Posted in Quilts

Finished: Space Nerd Quilt

The Space Nerd quilt is finished and on its way to its new home in Italy. This is the Rapid City quilt pattern from Elizabeth Hartman, described in this post.

I am terrible at quilt photography to begin with, and I was very short on time to boot, as I handed the quilt over almost immediately after completing it. So, my husband had to play quilt holder in our backyard. I’m sad I didn’t get to style or overdocument this one because it was so much fun to plan and make and quilt.


I free-motion quilted this one in a geometric meander, and was careful not to quilt past the quilt top onto the batting because I really wanted to try out this method (tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew) of binding for the first time, where the backing is folded over as binding. This was partly to save time and energy, but also I wanted a neutral gray binding and both the background and backing of this quilt were already neutral gray. It would have been a waste to bind it separately. It came out really well. It feels much flatter and lighter this way. Like a photo without a frame. I like it.

I’ve already got plans for all the spare novelty space fabric I have from this quilt. Stay tuned for Space Nerd II: the Quilty Sequel.

 

Posted in Tutorials

Binding Tutorial: Step Two

You thought I was going to post step one, and then forget to ever post a step two, didn’t you…Sounds like me. But nope, I got your back. So although step one was (mostly) optional (you still need to trim your quilt if you didn’t serge the edges), you should read step one first.

You will also need to create your binding. I always cut my binding at 2 1/2 inches, and all the measurements I use in this tutorial are based on 2 1/2 inch binding strips. I do this primarily because I can find pre-cut 2.5 inch strips if I want to save time, and I can use the leftover strips or even just 2.5 inch squares that are leftover from the binding for lots of things. Here’s a quick how-to on creating your binding.

  1. Cut your fabric into 2.5 inch strips along WOF (width of fabric…from selvedge to selvedge) –if the need ever arises, you can also cut strips along length of fabric or cut bias binding strips, but that’s not what I typically do because I want to make the most economical use of my fabric in general.

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2. Sew them together end to end, where you’re sewing the ends perpendicular, at a 45 degree angle. This disperses the bulk of those seams along the binding.

3. Trim off the corners of those seams, leaving only a quarter inch seam allowance, and fold the binding lengthwise, pressing mightily with a hot hot iron. I like to wind it around an empty spool as I press it to keep it neat and tidy, and tightly pressed.

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Now that you have your binding, you will start stitching it down to the front of your quilt, with the raw edge about 1/8 inch away from the edge of your quilt. (With my serged quilt edges, I just make sure about 1/2 of the serged up stitches are showing.) Start at a corner, leaving just an inch or two extra off the corner. Remember, I prefer my method of binding primarily because there is so little wasted binding and only two such small tails, the one here, and the one at the end, that will be connected to this one.



So this is what my first stitches look like. I have left just a 1-2 inch long tail, and I’ve started stitching 3/8 inches down from the top quilt edge, and 3/8 inches in from my quilt’s right edge (the 1/8″ of edge that is showing + the 1/4″ of binding that one typically uses as a seam allowance). I measure this 3/8 inch at every corner, so I keep a tiny ruler nearby, and a frixion pen to mark it. I back stitch after my first stitches to secure that corner.
At the next three corners, I mark 3/8″ from the next edge of the quilt, and sew to that point, back stitch, and cut my thread. I then use a little mitered corner clip tool (pictured), but this is just for accuracy. This is the same corner folding method that countless binding tutorials use. I am folding the binding back over on itself, then out along the next edge at a 90 degree angle, leaving a 45 degree fold in the binding right at the corner. Then I start my stitching again right over that fold.

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When I get to the final corner, this is the only place where my binding is a little different then most. I use the no tails binding method (demonstrated with remarkable clarity in this tutorial from Flourishing Palms) on this final corner, leaving me with a stitched up mitered corner (the other three corners are just folded) and no tails to connect or stitch down.

At the final corner, I mark my 3/8″ from the bottom as I approach, then back stitch my final stitches up to that mark.


I trim off my binding, leaving that same tiny tail that I started with, just 1-2 inches. If all your measurements were correct, your first stitch and last stitch should be essentially on top of one another.


Now I fold the corner of my quilt in half (45 degree angle) so that my two binding tails are back to back and all aligned.


I use my little ruler and frixion pen to mark a line from the folded edge of my binding down to my first/final stitch. This line is perpendicular to the stitch line.


Then I use that line I just marked as the bottom of a right triangle that I am about to draw. With my measurements, I line the corner of my little ruler up so that each end of the line is at 5/8″ on the ruler. Then I trace the corner of the ruler to create my right angle.


It sounds so complicated and brainy when I put it this way, but the first line you drew becomes the hypotenuse of your right triangle. Yay geometry!!!

Then you simply stitch along that right angle. Back stitch at the beginning and end, this becomes your stitched mitered corner. Trim off to leave just a little seam allowance.

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Use a sharp, pointy tool (a knitting needle, a chopstick, an actual point turner) to turn that corner you just stitched inside out. Voila!

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Stitched up mitered corner. (Edit: this photo and the way the star print fits make this look like a super jagged line. It is not. It is just yer average 45 degree corner seam) And you are all prepared for Step Three.