Thursday, June 9, 2011

In A Bind

Used a bamboo/cotton batting in this
quilt and tied it with cotton yarn. I
really like the feel of this batting!
I took this photo w/out a flash and it
came out very blue, but the quilt isn't
here anymore so I can't get a better shot.
My youngest grandson's birthday quilt was finally bound and delivered yesterday--and may I just say that I am the world's slowest binder. This is confession time. When I first started quilting almost 25 years ago I couldn't believe how long it took me to bind a twin sized quilt. I worked on it every night for a week. My mother told me to be patient and that I would get faster with experience. Well, I have, but just barely. I think I spent as much time on this crib sized quilt as Mom would on a queen sized. It can be embarrassing.

A few years ago a woman in our community who was battling her second round of breast cancer, was troubled with the fact that she had never got some quilt tops her mother had left her made into finished quilts for the family. A mutual friend took the tops to the LQS and chose backing and binding fabrics. She arranged to have one of our local longarm quilters do the quilting and then rounded up quilting friends to get them bound. She was very familiar with my binding frustrations, so when she approached me with a request for help, she immediately let me know that she would make sure I got the smallest quilt. Some women had bound 2 or 3 quilts in the time it took me to complete the one.

Two years ago at Christmastime I was giving a couple of quilts (a tumbler and a 16-patch) as gifts to my daughters' friends who had helped them through some difficult situations. The quilts were made and quilted in plenty of time, but I knew that with all of the holiday craziness and my tortoise-speed binding skills, they would end up being Valentines if I didn't do something.
Daughter #1 is holding up the tumbler quilt. I made this
from my scrap box and my Mom's. My neighbor bound this one.
So I paid a friend and one of my daughters to each bind one and we were all happy. The quilts were ready in time and my friend and daughter each made a little extra holiday cash.
The sixteen-patch made primarily from leftover strips
from a Trip Around the World quilt. The daughter holding
this quilt did the binding.
I have to admit that I have repeated that offer to my daughter and friend on another occasion since then--and they have taken me up on it. But I was determined to bind my grandson's quilt myself. I just wanted to give it to him for THIS birthday, not next year's. So I even went online and looked at tutorials on binding a quilt, to see what I might be doing wrong. I've decided my only error is that I am so darn picky that I go so slowly to make sure everything looks perfect. And like the woman mentioned in another blog lately who made two scrap quilts--one planned and the other using the "just grab and sew" method, and they turned out looking the same--my slow, precise binding method does not yield a result that looks any better than anyone else's speedier method. I just need to lighten up and stitch!

The double four-patch quilt shown in my header (my first leader/ender project) needs binding now, but it is a gift for a neighbor of daughter #2. She helped me make the small 4-patch units and she wants to bind it. I got it trimmed and will be machine sewing the binding on today. Then it is all hers and I'm fine with that.
Next up, that king-sized t-shirt quilt for son #1--there are issues. It is so large, but I think it needs sashing. And then there is the question of "to cornerstone or not to cornerstone?" More to come.

'Til next time, from that little mountain valley where we will only be in the 60s today--in June!!
Janet O.


  1. We all have a "weak" skill, but I would say all your other skills far out weigh any problem binding!!!!! I'm always in awe of your quilts. Love the traditional patterns and settings. Blessings

  2. A lot of quilters dislike the binding step. I wonder if it is for this same reason. Very amusing that you felt you needed to "confess". I have felt the same way about showing pics of the flowers in my garden (yard). I've already confessed that my husband does most of the gardening (yard work), but not to the fact that most photos you see are closeups of the flowers. If I showed a wider shot, you would see weeds, weeds, weeds. We prefer calling them wildflowers or natives! Hee, hee. Love your quilts - the churn dash is sweet and I always love a scrap quilt.

  3. Oops! I'm sharing a computer with my daughter (hers is in the shop) so the Sam Gray comment is really from me.

  4. I am also a slowish binder but I don't see a problem with that. (I would probably be faster with the tv off!!) I bind more like an applique stitch than whip stitching so I know it takes longer. I have never minded and I think we should all be comfortable with our own skills and preferences.

  5. I probably don't have "proper" binding skills because I'm self-taught. I machine stitch it down in front, flip it to the back and then machine stitch again on the front with an elongated serpentine stitch I call "stitching in the vicinity of the ditch". Always catches all the edges and I go zoomy fast.

  6. I love binding as its a great sense of achievement. I love the mitred look and then hand sewn down.

    My friend showed me the binding process when I first started quilting and I have used it ever since.

  7. ah yes binding, I love putting bindings on! just need to take the time to do it, hand sewing them down is theraputic for me
    beautiful quilts ....
    cornerstones always seem to work for me and helps keep the piecing of sashing easier ;)

  8. Have you given thought to doing it by machine? Judy Laquidera has a tutorial on her blog about it. Patchwork Times-it's an older post, from last year or 2009. Can't hurt to read it.


I love to have your comments and feedback.