Back last fall, I wrote a post about how I was going to the quilt shop and my husband was going to Harbor Freight, and even though they aren't too far apart--we decided to go in our own vehicles. At that time, Wendy alerted me to the fact that Harbor Freight sells rotary cutter blades. They insist on calling them carpet cutter blades, but they look just like the ones we use for the standard 45mm cutters.
The package of two blades cost--hold on here--$1.99. Yes, less than a dollar each! I just did a quick on-line survey of quilting blades and discovered that if you get a 50% off sale or coupon, they average around $3 each. But speaking of coupons, I had a 25% off coupon for Harbor Freight, so these only cost $1.50 for 2--that's 75 cents each. I also had another coupon for a free pair of scissors with any purchase.
I have had the blades for a while now, waiting to try one of them out. I decided to put one on prior to my big cutting bee last week so I could really get an idea of how it would work. The results were better than I expected! I did lots of cutting and I like to layer up to 6 pieces of fabric, and this blade really powered through and did a good job. I'm not sure if it is going to last as long as a quilting blade--that really depends on how much you cut, etc. but for the price, even if it lasts only half as long, it is still saving money. I think I'm pretty safe to generalize and say that most quilters wait way too long to change their blade. Maybe at this price, we will think to change it more often! Just in case you are wondering, I really noticed no difference between this and the quilting one. There is no change to my cutting mats or anything.
Don't think that the blades are the only thing that is handy to use from a hardware store, though. Here is a recent photo of when I was layering some quilts.
(Yes, this is a recent photo--it was taken around the 28th of December and our grass was/is still green! It is sounding by the weather that it will turn white tonight, though)
If I have quilts that are larger than my cutting table, I ask my husband to set up the saw horses in the garage. We have this 4x8 sheet of particle board that we got from Lowes when we bought a fridge. The guy who was loading the fridge into the back of my husband's truck, gave it to us to keep the non-stick bed liner coating of the truck from scratching the appliance. My husband has kept it in the back of his truck ever since. It really comes in handy when we need a large worktable in the garage.
As you can see, I also get out the wood-working clamps to stretch the backing and batting taut. On the edge where the clamps don't reach, I use blue painter's tape. I LOVE blue tape. I use it for so many things--like numbering blocks and/or rows of a quilt, labeling the amount of yardage in a piece of fabric (usually backing), etc.
Wendy was also telling me another great hardware store tip to protect your good scissors. Use a padlock to lock the handles together! Isn't that brilliant? I have yet to try this. I'm sort of afraid that I would lose the key or combination. Plus, it's only my husband here besides me and he has plenty of free Harbor Freight scissors to use!
How about all of you? Do any of you have good hardware store quilting ideas? I would love to hear them!
Have a great day!