You did see this coming didn’t you?

Certainly you guessed from yesterday’s post what today’s *hated* task of the day was going to be! It’s not what I’d call clean…but after 2 hours it’s certainly much neater except for the string corner and I’m not cleaning that up until I finish with them – it’s just not worth picking them during a project.

I even put on a new ironing board cover – I was at Joann’s last Friday and used a 40% off coupon. The old one was looking pretty scuzzy. Those shelves are pretty neat too aren’t they??
The cutting table is completely cleared off – a rare occurrence.
All the bins and bags on the floor cleared away (don’t count the ones in the closet, they’re neatly placed in there!)
The quilts in the process of being bound are stacked on the table which has been closed back to it’s smallest configuration.
So, that brings me to another question for you. Now that I can see my mat again, it’s in pretty bad shape. I don’t really mind replacing it since it’s only the 2nd one I’ve bought in the entire 8+ years I’ve been quilting and I do a LOT of cutting. So my question is:

What brand is your favorite mat and why? I’m pretty happy with the Friskar’s brand but I’m curious which ones you all use and how long they last you.

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  1. Wow!! Now I’m feeling like I should be cleaning my sewing room rather than decorating for Christmas! I love the Olfa mats…I think they last the longest!

  2. Ok, I’m officially in awe of your Mad Cleaning Skillz. Do you hire out? 😉All my mats are Olfa. I’ve never used any others, so I really can’t compare.

  3. My mat is 6+ years old and still good. It’s a Duraheal (blue with gold lines). Use a smaller mat for little cutting projects to save the big, expensive mat. You can cut up an old big mat to use for small project cutting. I have a small mat by Olfa but it doesn’t heal as well as the big blue Duraheal.Congrats on cleaning up your sewing area. Mine is so bad that I have to step over a pile each step I take!

  4. big change! looks good. I have a big mat that covers the entire white table when it’s open. It’s about 4 years old and still in good shape.

  5. I use the green Olfa mat, which has lasted me the entire 7 years I have been sewing. It doesn’t show any signs of needing replacement anytime soon either. Congrats on the room organization! Love your shelves.

  6. I, too, have the HUGE Olfa green mat on my white cutting table (which I got with the 40% coupon at Joanns). Love that mat. My smaller ones are an Olfa that “spins” and sits next to my machine … very useful for paper piecing and little blocks. I have a June Tailor that’s gray on one side and an “ironing board” on the flip side. I usually take that one to classes with me. I’ve never heard of the DuraHeal … I’ll have to Google that … the room looks FANTASTIC!! Flatlander (Linda)

  7. I started out with Olfa as a recommendation from my learn to quilt class and have never used any others. The rotating ones are wonderful!I love your huge storage unit – it must be inspiring to be able to see your fabrics, etc. all the time. Thanks for blogging, it’s fun to see all of your projects.

  8. Great job on your room mary! I always love to look at the clean room and admire it…right BEFORE the storm hits again! LOL…I have only used Olfa…my first lasted about 7 years or so…but I doubt I do as much cutting as you!Laurie

  9. I have a Salem mat on my large cutting table but I’m not in love with it. It doesn’t seem to heal well. When I replace this one I will likely shop for another brand.

  10. Your room looks fabulous! I could move in there, quite happily. I have a large green Olfa mat, which I’ve had for over 10 years. I probably should replace it, but I haven’t cut through it yet, so it’s still good. :o)

  11. I have both Fiskers & Olfa, and think I like my Olfa better.Great job on the cleaning. If I only had the room, I think I'd do better cleaning, but then again maybe not. lol!

