cutter? 

Not everyone needs a Fabric Cutter!!!  Viral advertising in the quilting world has had a bit of a backlash lately and some people are tired of even hearing about these products.  My position is, the more information you have the better you are at making a decision about if you need one and if so, which one is best for your particular needs.  No need to keep up with the Jones folks....keep the joy of quilting in focus and use the tools you need to achieve these ends and you will have just what YOU need and not what someone else needs or has.  (Don't I sound like a Mom?....yikes, I thought that would never happen to me...never say never ay?)

If you use a rotary cutter without pain or discomfort I think you need to know about the following templates for cutting shapes.  They are a wonderful alternative to dies that can be expensive.

Cutting Circles

I own this ruler and it is a great ruler.  It is the perfect everyday 4" x 18" ruler with an added bonus of holes every ½" in the center to quickly mark circles up to 34" in diameter with ease. It can also help mark scallops on quilt borders!  You will need a marking pencil or tool that will fit into the holes.  A Gel Pen works great for me. 

The Circles and More Ruler has ⅛" and ¼" marks along the edges with ½" dotted lines and 1" solid lines so that it's not too cluttered! It also has a 30º and a 45º angle for reference along with the circle holes.

With a little math and pre-planning the ruler can help you mark beautiful scallops on the borders of your quilts. Three-quarters of a circle for the corners and half circles placed in between.  

You fold your fabric into quarters with the folded corner facing the bottom of the template and cut circles from 2 to 8 inches.  You will need a 28mm rotary cutter to cut with this ruler. 
Use the same as above but you get circles from 4 to 12 inches.  You will also need to use a 28mm rotary cutter.
Again, works like the ones above but you will get circles from 6 to 17 inches and it requires a 45mm rotary cutter.

Cuts circles from 2-10 inches and requires a 18mm rotary cutter.

Cutting Hearts

If you cut a lot of hearts this template would be a great alternative to using a Fabric Cutting die.

You can cut 5 sizes of hearts from 4 1/4 x 4 inch hearts to 10 1/2 x 11 1/2 " hearts using the EZ 18mm Rotary Cutter.

Cutting or Marking Scallops
I think these are neat for cutting or marking scallops:

You can use this on any size projects like quilts, clothing, place mats, napkins, children's clothing....and lots more things once you get your creative juices flowing.  They are great for marking quilting or applique lines too.   The Arc's length is 2", 3", 4" and 5".  The templates are made from 1/8 " acrylic and the lines are easy to read in black (unless of course you are using black fabric....that makes it a little more difficult).

This one works the same and the one mentioned above it has Arc lengths of  6", 7", 8", 9" and 10".

Cutting Strips, Blocks, Rectangles, Diamonds,
Hexagons  and Triangles

Exact Eighths Ruler
You can cut multiple strips quickly and accurately in all increments of 3/8in and 7/8in. These eighth inch increments are used for popular quilt blocks, such as half-square triangles and flying geese blocks.  I layer up my fabric and don't have a problem getting my cuts accurate.

Use as traditional quilting rulers or cut in slots. Use cutting slots to safely cut multiple strips quickly and accurately. Turn the ruler after strips are cut to complete squares, triangles, diamonds and hexagons. Cutting slots great for cutting perfect fringe. Right or left handed use.

Shape Cut for Strips/Block Template
Cut multiple strips from 1/2in up to 12in, 1/2in increments. Save time on repetitive cuts for strip quilting. Turn Shape Cut after strips are cut to complete squares, triangles, diamonds or chevrons with ease.  I use this one when I cut strips for my coil bowls.  I fold my fabric in layers and put the ruler on top and get to problems with accuracy here :)

The Shape Cut Plus is 12"x 18" and  there is a 1/4" line that will let you cut in 1/4" as well as 1/2" increments. Just cut strips, then turn for complete squares, triangles, diamonds, chevrons and hexagons. You can even cut several layers of fabric at one time. The slots will hold your cutter in place, so it can't shift.

The Shape Cut Pro has rotary cutting slots in 2 1/2in increments to easily cut strips and squares. Perfect for creating your own 2 1/2in jellyrolls and 5in charm squares. Extra large 20in x 23in grid allows you to quickly cut full width of fabric.

