The first time I saw the original Gypsy Gripper™, I thought it was a giant purple telephone sitting on my sister's cutting table. "Have you been calling Barney the Dinosaur on your toy phone?" I wondered out loud. But... wait a minute, there's no cord. There's no antenna. That's not a phone! What is it? It's a lifesaver that's what it is. If you do any rotary cutting, you will love the Gypsy Gripper™ tools. They suction, I mean REALLY suction, onto your ruler or template so you can hold it in place securely and safely while you cut.
Here's what used to happen to me: I'd have my ruler perfectly aligned for an exacting cut; I'd place my left hand on my ruler to hold it in place, start the cut with my rotary cutter, all would be going well, and then... my hand would wiggle, then it would wobble, then the ruler would slip and my cut would be ruined. A lot of shouting and some sobbing would ensue, until I realized that at least (this time) I didn't accidentally cut my finger.
The Gypsy Gripper tools keep things steady, straight and safe. Better cuts, less blood. What more could you ask for? The original was designed for quilters, but these products are great for anyone who uses rulers and rotary cutters. We scheduled our review of the Gypsy Grippers this week for two reasons, 1) the name just happens to blend in nicely with our upcoming Gypsy Romance series featuring Gypsy Bandana fabric collection, and 2) there's a lot of patchworking and piecing in this series' projects, so we thought you might want to know one of our secrets to keeping things on the 'straight and narrow.'
The original model is the above-mentioned "phone receiver" lookalike. It features two large suction cups on either end of an ergonomic handle.
Simply press the suction cups against your ruler then flip the levers on top of each cup to lock the Gripper in place.
The design of the Gripper increases the surface area pressing down on the ruler, replacing the shaky pressure of your own flattened hand with a solid even downward force. It's like the difference between a slap to the face and a punch. Gripping a handle to press down is a much stronger option than pressing with an open hand.
The handle is very comfortable with little finger guides underneath and a rubberized pad on top.
This model works with smooth surface rulers at least 4" wide.
There can't be any slots, holes or other openings beneath the suction cups, and the cups can't hang over the edge of the ruler. If there's any air getting in, the suction won't work. Also, it's best if both the ruler surface and the suction cup surfaces are clean and dry. The Gripper's plastic body is waterproof and washable.
It looks big, but it's actually super easy to handle and very lightweight. The package says it weighs just 8 ounces, which I believe because I didn't get tired at all while using it or when moving it from ruler to ruler.
When you're done, simply flip up the locking levers to release the suction. I didn't have any trouble with the Gripper refusing to release, but I did find a few reviews online that mentioned this problem. The company suggests you just pry up gently on the edges of the cups with your fingers to break the suction and allow the tool to pop loose.
This beauty is an excellent choice for large rulers, templates and triangles at least 4-1/8" wide.
There's a single contoured handle and one simple lock and release lever.
It works exactly like the original Gypsy Gripper, keeping your larger measuring tools from slipping around and your hand up and away from the rotary cutter's blade.
At the opposite end of the scale is the Gypsy Gripper's newest product, the Little Gripper. It works with most small rulers and templates at least 2¼" wide. The risk of cutting your fingers is actually greater when you're working with little templates, so being able keep your fingers out of the way even with these little guys is very handy.
The locking lever works slightly differently on the Little Gripper, but is just as easy to operate. Flip it up to apply suction. Flip it down again to release the suction. I found it a little bit hard to get the Little Gripper to attach. For me, it worked best to press down firmly while flipping the locking lever up into place.
As with the other models, once attached, the Little Gripper's excellent suction allows you to move the ruler or template quickly, and easily hold it down in the exact position you need.
These three products get our Sew4Home seal of approval as must-have tools for easy, accurate and safe cutting.
B.G.G. (Before Gypsy Gripper), my arm would sometimes get sore all the way from my wrist right up to my shoulder when I was doing a lot of precise cutting. I was so tense and worried my ruler was going to move out of position. Now I cut with stress-free confidence. These tools are so well-designed, easy to position and comfortable to hold. But most importantly... no more last-minute slips and slides!
We think you'll be amazed at the difference a Gypsy Gripper makes. We rarely cut without ours.
The Original model is the easiest to find both online and in-store, but we found numerous sites that carried all three items. The list price is $19.95 for the Original, $15.95 for the In-Between and just $6.50 for the Little Gripper. However, most sites and stores offered some kind of discount. We got ours on sale at our local JoAnn Fabrics retail store, paying just $32.70 for all three, which is a $10 savings.