Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sharpening Up!

With all of the clean up I've been doing recently, I soon realized my rotary cutter blade was getting dull.  When changing the blade, I began to wonder: how do I know I'm doing this right?  Which side up does the "bendy" washer go, and does it matter?

Ah, the internet is a wonderful thing!  I have used the same 28mm Olfa cutter for over 20 years (though I have tried--and indeed own--a 45mm Fiskars - just don't like it - and see no reason to change tools after all these loyal years) so there is no way I remember how it came out of the package.  Here's a video!

By the way - there are some pretty cute projects on the Olfa website! Here's a link.  Be sure to scan through the different classes of project in the left hand sidebar - there's quite a variety.

Is there anything quite as pleasing as the feel of a fresh blade?

I then realized that all of the paper foundation piecing I've been doing recently has certainly dulled my needle. In fact, it was so bad, that when sewing my HSTs, the triangle tips were being pushed down into the the throat plate into the bobbin case with the first stitch, instead of being stabbed through with the needle.  Talk about annoying!  Time to change the needle!  I'm not particular about the needles I use - generally just pick up whatever I see, when I need them.  However, I currently have Fons & Porter needles which work nicely.  

I'm now wondering: is there a brand or type of needle that other quilters prefer?

Now...what's going on with my favourite scissors to cut chain piecing threads?  I have Fiskars Cutter Bee Scissors, which I love - mostly for the size, and the great blade cover.  In fact, I have two pair, I like them so much!  But the blades towards the tip were dull, and I am finding that I can't quickly snip the threads anymore; I have to cut with the deeper area of the blades, which takes longer (if the makes any sense).  

This has me wondering: what does the world wide web have to say about sharpening my Cutter Bees?  Well, one product reviewer recommends this product - Fiskars SewSharp Scissors Sharpener. I tried checking the Michaels website to see if this is something the local store carries, but I found the search function difficult to navigate.  I'll just have to take a shot and keep my eyes open.  As long as it is relatively inexpensive, it will be worth buying the sharpener rather than new scissors.

I think my next task--before embarking on "UFOs Only 2013" is to give my sewing machine a thorough cleaning and oiling.  I feel like poor old Lucy is going to be getting quite a work out in the near future!


  1. I use the Schmetz needles and I'm happy with them. I was convinced to try Superior, by watching Quilt Show videos. Well, I don't like them as much - they seem to break through the fabric, rather than slipping through the spaces.

    Thanks for the video from Olfa. I never knew which way was "up" for that curved washer.

    1. Yes! I will never forget the "cowboy hat" tip for the curved washer!