Tuesday, January 31, 2012


For many years, I was content to press a diagonal fold on the starting end of my binding, and tuck the other end inside when I was finishing the stitching.  I saw new tools being demo'd that marked the ends to make a perfect join, then read about a method that uses NO SPECIAL TOOLS, and have been using this method ever since!

1.  Prepare your binding as usual, making sure to cut the starting edge straight and square.
 2.  Begin stitching your binding at least 4 inches from the cut end, stitching with a 1/4 inch seam and making the corner miters as usual.  Continue around the perimeter of the quilt, stopping well before you reach the beginning.
3. Stop stitching at least 5 inches before the raw unstitched end of the binding.  I usually back stitch to lock the final stitches.
4.  Smooth the beginning unstitched end in place, now called the left side, then measure 1/4 inch from the cut end and mark with a pin.
5. Carefully, place the right side end into place, then fold back on itself at the pin marking.
6.  Measure from the fold and mark - use the width of your binding for this measurement.  I make mine with 2 1/2 inch strips, so that was my measurement.  If you use 2 1/4 inch strips, you would measure 2 1/4 inches from the fold.  Cut the right hand binding end on this mark.
7.  As you can see, the right hand end of the binding overlaps the left hand end.
8.  Take the right hand end of the binding and fold up and away from the raw edge of the quilt.
9.  Open the right hand binding, with the right side of the fabric showing.
10.  Open the left hand binding, with the wrong side of the fabric showing.
11.  Place the left end of the binding over the right end, preparing to stitch a diagonal seam.  I always pin the corner first, then place the pins on the stitching line.  You can mark a pencil line before pinning if you like.
12.  Gently open the binding to check that everything is in the correct orientation.
13.  Stitch the diagonal seam, making sure that you are stitching 12-15 stitches per inch.

14.  Trim seam allowance to about 1/4 inch and finger press open.
15.  Re-fold your binding and stitch in place.
16.  I always measure my completed binding from the stitching to the folded edge so I know where to trim my batting and backing.  I like my binding to feel "full" when I have finished stitching.
17.  Since my binding measured 1 inch from stitching to folk, I use half that measurement, 1/2 inch, to trim the batting and backing before hand stitching the fold to the back of the quilt.  If you like to stitch your binding on my machine, using the "stitch in the ditch" method, then I would trim the batting and backing to match the raw edge of the quilt, to allow the extra fabric to cover the stitches on the back.  I prefer finishing mine by hand, and I also stitch the corner miters closed at the same time.  I hope you'll give this great method a try on your next project.

Monday, January 30, 2012


I finally pin-basted the batik cathedral windows project yesterday.
 I began stitching the "frames" in gentle curves, using some gold metallic mylar thread from Superior Threads.  Still have more to go.  I've been pinning the curve so that I don't over-stretch the curve.
 I hope to get the rest stitched, and then decide what to stitch in the two borders.  Then I'll be able to stitch the binding while watching TV this evening.
 I also finished this wall hanging top.  I used the  small path templates (3 1/2 inch), from Elisa's Backporch DesignThere are videos on the website, showing how to stitch these curved blocks without pins.  It takes some time, but works really well!  I like these bright colours so much, I might use this as a table topper on my round dining table up north!

Head over to Judy's blog to see how creative everyone is this week!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Fabric used this week  0 yards
Fabric used year to date  29.375 yards
Fabric added this week 0 yards
Fabric added year to date  16.25
Net used 2012  13.125 yards
My outfit for DS2's wedding is complete except for hems, as I'm waiting to find shoes first.  I did manage to work on a small wall hanging or table square, but nothing finished this week......
Check out Judy's blog to see how others managed their stash.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I'm almost finished my outfits - thank heavens.  I always disliked sewing for myself - too hard to fit!  The Vogue pattern was interesting to make - strange, non-logical construction, but a great finish!
My dress is finished except for the hem - it will wait until after I find shoes - always a problem.  The top is completed, and the trousers will be finished this morning.
Wednesday quilting was fun.  We had a smaller group than normal, as there were two other outings in competition - one a luncheon, and the other a trip to the local casino!  I actually had some time to cut a few small pieces for my next project!  I was becoming crabby from the lack of quilting.
We were invited out for dinner Wednesday night and had a lovely grilled salmon fillet on a bed of salad and marinated noodles, with crepes for dessert - our friend is a great cook.
Thursday DH & I went to the Disney Studios for the day.  We arrived early, went on a few attractions, then headed home around 2:30.  Stopped at the local guitar place on the way home so DH could pick up stands for the 2 new guitars he won on Ebay recently, as well as some extra sets of strings.  Then we went to the neighbours' home to play cards.  When we were heading off to bed, I realized that I hadn't sewn a stitch all day, not even some of my cross stitch project!

