Hope in Uncertain Times

I finished a special quilt today. It is special to me because it is personal. That’s the best kind of quilt to work on, don’t you think?

I’ve been reading and re-reading these beautiful words in Psalm 33 since last December. In March I decided to put them on one of my quilts. I wrote about my thought process over on my other blog. Here I will just share pictures of the quilt.

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The words:

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I decided to add some hand-stitching to the trees to represent the four seasons:

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And close-ups of the circles. The stitching is a little more open on these circles than on others I have done.

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I wish for you all peace and hope in uncertain times.

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Machine Binding Tutorial

The other day my sister asked me how I put a binding on my quilt. As I tried to describe my technique in words, I realized that pictures might do a better job. So I tried to take pictures each step of the way on my latest quilt binding. I hope it is helpful.

I only do machine bindings now. When I had carpal tunnel syndrome, the repeated pinching and grasping that was necessary to bind a quilt would make my hands go numb. Now that I’ve had the surgery and my hands are better, I still find that I like this way of binding better than doing it by hand.

I always start with 2 inch strips of binding. I do not cut my binding on the bias, and I do not sew it together on the bias. I sew the 2 inch strips together and then fold the entire length in half and iron it well. I iron the seams open.

Sew the binding with the raw edges together to the BACK of the quilt. I use my 1/4 inch foot for this. With 2 inch strips, I do not want more than a 1/4 inch seam. Start attaching the binding near the middle of the side, and leave at least a 6 inch tail.

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When you reach the corner, stop 1/4 inch from the edge and take a couple of back stitches to secure. Cut the thread

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Turn the corner, and fold the binding straight up away from the quilt so that there is a 90 degree angle.

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Fold the binding back down so that it is straight and even with the top of the quilt. (That 90 degree fold is still inside of that.)

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Starting 1/4 inch from both edges, secure your thread and start stitching. (I put a dot here to show you where to start.) Its important to NOT start CLOSER than 1/4 inch.)

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Continue on and repeat these steps at each corner.

When you get to where you started, stop sewing at least 6 inches or more from the end. Cut thread.

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Overlap the two ends, keeping them straight along the edge of the quilt, with no gaps or extra tension, and cut them so that there is a 1/2 inch overlap.

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Sew them together, right sides together.

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This is always a little awkward. Here’s how it looks, with the quilt bunched up.

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Now I change to a regular sewing foot. I don’t really want the 1/4 inch edge, because when I pull the binding to the front and attach it, it will be just a little bit more than 1/4 inch.

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Pull the binding snuggly to the front of the quilt and start sewing just along the edge of the binding. I take this part nice and slow, just pulling a couple of inches at a time and sewing slowly so that I keep my stitches close to the edge of the binding.

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Here is what it looks like.

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Now, when you get to the corner on this side, it will seem rather bulky. There are quite a few layers of fabric and batting here.

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Carefully clip the corner of the QUILT (top, batting, and backing of quilt.) DO NOT clip the binding.

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Here is another view. I usually fold it back like this so I am certain that I am only clipping the quilt.

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Now continue on slowly toward the corner. Fold the binding as neatly as you can in this 90 degree angle. Sew not quite to the edge, and take a few back stitches to secure. Cut your thread.

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Fold the binding down at another 90 degree angle (approximately) and sew, again taking a few back stitches to secure.

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This is how the line of stitching from the front will look on the back side.

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And that is how I put a machine binding on all of my quilts. Let me know if you need more explanation, or if anything is unclear, and I will try to explain it differently.

Finishing Some Quilt Tops

The other day I was looking for an empty plastic tub and I came across some quilt tops that I LOVED when I completed them. One of them was already basted into a quilt sandwich. So I am in the quilting and finishing mode lately. Here are some of the squares from the big one I’ve been working on. I have the center complete now, and still have 2 borders to get done. I’ll show you the whole quilt as soon as I finish it! This was another quilt that I loved the process of making. I had all my favorite reproduction fabrics and a lot of ‘fancy’ fabrics pre-cut into the shapes that I needed. And then I would sit and put together each square JUST SO. Choosing the colors is one of my favorite parts of quilting.

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I’m including this picture as a reminder to myself. And maybe to solve a mystery to someone else. Sometimes when I am quilting/sewing a lot, my sewing machine will start to squeak. It squeaks with each stitch. So I know it is one of those moving parts. The sewing machine repair guy showed me how to take the top off my machine and oil the moving parts. So I do that. Nope. Still squeaking. I take the front off, and try to find parts to oil in there. Nope. STILL SQUEAKING. So finally I take the bobbin out and oil in there, even though I know that’s probably not it. So exasperating. So then I sew a little bit and just STARE at it. And I finally remember. It is this part that squeaks. Just the little shaft on the quilting foot with the spring thingy on it. Ahhh, peaceful silent sewing at last. It probably was a good thing that I oiled all those other parts anyway!

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And lastly, a shot of the girls coexisting peacefully. These two can have some pretty intense “arguments.” But when it comes to comfort, they are birds of a feather.

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