The nice folks at Accuquilt sent me a Go! Baby fabric cutter to try out, and promised a second Go! Baby to give away to one of my lovely readers. I started this blog just shy of a year ago, and this generous offering from Accuquilt marks both my first blog swag and my first giveaway.
Anyway, my Go cutter arrived a week ago along with three dies: hexagons, triangles and drunkard's path. I chose those dies because they seemed to give the most advantage over rotary cutting with rulers and templates. For strips an squares I feel the bulk of the effort comes in folding and truing the fabric. But angles and curves are much more difficult than running a rotary blade along a ruler. I'm going to tell you about my experience with the drunkard's path cutter.
The die comes in a plastic tray, surrounded by foam. It cuts two quarter circles and two notched squares. The finished units measure 3.5".
Here's what the die looked like after a few cuts. The die blades lie in the faint lines in the foam.
A few months back Robert Kaufman sponsored a solids challenge and gave everyone in my quilt guild a charm pack of 43 five-inch squares in various colors to work with. I'm a little late on this, but it turns out the charm squares fit nicely over a single drunkard's path unit.
I stacked six at a time.
Then laid the cutting mat over the fabric and tray.
And aligned the tray with the Go! Baby roller.
The contraption has a steel roller that pressed down on the cutting mat, compressing the foam and pressing the fabric against the cutting die in the tray.
I cut through the whole charm pack quickly and precisely. This would have taken me days with a template and rotary cutter.
Next I cut an equal number of off-white units.
I folded strips in three layers and ran them through the cutter. I wasn't particularly careful about waste, but even so it seemed very efficient to me. Next comes the fun part: sewing 86 little curves. The die-cut notch in the center of each curve is very helpful.
Each unit get three pins: one in the center, one about 3/8" in from the leading edge, and the last about 1/8" in from the end of the seam.
For curve sewing novices, it is helpful to approach the curve as three separate seams. The first seam is just a quarter of an inch between the edge and the first pin. Align the edges and sew almost to the first pin.
Remove the pin and align the edges to the middle pin. I find it helpful to lift the fabric in a gentle curve. Roll the two edges along your finger, being careful not to pull or stretch the fabric.
Sew to the middle pin, then remove it. You have finished your second seam.
Align the edges for the remainder and sew your third seam. Ta da!
14 down, 72 to go. I have a few ideas for how I might arrange these -- some symmetrical tiling options, some more irregular. I can't wait to try them out.