Monday, July 18, 2011

Play Time

The shortest distance between two points is under construction.
~Noelie Altito

Saturday my DH and I were to attend a play down in Hollywood.  We had purchased the tickets months ago.  We debated whether to even go with all of the news about freeway back-ups because of a stretch of the 405 being closed.  There were reports that there could be 25 mile back-ups and that it would take lots of extra hours to reach your destination.  That morning we decided to go for it.  We left the house around 9:15 in hopes that would leave us plenty of time to reach the Pantages Theater and the opening of the play at 2:00.  We arrived in Hollywood at 10:35!!  Record time and very little traffic on the freeways!  Everybody in the L.A. area must have listened to the request to stay at home.  I actually enjoyed the travel down south this time.  With our early arrival we visited the famous Farmer's Market - did some browsing around and had lunch.  Then it was on to the Pantages Theater where we enjoyed the whimsical Shrek, The Musical.  Back onto the uncrowded freeways for another record travel time home.  Thank you, Los Angeles, for staying off the freeways on Saturday!!  I survived Carmegeddon!!



Today is Cow Appreciation Day.  Don't you just love that face?  Here are a few cow facts:
* Pilgrims first brought cows to America.
* A cow can climb up the stairs, but cannot climb down. This is because her knees cannot bend properly.
* A cow stands up and sits down about 14 times a day
* Cows do not bite grass; rather they curl their tongue around it
* Cows can see color
* Cows have an acute sense of smell and can smell something up to 6 miles away.
* Dairy cows can produce up to 125 lbs of saliva a day.
* A cow produces around 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.
* A cow usually spends 6-7 hours in day eating cud and around 8 hours on chewing it.
* Cows have almost total 360-degree panoramic vision.
* The oldest cow till date was Big Bertha, a Dremon, which died just 3 months shy of her 49th birthday.
* The highest milk yield for a single day is 241 lbs, by a cow named Urbe Blanca.
Friday I finally played with my newest toy, or if you prefer, my newest tool.
Way back in May, I won this GO! Baby Cutter from a giveaway at Leona's Quilting Adventure.   I was also the lucky winner of three dies of my choice.....

I selected the Birds, the 2 1/2" strip die, and the hexagon die. Because of delays from AccuQuilt, the cutter did not arrive until the middle of June.  Anyway, I tried some different things.....
First I put 6 layers of white cotton fabric onto the die covering the hexagon in the size I wanted.
When I pulled off the cutting mat, all of the pieces were stuck there but it was so easy to remove them.

And in no time at all I had 14 colored hexagons and 52 white hexagons cut.  I really love this cutter for the stepping stones (white hexies) and for non-fussy cut petals.  I will still be using a template for my fussy cuts.

I also cut out some 2 1/2" strips.  I was rather disappointed with this part of the cutter.  I could only cut 4 layers at a time.  I tried 6 but it pushed the fabric under the mat and I ended up with some wavy strips.  I really don't think the strip cutter saves you any time.  I still had to cut the fabric to fit the die and make sure it wasn't too long for the cutting area.  I honestly think it is quicker to just rotary cut 2 1/2" strips.
I didn't have time to try out the birds but I can see how the cutter would be a time saving device for applique and pieces that have to be cut with templates.
Thank you so very much, Leona, for having the giveaway.  I know I will find many uses for this little cutter for a long time to come :)



Friday I started the day with some free motion practice.

Leah calls this pattern Tree Roots.  I actually enjoyed working on this one.  Some of roots like the have leaves and I definitely need more practice on retracing my stitching but I do feel as though I relaxed through this one.  I thought half a block of this one was enough and I can use the other half on Monday.



Friday's mail contained I Spy Blocks from the swap I was involved in.
Here is just a sampling of the squares that I received.  Aren't they cute?  There are over 200 four inch squares here and I think I only saw two duplicates.  I'm thinking about separating them into girl and boy groupings and then using them to make some more Loving Hands quilts.  Wouldn't they look cute in the NICU?  So bright and happy in what can be a very stressful and sometimes depressing place.  Thank you, Mrs. Sassy Crafter, for hosting this fun swap!  She is thinking about having another I Spy block swap next month.  I'll let you know when I find out anything just in case you are interested.



Today I plan on working on block #2 of the Designer Mystery BOM.  Tuesday I hope to start piecing together the backing for the Colors Thru The Window quilt.

The Intrepid Thread is having a giveaway.  You could win a fat quarter pack of Farm Fresh in the green colorway.  This giveaway ends Friday, July 22, at midnight.
Happy Quilting is celebrating her one year blogiversary with a giveaway.  Melissa is giving away a Summer Breeze quilt kit.  This giveaway ends Thursday, July 21.

