The Quilted Life with Carolyn


Quilting Basics - Cutting Implements 8

Welcome back! I enjoyed reading all of your comments on last week’s post, and have been inspired to include a whole post at the end of this series with supply recommendations from Quilter’s Mart readers. There’s still plenty of time to throw in your two cents, so go back and add your comments to last week’s post with your own personal supply favorites!  If you didn't read last week's post - read it here

This week’s installment in the Quilting Basics series is about cutting implements. We even have a few videos to share with you, starring the Quilter’s Mart Boss Lady, my sister-in-law, Kim!

A reminder of some cutting implements we recommended for your basic kit:

  1. Rotary Cutter
  2. Fabric scissors
  3. Tiny thread-cutting scissors

The tiny thread-cutting scissors probably have a formal name that I’m not aware of (maybe you’ll enlighten me!), but whether you call them by a proper name or not, you have to have them! The reason they’re so handy is because they’re tiny and easy to aim when you’re cutting those itty bitty threads. Try cutting a loose thread with regular fabric scissors, and you’ll never get a precise enough cut!

These little scissors are great for lots of different scenarios, like when you’re hand sewing binding or hand quilting, when you’re cleaning up loose threads on your quilt top, or if your sewing machine doesn’t have a built-in thread-cutter.

Fabric scissors may not be ideal for cutting threads, but they are a must, too. You should really get some that are designed specifically for cutting fabric. Kitchen shears or scissors intended for cutting paper are not going to give you the desired clean cuts that fabric scissors will.

Fabric scissors are much bigger than thread-cutting scissors, and they’re very sharp - or at least they should be! If you’re trying to cut fabric with dull scissors, you’ll shred it to bits!

They’re super for cutting shapes, like with the Quilter’s Mart acrylic templates, snipping off extra bits during piecing, and trimming off excess fabric and batting after you complete quilting.

Here is a video of our acrylic templates and some good, sharp fabric scissors in action. 


What fabric scissors aren’t great for is cutting straight lines. For that, you’ll want a rotary cutter, as you saw in the video above. More often than not, your quilt will call for pieces with straight edges - rectangles, squares, triangles, strips - you name it!

Here’s a more thorough demonstration of how to use a rotary cutter:

Like your fabric scissors, you will want your rotary cutter to be sharp. This will keep your cuts clean, making piecing easier, and enable you to cut through multiple layers of fabric in one swipe, making the cutting process much more efficient. If you find that you’re needing to back-track over your cuts to make it through your fabric, it is time for a replacement blade!

Here is a video of how to replace a rotary cutter blade.

Having the right cutting implements is just as important for a quilter as it is for a chef! If you can’t get your cuts right, piecing will be difficult, and every step after that will be a headache, and you may end up displeased with your end result! Good tools will lay the foundation for good cuts and an easier, more enjoyable process overall.

There are tons of specialty items out there in addition to these basic cutting tools. Calling on our more experienced quilters - are there any other cutting nice-to-haves that you really love? Share in the comments!

Basic Quilting Starter Kit 17

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I had so much fun last week reading your results of the Quilter’s Mart Personality Test in the comments. Thank you for sharing!

This week, we’re starting a new series, inspired by comments I’ve received every week. It seems that a lot of the Quilter’s Blog readers are new to quilting, or at least claim that they are “beginners”. This series is dedicated to you, and it is all about how to get started quilting.

I plan to cover a lot of ground, and my hope is that, in so doing, I’ll fill in some blanks for you, and help you feel more comfortable with the quilting process and more prepared for each project you take on.

The first topic in our “Quilting Basics” series is all about the quilting supplies you need to get started, or a “Basic Quilting Starter Kit”, if you will. Having the supplies you need is truly step 1 in quilting. Because without the supplies, you can’t execute the vision you have in your head.

Below is a list of what I think you need, and a shorter list of things that are nice to have.

Necessities- Nice-to-haves- As the series continues in the coming weeks, I’ll dive more into the specific uses for these items. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from experienced quilters - did I miss any essentials? Or do you have any favorite “nice-to-haves” that I didn’t mention?
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