Okay, maybe not cutting edge, but the topic definitely is cutting. A week or two ago there was a question on the social group of Facebook, asking about who likes cutting fabric. I answered it, and I thought I’d share some further thoughts on it here.

I quite like cutting fabric. Currently, my back and knee don’t like me doing it for too long – knee injury in early June stopped me running (okay, my running is only slightly faster than my walking), and just as I got back to starting Couch to 5K again, I hurt my back – which stopped me doing a lot. What have either of these things got to do with sewing? Well, quite a lot, as the knee injury has led to me using the foot pedal of my machine with my left foot; the back injury has not stopped me from quilting, sewing or basting, but I do have to take more breaks and do more exercises to ease the discomfort in my back. Any prolonged position (sitting, standing, kneeling, walking) leads to my back feeling quite stiff when I change position.

So, back to cutting fabric. I am lucky enough to possess quite a substantial stash of fabric, and as much as I try to use it up, some people are very kind and add to it. After my first Bloggerati retreat, I decided that my stash needed some plain colours in it, so I bought some lengths of plains. At that point I also thought about quilt patterns that I wanted to do, so I spent time cutting the fabric into different lengths, and putting it in boxes labelled with the particular quilt pattern.

My storage solution. The 5″ square box is used predominantly for Disappearing 9 Patch quilts; however, once the pieces have been cut, I can then use the squares to make 1/2 square triangles.

Earlier this year, my husband had the brilliant idea that I should make a load of masks – so again, I cut loads of fabric into the appropriate lengths, and then sub-cut those pieces to the correct size; I think it may have been this extended period of standing around that contributed to my knee problems.

Fabric cut ready for masks, some of them marked ready for pleats

What about specific quilts though? Well, even there I end up cutting too much fabric; this is because I don’t often buy fabric specifically for a project, but buy it because I like it, because I want it, because it is on special offer. Earlier this year I made a quilt for a friend with fabric I’d had for at least 10 years. It wasn’t the first quilt I used the fabric for, and this time when cutting it, I cut more than I needed (this is because I really hadn’t thought about the size I was making, or how much fabric I would need). This was by no means a disaster, as it meant that whatever was left over I could use for Project Linus quilts (the fabric design is suited to young children, so not suitable for Q4CL). I did the same earlier in the year for someone we look after; they chose the colours, I chose the fabrics I would use, cut lengths of the right width, sub-cut it into squares, and had enough left over for another quilt. This has happened several times; I’ve made more blocks than I have needed, and the extra blocks have been used for other projects.

Quilts for a young person
Quilt for Project Linus, with the squares left over from the previous quilt. I love the way that Disappearing 9 Patch can look so different!
Baby quilt for a friend
Quilt from ready cut pieces
Second quilt from ready cut pieces

Yes, I like cutting fabric. This year I’m particularly happy to be using fabric and making things from it – and it cutting too much fabric means I can quickly make another project.

More 5″ squares

The 5″ strips waiting to be cut into squares
Rectangles in a variety of colours
A bag of pre-cut goodies – from a quilt I made in 2009
Some pre-made pieces, that I didn’t use in the original 
More pieces that I’ve started piecing
The start of a quilt top from the pieces in the goodie bag!

On a different note, but still on the subject of cutting: I saw a Facebook post yesterday about the rotary cutter blade having 2 sides, so when it wasn’t cutting so well, turn the blade over and use the other side…hhmmm, I thought, don’t think it works quite like that…!

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