About Candace West

Candace West is a multiple national award winning quilt artist and educator, whose art has been displayed at all major quilt show venues such as the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX, and the American Quilting Society show in Paducah, KY and many others nationwide. Her award winning quilts and garments have appeared in several major magazines. A love of teaching and sharing the techniques that can make anyone’s quilts show worthy, is her mission.

Need a Special Longarm Ruler? No Problem!

I am working on a special quilted art piece using new materials and techniques that I am currently experimenting with. Leather, heat transfer vinyl, computerized cutting, and chainmail! Each of the blocks in the quilt have different styles of background quilting for the theme of the block. I wanted a gentle wave as background fill for the House Stark block and could not find a longarm ruler exactly like I needed, so I decided to make one using my Maxx Air.

Longarm rulers need to be ¼” thick so the hopping foot does not jump the ruler and cause damage to the needle bar and throw off the machine timing. Not to mention break needles! Since we cannot cut that thickness of material with our cutting machines, I decided to cut multiple layers of craft plastic and glue the layers together to get to the ¼” height I needed. It took ten layers of the .020mm plastic to achieve the proper thickness.

Materials

Grafix Craft Plastic .020 mm

KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Standard Material Detail Blade

KNK Zing/Zing Air 12″ x 12″ Extra Sticky Mat Set (Green Grid)

Engraving Tool

Clear adhesive for plastics

 

Maxx Air Settings

Engrave Settings

Engraving Tool, Force = 120, Speed = 400, Passes = 3, Blade Offset = 0,

Blade Height = 25

Cut Layer Settings

Red Blade, Force = 190, Speed = 300, Passes = 3, Blade Offset = .25, Blade Height = 25

Process Details

Brought my Corel design for the ruler into Make the Cut! and added the text for the ruler name. Separated the text and guide lines as separate layers for the engraving. I only engraved one text layer and a few guidelines only layers, the rest I just cut the outline of the ruler.

I could get three ruler layers on one sheet of 12” x12” craft plastic. Using the Extra Sticky Mat, I taped down the edges of the plastic, just in case. First, I engraved the plastic using the Engraving Tool with the ruler name and then changed to the Red Blade to cut the ruler layers.

After removing the excess plastic, I glued the layers together carefully making sure that everything lined up properly. I encased the engraved layers between the clear layers so I got a smooth bottom to my ruler. And for a little extra bit of security I used a clear packing tape on the ends while the glue was drying.

I then applied a few pieces of ruler grip tape to the bottom so the ruler would not slip on the surface of the leather as I was quilting. I did notice some minor “fanning” of the layers when the hopping foot was in motion, but not enough to impact the outcome. Next time I will be sure to apply more glue along the edges.

I am pleased with the results using my new longarm ruler. This was a quick solution to fulfill my need and I will be making more longarm rulers for special projects in the future!

 

 

Sugar Skull Banner

 

When a beloved co-worker and best friend moves on to pursue exciting personal opportunities, what do you do? Have a surprise party and wish them the best! Staff and close friends were asked to contribute to fill a treasure box with cards and small gifts to show our love and appreciation for her service. Cathy has many signature styles in her art and many of the gifts reflected these themes. One recurring theme in her work is sugar skulls, so I decided to make a banner to decorate her studio.

I collected sugar skull SVGs from several websites and modified them where necessary to cut well in paper. Then I created two shadow layers of each skull, one smaller and one ¼” larger. The skull and the larger shadow layer were cut twice, both in white and black cardstock. The smaller shadow layer I cut in a brightly colored cardstock.

Materials

Cardstock, Ribbon, Glue and staples

Maxx Air Settings

KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Standard Material Detail Blade

Force = 75, Speed = 200, Passes = 1, Blade Height = 25

Assembled the skulls by sandwiching the inner color layer between the skull front and back. To create the hanger for each skull, I cut a 1” x 5” strip of card stock, folded in half and attached at 8” intervals along my hanger ribbon. The hangers were centered on the back of the skulls and glued in place. Added some bright ribbon tassels on the ends to finish off the banner.

 

Cathy was overwhelmed by the treasure box and has added all our gifts to her studio décor as a daily reminder of the friends that support her in her new venture. I hope she smiles every time she looks at her sugar skull banner.

 

Rock-It Rhinestone Flock

 

Who doesn’t like sparkles? Adding rhinestones to a quilt gives it an extra pizzazz and grabs your attention. Rock-It Rhinestone Flock makes creating hundreds of rhinestone designs easy.

Hot fix crystals are a fun way to add sparkle to your quilts, but it can be tedious applying thousands of crystals one by one. Using a rhinestone placement template, you can recreate a design across several areas of your quilt while applying multiples all at once. On most of my quilts I average 3000 to 5000 crystals in various sizes. Rhinestone templates help speed up the process by days!

Rock-It Rhinestone Flock is easily cut with KNK cutting machines. Rhinestone SVG files are designed replacing cut lines with small holes corresponding to the standard crystal sizes. Most cutting design software programs like Sure Cuts A Lot, have a rhinestone tool to help automate this process turning a regular design or font into a rhinestone outline or even a filled object.

Materials

Rock-It Rhinestone Flock

Rhinestone Transfer Tape

Maxx Air Settings

Blue Blade, Force + 60-75, Speed = 400, Passes = 2, Blade Height = 25

Force Settings

KNK Force Thick Material Blade, Blade Tension = 2, Passes = 2, SD = 50, CD/ED = 50, CS = 25.

