Oct 21 12

Ebony Love's The Big Little Book of Fabric Die Cutting Tips and a Give-Away!

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)

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  1. Karen in Breezy Point Says:

    I’m new to die cutting, so this book looks like a must have! I think I need to find a hexagon die and an apple core.

  2. The Big Little Blog Book Tour at Patsy Thompson Designs « LoveBug Studios Says:

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  3. Virginia Says:

    I just purchased a die cutting machine and have downloaded the EDeN chart. I now need to decided what dies to purchase and how best to use them when quilting.

  4. VickiT Says:

    My husband surprised me and had an Accuquilt Go delivered to me over a year ago (or was it more?hmmm). I was super excited and while I don’t have a lot of the dies yet, I love using what I do have and look forward to getting many more. I love what I’ve seen so far about Ebony’s book and am very much looking forward to having my own copy, whether I win or buy one. Your post today convinced me even more, as if I needed more convincing. lol

    I knew about the marking of the actual cutting areas with the silver Sharpie already, but I did not know about marking the sizes like you’ve shown. What a great idea. This just tells me there is MUCH more I can learn from her book than I can imagine.

    My biggest concern I have is how best to utilize my fabrics so I am not wasting them while cutting my shapes. I’m sure she’s given awesome tips on that in her book so I’m very much looking forward to reading this book.

    Thank you for the great info you have shown from her book. What you’ve shown will help even more.

  5. Lynda Says:

    I’ve learned so much on this blog hop already and am so happy that you are a part of it. After I write this comment I’m headed for your store to see your dies. Thanks as always for great inspiration!!!

  6. MarciaW Says:

    Thanks for the insight into the valuable tips you’ve learned from Ebony’s new book.

  7. B Hunter Says:

    Ebony has also been very active on an Accu-Quilt Yahoo Group and has shared many tips there. I’m still playing around… with my cutter, not very serious yet… but getting there. Love your dies, too.

  8. emmy Says:

    I have the Go and would like more mulitple dies of geometric shapes (like the strip cutters). Have marked with the silver sharpie, but not the cut fabric size; what a time saver. I’m really enjoying the blog and the book is a must have. Thank you for the giveaway.

  9. Kelly Grace Says:

    Would love to get this book, still not using my Go to it’s full potential.

  10. Bev L. Says:

    I’m just starting with my Baby Go so really do need this book too.
    Would like to get the chisel die next.

  11. Debbie Fick Says:

    It’s great to learn new tried and true things!

  12. Lovie Ball Says:

    Already ordered this book, so Don’t include me in the giveaway. Just wanted to say that I love your flower appliques.

  13. Joyce Mitchell Says:

    I’m still struggling with getting my Go to cut to the correct size. Thanks for the chance to win this new book, which I hope will help me.

  14. Ebony Love Says:

    Joyce, feel free to email me if you’re having problems and I will try to help. There are definitely some tips for helping you to get your dies to cut accurately, but you don’t have to wait for the book if you need help now. 🙂

  15. The Big Little Blog Book Tour at The Peony Teacup « LoveBug Studios Says:

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  16. Linda E in AZ Says:

    I especially like the die cutters for applique shapes which would be very difficult (or impossible) to cut by hand.
    thanks for the tips!

  17. Lesly Says:

    I’m so looking forward to Ebony’s book to help me get the most out of my BigShot pro. I’m especially looking forward to learning about the EDEN system, since the information on the various manufacturers’ websites are so confusing. No being sure of the final finished size of the patch has stopped me from hitting the purchase button more than once.

  18. Pat Says:

    First, I love both patsy thompson and ebony, two tremendous ladies. The BSP and die cutting has allowed me to focus what little time I have, on the sewing end of quilting, and not getting so hung up on cutting. I’d like to see, if it is physically possible with a BSP, a 11-12 inch strip die, so that it can be used to cut 11-12 inch squares (so I can finally get Patsy’s feather die – oh man I still want, want that one..). I do not need the free book, as I ordered Ebony’s book on 10-1-2012 – first day it was orderable. But, if I do win it, I will be giving that copy to a guild member who recently had surgery for carpel tunnel syndrome, and she needs to move her cutting method to die cutting. I also plan to share my book among guild members at meetings to spread the word about the magic of die cutting (in my presence of course – no loans or I’d never get my book back!).

  19. MoeWest Says:

    I think die cutters are great for cutting curved shapes accurately. I don’t have a cutter yet, so I think I must read Ebony’s advice before my purchase.

