Sunday, 24 July 2011

Go, baby, go, go, go!

And go, go, go! is how it has been at our little cottage for the past couple of weeks, hence my absence from the wonderful world of Blogland. Lots of guests coming and going, a madman with lots of endnotes, and such a washing and ironing of sheets as only a B&B landlady could imagine (not to mention a washing and naming of clothes for a princess off on her adventures as you can only too well imagine - a princess who stopped by just long enough to wash off the smell of sheep and deposit her ruby slippers before embarking on manoeuvres once more).

But although I am a mamma bereft, all is not lost - I have had a wonderful new toy to play with which has gone some way to take my mind off the slings and arrows of maternal existence.

The very kind people at Accuquilt sent a rather nifty little number called a Go! Baby fabric cutter for me to try out, and to help me along was a book from Search Press written especially for Go! fabric cutters called Mix and Match Quilts with the Accuquilt Go! which has a dozen projects, and seems to me equally applicable to the Baby version of the cutter.

As one who started out in patchwork as a girl using a pair of not too sharp scissors and templates made from back copies of Harpers and Queen, and who only came to the wonders of rotary cutting a couple of years ago I was initially quite bemused by the idea that there was an alternative, but I have to say that after an afternoon's fabric fun, I am quite persuaded of its possibilities.

You might remember that here I told you how much I quailed at those quilt instructions which tell you to cut out, say, 200 quarter square triangles before you even thread your needle - well, this is where a Go! fabric cutter really comes into its own.

The mode of operation was pleasingly simple, and of much relief to me, as I am not of a mechanical turn of mind, and quite hopeless at interpreting those diagrams which tell you to fit part A into part B whilst simultaneously giving it a 90 degree turn anticlockwise whilst holding onto the antigravitational sprocket accessed via the impossible to locate transit bolt cover.

I just had to get my little Go! Baby out of its box, sit it on the table, and it was ready to use.

You choose the shape cutter (called a die) you want, put the piece of fabric on top, cover it with a plastic cutting mat, and slide it through the machine using a handle on the side to wind it through. 

No electricity, no confusion, and hey presto, lo and behold! Lots of little cut shapes coming out the other side.

Under the supervision of Princess Bunchy who was lying on the sofa a little indisposed, I made a cushion cover using a selection of small pieces of fabric lurking in my stash.

In keeping with my practice of making and memory I incorporated some small blue-flowered scraps left over from a skirt I stitched for the princess a year or two ago, and some matryoshka fabric she had chosen in the centre squares - one of these is deliberately made of two triangles to enhance the scrappy effect. Other fabrics are from Tanya Whelan, Jennifer Paganelli and Lecien.

I used a quilt pattern called Star Delight by Alex Anderson, which came free with the 4in quarter square triangle set, as my inspiration: four 8in blocks make a 16in/40cm square cushion cover. What I particularly liked is that you can cut 8 triangles per layer of fabric per pass through the cutter, and you can use up to 6 layers of fabric - which means that you can cut 48 of these triangles in one pass through the cutter, which is a real timesaver for a bed quilt. Equally, I used the Value die, which has three shapes, to cut just four 2 1/2in squares out using a small piece of fabric fanfolded into four and just big enough to cover the square, so there is no need to waste fabric if you want to cut fewer pieces.

This die also came with an hourglass pattern which I am going to use to make another cushion, and I have found a lot of inspiration in the Mix and Match Quilts book.

I really like the Garden Trellis quilt made from strips and pieced sashing, although I am slightly scared by the label 'Skill Level: Advanced', not being of the advanced type at all.

More comfortingly, the flowery Bursting into Bloom is marked 'Beginner'; the cutting dies are also available in all sorts of applique shapes such as these flowers, as well as the traditional geometric ones.

So my new toy will provide plenty to occupy me as my children come and go - the only potential difficulty will be in smuggling large quantities of fabric into the house as the postman cannot be guaranteed to arrive when the Head Chef is mowing the orchard or communing with his pigs. I do have a big cupboard which sits rather conveniently by the letterbox and front door, but that is somewhat of a yarn repository, and um, slightly compromised shall we say, in terms of space available . . .  I must go and read the Yarn Harlot again - she has lots of ideas about places to squirrel away stash. I seem to remember that she mentioned the piano - or was it a teapot . . . ?


millefeuilles said...

I. WANT. ONE. OF. THOSE. TOYS! the child in me screams AlL tHe WaY fRom FrAnCe. Yes, I too only used bluntish scissors and cereal packet templates.

You really made me cackle when I read about the stash hiding places. I love it when the post lady arrives quietly...

Sandie said...

You lucky lady!
Do you get to keep it and the book once you've done your review of them?
I like that it has the ends ready trimmed and your seam allowance included. The quilts will take half of the time to make now!

He! He! We all (we textile stashers) have the same!
I suppose I'm 'lucky' I don't have to sneak it passed anyone!

Sandie xx

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

Hi Pomona
Thanks for your comment on my blog, I will look up the link.It souds like what you do is interesting.
I haven't got in to quilting yet but that looks like a must have gadget. When I finally get around to having a go I will look out for one.
Isabelle x

Amy said...

Glad you had fun with your Go! It really does help lining up those seams too doesn't it? I had a bit ot trouble with my tumbler die not cutting through all the way. How did your dies do with that?

Annie said...

I think it was kitchen scissors and copies of Country Life here! I'm like Stephanie, my inner child is screaming "I want a Go baby too". Brilliant review, and that's a lovely cushion !

