Wednesday, 17 August 2011

GO Gadget go!

I have been playing with the Accuquilt Baby Go!   for a week now so I thought it was time to share my findings and my makings.  It has been surprising.  This is an expensive piece of kit, especially in the UK- we don't get the offers the USA customers get- so it really needs to justify itself in my eyes.   I have read a zillion blogger reviews so I knew there were several things I wanted to look out for- cutting and grain, wastage, quality of cutting, and the type of fabrics that can be cut.  
The machine itself is nicely dinky and heavy enough to make it reassuringly stable on a flat surface.  It reminded me of a printing press with its rollers and handle.   As others have said, handle turning is fun, I got Damian and Lula to have a turn too.  I used some less precious fabrics to test out my first die, Drunkard's Path just to get a feel for how the Go! and the die worked.  You do really need to push the sandwich of die/fabric/cutting mat quite hard to engage with the rollers but little effort is needed for the handle turning.   I chose Drunkards Path as this was a pattern I could never attempt without the Go!  My hands are just not up to a lot of scissor work, they hurt way too much after lots of scissor use, plus I can never cut  consistently or accurately enough on a shape like this.  If you want to try this for yourself there are free templates here.   I am making a mini sofa throw to cover the seating area of my couch.   However with any project, I start with a fabric pull!    
I am going for a scrappy but co-ordinated mix and an easy way to do this is to use some fabrics from a patterns.  I then look for other prints in my stash in similar colours- a bit of vintage, a bit of modern, it is the colours that count, to create a scrappy more relaxed mix of fabrics.  The colours are for the circles and the neutrals are for the outer shapes.  I also wanted a mix of neutrals, some patterned, some cream, some linen- you get the idea.   I haven't seen many scrappy accuquilt projects so I thought this would be a good test.  With this die, I needed to do some planning.   I couldn't cut the background shapes and the circle shapes at the same time using this mix of colours, so I used a template of each shape, you can see it below in green flowery fabric, but you could also run a piece of paper through to make a template.  I used the templates to roughly cut fabrics for the circles ready to cut.
As long as the fabric covered the die, I got great results even when it was only covering by 1/8 inch.  I lined up the grain of the fabric with the straight edge of the die and my results were perfect.  When you stack a pile of scraps you need to check they fully cover the die and by gently  pressing the fabric I found you could feel the ridges of the edges of the die- you need a few layers of fabric for this and I must stress to press gently as the dies are super sharp!  I did 6 layers of quilting cotton weight with no problems.  When I used a linen mix I reduced that to 5 layers.
So with a little prep and rough cutting I got 10-12 inner circle pieces at a time with tiny amounts of wastage, less than if I had cut with scissors.  The accuracy is what really impressed me and the notches- I could never have cut those and they are incredibly helpful when joining the pieces!
For the L shapes I found I either had to rough cut scraps into L shapes- using the green templates again- and cut 6 shapes at a time...
Or I doubled up and cut rough cut a T shape.  A 10" layer cake square was good for this- I got 2 folded T pieces and 2 L pieces from one 10" square.   This is a pile of 6 layers of Kona cotton waiting to be cut,
and this is 100% lightweight linen stacked up to be rollered through.  This fabric is a nightmare to cut with scissors or a rotary cutter.  It slips and slides under grippy rulers and is generally badly behaved so has been neglected for the last year.  I really was amazed to see how the Go!  cut this...
these shapes remind me of knickers- rather plain, spartan linen pants!
They are so accurate! I also found with cotton or linen fabrics that I only ever had 1 in 6 of the cuts with a little uncut thread of the fabric to snip.  I was so happy to finally use this linen and to see it cut so neatly.
In an ideal world all my projects would be planned neatly and arranged like this! 
The plan is to make a quilt 3 blocks by 7- each block is 7 inches finished. Twenty one blocks in all and I am just over half way.  It will be a quilt runner for my sofa to lie over the seating bit for cats, dog and 3 people to sit on and be easily slung in the wash.
My adventures will continue as I work my way through the dies- I have the strip cutter and the value die so there is a lot to play with.  I'll report back as I go along.  I am doing a lot of house sewing at the moment, pillows/cushions, throws, curtains etc so I'll see what projects I come up with.  It is a costly item but it does yield amazing results and it really saves on the arm strain.  It would be a great buy for a group of sewers to share- I know guilds are not so prevalent in the UK but sewing groups and  meetings are growing at the moment and with a few people chipping in you could then get a great variety of dies too.   In the meantime, 22 patterns are completely free and can easily be adapted to other cutting methods.  I had a good look through and found a lot of block ideas in there as well as quilt projects. Click here or on the pic below to sign up for free pattern downloads.
22 Free Patterns - Download Now
One lucky person will get to win a Baby GO! soon plus 3 dies- I will post more but you know a Go!  giveaway is a-coming...
sib blog

