Ask Jo: Many Topics to Share

Hello, and welcome to another edition of “Ask Jo”.  I get many comments and questions from all sorts of places, the comment section here, Youtube, email, and from our Facebook group.  Sometimes I think others of you might want to know the answers as well so I answer them here on the blog. In today’s feature, I have a little bit of everything to share.

First off I want to share an email from Bobbie C.
She wrote:

After reading your post about “Cut and Run,” I thought you might like to know about a site I visit often.  It’s:

I’m not sure where I first learned of it but it’s great. It doesn’t charge any fees. I’m even subscribed to their newsletter but of course, that’s not required.”

I know many of you are series readers and will appreciate the service of this site offers of listing books in a series in order.  AWESOME.  I went and check it out.  I loved it!!

Next up, I did a video and blog post on how I cut so many squares at once.  I had shown this quilt Square Dance.  We made this back in 2014 and it was published in Quiltmaker magazine.
I had several people ask about the quilt.  You can read the full blog post about it HERE.  The question everyone wanted to know is, what issue was the quilt in.  The answer:  March/April of 2014.

If you want to read or see the video on how we cut so many squares for a big project like this, read THIS BLOG POST or watch my video…

Sandy wrote asking:  “How do you handle pockets and labels on yokes?”  I will be doing a video on this along with a blog post in the near future.  I am still cutting out a quilt from shirts so it was the perfect time to ask.  If you subscribe to my Youtube channel HERE and hit the little bell to get notifications when new videos come out, you will see it before I even tell about it on the blog.

Gail is one of MANY who have asked:
“I love, love, love the Halloween quilt. Could you possibly let us ( your readers) know how much background to complete this s quilt? If we have to wait until the pattern comes out I understand, but, often I will see a background and don’t know how much to buy.  I do a lot of scrap quilts and backgrounds are almost the only thing I need.”

Here is a peek at the Halloween quilt…

I talked with Kelli.  She said this is what you need to know about fabric requirements:
6 1/2 of background if you don’t make any errors.  She suggested 7 yards.
4 1/2 of printed fabrics
3/4 of binding.  I used scrappy orange binding.

I used fabric from a new Moda line that is coming out.  The line is Midnight Magic II.  It will be coming out in April of 2021.  It’s a great print with mini stars in the background.

If you are wanting the fabric, I suggest hitting up the shops in April when it comes in.

I know someone will ask so this is what I used for the backing fabric.  It is also from the fabric line.  The quilt is 94″ x 94″ so that should help you determine what you want for the backing.  If you want to splice yours together as I did and hide the slice, then you might want a little extra fabric.

I talked to Marcia at Pine Needles Quilt and Sew in Rochester, MN.  They are getting this line of fabric in and will have it available.  If you are looking for the exact fabric I used for the background, I highly suggest giving them a call.  Who knows, they might be able to put you on a list to get it once it comes in.  HERE is a link to their website which will have their contact information.

I did find out from Marcia that kits for our Moment of Zen quilt kits are selling fast.
They were only able to get a certain amount of fabric and only able to cut that amount of kits so they will only be available for as long as they last.  If you are interested, HERE is the link.  I know that the kit is very generous in the amount of fabric so that’s fun too!!

It is in the current issue of American Patchwork and Quilting.

If you missed our post about this quilt Moment of Zen designed by Kelli and me, you can read more about it HERE.

Arline wrote:
WOW, WOW, WOW it is absolutely gorgeous. This has convinced me to renew my subscription which runs out in August.

She wrote this after I showed a sneak peek of our Christmas quilt that will be published with American Patchwork and Quilting in an issue in late 2021.  This was the sneak peek…

We are on a roll with American Patchwork and Quilting right now.  I know for sure that we have committed to five projects with them coming in the next year or so.  If you don’t want to be scrambling to get the magazines from the newsstand, it might be a good idea to subscribe.

