Posted in Quilts, Tutorials

Machine Binding Tutorial: Step One (optional)

Yesterday was a huge binding day for me. This year has been an incredibly productive one for me, as far as quilt making goes, and I think a key to this has been the systematic approach I’ve ironically just stumbled into. I spend a few days just cutting the fabrics for several quilts that I have planned. I spend a few more days just piecing those together. This week, I spent all of Saturday just cutting and adding borders to 3 different quilts. Then I get my machine all set up and foot swapped out for my free motion foot, and spend an entire day (or 2…or 7) just quilting all those quilts.

This has worked out so well because I’m just changing out my thread and bobbin color on quilting days and for each particular quilt. I get so much more piecing done when I can keep the white cotton thread and bobbins going, no changes.

So today was a binding day. And since I don’t know anyone who does their binding the same way I do, I figured this was a good opportunity to post a tutorial. First tutorial!

I exclusively machine bind (I don’t hand bind. I know a lot of quilters have attitude about that, but I simply feel no shame in my game), and I use a combination of the no-tails binding method (see this excellent tutorial by Flourishing Palms for a detailed look) and the more typical folded corners method. The traditional (with tails method) has always bothered me because it requires you to leave an additional 10-15 inches of binding loose before you start stitching, and then you lose most of that when you attach the tails together at the end of your binding. The no-tails method only uses an extra inch or two at each corner, which is better, and easier, IMO. But the way I do it, I only need an extra 2-3 inches of binding. So much less waste. And you get one stitched up mitered corner, and three folded over mitered corners. It’s hard to explain. Like I said, I’ve never met anyone who does their binding the same way that I do. This does NOT mean my way is superior. But I dig it. So I’ll show you.

Today, I’ll show you step one, which is a completely optional step, really. But I’ve started doing it, and I highly recommend it. I serge all the way around the perimeter of my quilt sandwich using my Brother Serger. Not everyone has a serger, and for quilters, they are completely unnecessary. But I happen to have one because it’s fun and easy to make and mend baby hats and tshirts and blankets. It’s also nice to be able to quickly mend all the clothing in my home with no loose edges to get frayed in the laundry. You know I’m not hand washing ANYTHING, right?

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Although completely unnecessary, if you have one, this is yet another fun use for it. Serging the quilt sandwich tightly connects all three layers so that when you stitch your binding on, your backing can’t fold over and get caught up, and your batting can’t wiggle its way out and make you miss your backing in the stitches. Also, if it takes you awhile to bind your quilts, they are protected from fraying while they sit around in the queue, and if there is some sort of emergency (an incident involving cat vomit comes to my mind, but i’m trying to forget) you can wash that quilt before it’s bound, and it will survive.

You will need to trim the edges of your quilt sandwich at some point anyway, so this just does that for me. The serger winds thread around the perimeter of the quilt, sealing in its quilty juices, and cuts off anything to the right of this thread web with its helpful blade. So I simply run each quilt through, one edge at a time, with the metal line of my serger foot (shown at the bottom of the lightning bolt in photo) directly aligned with the edge of my fabric. Where fabric meets batting. If you’re a little off, it doesn’t matter too much, as you’ll see in the next steps. I’m very imperfect at all of my steps.

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I cut off the thread tails at each corner and that’s it!

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Look at that delicious stack of serged quilts! They are ready and waiting for step 2.

Posted in Quilts

The Meadow Quilt: a year-long journey

I didn’t actually realize it until I typed this post title JUST NOW, but this meadow quilt was a journey of almost exactly one year. (Yes, i do realize ‘almost exactly’ is an oxymoron. I am super clever.)

But looking through my phone, I found these photos that I took at the Meadow Quilt workshop taught by Lizzy House herself with the San Diego Modern Quilt Guild on March 6, 2016.

Aren’t we all so cute? And it was a year ago, so we are all aglow with youth, too.

Then I scrolled forward to the photos of the nearly finished Meadow Quilt, with its adorable intended recipients. The photo says it was taken March 4, 2017, and I’m inclined to believe it. You’ll notice it wasn’t yet bound (I simply surged up the edges on my serger, a practice I have come to love), and I bound it a day or two later, so it was very probably on March 6!


I ended up binding it with Elizabeth Hartman Starlight in gray, from the Paintbox Basics collection (or maybe Pacific?) to complement the Cotton & Steel sprinkle stardust that I used as a background fabric on the top, and the extra wide backing that I used on the back, which is Elizabeth Hartman wide back, like a swollen and darkened version of that binding fabric. I love this wideback fabric so much, I had to stock up on it, in both the gray and the hot pink color. So you’ll be seeing more soon. I just love how quirky and cartoonish it is. It makes every quilt look more modern and fun.

