Friday, 28 February 2014

Flange Binding by Machine

A flange binding offers a chance to use an accent colour around the perimeter of a quilt, plus it helps make binding by machine super easy.

Action shot!
Constantly rearranging the quilt to reduce stress and stretch at the needle helps my binding lay flat in the end.

If you would like to try this technique in place of a regular binding, here's what to do:

Choose one fabric to act as the binding, and one to become the flange.

Cut and join the binding strips into one long strip as you would for regular binding. Do the same with the flange fabric.

The purple will become the flange, and the brown will be the binding.

The binding fabric is cut narrower than the flange fabric.

Cut BINDING strips @ one-and-a-quarter inch.

Cut FLANGE strips @ one-and-five-eighths inch.
(Each black tick mark on the ruler is an eighth of an inch)
Sew the strips right sides together using a quarter-inch seam allowance.

I press mitered joins open to reduce bulk.

Press seam toward the BINDING fabric.

The ends don't have to align at this stage.
They will be trimmed when they are joined later.
Still at the ironing board, fold and press the entire thing in half along its length.
A flange is automatically created.

Purple flange, brown binding.
Sew the newly created "binding strip with flange" on the BACK of the quilt, exactly as you would a traditional binding. Use a quarter-inch seam allowance.

Be sure it is face down on the back so when it wraps to the front of the quilt, the flange will show.

Binding strip is FACE DOWN on the BACK of the quilt.
Cannot see the brown binding fabric or flange.
Join the ends in a miter just as you would a traditional binding.
(Here's how I do that.)

TIP: The strip you have just created measures two-and-three-eighths of an inch wide, so THAT is the amount of overlap you must use to create the miter join. (The overlap always matches strip-width for this process.)

Press the binding straight out from the back of the quilt like a wing.  Press up to the corners, but not into them.

Binding is pressed straight out from back of quilt like a wing.
Flange will wrap around to the front.
Wrap the flange binding to the front of the quilt, filling the binding but not pulling so hard as to cause distortion of the edge.

I use "Wonder Clips" to hold the binding in place, except for the corners where I use a strategically placed pin to hold the miter in place. Pins would work, too, but I find these clips convenient.

Instead of clipping all the way around the quilt (they would get dislodged anyway), I use three or four clips ahead of my needle. As I sew up to each clip, I rearrange the quilt so there is no stretching and pulling, take off the clip and move it forward to the next spot that needs one (like leap frog).

I match my thread colour to the FLANGE (top and bobbin), and then stitch-in-the-ditch on top of the flange, keeping my needle as close to the binding as possible (staying right in the groove).

Keep an eye on the right edge of the binding as you work. Folding the fabric over and filling it with a consistent amount of batting will keep the right edge nice and straight.

A stitch-in-the-ditch foot helps things go smoothly.

The foot will press down and squash the binding a bit.
Have faith that if you hold things firmly in place as you sew everything will work out!

Coming to a Corner

Fold bottom edge UP

Fold right edge in.
Manipulate the fabric until you are happy with the miter.

Pin to hold the miter.

Use a stiletto or an awl to hold the miter once the pin is removed.
One pin around the corner can be handy, too.
Pivot around the corner, staying in the ditch as best you can.
Once you've sewn all the way around, you are done!

Finished corners - back and front views.

It's Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Can I get a Whoop WHOOP???

Scrappy Plus is FINISHED!!!!

It was a very chilly -31 C (negative 24 F) when I awoke this morning. It warmed up to -23 C this afternoon but there was a nasty, little breeze that cut like a knife, outdoor picture today. 

If it's sunny again tomorrow I may brave the weather for a shot, but in the meantime, these will have to do!

The precarious "chair" shot!

Also linking up with:

Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric Studio

Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She

Small Blog Meet and Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Try, Learn, Grow!


Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Working on Scrappy Plus

Side clamps help control the pieced backing during quilting. Here, the first row is quilted.

"Drunken Feathers" panto by Four Paws - Barbara Becker.

Rolling the quilt off the frame after quilting is always gratifying.
Top thread = "Apricot Blush" Glide
Bobbin thread = cream Magna-Glide

Similar thread colours top and bottom help prevent "pokies", plus I love seeing what happens on the back when the thread doesn't match the fabric!

Back of the quilt, Fresh off the Frame!

Trimmed and ready to bind.

Back of quilt with corner flipped to show the front.

As I trimmed the quilt, I considered what to do about binding. Hmm.

Since I can't buy fabric (thanks to this pledge), I see three obvious choices:
  1. Scavenge the excess backing fabric I just trimmed away - there might be enough if I do some creative piecing, though I'm not sure solid brown is the right choice.
  2. Use the same purple flower fabric used in the top. I have a good chunk to work with, but I'm not in love with this idea.
  3. Make a binding with a flange using a combination of brown & purple flowers, or?? Maybe my magic cupboard holds a possibility I've yet to consider.
At this point I got a little camera-happy taking shot after shot, but I'll spare you the multitude and sign off with this view:

Front view with a corner flipped to show the back.
Linking up with Lorna for Let's Bee Social, Lee for WIP Wednesday, and Kelly for Needle and Thread Thursday.

