Monday, December 3, 2012

die cutting love...

I've posted before about my affection for fabric die cutters. Cutting is tedious, slow and often painful. Since I'm more interested in choosing colors, love classic geometric shapes, "made" fabric, strips and scrap quilts, these are just the most amazing tools. They are fantastic for making applique shapes as well. Once you practice, there is little waste. The speed and ease of the process gets you sewing.

I wanted to write about Ebony Love's new book "The Big Little Book of Fabric Die Cutting Tips". It is just superb. In it, she discusses how to choose a cutter and the pros and cons of each model for every budget. Also included are info-packed chapters on cutting mats, dies, fabric prep (paper and leather too) and even sewing tips. There is literally no other written resource on this subject. An engineer by profession, Ebony writes clearly and conscisely and in a very engaging style. She has also pioneered something called the EDeN System (Equivalent Die Notation) which translates conventionally written patterns into instructions for the die cutter no matter which brand you own. For each rotary cut shape, the EDeN System tells you which die number from each company to use. This is often more confusing to figure out than it sounds. If you are thinking of buying a fabric cutter, are hoping for one as a gift or already own one, this book is truly invaluable.

On a related note, I've been obsessed with the Rose Dream block ever since I saw "Mrs. Schmenkman's" glorious version here :

Since I didn't really quilt at the time, I enlisted a more experienced friend to help make a few of these blocks. Homemade templates and even some poorly cut laser ones purchased online were a disaster to work with. The process was so inaccurate and time consuming that we shelved the project before it really started. Was thrilled to discover that Sizzix recently produced a die for this block! As an added bonus it also makes a Drunkard's Path one too...

With this die and the cutter, it will take longer to choose fabrics than to cut out all these complicated pieces. At 8-10 layers of fabric with each pass, the whole quilt will be cut perfectly and ready to sew in a couple of hours. Right now, Denyse Schmidt's "Chicopee" is the front runner but am open to suggestions. Now if UPS would only deliver a Christmas gift order soon, I can go beyond front door hearing range and into my studio to get started...


  1. Isn't it great! I jus received mine last week and I've made my first test block. I sew without pins and it's a bit tricky getting the seams to line up when you sew the two halves of the block together - but it can be done. Here's a photo of mine:

    1. Oh your block is gorgeous... I can't wait to see your finished quilt!

  2. Thanks for the great book review! Glad you're enjoying it. :)