Happy Monday, I hope you had a great weekend, ours was fairly quiet. My two oldest start hockey this week so we tried on all their equipment and my husband took them shopping for the few items that they had grown out of, that combined with supper at my in-laws, church and dinner at my parents was the extent of our weekend adventures.
I mentioned Thursday that I would do a post on the importance of replacing your cutting mats, rulers and blades and so that is what I am doing today.
Esther did a video on this last month on our Facebook Page so if you would rather watch that than read just click this link. Video Link
Cutting Mat, Rotary Cutter, and Ruler all three work together and all three need replaced occasionally.
Our blades need to be replaced the most often. I usually replace mine about once a month. Although I have been using a new brand of blades called LDH and they do last longer then the regular Olfa or fiskar blades for me. I also really like the Olfa Endurance blades they do last longer than the regular blades do as well. Your blade should be able to cut through several layers of fabric easily with no missed pieces or extra pressure. This will give you nice, clean, accurate cuts and save you from excessive wear and tear on your ruler and mat. Like a sharp knife will give you nice edges when cutting in the kitchen, and a dull knife will give you more rough, serrated edges, the same goes in your sewing room with a sharp and dull blade.
I have heard often people saying they need to replace their blade because they must have run over a pin and are now getting skipped pieces in their cuts. Though it is possible that you did run over a pin chances are you may have a nick on your ruler that is actually causing your blades to get nicks in them. Because we are running our blades along the edges of or ruler any bump or nick in our ruler will affect our blade. Your blade will catch on them and it will wreck your blade. If you run your finger up and down the edge of your ruler it should be smooth and flat. If there are any bumps or ridges it is time to replace it. This goes for your regular use rulers and the specialty ones.
Cutting Mats also need to be replaced. Even though many of them now are self healing they can only "heal" so many times. If you run your hand over the surface of your mat it should be nice and smooth. If it is rough it needs replaced. Any grooves in your mat are really bad for cutting on. Your rotary blade will dull extremely quickly in these grooves, and it will also be easier for you to knock up against your ruler when in these grooves, causing you to put a nick in it and your blade.
A dull cutting blade also makes us put more pressure on our mats when cutting, the cut goes deeper and rougher into mat making those cuts harder to "heal" on the mat.
We also live in a very dry climate so our mats do try out a little quicker than they would in a more humid environment. I had an older mat that I used only for trimming down my quilted quilts, and when I took it off the counter the other day it actually cracked.
When looking for a new mat I advise getting one that has more layers to it. I love the Creative Grids mat and the Lori Holt Bee in My Bonnet mats. Both are 5 layer, priced similarly and are double sided. The Accuquilt GO cutting mats are a great price at our shop, are also double sided but a little softer, which is nice to cut on but they do wear out a little quicker because of their softness, but still a great option in my opinion. The Olfa mats are super thin, and single sided so they wear out very quick and they are not any cheaper than the other mats, so I don't find them very good at all.
I hope this information was helpful, and I am curious have you replaced any of these items recently? They all make great Christmas Gift Ideas so if you need to replace yours put these items on your wish list.
Carrie will be here on Thursday with her Midnight Clear BOM and next week Monday I will have the next set of Woodland Wonderland Blocks ready.