When I first started quilting, I could not believe the amount of repetitive cutting that went into a small bed sized quilt. (read more)
I had already purchased an Omnigrip 6" x 24" quilting ruler, and I’d been using it without an issue, but the cutting took...so...long.
I didn’t dislike it, necessarily. I just thought there might be a better way, something more productive given the same amount of time. I’m all about working less to accomplish more, or even working the same to accomplish more.
Either of those, yes, please.
With that thought in mind, I started searching the web. Was there a better way to cut a bunch of pieces of the same length? Was there a faster way to square up blocks that needed a touch up after sewing the pieces together?
My search brought me to this ruler. The Creative Grids Stripology Squared Quilting Ruler, henceforth known simply as Stripology so I don't have to type all of that out again.
First, let me tell you what it does, and then we can get into how it works.
The ruler itself is one solid piece all the way around with slits in the plastic every 1/2 inch. It will fit fabrics up to 12" in length and width. There are many different sizes available, but mine is the 12" model.
If you'll look at the picture above, you can see that the slits are running vertically. I'm telling you that because there are lines and markings all over the place, so it might be a little hard for you to see.
At the bottom of the ruler and the top of the ruler, there is a widened gap in the plastic. This is so you can place the blade of your rotary cutter in the gap and start your cut.
Let's say you have a 12" x 12" piece of cloth and you need to make six pieces of 2" wide WOF (width of fabric). The end result would be six pieces that are 2" wide and 12" long. Make sense?
What you'd do is lay the fabric down on your cutting mat, line up one of the lines on the ruler with a line on your mat (it doesn't matter which line, you're only doing this to make sure you're making a straight cut) and cut.
I didn't have a 12" x 12" piece of fabric on hand, but if you look at the picture below, you'll see what I mean. It's laid out beneath the ruler, the white line on the Stripology ruler is lined up with the thick yellow line on my cutting mat. If you have really good eyesight you'll need to look for the 15" mark on the green mat.
Now, if my material is straight and my lines are straight, all of my cuts will be straight and I should be able to zip on through.
You begin by placing your rotary cutter inside the gap of the first place you want to cut.
Once you've made your first cut, you pick up your blade and move to the next line where you want to cut. Over one spot for 1/2", two spots for 1", etc.
Just keep on moving down until you've made all of the cuts you want to make.
I was actually cutting pieces for a log cabin quilt I'm working on, so I needed three each 1 1/2" lengths. As you can see below, there are my strips of fabric, later to be cut into various sizes to form the logs in my block.
In theory, this is a great idea! As soon as I read about it, I went out and spent the $50 and change thinking I'd use it all the time.
Spoiler alert - I never use it. Ever. The only reason I used it today was so I could make this post.
Now, don't get me wrong. The Stripology ruler gets rave reviews on Amazon, more than 90 at this point and it's darn close to 5 stars, but for me, it's just meh...
I have a few issues with it, none of which are with the design or manufacturing.
First off, when you lay the material out, you're putting a huge ruler over all of your cloth. That's great if you keep your cloth completely straight all the time, but what if you bump the ruler wrong and your cloth moves a bit? This is especially an issue if you've folded your material over more than once.
My rotary cutter can easily go through four layers of material, but all those layers mean an even more likely chance of something getting smooshed or bunched under the Stripology ruler.
Every time this happened I would have to pick up the entire ruler, straighten the cloth and put the ruler back down ever so gently.
It's just time consuming. Actually, all of my issues with this ruler are because it's time consuming.
My second problem is making the cuts themselves. If you don't start at the 0" or 1" mark, you're going to have to remember how many spaces you need to move in order to get the right cut. I was cutting 1 1/2", so I'd cut, count forward three spaces, cut.
Only, my kids needed me, I got sidetracked, and I couldn't for the life of me SEE where my material was cut under that ruler, so I'd have to lift it up again, find my cuts, and resume.
So incredibly time consuming.
Basically it feels like once I had my material under the ruler, I just had to have faith in my mom brain that I was moving the correct number of spaces on each cut. After ruining a few blocks this way on a previous quilt, I shelved it, going back to my Omnigrip.
If I need to do a bunch of strips, I actually find it much easier to use the Omnigrip (below). I lay out the material, line the ruler up with a line on my mat, cut, move the ruler down the required number of spaces, cut again.
I can always see my last cut, I always know exactly how far I've gone, and while I have messed this up before, it's only because some times my mom brain doesn't math as well as it should.
"What's 5 1/2 inches past 4 1/2 inches?"
"Mom! Felix won't let me on the Playstation! I thought you said 10 minutes?"
"Let your brother play! It's been 10 minutes! Where was I, oh yeah, 5 1/2 plus 4 1/2."
"Mom! He's been playing longer than 10 minutes!"
"I'm setting a timer for 10 minutes!"
And then I forget what I was doing in the first place.
Finally, it can be a bit difficult to wiggle your rotary cutting blade into the gap, even with the widened part made just for that. Many times when I'm cutting I can hear the scritch of plastic against metal. I do believe it was dulling my blade prematurely and making little bends in the sharp edge that rendered cutting a lot less effective.
In contrast, the ease of the Omnigrip is that there's nothing to move. I can look on my mat and very clearly see any cut I've made without having to dedicate a full minute to the careful removal and replacement of a ruler. It's easy to butt the blade up against the plastic, and I never have to wiggle it around to get it just right.
And those logs I'm cutting for my log cabin. Those are simple sauce with my Omnigrip as well.
Once I've got a few of my WOF pieces cut (that's width of fabric, if you didn't remember), I just lay them out on the mat, line up my Omnigrip and slice top to bottom.
Let's say I need 16 pieces of 1 1/2" x 5 1/2", no problem! All of my fabrics start at the 0" mark, I line up my Omnigrip on the correct line, slice, move it over, slice, move it over. If I get interrupted it's easy to come back to, no hassle. And, I do actually think it's faster, even if my "mathing" were always in peak condition when using the Stripology.
So for me, no, the Stripology isn't worth it. Now, it could be completely user error, that is a definite possibility. It does have almost 90 five star reviews on Amazon.
That said, it's not cheap, and quilting as a hobby can get expensive fast, so if I had an extra $50 to spend on quilting supplies, I'd go for the Omnigrip and a good self healing mat, no frills and tons of functionality. If you already have a self healing mat, I'd get the Omnigrip and a good ROTATING self healing mat, but I wouldn't purchase another Stripology. The time savings just didn't happen for me, and that's the only reason I could see spending that much money on a ruler.
If you have one, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
About The Author
I started quilting in June of 2018 after attending a quilt show in support of my
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