  12. What a neat (no pun) storage unit! I’m tucking that idea away for another day. About mats…I bought the green Olfa mats when they first came out…way more than 10 years ago…and have never needed to replace them. However, I did buy a large yellow Fiskars mat last year, thinking the lighter color would show up the darker fabrics better. It did. BUT,after nearly a year of painful rotary cutting and wondering why my blades were were dulling so quickly…I found the reason was in the yellow Fiskars mat. I went back to my old, old Olfa mat and found that my blades last a long time now, as pre-Fiskars. I cannot tell you how many $$ I wasted at $5/blade. I’m sure it was at least the price of a queensize quilt yardage. Makes me sick thinking about it. I never would have thought about the bad mat had not one of the professional online quilters suggested I check my mat. Now, if I’m having difficulty seeing the dark fabric against the dark mat, I slide a piece of white copy paper between. Let’s see…at $5 dollars per blade…and freebie copy paper when I recycle my toner cartridges…a lot cheaper than the yellow Fiskars mat! Yeah, I prefer the Olfa. HTH

  13. Come do mine!I have only used the green mat so far. I now have a greenish ruler and the two are bad combos. Someone was talking about the two sided mats, i.e. a different color on each side. I am gonna check into those!

  14. I also use the green self-healing mats; one is a large Omnigrid and one is a small Olfa and I’ve had them both about 8 years. I used to have the grey one, but like someone else mentioned… it ate my blades more than it cut fabric. Plus I don’t feel like I have to work as hard at cutting (the part I dislike the most!).

  15. Thanks for the inspiration yesterday. I cleaned up my little area today too. I use an olfa mat. I have four; two 18×24,a 12.5×12.5 rotating and a 24×36 – I love them.

  16. Your room looks great! I only have a corner of our basement rec room, someday I’d like to have a dedicated room for sewing and crafting…One large grey mat similar to yours, which I’ve probably had for about 10 years, but I don’t nearly as much as you do, and a medium green Olfa mat which is younger…maybe 6 or 7 years old? I don’t remember. Both seem to be doing o.k.

  17. I tried to click on your email but it didn’t seem to work. I have a question about track lighting. I love the looks of mine but it is much LESS light than my original 4 40watt bulb ceiling fan. I used 6 45 watt bulbs in an 8 foot section. What kind of bulbs do you use? The lighting company is going to swap my bulbs for some halogen ones to see if that is better. After trying to work up there, I was ready to yank it down and put up a long flourescent bulb!

  18. OK now that you have made me very jealous of your CLEANED-n-ORGANIZED sewingroom, I just need to tell you how great that looks! Makes me want to clean mine right now, but nope here I am on the computer LOL! As for the cutting mat ~ green Olfa for me! Have a great evening, as I send smiles your way for that clean room!

  19. Loved catching up with your posts, & the gorgeous pics of Chesty. Of course admiring all your pillowcases, & quilts too! Love to see your sewing room… mine doesnt bear thinking about, let alone seeing!

  20. in my regular sewing area I have a fiskars,, in my kitchen area I have a June Taylor and had it for over a year.I rotate it often..thanks. Amy

  21. i can not believe that you can get your room clean in 2 hours. i need 2 days minimum! my mats are from united notions/moda and they are called miracle mat by elan

  22. Green Olfa for cutting out everything and a big off-brand for the borders. Don’t know why I do it this way. Isn’t it hard getting to your books way down low like that?

  23. Hey Mary, what a great way to end a post – with a question 😉I have an expensive self healing mat (forget the brand) but that isnt’ the one I use most often and like the best…the one I like best is a cheap-O I bought at Wal-Mart that is purple.. it was under $10 and I bought it while evacuated for a hurricane in ’05 and still looks great! I use it all the time. Sorry I forget the name again..? but will look next time i go upstaris.noticed the ironing cover – love that grid marking -cool idea! and I bought a bottle of that same starch last week while in KY – the quilt shop has everything in store 50% off thru the end of the year to reduce inventory (owner doesn’t want to have to pay an inventory tax at the end of the year) I can’t wait to use it.. I have herad nothing but good stuff about it 😉anyway – sorry so long – but the main reason I wanted to comment was to leave you this blog site maybe you have already heard of it? but she does lots of post cards, and when I saw them I thougth of you… and thought I’d share some inspiration 😉 enjoy!congrats on a cleaned up, neat and tidy sewing room again.. Love from Texas!! ~bonnie

  24. Oooh, your sewing room looks wonderful now!! I get my cutting mats at a local art store. They’re much, much less expensive than at quilt or fabric stores and are actually a bit thicker. They may not have all the lines and angles, but they do have some inch and centimetre measurements and last much longer!

