Friday, August 13, 2010

"Summer Fun" Notebook Challenge Quilt

My big gift for Christmas last year was a Cricut electronic cutting machine. Have enjoyed the various paper related projects I've been making with it--love the accuracy of the cutting and the ability to manipulate shapes by size and orientation. When my DH gave it to me, he said he thought it could be used with fabric and I could use it in my quilting. Sweeter words were never spoken!

First, felt I needed to become familiar with how to use the machine with paper before I could start working with fabric. Then, after six months of practicing (and a smidgen of procrastination) the perfect project came along--a notebook quilt challenge with Love Apples Quilters. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally try fabric with the Cricut.

There really isn't much written about how to use fabric in a Cricut machine on the internet. What little I did read suggested ironing on fusible adhesive and using the paper as a stabilizer, putting it on the sticky mat, placing it into the machine and cutting away. Well, it doesn't really work that way. Found that sewable fusible peels away too easily from the backing, although did work on simple shapes. Peeling off the backing and then placing the fabric directly onto the sticky board didn't work because the sewable fusible doesn't provide enough stability. So, in a final attempt, I used heavy duty fusible on the fabric and placed it directly onto the mat and had success! (Took me five attempts to get the word "Summer" to cut correctly due to it's curlicue style. It felt really good to conquer that hurdle!!)

In addition to using heavy duty fusible, it was necessary to slow the cutting down to a minimum, increase the pressure and blade length (used it set on 4).

After learning a few of the secrets of using fabric on the Cricut, thought it would be a great project to test out using textile glitter to add a little sparkle in the lightening bugs' tales and on the flag of the sandcastle.

Here's how it turned out:

Notebook Quilt (8 1/2 inches by 11 inches) using "Stretch Your Imagination" cartridge

The little guy in the lower left corner is a cricket in his grasshopper pajamas--our girls are very concerned that crickets are black and grasshoppers are green, but a black cricket wouldn't have shown up on such a dark background. You have to love their desire for accuracy!

This little project, learning curve included, took me about a day to complete. Would love to make one for every season and am working on some more layouts.

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