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.

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!

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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

 

Merry Christmas Cards – Mylar, Foil and Bling, Shiny!

In this day of electronic communication, I still like to say Merry Christmas the old fashion way with Christmas cards. Since getting my KNK Maxx Air, I love to make my own special cards for family and friends. This year I took some purchased SVG cut files designed by Daniela Angelova and added my own shiny touches to them with foil and Mylar.

Mylar cards

Materials

Embossed Cardstock
Mylar
Foil
Pre-cut card base
Adhesive (I used my Xyron sticker machine)
Embellishments
SVG Cut Files from; http://digiplayground.com

Maxx Air Settings

Pearl Embossed Cardstock
Force = 70, Speed = 300, Red Blade, Passes = 1, Blade Height = 25
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  1. Using pre-cut 5″x5″ cards, I printed the Merry Christmas sentiment inside the cards with a laser printer.
  2. Layer heat reactive foil over the words and run through Minc machine, or a laminator machine to activate the foil adhesion and make the words shiny!
  3. Set up SVG files in Make the Cut to maximize paper. Cut shapes using the appropriate settings for your paper type.
  4. Run cut shapes through Xyron adhesive sticker machine, or use the glue of your choice.
  5. Apply cut shapes to metallic Mylar and trim to outer edges of shape.
  6. Run through Xyron again (or apply adhesive to back of Mylar that is now adhered to the cut shape).
  7. Apply to card base (Pre-cut 5”x5” cards). I set up a jig to make sure I lined everything up just right.
  8. Add any additional embellishments for a special touch!

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Adding the shine really made my project stand out. This card project was fun and an easy way to use many of my creative “toys”!

Custom Quilting Line Stencils

I am working on new class samples for a workshop I teach, Custom Cuts, which introduces quilters to the many ways a computerized cutting machine can be a valuable tool in their quilting studio.

Stencils for fabric painting or wax resist work are often closed shape objects where you need to mask off the negative space. Quilters however, also use stencils to mark the lines of stitching used in quilting the three layers of a quilt together. You can purchase many designs from quilt stencil vendors, but if you need a special size or an original design, you will need to make your own. Traditionally, this is achieved by hand-cutting with a stencil blade the narrow channels that represent the stitching lines.

The challenge to do this by machine is to draw these channels or slots that the marking pen rides in without too much distortion. One of the fastest is to simply create a shadow layer of the object that is ½ the width of the desired channel size. Note that your design must be an open, not closed object. You want to create a shadow around the line itself not the design.

  1. In Make The Cut!, I found that a shadow layer of .025” produces a channel wide enough to accommodate a standard quilt marking pen, and a shadow layer of 0.017” works well for fine line marking pens.
  2. Separate the original design from the Shadow Layer and hide.
  3. Using the Eraser Tool in the Node Editing toolbar, erase portions of the shadow line to create the breaks necessary to hold the cut portions of the stencil together. I used an eraser width of 1 mm.
  4. Join the edited design to a rectangle to complete the stencil.
  5. Note that once created, the stencil SVG cannot be resized as that will also change the size of the marker channels.
  6. Cut!

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I tested on a few different materials, a pliable quilters stencil plastic that comes in a roll and a more rigid stencil plastic. Both material types are readily available from sewing and craft stores.

Best results are achieved when using the Extra Sticky Mat (Green Grid) to firmly hold the plastic sheets in place. I also taped the edges for extra security.

Maxx Air Settings

Blue Stencil Plastic (pliable)

Extra Sticky Mat (Green Grid), tape edges

Force = 110, Speed = 270, Red Blade, Passes = 1, Blade Height = 25

Hard Stencil Plastic

Extra Sticky Mat (Green Grid), tape edges

Force = 130, Speed = 80, Red Blade, Passes = 2, Blade Height = 25

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To use your new stencil, lay it over the area of the quilt top you wish to mark, insert marker into channels and mark quilt. Now you have lines to follow to add some special quilting designs to your quilt!

Wild Fashion Prints Heat Transfer Vinyl

Wild Fashion Prints Heat Transfer Vinyl  

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Wild Fashion Prints™ is a preprinted heat transfer vinyl in many popular patterns that add fun to lettering, numbers or your custom design. KNK carries them in 17 different prints including animals, camo, perforated and leather looks. Many of the prints are also textured such as the leather.

And of course, since I am working with my friends Cathy Wiggins and Olde City Quilts to promote a line of garment leather to sewers, I just had to try out the leather vinyl on this t-shirt project. We are vending at the largest quilt show in the USA, Houston Quilt Market and Festival this fall.  We not only wanted to create a unified look when in the booth, but also peak attendee interest when we were spotted away from the booth with a slogan that made folks stop and ask us, what does #itsbetterinleather mean?

First, I created the design for the shirt in Make The Cut! , using the hashtag, #itsbetterinleather and the Olde City Quilts logo.  I did not know what the font name was for the Olde City logo, so I uploaded a picture of it to the WhatTheFont page of My Fonts.com. This great font resource identified the font I needed and directed me to where I could purchase it. Once downloaded, I installed it into Make The Cut! and finished my design.

Filled up the virtual mat with as many as I could fit, mirror imaged the designs and cut on my KNK Maxx Air.

Materials

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

Wild Fashion Prints Heat Transfer Vinyl 

Maxx Air Settings

  • Blade = Red Blade, Blade height = 25
  • Force =55
  • Velocity = 250
  • # Passes = Disabled
  • Blade Offset = .25

The material cuts like all heat transfer vinyl, but since it is textured I did have a bit of an issue when weeding. The second time I increased the force a tad and exposed a tiny bit more blade. The design should be reversed and the clear heat proof carrier sheet face down on the mat.

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I then set up my design on the t-shirts and pressed with my heat press for the recommended time and pressure. Temperature at 325°F – 340°, firm even pressure for 12-15 seconds. Peel the clear backing when cool. Cover with a Telfon© sheet or kraft paper and repress for 3 seconds.

This is a fun material to get some cool effects on clothing, and it is perfect for our #itsbetterinleather message!

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