Until next time,

Try, Learn, Grow!


Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Library Project Update: Slicing & Dicing

The brown yardage I had for backing my Scrappy Plus quilt was far too narrow. To enlarge it, I'd decided to insert a panel of floating plus signs. It was a good idea, but I then had to slice six inches off the entire length of brown yardage to harvest enough fabric to finish the stinkin' panel.

Of course, this made my backing too narrow again. Of. course.

Inserting a six-inch strip of scrappy piecing solved that problem. This piecing was actually fun! Random bits left over from the front of the quilt went together fairly quickly.

Six-inch strip to be inserted.

Eventually I cobbled together a backing large enough to use!!!

Piecing the backing

Now it's time to link up with Adrienne for the Library Project Quilt Along February Report at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts, so I will drag out the following photo one last time for folks just tuning in. 

Library Project Quilt Along, scrappy plus quilt:

In this photo, vertical rows are sewn, but not joined.
I've since finished piecing the top, and now that the backing is (finally) ready I can get on with the quilting! I have a lovely feather panto that should work nicely.

I don't yet have a plan for the binding. I'm taking this one challenge at a time.

To see all my Library Project Quilt Along goals, click here.

At the beginning of February I'd set some additional goals for myself.  

How have I done, so far? 

1. Release piles of magazines CHECK!
Magazines have been distributed to other quilters - filing into binders is still in progress.

2. Finish "Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin" quilt CHECK!

3. Finish at least one small project from my "clean up" bin CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!
Today I tackled three of them.

This "Barbie" pillow for my granddaughter only needed the finishing stitches to close it up.
It took 5 minutes, if that.

I adopted this little bear when his previous owner lost interest in finishing him.
He came with enough fabric to make ears.

He finished up pretty cute!

My own project, abandoned when I lost interest.

It only took an hour to finish him!
4. Work on Scrappy Plus quilt. IN PROGRESS! Just quilting and binding left.

I can't wait to see what my March goals will be! 
(It's always a surprise to me, too!)

These characters grabbed my attention when I stopped by the museum to sign over ownership of my grandmother's vintage knitting magazines and patterns. Aren't they interesting? Hand carved masks.

Also linking up with Anything Goes Monday at Stitch by Stitch, A Lovely Year of Finishes at Sew BitterSweet Designs, and Show & Tell Tuesday at i have to say...

Try, Learn, Grow!


Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

884 bottles of beer on the wall, 884 bottles of beeer...

I've had my head down, feverishly piecing my scrappy plus quilt. Squares became rows, rows became panels, and finally panels turned into a finished top.

Much as I love this quilt, there were moments when I was sick of looking at yet another stack of squares, yet another row to sew.

I was counting down, and the "bottles of beer" song was stuck on repeat in my brain.

Vertical rows are sewn, but not joined.
Pincushions are bristling again.
Since the design wall was holding my fabric hostage by blocking access to the cupboard, I decided to concentrate all my efforts on finishing this project so the design wall could be moved back into the hall where it belongs.

I could hardly stand the tedium of the piecing.

It would have been a relief to intersperse it with other, more interesting pursuits as I prefer to juggle several projects rather than soldier through one at a time.

Next time I will leave the design wall in the hallway where it blocks nothing!

Just when I thought the piecing marathon was over...
(cue the music from "Jaws") 

My stash did NOT offer a suitable backing fabric so... I'm piecing one.

Three large plus signs will "float" on the back.
I felt somewhat annoyed by this turn of events, but only because I was tired. After a night's sleep I awoke with giant plus signs dancing in my head, and now I'm rather pleased with the whole idea!

The Fabriholics Anonymous pledge motivates me to explore creative solutions that also please my sense of design.

It's a challenge, to be sure, but I am sticking with it!

A sense of scale.
 Next time you see this quilt, it will be under the needle! YAY!!!

Linking up with Rebecca Lynne, for a Fabriholics Anonymous February Check In; Lorna, for Let's Bee Social; Lee, for WIP Wednesday;and now...Fort Worth Fabric Studio's Fabric Frenzy Friday

Try, Learn, Grow!


Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Feelin' Scrappy!

Last year I bought a magazine because of the scrappy "plus" quilt on its cover. There is something appealing about scrap quilts, and I have plenty of bits and pieces to use up.

The magazine sat in a pile of project ideas intended for "when I have time".
(Ha! I know...silly me)

Joining the Library Project Quilt Along kicked me into gear on this one.
(See my other picks for the LPQA here)

One column down...twenty-five to go!
Once I discovered the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge, I knew I had to use violet scraps for this quilt!

