Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just fussin' around

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about a throw pillow I had made from felt circles.  The background for that pillow was a scrappy combination of neutral diamonds.  It turned out that the neutrals that I chose were *really* close in value and after I put them all together, you just couldn't see any difference at all!  What showed up was the stitch-in-the-ditch quilting.  Attractive, but not quite what I had in mind.

So, I pulled out the next bin in my stash and cut more diamonds from gold-toned fabrics.  Still neutral but with more color.  Since I was just messing around, I didn't want to commit any *real* yardage, so I just cut as many diamonds from the appropriately colored scraps as I could.  Some colors had more diamonds than others.

I must admit I have a real problem doing "random".  My mind (as chaotic as Mr. Pirate claims that it is) doesn't DO random.  So, I fell back to an orderly, columnar arrangement, which is where I ran into problems.  Because I didn't have a LOT of a variety of colors, what I ended up with was a long, skinny rectangle ... good for a wall-hanging, but not what I wanted.

Then it occurred to me .. what DID I want?  And ya know?  I didn't know.   LOL!  :-)  More messin' around ensued and I decided that I would make throw pillows out of what I had. 

Here are the works-in-progress ... 2 mostly square pillow tops and one rectangular pillow top (just for variety).    Gosh, one of these days, I just might get *really* wild and do a circular pillow!

I still need to put "something in the middle" ... applique, embroidery .. something .. but I haven't decided yet.  I'm thinking this would be an excellent opportunity to play around with my Sizzix die cuts.

I own the original Sizzix, which has a limit to the size of the dies it will accept. 

BUT, I fortunately have a neighbor who is into scrapbooking and making greeting cards BIG TIME.  She has the Sizzix Big Shot Express, which is the *electric* version.  Wowsers, it's awesome having the die cut machine move the dies for you!  :-)  She lets me use her Big Shot Express when I need it, as well as any of her dies that I find interesting.  In return, I have purchased some dies for use with the Big Shot that I *hope* will be suitable for applique and she will certainly be able to use my dies.

And I'll wait until Joann's has a sale on pillow inserts before I get them, since I don't "need" these pillows for any particular occasion or any specific person.


  1. I've got a standard Big Shot - what kind of dies can cut through the fabric? I've read it's just the Bigz dies but wondered if you know differently?

  2. Hiya, Wendy!

    It is my understanding that ANY of the Sizzix machine die can cut through fabric .. you just need to stabilize the material properly.

    I use iron-on fusible (the paper-backed stuff)on the wrong side of the fabric then send the fabric (paper backing and all) right through the Sizzix machine as though it was a piece of paper. I've only been brave enough to cut through one piece of fabric at a time this way (since it's not my machine) but I suppose it could handle a couple of layers of paper-backed fused fabric.

    With my original Sizzix (the really small one), sometimes I would get a thread or two that wouldn't get cut, but it is easy enough to simply snip the offending thread.

    With my friend's electric Big Shot machine, I never had that problem .. it apparently puts enough evenly applied pressure that the dies cut properly.

    Now some of the *dies* might not be appropriate for machine applique ... the ones that have really, really skinny areas or very small dots, for example. Because you are fusing these cut-outs to a base fabric, there is no seam allowance to turn under. Some of the dies produce a lovely, lacey sort of design that I just don't think would applique properly .. but I could be wrong on that thought.

    I think the key to using die of any sort is to *leave the paper backing on* as you send the fabric through the cutter. The paper provides just enough stiffness so the fabric (alone) doesn't get pushed down into the die.