Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Westminster Sizzix, AccuQuilt and Slice Fabrique - Some Fabric Cutting Answers

If I had a dime for every question I get about the Westminster Sizzix, AccuQuilt and recently the Slice Fabrique by Making Memories I would be able to retire.  Since I'm not retired....I'll get on with it :)

This is the Slice Fabrique Starter Set  and it works with design cards specifically customized for fabric allowing you to cut alphabets, numbers, flowers, icons, basic shapes etc.  The Slice Fabrique has a large 2" graphic preview window, and runs on  rechargeable battery or can be plugged in.  This package includes: Slice Fabrique Cordless Fabric Cutter, power cord, 3 replacement blades, blade adjustment wrench, 6" x 6" glass cutting mat, repositionable adhesive, foam brush, 3 - 6" x 6" fusible web sheets, user manual, quick start guide, Appliqué Basics SD design card and design card booklet.
This is a photo I took in Houston at Quilt Market.  As you can see it cuts nice and clean.  You can make appliques between 1 and 4 inches in 1/2 inch increments.  Some designs are 2-4 inches in 1/2 inch increments.  The Slice Fabrique cuts one layer of fabric at a time.  All of the Slice Design Cards (Slice Fabrique and Slice) work in the Slice Fabrique however you need to be aware that many of the Slice Design Cards were made for paper and some of the designs are too intricate for fabric.  The Slice Fabrique comes with a One Year Limited WarrantyMaking Memories handles all of the Warranty issues which is great because you don't have to return it to the place of purchase....just to Making Memories.  

The Slice Fabrique is an excellent choice for those people who want a larger variety of shapes and who want a variety of fonts for letters.  Keep in mind that it cuts one layer of fabric at a time.

AccuQuilt GO!, GO! Baby Fabric Cutters,

There are lots of misconceptions about all of these machines and which dies work in which machines etc.  I am going to do my very best to clarify these questions for those people who want and need to know what works with their machines.

AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter
Will take every die that has been made by AccuQuilt for the AccuQuilt GO! and GO! Baby.

AccuQuilt GO! Baby
Will take every die that has been made by AccuQuilt for the GO! Baby and some of the AccuQuilt GO! dies as well.  For a complete list of AccuQuilt compatibility click here.

Neither of the AccuQuilt Fabric Cutters will take Westminster Sizzix dies.  Simply put: DO NOT USE Sizzix Dies in your AccuQuilt GO! or GO! Baby.  How is that for easy :) lol

The AccuQuilt GO! and GO! Baby both fold up for storage and can cut 4-6 layers of cotton fabric at one time.

These fabric cutters will take ALL Sizzix Sizzlits, Sizzix Bigz and Bigz XL dies as well as the AccuQuilt dies that are 6 inches wide or less.  The bed of these machines are 6 inches wide so they will not take dies that are wider than 6 inches.

Clearing up some of the confusion (hopefully):

I think much of the confusion is about the size of the AccuQuilt GO! dies and using them with the Sizzix Cutters

AccuQuilt dies come in the following sizes according to their website: 5 x 10, 6 x 6, 6 x 12, 10 x 10, 6 x 24 and 10 x 24.  A consumer might conclude that these measurements are the exact measurements of the dies themselves.  The dies are actually between 3/8 and 1/2 inch wider and longer than these measurements when measured from the green plastic edge to edge.
 This is the GO! Rectangle you can see it does not measure 5 inches exactly.
This is the GO! Hexagon die which does not measure 6 inches exactly either.  The issue of exact size is only important when using Fabric cutters other than AccuQuilt.  All of the AccuQuilt dies work well in the AccuQuilt Fabric cutters.
The AccuQuilt dies that will work in the Westminster Big Shot, Big Shot Express and Vagabond Cutters are:

