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...