Background: I owned a Silhouette Cameo (first edition) and had pretty mixed results with cutting fabric. I had some nice cuts but wouldn't have achieved that without some great advice from my blog readers. Check out my paper snowflake project last year -- which was done on the Silhouette Cameo.)
Given my fairly frustrating learning curve on the Cameo, I will admit to being a bit gun-shy. However, I have a retreat coming up next week, and realized that if I actually wanted to make my snowman project, I needed to cut it out -- NOW!
I experienced a couple of glitches with Cricut Design Space including designs not showing up in the import and modifications to design in Inkscape not carrying over to Cricut Design Space. But once my design was loaded, the cutting process was a dream. Not one bad cut in my first time cutting fabric with the Cricut Maker.
Here was the block I created for the TKQ Calendar Quilts class. I want to piece the block at the size 20 x 15.
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Here is the video describing my process. Not sure if I figured out the most efficient way to do everything -- but I figured I needed to start with the basics.
In the video, I explain that I printed my block to a pdf writer. In the video I used Cute PDF Writer. However the actual pdf writer is not important. Feel free to use what you have available to use on your computer.
Look to see if you have a setting for your pdf writer called Post Script Custom Page Size. I just discovered this setting a few months ago -- but essentially it lets you pick a page size (even one that is larger than any of your installed printers). This is particularly useful for larger sized blocks.
If you don't have this option, just pick the largest paper size you have installed on your computer. You make have some tiling which will require multiple Inkscape files.
The intermediate software I used to convert my design from the pdf format to an svg format is Inkscape. Inkscape is a professional vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It's free and open source.
Inkscape can seem overwhelming to use when you open it for the first time. However you only need to use a couple of tools within Inkscape -- so this really is a piece of cake. You can download Inkscape here.
Inkscape will allow you to create an SVG file which may be used in any electronic cutting system (Cricut Design Space, Silhouette Studio, or Brother Canvas Workspace).
So what is an SVG file? An SVG file is a graphics file that uses a two-dimensional vector graphic format. Unlike raster formats such as JPG, GIF, and PNG, an SVG image remains crisp and clear at any resolution or size.
In Inkscape, ungroup your image and select and delete any patches that you don't want to cut with your cutting system. Then save as an SVG. (Update: Make note of the size of the svg objects.)
In Cricut Design Space, select Upload Image and navigate to the SVG file. Select Save. Select the Image and select Insert Images. (Update: Resize the grouped images to match the size noted in Inkscape.)
Make any modifications. I chose to remove the circles for the mouth as I think it will be easier to use a decorative stitch on my sewing machine rather than appliquing 1/4 inch circles on my block.
I chose to back my fabric with Soft Fuse Premium. I love the soft hand of this fusible -- it actually feels like there is none. I ironed the fusible to the fabric (3 seconds with a dry iron), removed the paper and placed it fusible size down on the Cricut mat. I used the green mat -- but after I was all done found that they actually recommend the pink mat.
Cutting with the rotary cutter blade was an absolute dream. I had absolutely no problems with shifting material and there were no snags in the cut (both issues that I had with my old Silhouette Cameo). (Note -- I had the first version of the Silhouette Cameo and based on conversations with others who have upgraded, I think the later versions are less troublesome.)
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