There are those essential quilting tools and then there are the nice-to-have ones.
Sometimes it can be tough to decipher which camp a tool falls into. At first, I wasn’t sure whether a rotating mat was a must-have in my quilty tool kit, but then when I realized how much block squaring up and half square triangle (HST) trimming I end up doing, it quickly became evident that it was indeed a key tool to have on hand.
But if you’ve purchased a rotating cutting mat before, then you probably know they’re not all made equal.
*This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH A ROTATING CUTTING MAT
Now, the whole concept of the rotating feature is to make it easier for you to be hands free while trimming your blocks. Once you’ve trimmed a couple of sides, you want to be able to spin the mat to reposition for the next sides you need to trim without having to move your block. That’s the goal in any event, but my first one didn’t quite spin! The one feature it should have, it didn’t!
I would have to manually lift the edge of my mat and then spin it myself, getting it in position for my next cuts.
What a pain!
Plus, I found myself contacting the company within 30 days of getting it to complain that my self-healing mat wasn’t really self-healing! Surely it should recover and look pretty new after only 30 days of use, right?
I thought “maybe I got a dud?”.
But even after they sent me a new one, it still did the same thing. Didn’t spin. And didn’t heal.
So, I was kinda hesitant to buy another one.
But I NEEDED a new one.
Since I have a love for HSTs, I do a lot of trimming and not having to move the block around too much makes for much quicker work. And when you’re looking at a stack of 300 HSTs you want efficient!
MODELS CONSIDERED DURING MY RESEARCH
After doing some research, I decided to reach out to our community on Instagram and ask for your input.
Here were the top models shared during that discussion:
ANSIO 13”X13” ROTATABLE CUTTING MAT – there was one vote for this cute pink version! I do love the colour 😉
*CALIBRE ART 14”X14” ROTATING MAT – this one got a vote and they said it spins really nicely.
*FISKARS 14”X14” SELF-HEALING ROTATING MAT – lots of votes for this one, although there was a complaint about it being very rigid and that their fabric slides around on it.
*OLFA 17”x17” ROTATING ROTARY MAT – another popular one with most of you loving it, but there were several, like me, who find it doesn’t spin well.
*MARTELLI 16” ROUND-ABOUT CUTTING MAT – this is the one that came highly recommended as in “it’s the only way to go” and I couldn’t agree more! It is more expensive, but worth it as it actually spins properly due to the ball bearings. Just a heads up that you must buy *the base separately. There’s also the option of having an ironing board top too, which I’ve heard great things about. It’s available as a *combo.
*MATILDA’S OWN ROTATING CUTTING MAT – I’ve seen this one in action in videos and it seems to spin really nicely, which a few of few concurred with. However, there were also several comments about it not spinning well. This one also has ball bearings, which should make it nice and smooth. Leave a comment if you’ve had any experience with this one. I found it to be 50/50 on the positive and negative reviews and didn’t love those odds.
*SUE DALEY DESIGNS 10” ROTATING CUTTING MAT – I love the colour of this one, but for me it all comes back to functionality and, unfortunately, there were several comments about this one not holding up.
Now, every single mat that was proposed also came with a list of cons. It seemed most of us were displeased with the performance of our rotating mats.
All, except one.
You guessed it – the *Martelli Rotating Mat.
Plus, it came highly recommended by a quilty friend that I respect and know doesn’t buy every gizmo and gadget out there. I believe the way she put it was “Martelli, it’s the only way to go – it’s not cheap, but worth every penny”.
Since that was the model I kept coming back to in my own research, that kind of praise was all I needed to take the plunge.
After having it sit on my wish list for well over a year, I finally hit the buy button and waited eagerly for it to arrive.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE MARTELLI ROUND-ABOUT CUTTING MAT
It didn’t take long for her to show up and with a stack of HSTs for my Double Windmill Quilt just waiting to be trimmed up, I set out to give her a test drive.
Within minutes of using her, I was in LOVE.
Guys, she spins like a champ.
But is stable enough that she doesn’t move while I’m cutting.
Genius! A rotating cutting mat that spins when you need it to and doesn’t when you need her to stay put!
Not to get all technical on you, but the ball bearings in this design mean that she spins nice and smoothly with just a slight touch.
I don’t need to fiddle with anything.
All I do is position my block, line up my ruler, trim the first two sides and then spin her into position for my next set of trimming.
It’s that easy.
As for cons? I really don’t have any at this time. The only possible thing that comes to mind is the price, just because it is quite a bit pricier than the other models. But for me, the fact that she works and works well makes the investment well worth it. I’m all about investing in the right tools that will help me be as efficient as possible in my quilting journey and she does just that!
I obviously haven’t tried all the rotating mats on the market, but after the first experience that left me underwhelmed, I’m over the moon to be super satisfied with my *Martelli mat.
Now, I’ve only been using her for a few months so I can’t speak to how she’ll hold up after the intense use I’ll be putting her through over the years. But I haven’t needed to contact them due to lack of healing, so that’s a positive and hopefully a good sign of a well-made product meant to last.
If you’re in the market for a rotating mat, then I highly recommend checking *this one out. So far, I’m super thrilled with my purchase!