Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Flight of the Rotary Cutter

I write this out of sheer frustration. I am seriously lacking in the "make something pretty" department. Once, just once, I would like to attempt a project that would come out just as I asked it too. I've let it slide thus far. I grit my teeth and try to ignore my mistakes because, after all, I'm very new to the world of crafting. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I just threw a rotary cutter across the room. Really. It left a little nick in the dry wall because in my fury I did not retract the blade before launching it. I was trying to cut quilt strips. I've never made a quilt and had enough fabric to attempt it so I thought, what they heck? All I need to do was cut some strips and sew them together. Easy enough. But do you have any freakin' idea how difficult it is to cut strips that are the same width and length without your ruler sliding all over the place? My old nemisis, the parallelogram, reared it's ugly head and no matter what I tried, I didn't have one strip the same size much less in the shape of a rectangle. Foiled again....curses!!

 (photo from quiltersworld.typepad.com)

I visit blog after blog boasting gorgeous hand knit creations, quilted pretties for beds and tables...all made in these amazing mother's "spare time." It's nothing, they say. It's so easy, they say. Are they all lying to me or am I really that creatively stunted? Am I going too fast? Am I trying too hard? What's the deal here people? In the past six months I've tried knitting, crocheting, sewing, scrapbooking and quilting and I'll tell you now my friends...it ain't been pretty. I've not produced one thing that I am truly satisfied with and spent a lot of time and money in the process. And when you spend time and money and you don't like the outcome, it tends to get frustrating. Rotary cutters take flight...

There are many accessories I would like to buy for my home but as you well know, I'm learning to stop wanting stuff, and want what I have. Crafting, in whatever form, is a way for me to use what I have to create a wall hanging for that screamingly bare wall in the entryway, or a throw for the back of the chair, or a new table runner to replace the old peanut butter stained one. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that I possess the skills with which to do this. So since I'm not buying anything new, and I'm not making anything new, I don't have anything new. Yes, I'm a drama queen. No, this is not my typical things-are-so-great post. I don't need any of the things listed above but they'd really spiff up my house and make it feel a little homier. And I'd rather be able to tell people that I made it with a thrifted sheet and a long afternoon, than give them the name of the store where they, and everyone else, can buy one just like it.

Forgive me my rant. I couldn't help it. After prying the rotary cutter from the wall I walked away. And this is where I found myself...in front of the computer....almost in tears. Now that I've spilled my guts and calmed down a bit, I think I might try again. Or maybe I'll just buy a jelly roll of precut strips and go from there. It will hold me over until I can take that beginner's quilting class in September where hopefully, they will teach me the proper rotary cutting techniques.

Do you have any crafting horror stories? What is the thing you've made for your home that you're most proud of?


  1. Been there, done that....Got 2 different sized booties from crocheting, half-finished scrapbooks, an unfinished quilted purse, tons or crossstitch projects - just slightly off center, the list goes on. I've taken cake decorating classes, HA! You should see some of my creations. Better probably before the class. I don't have it either and I SOO Desire it. Be danged - Martha Stewart!

  2. This made me laugh so hard...not at your crafting woes, but at the image of you firing your rotary cutter hard enough that it stuck into the wall. Have you ever tried darts? I don't want to be patronizing so I won't go on about how this stuff takes time and practise, etc. I've been knitting for 25 years so that's why it's "so easy" for me...it's taken lots and lots of practice. The trick with a rotary cutter is to splay your fingers along the edge closest to where you plan to cut...apply LOTS Of pressure (as much body weight as you can muster), then cut...don't go far past your fingers or it'll slide. I've done this before...the sliding, I mean. Move your hand up the ruler and continue. Does this help? Am I one of those moms that make you feel inept? I have a super crafty mom that taught me all she knows. But I am a terrible athlete. I have the worst hand-eye coordination and depth perception you can imagine. I'd LOVE to be athletic. But instead...I can knit and sew. Don't hate me because I'm crafty! Just keep entering my giveaways...heehee!

  3. I didn't know what a "jelly roll" was until now. Be careful with that rotary cutter, sweetie! You just need to keep practicing.

  4. Go for the jelly roll! I HATE using my rotary cutter...I know they're supposed to make things easier, but I just can't get the hang of it, no matter how much pressure I use! I just got myself a bunch of fat quarters from "Sew Mama Sew". I'm thinking I'm just going to sew them together as an easy peasy quilt...just to have the satisfaction of actually doing a quilt at some point in my lifetime!
    You aren't alone in your rotary frustration! Hang in there...keep crafting, (you WILL find the thing that makes you craft with joy)!
    xo maureen

  5. Always cut away from you-hold your cut slightly up -hold your ruler firmly-don't try and cut too far at first and don't be so hard on your self.

  6. Thank you for this post, it makes me feel better. Every thing I have ever knit or sewed turns out looking fairly crappy, and I also wonder how all those "other" people manage to get those perfect cuts and straight seams!

    You're not alone. :)