Dianne wrote:
You mentioned that you do not use your Accuquilt maker anymore. Is there a reason why you stopped using it? I have been thinking about purchasing one but now after reading your mention of it in your blog I have been doubting my decision. I’m looking forward to reading your answer.
Thank you.”

I did have an Accuquilt Go!  I no longer have one.  There are several reasons why I don’t have one anymore.

I got mine early when they were first hitting it big.  I got mine from the company as a promo as I was a blogger.  They ran a program that is blogger’s would make videos of things they made using the dies and posted them on Youtube, they could pick a free die.  I did that.  That’s one of the reasons I have so many Youtube videos showing projects I made with my cutter.

Then the company asked me to write patterns for them and I’d get a commission for patterns sold.  Well, I did…and guess what?  I had to fight to get paid.  It was a terrible relationship.  I decided that I didn’t want to work with them anymore and decided to get rid of my Accuquilt.

This was years ago.  I harbor no terrible feelings for the company.  I feel I can give you an honest review from my experience.

Here are some things I can tell you.  The dies take up a lot of space and are expensive.  At the time, the double wedding ring die was close to $80.  How many double wedding ring quilts is a person going to make?  That dies adds a lot of expense to a quilt.

The dies take up a lot of space.  Check out the pictures above.  Do you have a place to store them all?

I didn’t realize there was an ongoing cost.  You will need to continue to buy mats the sit on top of the dies as they run through the machine.

What are your physical abilities?  I now have a bum shoulder.  I don’t think it would appreciate turning the crank all the time to get the pieces cut.  On the other hand, for someone with a hand issue and rotary cutting is hard, it might be just what the person needs.  I would strongly suggest trying one out before buying one to see how it would work for you physically.

One of the big advertising draws is that cuts are accurate.  Well, I had a 5″ die and it was not accurate.  I think in most cases they are.  I’m guessing mine was a factory flaw, but I would check the dies before I cut a million pieces with them.  I also had a die that the edge turned over and it would no longer cut.  That was replaced by the company, but it was a hassle.

There is quite a lot of waste if you are cutting things that are not strips or squares.  For some, the ease is worth it.  I’m pretty conservative so I didn’t like the waste.

Static cling with the machine is annoying.  The pieces stick to the mat.  I’m sure they’ve come up with a solution for that by now though.

I know some people have them and love them…I know Bonnie Hunter has the big one and sings its praises all the time.  She is mostly only using the strip dies.

It isn’t a product for me.  I would rather store a ruler, rotary cutter, and mat.  For me, that’s easier.  In general, aside from the strip dies, the quilts that are made with an Accuquilt, really aren’t “my style”.  I don’t do a lot of applique.  I’m not someone who would spend lots of money on a die to cut masks.  I’m not saying any of that is wrong, it’s just not me.

That is my honest opinion.  I do know that there are many who do have them.  I welcome anyone who has experience with one to leave a comment on how you feel about them.   Let’s help Dianne or anyone else thinking about an Accuquilt get good informed reviews before she buys one.

I think that wraps up questions for this round.  As always, if you have questions, please leave them in the comment section.  I try to answer as many as I can.  Often if I don’t, other readers do.

32 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Many Topics to Share”

  1. Thank you for explaining the reason you stopped using your Accu quilt maker. I really appreciate your thorough answer to my question. I felt that there was some waste when using the Accu-quilt maker and like you I hate to waste fabric especially since fabric has gotten so expensive.

    1. Hi Dianne, I have an accuquilt and find it very helpful. The waste is minimal with careful placement . I have difficulty getting accurate cuts with the rotary cutter so the accuquilt is right for me as I wasted more time and fabric with my cutting errors. As I also embroider and they offer designs it is an added bonus. Hope this is helpful. Have a great day and stay safe and warm.

  2. You might like to check out for information about the books an author has written. It includes single novels and short story collections as well as listing the books in a series in order.

    1. I work in a public library ordering books regularly. I also use fantastic fiction. I find it very helpful and also use the “coming soon” & “new book” sections to see what I miss otherwise. Great site.