Monday, January 23, 2012


Once again, nothing on my design wall.  I cleared all my quilting up and put on my dressmaking hat.  Spent all day Saturday adjusting the two patterns that I'm using to make my "Mother of the Groom" outfit.  I'm not making anything fancy - I'm a more casual type person.
Here is the design for the jacket- from Vogue Patterns
  I found some great coarse weave linen in a beautiful turquoise colour with gold as a secondary colour.  I managed to find some fabric for the rest of the outfit in the same shade of goldy/tan with a subtle pin stripe.  I'm making a dress, as well as trousers and an top in this fabric.  I'm not sure what the "Mother of the Bride" is wearing, so I want to have options.  The wedding will be at 11am, with a luncheon reception following.  Also, considering my lifestyle, a pants outfit will get much more wear than a dress!
I hope everyone else is having fun with their quilting today.  Check it out at Judy's blog!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Fabric used this week  1.75 yards
Fabric used year to date  29.375 yards
Fabric added this week  2.5 yards
Fabric added year to date  16.25
Net used 2012  13.125 yards
The only item I finished this week was my Drunkard's Path Runner.  I used some hand dyed fabric for the back.  It is a piece I bought at Paducah back in the early 90's and this is the first time I've used any.....
 I decided not to change my initial layout.  I stitched curved lines in the  pie-shaped areas, then stitched in the ditch.  A simple finish, allowing the fabric textures and colours to do all the work!
I picked up some bright colours to work on a small wall hanging or table square.  I drew a pattern with drunkard's path blocks and though I'd actually make this one!
This week, my sewing will be concentrating on my outfit for my DS2's wedding in May.  Since I'll be making the wedding dress when I get home in late April, I thought I'd get my outfit taken care of now, so that I can concentrate on satin & lace closer to the wedding date!  I didn't finish my batik cathedral window quilt, as my group wants to see the back before I stitch it together.  I hope to have it finished by next weekend!
Now check everyone's progress this week at Judy's blog!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Yesterday I finished piecing my 3 1/2 inch drunkard's path blocks, and made a trial layout for a table runner.

Then off to my quilting group for 4 hours of instruction, chat, laughter, sewing etc.  One member was working on the layout of her sampler quilt (a project from 2 years ago - no deadlines!).  Two new members were having fun - one cutting out an autumn leaves table runner, and the other finding out how to reduce the bulk in the seam allowances.  Others were quilting, some un-sewing, but all were having a great time.
Then last night, a friend dropped over to whisk me away to her house.  Last year, she won a collection of autumn themed blocks from our guild, and had added sashing and cornerstones to the top and right side of each block.  She had tried several different layouts for the top, but wanted another opinion.  DH came along, and we spent an hour re-arranging blocks. Her husband took some pictures along the way, and we finally decided that we had a good one.  I showed her how to stack the blocks and pin and mark the rows, so she'll know where to start sewing....  She has some health issues, and can only sew in short spurts, but plans to finish the quilt to show at our guild meeting in the spring, when we both return north for the summer! 
Hope everyone has fun quilty days from time to time!

Monday, January 16, 2012


This is the back of the cathedral windows project.  The black fabric is the one that shows through when the edges are stitched in place on the front.  The whole thing is made from 2 sizes of squares and one size of rectangles.

 Here is the right side.  I used leftover muslin for the "frames" (the part that gets turned and stitched down.)  The squares of plaid are filling the full squares, and triangles for the edges.  The triangles are stitched in when you add the border.
 The top is layered to the batting and batting at this point, and then you stitch down the bias edges of the muslin.  I machine stitched them down, trying to stitch a continuous line as much as possible.  Then all I did to finish the little quilt was to add binding!
Shelley Swanland's book "Machine Stitched Cathedral Windows" is currently out of print, but she has some copies for sale through her website, and there are some used copies available on Amazon.
This is my test "Drunkards Path" block, stitched without pins!  I plan to teach this method to my quilting group soon.  Most quilters are afraid of sewing curves, but if you use the correct method, it is easy.  I didn't even square up the block when I finished sewing - just a quick press!
 This is my next cathedral window project.  The squares are larger than the plaid wall hanging, and there will not be any small squares added on top.  The pretty mottled, multi-coloured batik will show through, and so will the great batik squares on top!  Even after reviewing the method by making the small wall hanging,  I've had to do some un-sewing!  Then next colour added will be the outside of the centre section.  Then it just has two borders added before "quilting" (stitching down the edges of the  frames!)

