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Quilting rulers do not look like the foot-long rulers you probably used in school. They are kind of like a hand-held grid mat, marked or gauged with different shapes and varied measurements.
While you can get metal or wood versions of this handy tool, if you work with a lot of color variations, look for a clear acrylic ruler with light markings on one side and dark markings on the other. This way, you only need to purchase one ruler.
If you do not enjoy math calculations, look for a ruler pre-marked with a 1/4" seam allowance.
If you end up with a ruler that does not have non-skid backing, which will be the case if you get a double-sided ruler, you can pick up non-skid adhesive discs or pads to stick on your quilting ruler as needed.
While not taking the very top spot of importance, a good quilting ruler will prove to be one of your most valuable tools as a quilter, and will serve you well through making many beautiful quilts.