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In the Quilting World

Precuts ... More Than Eye Candy

It seems that the quilting industry is always one step ahead of the trends in quilting. When the world spins out of control and free time is so very hard to find for most people, we can count on the quilting community to find a way to solve our time-budget dilemma and keep us quilting. So somewhere along the way someone came up with the idea of offering precuts to quilters. Precuts are so much more that eye candy. Precuts have become a vital part of the industry. Designers and manufacturers alike have made precuts a quilting staple. When you are looking for a weekend-project pattern, one that uses precuts could be your answer.

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All textile companies offer precut fabric bundles these days.

Although precuts have may have different names, they are, for the most part, consistent in sizes. The most popular sizes out there are 5-inch squares (also known as charm squares), 2 1/2-inch strips (also known as Jelly Rolls), 10-inch squares (also known as Layer Cakes) and fat quarters (generally 18 x 21 inches). There are other sizes and shapes, but these seem to be the sizes that most designers prefer to work with, and so they have become the most popular and most available. These are the sizes you can find lots of good patterns for and, thus, save time on your weekend projects. Our featured pattern for this update is Tumbling Blocks, a great pattern made with precut 5-inch squares and a background fabric. You can find this pattern at AnniesCraftStore.com.

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Tumbling Blocks is an easy pattern that can be made with a couple of packs of precut 5-inch squares (40 pieces) and a background fabric.

This is only one of many possiblities for 5-inch charm squares. There are many patterns that use them. By using precuts you'll save a lot of time by not having to shop for just the right mix and then you'll save the time it takes to cut them into squares. The best part is the selection. The fabric companies make sure that the mix is perfect. It takes all the guesswork out of the selection, and you're ready to go.

So if you're looking for a great project to make this coming weekend, and you don't have the time to make all the decisions involved in planning a quilt, check out all the precut patterns and go from there. I'll bet you'll find at least one pattern that is to your liking and probably a lot more. 

These patterns can also be used to clean up your unused stash and fabrics. There's no rule that says you can't cut your own precuts from your own fabrics. Maybe you have a lot of leftovers from previous projects and want to use them up. If so, you could consider cutting those leftovers into precut sizes and then choosing a precut pattern to use them. If you liked those fabrics once, you'll probably like them the second time around.

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Here's an assortment of 2 1/2-inch strips from my stashed fabrics and an assortment of 5-inch squares in packs with fabrics selected by the manufacturers. It's a lot more than just eye candy. It's future quilts!

As editor of Quilter's World magazine, plus being a pattern designer and a quilter, I have limited time on my hands. I truly appreciate the efforts of these companies to keep quilting alive and flourishing. I know I've come to rely on precuts for so many of my projects, both professionally and personally. Precuts have opened new doors for me and offer many new options. I've learned to think differently about my stash and what I can do with it. One of my favorite options is my AccuQuilt GO! Big die-cut machine and my dies. I've found so many great uses for them. When time allows, I cut my own precut strips or shapes for future projects. It's a great way to plan ahead and address my excess at the same time. I no longer think of my stash as a problem but as a great source of inspiration. It's truly amazing what you can make with small amounts of fabrics.        

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My AccuQuilt GO! Big and a few of the strip dies, along with some leftover fabrics from the previous update.

I now think of ways to incorporate precuts, either store-bought precuts or ones that I make myself, as the main part of these great patterns which are available for precuts. I design with them, and I actually use them in patterns I purchase. Maybe it's time for you to rethink your options if you haven't already.

I'd love to hear what you do with precuts and if you cut your own. How do you sort them? How do you store them? I'm looking for ideas to make my studio more efficient and more inspiring. I'd love to also see what you actually make with your precuts.

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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