I mentioned that my family supports my quilting habit more than is probably appropriate (possibly because it keeps me in the house and not dragging everyone to see the worlds biggest ball of twine or lump of rock that maybe used to be a house or is maybe just a rock), and that resulted in the recent gift of an Accuquilt Go! die-cutting machine.
This is the younger cousin of the Accucut Grandemark machine you probably remember from school. That was a behemoth that took up its own desk but was great for cutting geometric shapes for math lessons, letters for bulletin board displays and other shapes just because.
One of the limitations of the original Go! dies, inherited from the Accucut, is that for efficiency of production (which, lets face it, keeps our costs lower), the die is set into a single sheet of protective foam - which means you cannot see exactly where the die edges run unless you hold the die at an angle in the light.
To solve this difficulty, and save myself a good bit of frustration, I used the technique I learned from Katrina, of Sunshower Quilts:
With my trustee Sharpie-brand metallic silver marker, I painted just inside the blade edge of each die. This way when I'm fidgeting with odd off-cuts I'll know as long as I cover the silver paint my fabric will meet its fate at the blade of the die. Since I'm hoping for some fairly ridiculous scrap-vomit quilts with these, cutting lots of odd sizes of fabric I went a step further. Having dug out my little black Sharpie, I set to tracing the shapes on template plastic, cut to fit the dimensions of the die.
This way, when I have several layers of fabric on the die I can still see whether it is, or is not, lined up correctly:
And because I cannot let a good idea lie, I ran some extra template plastic through the machine to cut templates of my diamonds, and poked holes in the corners, 1/4" in. Now when I go to make a star quilt on my machine I'll be able to mark where to stop stitching so that pesky 'Y' seam comes out well. If I ever get the hexagon block I'm going to try the same thing there!
So here's me looking forward to more geometry in my future quilts, without having to measure so many angles!