Quilting tool with a story!!

Like most quilters, I cannot live without my rotary cutter!!

But even more than that, I love the story surrounding my first rotary cutter…….

Let me set the stage for you…..

It is December of 1985 and my husband and I have traveled from Canberra Australia and are visiting our parents in Abilene, Texas. And, more importantly to them, we have a 6-month old grandson in tow!!

My ever-resourceful Father bought us a Polaroid camera and said that he wanted to be a member of the “picture of the month club”!! The idea is that we would mail one photo each month so that he could see his grandson grow up. Remember, this was LONG before the digital age!!!

The day before we left to return to Canberra, Dad took me to a discount store to purchase more film for the camera. As we walked past the craft department, a package similar to this one caught my eye…..

….except that the rotary cutter was smaller, the mat was skinnier and there was a 4.5-inch plexiglass ruler included.

Needless to say, I was intrigued!!!!

Dad saw my interest and immediately picked it up and put it in our basket!!

I found a place to tuck it into the suitcase and happily carried it home.

It took another few years before I REALLY learned how to use it and, amazingly I still own the original cutter……

….although it is now designated for “paper use only”.

It was typical that my Dad saw my interest and jumped in to encourage me….that is just who he was!!!

Do you have a favorite quilting memory?

7 thoughts on “Quilting tool with a story!!

  1. What a great story. Such a loving father to see your want and make it happen. Game changer

  2. About the same time that you got your rotary cutter , I took a trip with a group I was hand quilting at a frame. We went on our first quilt show that we happened upon in Franklin nc. They had ginger scissors and the ruler, board, a rotary cutter as a set. We bought them as a group. Everyone clipped in for the supplies. Big mistake!!! Every time I wanted to take my turn someone was using the cutter and board. Finally Andy bought me one for Christmas. I was so thrilled to have my very own set. I still use it today. We cut the damaged board up into smaller rectangles and made a travel board with it. I keep my small cutter with it. Had to buy a small ruler to go with it. But I still use my quilters rule I got for Christmas in 1985 today. Quilter Rule is the best ruler I ever had. And I have had every kind. Always looking for the best.

    1. That is a great story, Jodie. I can just imagine all of you fighting over who got to use it next!! And, I LOVE Quilter’s Rule!! A lot of people don’t like their rulers but they are my favorites!!

  3. I started quilting in 1976 when there was only one place in Sydney, Australia to take classes! I clearly remember a day I was shopping with my Mum and a new born baby in 1983. Mum encouraged me to buy the same Olfa cutter and large cutting mat that you have. Money was tight but I appreciate now how forward thinking it is to buy good quality items as I am still using both of them. I love to attend Quilting and Craft Shows to see the latest tools and over the years have purchased equipment that helps me to take shortcuts and use easier methods to make quilts. Thanks Mum for that encouragement!

    1. I remember when we would visit Sydney (early 80’s), I would drive to the ONE quilt shop that I could find. One year we were there just after Christmas and I was SO disappointed to find that they were closed for the week. I learned to call first!!! We were back in Aus in 2008 and I LOVED checking out all of the fabric and quilting stores and even got to attend the Brisbane show that year!! My Mom was the inspiration for my quilting career but it got its start in Australia!!!

      1. Hi Frances Thanks for your reply. There are still only a handful of Patchwork shops in Sydney.
        I do try to keep them in business! In the absence of Quilt Shows during Covid times it has been difficult to keep up to date with new gadgets! I started machine quilting with rulers at the beginning of the Covid lockdown in 2020 and I’ve really enjoyed learning from various instructors on YouTube. During the past few months I’ve found classes at a shop on the outskirts of Sydney so this has helped develop my skills further. Thanks for sharing your quilting journey. Kerry

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