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In the Quilting World

Cutting Your Own Precut

Part of being a quilter is finding ways to use up the leftover fabrics that have accumulated from previous projects. It can be great fun and a source of inspiration if you embrace stash and scraps as an asset instead of a problem. You'd be amazed at some of the great projects you can make with only small pieces of fabrics. This is just one of the reasons precuts have become so popular, along with how easy the patterns that are designed for precuts can be adapted to scraps.

As a quilter and a designer I'm always looking for new and exciting ideas and products. So much so that, many times, I overlook what is already in my studio. Not only do I have boatloads of fabric there, I've also, through the years, managed to stockpile a sizable collection of rulers, notions and fun gadgets. One of the many wonderful products I have sitting in my studio is an AccuQuilt GO! cutter and many dies. 

I recently discovered that there are times when you just can't find the right colors of fabrics or the right precuts you're looking for when you are making a certain project. I needed to make a gift for some very dear friends, and I knew just what I wanted to make -- the Charmed Table Runner pattern featured in this update.       

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Charmed Table Runner, an Exclusively Annie's pattern designed to use 5-inch charm squares.

These friends had just had a tiki hut built down by the lake and were in the process of decorating it. Their colors were bold and bright, and of course, I thought it would be fun to quilt a few fun accent pieces as sort of a hut-warming gift. After visiting my local quilt shop and checking online, I found there was nothing in the colors I needed in precut 5-inch squares. Being a creative thinker, I decided to investigate my fabric closets and scraps. I do love the opportunity to play with my fabric and my AccuQuilt Cutter when possible. Imagine that -- I found everything I needed in just the right colors.      

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Fabrics in the colors I needed, pulled from my stash and scraps.

I pressed the fabrics and began to cut out my 5-inch charm squares. It's amazing how easy and fast it is, not to mention the accuracy of using a die cutter. 

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My stashed scraps and fabric cut into the charms needed for the Charmed Table Runner.

I selected the 5-inch squares from my stack and began to piece the runner together.

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The four corners stitched into place and trimmed.

Now this was a very easy project, so in a matter of less than an hour I had the top pieced. The colors were just perfect. They were bright and bold, and would definitely fit into my friends' tiki hut theme. Another hour and I had the top quilted and ready to bind.

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The pieced runner top ready to layer and then the quilting process.

I stitched on the binding and finished the hand sewing while watching a movie that evening.

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The finished table runner.

I love the simplicity of finding and cutting out my own precuts, and it got me thinking. I still had tons of scraps and small amounts of fabric, and precuts are so easy to work with ... if you have them. So, with a plan in mind, I went back to my studio and began to sort, press and dig out more faric. I pulled out my other dies for my AccuQuilt GO! and selected the ones I wanted. I began to cut up a lot of fabric into 5-inch, 2 1/2-inch and 3 1/2-inch squares. I placed each size in a separate storage box and added the size to the label so I could easily find them when needed.

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The containers filled with precuts made with my AccuQuilt GO! ready for my next project.

For me, this was a great idea. I managed to sort through a lot of scrap fabric and turn it into usable precuts. It will be ready at a moment's notice when I need a quick project to work on or a certain color I just can't find in the current collections. And it also inspired me to make a few pillows and hot pads for the tiki hut. So I guess I'll be busy for a few more days. And look at how much fabric I've managed to put to good use!

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Leftovers from fabrics I used for the table runner; pillow tops and hot pads made from those leftovers.

If you choose to play along with me in these updates I'd love to see your projects. Send a photo of your project to me at Editor@QuiltersWorld.com and you may see your project and story on Facebook or in one of the upcoming updates. I welcome your insight and your suggestions.

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