Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hardware Store Quilting

Hi Everyone,

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.

As you can see, it is a package of two.  I also heard someone from my guild mentioning them, too, so I thought I needed to check them out--if for no other reason than a fun blog post.

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.

Don't worry!!  I'm not suggesting that you use these scissors for quilting.  No--I'm a big believer in "the best defense is a good offense" meaning that if you flood your house with lots of scissors, no one will venture into the sewing room to grab your good scissors!  This tip really works for me.

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!


  1. The carpet cutter blades haven't worked well for me - they chew the fabric a bit. But since I bought a bunch, I have them in my oldest rotary cutter & only use them to cut paper foundations.

  2. I heard about this tool caddy on wheels thing that makes a great storage piece for small quilting tools then can be used when you go to a class or retreat. I'm on the lookout for one. Though I bet they come only in dull colors like gray and tan.

  3. I have been using the carpet cutter blades for several years and they work great!

    Pam in Middle TN

  4. I use the carpet blades (usually give them a rub with WD40 first), got my Ott light bulbs for $8 @ (can use them in any lamp-what a savings), lots of storage units, clips and clamps, a rolling caddy tool box that is just like the quilter's caddy - holds sewing machine and lots of other things (at least a quarter of the price), oh, you just have to go look and browse and be amazed.

  5. I have some quilting friends that have used the hardware 45mm blades with great success. As of late I am having a mother of a toddler save the small, plastic, rectangular baby food containers when she is done with them, to better manage all of my small hexies... not from the hardware store, but oh so useful!

  6. Whenever I go to the hardware store I always look for quilting supplies! Thanks for the Harbor Freight tip. I'll be going for sure.

  7. I use my blades far longer than I should because they cost so much.

  8. I had heard about the blades from Harbor Freight, but we don't have a store around here. I'm also a big fan of the blue painter's tape. I think it's great for marking quilting lines on quilts and a thousand other uses in the sewing room.

  9. I use those clamps too for basting quilts! There's a Harbor Freight about an hour from here so I may look for those blades too. I also have a metal yard stick that I use to extend my regular rulers (I don't run the rotary cutter next to it though).

  10. Tbe blue masking tape is great, because the color generally stands out and is easy to find. You gave great tips! (I think we do many things the same, lol) ~

  11. So glad you were not disappointed with your blades. Sue and I did a presentation at retreat one year, " quilting at the hardware store" amazing what you can find there that could easily find it's way into your quilting studio. Great post!

  12. Loved the post - I'll go to Home Depot with new eyes next time!