Lesson Three: Rotary cutters and cutting mats

I was surprised by the details in this section. The authors talk about how to quickly and precisely cut fabric so that your piecing goes well and that this is something that beginners have difficulty with. There are some things I’ve learned – Make it a habit to close your cutter every time you lay it down!!! That’s an absolute must. Then, there’s a section on how to properly hold your cutter and I know that I haven’t been doing this properly so I’ll need to practice. They talk about maintaining your cutters. I’ve never really heard anyone talk about cleaning out your cutter when inserting a new blade. There are some good tips on cutting mats as well. I’m finding the idea of cutting on the non line side is going to be a new adventure. On to the rulers. I have several I have collected or were given to me. Big learning – Do not change brands of rulers in the middle of a project! This makes great sense to me. I did not realize rulers could be so widely varied in their measurements. Harriet and Carrie recommend a minimum of four rulers: the 12.5″ by 2.5″, the 4″ by 12″, the 6.5″ x 12″ and a 6.5 square. These are the bare bones and it’s interesting that I have so many rulers but not these sizes. Shopping time! =)

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Now you can see from my rulers, I have a bunch of stuck on paper taped to mark the lines I was cutting. I didn’t know there was something called Glow-Line Tape. I bought it to see if I like it. Also, I didn’t know that if you use a ruler the size that you need for cutting, you’re less likely to have the ruler slip. I know from the projects in the book that I already have problems with trying to keep my ruler from slipping. The tips in this section were worth the price of the book.

This video shows a different school of thought. I like the idea of power cutting and Nancy Roelfsema does a great job of demonstrating it. However, she never prewashes her fabric and she uses a hanging technique to get her grain lines aligned rather than tearing and straightening like Harriet and Carrie recommend.

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