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I am new here so please forgive. What size table do you use for cutting. Do you use a self healing mat with a rotary cutter? If so what size for each? How often do you change your blade? DO you cut all the peices at the same time? , i mean all the quilt parts at one seating or as you go along? How do you get all the blocks to match?-- you know ,like all off them say, 4" instead of one 4", one 41/2", etc. Up until now all I have done is panels, which I really like but I want to go further. Thank you all so much.

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Yes, you must use a self-healing mat with your rotary cutter!!! It could be quite dangerous to try anything else. That blade is probably one of the sharpest things in the house. And, from experience, don't try talking and cutting at the same time...could result in a trip to the emergency room!! :o

Sounds like you would benefit from finding a nice beginner's class at your local quilt shop or possibly join a guild. Try to learn what you can and you won't be sorry...you're entering a hobby that is full of wonderful people and don't be surprised if this becomes a passionate obsession!!!

Have fun...........Sandra

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My cutting table is 36 x 60 and 34" high. I use two mats - 36 x 25. I also made an ironing surface 24 x 36 that sits on one end so I don't have to trek all over my quilt room to piece and iron. The board is 3/4" plywood covered with one layer of batting and that silver ironing board stuff that I just stapled to the back of the board.

When you sign up for a beginner's class, you will find lots of other "newbies" who are eager to learn, and quilters are absolutely known as being the most helpful people in the world! You will make lots of new friends besides learning a new skill and like Sandra said, it will become a "passionate obsession".


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Here is part of your answer. I just uploaded a new picture into " Our Studio" album. It shows our 8' X 8' cutting table. Kathy just used it to design and lay out her next quilt for easy viewing and arrangement of the blocks.

The edge of the top is lined with 3' cutting mats for trimming and squaring of quilts, Backing, batting etc.



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First - hoosier quilts - oh my. That 8 x 8 table is fabulous and the big ironboard - WOW. You have a very nice setup. I see studs, did you convert your garage or basement? No probs with cold and heat?

Cutting - yes, you really need the rotary cutter and mat(s). My recommendation would be that you purchase these items from a quilt shop which provides beginner classes. They can help you pick out the size mat, cutter, rulers etc that you need for your setup. And I would also STRONGLY recommend that you leave that rotary cutter in the plastic wrap until you go to class. Rotary cutters are sharper than any kitchen knife you own. If you look away from it for 1 second, it will cut thru fabric, finger, nail bed and bone. The trip to the ER and subsequent healing time really cuts (no pun) into your quilting time too.

Mats - I have a few. One big one for home use. I also have a 18 x 24 to take to classes; a small one for quick cuts. They even have a new whiz-bang mat that rotates so you don't have to move your fabric.

Rotary cutters - there are several sizes and 2 or three manufactureres. I use Olfa 45mm deluxe - it closes automatically when I set it down (and you really want to close it EVERY time) - it also has a lock (open and close) capability.

Rulers, oh my, lots of choices. Attending a class will give you many ideas. We all have several different sizes of rulers for different applications. You'll have a long supply list after you go to your first class. It took me a while to get what I needed. And I'm always on the look-out for new gadgets for the sewing room. It is all part of the experience. Have fun.

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I just bought a Mega Mat from Quilter's rule and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! It is 40 x 72 inches and it just fits on my work table. The mat is white with navy blue reference lines in a grid, including diagonals, has a textured surface so your fabric doesn't slip, and it is pinnable!!!. I was at a friend's to help mark some reference lines on fabric for a whole-cloth and after using hers, I just had to have one for myself. I really bought it just for marking fabric, but I am soooooo glad I popped the cash for it for all the other uses too!! They do also come in smaller sizes.

I have about 10 different brands of rotary cutters in all sizes, including the silver 25th anniversary edition of the Olfa... but my favorite is still my faithful (inexpensive) Fiskars with the ergonomic handle and 45 mm blades.

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Dear Marymark, welcome to the club. You are in great hands when you are among quilters. We are helpful, happy, and always willing to come to the aid of our fellow quilters.

