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Quilter True Confessions

Binding.

Sloppily sewn down binding.

There, I have confessed.

Sigh…

In my early days of quilting, I was rather impatient with the last stage of completing a quilt – “sewing down binding”. In my mind I was quickly sewing down the binding to the back of the quilt. In reality I was sloppily sewing down the binding to the back of the quilt.

Recently I went to wash an old (my early days of quilting) quilt, and discovered the binding was loose and missing in some areas.

I took a good and honest look at the stitches in the back of this old quilt, and I was APPALLED. Yes that is appalled in all caps because that is how I felt.

As you can see in the image below – on the left side of the rectangle is where the thread left the binding; and on the right side is an example of my sloppy stitching. (Yes, it looks like I was under “some chemical influences” with one eye closed, while I was sewing).

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Gasp.

I am going to remove the old binding and redo the entire binding. This time I will carefully sew it down.

I did not realize I had an issue with being sloppy with sewing down binding until a couple of years ago when a friend asked me to help her sew down binding on her quilt. We were at a quilt retreat and in the process of taking a break from sewing and doing the local “quilt shop hop” near the retreat center.

I was sitting in the backseat with a couple other quilters (two were up front and one of the them was driving of course, as we have yet to afford the special QUILTER AUTOMATED VEHICLE that drives you around on its own to quilt shops while you visit with your friends and sew). My friend had a lovely quilt for her son that she was trying to finish and brought along to work on in the car, as it only needed its binding sewn down. So she gave me one end of the quilt to work on while she worked on the other.

She tried to be polite, but she had to remove and redo all the stitches I had done. This is when I realized (as the truth was now starring me in the face): that I need to take sewing down binding more seriously. Binding a quilt deserve the same level of care and patience that goes into piecing a quilt.

I committed to becoming a better “quilt binder” and my quilts over the last couple of years and had high quality binding stitching.

Interesting: once you get into the habit of doing something correct, sometimes you forget what you used to do in the past. I was in shock when I saw what I had done on the old quilt!

POSTSCRIPT

Originally when writing this post I was going to title it: “Quilter’s Hall of Shame: Binding”. However ever since listening to the audiobook of Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly (2015) I have no time for the concept or feelings of “shame”. I figure life is a learning and growing experience (for a summary of key insights I gained from reading this book, see my post Life is Nonfiction Part II) and I am not going to fill it with any feelings of shame.

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Some Progress Made…

Check out Sassy the highly opinionated miniature schnauzer’s latest happenings on her Schnauzer Snips page!

In an earlier post The Quilting Husband Saga Continues, I lament over the fact that I need to do the binding for three of the quilts that Terry, The Quilting Husband, got back from the professional long-arm quilter.

Here is an update – a wee bit of progress has been made. Terry did create folded 2 1/2 bindings strips for two of the quilts and is working on the binding strip for the third quilt. So here are two of the quilts waiting for their binding to magically be put on.

Yes I will go to bed tonight and in the am I will discover that the Binding Fairies, Gnomes, Elves, etc. appeared during my slumber and not only sewed on the bindings but also sewed the binding down! (I am very thoughtful and have left the binding strips draped over the quilts, all ready for the magical creatures to get to work!)

Okay, maybe no magical creatures are coming during the night to take care of the binding, sigh. My main issue is I would rather be designing and piecing a quilt than finishing one.

I think it might be a summer thing and I am just not in the mood to sit for a long spell and sew down binding will sitting under a quilt.

Alright – enough whining – I will get the three bindings done. Sometime soon…

By the way, our long-arm quilter has informed me she has two more of The Quilting Husband’s quilts quilted and will be delivering them soon (look of panic).

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The Quilting Husband Saga Continues…

THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT BIND HIS QUILTS

Feeling a little overwhelmed….

Terry, the Quilting Husband (see previous posts “This is the Story of a Quilting Husband“, etc.), has been hard at work piecing quilts. We just got back from the long-arm quilter THREE of his quilts and now they need binding sewn on and then sewn down to finish the quilt.

I am in charge of binding quilts – The Quilting Husband wants NOTHING to do with binding quilts. I have not pushed the issue as when I started quilt-making I was terrible at putting binding on quilts and sewing binding down. It was very frustrating for me, I just wanted to be done with making the quilt and not deal with the binding (I redid the binding many years later on my original quilts which looked like I had been taking mind-altering substances while binding…).

I am happy he is quilting and I want him to keep enjoying the process, so I do his binding.

(By the way – now I actually enjoy sewing down the binding as it builds the anticipation to the completed quilt.  I do not mind plopping in front of the TV and sewing down a binding. The Quilting Husband would equate this to enjoying a dental procedure!)

Keep in mind I have my own quilts to bind too, but I will just take it on, one quilt binding at a time!

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POSTSCRIPT

If you are not a quilter, binding a quilt can take several hours or more to complete depending on how large the quilt you are working on. A quilt is truly a labor of love –  from figuring out the pattern (or creating your own design), selecting the fabric, measuring and cutting the fabric, hours of sewing to piece the quilt, machine quilting (or paying to have professional quilted), trimming the edges after machine quilting, measuring and cutting the binding, sewing the binding onto the quilt, and finally sewing down the binding! (Whew I got exhausted just writing that – ha!)

Why do we keeping doing it (us crazy quilters)? Because it is fun and addicting!!!

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The End(s) Is Near!

Please see the Textile Adventures page for info on my new line of Flannel Yum-Yum Quilts!

The final step to completing a quilt, whether you have quilted it yourself or sent it out to be professionally long-arm quilted, is to put on the binding. The challenge with binding is that you need to make it long enough (but not too long) to go around your entire quilt and allow for you to properly pivot the binding in the four corners of the quilt.

Quilt bindings (for the non quilters reading) are traditionally made from folded in half 2 1/4 or 2 1/2 inch strips of fabric  that coordinate with the quilt. The the binding is sewn to the edge of the quilt with a 1/4 inch seam. Then it is time to put on a movie, plop down in your favorite chair with needle and thread and hand sew down the other edge of the binding to the back of the quilt.

My collection of quilt bindings ENDS
My collection of quilt bindings ENDS

If you are a quilter you know of the challenges of sewing enough strips together (but not too many, ha!) for your binding. If you are like me, then you always have extra binding left over!  Occasionally (ok frequently) I have shocking lengths of binding leftover. It is like I was planning to go around the quilt TWICE with the binding!

I could never bring myself to just put the leftover binding back in my fabric scrap stash, so I came up with the idea of saving any leftover quilt binding ENDS to use on small quilts, potholders, wall hangings, etc.  I have also pieced together binding ends from previous quilts to make a scrappy binding for my current quilt. I love using the ends – “waste not, want not”!

Always keep your ENDS near!