Creative Grids Alaska Ruler - Review
Updated: Apr 30
Using RoseIzzy's Veteran Tribute Quilt Pattern - Block 1
Have you heard the phrase "A Diamond is a Girl's Best Friend"? I believe diamonds are beautiful especially in a quilt! I just received the Creative Grids Alaska Ruler and decided to give it a try. The Alaska ruler should make cutting diamonds for my new Veteran Tribute quilt a breeze! My goal is to make this tribute quilt and give to a special veteran on Friday, November 11th. Can you think of a veteran that would be honored to receive a beautiful quilt in red, white, and blue?
A little background regarding the Alaska ruler. Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts designed this ruler made by Creative Grids to create a multitude of shapes making the design possibilities endless. Shapes include 45 degree wedges, 45 degree diamonds, half-diamonds, squares and half-square triangles! Can you image how much satisfaction it will be to sew perfect diamond quilt blocks using just one ruler?
Making perfect points with triangles and diamonds can be challenging and if you are like me, the easier the better! This ruler hits the easy button if you are used to using rotary cutting methods and rulers for some time. Beginners Warning - this ruler is for intermediate to advanced quilters but with patience and practice can become a favorite ruler for even a beginner!
Having a new tool can be exciting! Let's begin with making the first block in my upcoming Veteran Tribute quilt with highlighting brilliant diamond blocks in blue and white. I call this a mystery quilt because the remaining design has yet to be designed, lol! It's a design as you go quilt. It all depends on the ease or difficulty of this new ruler. Flexibility is the key. If it is too hard or confusing then I'm thinking a new pillow may be the trick. Follow along and you can see how to use this ruler. Here are some of the supplies you may need.
Creative Grids Alaska Ruler and the instructions in the package
Creative Grids 6-1/2" x 24" quilt ruler or another ruler to cut your strips
Olfa Quick Change 45mm Rotary Cutter or cutter of your choice
Olfa 12" x 12" Rotating Cutting Mat or mat of your choice
Selection of red, white, and blue fat quarters
1/4" sewing machine foot - or sewing tape to mark a 1/4" seam
Spray starch like Best Press
Basic sewing and rotary cutter experience is recommended. Follow the 9” block cutting instructions that are included with the Alaska ruler.
Sounds easy, right? Wrong! My first attempt created a big bubble in the center of the finished block. I ripped out, tried again and threw the pieces in the trash. Review Comment #1. Watch the "how to" video on YouTube first! It is a must to understand how to use the tiny holes in the ruler for proper alignment.
The following 17 minutes will save a day's worth of strife! Please watch before doing any cutting.
Select one white and one blue fat quarter. The fabric can be from solids or for a more scrappy look, use a variety of blue and white printed fabrics. As a note, I like to use Best Press spray starch on the fabric before cutting as it will give the fabric a subtle stiffness and keep the fabric from stretching. Just spray the fat quarter at least an hour before cutting. Let it dry, iron, then you're ready to cut your pieces. I like to spray my fabrics the night before and let them dry overnight before ironing and cutting the next day.
Four shapes make block 1 using two contrasting colors, blue and white. Follow the ruler cutting chart included with the ruler for (Piece A) 45 degree diamond, (Piece B) 45 degree half diamond, (Piece C) 45 degree wedge, and (Piece D) half square triangle. Use a scant 1/4" seam throughout.
Fabric Requirements for Block 1
One blue and one white fat quarter. Can be solids or prints.
Cutting Requirements - 9" finished block
Cut one 2-3/4" strip by the width of fabric
Cut eight half diamonds following ruler cutting instructions (Piece B blue fabric)
Cut one 5" strip by the width of fabric
Cut four wedges following ruler cutting instructions (Piece C blue fabric)
Cut one 3-1/2" strip by the width of fabric
Cut two 3/12" squares then cut in half diagonally to get a total of four half-square triangles following ruler cutting instructions (Piece D blue fabric)
Cut one 2-1/4" strip by the width of fabric
Cut four 45 degree diamonds following ruler instructions (Piece A white fabric)
Sewing Instructions - Block 1
Review comment #2 - Very important first step - I learned the hard way that step 1 instruction is found in the how-to video and not listed in the instruction sheet that comes with the ruler. Would be nice if Creative Grids included the dot marking technique in the instruction sheet.
Step 1. Align the blunt end of the ruler on top of the wrong side of Piece B blue fabric and put a marker in the small hole to make a dot on the fabric. See photo below.
Step 2. Join the marked Blue half-diamond (Piece B blue fabric) to the center of a white diamond (Piece A white). Right sides together. The small end of each blue half-diamond will align with the center of the white diamond. Place a pin through the dot to hold the pieces together. See photo below.
Step 3. Sew a scant 1/4" seam on the side of Piece B blue fabric . Press seam toward the blue. Repeat with a second Piece B blue half-diamond on the other side of the Piece A white diamond. Right sides together. Don't forget the mark the dot and align before you sew!
Step 4. Use the Alaska ruler to trim edges, staying 1/4" away from the diamond tip. See ruler instruction sheet. Finished section should look like the photo below. Repeat Steps 1 through 4 for a total of four (4) white diamond sections.
Step 5. Add a blue wedge Piece C blue fabric to the top of the blue half-square triangle Piece D blue fabric. Right Sides Together. Sew a scant 1/4" seam. See photo below then press open.
Step 6. Trim triangle edge using your ruler. Your first wedge should look like a kite! Repeat Steps 5 and 6 for a total of four (4) blue wedge sections.
Step 7. Lay out your completed sections alternating the diamonds and the wedges. See photo below. This will resemble your finished block.
Step 8. Sew together one wedge section to one diamond section using a scant 1/4" seam. Press toward the blue. Repeat until you have four quadrants. See photo below. Notice how the seams are not perfectly aligned? Review Comment #3 - the placement of the dot marking in step 1 is critical. I tried to "eyeball it" with two of the sections and should not have. Now you can see the difference it makes.
Step 9. Sew two sections together to make a half. Repeat with the remaining two sections to create the second half. Place the two halves right sides together then place a pin at the center seams. Sew and press open. Your final block should look like the photo below.
The points aren't exact but looks much better than my first attempt! Review Comment #4 -Always remember to give yourself grace and love the work you do! Putting the blocks together in rows then squaring up for quilting will hide many mistakes that the general eye will never see.
Look at this stunning diamond star block! Any veteran will love it!
I hope you've enjoyed this basic demo of how to use the Creative Grids Alaska Ruler. I will definitely continue to use the Alaska ruler for more blocks. I give this ruler 4 stars! It has so many features, block sizes, and block patterns all in one ruler! It does take time to learn how to use it and it's not completely straight forward. Practice makes perfect!
Follow my blog for more upcoming product reviews. Will be releasing my new Veteran Tribute Quilt pattern soon! Until next time, embrace the journey!