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Product Review: Circle Cutter By Polar Notions

 By Addy Harkavy

If you've ever wished for a way to cut circles, wedges, parts of circles, or parts of circles out of squares here's a tool you'll want to know about. The Circle Cutter replaces guiding a rotary cutter around a circular acrylic template or marking circles with template plastic and cutting with scissors.

The concept is deceptively simple. Developed by Elaine Braun of Polar Notions in Juneau Alaska, this patented device consists of a rotary cutter blade that is mounted on the arm of a circular guide. But it's the execution of this simple concept that makes this tool unique and wonderful. The blade rotates smoothly; the circle diameter (up to 6 1/2") is easily adjustable, and you get perfect circles each and every time.

The Circle Cutter makes short work of cutting background pieces and wedges for drunkard's path blocks and for making the curves for Apple Core, Rob Peter to Pay Paul, Orange Peel, Mill Wheel, and other favorites that require curved cuts based on the arc of a circle.

A companion device - a cutting mat with gridded 90- and 45-degree lines and polar (circular) markings - helps to cut the circles you make into further usable patches.

Not only do these tools help to make circle-based designs a snap, Elaine Braun has developed some patterns that make familiar, previously challenging blocks easy. Each pattern is illustrated and includes pictures of the Circle Cutter in use as guides to making your blocks come out perfectly each and every time.

Currently available patterns include: Little Patriot, True Lover's Knot, Rob Peter to Pay Paul, Orange Peel, Millwheel, and Apple Core. Drunkard's Path and Mad for Plaid.

All Polar Notions products - Circle Cutter, mat, and patterns -- are available at the Polar Notions Web site (secure shopping!) at http://www.polarnotions.com/ and are also distributed by Quilter's Rule International in Waterford, Wisconsin, www.quiltersrule.com (toll free 1-800-343-8671).

See Addy's other product reviews and quilting tips on our Quilting Consumer page!

Addy Harkavy lives, writes, and quilts in Maine. You can reach her at addy@TheExperimentalQuilter.com

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