Tools in my toolbox

silhouetteLast year I was working on an art quilt that required a lot of intricate cutting (you can see it on my home page – www.nanettesewz.com ). I couldn’t find scissors sharp enough to make the tiny cuts, so it took a long time to remove all the unwanted fabric. Before I could even cut the fabric, I had to draw the design onto paper and then trace it to my cloth. Tedious, to say the least. I was talking (actually kind of whining about it) to the owner at my LQS and he told me about the Cameo Silhouette.

The Silhouette is a plotter similar to what engineers use, but a home version made for crafters. It allows me to send a line drawing from my computer into the plotter.  From there the machine can “draw” the lines for me. The lines can be made using a variety of tools from pens, embossers, or cutting blades. I bought the machine for its cutting possibilities.silhouette_trio

myrtletrioMy first attempts at cutting didn’t go well and I was quite frustrated. I knew I needed a significant amount of time to figure things out, but couldn’t find the time to devote to it. Over a year after buying the machine, I found time this week. Following a couple of hours of fiddling with the computer software, my fabric and cutting blades, I finally figured out my major issues: 1) use the correct fusible stabilizer and 2) use a sharp cutting blade!!! Magic!

Just to prove the point that it would work for me, I’m remaking the quilt that got me started on this mission. In the photos you’ll see the tiny little cuts that were made by my Silhouette as it outlined the lines of my tree branch drawing onto my batik fabric. When the machine was finished tracing the lines using the cutting blade, all I had to do was remove the unwanted pieces of fabric. Amazing! I’m pretty excited about this. Just one more tool in my toolbox.

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