Appli-K-Kutz Fabric Cutting Dies are Now Available!!

April 29th, 2011

If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know that my quilting life took an exciting twist last fall when I discovered how quickly and easily I could cut intricate applique shapes using my Sizzix machine. I can’t put into words just how much fun I’ve had playing with my machine and the fact that I can do all this work so quickly and easily is icing on the cake! I am very excited to tell you that we are now offering our own line of fabric cutting dies, called “Appli-K-Kutz” dies. These are designed for use in fusible applique and raw edge wool applique. Here’s a preview of our initial die offering:

This is my personal favorite, the “Small Feather die.” It’s my favorite because this C-shaped feather can be arranged in all kinds of neat designs. You saw it above in the first quilt block and here is another example:

It also works beautifully to create feathered wreaths, as in the Night & Day quilt below:

…and these small feathers “nest” well together to create border designs. Here’s a short border example:

…and here you can see the border in action, in the “Amish Feathered Wreath” Quilt. (This pattern will also be available in the next couple of weeks):

Another great block made with these small feathers is seen in the Feather Reflections Quilt:

…and they also nest well together in circles:

These are just a few examples of some of the many ways to use that feather. Now let’s look at the Large Feather Die:

This S-shaped curve feather is also versatile. It nests well to create intricate border designs:

…and it works well to create ornate corner designs (shown here coupled with the “small straight feather” die):

It is also the basis for the complex-appearing quilt blocks featured in the “Dancing Feather Quilt” below (the pattern for this quilt will be available in the next couple of weeks):

That quilt blows me away because it looks complex, but since the machine cuts all those feathers for you, it’s a quickie to put together! This isn’t all you can do with the large feather die, but I’ve got to move on to some other dies or I’ll never finish writing this post! Here’s another one called the “Plume Family” Die:

This die is different from standard “plume” dies already on the market. It features 2 sizes of bi-lobed plumes, a one-sided short feather, and 2 sizes of small plumes and it allows you to create really ornate feathered wreaths like this one:

Isn’t that more of a girly-girl feathered wreath?! The nice part is you can make these wreaths in all kinds of sizes, just by altering the radius of the “spine circle”  from which you’ll flow your plumes. If you wanted to crank up that wreath complexity another notch, you can use the small teardrop shapes inside the plumes like this:

You also use this die to make the internal plumes in the complex feathered wreaths that use the small feather die:

In the above  photo, the smaller of the bi-lobed plumes was used for the internal wreath plumes, but know that you can also use the larger bi-lobed plume or the one-sided feather shape on that die for the internal plumes. (You’ll just need to reduce the number of plumes on the inside of the wreath for those.)  Could you also  throw in some of those small teardrop plumes in a contrasting color for a more interesting inner wreath?  You bet you can!   Any of the 3 larger shapes on this die make nice pinwheel blocks as well:

And here’s another feather die. This one is called the “Straight Feather, Small:”

This die can be used for basic kinds of quilt blocks:

…and you can also couple it with other shapes, like:

…or with one of the curved feather die shapes to create complex corner designs:

Now let’s move to some non-feather die designs. This first one is called “Poppies:”

You’re probably wondering what those 2 small shapes are for. Once the flowers are cut, the centers have a “negative space.” They’ll look cool when placed directly onto a background (as they’ll take on the color/pattern of the background fabric), but you can also use those small shapes to cut pieces that fill in those negative spaces with whatever color/pattern you wish. See below:

…and here they have been fused to the reverse side of the poppies:

(Those background shapes are cut just a tad larger than the negative spaces.) Now these poppy shapes can be used anyplace you’d like to use a flower. Here’s one block example:

…and here’s a companion block:

These are just a couple of examples of how you could use the poppy shapes, but anywhere that you could use a flower…think poppies! Next up is a really fun die that we call “Bird, Simple or Fancy:”

You can spend hours coming up with different combinations of design elements to create all kinds of birds, from basic birds to super-fancy birds! Here’s just a taste of ideas to whet your appetite:

That bird is pretty “white bread” if you ask me!Let’s start dressing him up, little by little:

That was pretty easy…all we did was add a second set of tail feathers and use that same set of feathers for a headdress! Now let’s crank it up a notch again:

Whoa!! Don’t you just love that tail swirl?!! That tail swirl can be used in other ways as well:

…all you need to do is snip of part of that swirl and it also makes a great headdress! Did you notice the tail feathers on that last bird? I substituted the one sided feather from the “Plume Family” die, just to show you that you can mix and match lots of these dies together. Now we can take this mixture even further by adding some of those teardrop plumes from the “Plume Family” die into the tail feathers:

…and for the fanciest bird of all, we mix the bird die with the small feather die and voila, we have our over-the-top fancy bird:

Wow! Now every die I’ve told you about so far is compatible with the Sizzix Big Shot machine. Now let me tell you about 2 more dies that are larger and require either the Sizzix Big Shot Pro or the Accuquilt Studio machines. First up is the “Straight Feather, Large” die:

