Happy Birthday Olfa!


Ever look at an antique quilt and think, “Dang. That poor lady had to cut out all 6,050 of those pieces with scissors.” It’s kind of an appalling thought, isn’t it? Fortunately, us lucky quilters in this day and age have a little invention called a rotary cutter. And we have Olfa to thank for creating this indispensable tool 35 years ago.

That’s right, the mighty rotary cutter turns 35 this year! To celebrate, Olfa has asked a group of quilters (including me!) to make 6-1/2″ blocks for a special birthday quilt. I can’t think of a single sewing notion that has revolutionized the quilting world more than the rotary cutter, so I was happy to participate.

Our instructions were to make a 6-1/2″ block that represented Olfa’s 35 years—and to include Olfa’s trademark yellow. So I thought, what better fabric line to use for Olfa’s birthday block than Sew Yummy by Monica Solorio-Snow and Cloud 9? I mean: Smiley thread bobbins and seam rippers and tomato pincushions. (But no smiley happy rotary cutters? Darn!)

When I think of techniques that have been made easier by rotary cutters, two things come to mind for me—half-square triangles (because trimming), and fussy cutting. So I decided to feature both of those things in my block.

I fussy-cut around Monica’s fab circle of pins for the center of the star, and trimmed up some lovely yellow star points using Sew Yummy’s tomato pin-cushion blenders. Pretty cute, right? This block is off to Olfa to be included in the birthday quilt!

And while it may be Olfa’s birthday, you get the prize! Want to win a rotary cutter and a small cutting mat from Olfa? Just leave a comment (any old comment) on this post. I’ll draw a random winner on August 5. Now go cut up some fabric!

236 replies
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  1. Beezus
    Beezus says:

    I have a friend, someone new to quilting, who picked up a rotating mat for $5 at a yard sale a couple of years back. I wish I was as lucky!

  2. Elsa
    Elsa says:

    I have a few quilts made by my great grandmother and grandmother. I'm always amazed at them and the time it took to make them!
    Thanks for the giveaway! I love my Olfa!

  3. Katelyn @ Sing While Crafting
    Katelyn @ Sing While Crafting says:

    I have always used a fiscars rotary cutter – and thought it was great. Until last week when I pulled out my mom's olfa cutter. Man the olfa is way better. I love how it is completely open at the top/end. Works like a dream. Thanks so much for the chance to win one of my own!

  4. Patti
    Patti says:

    Thirty years ago, before I had an Olfa, I decided to make my parents a quilt. It was a king=size trip around the world using 4" squares. I not only hand cut those squares but then had to mark sewing lines because I didn't trust the hand cut lines. Wow, I don't miss those days!

  5. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    Yay for the rotary cutter! It's only a few years older than me, so I don't really know what it's like to go without. I can't even imagine! We are so spoiled.

  6. Barb
    Barb says:

    I didn't know the rotary cutter was only 35 years. I guess I was an early adopter. And I have a drawer full, all different sizes, types and functions. I rarely cut fabric with scissors, even when making garments with pattern pieces. Happy Birthday Olfa!

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