My new best friend in my studio is a digital cutter manufactured by Cricut, called “the Maker”…it is pure magic! This model came with features uniquely useful for art quilters: a (really) tiny rotary cutter blade for fabrics, and a Bluetooth connection to mobile devices. This means that you can design on your iPad, touch a few buttons and have perfectly-cut shapes for applique in a flash – no tracing, no transfer, no scissors. The Cricut Maker is a game-changer for any art quilter who relies heavily upon fusible applique! (Note this is not a promotion, my husband purchased the machine for me ❤️.) It’s also quite beautiful 😉:
Unlike Procreate, it does not seem to come with a super-lengthy handbook (I looked!)…they opted for lots of videos. This is not the way I learn, so I dove in and experimented with a design for one of my Joy Quilt Project squares, making notes along the way.
Step one, your photo:
Next, trace the shapes of the objects in your photo that you would like to highlight, and fill them (see my earlier post re Procreate for the how and the why). For this piece, I chose 4 layers of images:
Note that the color is not important here, just that a shape is outlined and filled in so that Cricut can interpret it correctly.
The app for Cricut (both iPhone and iPad) is very very intuitive – I was very happy with it. Also, images are saved in the cloud, so you can work on either device and be able to access the image from whichever one you have handy. Here’s what you’ll see when you first open the Cricut app:
Click on the blue square in the upper left corner marked, “New Project,” and it will take you to a screen that looks like this:
Now you’ll have the choice of uploading a photo from your Photos app, or choosing an image you’ve already worked with in Cricut. The first time, do this:
Now, select one of your images from Procreate…let’s begin with background leaves for this project:
Cricut pulls the image into your virtual canvas; here you can edit it in various ways. The black square in the upper right show you what the machine will cut – at this point, nothing. So, you want to REMOVE the background and reveal the leaves to be cut. Tap “Remove” in the lower left corner and you’ll see this next:
The Cricut app now knows that you want to use the “remove” tool…tap once anywhere on the background, and, ta-da:
Look at the square in the upper right corner – your Cricut now knows to cut out leaves just as you’ve drawn them in Procreate. Hitting next leads to this:
The cutting mats that come with your Cricut Maker offer 12” square cutting areas (they have other, longer ones as separate purchases). Here you can check the placement and smooth your fabric over the correct place…I used Mistyfused batiks by Windham Fabrics, of course. This machine is as smart as my Bernina; at this stage it asks you for what you’re cutting, gives you time to insert the mat and tells you which buttons to push (arrows to load, Cricut logo to start cutting – each of which flashes helpfully at the right time to tell you when to press it). Go get that next cup of coffee, come back and remove mat…peel away a corner of the fabric…and admire all the work you did not have to do 😆 😃!
To remove fabric from the mat, Heidi Proffetty’s magic tweezers are very helpful. The Cricut can also do multiple colors of fabric at one go because you can position the images to be cut on that virtual cutting mat before proceeding with the cut:
This piece is ready for fabric ink and thread…and I’m thrilled to have my new Cricut on my studio table! (***No promotion here, BTW, my husband purchased it for me…I just love it and want to share!***) I think the Procreate – to – Cricut process has terrific virtual class possibilities 😊.