Monday, June 6, 2016

Vinnie Loves Maude QAL Lesson #2, Cutting Tips - or Arriving at the Restaurant

The fabrics have been contemplated, assessed, reassessed, fondled, maybe rolled around in, whatever. We don't judge around here. (Oh who are we kidding? We judge. Just not about fabric lust.) As long as they are chosen and all piled up cute on your cutting table, you are ready to move on to the second part of the big blind date event - cutting all those pieces.

Yep. You've maybe looked at your pattern and seen three-figured numbers of how many of each whatever to cut, and it's entirely possible that you may have died just a little inside. Allow this post to serve as virtual CPR if necessary. I can't have my peeps keeling over on me before we've even set rotary blade to fabric!

My first tip for cutting may seem obvious, but I never assume anyone knows everything in my head (that would be scary for you, believe me). So here it is - Frequent Breaks, Augmented by Cocktail Hour. Seriously. To cut XXX squares of prints all in one sitting means you need a sitting. And most of us not only cut standing up, but have lives. So cut a few, then throw in a load of laundry. Cut a few more, go pick up a kid at some kid activity. Cut some more and reward yourself with an episode of Outlander. (Warning: some people cut in front of the TV, which is also a great tip, but I don't recommend it with Outlander due to possibly missing a Jamie shirtless moment.) Cut a bunch of lime fabrics then a bunch of limes for gin and tonics. You get it. Stagger the cutting and it won't make you want to strangle me quite so much. I like breathing, so I appreciate it.
This is about half of my prints. Then it was time for something a little less mind numbing.
 A tool I find invaluable for cutting squares en masse from strips is the Shape Cut. I've had mine forever and honestly it's one of those tools that I don't use frequently as I don't use strips frequently, but when I do use it, it is almost like I can hear angels singing. Especially if you've chosen a single fabric background for your quilt, I highly recommend giving it a whirl and at least all of those pieces will be cut really quickly.

Video from youtube. It isn't me, in case the fabric didn't give that away.
 


So that's all well and good. But what if you are NOT cutting from strips, as may well be the case the scrappier you are going with your palette? And especially if your scraps, like mine, are all sorts of shapes and sizes?

Actually the shape cut still works pretty well. Sure there will be some waste when you start off with odd shaped pieces, but it still cuts down on some of the measuring and moving around of rulers.

This video is actually me. God help us all, but here we go.



Finally, as far as making the cutting go faster, my final tip is using some precuts for the prints, even though as most of you know I'm not a huge fan of "line-y" quilts, ie quilts made from a single fabric line. However the ease of cutting the prints from jelly rolls, charm squares, or layer cakes may make up for it for you as you slice and dice your way to piles of squares. Make the quilt less "Granimal-ly" (another of my fun made up adjectives, harkening back to the matchy matchy Granimal children's clothing line of the 1970s) by adding other fabrics to the mix that share the same colors, but are decidedly different in tone or value or scale or all three, and you've "Scrap Slapped" it like I always love.

Yardage to the left of me, precuts to the right...here I am, stuck in cutting hell with you.

Another thing to consider when cutting the prints for this project is scale. With smaller and medium scaled fabrics, you shouldn't have to think too hard to get a nice looking square cut that makes sense, but those larger scale prints might be a little more complicated. Just cutting in strips you risk losing some of the fun of the print.

 My advice is to go ahead and fussy cut. Find some motifs that look great centered or slightly off centered or whatever and cut a few holes in your yardage. Don't worry about waste if you love the fabric. As my husband says of just about anything, and it definitely applies to fabric "They make more." And even more importantly, as designer Amy Friend says of fussy cutting, "If the fabric does what you want it to in the design, nothing has been wasted." She is a wise woman.
I personally just use my clear square rulers to fussy cut. It's close enough to fussy for me. Some people prefer to make a "window" dealie out of cardstock or some other heavy paper lying around the house and use it to audition motif areas. Either way. It's a great technique for cutting down large scales into something pretty and both workable and eye-catching in this pattern.

I hope a few of these little tricks and tips may help you in the cutting process. I know it's involved, and honestly there isn't much I can do to help you other than to make sure you know I'm over here, cheering you on as your piles of cut fabrics get bigger! Finally, remember, I never required you to make the lap/twin version when you signed on to the QAL, so if you are feeling overwhelmed, make a goal of enough blocks for a table runner at first. If you feel like you can keep going, add four more and you've got the baby sized version. Then go on from there. I really do find breaking up the cutting and sewing does wonders for my attitude! Maybe it will for you too!

I'll see you back on June 14 when we fire up those machines and get going with the piecing!



6 comments:

Susan Hartley said...

Beth, I live the way your sense if humor comes through in this post. Yes, cutting can be a osin but you have managed to bring some laughter into the process. Thank you!

Susan Hartley said...

Beth, I live the way your sense if humor comes through in this post. Yes, cutting can be a osin but you have managed to bring some laughter into the process. Thank you!

Allison CB said...

COUNT ME IN FOR THE GIN AND TONIC! LOL

Carrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pricillaprecise said...

I am chuffed to have come across this post -
have scraps (odd shapes),
have a June Tailor ruler (only ever thought to do strips before!),
have a plan for a 4-Patch table runner -
So these videos came just at the right time for me!
Margaret

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