Want It, Need It, Quilt is having a giveaway.  You could win a GO! Baby Cutter and your choice of three dies.  This giveaway ends Tuesday, August 16.



I really debated about letting you all know the trouble I had with the GO! Baby Cutter - well, not the cutter but the strip die.  After all, the machine and its dies did not cost me a thing - I won them all.  I hated criticizing something that was free.  You know, 'don't bite the hand that feeds you'.  But I felt honesty was necessary.  I didn't want to sugar coat something that really didn't live up to expectations.  Personally, I would much rather read both positive and negative reviews before making a purchase for something that is not cheap.  I can spend hours looking through reviews before making a high dollar, and even a medium dollar, purchase.  I have abstained from purchasing something that has a lot of negative reviews.  And, on the other hand, I have also ignored negative reviews and still ended up purchasing an item only later wishing that I had followed the advice of others.  So, take my thoughts as you wish just know that they come to you with honesty.

If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.
 ~Mark Twain


Impera_Magna said...

Thank you for your honesty about the GO! cutter... I'm glad the hexie die worked so well for you, it's got to be a time saver with all those hexies you are making!

LOVE that cow photo!

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Thank you Linda for your honest review of your Go cutter. There are so many people who have won these and raved about them. I asked a blogger who recently bought the big GO cutter about the differences. She was very honest and straightforward in her reply, one of which was that the GO Baby can tend to walk, and sometimes needs a hand on the machine. With my back injury last year, I could never do that. I have to agree with you, that it might be faster and easier to cut certain things with your rotary. The GO seems to be a great tool for applique pieces. I hope you will enjoy yours.

Donna said...

Thanks for your honesty. It was much appreciated.

501 Quilt Blocks said...

I also wrote a negative review and actually did return my Go! I wasn't pleased with the cutting results and as a tool, it didn't really fit with my project.

Mommarock said...

I for sure would like to know if you hear about another I spy swap. I would love to try that! I've never participated in a swap, so I would like to try one before ever daring to host one.. LOL. Also, I think it is good to give an honest opinion of the Go. If we are signing up for chances to win one constantly, wouldn't we want to take a chance to win a die we REALLY would want? Heck yeah..thanks!

LynCC said...

It's good when people are honest in their reviews, especially when items are SO expensive. There are some things I sure would love a GO for, like drunkard's path, applecores, and non-fussy hexies. But many things I would think it is way too fussy to use (like the strips you talk of, or even squares, which I usually like to strip-sew first and cut later, anyway).

krisgray said...

Hi Linda - thanks for the Go review. I always thought I'd want the 2.5" die. How do you think it would work on cutting scraps to throw in a scrap bucket?

Sheila said...

I appreciate your honesty as well , it is not a cheap item and if I ever did buy one I would not buy the strip cutter now .Thanks

Kasey said...

The Go is fun, for some dies- I bought myself one last year, and love it- FOR THE MOST PART. I find that if the mats are too cold (like everything is in winter), then it distorts the fabric and my 5" squares came out 4.5 x 5". But, letting the mat sit in my lap for about 5 minutes solved the problem for me. I wish that hexie die had just one size to it- like a honeycomb to eliminate so much waste of fabric!
Happy cow day!!!

Sue B said...

Hi Linda,
Firstly I adore the cow photo, I am a bit of a cow lover, especially their long eyelashes and silky coats.
Love your review of the die cutter, I have always wondered how they work. Looking forward to seeing how the birds turn out, as I am having a bird fetish at the moment - would be great for applique on baby quilts.
Quilted hugs, Suexx

Robin (RsIslandCrafts) said...

I appreciate honest reviews on products. I bought a Go! last year and I had a few problems with it. I posted about it on my blog and a few of my readers who have a Go were able to give me some helpful tips.

I have several dies (including the 2.5" strip die) and like some and don't use others. I agree with you about the strip die and how much easier it is to just use a rotary cutter. From what I have read most people like the strip dies because when they cut strips by hand they have a tendency to have that "V" in the center of their strips. Lining up fabric can be hard sometimes. I mostly use my Go for cutting up scraps into usable shapes.

If I had to give a quick description of the Go I would say it is a great tool for cutting scraps.

Teresa said...

Glad you were able to get to my part of the world with no trouble. Glad you enjoyed Farmer's Market. The Grove is a fun place to walk around. I take my niece to the American Girl store.
It never hurts to be honest.
Teresa's Heartfelt Stitches

Megan Harmeyer said...