  3. I adore my AccuCutter. Always a precise piecer, the cutter upped my game. There is no way me and a rotary cutter can be as precise as the AccuCutter. Every day that I sew, I cut something on my cutter and as Bonnie said, with careful placement there is minimal waste. Yes, every 2-3 years ago a new cover mat is required but I use very few rotary cutter blades during that time, so it evens out. And that Hunter Star die changed my life my making that quilt one of my favorites.

  4. Diane – I have an AccuQuilt and love it but I’ve only used it for two applications: it is wonderful for cutting wool shapes (different size circles and shapes) and for cutting up men’s shirts. I don’t like waste either but if I have waste with a shirt who cares. I usually don’t pay more than a $1 each for an XXL shirt. Hope this helps.

  5. I have all the same issues as Jo with the Accuquilt. I have mine for sale now. The mats do not last long at all and have to be ordered from the company and the doors are very expensive. It’s a hassle for me to get it out as I don’t have a place to leave it set up. I’m going to get a stripology ruler for strips and squares which is what I use most.

  6. I used my Accuquilt quite often when I first got it. Then I realized that my 2.5” squares weren’t square. Had to buy another and the mats didn’t last very long. I haven’t used it now for over 2 years. It takes up space definitely and I think the best thing is to keep it out on a special table at all times. The dies have to be stored a certain way and so do the mats. I have only bought strips and square dies because they are so expensive. I wanted a churn dash die but didn’t want to pay $$$$ for just one size. I’ve found that I can cut pretty good now. We are moving to a different house this summer and I think there is room for my Accuquilt to be on a counter now. If I don’t use it in one year, then I’m selling it.

  7. I’ve been quilting over 30 years and don’t need my Accuquilt Go! For squares and rectangles. I like it for funky shapes like Drunkard’s Path and tumbler, though. I most use the strip dies (usually 2 1/2”) to cut binding. Marjorie Busby has a video on how to fold the rectangle of fabric to cut everything on the bias. Then you sew the pieces together. I usually bind with solids, so there is no right or wrong side. I was considering getting the 7” Drunkard’s Path die, but I didn’t like the arrangement of the pieces on the die. Besides, I already have a template that size. The cutter is good for some things, but there are better alternatives for the rest.

  8. I’ve used my Accuquilt studio cutter for over 8 years and wouldn’t be without it. I recently got the GO! cutter as well. If you are careful, there is very little waste. It is my understanding that they have made improvements in the GO! in recent years. I have found the dies to be very accurate, however, if cutting larger pieces, it is important to cut with the lengthwise grain. I especially love it for cutting up scraps. I used to save my scraps for years and then throw them all out! Now I chop them up into often used sizes of triangles, squares, strips etc. and they get used. I recently came across a scrappy quilt I wanted to make and I already had all the cutting done. I’ve written quite a few posts on the cutters in my blog if anyone is interested. I do appreciate hearing your experience.

      1. I just clicked on her name and it went right to her blog!! If a hand shows up when you click, that means there’s more behind the name. Sometimes it’s just a profile, though.

  9. FYI: If anyone wants 7 yds of one background get it when it first comes out. A bolt of fabric usually only has up to 15 yds on it.

  10. I don’t have an Accuqutil but I have the next best thing—-a local quilt shop that owns one and rents time on theirs. With a little planning and organizing on my part, I can bring all the fabrics for my projects in and finish all my cutting quickly. I can kit up many projects in just a few hours. I have used it for wool shapes and it is perfect.
    They have many dies and so far they have had what i need for my projects.

