Oct 21 12
Welcome to my stop on the blog hop to celebrate Ebony’s soon-to-be released book! (It’s available next month!!) If you’re not familiar with my blog, I am a a longtime quilter who really loves free motion quilting and I do a lot of fusible applique. My life changed a couple of years ago when I began using die cutting to create many of my applique shapes. Honestly, it revolutionized my life because die cutting applique shapes is very fast and very exact. I even ended up coming out with my own line of cutting dies, called Appli-K-Kutz dies, so I could cut the kinds of applique shapes that weren’t otherwise available to me. All of these things conspired to turn me into an applique die-cutting maniac! You’d think that after spending untold hours with my Big Shot, I was pretty good about working efficiently, but after I read Ebony’s book, The Little Big Book of Fabric Die Cutting Tips, I learned some new tips to streamline my work. Let me give you just one example of a tip that has saved me hours in my current project.
I’m currently developing some different flower designs that are created by combining different shapes from 2 different cutting dies. In testing different machine embroidered applique files, I end up stitching many, many blocks of different flowers to figure out what works and what doesn’t work:
(At this point, I’ve probably stitched at least 6 times the number of blocks as shown in this pile!) This means I need to cut lots of different shapes in different fabrics. Normally, this would not be a big deal, but in this project, it’s very confusing because I’m working with 2 dies that each hold multiple shapes in various sizes:
To give you a sense of how confusing this can be, one combination of some of these shapes results in Flower C below:
while flower A is created using other shapes on these same 2 dies:
…and this doesn’t even mention the other flowers that are created by using other combinations! Until I read Ebony’s book, the way I’d work was to first “soap” a die to make it easier to see the edge lines:
…and then I’d hold a ruler over a shape to determine the size of fabric pieces I’d need to cut. I kept all these “cheat sheets” on my work table to help keep me focused:
I was constantly checking and rechecking and frankly, it was dizzying! Enter Ebony’s book, and I regained my sanity! One of the first things she recommended was to permanently mark your dies using a Sharpie marker:
…eureka, I could see again!! But wait, that was only the beginning! Ebony recommended marking the required size for the fabric pieces by the shapes. I’m going to show you my first example on another die only because it’s easier to understand:
The 2 dies that I’m using right now have many small shapes, so it gets a bit more crowded, but it still works:
…and for those kind of crowded dies, you can also mark the backside so you have a quick reference if you can’t decipher your own scribble:
This tip was pure genius to me and has saved me loads of time on this project, and will save me time with future projects as well! I share this story to let you know that this book has great information for a seasoned die cutter as well as a quilter who’s just dipping a toe into the die cutting pond, trying to figure out how these systems work and to figure out which machine might best fill his/her needs. The bottom line is that you’re not going to find any single source of fabric die cutting information out there that will rival this book!
I hope I’ve got you interested in reading this book because I’m holding a give away of a free copy of this book (winner pays shipping). All you need to do to enter is to leave a comment to this post by no later than 12:01 am eastern time on 11/22/12. In that comment, please tell me what interests you about die cutting or what kinds of dies you’d love to see that don’t exist or what perplexes you about die cutting that you hope the book will answer. I never thought I’d get into cutting fabrics with dies, but I’m hoping this might change your quilting life just as it has changed mine!
And just so you know, Ebony has worked hard, really hard, to educate all of us quilters about die cutting in many ways. She has loads and loads of free video tutorials on YouTube that clearly show how to do all kinds of die cutting. If you’ve never seen one of her videos, check out my current favorite below:
And be sure to visit each and every blog on Ebony’s blog hop, as each of us has a different interest in fabric cutting with dies, and you may well find a new blog to follow. Here’s the whole lineup:
October 16th – Ebony Love, LoveBug Studios
October 17th – Jennifer Rodriguez, All Things Belle
October 18th – Marjorie Busby, Marjorie’s Quilting Bee
October 19th – Michelle Marr, Michelle’s Romantic Tangle
October 20th – Tammy Tutterow, Sizzix Blog
October 21st – Patsy Thompson, Patsy Thompson Designs-that’s me!
October 22nd – Tracy Rampling, The Peony Teacup
October 23rd – Mary Fons, Hey Quilty!
October 24th – Barb Gaddy, Bejeweled Quilts
October 25th – Katrina Chapman Kahn, Sunshower Quilts
October 26th – SewCal Gal, Insights from SewCalGal
October 27th – Vanessa Wilson, The Crafty Gemini
October 28th – Kelly Jackson, I Have a Notion
October 29th – Connie Campbell, Freemotion By the River
October 30th – Gene Black, An Alabama Quilter
October 31st – Ebony Love, LoveBug Studios
November 1st – Book Launch on Amazon! (but you can pre-order anytime)