Chenille Blanket Tools

In the middle of this Baby Layette Series, I thought it best to give a more thorough run down on why I whine so much about making chenille blankets.

The girls on the blanket
The girls on the blanket

First, they are SO comfy and wonderful and beautiful. About a month later, the pain is almost forgettable. haha. Really, they’re so lovely and I would LOVE a king sized version for my own bed but…

They are TEDIOUS and full of disasters waiting to happen. They take the effort of quilting as you must quilt down the 5 layers (4 cotton flannel, 1 quilting cotton) together in about 3/4-1 inch intervals. Then you slice them each apart…the only part about quilting that is missing is the piecing, so when I say it’s harder than a jelly roll racer (link to the Jenny Doan YouTube for Jelly Roll Racer), I’m not exaggerating.

The pitfalls deal mostly with the ‘slash’ part of the process.

Clover makes a tool creatively called the Slash Cutter Tool.

Clover Slash Cutter Tool
Clover Slash Cutter Tool

This seems like a great idea. Like it will work like a rotary cutter.

Lies. It’s all lies.

First of all, it takes special Clover blades. Your little Olfa blades will not fit it. Ka-ching.

Blades
Blades
Blade 2 - No Wesley Snipes
Blade 2 – No Wesley Snipes

Second, it doesn’t work anything like a rotary cutter. The blade doesn’t roll, it smooshes against 4 layers of flannel to cut them like you’d run your scissors along Christmas paper…except if Christmas paper was cardboard. It’s that tough.

Sometimes it will glide smoothly for about 8 inches, then it gets clogged…

No Bueno
No Bueno

Now, it’s one thing to catch this clog and pull it out, and clean the clog, and rotate the blade and reset it and start again….

But when you don’t and it snags the fabric then does this sudden jolt forward and you go careening into stitches…

Slash Cutter F-Up
Slash Cutter F-Up
Slashed Thread
Slashed Thread

Now, that ALL said, those can all be fixed. I sewed that slice back up and while it doesn’t make for perfect, even rows, and it makes it a bit thready on the top side, it’s not the end of the world.

I alternated with using scissors to carefully slide the scissor knife edge under the flannel without stabbing through the quilting cotton.

Slash vs Slice
Slash vs Slice

The cutting is about the same in length of time and but is more controlled. However, it is not as ‘ergonomic’ I guess, and repairing a hole on the other side would make me cry. THAT is worse than repairing some flannel in this situation. Luckily, I was paranoid enough I didn’t stab through, but I was scared the entire time. Towards the center I sat in a chair, switched to my 5″ Ginghers with the rounded tip down, and just slowly snipped to the center.

So, in short, I don’t have an answer for which one is the better in the Slash Vs. Slice category. When I forget the pain of doing a chenille blanket and decide to do it again, I’ll probably go for just using the scissors next time….

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