  11. I like the 2″ half square triangle die. Found that the 2″x2″ cuts were really more like 2″x1-7/8″. When I called the company they accused me of using the cutter wrong and made me feel like they were blowing me off. I had tried all sorts of ways. Since I rely on my alternate block to be exactly 2″x2″ for accurate piecing to sometimes wonky scrap colored squares, I found this frustrating.
    Now, If I want many 2″x2″ squares, I use the June Tailor Quarter Cut Slotted Ruler for 2″ strips and sewn together strip sets. I layer the fabrics right sides together like Jo does with her triangle cuts. For wider strip sets I could not do without the 1/2″ shape cut. Use a coupon as they seem a bit pricey. Worth every penny. I think there are other brands of slotted models to choose from. Use them every day. Among my must-have items.

    1. I had exactly the same experience with them! I even had one square die that had a slight bow on one side. Totally threw the accuracy off. They acted like it was my fault. They finally replaced it after I mailed it back to them.

  12. My local quilt store has an Accu Cutter. Customers are allowed to pay a small fee and use the cutter. This is great if you need a lot of pieces the same size. I’ve never used it but I think it sounds like a good deal.

  13. I just bought an Accuquilt after several years of thinking about it. I am using the strip dies which I really like. I also bought Storm at Sea and the Double Wedding Ring dies. I have been wanting to make both of these for years but was intimidated by cutting them out. I added several circle dies for a project I have planned. I bought a beginner’s set which included the 8″ cube. I doubt I will ever use that. I am happy with my purchase but will still be using my ruler and rotary cutter a lot.

  14. I haven’t seen an acuquilt cutter. I’m happy with my ruler and rotary cutter. I’ve been looking at the slotted rulers It will be on my quilt shopping list. I was thinking g of investing in the cutter but if it takes up a lot of room it’s a no go for my small sewing space.

  15. Diana, I too have an Accuquilt. I go in spurts of using it and then not. Sometimes I will get out the strip dies and do a bunch quickly. There is always going to be waste-no way out. I see several people say it’s minimal but that depends on your definition. Here’s an example:

    Cut 2.5inch strips. Even up the edge. If you cut with a ruler, no more waste. If you’re putting it on a die, you leave a bit beyond the blade. You drape across the 3 strip die. You fold, it’s very hard to waste less than 1/2 inch. Go to the other edge. You fold again, so another 1/2 inch at least. So 9 strips and 1 inch waste. For a person on a super tight budget, they might think that is a lot while others can afford that loss time and time again.

    Cubes: I bought the 6″ when it first came out. I assumed it was dies to make 6″ blocks which it is. I only owned a few dies and there were lots of pieces on each one. With the cube? 1 or maybe 2 pieces. So again with the folding, the waste.

    If you’re a person with piles of scraps, it would be great to layer scrap pieces over die cuts and process them quickly (I have a friend who has mastered this by laying out a bunch of her favorite dies and processing a basket or bin at a time. This is often a time when one is not concerned so much about waste as about getting some usable pieces efficiently.

    If I had to put a number to it, I would say that 25% of my quilting pieces are cut with my GO!

    Good luck making your decision.

  16. I have one of the small Accuquilt cutters. I find I don’t use it for simple shapes so much, but do like their block on board dies that have odd angles, or the curved dies like apple core. It’s much faster to cut strips, squares, and triangles with ruler and rotary cutter.

    On the subject of waste – I used the hunter star die to make a queen size top, and after running the rectangles through, realized I also had lots of little bits that could be used to make HST & QST mini blocks leader-enders. There is some waste, but there are ways to cut down on it.

    As to accuracy, IIRC it can make a huge difference if you run fabric through on lengthwise or crosswise grain, and whether or not you starch the fabric. Sadly my sewing isn’t so straight that being 1/8″ off is the least of my worries :-/

    I would advise caution if thinking to use a die cutter of any brand on a quilt kit. Unless you have a very generous kit, you may end up running short.

    Do I regret getting the little cutter? Not at all. I do wish I had not gotten some of the dies though. I’ve seen some larger dies that have me wondering about getting a larger cutter. But if I get a larger cutter, I’m not sure I want to be locked into only Accuquilt dies, and their large cutter that can use other die brands is way too expensive for my use.

    That’s a shame you had so many problems with the company.

