Happy Monday, friends and quilters! This weekend my sewing group met for our monthly sewing night. We meet at a local quilt shop, so we have lots of cutting and ironing tables available for use, which is nice. That means I don’t have to pack up and carry an ironing board or a large cutting mat. But one thing I always pack is my 14″ Fiskars Rotating Cutting Mat.
There are several brands of rotating mats on the market, at various price points. To be honest, I purchased the Fiskars one because it was one of the cheapest. However, I’ve had it for nearly three years now, and despite it’s constant use, it has held up better than a small cutting mat of a different brand that I purchased around the same time.
While mats are often called “Self-healing” cutting mats, that doesn’t mean they will self heal forever. Eventually they do wear out. One way I test the condition of a cutting mat is by feel. I simply rub my fingers across the surface with my eyes closed. If I can feel a lot of cuts and ruts in the surface, then I know the mat is close to the end of it’s life. Another tell-tale sign is if you can visibly see little fibers of fabric sticking into the surface. (If you can visibly see it, then you really should replace the mat, as a dull mat will dull your blades.)
As I said earlier, my Fiskars mat has been around over 3 years and has seen a lot of cuts. While I can feel a few cuts on it when I do the “feel test” it is still in great condition.
I like the gray color of the mat, as I find that gray gives me a nice visual contrast to see both my fabric and the ruler.
While the mat is technically 14″, there are 13 inch markings on the grid of the mat with a 1/2 inch on each side towards the edge. I find it difficult to really cut anything on this mat that is over 12″. For anything bigger than that, I would go over to the cutting table to use a larger mat. I don’t typically use the markings on my mat (I tend to only rely on my ruler markings) but I have found the angle markings useful a time or two. (The Fiskars Rotating Cutting Mat has lines that indicate 30, 45 and 60 degree angles.)
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If you don’t have a rotating cutting mat in your arsenal of quilting tools, I strongly recommend that you consider adding one as soon as you are able. I believe you will find that the little bit of investment you make to have one will pay off for you later in better patchwork accuracy.