Ask Jo: From Quilting to Dogs

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days.

I have a wide range of questions that came in recently.  First up Pat asked: “I do have a quilting question: Do you have a recommendation for a re-sharpening tool for old rotary blades so I can recycle them?

Sometimes, I make sure to include some questions in the ask Jo segments because I don’t have an answer and I’m hoping that one of you might.  I have not found a way to sharpen blades that I’m truly happy with.  Have any of you found something?

I did find a way to recycle them…my Blade Saver Thread Cutter.  You can see below…

…and read more about it HERE.

But, honestly, I’ll use more blades in my rotary cutter than this little thread cutter will ever use up.  So, I have extra blades as well that I’d love to be able to sharpen.

I used to worry about sharpening blades a lot but then found rotary cutter blades on Amazon (find them HERE).  They are much cheaper so I don’t fret about using blades as much as I used to but still, I’d like a way to  sharpen them as well.  I have seen sharpeners but don’t know how well they really work.

Readers, please chime in and let us know if there is a product that you recommend that will sharpen rotary cutter blades.

The next question came from…Chrisi:  “Hi Jo!  I love your site–such a great variety! I am wondering if you have a specific tutorial or pattern for a scrappy quilt block that I saw. I think it was one of your UFOs at the time (think I found it on Pinterest) Description: solid square in the center, checkerboard border around that square, then a striped border. Then you used 4 scrappy string pieced triangles (2 squares cut in half) to finish the block. I think it is a 14.5-inch block. Can you please direct me to anything that would help me with making these blocks? Thanks so much, and have a great day!!

Oh.  I read that and was perplexed.  I couldn’t think of what quilt that was.  I left the comment sit.  Then the next day I read it again.  Then it hit me.  I think she was referring to my Fair and Square quilt.

If you are a long-time reader you might remember that when I made my version I constructed my blocks differently than the pattern instructions suggest.  Refer to this blog post if you want to learn more about that.
Fair-and-Square-200-7For those of you wondering, the pattern came from Bonnie Hunter’s book Scraps and Shirttails II.  You can find it HERE.

If you just want to see a bunch more pictures of this quilt, you can find them HERE.

Speaking of Bonnie, I was really surprised when a blog reader told me that Bonnie had featured my version of her quilt Garlic Knots on her Quiltville Facebook feed and Instagram.  How fun!  Here it is if you missed it.

Along with the picture of my quilt, Bonnie shared that because of the renewed interest she was going to drop the pattern cost by 25% so… which means you can get the pattern for $9.  You’ll have to hurry over as the only lasts through the 31st of the month.  Here is a link to her shop.

Remember if you want to make the quilt larger, you might want to refer back to  THIS post.  The border doesn’t work out correctly if you make the quilt larger.  To make it work, you’d need to follow my suggestions.

There has been many thoughts on my Hawaiian Sunset quilt.  Shelby said, “Wow, you were super productive! Love the Hawaiian Sunset pattern. Are you able to share where this can be purchased? Would love to add it to my library of WIPS.”

I had looked online for a way to purchase the pattern.  I didn’t see anything.  I had a few blog readers write and happily, they found a place to purchase the pattern.

Barbara left a comment:
“While the magazine is no longer published, the company that owns it is still in business. The issue can be bought here:

I had a bunch of people chime in about copyright and the conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s all very gray and I’m just going to stay out of the whole mess.

Yahoo on the back issues still being available…so follow the link to get a back issue of the magazine if you want to sew along with me.  I really don’t think it’s too hard of a quilt…just not for the faint of heart if you don’t like making flying geese.

Speaking of Flying Geese.  I’ve had questions about how I make mine.  I will put together a blog post about that.

Thanks so much to the many of you who left kind comments about my decision not to get a puppy.  I am so glad to have made the decision and I am confident it’s the right one.

I am happy to report that Rosie is signed up to start classes.  Luckily I didn’t have her on the waitlist for long.  Classes actually started last week.  The first session only the owner goes and after that, the dog comes with.  So…let the learning, for both of us, begin!!

Speaking of Rosie, here she is…

I changed the toy room around.  Previously I had a big wooden trunk in front of the window and for some reason, Rosie never jumped all the way upon it.  She’d put her paws on the trunk and look out the window but never jump up on it.  I moved the kids’ table and chairs by the window and now Rosie often jumps up on the chair, sits, and looks out the window.  I think it looks so funny with her just sitting there on the chair.

Hopefully the next time I show her in a picture, she’ll be slightly more obedient, one can hope.

Thanks for all of the questions…as always if you have one I didn’t get to, feel free to ask again.  I love to help if I can.


25 thoughts on “Ask Jo: From Quilting to Dogs”

  1. I love that you chose to enroll in obedience classes and am so excited for you!! Regardless of whether you choose a new puppy now (which you didn’t) or down the road, you and Rosie will be all the better bonded and both enjoy each other more after classes. I’ve found that as a better trained owner, my dogs were less anxious because I knew how to communicate with them and listen to them. What an exciting journey you’re embarking on!! Yay for both of you!!

