Turns out, it was the absolute perfect tool to trim the small hourglass units for my Ohio Star blocks! Did I mention it swivels? You can see a peek of the white base below the gray mat below.
The square ruler is 2 1/2" with the 1/2" clearly marked on two sides, as you can see. The tiny rotary cutter is sharp as all get out, and perfect for this small application.
See? Perfect hourglass units!
Then a week or so ago I read a tip about using Curad Clear Tape on your rulers to keep them from slipping, so I thought I'd give it a try.
This is actually the Walgreens brand, but its the same thing. Sorry I was so excited to rip it out of its packaging and try it, I forgot to take a pix of the package! But I think you can find it, just look for "clear adhesive tape" in the bandage section of the drug store.
I taped two rows down the right side of my ruler, and a couple "corners" of tape on the other side. I'm still experimenting on where all to place the tape.
The tape is a little frosty, but you can still see the fabric edge and measuring lines clearly enough. And.. it really grips the fabric! No more slipping. Too bad I didn't have this when I was making those dozens of hourglass units (above) ! Anyway, thanks to whoever recommended this tape, and forgive me for not making a note of where I read it. My bad, as they say ~
And speaking of cutting mats, my several-year-old Olfa was getting pretty warped and raggy so I had to bite the bullet and buy a new one. The one I really wanted was one of those Martelli mats that cut like a dream, but those are well over $100 for the size I need at home and I just couldn't get myself to spring for one. I looked on Amazon to see if it were any cheaper (answer: no) but then I happened upon the Alvin mats, which are similar (tho not as pretty) at a fraction of the cost. The reviews were mostly good to excellent, with one consistent complaint, which I'll get to. Anyway.. I took a chance and ordered one.
It came today!
btw its charcoal gray on the opposite side.
OK here's the caveat: its not "quite" 36x24 as advertized. They fudge a little at the edges, and the measurements are slightly off. So don't buy one of these if you depend on the mat measurements being accurate. I never have, so this is not an issue with me.
The good news is, it performs like a dream. I am amazed at how easily my rotary cutter glides through the fabric on this mat! Of course this is only the first day, but I have high hopes it won't suddenly revert to horrible any time soon. Martelli, eat your heart out.
BTW here's another little tip for ya.. in case you're wondering, that's a strip of waste batting wrapped around the handle of my rotary cutter. It makes it easier on my hand.
The "36x24" mat cost me a whopping $27. To qualify for free shipping, I threw in one of these handy little LED lamps:
I already had one I ordered as an "add on" a few months ago, and it really came in handy when we lost power - the same day it arrived, no less. I keep it on my nightstand, and the new one will go next to the bed in the guest room.
You just touch that little circle thingie, and you get light - lots of it - in three progressive brightnesses. They range between $10-15, depending on the sellers mood, I guess.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the tips, and have some time to sew, which in my case is getting more elusive as time goes on!