Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stars in the Making with My AccuQuilt Go! Baby Cutter

Ever since I discovered the world of quilting, I have loved the LeMoyne Star block but I could do without the template cutting and set-in seams that accompany it! This LeMoyne Star block from one of my antique quilts features one of my favorite color palettes.


So when the AccuQuilt team so kindly sent me a Go! Baby Cutter and my choice of three dies to try out, I knew which one I wanted to experiment with first.


I selected the Sparkle-Diamonds die by Sarah Vedeler (pictured above). I was impressed by its versatility and its many creative possibilities beyond just diamonds. It might look like just a block of foam but this single die (below) cuts three different sizes of diamonds—small, medium, and large! What a perfect solution for cutting those pesky LeMoyne Star templates.


Cutting diamonds is quick and easy with this time-saving tool. Just open up the fabric cutter...


Then place the die on the cutter with the foam side up. Cut a piece of fabric (or multiple pieces—you can cut up to 6 layers at once on the Go! Baby) to fit the size of your die. Then place the fabric on top of the die.


Place the cutting mat over the fabric...


Then push the die, fabric, and mat firmly against the roller, turning the handle as you go.


And voila! You have perfectly-cut diamonds. This die cuts 6 small diamonds, 4 medium diamonds, and 1 large diamond per fabric layer. If you only wanted to cut one size of the diamonds, you can just position the fabric over that portion of the die, but I wanted to cut all of them—you'll see why later in this post!


I cut 6 layers of fabric at once, giving me a total of 66 pieces in a matter of minutes (see photo below)! That's enough to make three LeMoyne Star blocks using the medium diamonds. Can you imagine how much longer it would take if you cut these all by hand? Plus, the cuts are so effortlessly precise with the Go! Baby.


With this new die and fabric cutter in hand, I thought it would be fun to make a smaller variation on my Northern Glory quilt (inspired by Civil War history) that I designed as few years ago. While I hand pieced the original, I decided to instead appliqué my blocks for this project to save time. First I sewed together 8 diamond shapes to create one LeMoyne Star and made a total of 6 stars—all in my favorite color scheme of pink and brown (one of them is MIA in this photo).


Then I simply appliquéd them to a background fabric using a small blanket-stitch on my sewing machine. If you didn't want your stitches to show, you could use invisible thread (as suggested by heirloom machine quilting expert Harriet Hargrave in her Mastering Machine Appliqué book) but I like the subtle stitching detail.


Here's the finished block in a fraction of the time it would normally take to make.


And here's my downsized version of Northern Glory—the quilt top was made in less than a day. All of the blocks are made with the medium diamonds, and the four small border cornerstones are made with the small diamonds (which create a tiny 3-inch LeMoyne Star).  UPDATE: MY LITTLE QUILT WILL BE FEATURED IN A FUTURE QUILT CALENDAR!

I even found a use for the large diamonds! As a pincushion designer, I love to experiment with new designs. So I couldn't resist making a fun star pincushion with some of the new Summer House by Lily Ashbury fabrics from Moda. I just loved its fresh palette of florals, paisleys, and stripes.


I embellished the star points with some pom-poms and my pincushion was complete! This one is already on its way to a new home but finished ones and a pattern will be available very soon. I will keep you updated! UPDATE: MY PINCUSHION WILL BE FEATURED IN A FUTURE EDITION OF THE MODA BAKE SHOP!

As you can see, this die is incredibly versatile. I feel like I've only scratched the surface of its creative possiblilities. For more information on this die and many more, go to www.accuquilt.com. And stay tuned for more creative ideas with this fun tool in the coming weeks, plus a special giveaway starting next week on my blog made possible by the AccuQuilt team.

One of my lucky followers will win her (or his) very own Go! Baby fabric cutter and choice of three dies! The giveaway will be open to my international friends as well.