Ten Minute Tip: Rotary Blades/Harbor Freight

At Thursday's meeting I said I would do some research on using rotary carpet blades versus the high priced name brand rotary blades. I have read online recently about quilters using the much cheaper rotary carpet blades that are available at Harbor Freight for $1.99 for a two pack. The reviews are mixed --  either people love them or were not very impressed.  I googled Harbor Freight and much to my surprise, there are two stores in the Twin Cities -- Columbia Heights and West St. Paul. So yesterday after the snow stopped, I headed out to see what all the fuss was about, and ladies, this place is awesome! Besides the rotary blades, I found a number of useful quilting items and thought I would share (all the pictures are from my phone and not that great):

1. Rotary Blades

They work. I cut both quilt fabric and heavier fabric with no problem.  Are they as good as new Olfa blades? I'm not sure, but for $1.99 for a two pack, I will be buying more. 

2.  Mini Vacuum Attachment Kit

This is only $7.99.  I bought this kit for $12 when I took a sewing machine class over two years ago and LOVE it. It works great at getting into the nooks and crannies of my machine and sucking all the dust and fuzz out.  It fits onto the hose attachment of all vacuum cleaners (that's what the package says).  This is a "must have" in my opinion for anyone who does a lot of sewing.

3.  Knee Pads

I use these when I'm pinning my quilts.  Either I'm old (which I am) or I have delicate knees, because they really hurt unless I'm wearing knee pads.  They have a large variety ranging in price from $2.99 to $10.99.

4.  Garden Gloves

These are $5.99 for a three pack.  They had a light rubber grip which I think would work great for quilting.

5.  Magnetic Wrist Band

At only $2.99, I bought one.  I think this would work great when using pins and not near a pin cushion.  Also I thought this would work when I drop my needle in the sofa when I'm doing hand sewing and can't find it right away.  The magnetic strip would help in grabbing the needle before I find it with my finger...we'll see how that works.

6.  Tool Bag on Wheels

Ladies, I thought this bad boy would work great as a sewing machine travel bag.  It measures 20" long, 18" wide and 10" deep.  It's only $18.99 and has a total of 21 pockets inside and out.  It has an adjustable handle, two wheels for pulling and is made out of heavy duty tool bag material. My machine is 12" tall, but if I didn't already have a travel bag, I would load my machine in the car, drive over and see if it fit. 

7.  Working Hands Hand Cream

I don't know about you, but my hands get dry and cracked in the winter.  This was $6.99 and I did not buy any...this time.

8.  Foam Brushes

I know, it's not quilt related, but if you're crafty, can you really ever have too many of these around the house.  They're only $1.99 for the variety bag of 10 brushes.

9.  Spring Clamp Set

Look at how cute and colorful these things are! I have no idea what I'm going to use them for, but they were only $.99 for all six and I LOVE THEM!!

10.  Metal Cow Bell

Why cow bells?  Because you just never know when you're going to need more cow bell, and they're only $3.99!

That's my 10 Minute Tip on Cheap Rotary Blades and my new favorite store, Harbor Freight.


  1. So fun, Tracy! I haven't been yet, but now I will have to check it out. I also use a mini vacuum set to clean out my sewing machine and laptop keyboard and it works really well.

    Those foam brushes are perfect for applying starch if you ever do starched/turned edge applique, and I have about a million of those colorful clips in my kitchen to keep things like cracker and cereal bags closed.

  2. I definitely need to go check this place out. I've been meaning to get a vacuum set for a while now... plus I think all of my quilts can use a little more cowbell ;).

    1. Everything is better with more cow bell ;-)

  3. I work 5 minutes from the West St. Paul Harbor Freight, so if anyone needs a shopper, just let me know! I've bought blades there before, too, and have not noticed any significant difference from the others.

  4. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what they’re talking about on the internet? You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular because you definitely have the gift.
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