Saturday, June 05, 2010

Go! Go! Go!

I got an Accuquilt GO! a couple of weeks ago and have had fun playing with it. Full disclosure: the company provided the GO! in exchange for a review; however, these opinions are my own.

The GO! is a gadget that allows you to cut multiple layers of fabric at once - into shapes, not just strips. The point the company emphasizes is how accurate the pieces are.  Unsurprisingly, that wasn't why I wanted to try it - I want to work faster with less effort.

First off, let's talk about strips. I definitely had a harder time doing those than the smaller shapes.

I didn't want to waste fabric so I tried using oversized pieces. Don't do this at home:

I folded the fabric up along the edges and smooshed it through the side. Unsurprisingly this pulled at the fabric and gave me misshapen strips. So I learned that I need to cut my fabric down to fit the die (for instance, 8 1/2" wide for the die that cuts three 2 1/2" strips). Leaving it an inch or so bigger, I end up with a narrow, but useable extra strip.

Even doing that, I still had some difficulties getting the strips just right. For instance, I might get bitty folds:

In this particular case, the strips were still straight when unfolded. I know there are ways of working with more accuracy, such as using pins at the top of the fabric or putting a piece of paper on top of the layers, but I wasn't worried enough about it to go that far. Didn't worry about the grain of the fabric either. I'm happy with these strips just as they are.

Admittedly part of my problem cutting the strips is that I don't have a solid table to put the GO! on - it rocks when I use it. And my kitchen is tiny - not enough counter space there either.

So would I get one of these JUST for strips? No. But a nice feature of the strip dies is that you can take the strips you've just cut and lay them in the other direction (what would that be - vertically?):

And send them through to get squares:

I just did this with a couple of short strips to show you, but you can stack up lots of layers and do this quicker. If you're anything like me though, you won't necessarily get perfect squares this way - you have to align the strips just so. Having said that, they're not all that off - no worse than me and a rotary cutter.

Where the GO! is fantastic is cutting specific shapes. The cutter comes with a die that lets you cut a 2" and 4" square and 4" half-square triangles that finish at 2". I LOVE the triangles - they're even dog-eared. To make the triangles perfect you'd need to use an over-sized strip. Me though, I just use the 2 1/2" strip and know that I my triangles might come out a bit wonky.

Place six layers of strips on the die:

Crank the machine:

And voila, triangles:

I love that part.

Very easy. Even I can do those ones accurately if I want to.

I don't care for the single squares that are on the same die as the triangles - you either have to do a lot of folding or pre-cut larger squares to then get smaller squares.

To sum up, the Accuquilt GO! isn't magic. For instance, ironing the fabric first is really helpful. But for making precise small shapes, it is fabulous. You can do different kinds of triangles, the diamondy things for making LeMoyne Stars for piecing, plus there are circles and other shapes for applique that would be marvelous.

Now if I were buying one, would I get it? Maybe not. I'm frustrated at only cutting 4 triangles per layer. Or one 2.5" square per layer. Now if you could do 12 or 16??? Much better.

[edited to add: you can get a GO! die for cutting eight 2.5" squares at one time - still not as many as I would like.]

Now that I have a GO!, will I keep using it? Definitely. I enjoy it.

Accuquilt also has a workhorse die cutter called the Studio cutter. It has a lot more shapes available. The ones that interest me the most are the ability to do lots and lots of squares with just one pass through the machine. Fabulous. Plus you have the ability to create your own dies, which you can't do with the GO! That means I could create a die that would cut 1", 1.5", 2" and 2.5" strips all at one time, rather than only being able to cut strips of the same width.

Anyway, very fun to play with and it will be interesting to see what new dies come out.

Okay, you already got one kitty pic in this post (that was Lily watching me use the GO! so here is Howler:

It's hard to take a good pic of him (he's a black hole that sucks in all the light) but this one didn't come out too bad.

And here are Bibi and Pokey enjoying the sunshine:

Ya'all take care. I've got more shirts I need to go cut apart...


A Paperback Writer said...

I had no idea they even made this stuff -- but then, I've only made about 5 quilts in my whole life.
So, what do I have to do to get you to answer the e-mail I sent you or to contact me? I cannot threaten to send 8th graders over to egg your house, since you're a bit too far away. I'll have to think of something else....

Julie in the Barn said...

I know there are several of my fav bloggers enamored of this gadget. So far I'm not all that gung ho about it. Your review is quite helpful. Thank you. I think for the time being I'll pass on this thing.

Michele Bilyeu said...

Ton~~ Is this the $1,000 model or the $350 one, do you know? If you could just answer as a comment here, we could all know ;) A couple of bloggers are giving them away in drawings but the dies are so expensive I have truly been wondering if they are worth the expense and SO appreciate your honest review!

Brenda said...

Thanks for this. I was wondering about strips and such and how small one had to cut the fabric to get it through the machine. I could see using one of these if I ever decided to make some curved patches like apple cores or drunkard patches, but probably not for the strippy things I do. and since it promotes accuracy, I guess wonky is out with the Go! that said, I wouldn't mind having access to one here or there. how do you get on the review list for Go? just wondering -- I've seen them all over blogland -- if you Go people are reading this, I'm a professional writer and reviewer for a daily newspaper. really. I'm just saying.....

Luv 2 Kreate said...

I would LOVE to get my hands on one of these!

AnnieO said...

