Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Fabric Cutting Machines

I know many of you have machines like Accuquilt or Go cutters or Sizzix to cut strips or shapes from your fabric. I do understand you have to purchase the cutting dies, but I am finding my wrist is getting sore after doing much cutting (and hand quilting, but will try and save my wrist for quilting not cutting) and may need some kind of alternative to the standard rotary cutter.
Has anyone seen a blog post or something that shows me what these are, how they work and which one is efficient. If you have done a post using one maybe you can direct me.
I happen to see Katy's post yesterday and it got me thinking there could be an easier way.


Better yet, maybe someone has one they are not using anymore and would like to sell it. I think these cutters are fairly heavy but if you are in the Pacific Northwest I may be able to pick it up.

I'm just looking for ideas!

I hope you left a comment on Monday's post for a chance to win Diane's book. Thank you for those who have commented.



24 comments:

  1. I had a portable GO! for a brief time and found it was more trouble than I thought it was worth. By the time I cut a piece that would fit on the machine I could have cut the shape I needed. Plus that GO! was very light weight, so it slipped around and was difficult to crank. And some of the shape dies are very wasteful. I've heard the new electric model works well.

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    1. My thoughts exactly! But I do use it for a few shapes like circles and clamshells.

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  2. I have a Go Big. It is a little heavier than the smaller Go, doesn't slide around. It can make wider cuts. It makes easy work of half square triangles or squares etc. I have arthritis and it does help so I don't have to grip a rotary cutter. Eleanor Burns has videos on how to use the Go. Also Pat Sloan has videos on the Sissix I believe. Good luck with a decision.

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  3. I have a Go! cutter - bought from a friend - I don't have problems cutting at the moment - but I was able to cut 8 hexagons in one go - the real advantage is that it is very accurate - no slipping rulers!
    I do have a friend with a wrist injury so she has bought an electric Go Cutter - she wouldn't be able to continue patchworking with out it... Although there is some fabric wastage - I think the benefits outweigh that.
    Happy researching.

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  4. I get pain in my elbows so I bought the electric Go Big! It's great cutting strips and squares but there is some waste. I recently came across an electric cutter I hadn't seen before: https://blog.patsloan.com/2018/12/how-does-that-cool-die-cut-machine-really-work.html

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  5. I was going to suggest Katy's post, but I see you have already found it. Lots of my friends have Go Cutters, but I have never used one. Good luck in your search

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  6. I love using my Go! cutter when making lots of the same units such as half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, triangle in square, or flying geese. I love not having to spend time squaring up units and or trimming dog ears. Mine is the hand-crank one, though, so not sure how that would work with your wrists. Can be used with either hand, though. I love that with my newest quilt design I'll be able to cut one strip of 9-1/2'' fabric, fold into 5-1/2'' layers and cut out 32 pieces all at once (I use 4 layers of fabric at a time tho some use up to 6). If you stack pieces right sides together, you're ready to head to the machine!

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  7. I was the recipient of a free Go Cutter several years ago. I tried it a couple times and then donated it to a church thrift store. Not my cup of tea though I can see it would help someone who has difficulty cutting.....the elctric version which mine was not. Too much waste of fabric. Pat Sloan was showing how not to have waste of fabric on the type she is demonstrating. But still you would have to cut pieces small enough to not have waste when you are setting up you fabric on the cutter.

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  8. Old school, cheap!...scissors. Electric scissors [do they still make them?], we used to use them when cutting many garments for sales duplicates. Also a lycra arthritis glove or wrist supports.

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  9. I have a Go! cutter, and find cutting easy even with reduced strength in my hands (thumb joint issues.) The dies are most useful if you choose designs that go together - ex. the 1/4 square 6" plus the 1/2 square 3". Chisel die also fits with the 1/2 square 3". Strips don't seem practical. The off-cuts from the 1/4 square die are usually large enough for 1/2 square 3", so minimal waste. Cutting 4 - 6 layers at a time works great - fan fold fabric, stack up similar sized scraps. The big Shape Cut Plus slotted ruler is great for strips, squares, etc. in multiples of 2.5" and it is easier than holding a narrow ruler.

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  10. I am dealing with a sore wrist after cutting hexagons for my newest project. I have toyed with the idea of a cutter but my projects go in different directions, like this hexagon quilt. I don't want to have to buy dies for every blessed thing.

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  11. I would definitely recommend an electric one if you are having problems with your wrist...the cranks aren't easy to turn for older joints! I don't have one, but I have used a friend's crank model.

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  12. I have the large Go cutter and love using it, when I am doing a lot of cutting. I have run into bad cutters but the companies I ordered from, always replaced it for me, sometimes they came in bent. I think the new electric one would be nicer, if it cuts fast enough, you do have the crank the manual one, so it can be taxing on the arm after a while. I do like the GO, good service and a sturdy machine.

    Debbie

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  13. I have a Studio cutter which is more of an investment in both money and space but it's heavy so it doesn't move around and it's easy to crank. Using the dies to cut triangle shapes is awesome because the corners are cut so you don't have dog ears :-) If you have the room, I'd highly recommend looking for a used one.