Definitely take a beginners class. As much as I love Quilt University I would recommend going to your LQS (local quilt shop). Note: Quilters even have a shorthand way of writing so be patient, you will figure it all out in time.. Anyway, a local quilt shop will not only offer beginning classes but you will have access to all of the tools of the trade and get a better idea of what you need. You will also meet people that are beginner quilters like yourself and a staff that is happy to help you with any questions.

When it comes to cutting tables, get the biggest one you can afford and can accommodate in size. No one ever complains that their cutting table it too big. The same goes with the cutting mats. Bigger is better and the ones that are self-healing are a must. They are expensive so wait for one of those 40% off coupons at JoAnn's or similar type store. Purchasing online is another option and is typically cheaper, but pay attention to shipping charges. Some websites have free shipping when you spend over a certain $ amount. By purchasing your initial tools together you might avoid shipping/handling fees.

Rotary cutters are wonderful and I typically change my blade after each project. And yes, I do cut out all of my pieces at the same time. It's an individual thing but I tend to be very organized. I cut all of my pieces and keep them in a project bag with the pattern, tools, etc.

You might be overwhelmed with all of the tools, notions, threads, fabrics, etc. It can get very expensive. Buy the best tools you can afford instead of buying everything at once. In other words, buy a really good mat in a smaller size instead of buying a "cheap" mat. Buy 1-45mm OLFA rottery cutter instead of buying 3 different sizes of the cheaper ones. Buy good quality thread in offwhite and gray (they match almost everything) instead of lots of colors. Buy a really good pair of scissors and save for different sizes later. (7" or 8" scissors are good to start) And if you haven't heard, NEVER USE YOUR FABRIC SCISSORS OR ROTARY CUTTER ON PAPER. Hide them from the kids & husband if necessary. They are sacred.

Lastly, purchase a really good book on the A to Zs of quilting. Ask the fellow students in your class or spend some time at your local book store. Find one that deals with the basics. You will use it for years.

Here are some websites that sell quilting supplies:









Hope this helps and please let us know how you are doing.

Happy Quilting :D

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As copied from Jean's post above: "...Buy the best tools you can afford instead of buying everything at once. In other words, buy a really good mat in a smaller size instead of buying a "cheap" mat. Buy 1-45mm OLFA rottery cutter instead of buying 3 different sizes of the cheaper ones...."

What???? Jean, are you saying that you like your Olfa rotary cutter better than my cheap fiskars???

ROTFLOL!!! (rolling on the floor, laughing out loud)!!!:P:P;)

Seriously Jean,

GREAT POST filled with lots of VERY useful information!!! Especially the part about hiding your scissors and r. cutters from your family!!! That is a never-ending battle at my house!!

Also I agree there is nothing better than taking a beginners class at your local quilt shop- This way, you learn the right way to do things... instead of trying to "un-learn" the wrong ways years later!!! Jean, Where were people like you when I first started quilting 22 years ago??? :P What a mess I was!! I bet I could have saved a thousand yards of fabric and years of frustration if we had the internet back then to point us in the right direction!!! :P

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  • 4 years later...

Hi, Just a suggestion about the mats. I don't know if anyone else does this, but I have two mats (36" x 24") against each other with a piece of carpet tape underneath. I then have a small piece of two - sided tape on each end and this holds this large set up nicely in place on my cutting table. I also taped down a measuring tape with clear hockey tape at the end of my table which is great for measuring.

I too have the Olfa deluxe cutter (45mm) and an Omnigrid 24" x 6" ruler. Of course, I have lots more than this (as we probably all do), but I think these are good tools to start with - a good 45mm cutter, the largest mat you can afford (I prefer Olfa here too because they last the longest), and a 6" x 24" ruler. All the other goodies can be bought later as you get more involved in quilting (and you will!).

PS -Just ignore the spam, some people have nothing better to do with their time - and whatever you do, don't follow the links! They could lead to viruses!

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