I use the lines on my ruler to measure my pieces that I am cutting rather than the lines on my mat. With the ruler I am only aligning two items, the fabric and the ruler.
If I used the mat lines, I would be aligning three items and it takes longer! Another reason I don’t use the mat lines is that, after I align the fabric to the mat, when I place the ruler over the fabric, it is flattened and can shift so that it is no longer aligned. With only the ruler, I know it is aligned from the beginning.
Since I don’t need the mat lines, I usually use the back side of my mat. I reduce the “noise” that I have to see, so I can focus on what matters. I don’t have lines that subconsciously I want my fabric to align to, either.
If you choose to use the back of your mat, be sure it is one that the back is similar to the front. I had a beginning student who took my advice and I noticed a few minutes later that she was really struggling with her pieces…because her mat was shiny and slick on the back side. Know your tools and know why/how to use them.
If you have questions about your tools or problems that you would like answered, send me an e-mail and I’ll see if I can answer it here.
Enjoy your quilting!