I had really just started experimenting with my GO! cutter when I designed my entry for the Accuquilt/EQ7 challenge last fall. I've learned a few things about using the GO! along the way and also a bit about using EQ7 to design patterns that are GO!-friendly.
First, I had no idea how to use an Accuquilt die on EQ7. How would I be able to import a physical die into EQ7 to design a virtual quilt? I couldn't even begin to grasp this concept - I blame this on a deficiency of chocolate that evening - so how would I be able to even enter anything in this contest? Luckily, SewCalGal came to my rescue and I was able to incorporate the Holiday Medley die images into my EQ7 project. You can read her excellent tutorial on this process here. So, that was one thing I learned from this experience and this will definitely help me in designing future projects.
Speaking of designing, I find myself drawn to appliqué projects. Now, I'm no hand appliquér, fusible web appliqué is my thing since I like to do things quickly, but this is great if you're using the GO! cutter since Accuquilt's appliqué dies are designed for just this type of technique. A little fusible web on the back of your fabric, a few passes through the GO! cutter and voilà, you're ready to fuse to your background. But wait, you're left with the paper backing from your appliqué shapes, which is also die cut and perfect. You're not just going to throw those away, are you? I didn't think so! Here are some of the things that I do with my paper backings (besides admire how perfect they are):
Keep these paper shapes in a ziplock bag until you want to design another project. If you don't have EQ7, you are usually reduced to drawing shapes several times when trying out a new design. Save time and paper by pulling out these paper appliqué shapes and using them to design your new project. You can rearrange them any way you like until you come up with a satisfactory design. You can then cut your chosen fabric with your Accuquilt cutter and will have your new quilt done in no time.
Did I mention how perfect these die cut paper appliqués are? And you've used the fabric appliqués on a project, but now aren't sure how to quilt it? Guess what? These paper shapes make great quilt motifs. Again, you can arrange them as desired, then trace around them with a water soluble pen and you're ready to quilt. You might want to use a little temporary spray adhesive to hold them down while you trace around them. Don't forget to spritz out the marks with water after you're done quilting and before you use any heat on the quilt.
Something else that I've noticed is how my designs in EQ7 translate very nicely with Accuquilt's dies. I usually do fairly simple appliqué designs on a pieced background and Accuquilt helps me here too. As you can see the poinsettias in this design can very easily be created with the Accuquilt feather die. I can also use the half-square triangle and square dies that Accuquilt has. I've just completed a small wall hanging with hearts and leaves where I used Accuquilt's hearts die as well as the small leaf from the Rose of Sharon die (more on this design in a future post). I know that I'll save a significant amount of time creating these designs by using Accuquilt's appliqué designs, rather than drawing and cutting these shapes out by hand. Plus, they'll be much more accurate making my quilt simply stunning - well, at least the die cut appliqués will be :)