Using a 12½” square ruler to create the perfect string pieced triangle

I’m so glad that you’re back to check out today’s project! Yesterday on QUILTsocial I demonstrated how to use HEIRLOOM Assorted Plastic Templates to cut applique shapes and we made a cute little bear block. Today’s post is all about rulers!

One of the go-to rulers that I have in my collection is the OMNIGRID Ruler – 12½” x 12½”. This great ruler can be used for cutting and squaring and has both right and left-hand numbering. The black and yellow double sightlines are great for easy viewing when working with light and dark fabrics.

OMNIGRID Ruler – 12½” x 12½”

There are two reasons why I like this ruler.

The first reason is that it measures 12½” square. Any ruler that has an extra ½” is my friend. That extra ½” makes it so much easier to square off a block since many blocks (especially those in block exchanges) are 12½” unfinished.

The second reason why I like this particular ruler is that it has a nice long diagonal line from corner to corner. There are two benefits to that diagonal line:

  1. You can use the diagonal line to help square off a block by lining it up with seams in the center of a block as shown below:

Using the diagonal line to help square a block

2. The second benefit is that it is great for cutting right-angle triangles from both wide and narrow fabric strips.

Here’s how I use the 12½” square ruler when working with leftover 2½” strips such as those from bindings and jelly rolls.

Note: You can use any strip width you wish. Any width you use will make a great quilt block and will result in a fun quilt. Just make sure that the strips that you use for your block are all the same width to start with.

To make our block today, we’re going to use 2½” strips. Sew four strips together in a step-wise fashion as shown in the following picture.

Strips sewn in a step-wise fashion

Line up the OMNIGRID ruler’s diagonal line with the bottom edge of your strip set.

Diagonal line of the ruler aligned with bottom edge of strip set

When ready, make your first cut along the side of the ruler to remove the step-wise edge of your strip set. Go boldly, and just do it!

You can see that by sewing the strips together in a step-wise fashion there is less wasted fabric when you trim.

The first cut

After your first cut, slide the ruler over and place the ½” line along the side that you just trimmed. The diagonal line is still lined up along the bottom of the strip set.

The ½” line placed along the trimmed side

Next, cut along the other side of the OMNIGRID ruler to make your first triangle. Continue along the strip set to cut more triangles. You’ll need to flip the ruler over to cut each consecutive triangle. Always make sure to line up the bottom edge of the strip set with the diagonal line on the ruler.

Flip the ruler over to cut each consecutive triangle.

When you’ve cut four half square triangles you’re ready to assemble a block. Sew the triangles together on their square angle. As you can see, putting four triangles together in this way gives you a gorgeous quilt block!

The completed block

The completed block measures 16½” x 16½” and it was easily achieved using the OMNIGRID Ruler – 12½” x 12½”.

This block is VERY versatile!! Sew together four rows consisting of five blocks each and you’ll have a single-size quilt top in no time flat! Even better, sew together five rows of five blocks each to create a double-size quilt.

The possibilities are endless with this block.

Thanks for joining me today and come back tomorrow when I’ll show you how to make a 3D block!

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: Fussy cutting made easy with assorted plastic templates from Heirloom

Go to part 4: Easy 3D quilt blocks with the SEW EASY Half Diamond Ruler

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4 comments

Johanna April 13, 2017 - 6:37 am
Great tip to sew the strips in a step-wise fashion to reduce waste. I'm definitely going to do that in the future! Thank you, Paul!
Paul Leger April 13, 2017 - 1:47 pm
you are most welcome Johanna
MaryBeth Little April 12, 2017 - 7:13 pm
I love my 12.5" ruler too. It's so versitile and useful.
Paul Leger April 13, 2017 - 1:48 pm
I show no preference, I love all my rulers but i do have a little more love for my 12.5" one (depending on the day).
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