Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tool Time: Shape Cut & Shape Cut Plus

Alright, I'll confess. I'm a gadget groupie. Whether it's a cooking tool, gardening tool, or quilting tool, if I think it's useful, helpful, faster, better, I'll try it.

With all the templates, rulers, die cutting devices and such out there, it's easy to accumulate a lot of tools for cutting straight geometric shapes such as strips, squares, and diamonds.

This week I had the opportunity to remind two fellow quilters why I keep the Shape Cut Plus in my ruler bag, no matter what the class calls for. Nothing cuts strips more effortlessly, and once you've cut your strips, you can turn the ruler without touching the fabric and cut squares, diamonds, triangles. It cuts through multiple layers of fabric. You can make multiple cuts across your yardage without moving the fabric, and placing the ruler just once. They remembered they had one at home, and wondered why they hadn't thought to use it lately.

The genius of the Shape Cut Plus is the slots which allow you to insert your rotary cutter at regular intervals. By not moving the fabric, you are less likely to have wonky cuts. You can cut faster. You are not moving the ruler, either, (which is the way teacher/author Debbie Caffrey cuts), but rather using the ruler to keep the fabric in place

The Shape Cut Plus is not without its drawbacks. You can't mindlessly cut. You have to figure out the slot i.e, if you are cutting 1 1/2" strips, it will be the 1 1/2" slot, 3", 4 1/2", 6", etc. You also have to pay attention to where your hand is and where the rotary cutter is, or you could wind up with a nasty rotary injury. Last, the slots are only in (depending on which ruler you buy) 1", 1/2" and 1/4" increments, so those 7/8" increments that you often need for triangles are not a choice.

Still, with the drawbacks considered, this is a tool I go back to time and time again. It serves it's purpose, making my cutting time more efficient and accurate.

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