• Rotary Cutters: An Insight

    For years in the quilting industry, we used traditional scissors to cut our cloth, whether on regular cloth work or sophisticated quilting. However, in the years that followed, cutting tools developed slowly and eventually gave rise to a new cutting tool known as the "Rotary Cutter."

    What Is a Rotary Cutter?

    The Rotary Cutter is one of the tools that revived quilting in the 1970s. This simple tool took the quilting world by storm, and today, the Rotary Cutter is one of the most famous tools used in quilting. Initially, the Rotary Cutter was released in three different sizes. Of course, there are many different types of Rotary Cutters now. Following are some pointers that you may find useful when using a Rotary Cutter:

    It is recommended that you buy a blade that has a guard for your hand as well as for the blade, so that safety for both is ensured.

    The first thing that you should remember while cutting any piece of cloth is that the cutting should be done in the direction away from you, i.e. away from your body.

    Usually, a new Rotary Cutter blade will be very sharp, and it is not necessary to apply pressure while cutting.

    If you are not accustomed to cutting long or large pieces of cloth, it is recommended that you first try cutting out smaller pieces.

    If you are attempting to cut a number of pieces at once, the result will be less accurate measurements. Focus on cutting the least number of layers; although this is time consuming, you are sure to get more accurate results.

    One of the bad habits that many people have is that after they have finished their work, they do not close their blades. This leaves it in a vulnerable position with the possibility of others getting cut. Certain blades retract after they have been used and then need to be pushed out manually. Whatever blade you buy, make sure that it suits your style of use.

    The blades that are used in rotary cutting need to be changed every time they become dull. Unlike traditional scissors, where they can be sharpened again and again and do not have to be taken apart, rotary blades must be reopened and replaced again and again.

    You should keep all of your blades in a safe place out of reach from everyone, especially children and pets.

    While using a rotary cutter, always cut cloth while standing up, not while sitting. This is much safer, and it cuts much more accurately and neatly.

    Is Your Cutting Accurate?

    Are you sure that you are cutting accurately? What if you're really not? Here is a technique for checking the accuracy of your rotary cutting:

    Take a strip of fabric and spread it out, so you can check the accuracy of the cutting. Cut from one corner of the fabric to the other. Do you see any curves? If you see curves, your cutting is obviously not correct. If the cut is straight, your cutting is correct.

    How to Store Your Quilt Properly

    Before your quilt is put away in storage, it should be documented, photographed, appraised, and, above all, insured.

    Your quilt is precious to you, and obviously, when you are not using it, you want to store it properly. If you think that just putting the quilt in a small plastic bag and dumping it in the attic is the ultimate solution for preserving it, think again. Here are some pointers to take into consideration on preserving your quilt:

    The first and foremost thing is to check to see whether your quilt is clean. On the surface, the dust should be removed by screening (place a fine mesh screen on it and vacuum, using a handheld attachment).

    Never send your quilt to the dry cleaner, because the process of dry cleaning could damage your quilt to a point beyond repair.

    Do not place your quilt in a plastic bag or plastic wrapping because quilts require air. This will also lessen the chance of mildew developing.

    Quilts are supposed to be kept in a cool, dry place. Moisture is a quilt's enemy. If you must store in a place susceptible to moisture, be sure to keep a bowl or tub of Desiccant nearby. Desiccants are a crystal-shaped structure which can absorb moisture in small places. They are available in any hardware store or at your nearest drug store.

    Unlike other fabrics that are stored, quilts should not be folded and should be kept as flat as possible.

    If you are going to fold your quilt, fold it with something that offers support. Wherever there is a fold, place some acid-free tissue paper in between; this prevents any creases from forming due to folding.

    Another thing you will have to do is refold your quilt in a different way, once every six months.

    Another way of storing your quilt is by wrapping it around a tubular structure. The quilt should not be wrapped directly on the tube without first being covered with muslin cloth or acid-free paper, followed by wrapping it again in muslin cloth or acid-free paper.

    Preferably, store quilts in dark areas.

    Prevention from Wood

    Sometimes, when the quilt is stored up against wood, the varnish or the oils that are coated on the wood can stick to the quilt.

    If you want to store your quilts in boxes, I suggest that you store them in ones that are acid-free. They are available at dry cleaning shops.

    Prevention from Insects

    Wherever fabric is, you will find bugs. To avoid this nuisance, try placing a bag of Artemisia near the quilts. Artemisia can be purchased from food stores and is also available at nurseries.

    Label the Bags

    It is always a good idea to label the bags so that you have an idea of which bag is where and what quilt is stored inside that bag. In the event of your passing away, just write down in your will who they will go to and where they can find them. Another good reason to label the bags is so that no one will throw them away by mistake. If possible, you could also mention on the label where the documentation is.

    Last, but not Least

    Check your quilts once in a while to see if there are any bed bugs.
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