This week I wanted to talk about everyone’s favorite notion – the rotary cutter. This fascinating invention has made life so much easier for quilters around the world. I know this because my mom will tell me stories about having to cut all of her fabric out with scissors before there were rotary cutters. You know the stories I’m talking about, just like the ones my dad used to tell me about having to walk up hill both ways to school every day.
I personally own 6 different rotary cutters and my all time favorite is my Olfa Deluxe Rotary (Ergonomic). Considering that I have psoriatic arthritis in my hands and fingers, the ergonomic part is especially important to me. The other reason I like it is for the locking mechanism, easy to engage and helps me feel more safe with Anne in my sewing room. The one thing I thought I would address in this post is disposing of the rotary blades, even when they are too dull for fabric cutting, they are still quite sharp and dangerous. Here’s what I like to do:
What you might not be able to tell in the picture is that the yellow container on the left of the cutter has “dirty” blades in it. These blades are covered with lint and are too dull to cut my fabric. The blades on the right are new. I always keep one empty container on hand and I usually buy my blades 5 at a time. As the container on the right empties the one on the left fills up. Once the right hand container is empty the left hand one gets taped shut with packing tape thrown away. Then I buy a new set of 5. The empty one is now where the dull blades will go.
I read some interesting disposal methods online including wrapping the blade in scraps of fabric or paper before throwing it out. This concerns me. How many times have you had to go dumpster diving in your trash bin in the sewing room? I have done it on many many occasions. My fear would be the fabric or paper becoming dislodged and slicing my hand up. Just because the blade is too dull for fabric does not mean it is too dull for my skin.
What is your favorite brand rotary cutter? Is there a great ergonomic one out there that you think I should try? How do you dispose of your blades?
I have a Fiskars rotary cutter that I love. I usually buy 1-3 blades at a time. If I don’t have an extra container for my used blades I mark them with a sharpie (in case the fuzz gets wiped off) and put on the bottom of the stack in with the sharp ones.
One time I mentioned how irritating my fancy rotary cutter was, and he stopped on the way home from work and bought me a zebra striped rotary cutter that matches my sewing bag, as a total surprise for me. Know, how many husbands would do that? LOL
I like your idea for getting rid of the blades! I am going to have to buy one of those cutters as I have always liked using yours. My Fiskars one is nice, just not as nice!
That Olfa ergonomic is my favourite too 🙂
I dispose of blades exactly like you do and for all the same reasons. I love all my Olfa cutters, and haven’t tried the ergonomic one yet…a need…
I have several, all Olfa. I tossed the one fiskars I ever bought. It didn’t feel right! However, I have never thrown away a blade. That’s right. I don’t toss them. I save the used ones in the little yellow thing and when it’s full, I send it to a friend and he sharpens them all and sends them back to me. It costs me $1.50 a blade, I think, and that’s a lot cheaper than buying new ones! When I go to classes and retreats, people give me their old ones, too. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I actually *bought* a blade! If he finds one too small or chipped, he recycles it. They are made of titanium. I don’t know where he recycles. Guys know those things. If you want his address, I’ll send it.
I use Olfa Rotary cutters and have saved old blade holders one for each size and when I change the blades I put the old blade in the old correct size when it fills up I throw the whole thing in the garbage case and all! So save those blade cases and mark them New and old. Hope that makes since.
I’ve been using a Dritz cutter we’ve had in the house for probably more than 20 years. Works like a charm. No safety lock on it at all. The blades seem to be a bit more expensive than other brands so I’ve been looking at others. We got a small Olfa cutter as a dinner placeholder at Sewing Summit. Haven’t used it yet.
Great tips….I LOVE my new Martelli cutter! It’s fabulous, and so easy with my arthritis!
I do the exact same thing you do. And my favorite rotary cutter is the same one as well. It is so much easier on my wrist.
I use the same method as you with my old blades… I’ve been an Olfa user for years but I have a Martelli on order to try out.
I use the plastic container that Crystal Light drink packs come in to dispose of my blades, bent pins and old needles. The top of the container clicks on tightly and you can just throw all into the trash without worries.