To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
When I made “Disappearing Seven Wonders” last year, I purchased far more fabric than I needed for that top—including prints from the green and orange colorways. When it came time to whip up something for my nephew’s 13th birthday, it was the perfect stack to pull out of my stash.
In the past, I’ve always precisely planned out my quilts. When I set out to do so with this one, I realized that while I needed to aim for a certain final dimension and thus height of the individual strips, the actual piecing didn’t have to be precise. So, I branched out in a new direction and played with impromptu piecing. I worked with 2.5″, 3.5″, and 5″ WOF strips and pieced the different sections without much planning at all. It was a fun exercise.
Sometimes I had to chop a bit off, or add a bit more to a strip, because they weren’t the right width for the quilt.
Because 2.5″ + 3.5″ is greater than 5″, I was able to trim down different sizes and mix up seams for an even more arbitrary layout. It all ended up creating a fun flow to the quilt, and a more interesting layout than my original thought of simple floating strips.
The backing is pieced from a Ty Pennington Impressions home dec print and leftovers from the front.
Although this home dec fabric is lighter and finer than the backing on my last quilt (Thorny Patchwork), I chose to stick with straight-line quilting on this one to avoid more annoyances with broken needles. It’s slightly less dense than most of my recent projects, but still has a nice drape thanks to the low-loft cotton batting (Warm & White or Nature’s Touch White—possibly both—since I pieced it together from scraps in my stash).
I wanted to make sure it was in his hands by his birthday (I’m notoriously late in sending birthday cards, but managed to send his two sisters’ quilts on time last fall), so I machine bound this. It’s not perfect, but it is secure and looks fine from the front.
Now it’s time to focus on a handful of baby quilts for recent births and others due soon!
On my latest quilt, I machine-sewed the binding rather than hand-finishing like I’ve done with most of my other quilts. It has its advantages: rather than spending the weekend (and maybe longer) sewing almost seven yards of binding to the back of a quilt, it was finished in fifteen minutes (maybe fewer; I wasn’t watching the clock). It’s also stronger and will presumably hold up longer—my machine sews many more stitches per inch than I do by hand.
The disadvantage is aesthetic. I like how hand stitching hides the stitches completely (well, if you use a ladder stitch like I do). But, well-executed machine binding means that the stitching is near-invisible on the front, and very evenly-spaced on the back—which doesn’t bother me aesthetically, or at least not enough to justify the extra hand-sewing time on most quilts.
So, really, the disadvantage is that my machine binding highlights a skill deficit; I am not very proficient at sewing and folding my binding so that there is an even overlap all the way around the edge of the quilt. It’s not obvious when all of the stitches are hidden, but when the stitches are visible you can see the areas where the binding wraps to the back more deeply or not.
I compensated on this quilt by using a blanket stitch, which means it’s more obvious on both sides of the quilt, but the stitches securely caught all edges of the binding. Some parts were quite even, but others weren’t. One corner was especially shallow. Using fusible web to secure the binding to the back before I sew (rather than pinning) helps to some degree, but not completely.
In 2014, I want to focus on my binding skills. Whether I machine-bind more or not, I want to keep my binding width consistent on both sides of the quilt. Then, I can make better choices about when to use either technique.
Do you have any tips? What is your preferred binding method?