Friday, May 29, 2015

Bound and determined

Hi all!  How was your week? In just a couple of days it will be June, and you know what that means--it might, just might, be safe to put the long underwear away for a few months.  Not saying anything about the electric blankets. Quilts, of course, stay year-round.

So today I have two finishes to show you, both from tops that I finished up some time ago. These are connected to each other in an interesting way, which I'll get to in a minute. First up is this beauty:

 This is Summer Picnic, and you can read more about it HERE. It was quilted in an allover design with bright green thread and is showing off here at the formal gardens in the park. I love that little gargoyle, which I think is supposed to be a fish. No one was in the formal gardens since they're not in bloom yet, so the quilt got to shine all by itself.

Along with Summer Picnic is the blue and white fields and furrows quilt, which you can read more about HERE:

This lovely quilt --which needs a real name, if you have any suggestions--was quilted in an allover leaves pattern in white thread by my friend Amy.  She has a new long arm and wanted a top to practice on, so I let her use this one.  I think it turned out great!

What "binds" these two finally finished quilts together? Well, these are the first quilts I have EVER bound completely by machine!  I was scared to do it, but I'm so glad I did. It was not without its problems, but it's a great new technique for me.  I stitched the binding to the back and folded it to the front and then edge-stitched it down, which worked so much better than trying to line up everything from the back.

Here was one of my problems:

See how wonky and weird that is, with tucks in the binding? Yeah, that's bad.  I started out with a zipper foot to get close to the edge, and that didn't work so well at all.  I looked through my machine feet (most of which I never use) and was thrilled to find this:

This is an edging foot, and that little white piece guides along the edge so that the needle hits right at the fold.  Doesn't that edge look really good? My stitching got a lot better using this foot.  Of course, I still made just a couple of small errors when I got a little over-confident:

See? Oops. I wobbled off the edge there, but it was easily fixed.  One thing I need to do is go slowly, and I also need to keep my eyes on the edge every single second, at least until I get better at this.

I loved this technique.  It was so fast! I did the blue and white quilt first and it took about 2 hours, from cutting the binding pieces to putting the last stitch in.  I kept stopping every few inches to fold the binding back over and straighten it. Summer Picnic took only about an hour and a quarter, mostly because I had everything set up already.  I also pressed the binding to the front after it was stitched to the quilt so that it was much easier to position.  I've read about glue basting and I might try that on a mini to see how it works.

I am so happy with how these turned out! When I first started quilting, way back in the 90s, there were a bunch of women I met who told me that it wasn't a "real" quilt unless it was hand-quilted. I wonder what they would think of putting the binding on by machine? I can guess, because I already know what they thought of machine quilting. Hint: it wasn't positive in any way.

Anyway, now I've learned something new! And it's useful and I like it! Some more practice and I think I might be doing this on a regular basis. It won't replace hand binding completely, but it's nice to know how to machine bind if I want to.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  I'll be doing laundry from our vacation and finally putting in some plants! Won't that be happy? I have been waiting a long time for some color and now it's past time for it.

Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and also Finish it up Friday. Come on over and join in!


Aunt TC said...

Lovely quilts. I love little squares and haven't seen this off-set nine patch setting so I'll try it. I, too, have been hesitant to try machine binding but I will as sometimes it makes sense to use my time more productively. I appreciate your sharing your technique and your learning curve. I thought of some names for your blue quilt with the leaves. "Blowing the blues away" "Leaf the blues behind"

Sara said...

Both are lovely quilts but I especially like the red/white 9 patches with that touch of green. So perfect with the cherry fabric.

I haven't done any machine binding yet mostly because I struggle with stitch-in-the-ditch. I just can't keep my eye on stitching enough and always wander. So I think I would not be happy with my results on the binding. At some point I'll probably try it though.

cjhaab said...

Great quilts, both very summery and pretty. The machine applied binding is tricky, and just a little practice will provide good results. I like the foot with the edge stitch guide - I wonder if I have one of those?

