My name is Ebony Love, and I’m an avid quilter, writer, designer, and educator. My company, LoveBug Studios, is built around teaching people how to be successful with their die-cutting and quilting.
When I started die cutting 2-1/2 years ago, there weren’t many resources out there for quilters who used these machines, and I took it upon myself to be a go-to resource to help people get the most out of their die-cutting tools.
Since then, I’ve recorded over 50 die-cutting & quilting tutorials, I publish a die-cutting magazine called Blocks to Die For, and I’m writing a book about fabric die-cutting, set to be published this fall.
In effect, I am widely recognized as a fabric die-cutting expert; thousands of quilters turn to me for advice, help, and knowledge about their systems.
As I expand my own knowledge about die-cutting, I have come to realize that there are major gaps preventing more widespread adoption. Die-cutting system manufacturers, in an effort to create a competitive advantage, have made it difficult for consumers to effectively use these machines and dies for quilting. Non-standard naming conventions, different methods of measuring dies, limited interchangeability, and lack of detailed instruction manuals creates confusion & ultimately hurts the consumer.
The differences between die-cutting systems make it difficult for publications to offer die-cutting patterns.
No magazine that I’m aware of (other than my own) has staff with enough experience in die-cutting techniques to effectively write instructions, and the lack of industry standards for notating dies means that very few die-cutting patterns are seen in national publications. In cases where die-cutting patterns are offered, they are limited to one die-cutting system, and that alienates readers & subscribers.
Finally, not everyone who quilts, die-cuts, or uses patterns has the time, desire, or inclination to figure out how to translate patterns designed for rotary cutting into the required die equivalents. Many people would love to be able to look at a block & immediately know what dies to use, but that’s not a realistic expectation for most quilters.
I want to bring die-cutting into the mainstream of the quilting industry, by making it easy for people to do.
When I first launched Blocks to Die For! Magazine, it was in an effort to unlock some of the mystery behind rotary vs. die cutting, but I was frustrated at how much time & space it took for me to generate cutting charts. Because of that, I wasn’t able to include all systems, and that then limited the potential audience of the magazine. I wanted my magazine to be a resource for anyone who loves fabric die-cutting, and that meant I had to figure out a way to present the information in a compact & easy-to-use format.
That’s where EDeN™ came in handy. I actually started working on EDeN™ long before the magazine, resulting from many conversations I had with my friend & fellow quilter Marjorie Busby. It was actually she who encouraged me to give EDeN™ a try in the magazine, and she offered to write the very first pattern using EDeN™. The response to EDeN™ has been fantastic, and there’s a growing community of die-cutting quilters who are using EDeN™ and find it extremely helpful in their quilting & sewing.
EDeN™ has been through extensive testing with real quilters, and I think it is ready for more widespread usage. I think EDeN™ has the potential to revolutionize our industry, and really level the playing field for all quilters to be able to make any pattern they want, no matter what cutting method they use.
What do I get out of this?
It’s no secret: I want my business to make money & be successful at what I do. I want to have time to do the things that I love the most and do best: die-cutting, quilting, and sharing my love of quilting with the world. I want all quilters to be able to speak the same language so we can share more of our craft with each other. There’s a wide chasm between rotary-cutting quilters and die-cutting quilters, and there doesn’t need to be!
EDeN™ will always be free to quilters, because I don’t want there to be barriers to adoption by charging for information that is so desperately needed. Designers & publishers are asked to pay licensing fees so that we hold each other accountable to maintain and support the standards across the industry. I don’t expect to retire on EDeN™ licensing fees; I’d much rather earn my living by doing – teaching, writing, die-cutting, and quilting!!
Ultimately, I would like to see the formation of a standards organization that is supported by manufacturers, publishers, and other industry members to ensure this work not only continues, but evolves as the industry grows and changes.