GO! Alpha Baby
GO! Baby Baby
GO! Feathers
GO! Funky Flower
GO! Half Square 3" Finished Triangle
GO! Heart
GO! Parallelogram
GO! Rectangle
GO! Rose of Sharon
GO! Round Flower
GO! Square 2"
GO! Square 3 1/2"
GO! Star
GO! Star Points by Sarah Vedeler
GO! Sunbonnet Sue
GO! Overall Sam

All AccuQuilt dies will work in the Westminster Big Shot Pro.  It is just the smaller AccuQuilt dies mentioned above that will work in the other Sizzix cutters. 
I also get many questions about the difference between the Westminster Sizzix Big Shot Pro (Purple) and Sizzix Big Shot Pro's (Blue).  The Westminster Sizzix Big Shot Pro comes with the Extended Cutting Pads, Extended Adapter Pad and the Extended Tray.  The Blue Big Shot Pro comes with the Standard Tray and Pads.  The Blue Big Shot Pro will not take the Extended dies so many quilters have purchased them thinking they are saving themselves money when in reality they frequently need to purchase the Extended Tray and Pads separately costing them more money.

The AccuQuilt dies are not as thick as the Sizzix dies so they require a shim to be put under the pad/die/pad sandwich prior to putting it through the machine.  What size shim you ask?  Well, for my Westminster Big Shot and Vagabond cutter I use some cardboard and I took it from the back of a notepad.  Please don't call or write and ask me what size my cardboard is....I don't have any measuring instruments that will measure it.  Just use what you have and check until you have a depth that will consistently cut through all layers of your fabrics.  If it is not cutting through....that is a good sign the cardboard you used is not thick enough.

As I mentioned above the AccuQuilt dies are not as thick as the Sizzix dies and everywhere I've read and everyone I've spoken to says you will need a shim to raise the AccuQuilt dies. Below is a photo of the Sizzix Big Shot Pro Standard Mylar Shims

This is a photo of the Sizzix Big Shot Pro Mylar Shims and the cardboard I use for my Westminster Big Shot and Vagabond cutters. 

I want to show you how I've been cutting fabric with my Westminster Big Shot Pro with an AccuQuilt die.  I'll start by showing you the things that come with this cutter.

This is a photo of the extended tray that comes with the Westminster Big Shot Pro.  It is 27 x 12 1/2 inches wide.

The photo below shows you the thickness of the Extended Adapter Pad.
You also get two Extended Cutting Pads with the Westminster Big Shot Pro.  They are PC Plastic (according to the Sizzix website)  I call them "acrylic" and when you use them you will hear a sound that seems like you are breaking or cutting into the pads.  You are not hurting your Pads and this is how the machine works.
If I recall correctly, when I opened my Westminster Big Shot Pro the Adapter Pad was in the bottom of the Extended Tray with the two Cutting Pads on top of the Adapter Pad.  So what did I do?  I left the Adapter Pad right where it was.  However when I want to cut fabric using an AccuQuilt die....
I take the Extended Adapter Pad out and put it under my table.  I replace the two Extended Cutting Pads into the bottom of the Tray.
Here is the die I used for this demo, The GO! Rectangle.
I sandwiched the GO! Rectangle die between two Standard Cutting Pads with the fabric covering the foam side of the die.
You can see in this photo my Extended Cutting Pads are dirty and I left them that way so you could see I have them in the bottom of the tray.  I put the die sandwich in and cranked the handle.....and.....

wahhhhh lahhhhhhh I cut two rectangles using an AccuQuilt die without a "shim" per se'.  Since I left the two Extended Cutting Pads in the bottom of the tray they served as my shim. 

How many layers of fabric can I cut with my Westminster Big Shot, Vagabond and Westminster Big Shot Pro?  I didn't know until tonight.  I ran back to my machines and started layering the fabric up.  I cut 6 layers of cotton fabric with my Westminster Big Shot and 10 layers with my Westminster Big Shot Pro.  I just about flipped when my Vagabond cut 16 layers...yes....16 layers that were cleanly cut without any hanging threads....can you believe it?  I would not if I had not done it myself.

