There’s a new “gadget” I’ve been considering for a long time. There are quite a few different makes and models to choose from, such as: Accuquilt, Sizzix, Cicut, Gemini, Spellbinders and Brother’s ScanNcut (which does exactly what it’s named).

I’m talking about the die cut machines that you crank (unless it’s an electric model) and it cuts multiple shapes of fabric.

Every shape is exactly the same size, which is not always the case with manual cutting with a rotary cutter. And since all the pieces are the same, piecing would be a breeze.

I confess I haven’t really played with one of these die cutters yet. I think I’m keeping my distance because I’m afraid I’ll fall in love with one, and, well, you know the rest of the story. Also, using one would ensure that you could cut more fabric in a shorter period of time compared to a rotary cutter.

Cutting dies come in a large variety of shapes and sizes and I’m sure there would be enough dies available (at a cost) to cut any shape I would want.

These are the good points to buying one. The reason I was seriously considering a die cutter is because I make baby quilts using the same pattern. I make many of these baby quilts, and using a die cutter would ensure I have a large supply of the two shapes I need so that I could just sit and sew in an afternoon and complete quite a few quilt tops.

This would be a wonderful time saver for me. Hunched over a cutting table with templates and a rotary cutter have really lost it’s appeal as I get older (gasp!).

The not so favorable aspects of a die cutter, for me, are: what if I want to make a quilt that there isn’t a die for? I’ll be back to cutting my fabric with a rotary cutter. I’m also thinking I might get tired of making quilts using the same pieces. That would mean I’d have to buy more dies in order to get different sizes and shapes.

I haven’t looked into the cost of all these cutting dies but I’m sure I’ll have to save up for a while to get a good variety to keep me supplied in all the shapes and sizes I might need for any project I come up with.

All the cutters seem to come in starter kits which include the machine, simple shaped dies and a pattern book, plus a few other items to operate the machine.

Looking online, there are rave reviews by all who have bought a machine. Prices seem to start around $100 for a starter kit and go up to over $500, with every price in between.

If you check online, there are places that have some great sales going on. Since I’ll be going to the Houston International Quilt Festival the first week of November, I’ll put looking for a machine as something I want to check out on my shopping list. Seeing how one of these machines work right in front of me might just convince me that I need one.

Nancy C. JUDD is a Herald correspondent.

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