Cricut Quilting · FreePatterns · Quilting

Cutting Quilt Blocks with Cricut Maker

My husband was awesome this year and bought me a brand new Cricut Maker 3! I am also the happy owner of an Explore Air 2, which I have used for many craft projects, including applique quilt blocks and embroidery cut files. I love the creativity and precision that the computer-aided tools bring to my sewing room. Of course, the big draw with the Maker series, at least for me, is that they can cut fabric with a rotary blade.

The Cricut Maker (original version) came with the rotary blade, but for the Maker 3, you will need to purchase it and a pink fabric mat (unless it came in a bundle deal). I have a few of the pink mats that I’ve been using for applique on my Explore, so I picked up the rotary blade this morning so that I could play.

Honestly, I am unlikely to use the Cricut to cut lots of squares or strips or other easy straight-line shapes. My normal rotary cutter and rulers are super efficient at this. What I will mostly cut is the oddball shapes–curves, applique (needle turn applique is now in reach for me!), text, custom sizes. Sure there are rulers and dies that can make many of these, but those lock you into some designer’s specific, mass-produced size.

My first test was actually pretty basic–a drunkards path shape. I used Design Space to draw a square and a circle, then use the “slice” feature to break it into two, then the “offset” feature to add my seam allowance. Presto! one 4″ finished Drunkard’s Path template. If you want to follow along, you are welcome to use my file here. The shapes are free, so no Cricut Access subscription required.

Yes, I did cut two different colors on one mat. I just dragged the shapes to opposite sides of the mat in the “Make It” section. For material choice, I chose Fabric->Cotton. Since this was just a test project, I dug into my scrap box and grabbed whatever was handy.

Next up, insert the rotary blade into the machine, load fabric onto my mat, and cut. I will be honest that when I first unloaded my mat, it didn’t look like the shapes had cut at all. The cutting line was so fine, it was not visible. I gently peeled the fabric from the mat, and magically, they were perfect.

I had to finish my experiment by sewing the block together just to see how well the pieces fit. I’m actually quite pleased, both with the cutting and with my curved piecing given how quickly I made this little square.

Overall, I’m one happy lady today. My only problem will be to make a permanent space in my craft room that can hold two working Cricuts, because I see no reason to give up my Explore. I can forsee keeping both machines buzzing along as I work on crafts and holiday projects!

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