The most important thing about acquiring a GO Baby is that you should check out videos of people using them before you even pull the Baby out of the box. If your results or amount of effort expended differ from what you see in the how-to videos on the Accuquilt site or YouTube… you have a broken or defective machine.
Part of the joy of the stupid little GO Baby is that it is dead simple to use; it really does only one thing. It does that one thing very well, though (unless it’s broken). I bought one off eBay for what would have been a good deal, if it had worked right, and then I compounded my own mistake by trying to make it work, futzing and trying to fix it. Once I watched the boilerplate video on using the GO Baby, I returned it to the seller, who graciously refunded every penny I spent, if not all the hours. I ended up with the best deal I could find on line. I think it was list, but with free shipping.
Which leads to the second most important thing — the GO Baby is rarely offered at a discount equal to the time you’ll spend hunting for one. You can sometimes save a little on the over-priced dies and cutting boards. I acquired some of mine from good eBay deals, and bought one at JoAnn’s because I needed it right away. However you acquire the dies, its important to follow the directions for using and maintaining them. The cutting edge is set into hard foam. If random threads get caught between the “blade” and the foam, they will keep the cut from being perfect until you pick them out. Cutting shouldn’t be more complicated than that — if it is…you may have a defective die, and will have to talk to Accuquilt or your vendor. This hasn’t happened to me.
The third thing is that GO Baby, and presumably the bigger cutters, are wonderful if you happen to need hundreds of a simple shape that is available (3 1/2″ squares, for instance) or merely dozens of a more complex shape. The stranger the shape, the more of an advantage the die.
While the “half-hex” was the first die I lusted after, having hand cut so many of them for a wall-hanging mentioned in an earlier post, and the apple core is a delightful problem in curved seams… the one I’ve used most so far is the tumbler. No words describe the happiness and novelty of easily, consistently cutting shapes — it’s like a cookie cutter. Some shapes have “dog ears” to aid in alignment. Of these three shapes, the tumbler is the easiest to piece once cut — 12 tumblers make a circle… pairs lead to strips. No Y seams. Several more possible sets. Can’t wait.
Bottom line: Should you have a GO Baby? Maybe, if you love gadgets, or need hundreds and hundreds of uniform shapes, but don’t need dies wider than 6″. If you need the bigger shapes you can look at the Baby’s GO siblings. If you have hand issues, there is one electric model… If uniform shapes come easily to you, or the very idea of uniformity causes you to break out in hives — than no, you don’t need a GO.
And, if you have a friend like me who already owns one (or your quilt guild or minigroup does) you can probably share, because the percentage of time you will spend cutting your “cookies” is going to be low. If you know me and want to share mine, bring coffee — or maybe real cookies, made with or without cutters.