Friday, March 15, 2024

Accu Quilt - Shortcut for Prepping Quilts?

Friends With AccuQuilt....  Benefits?

 Y'all have heard of AccuQuilt, the ultimate fabric cutting system.  What is it?  Why would I want it, and it and is it worth the money?  The AccuQuilt is a fabric die cutting system designed to make quilting easier and more enjoyable by providing a safe and efficient way to cut perfect pieces, every time.

I have been a prolific quilter since the late 1970's.  That was BEFORE rotary cutting blades, rulers  and cutting mats.  My mom, who was NOT a quilter, was cutting 4" squares of double knit polyester for her churches Missionary Society. They could launder those polyester fabrics a gazillion times and the colors would never fade.

In the late 1980's, my dad was going through chemo, and we needed something for him to do.  I found a four inch square (Olfa if I remember).  I purchased a rather expensive (at the time) rotary cutter and mat for my folks to cut these four inch poly squares.   Oh, I forgot to purchase (probably because I didn't have the money) for a ruler.  No problem.  Dad was using a METAL yard stick to cut those squares!  What do you think happened to those blades?  Yousa...  I do have one of the quilts that my folks made.  It is mostly made of squares of sheets and other unknown fabric contents.....Love it though my mom didn't want to make quilts since she grew up with them.


So, where does AccuQuilt come in?  There are three parts you need – the fabric cutter, the die and the corresponding die mat. Each die has very sharp steel blades that form the shape to be cut. The blades are surrounded by foam so that you can run your hand over the die and not be hurt. To use the die, lay your fabric layers on top of the die, foam side up, then lay a mat on top of the fabric.  Run it through the machine. When the die is run through the cutter, the system compresses the foam, forcing the blades to cut through the fabric  layers and into the mat. Remove the mat to reveal perfectly cut fabric shapes. 

Three Parts To The AccuQuilt System:

The Fabric Cutter

Scissors and rotary cutters are so old school. AccuQuilt state-of-the-art fabric die cutting systems are accurate, effortless, and 90% faster!  For specialty cuts, this will rock your quilting world. I have owned the AccuQuilt systems many times over the past 20 years.  Usually, what happens is that I have the system set up in my shop, and a customer comes in and insists I sell my set up to them.  Have to admit this has happened many times. 

I have been using the Electric Go Big!  for the last several years.  At some point I am just going to bite the bullet and get the Studio 2 professional cutter, which will let you cut up to ten layers of fabric. My 'expert' opinion is to purchase the largest cutter you can afford.  You will be able to use most every die with it.

The Die

Perfect quilts start with perfect cuts. The die collection lets you get to the creative process in a flash. No more tedious measuring or cutting by hand. Just place several layers of fabric and cut! Layer the die, fabric, and cutting mat, and get an impeccable shape each time.  Note that the smaller dies can be used on ALL cutters.  The larger dies cannot be used on the smaller GO cutters.

The Cutting Mat

The cutting mats are made specifically for your AccuQuilt machine.  It's weird, they go on TOP of the die, instead of underneath your ruler and fabric.  The mats can be used hundreds of times before needing to be replaced.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Put A Lable On It - Labeling your Quilt Project

Why You Should Label Your Quilt

So, as someone who has been quilting not only for myself, but others since around 1978, I have written several articles about putting a label on your quilt.  Do you have a favorite quilt that you've had since you were a baby?  Maybe you are lucky enough to sleep under a quilt that your grandmother made.  Do you know when that quilt was made?  Or why you now have it?   A quilt label will tell generations to come why this quilt is important.

Label for Julia, pieced by Aunt Laurie,
quilted by Grandma Baker

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Fidget Sensory Quilt for Dementia and Alzheimers Patients

Making Fidget Quilts for Dementia Patients

Have you heard of a Fidget Quilt? These are lap quilts, usually the size of an oversized place-mat. They are most successful with varied textures for patient to feel, and things to open and close to keep hands busy. 

The idea is to provide things for the Alzheimer's or dementia patient to 'fiddle' with, and give them something to do with their hands, and just maybe stimulate their mind. Most of these processes will be a 'memory muscle' type activity. These are things you do without thinking about it because you have done it so many times over the years, that you just know how to do it. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

When Fabric Bleeds

OK, fabric quality has really improved over the years, but one thing still happens with surprising regularity… fabrics will bleed!  What does that mean?  That really dense dark blue or dark red fabric you used, and when it is laundered, the colors run in to the surrounding blocks.  OMG..  What happened?

fabric color bleed
Fabric color bleed

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

10 Ways to Cut a Fat Quarter

How many of us have a huge pile of fat quarters that you don't know what to do with? You can cut these fat quarters into the popular pre-cuts that fabric shops are offering to make quilts and use them that way.  Popular sizes are  layer cakes (10" squares), charm packs (5" squares), and jelly rolls (2 5" x 44" strips).

As most of you know, fat quarters are a quarter of a yard. But, instead of cutting 9" the width of the fabric (WOF*), it is 18" cut WOF, then that is cut in half. In other words, this is a half yard cut in half lengthwise and then crosswise. The fat quarter should be approximately 18" x 22".

If you are lucky and get a fat quarter from someone who thinks in 'meters' instead of 'yards' you will get a few extra inches in your fat quarter.

*WOF - Width of Fabric

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Best Irons For Quilting - Reviewed By A Quilter

Whether you are a 'new' or an 'experienced' quilter, you need a reliable iron for your quilting projects.  Trying to figure out which one to invest in is not always easy.  Balancing how much to spend versus quality will help you determine 'the best tool for the job'.

In the early days, I used to buy the cheapest iron I could find at a box store like Wally World or other box stores.  I figured if I got a years worth of use out it, it was money was well spent  (OK, this was usually because they quit working after being knocked on the floor several times...).  I did 'a little' ironing clothes for work, but mostly for ironing in my quilting projects, and happily letting the young kiddos help me with ironing, resulting in many mishaps with the iron.