This is my old mat.
It’s looking pretty sad.
Obviously I make a LOT of cuts on the inch and half-inch. I’m noticing my blades aren’t lasting long anymore. Time for a new mat.
I’ve been using the Quilter’s Rule cutting mat for years, obtaining my first one as part of the gifts I received when dad’s quilt won 1st place in the American Quilter’s Society first online quilt contest. It’s a wonderful, heavy-duty mat, very thick and great for cutting and protecting my table. I’ve replaced it once, but I’ve always wanted an Olfa-type mat. However, what I’ve read online about the skunk-type smell of the larger mats has kept me from purchasing it. Plus, because my table is 45×72, I prefer a one-piece mat, and with the Olfa you have to use clips to connect two smaller mats. The thought of constantly having to avoid the clips wasn’t something I was looking forward to.
I came across the company SpeedPress while researching mats. They make cutting mats for artists, framers, etc., that are made for heavy-duty blades and rotary cutters. Looking for reviews online for the company and the mats, I read nothing but good things about them. They seemed to be recommended as the top mat by framers and artists on several blogs I read. I figured if anyone was going to be digging deep with a blade, it would be a framer cutting matboard! I e-mailed SpeedPress about using the self-healing mat for quilting, and they quickly replied saying yes, they often get questions from quilters asking if it can be used for fabric. They assured me it would work well. I ordered the largest size they have (35.8 x 71.7”) and received it Friday.
It’s a beautiful dark green (the picture below is a more accurate color), with a light marbled design throughout which looks very classy on my table.
It’s the same thickness as the Olfa and is also reversible, with a grid and inch-numbers on one side, solid on the other. It has no smell AT ALL. And no clips to deal with. I spent some time yesterday cutting strips and it’s a great mat! The top layer isn’t as “cushy” as the small Olfa mat I’ve got, so my rotary cutter doesn’t feel like it’s smushing down into the mat. I like that. It doesn’t feel sluggish when I make my cuts. Cuts are smooth and quick. If you’re thinking about replacing your mat, I highly recommend SpeedPress. They have several smaller sizes too, and their prices are pretty comparable to the more well known quilter’s cutting mats. Their customer service staff are friendly and very knowledgeable about their product. Well worth the few extra dollars.
I’m finding that sometimes looking outside the “quilter’s box” and looking for something other than the well-known supplies can be rewarding!
Addendum: One thing that I did find different from the Quilter’s Rule mat is that the numbers in the left-hand corners do not match at zero. You can see what I mean below. The numbers on the Megamat start at 0/0. The Speedpress mat doesn’t. Not a big deal to me, it still cuts nice and square. But I will suggest this improvement to SpeedPress!