Disclaimer: Martelli enterprises was kind enough to provide me with a rotary cutter in hopes that I would post about it. All opinions expressed below are strictly my own.
One of the very few downsides to Quilt Market last fall was the unexpected stress it put on my hands. I knew making three quilts in three weeks would be a challenge, but I had no idea of the physical strain it would cause. I’m only now getting back to a point where I can drive comfortably again without resting my wrists at every red light. Of course, slowing down the quilting isn’t an option, so I’ve started researching ways to put less strain on my hands while making quilts, and I wanted to share one of my finds with you today, the Martelli Rotary Cutter.
This is a truly comfortable rotary cutter. I know it looks strange and akward, but it moves as intuitively as your hand on a computer mouse. Using it takes a little practice. For me, the biggest challege is remembering to re-engage the safety guide after cutting, because my old Olfa did that automatically when I released the handle. I love that I don’t have to press down so hard to cut through layers of fabric. I also like that my hand is positioned directly over the blade, so I have a better sense of where the blade is in relation to my non-cutting hand.
On the back of the packaging, there’s a note that you can cut through over fifteen layers of fabric at once. As a lark, I decided to test that claim. There are fifteen turquoise triangles in the stack above. And I did cut them simultaneously. Very cool. I don’t think I’ll do 15 with this one often, as the ruler was hard to balance on a pile that high, but it’s great to know that the cutter will glide through so much fabric that smoothly.
None of the reviews I read on this cutter mentioned cutting with templates, so I was curious to see how it would handle those. It works wonderfully. I am using my rotating mat more to cut small templates with this cutter. It’s harder to “cheat” and cut around towards yourself with this cutter (due to the grip on the cutter), but I probably shouldn’t be trying to do that anyway! For my new Hoffman quilt, I’m cutting eight layers of fabric at a time with a very small template, and I was delighted to find that I can cut these far more smoothly and cleanly with the Martelli cutter than my Olfa. With my old cutter, I typically had to make each cut twice to cut all the layers.
Overall, I’m very pleased with this cutter. Supposedly the blades last longer than other rotary blades, but I’ll have to update this post once I’ve tested that idea. (If they do work, I’m seriously considering ordering the 50 or 100 pack from their website. Seems like I always run out of blades just after a JoAnn’s sale, when they’re completely out of stock!) You can find this cutter (right and left-handed versions available, and two sizes) on the Martelli website.