I also get asked what machine is my preference.  I like my Westminster Big Shot Pro because I can cut both Sizzix and AccuQuilt dies on it.  It is heavy and it does not fold up for storage.  I keep mine under my cutting table and move it to the table when I use it.  Of course I'm completely Ga Ga over my Vagabond.....I still can't get over how well it works and all I have to do is push a button.

There is more information on the machines that I have published here to read that post.

Everyone has different preferences and needs.  I think it is best to do your research first.   I hope this information helps!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's New At I Have A Notion (IHAN) ?

Currently I'm working on a post to clarify the differences between several of the cutting machines available.  It will take me a bit of time to compile all my info so in the mean time....I thought I'd just tell you what is new at I Have A Notion / IHAN.

 I could not resist this quilt also comes with the tin.  The quilt finishes at 38 x 48...perfect for a little one.

 Master Machine Stitching - Thread Sketching Beyond the Basics with Susan Brubaker Knapp

Pinmoors...I recently published my review of these little fellas.

Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Scissors Large 7 1/2"

By the way, I've tried these scissors and they are ALL she says they are plus two bags of Frito's!!!  I embeded the youtube video below....they are truly as good as they appear in the have my word on it!

Another weakness of mine, Batiks.....and who could turn down 40 Batik Fat Quarters?  Not me!!

Not only is this a fun and relatively quick is nice for yourself or to give away.  I think it is very cheerful, don't you?

You already know I think this pin cushion kit is SPANKY!

These scissors by Westcott and wonderful all purpose scissors.  They are reasonably priced and made from Titanium....very nice indeed.

I'll leave you with Karen Kay Buckley's YouTube Video.....enjoy :)


Monday, February 7, 2011

Stuck On You!

Oh you all know how much I love the embellished wonderments at Just Another Button Company.  Well, check out this kit they have made. 

Stuck On You! comes with buttons, You Just Pins, Weeks Dye Works wool, wrappers, box, wool roving and instructions.

Can you imagine the joy a stitching- chocolate-lover would have when they received this as a gift? Or a calorie free treat for yourself perhaps? No one to make them for? E-mail me and I'll send you my address :)

Yes this is fun for Valentines Day....however....being the person I am....I would love to have something like this given to me at another time during the year telling me that I was loved....wouldn't you?


Friday, February 4, 2011

Calling All Extra Spools

A good friend is in search of empty spools like this or similar - like empty serger thread cones or king cones.  Is anyone a pack rat like me and have saved stuff like this?  If you have and want to pass them along before the Hoarders television program arrives at your house....e-mail me at of us wants to be caught by the Hoarder folks....yikes!!!

My excuse for saving little things.....I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother growing up and she lived through the Depression.  I even have some War Ration Stamps she I use her as my excuse and I plan to continue to use this  excuse until the cows come home...what's yours?

Superior Titanium Coated Topstitch Sewing Machine Needle & IHAN Needle Exchange Program

Edited: 2/5/11  The program is not still have about 6 weeks to participate....just letting everyone know it won't go on indefinitely :)

By now if you have not heard about the Needle Exchange Program at I Have A NotionNOW is the time to exchange a needle before the program ends!

These are some of the comments I've received since starting the Needle Exchange Program:

I recently received a Superior Titanium needle size 16
I LOVE it!
I have been stitching away and have had no problems whatsoever.
Thank you for the opportunity to trade in my used needle.
I will be purchasing these needles in the future.

I didn't believe it, BUT you were right. The Superior Titanium Coated Topstitch Sewing Machine Needle is FABULOUS! I chose the #90/ 14 needle and started using it a few days ago. It stitched through quilt layers with ease AND bounced off several of my pins. I love it! Thank you so much for this program - I'm a believer.

