Friday, October 31, 2008

Binding Tutorial -- Joining the Ends

The other day CrazyMomQuilts posted a great step-by-step tutorial on applying binding. The one thing her tutorial lacks is how to join the two ends with a bias join. Apparently I wasn't the only person who asked "Why don't you miter the last seam at an angle like the rest of the seams?" And her answer: Well, because I never learned how and I am afraid to attempt it. Someday, maybe I'll try it. So, AmandaJean, this one's for you!

Note: This is MUCH easier when done on an actual quilt and not a 6.5" square!

Here's my sample. Keep in mind, that on a real quilt, you won't start the binding this close to a corner. Leave yourself a tail at least 6" or longer. Backstitch when you start.

Work your way around the quilt. When you get close to the end, stop stitching about 6-8" away from the beginning. The first time you try this you might want to leave 10-12". The extra space is easier the first time.

Now, fold the ends back, onto themselves and finger press these folds. Be sure to leave about 1/8" gap or you will probably end up with a little bit of "extra" in the length.

Unfold the bindings and lay the beginning tail over the ending tail, at right angles to each other, with right sides together. I take a pin and stick it through the center point of the folds. You can see the red head of the pin. Now, here's where you have to use your imagination. In a "real" quilt, with a bigger gap left between the two ends, these two pieces will lie flat when you pin them together. (That's why you leave that gap between the beginning and the end.) Stitch along the yellow line from corner to corner. This will be much easier to see on a larger quilt. I don't mark this line but just eyeball it and sew.

Here's what it looks like after it's sewn. Fold it back on the pressed line just to double check that you've sewn it correctly. If you have, then go ahead and trim off the extra ends. (We won't discuss the time I didn't do this double check....) I usually finger press the seam open, then fold the binding back in half.

Now, even the binding up with the edge of your quilt top and stitch.

See, a nice bias join. When you are all done, and your binding is blind stitched down to the back, you won't be able to figure out which of your bias seams on your binding was your final join.

A few additional notes on how I do my bindings. I cute my binding strips 2.25" wide on the cross grain of the fabric. I sew them together on the bias. I stitch my binding down at 3/8" from the edge of the quilt. This allows for the width of the batting and leaves me just enough to blind stitch down, using my stitching line as a guide. This gives me equal amount of binding on the front and the back. I also do not trim away the excess batting and backing until after the binding is attached. This way, I am sure that the entire binding will be "filled" with batting.

For years I stressed over bindings. I used to use one method that stuffs the end piece inside the beginning. It worked, but it left a bulky spot that was obvious, at least to me. Once I learned the "tricks" involved in this method, it quickly became the only way to join bindings.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, Monday....

Contrary to popular belief, no, I have not fallen off the face of the Earth. I can't believe it's been 15 days since my last post. And what do I have to show for myself you say? Well, not a whole heckuva lot!

While looking through my stash for some other fabric, I ran across this piece. That's all that was left. Exactly enough to make Purl Bee's "Un-Paper Bag". Actually, it's slightly smaller due to the size of my leftover piece of fabric. But, it's just about right to hold my library books.
I've also been working, not so feverishly on trying to finish my next UFO, the Blooming 9-Patch. I'm down to the last round of color. Only it appears that I'm missing a few rows from previous colors. Once the thing got too big for my design wall I seem to have left out a few of the rows. So now I'm trying to figure out just what's missing and get those made. I think it's only a matter of about 2-3 rows, 4 colors back. Because this is on point and I'm enlarging it from the original, I seem to have "lost my way". I finally went and made it up in EQ6 so I have a printout to help me figure out what's missing. I HATE it when I do that! It probably doesn't help that it's been sitting around as a UFO for more than a year.
Meanwhile, I spent a couple days at Innovations a couple weeks ago. This is the second year that I've taken classes at this show. I wasn't impressed. First of all, there were almost NO vendors. I was looking for some specific rulers to use with my HQ16. Secondly, there weren't that many "big name" teachers. The classes I took didn't impress me at all. Only one of the three would I even recommend, Lisa Coker. She is one, very talented machine quilter and teaches a very enjoyable class. I don't think I'll be taking any classes there next year.
Well, I've dragged my feet long enough today. I guess I'd better go downstairs and tackle that Bloomin' 9-Patch. It will never get done if I stay up here in front of the computer....

P.S. Arrrgggghhhhh, for some reason, Blogger does not want to keep the line breaks between the paragraphs today.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

It Rained....

.....And then there was sun. Glorious, wonderful, October sun! It stopped in time for us to have a nice, dry potluck. You try to put all the potluck food from 31+ busses on two tables, under tarps!

If you camp in the Pacific Northwest on a regular basis, you MUST have an advanced degree in tarp hanging.

Arlo's bored. Tired of being cooped up in the bus, but afraid to go out in the rain. You never know when that evil thunder might sound.

Yup, that's a transmission all right. Hhhhhmmmmm.........

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Fri Oct 3
High 67° Low 47°
50% chance of rain

Sat Oct 4
High 66° Low 43°
70% chance of rain

Sun Oct 5
Partly Cloudy
High 63° Low40°
20%chance of rain

That's the predicted weather for this weekend. Yes, we are going camping! All week the chance of rain for the weekend was 20-30%. Ugghhhh! I know, I know, this is a WET Westie event. Well, I guess we will get to try out that nifty rainfly I made last year.

As for the quilt layout, I appreciate your thoughts. After mulling it over, I've come to a decision. I'll just make both. I'll make the jewel box layout for the Christmas quilt and the barn raising layout in blues & tans like Bonnie at Quiltville did (scroll down a little to see her blue & tan quilt.)

So, I'd better get back to packing and get that Guinness birthday cake made for the Birthday Boy. That's our potluck offering for Saturday, which is also his birthday.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, decisons. Since I decided I didn't like the gold background of the first attempt, I've redone the blocks with a scrappier background. It's definitely better. But now for the dilemma. Which setting to use. I really like this jewel box setting and it works well with the Christmas fabrics. I could definitely see this as a full size bed quilt. But then, same with the other setting....oh, what to do, what to do. I think I'll keep making more pieces and put both samples up together on the wall and hopefully, by then, I'll be able to make up my mind.

Meanwhile, if you're reading this and have a preference, please let me know. Leave me a comment on which one you think would make a better setting.