Olfa ~ 35th Anniversary

Olfa Quilting Tools : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Did you know the Olfa Rotary Cutter turns 35 this year? Which means I’m actually older than the rotary cutter. I think this gives me some sort of quilter street cred, right? Except that I never actually quilted without using one. I honestly can’t imagine creating a quilt without these handy little cutters and I’m guessing most of you feel the same way.

At Quilt Market last Spring I was lucky enough to attend a breakfast with the Olfa team – and we were able to see that original invention. The first one was yellow and everything!

First Olfa Rotary Cutter : Fresh Lemons Quilts

In celebration, Olfa asked me to participate in a project and make a 6-1/2″ quilt block for a big birthday quilt. They sent this very fun box of goodies to use – a mini rotary cutter (I’m told these are great for cutting curves!), a 6-1/2″ frosted quilting ruler, and a spinning cutting mat. I was most excited to try out the cutting mat. I’ve been eyeing these for quite some time.

Olfa Quilting Tools : Fresh Lemons Quilts

These mats are fun because you can place your fabric/block once – trim.

Olfa Quilting Tools : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Then spin the mat – trim again. You don’t need to pick up your fabric and reposition.

Olfa Quilting Tools : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I decided to make my block using 3.5″ flying geese blocks. (Get it – 35th anniversary…3.5″ blocks?) For the background I used some scrappy patchwork which reminds me of the 1970’s.

Olfa Quilting Tools : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The flying geese are yellow because – well Olfa = Yellow!

Olfa Quilting Tools : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Happy 35th Birthday Olfa! 🙂


  1. 1

    Janet Moilanen says

    Congratulations Olfa! You’re the best – I’ve tried ‘the other’ brand and it doesn’t measure up. Love your Geese block, Faith!

  2. 2

    Suzanne Mooney says

    When I first started quilting, about a year ago, I just kinda went and bought anything, usually the cheaper the better, and figured that everything was the same, right? Well, a year older and a year wiser, I will never use any other rotary cutter except for Olfa. I got my Aqua and turquoise cutter recently and it is just the best! As always, great job on your block.

  3. 3

    diane says

    when I started quilting a ruler, pencil and scissors were the norm and I am so glad that has changed!

  4. 6


    Congrats to Olfa. I think that the rotary cutter is one of the most important inventions in quilting history. It was an important factor to the revitalization of quilting. Thanks for sharing your block. As always, your block is inspiring. Thanks.

  5. 7


    Your post is the best and rotary cutters are the BEST! Can you imagine cutting accurately without the a rotary cutter? They make a quilters life so much easier. Your block is great.

  6. 8

    Anne Burden says

    I use my cutters all the time, great invention. You will be surprised by how much you now use your rotary board. I have had one for a couple of years and now wonder what I did without it. It makes for ease and accuracy. Going to make your block. Thanks for sharing.

  7. 10


    I only use Olfa(tried the other and didn’t like it at all) and I have several of their products. I do love my turning mat a lot! My favorite cutter of theirs is the one you squeeze the handle and the cutter is ready.

  8. 13

    Kristi says

    My first quilt was made with templates cut from cereal boxes and scissors. Thank heavens for rotary cutters and self healing mats.
    I love Olfa products. (And your quilt block is wonderful!)

  9. 14


    I am on a big flying geese kick so I love your block. I have a 12.5 in rotating mat and love it but wish I had one a bit bigger so it would make squaring up 12.5 inch blocks easier. Happy birthday Olfa.

  10. 15

    Linda Crawford says

    Congrats to Olfa. I LOVE my 12 inch rotating cutting board, I used it when I did a big paper piecing project and it worked great. I carry it back and forth to Florida because I use it so much. Love you block too.

  11. 16

    lindsey s. says

    i am loving that little rotary cutter right now! i am using it to cut out tiny farmer’s wife pieces along with a rotating mat. perfection 🙂 happy birthday olfa!

  12. 17

    Sharon says

    I remember when the first cutters came out. I have a quilt that I cut out 1,500 pieces with scissors and templates and then hand quilted it. What a difference olfa and a sewing machine makes.

  13. 18


    I was wishing I had one of those rotating mats last night. i need to splurge and get one. Olfa makes the best stuff, I know I won’t regret it!

  14. 19


    This is a really cute block! Great choices! I do have one of those small size rotary cutters and it is absolutely great for cutting curves. I sew a lot of bags, so it really comes in handy. I have one of the little rotating cutting mats, too, but haven’t made a big quilt since I purchased it. I’m really looking forward to it when it come time to trim blocks, though 🙂

  15. 20

    Pam from CA says

    I started in quilting when you either tore your fabric in strips or used a template and traced the design and then cut with scissors. I re-entered quilting in a big way in 2003 with all the great new tools!! I have been quilting ever since! I love Olfa products and have the rotating mat..love it!!

  16. 23

    Diane B says

    Thanks for the history lesson on Olfa…couldn’t quilt or sew w/o them!
    Your 3.5″ block in honor their 35th is very retro…70’s indeed!

  17. 27

    Karen Shackleford says

    That’s a great block, and the yellow is perfect. Gonna have to try out that spinning cutting mat. Olfa rocks!

  18. 28


    I love my Olfa mat and cutter as well. I think that you get what you pay for with many things. And given you use them soooooo much, it seems silly not to put good money there. Now you have the rotating mat you just need some bloc locs now and your geese making experience will be magic!

  19. 29

    Carolaj says

    Our family was stationed in England 35 years ago – military. My best friend from San Diego sent me a funny “pizza wheel” and mat. I didn’t know what to do with them until we got back to the States. I don’t know how we did without the rotary cutter.

  20. 33


    I started quilting forty years ago. In “the day” we drafted patterns on drawing boards, then drew out each piece to scale by hand and added seam allowances before creating cardboard templates. We traced these with pencil and cut out our pieces with scissors. I knew nothing else. I took a 25 year break from quilting and was terrified of the new cutters, but I gave one a try and I haven’t looked back. Yea for the new technology that I enjoy in my second act in fibers.

  21. 38

    Mary D says

    I started using Olfa products back in the late 80’s or early 90″s and have stuck with the brand all this time.

    What would we do without the rotary cutter? I shudder to think about it. 🙂

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