  25. You did a great job in your sewing-room Mary. My cuttingmat is a doblesided sew easy – centimeters on one side, inches on the other. I have tried seweral, but I guess with all the cutting, they will be worn out after a while. Maybe you should place a wish with santa this year.I also hace a puzzle-mat, 6 pieces, which I use when cutting long sides of the quilts, to make them ready for binding. This one is from Also good to bring for classes. Each piece is app 12 inches, and can be puzzled together in many ways.

  26. I like the green Olfa mat the best. BTW, I don’t know if it would work with that Fiskars mat you have (I know it does work with the Olfa mat)…but you might consider flipping the mat over and using the other side. And for when yhou get a new mat: rotat it 1/4 turn every now and then or use a different part of the mat so that you don’t end up with a worn out groove in the same spot where you ‘always’ cut.

  27. I only have ever owned 2 cutting matts–one large, one smaller–both are Olfa. They seem to be quality as I have had them both for over 10 years. I love your “after” pictures of your studio! I try to keep things tidy in my studio, but like I said before, creativity is a messy process! LOL

  28. I love my OLFAs! I have several sizes. I have now put up my large hobby table from Joanns with the large cutting mat. I am hoping I am as happy with that mat, as I am with Olfa. I will still use the Olfa on top for ratating fabric cutting, as needed.I also do love your room! I am just getting my new quilt room organized. You can see pics on my blog. I hope to make my shelves look at neat as yours!

  29. I have a Fiskars mat as well and I won’t buy another one. My mats get toted around a lot and my Fiskars my large Fiskars mat is wavy and both my larger and small ones are cracking. I have a medium sized Olfa mat and it has held up really well. Next time I am in the states with a Joanne’s coupon I am going to get the large size Olfa mat.Your sewing room looks great. I am very jealous.

  30. Your room looks great! Now didn’t it feel nice to get it all cleaned up?? I have Olfa mats. The one I use all the time is still in great shape, but I use the back of the mats not the lined side! I hate the lines it just makes one more distraction for my eyes to look at when I am trying to cut. So if you use both sides you will get a LOT of use out of your mat!

  31. I love it when I take the time to straighten up my studio! Yours looks fabulous. I love it, because usually I can find what I need easier and I just work better in an organized atmosphere.My vote is the Olfa mats. I’ve had some of mine (I have like 8 or 9 in differing sizes) for probably going on 10 years. The only one that is not it very good shape is one that an Exacto knife was used on it and some parts of the green are missing now.

  32. I have 2 Olfa mats. One very large table top one and a smaller size for the downstairs when I work in the kitchen. I tried other mats and they ruined my blades really fast.Your room is to be admired. I’m ashamed to show mine….ugh

  33. HI Mary – I have two 24″x36″ Olfa mats on my cutting table and a smaller one next to my machine. I love them and have had them almost 15 years. They have held up well -and they do get a lot of use. I have a small June Tailor with an ironing side as well as a cutting side that I take with me to classes. But, if I had to replace my mats, I’d definitely stick witht the Olfas. Your room looks great!

  34. Wow Mary, my little shelves sure don’t measure up to your stuff in them. Very neat work.I have Olfa cutting board and the best thing I did was replace cutter blade recently. what a difference.Your organizational skills reflect your work.

  35. You certainly put your time to good use – it looks beautiful! Do you really hate doing this? I actually enjoy straightening up my fabric every so often – helps me remember what I have and get reacquainted with some I’ve not seen for awhile.I think my mats are Olpha – I’m baby sitting so I can’t check. I really like the fact that it’s green on one side and gray on the other. The gray is great for dark fabrics. I actually have two mats sitting right next to each other so my center island is pretty much covered with mats. I have the small mat gray side up and the large mat green side up. I also have them with the plain sides up – I can’t stand the lines on the mats. I figure there is no point to them – I have to line fabric up with the lines on the ruler anyway, so why worry about lining it up on the mat lines also!

  36. I have to go against the majority here and say I like Fiskars much better than Olfa. My last Fiskars lasted me 12 years!! I have a smaller Olfa that I use sometimes, and have used them elsewhere, and I just don’t think they “heal” as well as the Fiskars, plus the Fiskars are much more economical.Melissa in TN

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