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  14. I have a Go! Baby. They've renamed that one now. I really do like how it works. The dies are pricey but I found that I use the common ones quite a bit, like the 2 1/2" strips etc. I'd love an electric one, the Go! Big but it's pretty expensive. They Accquilt site has a lot of videos on it and I believe they even discuss the different cutters and which might be the best fit for you. Good luck in your search!

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  15. I love my Go, and if your careful and plan there is not too much waste. Plus when I literally have bags of scrap that are too overwhelming to tackle, I can iron, stack and roll them through = cut sizes I use all the time (2.5" strips, squares and HST) for my scrap projects. If you just buy a tumbler die though, yes you are going to have wastage - unless your cutting up charm packs. I have a sore shoulder and neck and find the Go beneficial when I am cutting out a whole quilt. But biggest bonus has been reducing my stash by putting it fat quarters and part pieces through the 2.5, 2 and 1.5" strip cutters - and then making projects from these sizes (log cabin, trip around the world, bargello). I have made several big tops quickly because I spent quarter of the time cutting and more time sewing. And its more accurate then me!

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  16. Lori, I have a GO cutter that I'm not using in Sunriver. It has a bunch of dies as well.
    It's not as large as the Accuquilt nor heavy but it does the job.
    Let me know if you're interested. I'll be back up to Bend in two weeks. You can have it.
    I love my Accuquilt (larger) .

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  17. I originally purchased the AccuQuilt Go! cutter (crank model) because I have shoulder and neck issues. I happily used that for about three years but more recently upgraded to the Go! Big version (electric) as cranking the dies through when I had a lot to cut was aggravating my shoulder and neck again. Is there waste? Some, but I don't think it is much more than what I had when I rotary cut. I started with strip dies in sizes I knew I used frequently. Now when I pull fabrics for a project, I start by checking to see what I have in my strip bins that are already cut. I've added additional dies over the years but only as I felt the need for a particular size. The mats you place over the dies before running it through the cutter are what you will find yourself replacing but even the one I use the most I only need to replace about once a year. The accuracy from using pieces cut by the Go! cutter has improved my piecing!

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  18. Before you purchase a die cutter, go to Amazon.com and look up the Martelli ergo rotary cutter (right and left handed models available). I could NOT do any rotary cutting without mine - the straight models make me hurt with only 1-2 cuts. The blades are not the same as those for the others so you'll need to order Martelli blades - but the combo is worth every penny. Using this cutter will give you time to shop and try out the various die cutters before you invest your funds (Mine is a Sizzix Big Shot Pro with a thin aluminum sheet cut from Enco.com to fit the sliding tray so I can use any of the Accuquilt GO dies. The Big Shot Pro came from overstock.com at a significant savings) If you have questions, email me and we can correspond further.

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  20. I succumbed to the siren call of the Accuquilt a few years ago, buying a used one off of eBay. I especially like it for cutting applique shapes and the "Block on Board" dies but also find it good when you need to cut zillions of the smaller geometric cuts. Nothing better for cranking out hundreds of 1" finished HST triangles (especially since they come cut with engineered corners)! Many also swear by a die cutter for cutting binding strips. Ebony Love (Love Bug Studios) used to be the resident expert on die cutters and even wrote a book about them. But checking her site, most of the videos and information is a little old --- you might contact her directly to get more up to date opinions on them from her. At one time she had done comparisons of cutters both between brands as well as between the Go machines.

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  21. Oh, I forgot! Pat Sloan recently did a series of posts on a new die cut machine (Gemini) which you can check out here: https://blog.patsloan.com/2018/12/how-does-that-cool-die-cut-machine-really-work.html as well as a few more recent posts where she puts the machine to use.

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  22. Check the accuquilt website....they are having a 40% off sale of many of their dies. I really like mine.

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  23. I have to Big Go Cutter, several dies. I find it quick to use and for 1/2 sqs a bonus. However the comment of waste of fabric, I thought that too, then I stopped fan-folding. My cutting is done quickly and I can get started right away. I'm one of those quilters who dislikes cutting, sliding rules etc, and time consuming. With the GO that has changed. I've also reduced the waste, and where I can that goes into the string pile for future use. Eleanor Burns supports GO and has videos, Accuquilt website does as well, Jenny Doan supports Sissix and apparently the GO dies work with it, but the Sissix dies do not work in the GO. I enjoy mine and it gets to the quilting faster. You still have to cut fabric the old fashioned way with odd measurements or shapes you are using but the cutter certainly does help. I like the strip dies and block on board. I have some other dies for scraps, got that from Katy's site. I cut them after I have finished cutting the current project. Helps reduce the scrap pile and they are ready to use. I'm a rep for QofV Canada so I do kits up and do quilts myself.I don't have a lot of time with working to devote all the time needed for cutting. Bad cuts are also reduced. ebeth0@rogers.com

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