Here is my layout for cutting the strips for the border background for A Fine Romance. The bulk of the fabric is supported by the chair. (What can I say, I liked it so much I bought the entire bolt.) Years ago I invested in a couple of extra large rulers, 16 1/2" and 20 1/2" squares. I don't use these very often, but they make quick work of the job when I do. Using them meant I could cut up the needed pieces for the border easily.
I know lots of quilters are limited in space and budget. I started out as one, I've been building my toolbox for more than thirty years. But I feel compelled to, once again, caution against using the markings on the cutting mat for measuring.
This is a brand new mat. I put my ruler down on the mat with the measurement lines aligned.
This is what I see at the other end of the ruler. In the space of just eighteen inches, the lines are clearly off. But here's the thing. We are cutting huge hunks of fabric for the borders for A Fine Romance. And while these lines are off, in the whole grand scheme of things, this smidgen is not going to amount to a hill of beans. Just be wary of using the mat for anything that might need to be precise.
I don't know why this picture rotated, but here it is. To get my 13 1/2" x 40 1/2" rectangles, I refolded each strip so that I could cut with the least amount of waste at one end. Doing this has the added benefit of placing the fold off center of the piece. Sometimes those folds are hard to remove, so moving them off the center focal point can help to disguise them.
To measure using the mat, instead of trying to align the ruler at the 20 1/4" mark (which will give us a 40 1/2" rectangle), I like to use the ruler to add the 1/4 inch. The one inch marking lines on the mat are easier to see than those little intermediate hash marks.
Now that autumn has arrived I'll be spending less time and energy getting our new gardens up to speed, and more time in the studio. I have just a few circles left to glue baste and I'll be moving on to stitching the flowers together. We are only a few days away from the last step of this block of the month project. How is yours coming along?