Binding A Quilt

A couple of days ago Melanie McNeil described in her blog how she was binding her latest quilt – “For this particular quilt, I chose to finish the binding by machine rather than by hand.”… I wrote her that I always machine finish the binding (for a host of reasons I won’t go into here), except I use a decorative stitch with variegated thread when I attach the binding on the front.

Let me back up here a bit: many quilters machine stitch the binding to the front of the quilt, then blind stitch the turned binding on the back by hand. However, if you’re going to machine stitch the turned binding edge, then you have to sew the binding to the back of the quilt, turn the binding under on the front (I pin the turned binding, then lightly press it), then machine stitch to secure it to the front.

I’m assuming you already know how to apply a quilt binding. If you don’t, Melanie has very clear instructions with videos, etc. explaining and showing you how to bind a quilt. What I’m offering here, is an alternative for the final stitching to secure the binding to the top of the quilt.

Graduated Stitch – Edited

Here’s a stitched binding on one of my quilts (notice the diagonal fabric join in the binding). What I want you to observe is the stitching I’ve used to attach the binding to the top of the quilt – a stitch that stitches adjacent the edge of the binding and incorporates jump stitches to the right and back which permanently attach the binding edge to the quilt (remember, the binding is already machine sewn to the back using a standard 2.5mm straight stitch – Melanie prefers a longer 3.0mm stitch).

This is what the stitch looks like on my machine screen:

Double Graduated Stitch – Edited

This is my modification of a more complex built-in stitch on my embroidery machine. Here’s the original stitch:

Double Graduated Stitch

I wanted the stitching down the centre to be just to the side of the binding with the cross-over stitches just securing the binding so I used the stitch editor built into my embroidery machine to get rid of the stitches on the left and keep just two forward stitches between the grouping of stitches to the right. It attaches the binding securely and I’m not having to worry about whether I’m getting my straight stitch a consistent needle width from the binding edge. (The decorative stitch also is forgiving on the back of the quilt if it doesn’t align perfectly with the binding edge.)

Here’s another decorative stitch I use frequently:

Honeycomb Stitch – Edited

Below is the “honeycomb” stitch on my machine – I’ve reduced the width quite a bit, and extended the length so the stitch doesn’t extend very far on either side from the binding edge on the quilt front.

Honeycomb Stitch

Here are two other decorative stitches that could work:

Graduated Stitch

My point is it doesn’t take long to machine stitch a binding to the front of a quilt with a decorative stitch and it’s visually a lot more forgiving than trying to stitch the binding with a straight stitch!

Bamboo Quilt – Piecing of Panel Done

Finally, I have finished piecing the elements for this quilt top. The next steps will go relatively quickly.

Bamboo Quilt Panel – Finished

Now I have to add borders: a narrow light one, then a wider batik that seems to coordinate with all the other batiks in the pieced panel.

I’m thinking I will do something simple to extend the width of the back – a jellyroll race piecing, crazy quilt strip…. Whatever it turns out to be it will go a lot more quickly than this piecing did. I got tired of creating these elements which took quite a bit more time than I expected when I started which is why the project ground to a halt.

Now I can move again, get the quilt done and added to the collection for the showing in Parrsboro this summer. Whew!

Bamboo – Further Along

Making headway. The width is now about 42″, with the fill-ins being place-held with batik blocks; the panel length will approximate 62″ – with borders added the quilt top will end up a reasonable size for a lap quilt.

Tentative Layout

So it’s looking like I will want between 7-10 more “bamboo” blocks – that’s getting to be within range (it was beginning to feel as if the end of the project was nowhere in sight). I’m giving up on getting any overlap between the blocks – bits of sashing to make blocks fit is going to have to do.

Truth is I’m feeling pressure to get this quilt done. I want to get onto a bit of garment sewing – I need to make a pair of pants and maybe another casual jacket to take to Florence at the end of April – that’s just a month away.

It’s All About Pink – IV

I haven’t worked on this quilt since Dec. 31. I’ve read 5 mystery novels, watched some interesting series on TV, added elastic to the bottom of two sweaters, continued repairing socks in the “repair socks” basket (five pairs completed, six left to do), knit a new pair of socks and close to finishing the first sock for another pair. But no sewing on this quilt.

