Improvising Designs with a Die Cutter #1

Today’s discovery in my studio is a Go! Baby Fabric Cutter from AccuQuilt. And it reminded me of how much I enjoyed making this little quilt, Quiet Morning #2.

Quiet Morning #2 is living with a collector somewhere in the world today. But in the next few days, I’ll show you how to improvise a quilt design like this with die-cut shapes.

True, I usually free cut fabric shapes when making an improvised quilt. But with a die cutter, it is easy to crank out multiples of perfectly cut shapes.

This die, #55327, has 2 different dot sizes and 2 different petal sizes. Also, a really neat negative shape appears after cutting the fabric. Negative shapes have a lot of potential.

First Steps in Using a Die Cutter to Make an Improvised Quilt

  • Select a die with the shapes you want to use. Dies made for applique like the Accuquilt Daisy Die #55327 I’m using are my favorite.
  • Pre-fuse the fabrics for your design. (See Fusing Tips.) I’m using 1/4 of Rainbow Rich fabric that has all the colors I need for this project.
  • After the fabric cools, remove the paper that comes with the fusible web.
  • Cut 4 rectangles measuring the same size as the die using a decorative rotary cutter blade like a pinking blade or use pinking shears. Why, you ask? Because it looks good and you’ll thank me later.
  • Place the die on the cutter bed with the foam side up.
  • Stack the fabric squares on the die with the glue sides up. This is important: do not stack the fabric with the glue sides together or you will never get them separated. (Ask me how I know!)
  • Put the protective mat on the fabric and crank the die, fabric, and mat through the roller.
  • Separate the shapes and think about how you might use them in an improvised design. I’ll show what I did with mine in a few days.

Queen Poppy: Binding and

Just a few more steps and your Queen Poppy quilt is complete.

Thank you so much for joining me in making this little fused art quilt. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. And if you want to share a photo of your Queen Poppy with me, please email me at laura at artfabrik.com.

(If you need to catch up, please visit the Queen Poppy Stitch Along page to create your quilt.)

Step #10

  • Machine quilt the quilt using a titanium or chrome coated embroidery needle and free-motion stitching. (Please note that this step is optional. It is not necessary to machine quilt the piece.)
  • To add free-motion stitching, drop the feed dogs on the machine and guide the needle around all the organic shapes in the design while moving the quilt.
  • Add a hanging sleeve across the top part of the quilt if desired.
  • You did it! Please send me a photo of your artwork. I’d love to see it. Send to: laura at artfabrik.com

Queen Poppy: Finishing Embroidery

We are close to the finish line! The final steps for hand embroidery are … at hand.

You’ll notice that the turquoise thread outlining the poppy bulb is the complementary color of the orange fabric. Turquoise makes orange sing.

The thread color also repeats the turquoise found in the stem, crown, and other threads used in the design. Repetition of color holds the viewer’s attention and draws their eye around the piece. Give it a try!

(If you need to catch up, please visit the Queen Poppy Stitch Along page to create your quilt top and begin the embroidery.)

Step #9

  • Stitch Blanket Stitches around each edge of the shapes that make up the poppy bulb. Use a size 8 pearl cotton thread (like Aquamarine) and a size 3 hand embroidery needle.

  • Stitch Fern Stitches from each tip of the bud crown down to the base of the crown. Use a size 12 pearl cotton thread (like Southwest Rainbow) and a size 5 hand embroidery needle.

  • Stitch a Chain Stitch around the edges of the bud crown. Stitch on the background fabric and right next to the edge of the crown to outline the shape. Use a size 12 pearl cotton thread (like Sunrise).