Saturday, January 23, 2016

Graham's Pinwheel Quilt

We got somewhere between 11 and 14 inches of snow yesterday! 

Quilting rulers are very useful for this sort of thing.

So I decided to take pictures of quilts, of course!

This was a Christmas present for my son Graham.

It's a simple pinwheel pattern and measures 48" by 64".

The backing fabric is a colorful stripe fabric given to me by a friend a number of years ago.  I pulled colors from this fabric for the quilt top.  This is another foolproof strategy for picking out colors for a quilt!

I quilted it with an allover loop-de-loop pattern.  It was my first time quilting this design and it won't be the last!

Here's a shot of the label.  Always label your quilts, people.  Always.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever the weather may be :)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Quilt Binding - Part 3

Now it's time to sew finish the binding by hand.  I love this part of the process.  You can sew by hand on the couch watching a show or on a road trip in the car.  Quilting usually isn't very portable... except for this step!

(This is part three of the three steps in binding a quilt. Click here for part one and here for part two.)

Flip the binding over to the over side and start pinning it down.  I usually only pin down 12 or so inches at a time.

Grab your hand sewing needles.  It looks like I'm about out of mine...

Take an arm lengths' worth of thread and fold it in half.  I like to use thread that matches the neutral background on the front of my quilt or the binding fabric.

Thread that fold through the end of your needle.

Pull the folded side down (on the left in the picture below) and leave only a few inches of the other side (shown on the right in the picture below).

I sew my binding from right to left, heading clockwise around the back of the quilt. 
Insert your needle into your quilt just above your quilt binding and bring it up catching the very top fold of the quilt binding.  

 Make sure that your needle and thread never go through to the front of your quilt.  As I sew, I keep my ring finger on the other side of the quilt to feel for the needle and make sure it doesn't go through to the front.

Pull the needle and thread through until the fold at the end is about an inch away from where you inserted your needle.  Put your needle into that loop and now pull tight.

Now you are ready to take another stitch.  Insert your needle again into the quilt just above where your needle last came out.  Move it inside your quilt about a quarter inch to the left and come up out of the quilt binding right on the fold.  Keep a finger on the other side of the quilt to make sure your needle hasn't gone through to the other side.  I will often pause with my needle in the quilt (as shown below) and look at the other side of the quilt.  If you can see the needle on the front, you will see the thread when you pull it through! At this point you can back the needle out and insert it again if you need to.  When you are sure that you haven't poked through to the front, go ahead and pull your needle and thread through.

Your stitches should be almost invisible.  It gets better with practice :)  Keep going around your entire quilt, removing pins as you approach them.  When you finish a pinned section, go ahead and pin another 24 inches or so and then start hand sewing the next section.

When you get to a corner, continue folding over the binding like you have been doing.

Pull out the next side and make sure you have a crisp diagonal fold at the bottom corner.

Flip that side over for a perfect mitered corner.

Pin it in place.

Hand sew the binding up to the corner.

Remove the needle holding binding down at the corner.  When you get to the corner, make sure you pull your needle up through the bottom and side binding right at that corner.

Pull the thread tight.

And continue sewing.

To finish, make a knot in your thread.

Insert your thread as if you were making another stitch.

When you pull your needle and thread through, pull firmly to pop the knot into your quilt.

Trim your threads.

And you're done with that section.  Continue until you have hand sewn the binding all around your quilt!

Whew! You're all done!  

Oh, I almost forgot! Have you made a label? I'll do another post about labeling your quilts.  
One of these days.

Quilt Binding - Part 2

The next step in binding your quilt is sewing the binding on.
 (If you haven't made your binding yet, check out quilt binding part one here.)

Leave about 5-10 inches of binding loose, and then start pinning the binding down to the top of your quilt with raw edges out.  That means the fold of the quilt binding should be towards the center, and the two unfinished edges of the binding will be right on top of the edge of your quilt.

When you get to a corner, 

Make a diagonal fold and lift the binding strip up,

Then fold it straight down and pin.

Keep going around your entire quilt until you reach 10" from where you started.  Stop there and insert your last pin.  You should have something that looks like this. 

Using your walking foot, sew the binding to your quilt starting from your first pin.

 Make sure you are using a quarter inch seam.   My walking foot has a mark that indicates where the 1/4" seam line is.  Maybe yours does too! If not, figure out where that quarter inch is, and stick to it.

After sewing for 3 or 4 inches, look back and check your seam allowance!

What about corners? When you approach a corner, pull up the pin that was holding the binding down and make a mental note of the diagonal crease line that was there.  Pick up the flap...

And continue to sew a straight line right up to that diagonal crease line.


Remove your quilt and break the threads.

This is what your quilt corner should look like now.

Flip that little triangle of fabric back over to the other side

and start sewing a straight line from the very top.

Continue going all the way around your quilt until you get to the last pin.  Remember, this should be about 10 inches away from where you started.

Backstitch, remove the quilt, and cut your threads.

Now we need to connect the beginning and end of the binding together.

Take it to your ironing board and figure out where they should connect by flattening the binding strips down and having them meet in the middle.

Press it with your iron.

Open up your binding and look at the pressed lines.

Do your best to match up the pressed lines, right sides together.  I pinned the fabric, and marked it so I could see it more easily.

It looks kind of crazy right now, but that's okay!

Take it to your machine and sew on the line.  Double check that the fabric is right sides together!

After I sew the strip together, I like to hold it down on my quilt and make sure that it seems to fit properly before cutting the fabric.  Make sure it will lie flat.

Go ahead and cut the extra fabric off by trimming 1/4" from the seam.

Press it open.

And press it in half.

Now you're all connected! 

Take it to your machine and sew the gap down to the quilt.  Overlap your stitches to make sure the binding strip is securely sewn on to the quilt.

It's all sewn down! You're 2/3 of the way there!

Take a break and eat some of your kids' halloween candy :)

To finish up your quilting binding by hand, click here.