I can't help it. I'm living with a 12 y.o. girl who has a chronic case of Bieber-fever. If that last sentence, and this blogpost title mean nothing to you, consider yourself lucky and just move on to the next bit.
As alluded to last week, my GO! Baby Accuquilt cutting system arrived safe and sound. I'm not sure who was more excited, me or my kids. When I told my family about the Accuquilt company's generous offer to share a GO!Baby with me, and another with one of my readers, everyone was keen to see this miracle machine in action. I told them about the three dies I'd chosen: the chisel, the tumbler and simple, 2" squares. Only moments later, my son came up with a super cool idea for the first project I should make. We immediately decided to do it.
Before the cutter arrived, I had my fabric and a plan all set. Following the suggestions printed on the package of the 2" squares die, I cut 7" strips from the width of my Kona Black. I then folded that strip, accordian-style, into 5" sections. This yielded 8 layers of fabric.....hmmm, I thought "is that really going to squeeze through the cutter?"
I pressed the stack, thinking it would help to keep the fabric from shifting as it passed through the cutter.
Both kids were really excited to try rolling the die/fabric/cutting matt through the GO!Baby. Here, my 12 y.o. daughter manages to do it (now, she has particularly strong hands and arms from all her circus work....it was a little tough in the very middle but I think that was mostly due to her height and not being able to exert enough downward force to stabilize the cutter on the table). For my (much) taller son and I, it was no problem to crank through the 8 layers of cotton.
Below, you see the layers emerging from the opposite side of the cutter....the cutting matt is sticking up as it's other end is still firmly squished under the cutting roller.
And how precise are the squares? We only ditched 2 out of 194. I'm not sure why they were distorted. Maybe because we paused as the die was rolled through, or maybe the edge of one of the layers of fabric was too close the the blade edge and didn't fully fill out the square shape of the die? Not a bad waste ratio, all things considered.
A lot has been made of the waste involved with using this cutting system. I can tell you that it took a VERY casual hour (including walking up and down stairs, taking a drink of water here and there, pressing fabric, cutting & folding the 7" strips) to cut almost 400 two inch squares. The picture below shows the waste from one set of 48 squares.
I don't consider this usable fabric for the type of projects I do. I figure this amounts to about $0.25 in wasted fabric cost. Since my time in invaluable, I'd say the GO!Baby is totally worth it because it would probably have taken me twice, or even three times as long, to cut that many little squares accurately with rotary and ruler. The Accuquilt company claims it's machines are 90% faster than rotary or scissor cutting. In the case of simple squares, this is a major exaggeration, but if you think about hexes, flower shapes, stars, or their other intricate die shapes you can't do with rotary equipment, then they may just be right!
Once all the folded fabric stacks were ready to go, it took the three of us about 20 minutes to cut almost 400 squares with the GO!Baby.
What's T's cool project idea for all of these squares? I'll be sewing them together to make this, the ultimate modern quilt!
If you have a smart phone, you likely recognize this as a QR Code. It's a scanable image that links to any IP address (a spot on the internet), including a website, photo, video or blog. If you do have a smart phone with a QR scanner app loaded, go ahead, scan away. See where this takes you! You can create a QR code for just about anything here.
I'm off to my sewing room to begin construction. My plan is to have the quilt complete and ready for an exciting event on Saturday, Vancouver's first ever Maker Faire. I'll be volunteering with my friends at the VMQG booth. Hopefully, this quilt will be hanging there to provide participants with a link to all of our online activities!
I'll be back soon with a tutorial on how to turn the above image into a quilt. I'll also let you know how the Accuquilt-cut squares sew together....I am a little concerned that the squares are cut on a slight angle to the fabric straight of grain (according to the product literature, this is because the die blades cannot be at perfectly right angles to the roller, I assume because they would literally get stuck under the roller). Will the squares be stretchy? Will they distort? I'll let you know.....