If you’ve been in the blogosphere in the last year, you already know the manufacturers of GO! (manual cutting machine) have worked hard to put their product into the hands of quilters, sewers, and fabric crafters. Title after title in my blog reader have had the words GO! and later GO! Baby. I could not understand the excitement. I favor pieced patchwork projects and methinks the GO! is more suited for those who applique. Besides, I have a longstanding relationship with my Olfa rotary cutter(s). We’re happy together. And even if I decided to try one, the Go! is expensive (retails for 349.00). A quilt shop owner might buy one, but not me, a solo quilter.
Fast forward many months. I opened an email from a representative from AccuQuilt, makers of GO! and GO! Baby. They offered to send me a Go! Baby (retails for 139.00) and three dies of my choosing. In return, they asked me to review the cutter and dies on my blog. As humbug as I felt about the GO!, I accepted. It arrived, I’ve played.
Review: The Fabric Cutter
It’s compact, lightweight and easy to use. The GO! Baby is affordable. Could I live without it? Yes. Do I want to after using it? No. It has a place in this quilter’s toolbox. And it may be singly responsible for pulling me out of my Grinch-like trance during the holidays. Every year (usually in October) I aim to make a Christmas wall hanging to adorn my walls and deck my halls. It never happens. Well, one should never say never.
Lookie. This is the beginning of a Christmas wall hanging. You can see the inspiration for this design over at First Hand Emotion.
Review: The Die Boards
I set out to select dies that would be nearly impossible to do with a rotary cutter and difficult and/or time-consuming to do with scissors. I chose Circles, Birds, and Apple Core. Accuracy is important in quilting, more important than in sewing garments. In quilting, small mistakes add up. It’s like the difference between cooking and baking, with baking being the more unforgiving. The GO! Baby cutting system promises both accuracy and speed, making it especially appealing to quilters.
Along with my cutter and dies, I received a GO! Cutting Mat 6′ x 12″. I cut four layers of fabric to slightly smaller than the die board. Once in place I put the GO! cutting mat on top of it, lining it up so I was looking at a die board-fabric-cutting mat sandwich. Next I fed the sandwich through the cutting machine, left hand on the sandwich, my right hand turning the handle to move it forward. Easy peasy. The instructions say you can reload and reverse the direction, but I found it just as easy to start again from the other side.
Cutting results – Circles
This is the GO! Circle – 2″, 3″, 5″ Die. See photo above where I marked my circles S,M,L on my design wall. I then dug out some pocket change – a quarter and dime. I used these as patterns to make some smaller circles. The design needed it so it was worth the trouble.
Cutting results – Birds
Next I loaded up the GO! Birds Die. You still have to use small scissors to cut them all the way out. On one of the birds, I had to cut nearly an inch of fabric the die missed. Maybe they can fix this in a later production of this particular die.
Two of the birds made their way to the wall hanging. I plan for them to lower the star I will cut from that fabric square onto the top of the tree. Wouldn’t it be fun if AccuQuilt came up with a fancy crown die so the birds could lower that on the tree? See, I’m getting in to it.
Cutting results – Apple Core
Next I loaded up the GO! Apple Core 6 1/4 ” Die. With this die, I didn’t even have to trim threads, they just popped out. The size of these apple cores make them a perfect choice for larger quilt projects. Because of the large scale, they will not be going into my wall hanging shown.
Thanks goes to the folks at AccuQuilt who provided this tool for me to try.
Ed. note December 7,2011: Sorry if you got excited about a chance to win a GO! Baby. I will not be hosting an AccuQuilt sponsored giveaway. I was unable to articulate my irritation with this entire exchange with the makers of AccuQuilt. This is why I adore and follow in my Google Reader writers who blog like Badskirt. She explains it better than I ever could here and here.