Thursday, February 22, 2018

A New Gadget:

It's a Fiskars Rotating Cutting Mat. I've been thinking that this might help alleviate some of the shoulder pain that I've been experiencing in my right shoulder. Not quite sure what the problem is, I've been to the doctor's twice--once for a steroid shot, which I do not want have again.

However, shoulder pain is not alleviated when all you do is rotate the mat instead of the fabric. The shoulder works pretty much the same amount. The mat itself "is neither here nor there" (as my mom would say) when it comes to easing pain. So that's a scratch. When I consider the cost of the mat, there's another twitch, but nothing like a steroid shot, so I can deal with it. In the end, I like the mat.

Finally, we get to my habits, which are difficult to change. Really difficult. I probably need a shot for that, but I don't know where the doc would put it, and I'm not taking any chances. The habit of which I speak is that I'm used to making a cut, turning the fabric and arranging it and the ruler just so, then making the next cut. Until all four sides are nice and square and pretty close to the best I can do. 

The mat is a revelation in that it--the mat--revolves! No moving the fabric: lay fabric on mat, center ruler, make a cut, turn the mat, make a cut, and so on until all the sides are cut! The fabric doesn't move! So it doesn't get all wonky because you've moved it. 

And the ruler doesn't slide around. No, it all works beautifully. 

There's one caveat, however. The person has to remember to leave everything alone and turn the mat

Turn the mat. Turn the mat. That's been my mantra for three days now. Turn the mat. I'm still turning the fabric. Yes. I know. 

Frustrating. Annoying. Stupid. Dumbass. All those ugly words that I did not allow my children to call each other. I've said them all and a few more and, still, I forget.  And accidentally, the mantra became Turn the damn mat. This despite having just gone to confession on Sunday. (We Catholics try to stay in good graces for a while after confession.) 

I've said those ugly words only a time or two, but they are too ugly to allow any more. Thank goodness I was alone. I have a thing about using ugly language and another about setting examples. I've apologized to God and the Angels and the Saints and my poor Mama and Daddy in heaven. 

Eventually I figured a way to avoid some frustration. I sew up several--okay many, many--blocks, press them all, then take them to the mat to cut. Once I'm in the turn the mat zone, I tend to remember. 

It turns out that this way of doing things is more efficient, though I don't like the feeling that I'm working in a factory, trying to make production so my babies can eat. 

Otherwise, it's not so bad. I was able to make and trim two pretty stacks of blocks in a short time. I keep telling myself that if I do things this way for a while, I'll shift my habit to doing it this way all the time. 

Of course, when I'm designing and working out what it is that a particular quilt wants, I'm moving back and forth between sewing, pressing, and cutting. That's really when I forget the turn the mat mantra. But I'm trying to be patient with myself and remember that I'm relearning a habit that will (apparently) take some time.

Otherwise, I like my rotating mat. It is a nifty little gadget and makes short work of cutting and trimming. I definitely recommend it to anyone who fussy cuts or often trims down blocks. Just remember:  Turn the mat


Anne Kirby said...

hashahahaha I'm laughing with you not at you! So funny, and I might buy one anyway.

Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts said...

Definitely, I'm laughing, too. I used it all day today and am still forgetting. However, it was only a few time, so progress!
Anne, I cannot find an email, blog, or any other way to reach you. I'd really like to send a note to say thanks for visiting.

Kaja said...

You do make me laugh, Mary! And we could all do with a shot for our bad habits once in a while. :-)

Preeti said...

Oh those rotating mats are the best!!! Fast and accurate. I am so sorry about your shoulder. If possible, I'd suggest yoga exercises, preferably at a yoga studio. Once you learn the exercise, you can do it at home. In the meantime, check Sandra's blog mmmquilts. She is a yoga teacher and does these posts - Sunday Stretch for Sewists. Hope you feel better soon.

Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts said...

I may look into yoga classes again. We live in a small town between other almost as-small towns and have to travel about 40 minutes to anything "not country." But it's possible there's something closer that I just haven't found. I love Sandra's blog. Her explanations are easy to understand, aren't they. Maybe she has something specific to shoulders and elbows--I simply haven't thought to look.

However, I also have to see my doctor and have been putting it off--terrified that he'll put me in a sling or something that will keep me from my sewing! Don't laugh: "the struggle is real," as the kids say.