I appreciate an honest review over a sugar-coated review any day. If you didn't like it, I wanna know. If you loved it, I wanna know, too. LOL Glad you made it down to LA without incident. Isn't Farmers Market pretty cool? Did you go a little farther down in to The Grove? Glad you had fun!

Staci said...

I appreciate your candor about the Go! It is a very expensive toy, and anyone considering the purchases should have the pros and cons.

And oh, your quote gave me a laugh this morning, especially as we'll be driving down the I-10! There are only 2 seasons in Arizona--Summer and Road Construction.

Tonya said...

You do not realize how much I appreciate your honesty about the strip die. I won a Go Baby! from Accuquilts fb page, but no dies. Then a blog friend mailed me dies, but I have no mats. Now another friend is mailing me a mat. I just cannot spend money on these right now. But a 2 1/2 strip was on my really wish list that I was hoping to scrape and save for. I would have been in for so much disappointment!! You just don't realize how you have helped me. Thank you for sharing a negative. I will instead work on saving for a diamond maybe. FOr lonestars. Yay!

Christine said...

I press all my fabric before cutting it on the go. And with the strip dies I find that I have to check the fabric to make sure it is straight. I don't use the strip die that much, mostly use the go to cut scraps into squares.
Happy cow day!

Needled Mom said...

I think most of us prefer an honest evaluation of something. I certainly do. I wonder if the bigger GO would do better with the strips. I always felt that the real advantage of those cutters are the difficult to cut pieces. Strip quilting has become so easy with our tools.

I was thinking about you when they said the freeways were so clear. YEAH!!! Glad that you had an enjoyable day AND an enjoyable trip.

rubyslipperz said...

Your travels south
- I'm so glad that your excursion was pleasant/FUN! How was the play? I LUV Shrek! I wish he wasn't so famous...I would invite him and his wife over for dinner at my place...they seem like lovely people!

Cows...they can be sweet animals. we had a Braford once when we lived in Oregon. He was like having a large/fat deer.

Thanks for your honest review =)
I was kind of thinking that strips would be diff on an Accuquilt cutter of any size.


Sandy said...

I appreciate your honesty about the strip cutter. As I enter the giveaways (I can't afford to buy one) for the GO!, the strip cutter is always one of the dies I choose. I will choose a different one now, so thank you!=)

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Glad you had a pleasant travel and fun time out. I miss our dairy - a lot of work, but I loved the animals.

I only see the Go an advantage to applique pieces - but boy you would have to do a lot of applique with a lot of one type cut! I have not want or need for a GO - the money can buy more material!

Jessica said...

Thanks for reviewing your GO! - whenever I enter the contests I say I want the strip die but if you still have to cut it the fit the machine, and can only really do four at once, perhaps using a rotary cutter IS easier. Thanks for letting me know - I might be changing my die choices! Have a fantastic day Linda, and I'm glad your trip to see Shrek was fun and traffic-free :)

Stormy Days said...

Honesty is always appreciated, I feel the same way about the GO. For strip cutting, I don't think it's worth the effort, but for appliques it's a wonder.I also use mine to cut triangles and it's fast a mass produces them.

WoolenSails said...

I do like using the hexagons, makes it so much easier.
I have the strip cutter, but haven't used it yet, planned on using it for borders, so not sure if I will like it, but at least I can use it of simple strip quilts.


Lana said...

I will have to celebrate that day since I now have my two own little moo moos!!!

I have to say, I thought it was just me...I didn't think it saved me any time either since I was now cutting the fabric twice to use it once...
I wish the dyes came with one design option...some might like the 3 in 1, but I think I like the items like squares and hexies one dye to a dye. My only other eye opener was that the cutting mat gets cut up quickly.

I did purchase the larger one, and it is really stable.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Yum! Steak on a stick day ; ) I agree about the strip die. I don't have one of these, but, I'd rather spend the time cutting the strips. I'd rather have the dies for other stuff instead.

Sue said...

Thanks so much for your candid feedback. I definitely want to get a Go for the "trickier" cuts and think that may be where I end it. That strip die is too expensive to have any kind of problems with it. Thanks again!

Vesuviusmama said...

Believe me, your honesty is appreciated! I don't think I'd get it for strips anyway - I want help cutting those shapes that I would mess up on my own - circles and applecores and whatnot. Plus, I'd love to try a rag quilt with one of these. Maybe one of these days...I keep entering, so maybe one day I'll win one!

Pam said...

I am also appreciative of your honesty. I was thinking I had to buy one of these with all the positive reviews I have read. The 2 1/2 inch strip was the one I thought I had to have. IF I win one, I won't request this die. The hexagon is one that I would like.