Yes, I received my superior needle. Have been using it about a week and really like. I will have to get more. I would like to be able to find Superior Needles at my local quilt shop and not just order on line. I shall research it

Thanks for this fine program.
I just finished a quilt with the needle you sent me and have pieced a second. So far I am very pleased. Thank you for introducing me to Superior needles.

I just used my new Topstitch 100/16 Superior needle to attach prairie point binding ties to a Christmas tree skirt using decorative metallic thread and it all went thru like butter. No needle breakage and no thread breakage. Thank you for setting up the free needle program, I will definitely be ordering some soon.
If you are a bit skeptical about trying new things like I might just want to trust me on this one.  Click on the link : IHAN Needle Exchange Program and follow the instructions to get your free needle before they are all gone.  Once these run out....the program is over.  Please remember to enclose your self addressed stamped envelope and a broken/used needle for the exchange.

I wish all of the incredible products that I have come to appreciate could be so easy to ship out samples of....unfortunately that isn't the case.

I want to say Thank You to everyone who has sent in a needle.....THANK YOU!!!  I'd also like to say Thank You....THANK Bob Purcell of Superior Threads for saying yes to my idea and for providing all the free needles.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Australian Spirit Pattern; Marketplace India Quilt and Pinmoor

You may recall my post on January 24th about this book, Australian Spirit.  Well.....I'll continue where I left off there....
As I mentioned in the earlier post, this book belongs to Waldo.  She and I were both excited when we saw this pattern by Terrie Kralik, Moose Country Quilts.  The "Sacred Orb" pattern is exactly what I needed to solve my latest puzzle.  What puzzle is that you ask?  I thought you would!

A gal from Marketplace India had contacted the Black Swamp Quilt Guild's President and inquired if there were any people interested in making some quilts for them as a charity project.  Naturally I raised my hand and agreed to make one.  We were given clothing and fabrics and had to cut them to make a 48 x 48 quilt.  I took one look at all the fabrics and went blank.....what am I going to do with these I thought.  Then Rosemary remembered her book,  Australian Spirit, and we were off and running.
Here is my version of Terrie's Quilt Pattern, "Sacred Orb."


All of the embroidery was already on the cloth.  I tried to get the most interesting patterns with embroidery to work in this pattern.  I really like how it came out.  What do you think?  I loved Terrie's pattern and the other patterns in the Australian Spirit book as well.  Thank you Terrie!!!

After I finished the top I had to sandwich the quilt for quilting.  I had read about Pinmoor but had not yet tried what a great opportunity right?
Pinmoors are little silicone stoppers that go on the end of your straight pins when basting a quilt.  I'm a skeptic so the first time I saw them I thought....oh....little pencil erasers.  I was quite surprised when I used them that they are not like erasers at all.  They are soft enough to push your pin into without being so tough it will dull your pins (which I'm not going to have that happen to MY pins....I love my pins). 
This is how they work and below is how they look when you baste the top of your quilt.
I like the Pinmoors and think they definitely provide a easier way to baste if you like using pins to baste.  There are a few important cautions I think you need to consider.  First, they are brightly colored and could be attractive to young children....a choking hazard.  Same goes for small pets but they are great choking hazards for Pests. 
The other thing I noticed was that if I was not paying attention (which happens to me all the time) you might push the pin through the Pinmoor and into your finger (yes it happened to me....but then I wised up). Pinmoors are non-toxic which is a great thing and even better, they are made in the USA. There are 50 to a package and that was enough to baste this 48 x 48 quilt top.

Now, on to the free motion quilting....I need all the positive energy and support I can get....send the vibes this way...please :)

If your guild or group is interested in more information about the Marketplace India Charity Quilting you can contact Shanti Freitas at


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Giveaways In Blogland.....But Nothing I NEED

With all the giveaways going on in blogland you'd think someone would be giving away a snow plow or perhaps 200 hours of house cleaning.  I can't even find anyone who is willing to organize my life and tasks.  What is going on here people....where are the truly generous people when you need them?

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