When I began quilting, ultimately, eventually I encountered the most dreaded words in the English Language – Quilt as Desired. You could spend weeks – or months – working on a top, only to encounter those 3 words at the end of many patterns, articles and books. I’d even run into that in classes. You barely ever got to binding.
In the beginning, I learned one method, and for over 20 years, I used it faithfully. It involved handstitching, and it was tedious. There was the upside – bringing a binding bag on a vacation was much less cumbersome than bringing a whole sewing machine – but I found myself wondering whether there wasn’t some other way.
There was, and in the past several years, I’ve explored a lot of options out there. Some of them you’ve seen in pieces along the way, and some you haven’t. This will look at several of the techniques from just one point of view.
This quilt is left over from my Island Batik Ambassador days, and it was a paper pieced mini challenge. I wound up using a free pattern from Ellison Lane to work with their softer color palette – and this is truly one of the favorite quilts I have ever made. This one goes up in my workspace on the first day of spring each year. The blog posts from both Ellison Lane and Cotton & Steel have been removed, this is a paper piece kaleidoscope block – same block, just different colorations throughout the pattern. There is a similar block here.
In this, I used a ‘flange’ or ‘magic binding’ technique – all done by machine – to insert a bit of the color into the binding. I learned that technique that year, and used it a LOT – it’s completely machine applied on both sides, and it can bring a sense of fun to a quilt.
I always hang my table runners in an orchard, don’t you? Seriously, this was the sample I did for Beth Helfter’s 2018 book, Oompah. I pulled the fabrics together as I was leaving to head out to a retreat – and black goes with anything, right? I pulled the black colors as an accent, and used it in the machine applied binding as well. This binding technique, involves stitching the binding strips to the front, and wrapping them to the back, basting them with glue, and then stitching in the ditch on the front. It’s clean, it’s easy, it’s done. Have I mentioned that when I get to the binding on a piece, there’s usually a deadline involved. And, yes, if you’re wondering…it can also be a bedrunner as well as a tablerunner.
This is Prism, one of my first (2014, I believe) forays into modern design…and it’s a scrap quilt. I wanted to play with this particular layout of flying geese, and straightline quilting. I wish I could say I thought the binding out as part of the design – I didn’t.
I had gotten as far as putting a plain black binding on it – stitched one side to it, and went blech. It might have been very loud, and very late at night when I said that – but it didn’t work on any level. I then looked at it, and the piles of scraps on my floor – and had my answer. This was accomplised by sewing strips together (in the same order as the quilt!), cutting each strip set into 2 1/4″ segments, and sewing them together before applying them by machine to front and back. It brings the quilt to life, and it definitely made me happy once it was completed.
Sometimes, it’s good to step back and take a look at how far you’ve come, doesn’t it?
I have one more to share…this is a very recent finish from earlier. Garden Party was my entry into the Vermont Quilt Festival, and I knew that I wanted to do a color change binding on this one. This is a collage style quilt, designed usign two different colorways of Kaffe Fasset’s Brassica fabric – quite possibly one of my all time fabrics e
ver for quilting in the yellow. Literally, I order more every time I use the last yard of it – and I was delighted to find out it came in more colorways. Onto my next addiction, I guess.
If you look closely, you’ll see that I used Brassica in both colorways in this machine applied binding – changing colors in two of the corners. It was actually very easy to do – and again by machine.
There are still techniques I want to try out – I haven’t exhausted my ideas by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, in next week’s blog post, I’ll be back to give you a way to bind mini mini quilts – things that are so small they can be hard to tackle.
Do you have a binding question – please leave me a comment below. It’s good to be back!