|Product Review: Bloc Loc Rulers Square Up
By Lynn Holland
Let me be up front about this—I have a weakness for anything that make my quilting easier and more precise. Although I am not an exacting person, I do like my blocks to be more square- than parallelogram-shaped, and I want my points to at least look like they match when I do not have on reading glasses. One of the things that I have learned over time is that rulers specific to the task really help in this quest.
Because by nature I am a “close enough” sort of person, I have done both a lot of fabric stretching/easing and seam ripping (I said close enough, not waving at it from a train!) to get my blocks in order. To help me with my attempts, I had begun to collect an assortment of plexiglass squares in varying exact sizes to use in trimming half square triangle blocks to measure. This had been working fairly well, except that I found with the smaller blocks keeping them steady on the fabric and lined up on the perpendicular seam was still a struggle.
So it is not surprising that I began to jump up and down when I saw the folks from Bloc-loc at Sample Spree. Even a first glance, this looked like an exciting entry into the ruler world. It has not a printed line, but an actual laser-etched ¼-inch groove that will hug the seam allowance. Even light finger pressure keeps it steady, and the “locking” action on the seams tend to convince slightly wonky blocks that they want to be more square. It also eliminates the tendency of flat plexiglass to rock on the 1/4 inch seam, which if you are absent minded can lead to trimming things you don’t want trimmed!
This is the invention of Paul Thomas, who responded to his mother-in-law’s desire for such a tool. MIL had apparently jury-rigged one by using duct tape, but was still troubled by this “sticky” solution. Paul made a machined groove in the plexiglaass, and Bloc Loc was born. This groove makes squaring up much easier for people with any kind of hand or motor impairment, and the need for a turntable cutting board is eliminated because the bloc loc will neatly slide down the seam into the opposite position for trimming.
I bought the 6.5 inch size template at Sample Spree to test and review. This size allows me to cut half-square triangle blocks in all of the sizes that I make the most, just by squaring up one side and then sliding it into the desired size position. Since I suffer from visual-spatial issues, I always have to stop and think before I do this , but for most of you this is a no-brainer. As much as I understand intellectually that the 6.5 inch ruler will handle my trimming needs adequately, the allure of the exact size overtook me quickly and I ordered the complete set of templates.
Although you don’t have to have the exact size for each block, it does save time and brainpower to have ones in the sizes you use most. And honestly, as cheap, I mean thrifty, as I am, my time is really valuable as is preventing myself from getting frustrated. As I have gotten older and more prone to aches and pains, I really value the right tools.
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