No More Ruler Slipping!

Just when I think I have every ruler I could ever need, a new one becomes available that I can’t resist!!!

slidelock pic

A few month’s ago I put out a request on this blog from my friend Barb who was having problems rotary cutting. I didn’t get any responses – until this email from Barb herself 🙂 :

“A while back I asked you if you had any great ideas for cutting fabric since my vision has deteriorated. I know you were asking around, but since I hadn’t heard anything from you, figured that you were having about as much luck as I was in trying to find something that would help.

       Yesterday, while at our Tuesday morning quilting group, one of my ladies shared a gift she had received for Christmas–it may well be the answer. I am sending you the link (it has a great video demonstrating the tool and how it works). I tried it at quilting yesterday and it is amazing!  If you know anyone else who is having problems with vision and cutting their fabric, you might want to share the link with them.”

I went to the site, watched the video, and was very impressed! I have many students who struggle with the ruler slipping while cutting. If you fit into that category – you’ll want to know more about the Quilter’s Slidelock™. It’s a very clever tool. It has rubber snubbers and springs:

slidelock springs

The rubber snubbers are retracted in the normal ruler position, so the tool can slide easily across the fabric.

slidelock up

But when gentle pressure is applied to the handle, the rubber snubbers go down, touch the fabric and hold everything in place so there is no ruler slipping while cutting the entire length of the Slidelock™!

slidelock down

I’ve tried it and it really works! The video on their website is very good and you can order your own Slidelock™ from their site: http://www.quiltersslidelock.com/.

Since this is my blog 😉 , I want to share some thoughts of mine about rotary cutting, along with my preferred way to use this wonderful tool.

Many quilters like to line their fabric up with the lines on the cutting mat, then line the ruler up with these lines also.

slidelock mat line

I find I’m not as accurate with this method because there are three entities to keep track of: mat, fabric and ruler, and if the fabric moves without my notice, it’s easy to get “V” strips. This is the way the Slidelock™ is used in their instructions. When I rotary cut, I prefer not using the lines on the cutting mat, instead I simply align the ruler with the fold of the fabric. In this way I only have to watch the ruler and the fabric, and if I cut perpendicular to the fabric fold, I always get straight strips.

Now be aware that there are no measurements on the Slidelock™ – making it more of a tool than a ruler. With just a little bit of noodling, I came up with a technique I’m really liking. Please remember, this is just my opinion, everyone needs to try it out and decide which method they prefer 😀 .

I started by marking a line at the bottom of my Slidelock™ perpendicular to the cutting edge.

slidelock line

I then aligned this mark with the fold of my fabric to square the fabric up (I’m demonstrating in a right hand fashion, but it is easy to reverse this technique for lefties).

Slidelock fold line

Push down on the handle to engage the rubber bumpers,

slidelock square 1

and cut.

slidelock square2

Don’t you love the way the edge of the Slidelock™ glows? This makes it very easy to see what you’re cutting! Now that the fabric is squared, it’s time to cut strips. There’s no need to turn the cutting mat, or walk around the table. Simply grab a 6″ x 24″ ruler and line it up on the right side of the fabric (this is different then we’re used to, but stick with me 🙂 ). I’ve decided to cut a 2 ¼” strip.

slidelock strip1

Butt the Slidelock™ up to the ruler, then press down on the Slidelock™,

slidelock strip2

slide the ruler away,

slidelock strip3

and cut!

slidelock strip4

It is helpful to continue to align the perpendicular mark at the bottom of the Slidelock™ with the fold of the fabric to make sure you’re always cutting perpendicular to the fold (even though I neglected to do so in the pictures above – sorry).

Whichever method is used for the Slidelock™, the original, or mine, I feel it is a great tool that fixes a very common cutting problem.

I’d like to send a big thank-you to Barb for telling me about the Slidelock™.

Thoughts or opinions??? I’d love to read them in a comment to this post. Thanks!


8 Opinions

  • Susan A said:

    Great tool

    Reply
  • Susan said:

    Thanks for sharing. With new vision problems, I might have to get one of these.

    Reply
  • Nini~ said:

    Genius!! What a nifty tool! Your technique makes perfect sense.

    Reply
  • Geraldine admin

    I have read that using the lines on the mat when cutting results in cutting in the same place often and wears out the mat and or causes difficulty cutting when crossing other cuts.

    Reply
  • Camille admin

    I have a different reason than Barb for my ruler slipping problem. I have arthritis. My hands do not straighten out so it has been difficult to hold the ruler firmly for some time. Recently I also developed cysts on my palm near the base of my ring and little fingers on the hand that holds the ruler. That further reduced my control. I found a cutting solution that works well for me when I purchased a Quiltcut2 (http://www.quiltcut.com/ ). While it is spendy, I think it solves my issues. On one axis a clamp secures the fabric to keep it from moving and on the other axis it has a cutting edge that locks in place along a track to increase control while making cuts. It has a measuring gauge on the cutting edge for accurate measuring. There are videos at the website explaining usage. Minimal pressure is required making it ideal for someone with flexibility, strength and pain issues. So far I am very pleased and think this tool will allow me to accurately cut fabric pieces and reduce stress on my hand. I am glad to learn of Barb’s tool recommendation because it may also work for me as a travel/class tool. The Quiltcut2 has a carrying case but in my opinion it is a bit cumbersome to carry around.

    Reply
  • Nancy said:

    I ordered a Slidelock, and it came yesterday. Of course I had to try it out. It works great! Thanks Chris!

    Reply
  • Alice Brooks said:

    One of my friends just showed me hers recently. I am looking for a sale on one! I think I must get one. Your blog came up when I was googling it! 🙂

    Reply

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