I have to admit when I first saw Martelli at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt festival several years ago, I dismissed their cutting system when I realized that their rotary cutters where designed for single hand use, i.e. you can only use the left hand cutter for the left hand and the right hand cutter for the right hand. I had gotten pretty adept at cutting the uneven edges off the left hand side of my fabric with my left hand and then switching to my dominant right hand to rotary cut the strips and shapes I needed. (No need to flip my fabric around.) So I didn't investigate further until Cathy brought their mats, tables, and cutters from Quilt Market last year.
After a weekend of cutting fabric for a scrap quilt, 8 layers deep, to yeild over one hundred charm squares my hand was cramping from the force needed to maintain a grip and the pressure needed to cut with my Olfa rotary cutter. I started to appreciate the ingenuity of the Martelli cutters.
The Martelli cutters are molded to fit into your hand comfortably. They are designed to cut with the sharpest part of the blade so that less force is needed to cut through multiple layers of fabric. They are also designed so that you are pushing with the natural swinging motion of your arm so that your shoulder doesn't hurt after lengthy periods of cutting. They work even better from a sitting position! Traditional rotary cutters are designed such that accurately cutting from a sitting position is near impossible. If you are having problems with standing for lengthy periods, arthritis, cramping hands, or sliding fabrics then definitely check out these cutters and the cutting system. On top of all that the blades last much longer than the other brands.
Another aspect of the Martelli cutting system are their mats and rulers. They are designed to grip the fabric and prevent it from sliding. So the Martelli ruler wont shift or slide while your in mid cut and it wont let your fabric shift or slide either! The mats also help prevent he bottom layers of fabric from getting out of line too. Speaking of the mats, Martelli has put just as much thought and design into their mats as well. They can be rolled up with out cracking. They will lay flat after being rolled up with very little persuasion needed. The lines on the mats are accurate and can be used to measure cuts. Both sides of the mats can be used and have the accurate grid line on them. One is yellow and one is purple. So you can change the look in your sewing area just by flipping the mat! Not to mention use the side that works best with the color of fabric you are cutting. You can also lay several layers of batting or fabric on top of the mat and use it as an ironing surface. They can take the heat, just don't put the sole-plate directly on the mat. A great feature for small working spaces that need to double up on functionality wherever they can.
They also have a lazy-susan like table, called a Round A Bout, that is very sturdy and sits on top of your working space. The Round A Bout has a mat and pressing pad that fits on top of it. You can fold your fabric and lay it on the Round A Bout, cut the rough edges, then swivel it around to make the rest of your cuts.
We recently had the Martelli pros in the store, but if you missed the Martelli demo, then I hope you'll come in and let the staff show you the wonderful ingenuity that has gone into the tools. We will even show you the latest in cutting table designs, one that is designed to fit your body for maximum comfort. They definitely make cutting easier on your body and make accuracy easier to achieve. If you aren't local then check the products out in our online catalog.
I started playing with the X-block rulers and patterns in July when we had our Christmas special and I made the table runner. I was intrigued by the designs that used the fabric trimmings from the rulers as the borders for the quilts - no fabric waste! They are so much fun and addictive too! I'm on my second quilt and I have two more planned. Continue reading