14 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this really thorough review. I've also read a lot about the Go baby on other blogs, it's great to get a UK perspective. It is WAY out of my price range but looks like an amazing piece of kit. I loved hearing about how it dealt with different fabrics. Those blocks are totally GORGEOUS, I love the colours you've used :) x

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  2. Thanks for posting such an informative review. This is the first one I'd read that actually makes me realise how much use I could out of one. After reading other reviews fabric wastage has been a big concern to me. However, I think the cost is prohibitive to me :-( So I either need to win one or have a more popular blog so they decide to send me one review. Hmmm not sure which is more likely? lol x

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  3. Very informative review. Thank you for taking the time to do it.

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  4. Very nice review of GO! Baby. I have wanted a GO! for some time... (But, I have a lot of self-control, too. Her name is Kayla and she is leaving for University tomorrow! :P)

    As a new sewer, I often see "choose" three dies. I'm curious as to which would be the best for someone who is a starter? I have yet to see that question answered in blogsville.

    Thanks :)

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  5. Thanks for the review. It was interesting to read your thoughts.

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  6. I'm so glad to read that the Go Baby helps with your hand fatigue. Anything that keeps you sewing and creating beautiful projects is a keeper!

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  7. Thank you for that really informative review.
    Judith.

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  8. Yay! I knew we could count on you to choose wisely -- the Drunkard's Path dies were just the ones that have been tempting to me, so it's great to see them reviewed!! Thanks so much for this, Kerry!

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  9. Woo hoo - I love your linen knickers!!

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  10. Great review. I was very interested in all you had to say and thanks for the smile at the knickers.
    I'd love one of these machines but the price.....well, maybe the lottery numbers will come up this weekend.
    Margaret

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  11. Thanks for such a detailed review, I really enjoyed it.
    I'm looking forward to hearing about your strip 'n value adventures and seeing your completed drunkards path runner :)

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  12. i've been reading about and then drooling over the go! system .... and trying to win one. so i hadn't downloaded the 22 free accuquilt patterns yet, planning to wait 'til i get the go! my hopes are up, and i've downloaded the patterns in anticipation! will watch for your next blog!
    have looked at the drunkards path pattern, and like you, knew i'd never manage scissoring by hand all the pieces. you've quickly cut colorful pieces quickly and efficiently, passing on the new tips to those of us wanting to win the one you're giving. thanx for the opportunity to win one!

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  13. Great review! Lots of useful details and info :)

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  14. I bought a Go Baby with a few dies for half price through Craig'slist (it was being sold by a quilt guild...a member had died still owing a balance for it to a local quilt shop...the guild was selling it as a favor to the woman's family as the shop (not unreasonably) wanted its payment nonetheless..,so I bought it from 1500 miles away). Anyway, I haven't used it much yet but your instructions are very clear and useful. I did notice quite a bit of waste when I tried it a couple of times, but then again I'm not very good at cutting efficiently with a rotary cutter, either. Your Drunkard's Path is lovely and I posted it on my local Modern Quilt Guild FB page for members to enjoy.

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