Ooh Whee! Who doesn’t love a new toy? No one, that’s who.
I purchased a new toy. I’m a little excited, as depicted in this picture. A die cutting machine. A what? Yep, a die cutting machine. What in tarnation is that? Relax Francis and I’ll tell ya.
So, these die cutting machines are the newest gadget, thing-a-ma-jig, tool, whatever you like to call them, to wiggle their way into our hobby of quilting. They look like a home office printer (which is basically all they are) but in place of a inkjet cartridge is a slot where a tiny blade sits. It comes with a cutting mat. They have been the must have gadget in scrap booking and paper crafting for a while, but they are just peeking into our world of fabric.
I first saw them (this printer-type version anyway) a year ago at spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh. I was not sold on the particular model which I demoed at market, as you had to buy every shape you’d want to cut out – but I liked the concept and have waited in the wings until I saw one that I did like. So, fast forward a year and well, I took the plunge as you can plainly see and bought one of my very own to play upon.
What this machine (printer with a knife!) does, is it cuts out applique shapes for you – exactly like the pattern sheet. Yes, exactly like the pattern. For me the designer, it can save me time in creating new designs. If I need to make more than one sample, I can simply duplicate all the shapes and cut them out in just seconds. Yeah, pretty cool. I’ll share more of it’s “coolness” in another post.
I chose this particular machine called a Zing, made by KnK. It has the features I wanted and the software it comes with is super easy to learn and use. Bonus! I think it’s marketed by Janome. Anyway, I bought mine from a terrific quilt shop who is a Janome dealer: Kari Sew Unique in Whitewater, WI. She’s a wealth of knowledge on these machines and she’s passionate about helping you set it up.
Patterns do need to be “die-cutter friendly” to easily work with the software. Well, uh . . . since I’m a pattern designer I thought maybe I would see what it takes to make a pattern die-cutter friendly. Na na na nuht nu nah! My newest patterns (Monthly Mini’s series 8) are all die-cutter friendly. Oh, how convenient. Smirk. And so will all of my patterns going forward.
All of our patterns (from here on) will have a label on the front of the pattern which will tell you this pattern is die cutter friendly. For a pattern to work with the software it needs to have a pattern sheet: non reversed shapes, shapes must not contain broken lines, and be free of all labels and text. Done, done and done.
So, that’s my new toy. I’m super pumped to start cutting my shapes for new designs. I’ll do another post to show you my fun, aka progress. Little thought here – when I say I’m super pumped, I immediately get a vision of bouncy cheerleaders clapping hands quickly, sort of like Will Farrell’s cheerleader character from a SNL episode (not sure on the copyright mumbo jumbo on this, but I cited the image source)
Ready! Go! 2 4 6 8 who do we appreciate! Zing! Zing! Yee-aay Zing!