  17. I forgot – static is still a thing. I was told to pet the cutting mat and then slide it off the fabric. It really does help keep the fabric from sticking to the mat.

  18. Jo, I agree with a lot of what you said about the Accuquilt. When my wrist and thumb pain became a big issue, however, I bought the electric Go Big and strip cutters. I am making your Plus Fun quilt with 2.5″ squares and have used it to cut a lot of strips and squares. I am still learning to use it and have made more than my share of scraps, but it enables me to quilt without pain. I still cut some strips and squares by hand, but it has been very useful for the bulk of my cutting. The cost is totally mind boggling. I bought mine instead of going to stay away from home quilt retreats.

  19. Jo:
    In case anyone is interested in an alternative to the Accuquilt, I can suggest the Crafters Edge. The dies are super thin metal and come in packs with all sizes. A square pack is only $14.99. This makes the dies a LOT easier to store. I have saved a lot of space since selling my Accuquilt dies. I bought the Crafters Edge when it was on sale and then sold my Accuquilt. I found the Accuquilt took up too much room and was too heavy for me to set up every time I wanted to use it. The Crafters Edge is much smaller. I can also adjust the pressure for my cuts with a simple rotary dial. I use it for odd shapes and I bought an adaptor so that I can cut wool strips for my rug hooking. It was well worth the cost, especially since I do not quilt very much so my cutting with a rotary cutter isn’t as accurate. If it is difficult to turn a crank for cutting, then the Crafters Edge may not be the right choice. They do not offer an electric version. Accuquilt does have an electric version.

  20. Jo is spot on about the Accuquilt – it’s just a tool. I was not using mine extensively until DH decided it was a power tool and started cutting my scraps into squares. Now it’s one of his hobbies – and I have no scraps ! Just several bins of lovely squares that make great quilts …. So, you never know !!!

  21. Deborah A Stevens

    I have one and use it for only a few cuts. However, it is stellar for rag quilts! I use old cutting mats ( you know the ones that got warped on the way to retreat and cant be fixed) as the cushioning mat . Our children make them for their friends as wedding presents . I make them for grad gifts. I do have to run the dye thru twice to get a complete cut tho.
    Conclusion: try one first and decide how much you want to invest and if you will use it!!

  22. I have an AccuQuilt and like it for cutting strips and squares. I’m a wonky cutter and sewer, and it helps that at least my 5″ square is 5″. When making HSTs, I prefer to sew 2 squares together, draw that line and sew on either side. The triangles tend to confound me. For how I use it, I really like it. But it is so overpriced! I was thinking about buying the pennants die, but it’s $80, and that’s just too much money for the use.
    Turning the crank can be hard on my wrists, so I switch off and alternate my hands.
    There is waste, but I have enough fabric to stock a shop, and anyhow, nothing ever ever gets used up. I make a scrappy quilt and then I have leftover scraps from my leftover scraps.
    If you’re thinking of buying one, see if your local quilt shop carries it and ask to try it out.

  23. The dies are ridiculously expensive, but when a pattern calls for 700+ squares or triangles, I run to my die cutter. I also have had issues with some of the squares. I’ve found that starching and cutting on the length-wise grain helps a lot, but sometimes corners still get stuck in the die and that irritates me to no end given what the die system costs. I do waste fabric, but cut down the pieces rather than fanning the cloth prior to running through the machine. I’m not sorry I have the cutter but I do regret some of the dies I bought since I rarely use them.

  24. Glad you mentioned the Accuquilt GO! I bought mine used and other than the strip dies I rarely use it. But As one of the others said it’s great for squares,strips, and even triangles. Almost bought a Cube but deided it wa too expensive for me. I might be more inclined if I was new to quilting.

  25. I have arthritis issues with my right hand. The Accuquilt Go, the electrics one, has saved my quilting. I love it. It stays on the bed of my long arm until I’m ready to quilt. Awesome for an old lady.
    I think your videos are great. The strip cutting will organize my scraps. THANK YOU!

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