Jooles said...

Oh my! what a fab new toy.
I hope your daughter has a wonderful time and is back safe and sound before you know it x
I have the same fabric problem with a husband who works from home , i try to get to the door before him, I have been known to sprint!
j x

Sophie - Chez Sophie said...

Wow what a wonderful machine, I am always put of quilting beacuse of the cutting. Enjoy your new toy.
Luv Sophie xxx

Barbara said...

Certainly looks like the Go Baby Go takes a lot of the guesswork and hard work out of quilting. Pretty cushion.

Ironed sheets! Luxury.

Went into the site to check the article but looked like I could not avail myself of this without registering.

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

Oh so pretty... there's not telling what you can dream up next.
Susan x

greenrabbitdesigns said...

What a brilliant little gadget! I want one and I'm not even a quilter!!!
Love the cushion you made, very pretty. :)
Vivienne x

Little Blue Mouse said...

Wow, how cool is that, being able to cut 48 pieces at once with just a turn of a handle!

The cushion you made is delicious.

elizabethm said...

Mmm I know I have a parcel coming this week from Cath Kidston. Now I know it all sale stuff and I know I buy nothing at all compared to my husband's Screwfix and Ebay addiction. But it is going to be quite a big parcel.

Frances said...

Pomona, that gadget looks like a splendid design. If I ever, ever decide to embark on quilting, I will have to remember to check back in with you.

Your cushion cover is a beauty.

Best wishes to you as you juggle B&B, daughter demands, finding hiding places for yet more fabric.

Your posts are so much fun to read. xo

Mrs. Micawber said...

Covet. Covet. Covet. And I don't even quilt much these days. Love that the corners are trimmed.

I think your mechanical problems might be resolved by a sonic screwdriver. Surely must carry those?

Happy quilting!

Nicky said...

I have seen these baby go!s everywhere and am wondering why Accuquilt never thought to let me try one!?? hehe!

There will be no stopping you now Pomona - I think I would be cutting all day and never sewing them up and running out of fabric so cutting up sheets, clothes...pasta...!

harmony and rosie said...

Ooh-er I've been spying a fair number of these little beauties around blogland. They look great fun. When's Christmas?

Lovely cushion.

Florence and Mary said...

It looks like you've been having great fun with your new toy!

Victoria xx

ted and bunny said...

I have the greatest admiration for Patchworkers, because for me to make something so accurate, where all the lines...well...line up is a feat beyond comprehension

I firmly believe that Crazy Quilting was originally developed so that dolts such as I am were able to show at least SOME needlework skills in order to snare a Prospective Husband (albeit perhaps a crazy one)!

But reading through your previous post, making an outfit without a pattern is something with which I'd have been comfortable- the pattern to me would be the daunting part.

Look at the fabric, look at what's needed, look at the recipient and cut/sew accordingly (then look a fool when it's not right, but always allow enough fabric for a 2nd attempt!)

Have a good week

melanie said...

Fab gadget :) Love the cushion you made :) xxx

Isobel said...

Oh My!!! One more toy to my wish list!! I have always wanted to quilt, but the whole cutting thing was an issue to me. No anymore. :) Thank you for sharing this jewel! xx

taylorsoutback said...

Have been hearing about this new item and your photos and explanations really make me want to add one to my wish list! I would think that quilters who are having hand and shoulder problems (moi!) would find this a very handy tool in the sewing room too.
Oh those stash hiding places - too funny! With our laundry center in the hallway that you enter from the garage...I can always say - "oh, just doing wash, dear!"

Tabiboo said...

What a fantastic contraption and what a mighty fine job you've made with it.

Happy holidays,

Nina xxx

Helen Philipps said...

Your new cushion looks so pretty! The shape cutter sounds rather useful I must say! I've only recently begun to use a rotary cutter - sometimes it doesn't cut right through the layers though and I have to go back over it. The Go cutter sounds very effective!
Helen x

Caroline Lovis said...

I have a 'Big Shot', same kind of machine (shame about the name), great fun and means I never get anything done

GardenofDaisies (Gayle) said...

I'ts hard when children leave. Makes us Moms feel sad for a while. But it looks like you are having a great time with your spiffy new toy!! Your pieced cushion looks lovely!!

BusyLizzie said...

Love your comment about croquet on my blog! Thank you, it made me smile & gave me food for thought as to what to wear at the annual village croquet match next month! Lizzie x

memmens said...

I've won a Go! Baby and it should arrive today! I can't wait! Worth entering those competitions for I think and there are still some out there waiting to be won!

Serenata said...

Oh wow, lucky you! Looks like another gadget I am going to have to add to my wish list! ;-)

Shirleyanne said...

This sounds a really useful gadget!
I have done some patchwork in the past, this may just inpsire me to have a Go again! Enjoy your weekend Pomona

Angela said...

Wow! that is such a fabulous gadget - I have just blogged about your giveaway and put it on my sidebar.
Dreaming of all I could do - and my Sewing Club girls too - if we had the use of one of these.
A square, a diamond and an isosceles triangle, and I'd be away, Quilting For Victory!!

blessings x x
[ang -at- revbob -dot- org]

Ladybug said...

I've just become a follower and would love to own a Go!Baby - and if I could, then I simply must have:

Go! Rag Squares
Go! Rag Flower & Circle
Go! Rag Heart & Star

. . . don't you agree?



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