Tuesday, April 15, 2008
From Quilt to Card - Diamonds into Stars
I may have mentioned in a previous post that I am also a quilter (well...at least a fabric collector and quilt planner!) and I have been thinking about trying out a particular type of quilt pattern with the Cricut. A few years ago I became interested in a type of kaleidoscope quilt developed by Bethany Reynolds - I attended a workshop and completed a quilt top which you can see here
The book with this pattern and many others is called "Magic Stack and Whack Quilts" by Bethany S. Reynolds (ISBN 1-57432-704-6) and I highly recommend it if you are interested in these sorts of designs. In a nutshell, her technique involves aligning identical repeats of fabric and then cutting through the entire stack to create diamond or other shapes which can be combined to form new patterns. The best sort of fabric for this technique is a bold busy print with lots of colors. The designs are always a surprise when you separate the stacks and assemble the stars.
Here is another quilt top using 45 degree diamonds for eight pointed stars.
So, I thought, why not try this with paper - I can't stack layers of paper on the Cricut but I could use the Design Studio software to cut in exactly the same place on identical sheets of paper over and over.
Here is the paper I started with (many thanks to my friend Nancy who picked this up for me while she was shopping via cell phone instructions about the type of paper I needed).
My scrapbook style is very simple and I can't imagine ever choosing this for my background 12 x 12 paper but it was perfect for this experiment!
I started out using the diamond on the George cartridge at a 1 inch size - it looked to be the right type of diamond so I cut an entire row of these, taking care to put the paper on the mat in the exact same position each time. Unfortunately, after all this cutting, I discovered that the diamond on the George cartridge is not quite right!
Here are the results - the diamonds need to have a 60 degree angle and these are slightly too big which means that they can't be assembled into a six pointed star (and the angle is not big enough to form a five pointed star). Here are a couple of examples - they just won't fit together...
So, back to the laptop to try to manipulate the diamonds. This took quite a while (I am sure there is a clever mathematical way to figure it out but I "tweaked" the diamond and tried assembling the diamonds on the screen until I got a size that worked!).'
This time I was more cautious and test cut first on plain paper - it worked!
The only slight problem is that the diamond does not have sharp points - they are slightly rounded so the joins are not entirely perfect but close enough!
So - on the second round, I had better luck on the cuts but there is an operator error element that can affect the precision of the cuts - Even though I was careful to put the paper on the mat in exactly the same position and tried to load the mat evenly each time - there were slight variations (there may even be variations in the printing of the paper). So I would recommend cutting a few extra sheets in each position to assure that you will get six nearly identical diamonds - even the slightest shift will make the star look "wrong" as you can see below
There are many small pieces to keep track of so try using an old, not-so-sticky mat to hold them all in place (a tip I got from the Cricut message board - sorry, I can't remember who said it) - this helps to insure that you will be able to put the stars together easily
While this design requires only six diamonds - I cut eight sheets of paper to give me a few extras to compensate for any errors in loading the mats. This was a good decision, as you can see below, there is at least one diamond in each set that is slightly "off.
Once you get all your sets of diamonds cut you can have fun seeing what designs result when you combine them - depending which tip of the diamond points to the center you will get a totally different "look"
Here are some more photos showing the fascinating combinations that can result - in each set of three below the top row shows a set of six diamonds with one end of the diamond pointing to the center and the bottom row shows the opposite way around - see how different they can look!
I used a few of these to make some cards - one is at the top of this post and here is another
Here is a close up of the star - done up with gold outlines and "Stickles" glitter glue!
So - if you have the patience, give this a try. I plan to do a few larger sizes and to try the eight pointed star too. These are great for cards or decorative accents on scrapbook pages - use your imagination and see what you can do. Remember, the wilder and more colorful the paper, the more exciting the results will be. Have fun with this!
Diamonds for making six pointed stars