However, yesterday, I pieced the quilt back. Today, I pinned the quilt sandwich.

It’s All About Pink – IV

Yesterday, I also set up an embroidery to fit a 150mm x 150 mm block; I still need something for the borders – I’ll probably use one of the decorative stitches for the narrow border and something related to the block design for the out border – have to do that now.

And then the quilting in the hoop will begin.

It’s All About Pink – III

Here’s the quilt top assembled:

Quilt Top With Borders

I like how the pale narrow inner border finishes off the pieced centre. I was just lucky with the outer border – not many fabrics to choose from and at first I passed over this one, but in fact the “golden” shade within this pink brings out all the tones in the top.

Next…. Now I have to piece a 14″ strip for the backing – this top has finished at 54″ wide. For the back fabric panel I need another 14″-16″ to allow enough excess width to assemble the sandwich.

Dots – Completed

Dots – Completed

Having given the piece a name, I realized the majority of the fabrics I used to construct the piece had dots in them! So to take the idea further, I appliquéd more dots of various sizes to add further detail to the piece, and stitched around the outside edge with rayon embroidery thread using a narrow blanket stitch. Although difficult to see, the 1/4″ binding is also a dotted fabric. Finished size: 12.5″ x 17″.

12 X 12 Quilt

I mused about the teal/indigo fabrics I had for a couple of days and decided in the end to limit the quilt to just the set of twelve fat quarters (I put the rest away). To use my set of twelve indigo fat quarters, I decided to make a 12 x 12 quilt based on Elizabeth Hartman’s “Low Volume Tiles” quilt from her Craftsy Class: “Inspired Modern Quilts“).

I based my quilt on Hartman’s design but had to adjust the sizes of my small blocks because once I cut the first 13″ square I knew I had to fiddle to cut a second set of 12 blocks – there wasn’t enough fabric for a second 13″ square. So the dimensions of my small blocks are a bit different than hers in order to be able to use the fabric I had – there was just enough with a 5″ x   8″ leftover piece of each fabric which I used in my side borders.

The idea behind this quilt is to take 12 fabrics, cut 13” (or whatever large size) blocks you want by stacking and cutting them into the same 12 sections. Next you sort them shifting fabric #1 to the back of the stack for the second small block, fabrics #1,2 to the back of the stack for the third small block, fabrics #1,2,3 to the back of the stack for the fourth small bloc…. You get the idea:

12 Blocks – Stack ‘n Whack – Sorted

When you’ve done the setup, each stack has 12 fabrics, arranged so that a different one of the 12 fabrics is at the top of a stack before you begin laying out the large blocks and the fabrics in each stack are in the same sequence, just shifted by one so when you sew the blocks, each block has all 12 fabrics with no repetitions!

I intended to end up with 10 1/2″ blocks (having started with a 13″ square) – I trimmed my stitched sections to 11″) and assembled them into a 3 x 4 array:

12 X 12 Stitched Together

That’s a small quilt, however. I had cut a second set of 12 small blocks from the residual fabric from my indigo fat quarters – so I stitched together the second set of twelve blocks. It turns out that I was lucky to have chosen 13″ as my starting size because I wouldn’t have had enough fabric to create the second set of 12 blocks had I started with 14″!

One other thing – I removed one of the light fabrics from the collection before I began cutting, substituting a bright green for block #12. I wanted one colour to pull the other fabrics together.

My Finished Double 12 x 12 Quilt With 4″ Borders Added to the Sides

My finished quilt top is a 4 x 6 array with added 4″ side borders to give me a final width more in proportion to the length. Finished quilt: width 50″; length 64″. I lost a tiny amount from both width and length with the trimming I did in order to able to fit the blocks together. But in a design like this you can’t tell where the trimming occurred. You really aren’t able to see the “blocks” or where the main joins are.

Now to come up with an idea for the back. Yesterday I bought some backing fabric and 1/4 m of four teal/indigo batiks to add to some others I have but didn’t use in the quilt top. I had to do that because I didn’t have a single scrap left from the original fat quarters I started out with.