Saturday, December 17, 2016

AccuQuilt, Where Have You Been My Whole Life?

I know a lot of quilters who like finishing off their bindings by hand. They find the process relaxing and meditative, and after a project’s worth of hours at their sewing machine, it’s nice to hold something in hand to work on. I thinking doing stitch after stitch by hand is for the birds. What I like is cutting fabric. Sure, I make plenty of miscuts, but I find the leisurely process of ironing and arranging and cutting strangely satisfying.

Based on that, it’s weird that I decided to buy an AccuQuilt GO!—a machine that promised to reduce my hand cutting and allow me more time behind my machine.

I had plenty of reasons to pass on this purchase. For instance, it’s not cheap, and although the version I was considering came with a die, I would need to buy additional dies down the road. More dies = more money.

Despite my misgivings, I got my hands on my AccuQuilt GO! for a good price and then let it sit unused for months. During a recent creative slump, however, when I was spending time playing with fabric, Cynthia, over at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework, mentioned that she was using her AccuQuilt fabric cutter to get her scraps under control. I took that as a sign to bust out my new toy.

This is my baby, the AccuQuilt GO! AccuQuilt makes a variety of fabric cutters. This version seemed to be a middle-of-the-road option suitable for me, someone who sews frequently. Cynthia, whom I mentioned earlier, has the Studio cutter, which is larger and more expensive.

I quickly got to cutting. I’ve had some patterns in mind—ones that will bust through chunks of my stash—and some of them used the 4½” square shape or the 2½” square shape that my cutter came with. Woo hoo! (My die also cuts shapes to create 2½” half-square triangles. I don’t foresee using that much, though. I am not fond of sewing on the bias and am content with my current method of making HSTs.)

I found the AccuQuilt GO! easy to use: I placed my fabric on top of the desired shape on the die, covered the die with a cutting board (which I would have photographed, but it’s not exciting to look at), and cranked those sandwiched pieces through the machine. The result was a perfectly cut shape.

This is the AccuQuilt GO! opened up. The die is the piece on the left; you can see the three shapes it cuts out.The fabric-and-die sandwich is propelled through the machine by the hand crank in front.

By folding the fabric, I cut multiple layers of fabric in one pass through the cutter. With Moda fabrics, I got clean cuts of three layers at a time; with finer fabrics, like those from Art Gallery, I got five or six.

These piles will someday become Lee Heinrich’s Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt. I was able to cut the 2½” squares with my fabric cutter. Everything else was cut by hand, because I didn’t have dies to cut those shapes.


I cut these 4½” squares with my AccuQuilt GO! They’re destined to become a scrappy background for a quilt.

My scraps and yardage had reached an unwieldy size, and this adventure with my new fabric cutter has helped me get a grip on things. I’m not sure when I’ll actually sew these pieces into quilt tops, but it felt good to get fabric into neatly cut piles, ready for sewing.

I think the 2½” shape on my die will become crucial to my scrap-management strategy in the future. Right now, I store scraps by color, without cutting them down to usable sizes until I want to use them. In the next few weeks, I’d like to take a pass through my scrap bin and cut 2½” squares out of the smaller pieces. I think that exercise will help me chisel away at the sheer volume of scraps I have and make it more likely that I’ll actually use that fabric.

Do you have an AccuQuilt fabric cutter or something comparable? For what do you use it? And does it factor into your scrap-management strategy? If so, I would love to hear about it!

Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday, Sunday Stash, and Needle and Thread Thursday ...

Follow on Bloglovin

18 comments:

  1. I, too, enjoy the fondling/pressing/cutting ritual. I found it took me longer to fold to a convenient size to eliminate waste than if I just picked up a ruler and cutter. Gave my GO to my DIL and G-D.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes -- that's an excellent point, Libby. There were times when I was cutting my 4.5" squares that I chose to cut the old-fashioned way because of the necessary waste. A 9" WOF piece could give me two rows of those squares when I cut them with a rotary. With the wiggle room the GO! requires, I could get just one.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have a Sizzix and have used it to cut clamshells and other shapes that require a bit of precision. I'd love to get my scraps under control but I have so many it would be a huge task! Thanks for linking up to #scraptastictuesday and explaining your Go use! Have fun with those squares

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes -- I would consider buying AccuQuilts' clamshell die!

      Delete
  4. I never thought I needed one either, but I like the scrap-busting purpose. I cut my scraps into squares too.
    If you need ideas, I have a Pinterest board just for square scrap quilts.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Michelle: I purchased a Go! Big cutter about 2 years ago after having a post surgically caused stoke leaving it difficult to manipulate my rotary cutters. I cut specialty shaped dies for applique and small shapes from scraps. Now when I cut out quilts I will cut the smaller remainders into 4.5" or 2.5" squares and triangles. I am able to use a rotary cutter now and I use it for strips and larger pieces for blocks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like the 2.5" strip die for cutting lots of strips at once -- when prepping for a big project. I haven't used it for much scrap management yet. And I love the tumbler die; the two quilts I made with it (the 6" one) were so cute. I recently picked up the 3.5" tumbler die from Amazon and can't wait to make a baby quilt with it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love my Go and have even made one of AccuQuilts pattern with variation to make it the size I needed. I try to use it to contain the scraps but I don't do a good job on that! Hoping to get one of the Cubes for Christmas and will be trying some of patterns for that. There are two thought patterns amongst my friends who own Gos. One is - just buy odd shaped dies -- appliqué and clamshell types. The other is buy the basics and you can cut so much faster. I guess there is a third thought process -- buy both and use as needed. I fall into that category. But storage of the dies is an issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I have a fourth category! Buy some dies and make friends who also have a GO! and are willing to share their dies! : )

      Delete
  8. I used my friend's to cut hexagons to make those folded hexagon coasters- so easy and fast! How many 2.5" squares can you get from one pass with that die? I use the 2.5" size ALL the time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't have a scrap management strategy, but so desperately need one. I've been intrigued to purchase one, but didn't think I could justify the expense.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't have a AccuQuilt but have always been curious about it. It looks like it is pretty fun to use.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I had an AccuQult cutter for a while but found that after the initial fun wore off I kept not using it. I hope it is a great tool for you! I also struggled to remember which way to place my fabric on the square shapes - maybe they updated the dies but if put wrong the fabric stretches and the final cut wasn't square (for me).

    ReplyDelete
  12. You know I love my AccuQuilt cutter! When I am cutting scraps I am not always worried about waste so folding works for me. Have fun busting those scraps!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I had the Big Shot (before I moved country) for paper, but then I got one of the fabric dies in 2 1/2" and did exactly what you're doing I cut 2 1/2" squares and made a scrappy quilt, no two squares the same!

    ReplyDelete
  14. That's great Michelle! And I agree with you and Cyndy about the Accuquilt cutters making terrific scrap busters. Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love my Go. I have several dies that I use all the time. One that I have tried several times, and do not like, is the die that cuts 9 2-1/2" squares. I don't know if I have a bad one (I'll be asking someone) or if it's just awful to use, but it is bad about having strings. I have found it just easier to cross cut 2-1/2" strips on the die, into 2-1/2" squares.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've always been curious about the accuquilt cutters but not enough to invest in one. My scrap bins are starting to get out of control though and you've piqued my curiosity though on using it for scraps. I'm halfway through making the scrappy picnic plaid quilt. I can see where using a die cutter can make cutting odd shaped scraps much faster than squared up fat quarters or yardage.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! I almost always respond to comments by email. If my response might interest others, I'll also post it here. If you've commented on my blog and never received a response, you're likely a no-reply blogger.