Thanks Linda!

Linda said...

Thanks for the review. I have wondered if I need one. I don't do a huge amount of piecing, but maybe I would add more piecing to my patterns if I knew it was easy.

Raewyn said...

Now I know why our cows leap down banks, rather than stepping down carefully!!(Only been dairy farming all my life!!) I think the hexagon die would have been brilliant BEFORE I started my GFG quilt but never mind!!! Your quilting is looking really good - great that you are sticking with your practising :-)

corina said...

Great review on the Go cutter. Love the info about the cows. I find cows fascinating. When we stayed on a farm in Alberta I told the farmer I would like to hug one of his cows. He thought I was 100% nutcase!

Deborah in Atlanta said...

Hi Linda - I just won a GO! Baby and three dies last week, and I am STILL trying to decide which three dies I want to get. I had already decided not to get the strip die because one of the things I evidently CAN manage to do is cut 2.5" strips for borders and binding. I'm curious to see how much use I get out of the GO! Baby, and if nothing else, will certainly enjoy making "leaders and enders" out of scraps I have in my stash. At least I'll get everything organized. Hopefully.

Shannon said...

I would rather you be honest then not. Even though you did not pay for it it is still yours and you will be using it so you have every right to like or not like parts of it. If I every buy one I want to know what I am getting into.

Debbie said...

also- cows cannot back up. this is why in old pioneer houses they had a dor at the front and back of the house (or two sides) so when they took the cow in the house in the dead of winter it could get out again :)

(well they can back up a step or two but its not pretty and its much easier for them to turn than back up)

Anonymous said...

Your free motion is coming along great! I'd love to know when a new swap is coming...please holler!
Thanks for the honest review....if I am lucky enough to win one, I'll know what dies to look for, and which ones to pass on!
Jacque in SC

The Vegetarian Hunter said...

Your FMQ is getting so good, I think I have to get my butt in gear and practice too!
I tried for the first time this FMQ tracing paper stuff. I really enjoyed drawing out my pattern, and I found it easy to follow - its not perfect by any means, but it was a great guide - but then when I tried to tear away the paper, not so good at all. I could not get all the paper to come out. I washed it twice and still there is paper stuck in my stitches! I want to try again, but stitch through the paper without thread to see if that makes a difference. Have you ever used this paper?
OH, and I very much appreciate your honest commments!!

ElfRenee said...

Awesome, I love cows!

Anne said...

I love cows! There is a pasture behind my house. Horses are stabled there these days, but when we moved to our current home 25 years ago, cows grazed "up" there. We live down below the pasture in what was once a gravel pit (sounds lovely, doesn't it?). Anyway, we were busily packing for a trip to Baton Rouge, where my in-laws' lived. I was trying to gather everything for our infant daughter. My husband came in and told me that I needed to look outside. I asked why, but he said I'd have to look for myself. I went outside and found about a half-dozen cows meandering around our front and back yards. One was licking our bricks. Another was nibbling a just-planted shrub. We didn't have much grass at that time or even a fence. Some of the cows were traveling through the neighborhood and were approaching a busy highway. I phone police and explained the situation. I remember the dispatcher questioning me at length about where I lived (no computerized 911-location system at that time). I said, "Good thing I am not being chased by an axe murderer!"

Thanks for your candid review of the GO! The owner of my local quilt shop is not exactly sold on the smaller unit, but I did buy it and three dies via Amazon. I haven't yet used the cutter. I opted not to buy the strip cutter. I have the half-square triangle, the feathers, and the tulip. It was quite an investment! I probably should have saved up longer and waited to get the bigger cutter.

Glad you had a wonderful trip to L.A. My nephew and his wife live in Thousand Oaks. My nephew takes the PCA to work every day. He loves the scenery. I haven't been to California since 2007, when I attended my nephew's wedding. My son-in-law's family once lived in Bakersfield. My son-in-law's mother recently posted on Facebook a photo of the house they'd lived in. The recently returned to attend a wedding.

Hmm -- wish someone in my family would plan a wedding in California, so I'd have an excuse to plan a trip!

Enjoy your day off!

Anne said...

Correction: My nephew takes the Pacific Coast Highway to work every day. I have no idea why I typed "PCA."

Barbara said...

I'm enjoying following your FMQ progress, and this one instantly reminded me of the incredible work by a woman I know who does "thread painting" with her machine. This is what you have done -- tree roots in thread painting!

Talin's Corner said...

You lucky girl, have fun with your new toy.

Barbara said...

I love your mystery block. Great colors.

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