When you look closely at the spongy side of the die, you see the cuts around the shapes. In the photo above, I'm pulling back the foam with my fingernail to expose the blade. SHARP!
It's very hard to see where the blades are- at least on a new die. The AccuQuilt folks encourage customers to use a permanent pen (like a Sharpie) to hi-light the blade areas. I must say that I wish they came marked already, but it's really not hard to do.
Each die has instructions to make a project. The DWR die package has a pattern for a small wall hanging. It shows you how the pieces go together to make the DWR and you need to adjust it yourself to the size quilt you want. I am making a king size quilt top.... so a little math tells me..... I need a bazillion little pieces. :-)
I'm first cutting the little wedge pieces- D and E. Each arc is made of 3 D's and 2 E's.... plus 2 of the little squares on the ends. I'm working on the D's and E's. My quilt will be black, red and white. My background is white and the little pieces that make up the arcs will be prints with these 3 colors. I'm alternating black and white arcs with red and white arcs. Today I'm cutting red and white. My plan is to make the center piece mostly white with a little red, the pieces beside it pretty much equal red and white, and the end squares mostly red. I'll do the same progression with the black and whites- making them whiter in the middle and blacker on the ends.
I cut some long strips a little taller that the shape and then rough-cut some pieces to place over the shape that I have marked with the sharpie. I layered 6 pieces of fabric over the shape.
With the die blade side (foam side) up, fabric on top of the shapes I want to cut, I covered the die with the cutting mat. AccuQuilt has different sizes of mats that fit on different sizes of die. Then through the rollers they go.... with a turn of the handle.... the die slides through.
Once in a while a thread doesn't cut, and needs to be snipped. So far- this is rare. I am just careful when I lift the scraps away from the cut shapes. The foam seems to be thick enough, with the blades recessed deeply enough, that I have not felt it was dangerous to have my fingers around the blades. So far, so good.