  2. Well at least Rosie is appropriately sitting in a chair. ;-)

    I do love Sunset. I’ve been pondering it for years……hmmmmmm….

    I hope you have a terrific week Jo!

  3. Susan Stermer

    Not really a source for sharpening old rotary blades…but along those lines…L.P. Sharp Co. in Gilman, MN sells new or exchages old rotary blades at prices much lower than retail. They offer Olfa or generic rotary blades in exchange or for sale. Info is available at

    I’ve been doing this for a couple years. I save my old blades until I have a bundle and send them off in exchange for new. Extremely nice to have blades on hand rather than run to the store in the middle of a project.

    1. I use LP Sharp as well! I would much rather pay to send off my old blades than dispose of them, and their prices are quite reasonable. I wait until I can send ten at a time.

  4. The link for the rotary cutter blades doesn’t take me to a specific blade, but a page with several. Have you found a certain blade to be the best one for you? Thanks!

  5. Carol Bearden

    My friends and I made this quilt “Hawaiian Sunset” before it was published. It is a copy of a “Nine-Patch” quilt c.1845
    I found it in a Better Homes and Gardens book called Grandma’s Best Full-Size Quilt Blocks. Page 7. The book also quoted a tag that was attached to the quilt. Courtesy University of Nebraska-Lincoln. There was no pattern but it was easy to figure out. If the original was made c.1845 I would doubt that it actually could be copyrighted. But then I’m no expert!

  6. Judith M Fairchild

    Please anyone who has a way to sharpen rotary cutter wheels please I have lots of them. There is a quilt shop in Springfield, MO. But he charges about $2.50 per wheel. At that price I can buy new wheels.
    I love the idea of obedience school for dogs and owners. What would be the point of sending the dog if the owner doesn’t learn the process. Best wishes and congratulations Jo on deciding on schooling for Rosie.

    1. my nephew who does dog training says it should be called Owner training because that’s where the real problem is.

      1. Love this comment. That’s one of my pet peeves, dog owners who don’t train their dogs. Whether it be endless barking, or jumping/lunging at you, it’s annoying. I applaud anyone who goes obedience school.

        I had a brand new 5 pack of Olfa blades and every single one was a dud right out of the package. I’ve never had that happen before. I am curious if anyone has used that small device for sharpening used blades?

        And an article with others listed:

        1. Sharon Browne

          I have used that blue sharpener and I feel that it’s a waste of money. While it does sharpen the blades somewhat, they are not nearly as sharp as new ones. I did pay about $20 for it at Joann’s. I wouldn’t recommend it.

  7. Holly in Two Harbors

    Which rorary blades do you prefer on that Amazon page? I have found some brands don’t stay sharp nearly as long as Olfa.

  8. I have always loved training my dogs in obedience. :)

    Question – what is the best way or best gadget to sew half square triangles without drawing the line on the back of the fabric?

  9. I purchased the Colonial Needle rotary blade sharpener. It does work, obviously blades are not like new once resharpened but it does extend their life. It can be purchased on Amazon. I got mine at
    Another reasonable source for new blades is a 12count pack of 45mm is $16.99. I have had no issues with blades from Arteza. Shipping is even free with a $29.00 order.
    Hope this info helps!

  10. I took a raucous border collie to obedience class and it was fun. I learned the correct way to hold a leash and that has stuck with me. Congratulations and enjoy!
    Bonding with a dog is special.

  11. I love seeing all your quilt projects and learning from you how to you think about putting projects together. In other words, your descriptions of the thought processes you go through when planning and making a quilt are very much appreciated! About sharpening used blades: This may sound blasphemous, but I decided a long time ago that it’s perfectly okay not to go in that particular room. It’s one of my luxuries: I just safely toss old ones and splurge on new ones. I did buy one of the blade-saver thread cutters you recommended to use with my English-paper-piecing projects, though. (I always have one of those projects going for when I keep my husband company watching television after supper. Right now we are totally hooked on “Tehran,” on Apple TV+.) P.S. For dog training class, they like you to bring reward treats. Even though I have a few of those little pouches that hook to a belt, I have found an old baggy fanny pack works best.

  12. Allison C Bayer

    Blade sharpening . . . while reading reviews on blade sharpening three years ago, I came across this comment—“The smoother your mat, the longer your blade lasts.” I only purchase Fiskars rotary mats now as replacements. I’ve also switched to Precision Tools rotary blades; 10 blades for $25 is a deal in my book. As long as I don’t get a nick in my blade, they are lasting twice as long. For me that is four months per blade. I do lots of cutting of kits (for myself) and trimming of customer quilts.

    1. Thank you for the tip Allison. I may try Precision Tools blades. My mat may be bad but I’m really unsure how to tell it is time to get a new one? Any suggestions?

  13. Hi Jo, I spent $30 on Olfa blades and found them no sharper than the cheaper ones. Right out of the box they skipped cutting through two layers of fabric. I don’t understand the manufacturing problem with make sharp blades that stay sharp for a while. I did purchase a sharpener and it was worthless so I just end up running the rotary blade twice over everything. Disappointing to say the least.

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