This is the hot thing to blog about lately but I appreciate your take on it too. Frankly it seems to require you to spend time to subcut to fit into the machine, but then you save time by getting multiple shapes in one roll of the handle. Hmmm. Definitely sounds fun to play with though! They sell these at JoAnn's but I hadn't heard of the Studio version. That sounds way cool!

Barb said...

Thanks for the information.
I'd love to see one of these in person. Maybe they will have it at the show in Columbus.
I'm sort of old fashioned so I'm not sure it is for me.

Victoria @ BUMBLE BEANS said...

I love mine... I have a few quirks with it, but over all, i even find it LOADS of fun to cut wonky bits.. my lib amish quilt I cut all my triangles
to have the go cutter cut square... does that make sense? lay piece over with out covering the entire shape... I love to use it that way...I don't have a strip die seems easy enough to cut my own strips...
have fun playing with it!

Tonya R said...

The GO! is the $350 model, the Studio Cutter is the $600 (currently on sale for $500). The Go! doesn't have nearly as many dies as the Studio. It would be worth the expense if you do a LOT of cutting - great for someone doing charity quilts for instance and making up kits. Also really good for rounded shapes that are a pain to do the usual way...

Clare said...

I think if I had one I'd would probably use it for strips, triangles and squares, like you, but I must say that I am not really enamoured with the idea.

I know all these gadgets are supposed to make a quilter's life easier, but part of the fun for me is the cutting and the subsequent mucking about with crumbs and scraps.

Haunted Houses is nearly finished :-)

True Blue Nana said...

I am not sure how I feel about the GO. Everyone seems to be blogging about it these days. I have a slotted ruler that I use for strips and I am not sure how much I would use something like this. Thanks for sharing your take on it.

YankeeQuilter said...

I have a feeling that I would use this for one or two quilts then put it the shelf in the closet and forget about it...but then I said that about my large rotary cutter too....hummmm

ROZ said...

That was informative! I guess there's no magic. I still don't know how to work half of the stuff I own!

Kim said...

Well they are the hot new item aren't they?
so what about the folks that say using them is easier on their arthritis, or that wrist injury from using the cutter too much?
You buy that?

It does look like a really fun tool.

Hey accuquilter I have plenty of room to use one and try it out :0)!!!

Happy sewing Ton

Robin (rsislandcrafts) said...

They do seem to be the in item right now. I think I would love one for simply cutting up scraps into little squares. The applique ones look good.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Your review was honest and straightforward ... thanks!

I'm passing on the GO for now... I do believe that those who have them and have taken time to learn how to use them are in love ... but there's just something about a ruler and a rotary cutter and I can buy a lot of fabric for $350-$600 ... [but of course, if someone handed me one, I'm also quite sure I'd find a way to use it]

belinda said...

Hey...thanks for the 'heads up' on this thing. I have looked at these cutters off and on for about a year now....I had thought if I bought one it would be the studio style instead of the smaller one.
Yes, and like you...I would buy it for speed more than accuracy.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. Interesting about the GO!. I thought it was a sure-fire way to get accurate cuts, but then you say, not so much. Not sure I would buy this, way too expensive. I don't get how companies that make quilting 'equipment' (or supplies, whatever you call them) can price their products so expensively. I'm offended by this trend. It seems that quilting is separated into 'classes': lower class, middle class and upper class, depending on how much one can spend. Sad.

Tonya R said...

Carol, to clarify: you can get extemely accurate cuts, but for instance you DO have to iron the fabric or at least have it not be all wrinkly - that will throw off any type of cutting no matter what the system. for small shapes, it's extremely accurate if you do use fabric larger than the die (which I wasn't doing on the triangles). it's strips that are problematic. you do need to work to make those really accurate...

Lynda said...

Really appreciate the honest review. I don't think I do enough quilting to get one, but then, you never know!

Tere said...

I just got one of these gadgets, but then, I'm a gadget ho LOL. I am making myself finish the quilt I'm working on before I start using it - incentive!

WesternWilson said...

I decided to use my Christmas money to get a Go and the Mix n Match set.

I have not tried out every die, but I have tried the strip cutter, the value die, and a couple of squares dies.

I have to stand up here and disagree **totally** with several of the posts here:
IMHO, the Go is worth it for the strip dies alone!!! I am a fussy quilter, I need my joints and points to come together perfectly. I do not like sloppy joints and points...when I see quilts at shows that are hit and miss on the points and joints I find it rather dispiriting. It detracts from the overall pattern and I always wonder...why not choose a less finicky pattern?? Anyway, the Go cuts fab strips, super fast, no freakin' bending over the cutter table, no ooopsies when my ruler moves a bit at the top of the cut. You do have to pay attention to the grainline, and I like to wash, starch and press first. Marking registration lines on your die really helps speed things up and keep them accurate. Within a week of getting my Go, I ordered all the strip dies. Great for cutting binding!!!

Love the smaller squares for cutting up scraps to make Leaders and Enders quilts.

sewmeow said...

I won my GO from AccuQuilt on a Giveaway and have had it almost 1 month.

I disagree with most of the posts here and the review was not complete.

I TOTALLY AGREE with Western Wilson! This is a fabulous machine, and today I cut 15 yards of fabric this afternoon..into 2 1/2" strips for jelly rolls and 5" charm squares, with no problems, slips, TOTALLY perfect compared to rotary cutting....and so fast & easy. I have a bad arm/wrist and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and the GO is now my partner for cutting.

Thank you AccuQuilt!

B@rb@bietol@ said...

Harika fikirler . çok güzel.