I think one of the reasons I like the quilt-as-you-go technique is that I am not a confident machine quilter. I love the look of dense, heavy quilting but I don’t like the basting process and I tend to loose interest in quilting part way through a project, multiple times (like on this quilt that took almost a year to finish.) Making q-a-y-g blocks seems to hold my interest a little longer because of the piecing involved too.
Melissa does beautiful custom work as well, such as on my Safari Moon quilt. I love the pebbles in the borders and the free-hand swirls in the big blocks. You can see more of her free-hand quilting for Elizabeth and Maureen on Melissa’s blog.
I feel like I’ve been working like a crazy-lady behind the scenes around here, but don’t have a lot to share right away. I have been staying caught up on my Bee Blocks though, so I’ll share those. This is the latest block from the 2014 Aurifil Block of the Month, this time designed by Emily Herrick. Here is the tutorial for this specific block.
I am still totally digging this color scheme and I’m having fun watching this quilt start to grow.
A few more projects in the works behind the scenes that aren’t ready to share yet. This quilt is for an upcoming quilt-along on the We All Sew (BERNINA) blog later this spring. For this quilt, I tried a new quilting technique and I was so happy with how it turned out. I am still not very confident in my free-motion-quilting skills. I know I just need to practice – it’s finding the time to do it that’s my problem, but definitely something I’d like to become more comfortable with in the future.
And one last bit of eye-candy because it’s just SO pretty and makes me want spring. A new quilt design in the works with this new Kona solids New Bright Palette roll-up. I’m itching to get started!
For our final installment of the Virtual Quilting Bee, let’s talk about finishing – or binding – a quilt. This is adding that final edge to cover the raw edges of the fabric after the quilt has been quilted. One option is to roll over the back fabric edges and sew them to the front to finish that edge. I personally like the look of a separate binding – gives it a clean finish. It’s also a fun excuse to use another fabric and use it to finish off the final design.
Cutting the fabric: I like to do a double binding on my quilts – meaning there are two layers to the binding edge. This gives it an extra layer of fabric to hold up against wear and tear. To get this I cut my binding strips 2 1/2″ wide. You can cut your strips across the width of the fabric yardage, or cut them on the bias, which means to cut them diagonally across the fabric.
There are pros and cons to both methods. Cutting straight-edge is easier with less fabric waste. Bias bindings are sturdier because the fabric edge not being on the straight of grain. If you are going to have any kind of curved edge to your quilt, you will need a bias binding.
One determining factor for whether you cut straight edge or bias binding is the fabric itself. You may want to put a stripe or a gingham on the bias to make a diagonal design for the binding. The fabric I chose already had a diagonal motif, so I choose the straight edge to keep the diagonal design as is.
When cutting a straight edge binding (or any straight strips of fabric) before you cut, make sure your selvage edges line up straight with each other. This may require refolding the fabric and pressing a new center fold. As you can see in the picture above, the fabric came off the bolt with the selvage edges not matched up.
When selvage edges are matched up and straight, line up the center fold on a straight line on your quilting mat (see arrow above) and carefully trim the edge to create a straight edge and therefore, a straight strip of fabric. (This step is important, otherwise your fabric strip could end up V shaped.)
I generally cut my binding strips 2 1/2″ wide, unless it’s a small quilt when I might cut them 2 1/4″ wide.
For the Virtual Quilting Bee Quilt cut 7 strips 2 1/2″ wide x 42″ (or width of fabric) – or if you are using bias binding, you will need 275″ of continuous bias binding.
Trim selvage edges off of all strips and sew them end to end to create one long strip, pressing seams open (so you don’t have bulk). Fold in half lengthwise and press.
Using a ruler and rotary cutter and the quilt top as a guide, trim the excess batting and backing layers so that all edges of the quilt are the same. Be careful to keep the quilt’s sides square.
For more perspective and additional photos of the same method see this Binding a Quilt tutorial. Jaybird Quilts also has an excellent perspective on binding here, as well as information about calculating fabric requirements for binding.
Some quick thoughts on washing your quilt: I personally love to machine wash my machine-quilted-quilts when they are done because they soften up a lot and have a more antiqued, crinkly look. If you’ve used cotton batting they are likely to shrink slightly more. (I don’t machine-wash hand quilted quilts as liberally.)
I wash the quilts on a gentle cycle with a very mild soap and dry on a low heat setting. If you’re at all worried about color bleeding, the first time you wash a quilt throw in a Shout Color Catcher (available in the laundry aisle at the grocery store). Remember from our discussion on choosing fabrics for quilts, if you’re using high-quality quilt fabrics, you should have very little worry about colors bleeding.
If you have any additional questions about finishing a quilt, leave a comment and I will answer in them in the comments section below.
And that wraps up our Virtual Quilting Bee series! For links to all the the posts in this series visit the Virtual Quilting Bee page. I’ll have a few more shots of both of the quilts together once I get the Kona version back from the quilter. And I’m thinking it would be fun to have a little party to show off the quilts that have been put together using these tutorials. Let’s wait until after the busy holiday season. So look for an announcement at the beginning of February!
Thanks so much to all who played along as well as Moda and Robert Kaufman for sponsoring the fabrics I used.
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Today we’re going to discuss quilting tips and techniques as we prepare to sew our blocks. Next Friday will be our first quilt block tutorial designed by Sherri of A Quilting Life. Sherri is such a talented and experienced quilter – I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve!
· Pinning can help a lot with keeping your pieces matched up accurately. I’m a rebel and often sew right over the pins (because I like to live on the edge). Clover makes really thin pins for quilt makers that are a dream. Invest in good pins – long with easily grip-able knobs at the top are the best. (Also, they’re easier to find when your drop them on the floor.)
Just make sure that you square up evenly on all sides. Those square rulers with the diagonal line are a big help for squaring up because you can use that line to find the diagonal center of the unit and keep the block from getting trimmed in-accurately.
For squaring up something with a point, like this flying-geese block, make sure you leave a 1/4″ seam allowance at the tip of the point. A Pineapple or Flying-geese ruler like this one will have a guide to help you maintain that 1/4″ at the point. Also note how I squared up evenly on all four sides so that the point remained centered.
Quilting theory according to Amy Smart
For me quilting is about playing with color and design and a creative outlet. Your purpose might be different than mine – just do what makes it a fun, creative experience for you. Play with different colors, don’t be afraid to stretch yourself a little, but make sure it’s still something you are enjoying along the way.
A little business:
Thanks so much for participating. I really want this group to be as helpful as possible! Feel free to leave tips or links to other quilting techniques in the comments below. Also, if you have questions, I will leave my responses in the comments as well.