Why Do We Need a Magazine for Die-Cutting Enthusiasts?
Hi Die-Cut Divas & Dudes,
This is Ebony Love, your Editor-in-Chief, resident insomniac, and mastermind behind this plan to take the quilting world by storm. I’ll step out of my third-person “we” references for a minute here, and instead tell you personally why I decided to start this magazine.
First of all, I love quilting, and everything about it. The fabrics, the fresh ideas, the problem solving, creativity, and especially all the neat gadgets and gizmos I get to use.
When I discovered die cutting a couple of years ago, it was purely by happenstance. I was on a quest to find the perfect circle cutter, because I’d tried everything – templates, rotary blades mounted sideways, and lots of little contraptions that were never meant to cut circles out of fabric. I was searching on Google one day, and came across a page that said you could get a custom die made to cut whatever you wanted. Perfect! So I called the company, arranged to order a special die, and sat back, giggling to myself at my new little acquisition. The thing I forgot to do was order the die cutter, so I had to call them back and ask what else I needed to use the die. Yes, people… I ordered a custom die before the die cutter. That should demonstrate the lengths to which I will go to get my hands on a gizmo.
Once I got my setup (the AccuQuilt Studio, if you haven’t guessed) and made a couple of cuts, I had this really huge eureeka moment. I can use this thing for more than circles! I can cut entire quilts! And it’s really fast and accurate! And why doesn’t anybody know about this?!?! So I went on the hunt for information and resources, and… frankly, there wasn’t much to be had.
From that point on, I really felt like I was on a mission to educate myself as much as I could about die-cutting, but that wasn’t really enough. I could see that a lot of people who did know about it were struggling, so I started sharing what I knew, and eventually people started calling me an expert. Well, that REALLY meant I had to step up my game, and a whole lot of stuff happened that I’ll tell you about one day.
What really sealed the deal for me though, in terms of launching this magazine, is that the quilting world as a whole treats us as though we are invisible. If you really want proof of that, look at Electric Quilt’s latest offering, all geared toward rotary cutters who don’t currently own their software. And their answer when asked about plans for helping die cutters was this (on their Facebook page):
Well – their software doesn’t really help die cutters either, because the instructions are written for rotary, and calling our dies “stencils” just really shows what we are up against. The more we ask for die-cut patterns & instructions, the more we are ignored. Sure, you’ll see patterns every once in a while, but it’s like 99:1 in favor of rotary cutting. And let’s face it – this fabric die cutting thing is still in its infancy in the quilting industry, so if we want it to get big, we have to start making waves.
This magazine is basically geared toward everyone who is looking for quilt blocks that are translated into die-cut language. Not everyone has the time, ability, motivation, or desire to figure out what die combinations will yield a particular block in a specific size, so think of it as a shortcut between your iron and your die cutter. In the process, I’m also trying to establish standards for how die-cut patterns are notated and specified, in order to help pattern designers and authors streamline their instructions for die cutting. It’s an iterative process, and you’ll see that reflected in the magazine as we continue to evolve.
In terms of the model for the magazine, we’re trying as much as we can to keep it ad-free and very content rich. (Have you actually counted the number of pages of ads in a magazine these days? Try it – you’ll be amazed.)
By the way… our “Empty Wallet” section is NOT ad-based. Whatever shows up there are things that we or our readers have found helpful, amazing, spectacular, or something you’ve got to have. We call it “Empty Wallet” because whenever people shop there, they are sure to come back with an empty wallet.
Despite popular belief, everything on the internet is NOT free, and just because we’re a digital publication doesn’t mean we don’t have expenses. There’s a lot of powerful (i.e. costly) software running this site as well as a pretty hefty personal commitment on my part. I’m hoping that for the price of a die (twice a year), you’ll consider this place an invaluable resource for your quilting and die cutting and be willing to invest in a subscription. You will see small ads from time to time, as we experiment with our business model, but we don’t want to clutter the site or the magazine with ads. Because of that self-imposed limitation, we rely on our subscribers to keep this place running.
My hope is that eventually, die cutting will become so widespread that you’ll see it reflected everywhere – in magazines, patterns, web sites, quilt shows, shops etc. We’ll be happy when that happens, but we don’t expect to become obsolete when it does. We will grow and change based on what YOU need. This magazine belongs to ALL of us, because we’re all supporting it in very tangible ways. We’ll never get too big to listen to what you have to say, so don’t ever hesitate to share what’s on your mind – either privately through the Contact page, or publicly with a comment. (You don’t have to buy anything to comment on the site, but you do need to be logged in. This helps cut down on spam enormously.)
Thanks for listening, and enjoy Blocks to Die For!