This die is similar to the “Straight Feather, Small” die, but it’s bigger so it packs more punch! It can be used easily to create beautiful block designs like this one:

…and you can also use it to create beautiful flower blocks since it works well as a stylized stem design like this one:

And the last die I want to let you know about is the “8 1/2 inch feathered wreath’ die:

This die is for when you’re in a real hurry to create a wreath fast, because you can literally have a wreath ready to fuse in just a few cranks of your handle:

And if you’re in a mood to dress up that wreath just a little bit, you could throw in those small plume shapes from the “Plume Family die:

…or you could take that wreath over the top by adding those internal plumes to both the inner and outer rings of the wreath:

This wreath works really well in the “Feathers Jubilee” Quilt:

Here, those wreaths are coupled with “feather quartet” blocks created with the small straight feather die and this pattern will be available in the next couple of weeks.

Whew…this has been a long post but I wanted to give you some ideas and inspiration about some ways to use these applique dies. I’ve had a blast working with them for the last few months and I hope you do as well!

Amish Feathered Wreath Quilt

April 27th, 2011

I finished this quilt awhile ago but never got around to posting it. The center block is the same as the blocks in the Night and Day Quilt:

but this Amish quilt uses the feathers to create a border design as well. I also quilted this one a bit differently. When I showed a closeup of some feather in-lining on the Night and Day quilt like this:

Claire asked:

On close-up looks like you stitched inside and outside each plume design….did you break thread each time??? That would be an awful lot of thread breaks!!! But that’s what it looks like… hmmmmm…curious minds want to know.

When I quilted the Night & Day quilt, I free motion embroidered each of the feathers/plumes with Invisifil thread before the blocks were even pieced together, and then I stitched outside the feathers/plumes with invisible thread once the quilt was in the final quilt sandwich. My reasoning was that I thought it would make the feathers and plumes more prominent than if I’d waited and just stitched inside the applique edges once it was in the final quilt sandwich. I wasn’t too impressed with this effect, so when I stitched the Amish Feathered Wreath Quilt, I didn’t do anything until it was in the final quilt sandwich, and then I stitched just inside the applique shapes with Invisifil thread:

I think that photo shows me that my extra work wasn’t really worth the effort! Here are some other shots from this quilt:

Eye Candy for Quilters

April 22nd, 2011

I was able to spend about an hour working on a quilt that has been so much fun for me. I’ve got a long way to go on the quilting part of it, but here’s what the top looked like just after I’d finished spray basting it on my spray basting wall:

Many of the applique shapes were trapuntoed, and it’s always so much fun to see textures evolve as you go about quilting it:

You can see that the heart and the bird seem a bit “poofed up.” You may not be able to tell from this photo, but I used a thicker batting for the heart trapunto than I used for the birds. I really like how you can create different textural effects by doing something as simple as altering the loft of battings that you use. This next shot shows a smaller heart that’s also been trapuntoed:

I did a very poor job of satin stitching around that heart when I added the trapunto layer, so I ended up couching a heavy decorative yarn along the edge to cover my crummy work. Not only did it work, but I like the end heart much better! Here’s an off-kilter view of a block that features a “quartet of feathers:”

There’s no trapunto on that block, but I love it anyway! And last but not least, here’s a shot of one of the birds from the bottom panel. You can start to see how “poofed” up he is but I used a very low loft batting for him:

…and here’s his partner from that same block:

I’ll be sad when I finish this quilt; it’s been so nice to have it close by and to work on it!

“Feather Reflections” Quilt

April 18th, 2011

I feel as if I’m working 24 hours a day to get things done for Quilt Market, and yet, I am always waaayyy behind! This quilt is for another pattern. I made the top but only did a teeny tiny part of the quilting. I’ll show you my measly contribution when we get to that photo! This quilt was quilted by Chrystal Smythe of Long Arm Lyrics. She did a wonderful job! This is the 2nd quilt I sent to a long arm quilter to help me out with Quilt Market and I’m so glad that she and Lisa helped me out!

Here’s a closeup of the main blocks:

…I really like those feather applique blocks! My only contribution to the quilting was the trapuntoed 4-patch blocks:

…and they are my least favorite part of the quilt! I quilted the trapunto layer when it was a top and then outlined those feathered wreath parts with invisible thread once the rest of the quilting was done. (It turns out that most long armers don’t like using invisible threads because the high speed of the machine causes it to break. I never knew that before!) I really like the way she quilted the borders:

…and I like the design in those side-setting triangles as well! And before I go, here’s a look at how the corners are constructed:

Can you tell I love feathers?!

New Video Tutorial Up!

April 13th, 2011

I’m on the road so I don’t have much time to post, but I wanted to let you know that we posted a new video tutorial on the web site. You can find it on the homepage here.