Thursday, November 1, 2012

Quilt-a-Long Finale!

Well after letting a whole month go whizzing by I was feeling supremely guilty or is that "quilty"! I have lit into the quilt-a-long quilt like a crazy woman and it is done!

When I left you last time you had put your blocks together and were having the time of your lives quilting them to your hearts desires, which your are no doubts still doing. That's okay. These instructions will still be here when you're ready for them. Enjoy the quilting, Lord knows I do.

BINDING After all the quilting is done, trim your quilt so that the quilt sandwich layers are all lined up and the quilt is square. Since you squared it before you started to quilt this is not hard, it is just a matter of cleaning up edges. Then you need to cut binding strips. Most of the time I cut binding from straight of grain and that's what we'll do here. Another time maybe we'll tackle bias binding. Bias binding is very strong and can handle a lot of wear and tear and can go around a lot of corners. An example is the wedding ring quilt I made - all those corners needed a bias binding so I wouldn't be fighting with the binding all the time.  I'm also going to do a continuous binding with mitered corners. Yep, mitered corners. Please, don't go screaming from the room. They really aren't that hard. They only LOOK hard. I mean for crying out loud if guys can figure out how to miter corners in construction we can do it in quilting - no real offense intended guys!
1.  Measure through the middle of your quilt both ways and double it to get the length of binding you will need.
2.  Cut 2 1/2" strips of fabric in the color of your choice. Cut enough strips so that you have the length you measured in step 1. I used 2 different fabrics.
3.  Sew your strips together. It's best to use a diagonal sewing line and I wish to heaven I had taken pictures of how I did this, but I only took a picture of the finished product. I can't draw here either so I will try to write it out. You have 2 strips. 1 strip the end right side up (the rest of the strip should go off to your left) and take the 2nd strip right side down perpendicular to it (the rest of the strip should hang directly down). It will look like you have a little box of the 2 fabrics in front of you, wrong side up. Carefully pin to hold at the edge. With a pencil or marker, draw a diagonal line from the top left corner of the box to the bottom right corner. This is your sewing line. As long as the strips are perpendicular to each other, they don't have to be exactly lined up - it's ok if #2 strip is up a bit. You can check before you sew if you take out your pins and fold the fabric back on the sewing line. It should look like you have one long strip of fabric. Grit your teeth sew on that line! Viola! Trim and there you go.
 Do that again and again until you have the length you need. Press all the seams to one side. Then press the entire puppy in half.
Now you have this long fabric string that your cat is going bonkers over. What to do. Go rummage in the recycling bin. You do have a recycling bin? Tut - tut. Grab an empty paper towel holder or toilet tissue holder and start winding. The larger the quilt, the larger the holder you'd want.

You're now ready to sew the binding to the quilt!

Bring your quilt to your machine quilt top up. That's right. We start with right side up. Unroll some of your gorgeous binding and match the raw edge to the raw edge of the quilt. Try to start about 3/4 of the way down one of the sides. Not right at a corner! Not right at the top or the bottom. Leave yourself about 6 - 10 inches of unsewn binding. Sew with your normal 1/4" seam.

Now I do not sew with my binding sitting next to me like the picture. I tried to keep it in my lap, but it jumps around and drives me crazy. Instead I just let it go to the floor. It's fine down there; I just kicked it to the side. The cat looked at it once or twice and decided that it wasn't worth the trouble.

Continue sewing until you come to your first corner. 1/4" away stop, back stitch, and pull the quilt out. Carefully turn the entire quilt so that you can continue sewing down the next side. Turn the binding up so that it is above the edge of the quilt. You'll see that nice diagonal line in the corner.

Now flip the binding down, over your finger so the top fold is even with top edge of the quilt.
Hold that down, and slide the whole thing under your needle and start sewing again. Make sure your secure your stitches. Ta-da! You've mitered your first corner! Easy peasy! Continue sewing until the next corner. Stop 1/4" from the edge, secure the stitching and miter another one. Do this until you come back to where you have the binding tail that you left behind.

Fold back 1/4" and finger press on the binding tail. If you have lots of binding left over, measure so that you can nestle 3 or 4 inches of binding into the tail and cut off the rest. Fold over 1/4" of the end here too. Carefully nestle the binding into the tail, making sure there are no lumps. Then continue sewing until you meet up with your starting point. Secure the end.

Your almost done! Press the binding to the back. Wiggle the corners into a pleasing shape. You may need to cut out bulk from the corners so they will turn well.

 Pin the binding into place, making sure that it covers your machine stitching (of the binding). Hand stitch the binding to the backing. Add a label - if you desire - and you are done!
The Front
and the back!
Hope you had fun. Enjoy the process and remember to look for those things that SA(y) Quilt!

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