My Favourite Tool: Erin Murray’s quilter’s rule


Am I lazy? Yes. Do I love precision the way small children obsess over the order in which they eat their food? Yes.

So I have come to depend on the simple beauty of the quilter’s rule. Before you sneer in contempt at this beautiful device, please give it a chance. I have often heard it criticised for losing its straight edge or not being completely accurate. And, to the most discerning critic, this is undoubtably true. It is also true for most rulers and ‘straight’ edges. Metal gets nicked, people don’t hold knives straight (we love cutting in very shallow arcs), machines aren’t actually perfect and measurements seem impossible to get exact at the best of times.

That said, if you need one- or 1/8-inch strips of paper quickly, go for a quilter’s rule. They are also very helpful in mapping out parallel lines, cutting squares, making 45-degree angles and doing pretty much anything in obsessive repetition. And they come in a range of sizes and styles to suit most needs.

Erin Murray is currently pursuing her MA in Book Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts in London. She has held many titles, including artist, bookbinder and even “The Printer from the North”. You can find some of her work at

Have you got your own favourite tool? Then tell us and the rest of The Gathering’s followers all about it! Just drop us a line with either a finished piece or your preliminary idea, plus a photo or two, and we’ll be happy to share the love.

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