And in between that first photo and that last photo, what happened during the 364 days in between? Well, sewing, obviously. But also, some meditative time on a long-arm quilting machine. I used the giant Bernina Q24 at Cozy Creative Center to stitch the twinkle lights pattern in the background and used my Juki to stitch a variegated pink thread onto the pink sections. The main contributor to all that delicious texture is for sure the wool batting. I used this Quilters Dream Wool Batting (93” x 72”) Twin, and I just can’t recommend it enough. Especially for a kid’s quilt that will be used year-round. It makes for a very functional comforter in addition to being a beautifully draped word of quilted art.

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This quilt journey was my first exposure to curved piecing, which has created great confidence in my piecing abilities, and was a joy from start to finish. That’s 365 days of joy. And counting.

Posted in Quilts

Workin’ It Wednesday

work in progress Wednesday and I thought I’d be much further along with my linen and pinks quilt, but here is the top so far. The center panel has been entirely pieced and pressed, but it still needs a chunky linen border. 

   The pattern is from Rashida Coleman-Hale, of course, because she hearts linen, from the book “I 💙 Patchwork.” It is a lap quilt, that she did in shades of turquoise and yellow, although I’m wondering how weird it would look if I bordered it to be bed sized.  

  

I used bright pink, coral, and yellow fabrics, including some of my faves from Tula Pink’s Eden collection and True Colors, plus a funny little constellation pattern from Spoonflower.

Maybe by Finished Friday, this puppy will be ready to make a reappearance?

Posted in Uncategorized

The Geese Improve

Just some updates on my long-term work in progress, Moonrise Kingdom quilt. The palette of the week from wesandersonpalettes.tumblr.com is this one, featuring, you guessed it, more khaki and pastels. We will call this one “Sam, I love you.” 

   I knew this quilt would be full of muted tones, but HONESTLY! The hot pink color in the beige lunatics series was really working hard to preserve my sanity. Well I will have to choose a bolder backing fabric or start taking some artistic liberties maybe. 
For this palette, I chose another radiating log cabin block, a shooting sawtooth star (representing a compass rose for the scene depicted), and a Dutchman’s puzzle, which I think shows how my flying geese triangles have improved by leaps and bounds. 

   
  Also, as a sidenote, at the risk of sounding like a fabric snob, I don’t think I can ever use bargain fat quarters ever again. Top notch fabrics only from here on out for me. My fingertips deserve only the best. 

Posted in Wes Anderson Palettes

Moonrise Kingdom, the blocks 

Well I have started the Wes Anderson Quilt Experiment with three blocks, based on this 6-color palette that we will call “beige lunatics,” based on the associated quote. 

   I went with block 200 from the Quilt Block Bible because it said “moonrise” to me, and then added a six by six square block to present all the colors. I absolutely love this project because it had me combining colors I never would have put together. And it really does put me in a Wes Anderson frame of mind. 
  

The third block which I think will really be worth the effort, thematically, is block 135 from the Quilt Block Bible, Path of Geese. I knew I needed some sort of Flying Geese block, and this one seemed most suitable for incorporating all 6 colors. But this is my first attempt at it, and I complicated it further by wanting 12 inch blocks and so was doubling all the six inch block patterns. Something went wonky with my math, and all my geese ended up with stubby beaks. I’m going to have to start over. Any tips? Where did I go wrong? 
   Overall, I am quite pleased. If you make a movie palette quilt also, we will come up with an identifying tag and follow along. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Bee Quilting Bee

I partook of a little quilting bee yesterday, and because I was traveling to someone else’s house, and didn’t feel like packing up The Notorious S.E.W., my sweet little machine (just your basic Brother XL2600i), I decided to simply cut, bringing a hex tool and some sweet fabric for a bee/honeycomb quilt I have been planning. 

How many people are required to make a quilting bee anyway? How many baes in a bee? Cuz there were just the two of us quilters, though we were accompanied by a gaggle of children. Is that a bee? A mini-bee, at the very least. 

Anyway, ever since seeing this awesome Bumble fabric from Tula Pink, I have been planning to give a hexagon quilt a try. Like many things in the quilting world, it looks so deceptively simple, but is in fact nearly impossible to get just right and requires hours of work. So fun, right?! (Quilters are a weird bunch). 

   
  The photos don’t do it justice, frankly. It had a brighter green than the pistachio of the photos. Like a delicious pistachio-lime sorbet, maybe. I was planning to mix it up with a variety of neutral shades and the blue honeycombs, but I’m thinking it might need a little more star power mixed in. Maybe bright orangey golden binding? A bold floral backing? Not sure yet. Feel free to guide me. I can never get enough guidance. 

    The bee baes.
  And how do I know that hexagons are so much harder than they look? Because I am a responsible quilter, who spent this afternoon piecing together some scrappy two inch hexies. 

   
    From what the Internet keeps telling me, seams should be pressed open, and the secret has something to do with leaving quarter inch spaces at the ends of every seam. But I obviously need more practice because these little beauties ended up puckery and full of gaps at the joints, like a …bursitis sufferer eating citrus? Yep. Nailed it.