I never used to understand the need for specialty tools...and then I became a
quilter. Now even with that being said, I should let you know that I have to use a ruler a lot before I'll recommend it. There are basics that everyone should have, and then there are a whole lot of specialty and just for fun rulers!
The most basic ruler is the standard 6" x 12". This is the first ruler I purchased when I started quilting, and I still keep one handy. The 8 1/2" x 12" ruler runs a close second to being my favorite "go-to" ruler, though. I actually keep both of these on my cutting table. I've had my OLFA 1071819 QR-6x12 6-Inch x 12-Inch Frosted Advantage Acrylic Ruler for quite a while now, and I love the fact that it's clear and easy to see through and has held up well. My Omnigrip is a little harder for me to use, but I love the size. When it's time to replace it I'll be getting a Creative Grids version of this same size (Creative Grids 8 1/2" x 12 1/2" Rectangle Quilting Ruler). I have a lot of Creative Grids rulers now and love their durability and their non-slip grip feature that comes on all of their rulers.
Since half-square triangles are such a basic in so many blocks, a ruler that helps when trimming hst's is a must for me. I love the Open Gate Quilts Fit to be Quarter ruler because it allows you to trim in 1/4" increments. But I also love the Creative Grids Half Square 4-in-1 Triangle Quilting Ruler. I recently started using it this fall while filming the videos for the Bella Skill Builder quilt, and I love that it is also a marking tool, eliminating the need for separate tool to draw your lines on the wrong side of the fabric (see this post for more info on what I'm talking about--with the Creative Grids ruler you are able to make the marks I show in that post without purchasing another tool).
A square ruler as big as the largest size unfinished blocks you typically make is another basic to have in your collection. Of course it's nice to have squares of all different sizes, but if you only get one, the 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" square is probably your best option. Make sure it has a diagonal line to help with squaring. Pictured is the less-expensive Omnigrid 12-1/2-Inch-by-12-1/2-Inch Quilter's Square that I have now...but again...one day I'm going to upgrade to the Creative Grids version--Creative Grids Quilt Ruler 12-1/2 Inch Square For Quilting (they are a bit pricier, though).
Another great basic is an 8 1/2" x 24 1/2" ruler. Your cuts when using yardage are just going to be more accurate with a larger ruler. This is also a great ruler to have when squaring up your quilts. I finally got this Creative Grids Quilting Ruler 8 1/2in x 24 1/2in last winter while at a quilt retreat...and have really been happy with my purchase! It's kind of hard to find the Creative Grids rulers on sale, but again, I do love their features.
Finally on the basics list (and I went back and forth about whether or not these were specialty rulers or basics) I'm including the itty bitty eighths rulers. These help a lot when cutting pieces with 1/8" increments (especially helpful when making mini quilts). The Creative Grids Quilting Ruler Itty Bitty Eights Square 6 Inches is probably the most versatile since it can also be used for trimming blocks 6" and smaller.
Finally...probably my favorite specialty ruler right now is the Creative Grids Log Cabin Trim Tool for 8" Finished Blocks Quilt Ruler (CGRJAW1). There are also 6" and 12" versions of this ruler, but the 8" is my favorite...it makes a bigger block (but not too big), so scrap blocks go together more quickly. Of course the Creative Grids 6 inch Log Cabin Trim Tool Quilt Ruler Template is pretty fun, too...and 6" blocks seem to be very popular these days.
There are more specialty rulers I love...the Creative Grids Starburst 30 Degree Triangle Quilt Ruler is terrific for 30 degree projects.
I've intentionally left out a couple of other groups of specialty rulers...I'll do another post on those!
Finally...Craftsy is having a terrific supply sale from now until Sunday evening at midnight Mountain Standard Time. Shop here to find all sewing and quilting fabric, supplies and kits up to 60% off!
Happy quilting...and thanks so much for stopping by!