Sunday, March 1, 2009

Successful Week!

Whoohoo! I finished a charity UFO yesterday that counts for February. Don't you hate it when you make a resolution to do something and then break it the second month of the year!?! But I got it done with hours to spare - who says I wait til the last minute!

I had Yellow Brick Road [YBR] blocks leftover from Mr M's baby quilt last fall. My DD got picky about what colors she wanted in his quilt! But not enough blocks to make the next quilt - when does that ever happen?? I made YBR blocks and then wanted to make it a little bigger - so I made up my own blocks using the fabric units I had left. I'm always wandering off into my own variation of a design - just ask any of my friends!!!

I played with the machine quilting - made large 'rick-rack' with the quilting lines. After I did the first set of lines I decided to see how a triple line would work - don't you just love working on charity quilts where you can experiment??? It looked good but left a large space between that became very noticeable! So did the zig-zaggy decorative stitch between the channels and that looked finished! A friend in Nebraska showed me how wonderful that stitch looked on kids quilts and the stitch width fit the slot of my walking foot - so away I went with it! If you enlarge the picture - you should be able to see the stitch - especially on the borders.

I have also found I can do a good binding with machine finishing both sides with that stitch. I think the secret is that it doesn't make a straight line that is really noticeable. A fellow stashbuster asked me how I did it - so - since I wrote it up for her, I'll share it with you.

Okay ... I'll explain and you can ask questions about anything that I don't explain right or leave out! [LOL!] - I have a Janome and it has a stitch that makes little two stitch triangles in both directions from the 'line' of stitches. The same stitch that I quilted in the borders with.It might be a blind hem stitch. My walking foot has a slot big enough to handle the stitch width, but you'll want to check that before starting!

I cut my binding 2 1/2 inches. Prepare like normal - I use continuous binding; I fold it around the corners. I sew the binding on with my walking foot using a straight stitch. I even sew it from the front side of the quilt as usual. The walking foot lines up with a slightly bigger quarter inch - that's why I cut 2 1/2 inch wide.

Now comes the fun part!!! Trim the extra batting/backing as needed - but not too close. I find it easier to 'stuff' the binding rather than have it too thin. Change to your decorative stitch. Work from the back - just as if you are binding by hand. Start around the start/finish of the binding - you can slip stitch by hand the join before you start if you want. Go the same direction you put the binding on - it lines up the corners to just fold and not get in your way! Fold the binding over the edge and line up with the seam line - just as you do by hand. Start stitching with the decorative stitch, making sure to keep the straight part right by the edge of the binding. Sew with 'needle down' to keep your place when you stop.

I don't use pins - I just line up 6" or so of the binding and sew it down slowly. Stop sewing while you line up the next part of the binding. When you get to the corner, fold it up into that little miter, sew forward until your needle is holding down the next side's binding, pivot! Continue around the quilt to where you started!

The first time I tried this I sewed right off the edge at the corners and then restarted on the next side. You don't really need to. In fact - it's prettier if you don't.

The whole secret is that the stitch doesn't leave a straight line - so it's not noticeable when you wander off slightly. It's very sturdy and you don't really notice it when finished and washed. As long as you have the back fold lined up with the stitch line you made when you sewed the binding onto the quilt - you're going to be in the right area from the front!

Years ago I learned to make a sample binding square with a new technique. Mine is about potholder size and I write notes to myself about what I should do. You might try it on that - see how it lines up on your machine. Good Luck!

I've also really been working on the sesquicentennial project [Album Patch] and I can see the end of the piecing. I'd been dreading sewing the sashings on my hand - but actually, it's easy and relaxing after doing the blocks. Of course, I have fabrics that aren't from the 1850s period in it. One I can't believe I picked!!! Oh, well - it's a fact - I can be a ditz!!! Maybe nobody will notice! LOL! I'm hoping to have a picture of the top for you next week. I'm actually thinking of having a hand-piecing project going at all times. It won't be a bed quilt ... but it works well to hand piece in the condo. Sometimes DH needs the table!

Heading up to Portland today for our babysitting gig tomorrow and Tuesday - I'm taking the Album Patch up with me - just in case I have the energy to sew while we're there. Hey - it COULD happen!!! LOL!


Nanci said...

Well I just read your blog for the first time. I just found you! And there are no comments on your great ideas, well here's mine then. I think that if one drops in with coffee in hand, then a comment is deserved.
I love that idea and may try it on a small sample to see my results. I have a 6600 and love love it.
Nice blog you have, I am a fan!

Sweet P said...

The quilting is awesome. Nice tutorial on binding. I hope you get to spend time with Miss M soon.