This ruler allows cuts in multiples of 2-1/2in, so 5in charm squares and 10in layer cake blocks can also be cut quickly and accurately. Works perfectly with pre-purchased jelly roll fabrics, fat quarters, or any fabric a Quilter may have in their stash.

The ruler has a guide to mark the sewing and cutting line. Center your square on the 45-degree marking and square up the finished block. Piece two half- squares together to make perfect quarter-square triangle.

This template is great for cutting 60 degree diamonds.  You can cut 1in to 6in diamonds in 1/4in increments without measuring. Simply place slotted ruler on fabric strip and cut in the slots.

So, how many of you learned something from this post?  Did you know about all these rulers/templates that are relatively inexpensive compared to cutting dies for Fabric Cutting Systems?  They are also easier to store and you probably already own a good rotary cutter and mat right?  I'm not trying to talk anyone out of buying something they may want and or need....however I like to know my options before I invest.



  1. Thank you for the thorough review of the different types of rulers and cutter available right now! I own an Accuquilt GO! but also like to have several different rulers on hand for pieces I know I won't be cutting for more than one quilt.

  2. I love that you are doing these posts. As a new quilter I see these cool gadgets, and I don't yet know about all of the other low tech devices yet. Of course they are tempting.. everyone has one right... Now if I win one in a giveaway.. I would GO craaaaaazy!! But I had no idea there were even circle and heart rulers for with my rotary cutter. Amazing!! I have SO much to learn.

  3. Between your previous post and this post we will have so much great info at our finger tips.
    Thanks for making things easier for us, Kelly.


  4. I have the Shape Cut Plus and I always forget to use it--maybe I will remember when I have to cut all those darn 1.5 strips for my postage stamp ensemble! It works wonderfully when I do use it though;)

  5. I use my AccuQuilt Go! a lot, but my rulers and rotary cutter are still important tools.

  6. You are a wealth of information! Thank you for sharing it. I'm happy cutting with a rotary cutter and ruler so these would be perfect for me :-)

  7. Excellent post Kelly. And I agree 100% there are some fantastic rulers out there.


  8. Another GREAT post, Kelly! Do you have a dedicated page where you keep these reviews? I think they're wonderful, really helpful.

  9. Kelly, this was a great post and so informational. I do have a problem with my right hand, so I purchased the GO cutter and a few basic dies. I think I will use it more repetitious cutting like 596 hst or something. I have several of circle rulers. They are great. Thanks again for all you do to make our quilting life so easy. There are a lot gadgets out there waiting to take our money. Your posts make it easier to make wise decisions. Robin

  10. Oh. My. Gosh. See, I'm here in the middle of nowhere, and no idea this stuff even EXISTED! I am SO saving in the world do you find time to put all this together???

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I know I can trust you implicitly, too...I participated in the Needle Exchange program, too--and for the first time ever, I can use metallic thread in my sewing machine!! Those needles are the bomb!!


  11. OK, you can call me a dummy. I *have* one of those slotted rulers where you put your cutter in and whoosh - cut. I thought it was only for making fringe (which I've never actually done, btw). WHO KNEW I could simply TURN it, and make my squares or triangles. Geesh. Seems so logical, now that you mention it. THANKS!

  12. Another fabulous post!! I'm beginning to think all of those "gotta have's" are going to turn into a very expensive waste of space. Thanks for bringing reality into the picture.

  13. I am a sucker for a ruler and there are some pretty tricky ones on the market that make quilting so much more accurate. Thanks for the review.

  14. Kelly, thanks for the post! I have Fibromyalgia and some days I wake up my fingers are so red and swollen, a fabric cutter would be a blessing. On the flip side, I have actually cut myself a few times using a rotary cutter and that is scary!

  15. I am also new to quilting and to this Blog I only ever seen the 6x24" ruler here. My friend told me to get a 12x12 square ruler My local craft shop has to order it for me!!!! Ro

  16. have just found yur blog and great posts on things quilty. i love quilty gadgets and new techniques and like to read up on things i know nothing about. scanning down your lists of posts, with info on things like cutters and rulers, i like what i see and have joined your followers and added you to my blog reader.


Thank you for reading the IHAN Blog. I love getting and reading every comment that is left here; however I may not be able to respond to all comments left during giveaways. There are times when I am juggling many tasks at one time and may not reply to all comments. Please e-mail me at if you need a reply quickly. I thank you for your understanding and-
More Later-Beth


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