Because I have been making so many HST’s lately, one of the items on my wish list when I went to the AQS quilt show was a Bloc-Loc ruler. I have never seen one in action or used one, but found them when I was checking out the list of vendors who would have a booth at the show.
These rulers have a groove or channel on the back that locks onto the seam on a HST block and is suppose to make trimming the blocks easier and more accurate.
See that groove?
When I made the baby quilt on Sunday I got the ruler out – yes, I bought one – and tried to use it. Now, I was going from memory from when the vendor showed me how easy it is to use and I’m the first to admit my memory sucks. But how hard can it be, right? Turns out there is a right way and a wrong way. 🙂
For demo purposes, I used 5″ squares which I will trim to a 4″ unfinished HST.
Using the ruler like this is not the correct way. See the arrow in the top right corner? That side of the groove should match up with the corner of the block. Mine is lined up with the edge of the seam allowance, which will not allow me to trim a 4″ square. As you can see in the picture, if I trimmed the block using the ruler like this I will have a 4″ x 3-5/8″ block.
All you have to do is turn the ruler around, making sure the corners line up, as shown in the picture below.
Once you have the ruler lined up to the size you want, trim the right and top sides.
Now, here’s the cool part. You don’t have to pick up the ruler or the block. Simply turn the ruler around and the block will turn with it because it is “locked” onto the seam. Slide the ruler down to your desired size and trim the second set of sides.
This is where having a rotating cutting mat would come in really handy. But because the ruler is locked onto the block so well, turning it is a breeze and you don’t need a rotating mat.
Here is my perfectly trimmed 4″ block. The lines on the ruler are really thin, which makes it easy to line up the edges and ensure the perfectly sized block.
I’m pretty happy with this purchase. It’s pricey, which made me hesitate for a minute, but for me it was definitely worth the money. I bought the 6″ size because most of the HSTs I make are smaller. Bloc_Loc makes different sizes which might be something you’re interested in.
So, is this a “absolutely, have to have it” kind of tool? No. You can do the same thing with a regular 6″ square ruler. Am I glad I bought it? YES! Yes! In case there’s any doubt – yes! 😉
Even though you can use a regular ruler to trim your HST blocks, with a regular ruler I use a lot of pressure holding it in place so it doesn’t slip and it kills my wrist after a while. With the Bloc_Loc, there is no pressure to hold it in place because of that groove gripping the seam and it’s more efficient than a regular ruler. Trimming HST’s just got a lot faster. Yay!
I would definitely recommend this to you, especially if it’s on your wish list or you make lots of half square triangles. I love mine and I’m really glad I bought it.
And, as luck would have it Melissa over at Happy Quilting is hosting a giveaway for a set of the Bloc_Loc rulers. The giveaway is open until next Tuesday, so head on over and enter – you might be a winner! 🙂