New Toy Alert: Silhouette Cameo

Yes this is still a sewing blog and I bought the Cameo for sewing purposes. Why? How?

Two years ago I decided that this was the time of my life to follow my creative urges.  Didn’t matter if I was an artist or a wannabe.  I’ve always wanted to experiment with different media. If not now, when?  One of my Christmas gifts was a book with 20 different tutorials for doing things to fabric. I haven’t even  worked my way all through that book and already I’ve developed new talents……AND preferences.

I prefer stencils to silk screen. Why? Simple. All my stenciled projects were successful. I work hard with silk screen. Bought 3 different contraptions for creating silk screens and still no successful projects. But stencils have a down side. They are expensive to buy and I tend to use them once, maybe twice.  Sometimes I can use just parts of a stencil and reuse it. But the truth is, I use most stencils but once and that makes them expensive.

I acquired stencils slowly. I did try making my own.  DH loaned me his Exacto knife.  Let’s just say the Exacto and me are not a match made in heaven.  I was unable to produce a usable stencil with the Exacto.  I have a wood burner, which I tried to cut stencils with.  Essentially the tip is too large.  The wood burner might work well for large, simple shapes. But you-know-who wants lots of curves and details.  I bought a stencil burner with two different tips.  Cost about $40.  I did create and use a stencil with that set up. Still it’s not an experience I really want to repeat.  I started looking on the web for stencils and silk screens.  I thought given the number of stencils I would probably use during the rest of my lifetime, it could be cost-effective just to buy the things professionally made. I also shopped for sales and mark-downs.  I have a pretty defined taste. Not everything on the market will work for me. But when I thought it would and the price was right I bought.

I also started noticing cutters and fax transfers.  I watched several videos on the Cameo (and other devices).  I think I actually ran across these as I was looking for image transfer methods.  The Silhouette Cameo caught my eye Christmas 2011.  I didn’t buy it. For starters, I was still paying for my Ruby Designer.  The Cameo at that time was $299. Lets be honest.  $299 is just a way to make you feel like you are paying less than $300. But the truth is your bank balance is going down or your credit card balance is going up not $200 but ($300 -$1).  After reading a bit, I realized I’d be spending more like $400.  I knew immediately that I’d want duplicates of the consumables (the blade and mat) to arrive at the same time as the machine.  Then there are things like tools to help you get the cut parts off the mat in one piece and separate from the parts you don’t want.  So I didn’t buy. But I kept thinking about it and actually put it on my Amazon wish list.

Then one day I was standing in Michael’s looking at a very attractive stencil priced at $29.99.  First off it was a set of stencils.  The major stencil was big, like 12X18″ or 20″ and it was accompanied by several 12×12, 8×8 stencils. The smallest was a 6×6.  The set was a bargain. But at that moment I realized if I bought this set, I would have spent $150 on stencils, about half of the basic cost for the Cameo  AND if I bought this set, it wouldn’t be the last stencil I purchased. No indeed, I would want more.  The Cameo, OTOH, represents endless stencils.  Owners talk about having their machines since 2007 (when it was first released) and cutting daily or several hours every weekend.  On the average blades seem to be replaced annually.  Even the demonstrator, who must make perfect cuts every demonstration, replaces blades every 3 or 4th show or after about 1500 cuts. Blades last. Mats? Turns out there are multiple ways to renew mats and keep mats going for a long time.  People purchase multiple mats because they want longer mats or they like to have one mat cutting, one prepping and one peeling or weeding as they like to call it. Oh and the price has dropped during the year.

So nearly a year later I purchased my Cameo on Amazon.  I bought a package deal which included a spare blade, 2 12×12″ mats, a weeder/lifter-tool, a set of pens and a $10 gift card for purchasing shapes at the online-store. My cost including shipping was $284. That would be $(300-16).

And what do I plan to do with it? Mostly stencils to use in both color application and discharge. But I also think some applique.  I think there is a way to create stamps. Not postage stamps, but stamping stamps to use in color application and discharge. I may do some heat transfers which again is color application.