My method is the same, sew to back and fold over and sew to the front. Two tips I might add: 1) use a color to match the binding for the top thread, and the exact thread used on the back when quilting in the bobbin. Then the quilting thread and binding-sewing-on thread will be uniform on the back.

2) I sew each side (around the rectangle, not front and back sides) of the quilt individually and don't try to turn corners when sewing the binding down on the front. That is, start sewing at a corner. When you get to the next corner, stitch up to the sewing-onto-the-back seamline, back stitch a couple of stitches, stop and cut the thread. Then turn the quilt, fold and miter the corner of the binding, start stitching at the corner, back stitch a couple and continue to the next corner; repeat. I find each side is more controllable and I don't need to worry about those little folding/mitering challenges so much.

Heide said...

Two very cute quilts, I love the red and black. I have seen the edging foot used on a tablet bag tutorial, and thought it looked worth getting. I will have to see if I can get one for my cheep little Singer machine.

GranthamLynn said...

Great job. Very brave to try machine binding. Thanks for sharing your work.

Gemini Jen NZ said...

Great quilts! I love the blue diamonds one - so effective.

Julie said...

I definitely saw picnic quilt in you red and white. Actually, I was thinking, Pizza!but that might be my choice of carry in food, too.

So you've come over to the dark side of machine quilting! Ha, ha, ha! It's amazing to be so close to a finish, and know you can pull it off in a few hours now. Very few things get a hand stitched binding anymore unless it's small or very special.

I find pinning the heck out of it when I've wrapped around to the front helps, but my last finish I did use my Wonder Clips. I have not been a fan of them in the past as so many were broken already when I first got them. Yuck. But, honestly, they go so much faster than pinning that binding around, and I detest getting stuck with pins. So, perhaps I'm won over.

Enjoy your new found hours that you used to spend hand stitching binding.

Julie @ Pink Doxies

Carie @ Space for the Butterflies said...

They're both gorgeous quilts and the speed of machine binding makes it very appealing! I've yet to try it, though I've machine quilted all but one of mine to date - I can't imagine hand quilting everything, I'd never have any finished quilts!!

Beth said...

Love them both so nice to have them done! I love machine binding due to the speed and I have been glue basting them down and get great results! And hopefully it starts warming up here in WI.

Leanne Parsons said...

Great job on the machine binding! I only started machine binding my quilts about a year ago and I don't know why I waited so long! Mine still aren't perfect, but I get a little better with each one. Two things that I find really help - after stitching the binding to the back, I press it away from the quilt before folding it over to the front. It's a little step, but it makes a huge difference! Then, I find it helps to pin the entire binding in place before doing the edge stitching on the front (a great use for Wonder Clips if you have them so you don't stab yourself). Having everything already lined up and pinned seems to make it look neater in the end.

Quiltdivajulie said...

BEAUTIFUL quilts and what a grand place for a photo shoot! Congratulations on joining those of us in the machine binding world. I moved here a while ago due to arthritis (I can still hand bind but only a little at a time and usually followed by icing of the thumb joint). It gets easier and easier - and POOH on those who define a "real quilt" based on technique!

Hollie @ Just a Mom who Sews said...

I got told I'm not a real quilter the other day too, because I don't handstitch everything! Phooey! I like both of your picnic quilts. Hmm, the blue one looks like ripples in a pond, so I would call it something along those lines. I tried machine binding and I just don't like it for me. I had the same problems. So I compromise and machine quilt it to the front and hand bind it to the back. I must say, pressing the binding to the back helps out a lot!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I'll have to look for that foot, too. I know my mother's treadle had one like it.

viridian said...

I do machine binding too. I have to watch the edge so closely too, and sometimes I too fall off it!

JanineMarie said...

Beautiful quilts!! And pish posh to those ladies who told you it's not a quilt unless it's done by hand. Why do they think the sewing machine was invented? (I do like hand quilting, though.) I've almost always machine sewn my bindings for quilts that I know will get used a lot. I'm not great at it, but the recipients are often babies who don't care a bit. Your special foot looks like a big help!