Remove the flock material from the backing sheet and apply directly to the mat before cutting. This helps the weeding much easier as when you pull the flock from the mat the circles remain.

Once the template is cut and weeded, apply the sticky side of the material to a backing board. You can use cardstock or the original carrier sheet for your backing. To use the template pour some rhinestones on and sweep into the holes with a brush. Pick up your design out of the template with a sticky heat resistant Rhinestone Transfer Tape. This allows you to place your crystal motif onto the quilt and use an iron to heat set the crystals all at once!

Blinded by the light! Where is that Visor?

This month we took another trip to Disney World. We live nearby and have annual passes so we go often. As usual I forgot to bring a hat and the sun was really getting to me. Of course, Disney has a million hats to sell you at the park, but I prefer a lightweight visor. For our next trip, I am determined to remember to pack a visor and decided one of those foam visors would be the perfect style.

I found a foam visor at my local craft store and realized I could just as easily cut one on my Maxx Air. I scanned the visor into Make The Cut! with the Pixel Trace tool and went to town decorating it. I will make up a few and store them in my car so I don’t forget one next time!

 

Materials

Craft Foam – I used a 3mm craft foam, it required some extra blade to get a good cut.

Vinyl – Gemstone Metallics

Clear Transfer Tape

Coil Cording – This is hard to find, but you can use a coil wrist keychain bracelet or coil shoelaces cut to size. Amazon is a good source for these. Coil-Bracelet-Keychains

Mickey Visors – Download the Disney Visor project file/SVG to make your own.

Since our next trip is around St Patrick’s Day I designed a Mickey and Minnie head filled with shamrocks. I am giving away the design in in the project/SVG download, but I will walk you through my design process.

  • Create your fill pattern by duplicating your image and offsetting the rows. Join all rows.
  • Layer your mouse head over the fill and move it around until you get a pleasing fill inside the shape.
  • Perform a Boolean Join B-A.
  • Create a Shadow Layer of the mouse head. I made mine thin, mitered at .0360.
  • Layer and align the shadow layer and the Boolean join result in step 3.
  • Join the layers.
  • Create a weeding rectangle and join to the mouse head. Now you are ready to cut!

 

 Maxx Air Settings

Gemstone Metallics: Red Blade, Force = 42, Speed = 250, Passes = 1, Blade Height = 25

Craft Foam 3mm: Blue Blade extended to the depth of the foam, Force = 80, Speed = 200, Passes = 2, Blade Height= just barely above the surface of the foam (start with 25 in testing) Note that the project file has a Punch Hole layer. This is included as a reference only; these holes are too small to cut in craft foam. Hide this layer before cutting the foam.

To assemble:

  • Apply the vinyl to the visor using the Clear Transfer Tape.
  • Glue the cord support circles to the outside of the visor tips.
  • Punch holes through the tips with an awl.
  • Thread the coil cording through the holes.

Make several with different decorations and embellishments for a fun way to keep your eyes shaded from the blinding sun!

 

 

Vinyl Sorcery for Disney MagicBands!

magic-bands-all_sm_opt

We took a family trip with our adult kids to Disney World during Christmas vacation. Instead of tickets and hotel keys, Disney issues these wristbands called MagicBands, that interact with the park entries and hotel rooms. They can even be used to purchase food and souvenirs at the parks.

You can purchase special MagicBands with Disney characters, but what is the fun in that? I can make it myself! So, I decided to make the trip more memorable by customizing our MagicBands to suit each family member.

We each chose a Disney movie or favorite park attraction to personalize our MagicBands. In all the designs, I sought to invoke the feel of the theme, not a direct copy of a licensed Disney graphic. Finding inspiration was easy, scaling the designs to fit a 7” by ¾” canvas was not! I played around with a few templates I found free online and finally redesigned one that works great, which I have provided as a free file.

Materials

Disney MagicBands

Vinyl – I used several different types of vinyl I had on hand. Such as Gemstone Metallics and Oracal 651

Clear Transfer Tape

 Maxx Air Settings

Force = 42, Speed = 300, Red Blade, Passes = 1, Blade Height = 25

  • Open the MagicBand Templates project/SVG file.
  • Select your graphics and size to fit the template. You can choose to size your graphics or text to fit within the borders of the template or to hang over the edges for an overlay effect. (Note that one side of the MagicBand has holes for the closure. You can create a design that avoids them or just punch holes through the vinyl after application.)
  • Join all your graphics. Place the template on a separate layer and hide.

magicband-mtc-inset-steps_opt

  • If you are doing an overlay effect, join all your individual graphics. Next select both the graphic and the template and perform a Boolean Join – Intersect.

magicband-mtc-steps_opt

  • Add a weeding rectangle and join.
  • Cut!
  • Weed excess vinyl. Apply Clear Transfer Tape and then transfer vinyl to MagicBand. Since the MagicBands are curved and cannot be laid down flat, I draped them over my roll of transfer tape to support them while applying the vinyl. I also found it was easier to apply the Mickey head separately from the band design.

apply-vinyl_sm_opt

Our MagicBands were a fun, unique fashion accessory customized for each family member. We got many compliments at the park on our wearable works of art!  Can you guess the movie or park ride the bands represent? magicband-detail-all_opt