  20. Maria Angeloni Says:

    I just got my first die cutting machine and I have an embroidery machine. I LOVE using them together and would love to see more Baltimore style patterns especially with a holiday theme, like Christmas. Thanks for going through these details to make newbies like me so much more comfortable in trying these.

  21. Bonnie Larson Says:

    I am tossing around the idea of purchasing a die cutter and Ebony’s book looks like it will help steer me in the right direction with which one would fit my needs best. thanks for the opportunity on the draw

  22. Cyn in S Calif Says:

    Wow, this sounds like a must-have-book. Thanks for op to throw my name in the hat to win Ebony’s book.
    I am just beginning in the die-cut adventure. I need a diecut machine for the intricate applique that I want to do. These old hands can no longer make the detailed cuts necessary for the shapes I like to make. Also, I think diecutting a bazillion leaves is more appealing than trying to do them by hand.
    Just ordered my Sizzix and can’t wait for it to arrive. Thanks again.

  23. The Big Little Blog Book Tour at Hey Quilty! « LoveBug Studios Says:

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  24. betsy Says:

    Thank you for the chance Patsy. Looks like a great book to have,

  25. The Big Little Blog Book Tour at Bejeweled Quilts « LoveBug Studios Says:

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  26. Sally Says:

    Thanks for chance at the book.

  27. Nancy B from Many LA Says:

    I love your ideas – and that’s what interests me about die cutting – trying shapes!

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  29. Michelle Harrison Says:

    What a great addition to the modern quilter’s library.

  30. The Big Little Blog Book Tour at Insights From SewCalGal « LoveBug Studios Says:

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  31. Janice in CA Says:

    I’m just getting started with my Sissix cutter. Patsy, several months ago you responded to me with great thoughts on purchasing a die cutter. Your generous help encouraged me to make the purchase along with several of your dies. I like the curved and detailed designs that I would have difficulty cutting accurately. I am having loads of fun, but have a lot more to learn.

  32. suzanne urban Says:

    I’m very interested in purchasing a fabric die-cutting machine but don’t know which one to purchase, this book would help educate me and sounds like a wonderful reference.

    Thank you.

    Suzanne Urban

  33. quiltchick Says:

    I have been thinking I need a dye cutter after seeing several quilters use them in various ways. This book would be really good to have before I make my purchase.

  34. The Big Little Blog Book Tour at The Crafty Gemini « LoveBug Studios Says:

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  35. Maria Carroll Says:

    Hi Pat, boy you’ve got the juices flowing in me now! I sure wish your dies would work with the
    ACCuquilt GO! I love applique but hate cutting all those pieces out. Yes Accuquilt has some fantastic designers that are designing cutters but having you on the team would blow Accuquilt out of the water! so looking forward too either winning Ebonys book or purchasing it! Thanks again!

  36. arlene ritz Says:

    I have used die cutters at school for paper but never for fabric. Thanks so much for sharing Ebony’s video. I think this book would be a wonderful addition to any library.

  37. SewLindaAnn Says:

    I bought an Go Baby, and what I’d like to learn is how to waste less. I’ve also been thinking I might need a larger one and was thinking of the Big Kick Sizzix. Your work is awesome by the way!

  38. Anda Says:

    I just got an Accuquilt GO and during the demo noticed a fair amount os wasteage which concerns me! awolk at rogers dot com

  39. Carla G Says:

    I’m interested in die cutting because you get the perfect cut every time. You don’t have to worry about the pieces being different sizes. And it’s much faster than cutting them all by hand. I’m looking into getting a die cutter. 🙂

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  41. Connie L Says:

    I purchased my Sizzix BigShot and my first die from Patsy Thompson Designs so that I could create your embroidered applique wreath. I learned so much from that project and I had so much fun creating that beautiful design!

    Ebony’s book will help me as I progress. I’ve been experimenting on my own….but I need some direction! Thank you for the opportunity.

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  45. Paulette S Says:

    Hi Patsy, I’m hoping to learn how to use my dies for quilting. I’m a traditional crafter, turned paper crafter. I’m a total die-0-holic. I learned a few years ago, how to paper piece and made a ton of blocks for a nautical throw. In my excitement of finding patterns and not feeling they were of sufficient size, I blew some of them up on my computer/printer. This gave me a complete block and stopped me in my tracks. Now all of the blocks are different sizes and I have no idea how to put them together. LOL I’m hoping to get a spare room cleaned out and dedicated to a sewing space. I had that once, years ago, for a brief time and I miss it so much. So, I’m looking for basics. Thanks for a chance to win Ebony’s book. I

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