Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Binding, the First Time

Woohoo, the quilt is finished at last (OK, with the exception of a few threads to clip and the embroidered dedication)!  I have layed it out on my bed because my son's is too hard to photograph.  The most intimidating part of this process for me was the binding.  I have placed some kind of 'binding' around my art quilts before, however, I invented my technique up as I went along.  I did not want to ruin my son's quilt after sooo much work, so I decided to sew an official binding and so looked into a couple techniques. 

The first one I explored I sewed on this practice quilt my little girl's doll.  (This doll belonged to my sister when she was a little girl.) I tried to follow the Missouri Quilt Company's binding instructions, changing 1/4 inch seam to 1/2 inch, but frankly I was too impatient to hand sew the back and figured there was no way I would hand sew my son's giant quilt.  And look at those corner--sheesh.  I'm not too happy with how it turned out but at least it is just a doll quilt--not too much at stake here.
I ended up using a suggestion from Inge, the woman who's longarm quilted my son's quilt together.  The binding is made from 3 inch strips of my chosen border materials (two different fabrics.)  I ironed the material in half length wise, then opened it up and folded the sides toward the middle leaving a small gap.  I then ironed the folds down, I closed the folds and ironed the fabric down the middle again.  I then capped that folded fabric over the edge of the quilt and could sew both sides of the binding on in one go.  The other piece of valuable advice I received from Inge was to sew the binding beginning along the side rather than at one of the corners.  That certainly made piecing the binding tails together easier.  I used Missouri Quilt Company's corner technique. 
I have promised each of my children a quilt.  An have begun working on my daughter's already.  I am sewing them in order who's birthday is coming next.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Quilt Top Complete!

My oldest son has an ancient blanket that he has had since he was a toddler.  This blanket is now threadbear and the binding is coming off.  I spoke with him and he agreed to replace the blanket with a new quilt.  This a big step for him since he doesn't like to get rid of anything.  It is also a big step for me since have never made a traditional quilt.  I decided to do a simple color block design.  I made a 7 1/2 inch square cardboard template and calculated how many squares I would need for a quilt top.  My son went through my fabric stash and picked out his favorite fabrics.  I also let him select 5 fabrics from Spoonflower (who is having a sale this week-2 fat quarters for the price of one!) and added 2 of my own design.  He choose a zoo/safari theme.
When I measured the top, bottom and middle of the finished squares to calculate my border, I was very pleased that there was less than an 1/2 inch difference from top to bottom.  I plan on sending the layers out to get quilted--I don't think I am ready for that step yet.
I had big help from my housekeeper, Margaret, who washed and ironed fabric and traced out some of the squares.  I found the videos by Missouri Star Quilt Co very helpful for a beginner like myself.