To make life easier, my scraps are sorted by colour. (If you know me you're thinking, "Of course they are...Of CouRSe".)

Where do all these scraps come from, anyway???
I've always loved the orange/purple/green triad (I used it in my "Sunflowers" wall quilt, here), so dug in and started cutting. I hoped there would be enough fabric in those colours to make a generous lap quilt.

My luck held and only one dark, purpley blue had to be added when I needed more "darks".

Half way there!
Sort of.

Many of my scraps are excess backing fabrics cut away after quilting.

Some are fat quarters with too many nibbles out of them to be considered yardage any more.

Some are "uglies" (I must have) purchased (while drunk), or received in swaps, that wouldn't see the light of day if they didn't make it into a scrap quilt!

Scared of messing up the layout if I tried anything fancy, I've been sewing one column at a time. After a few columns I noticed a giant "hairball" growing in my garbage can.

That's a lot of thread!
I wised up and started using a scrap to start and finish each seam. This saves a ton of thread, and makes the whole process a little quicker. No more snipping tails into the garbage with every. single. seam.

Smart alternative.
Better late than never!
The squares are cut at 2 1/2 inches. The finished quilt will be approximately 52 x 68 inches.

Hooking up with Sew Fresh Quilts, for Let's Bee Social, Freshly Pieced, for WIP Wednesday, and My Quilt Infatuation, for Needle and Thread Thursday.

Try, Learn, Grow!


Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Binding by Machine

Machine binding is faster than stitching by hand, and sturdy enough to stand a lot of wear and tear.  I use this technique whenever possible.

Today I snapped a few photos of the process as I bound Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin

My binding strips are cut 2 1/2 inches wide. Once they are joined end to end, I press them in half lengthwise to make a French Fold binding. (Here is Missouri Quilt Co's basic binding tutorial if you need it)

Sewing the Binding Onto the Quilt:

I sew the binding onto the quilt in the usual way, except that it goes on the BACK of the quilt and wraps around to the FRONT for finishing. 

Sewing binding to the BACK of the quilt.
Notice the foot and needle position.
I use a regular foot, and move my needle two notches (on my machine) closer to the edge of the quilt. I use the edge of the foot as a guide for the seam allowance. This seam allowance is larger than a quarter of an inch, yet slightly smaller than three eighths.

By using this combination (foot and needle position) the binding will be full, yet when the binding wraps to the front of the quilt, there is still enough fabric to cover this stitch line so it won't be visible.

Measure the exact size of your seam allowance. Use this measurement to determine where to stop when approaching corners. This is the same procedure as for basic binding, but the measurements have been adjusted to match the seam allowance so you get a nice, sharp corner.

Mitering the Final Join:

I like to join my binding ends using a miter. This hides the join so you can't tell where the binding began and ended.

Both binding tails are long and loose at this point. Leave about 12 inches of working space between the beginning tail and ending tail.

Trim one tail and lay it on the quilt in your working space.
Place a ruler on top, as shown.

Trim the second tail, leaving an OVERLAP of 2 1/2 inches (same as binding width).

To join the tails, they will need to be sewn right sides together.
Place the LEFT tail as shown here.

Scrunch the quilt a bit. Place the RIGHT tail as shown.

Pin the tails together so they don't move.
Peek under the top tail to find the corner beneath.
Draw a line from corner to corner, as shown.

This is where I draw the line! Ha!

It is important to TEST your join before you sew!!!
It's easy to accidentally add a twist into the binding. If you check now, you could save wear and tear on your seam ripper!

No twist.
The binding will lay nice and flat once it is sewn.

Stitch exactly on the line you drew.
(Needle is centered)

Trim seam allowance to a quarter inch.

Press open to reduce bulk.

Position the binding and press it nice and flat.
See the lovely mitered join?
PIN the binding in place so it won't ripple as you sew it down.

Sew it down!

Finishing by Machine:

Lay the quilt face down on the ironing board.
Being careful not to distort the fabric, press the binding out to the side like a wing.
Press close to corners, but not into them. They will be taken care of later.

Flip the quilt over so it is face up.
Here is what the binding looks like from the front.

Fold corners into miters.
Fold the rest of the binding to the front of the quilt.
Pin to death.
I pin all the way around the quilt so I can sew without stopping. I pivot at the corners.

This time I have moved my needle to the LEFT of center.
Use the edge of the foot as a guide.
Stitch the binding through all layers.
MATCH your top and bobbin thread colour to the BINDING.

This is the back of the quilt.
I don`t mind the stitch line along the binding. It is nice and tidy.

Nice finish!

February Finish for A Lovely Year of Finishes
See my February goals here

Linking up with: Sew Can She, for Show Off Saturday, Stitch by Stitch, for Anything Goes Monday, and Such a Sew and Sew, for A Stitch in Time February Finishes.

Try, Learn, Grow!


Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!