The Ready. Set. GO! Ultimate Fabric Cutting System comes all boxed up like a nice little Christmas present (which it would be awesome for anyone to find under the tree. :) And you really do have everything you need to get started cutting with AccuQuilt.
The first die that comes with the system is the GO! Strip Cutter-2 1/2". And I have to be honest, I skipped right over this. Because of the way I like to cut my fabrics using the mat to measure (I know, its frowned upon, but I love it!!) and subcutting all of my strips horizontally without moving them, I just don't know how often I will find this die useful. But after skipping over it, I have since found that there are guides for 90 degree, 30 degree, 45 degree, and 60 degree angles on the die, which would make it easier to make a Lone Star or Tumbling Blocks quilt. So now I can see myself opening up this die and trying it out for blocks like that.
But what really got me excited when I was un-boxing, was the GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block and the accompanying Quilt in a Day GO! Qube book by Eleanor Burns. And here's why. I have been wanting to start working with Jessica on some precision piecing now that she has basic patchwork pretty much down, and I can't think of a better way to start learning precision piecing than with absolutely perfect cuts!!!
The GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block has 8 dies that can be mixed and matched to make 8" blocks. Each die comes with a pattern, so those are just more bonus patterns. And having the clipped corners on all of the triangle dies really helps in lining things up, especially for a beginner like Jessica.
So Jessi and I started planning and she decided she wanted to make a Sampler Quilt using the blocks from the patterns and book. She had so much fun deciding which fabrics to use (don't we all)! The great thing about the GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block is that several of the dies are charm pack friendly and leave next to no waste. So after a lot of fabric surfing, Jessi decided on 2 Charms of The Good Life and 1 Layer Cake of Miss Kate and it is going to make the cutest sampler!!! She choose a star block pattern, grabbed the dies, picked where she wanted her selected prints . . .
And it was time to cut!!! This is as easy as stacking and rolling. You just place the fabric on the die, place the cutting mat on top, then roll it all through the cutter. The cutter can cut up to 6 layers at a time, so several of the pieces that were the same size could all be cut at once. Awesome!!!
And in no time at all, all the pieces were cut, and Jessi had her star block all laid out and ready to be sewn!! And again, those clipped corners on the triangles . . they really came in handy when she started to sew things together!!!
So ya, time to sew. And wow, we learned, laughed, got a little frustrated, and then laughed some more!! It was so great!!!! I got to teach Jessica the basics on how to pin precisely (she is left handed, so it took me a minute to figure out how to explain things backwards, hence the frustration :). Also, she learned best ways to press, chain stitch, and even the little Pin Trick for lining up points. Yippee, she really did learn a whole lot sewing this little block together.
And I have to say, she did an amazing job with it!!! Look how perfect all of her points are!!! What a great way to learn precision piecing!! She was thrilled with the finish, and asked if she could start another block as soon as the last seam was pressed ;) To which of course I said, "absolutely!!!"
So she choose a block from the Quilt in a Day GO! Qube book by Eleanor Burns and starting cutting. And this block, every die was charm pack friendly and you can see how little waste there was. Pinked edges and a few 1" strips, gotta love that. Jessica got her new block all laid out and then said, I'll sew it tomorrow, tee hee hee. I think she has quickly realized the cutting is the fun part now ;)
But, I am so happy that she enjoyed the experience and really wants to make up this quilt. It will be awesome getting to make it one block at a time and see her confidence grow. I will keep sharing her blocks here. I told her if she can get it done , we can enter it into a quilt show, so here's hoping that keeps her motivated!!!
So, that is the Ready. Set. GO! Ultimate Fabric Cutting System and I am just so happy with how wonderful it has been to teach Jessica!! But now, I wanted a project too!!! And why not start by cutting all the curves. So for myself, I choose the GO! Flowering Snowball die. And you know how I love to make red, white and black quilts!!!
So grab my bolts of solids and start cutting!!! The die has great instructions telling you what width of strips to cut, and then you just fan fold them and place them on the die, so you can cut out lots of layers at a time. (And I cut one of the red dies first, and then cut out scraps from the die to layer on the little center square. ;)
A quick roll, and I had beautiful curved pieces!!! And I have to say, the curved piecing is what I am so super excited about for this cutter. Curved piecing cutting is just more finicky than straight cutting, obviously ;) It is the one thing that I cut, where I have to take a break because my wrists get sore trying to cut in and out of the curves. So now, no break needed, and perfectly cut pieces every time.
But of course, with curved piecing, you are going to have some fabric waste. And I worried about how much fabric would be left over from these die cuts. But I was happy to find, that because of the way you fan fold the fabric strips, the "waste" could actually be cut into usable scrap pieces that I have added to my scrap drawers. And that's nice ;)
I cut out all the pieces for my Flowering Snowball quilt, which will be 20 blocks, in just under a half an hour. Wow!!! I am going to love cutting out all the curves going forward!!!!
I used the 3 pin method to pin these together, just like I use for drunkard path blocks we have done in quilt alongs. (I think it would be so awesome if AccuQuilt made a "modern" drunkards path die. :) And I have to say, it is so, so, so nice to have those little notches in the center to know where to line the pieces up!!! A bit of chain stitching goodness . . .
And my blocks are just about all done, only 2 seams left!!! I can't wait to get this project all done. It is going to be incredible. And it has been so easy. I just love that ;)
I will be back with my finished quilt soon, more on Jessica's blocks, and I am sure, lots more of playing with my new "toy" ;)
By Melissa Corry of Happy Quilting