Check out what everyone is working on at Judy's blog!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Fabric used this week  15.75 yards
Fabric used year to date  27.625 yards
Fabric added this week  0 yards
Fabric added year to date  13.75 yards
Net used 2012  13.875 yards!
 I'm finally in the black and intend to stay there!  I managed to finish all three of my table runners, made with the Autumn Leaves pattern by Quilt in a Day. 

I also pin-basted two more baby quilt panels, and used the quilting as my warm-up before quilting the runners.

 I'm still trying to use up the last bits of plaid fabric, so I made a small Cathedral Window wall hanging, using the machine method in Shelley Swanland's book.  I saw this being demo'd on Simply Quilts many years ago, and made a project then, but I always wanted to re-visit this interesting method.  It took a while to wrap my head around the correct way to add the units, but I finally found the "rhythm", and the project was finished quite quickly.  
Back after piecing
 I used leftover black from my purse, leftover muslin, and squares of plaid, along with a few strips for the quilt back and binding. 
squares in place, ready for quilting
 The quilting is done while you are stitching down the arcs, and then there is just the binding to complete the quilt. 

I plan on making a larger one in batiks that I bought on sale early in January.
Check out everyone's progress at Judy's blog.....

Friday, January 13, 2012


I was asked to review a pattern from Quilt in a Day by Eleanor Burns.  I chose the Autumn Leaves pattern, found here
 When following the pattern, you make four leaves, so I decided to make two runners.
  I plan to donate this runner to my quilt guild for the boutique at the next show in June. 

I have a small table in my southern home, so I decided to make the second runner a bit shorter.
  There was less space to quilt in the centre of this runner, but it will allow 6 people to sit around my small table.

Here is a close-up of the machine quilting....

I enjoyed making the first two runners so much, I made a third one, using all four leaves and a pieced border!
Later I'll post pictures of the leaves made by my quilting group, along with their comments on the pattern.  We have quilters of all skill levels in the group, and we have all enjoyed making the runner.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I was recently asked to review a Quilt in a Day Pattern by Eleanor Burns.  I chose one of the "signature" patterns that included a bonus ruler and extra pattern sheet.  I also received the mini geese ruler set.

Years ago, I began my quilting life adventure after watching a QIAD show on my local PBS station and ordering a pattern.  I found the pattern well written, with lots of pictures and diagrams, and my first project was a success.  As a novice, the Quilt in a Day TV shows and patterns gave me  a strong foundation in techniques and methods that I have used successfully throughout my quilting experiences.  

The new pattern, Autumn Leaves, is just as well written, and it gives the quilter a choice between a wall hanging or 3 different table runners.  For me, it was like visiting with an old friend.  There is a short video on the pattern page, that shows all the steps to make the block design.

I took the pattern to my Wednesday quilt group, and several people are trying the pattern as well, including a couple of beginning quilters. I'll be showing pictures of their projects, along with their comments,  in a later post.

Step 1 : fusing the stems to the background piece.  I used a light paper-backed fusible web and will finish the edges by machine later.
 Step 2 : making the bottom leaf points.  Following the picture, I made sure that the angles were going in two different directions.
 Step 3 : stitching the first 4 pieces together.  By following the pattern, the seam allowances were facing the correct direction for easy sewing!
 Step 4 : making the two toned flying geese units using Eleanor's large and smaller square method.  Following the instuctions carefully, it was easy to make the perfect size geese, with two different background triangles, and trimming with the flying geese ruler.  
 Lining up the pieces squares...

Marking the guide line for stitching

 Pressing the seams in opposite directions....
 Perfect flying geese, ready to stitch into the next units!
 Following the special cutting guideline, it was easy to make the top leaf point without using a template, and the included "on point ruler" made completing a perfect unit very easy.

Love the block!
Here is my first completed runner top, planned as a gift, and I have two more leaves to make a second one for me!
This pattern was so easy to follow, I'll be making a 4 leaf runner with a pieced border tomorrow!  

Check out what others are working on at Judy's blog.