Single Binding on a Mini Quilt

Mini Quilt Binding TutorialWe all put double layers of fabric bindings on our larger quilts, but have you thought about using a single binding on a smaller quilt?  It’s quicker, flatter, and really–are you going to wear out those edges any time soon?  And if you do, won’t you just repair them?  That idea came from Gwen Marston, in one of her last workshops.  That idea — that a quilter would just repair them if they became worn — is why she uses single bindings on all her quilts.Mini Quilt Binding_1Start by squaring up your mini-quilt.  Yes, that is a gigantor square ruler, and I use it a lot, actually.Mini Quilt Binding_2Prepare your hanging corners, by cutting a larger square (for a 24″ quilt, I use a 5 1/2″ square), folding in half, diagonally, and pinning it in the upper corners of your mini, against the back, matching raw edges to the edge of your quilt.

Mini Quilt Binding_115a(Here’s what it looks like on another quilt, as my corners just disappeared on this one.)

Mini Quilt Binding_3Cut strips of fabric (lengthwise, if you can) about 1 1/2″ wide and the size of two sides.  Pin, then stitch on, using a 1/4-inch seam.

Mini Quilt Binding_6Repeat for upper and lower edges.  Pin and stitch, but watch out that you don’t veer off on those corners (I pin them).Mini Quilt Binding_5Mini Quilt Binding_7Square up the corner, and cut off the excess, both underneath (above) and on the outer edge (below).
Mini Quilt Binding_8While this looks angular, it isn’t.  Mini Quilt Binding_9Press binding out away from quilt.  Mini Quilt Binding_10Fold up lower edge, so the raw edge of the binding meets the raw edges of the quilt.Mini Quilt Binding_11Fold it up again, covering the raw edges of the quilt. Pin in place, and then repeat with the sides:Mini Quilt Binding_12Mini Quilt Binding_13Hand stitch all the way around, or if you are a confident quilter, you can use a glue stick to affix the binding edges down, then machine stitch.  I personally don’t like the machine stitching, as I think it makes the edges too rigid, but “To each his own,” said the Old Lady as she kissed the cow.  (My Dad used to say that all the time.)Mini Quilt Binding_14Here’s the corner already on, but it’s hard to see.  I cut a dowel the width of the quilt, minus 2″ and slip it into place. Then I hang my minis, balancing it on a push pin.Mini Quilt Binding_15Mini Quilt Binding_aThanks to all who came to the Trunk Show and to all who sent their best wishes.  It was a lovely evening!  If your guild would like to see my Abecedary of Quilts Trunk Show, just drop me a note.

Early-May Accomplishments

Gidsters May Bee

I finished my Gridsters Bee block for Rachel.  She asked for buzzy bees, as she is a beekeeper in the Midwest.  Her tutorial is *here,*  as well as links to her pattern, but I didn’t cut apart the pieces.  I just straight paper-pieced the thing, then joined the head section to the body section.  We blew up the basis 6″ pattern to make 10″ finished bees.  I can’t wait to see what she does with them all.

Chuck Nohara May17_1This is beginning to feel like the never-ending quilt.

I’m making small (2-1/4″ finished) plus sign blocks to go in between all the Chuck Nohara blocks that Susan and I made together last year.  Our blocks are 6″ finished, so after I worked out the measurements, I drafted a pattern for the sashing.  Here is the PDF: Chuck Nohara SashingFinal

I started the plus blocks by cutting strip sets (2 low-volume and 1 bold), then seaming the two low-volume onto the bold on either side. Cut those across the strip set into 1-1/4″ wide strip pieces.  These pieces are both the a) top and bottom of your plus block, and b) the center of the “dot” block, shown in the intersection of the sashing, above

ChuckNohara_plus assemblyI then cut matching pieces of fabric into 1 -1/4″ x 2-3/4″ bits.  I sewed a matched set of two strip-set-blocks, one on top, and one of the bottom to make a “plus.”  Then I sewed 1 -1/4″ x 2-3/4″ pieces of low-volume on either side of a “dot” to create the mini block that is at the intersection.

Then the low-volume center piece, in between the two plus blocks, measures finished  at 2-1/4″ by 1-1/2″ (so cut 2-3/4″ by 1-3/4″).

ChuckNohara_plus blockThe “plus” and “dot” units finish at 2-1/4″ square, so trim them to 2-3/4″ square (size before sewing).

Sew two “plus” units on either side of the low-volume center piece.  Arrange them all around, then sew the row with the blocks and plus-units first:

ChuckNohara blocks row

Then I sewed the “dots” and plus-units together:

ChuckNohara blocks row2

And then I finished sewing them all together:

I’m now trying to figure out the borders.  After all the piecing I did for the sashing, I can guarantee you it won’t be like the borders Chuck Nohara showed in her book:

I’ve finally progressed to the place in my physiotherapy (I like the way the Australians say it, as we just call it “PT”) where I could try out my Sweet Sixteen quilting machine again.  After 3-1/2 months.  It took me a while to get the thread tensions balanced, but then was I able to get going on my quilt from the Traveling Threads Bee, made of Alison Glass fabrics (with a few others).

Bliss.  This block, from Toni of HoosierToni, is coming along nicely.  I’m limiting myself to 30 minutes/session so I don’t break my surgery (my one big fear in life).

Lastly, you are all invited to our Raincross Guild Meeting this coming Tuesday, May 16th (6 p.m.), where I’ll present a trunk show of my quilts–well, only 25 of them.  My husband helped me get them from our closets, walls and cupboards, so I can decide the order and what to say.  I just clicked over to the Guild’s website, and in true humbling fashion, I’m not even listed.  But Latifah Saafir is, on the day I’m supposed to teach a class for the Guild, too.  What will I be teaching?

My Home, Sweet, Home mini quilt.  I think they have a few openings, but I’m not sure.  I’ll be emailing the class members prep instructions, that if they complete them, they will finish their quilts in class.  That’s June 3rd, from 9 a.m. -2 p.m., with a 30-min lunch break (bring your lunch).

Last time I taught this class, I was able to snap a photo of three Home Sweet Home quilts. They look awesome!  Patterns are for sale in my Craftsy shop, just in case you aren’t able to attend that day.

Happy Quilting!

Belle Etoile du Jour

BelleEtoileduJour_4gardenBelle Etoile du Jour
Quilt #181 of 200 quilts, 88″ square
Began December 2016 • Finished May 2017
BelleEtoileduJour_1unquilted

A couple of weeks ago, I had my son and grandson hold up the unquilted top of this creation, and I include it here so you can see the quilt top.  I was late starting this quilt, as everyone else in the world began making it in November when Bonnie Hunter announced her En Provence Mystery Quilt for 2016, based on colors she’d seen in her trip to France.  BelleEtoileduJour_5BelleEtoileduJour_1front

I decided that if I made the various units, as described in the mystery, then stowed them away, I might be able to get back to the quilting even when I was convalescing from the planned rotator cuff surgery.  I was able to finish all but two steps.  When it was time for me to do those, I figured out how to sew one-handed, and my saintly friend Lisa trimmed up 60 blocks for me. BelleEtoileduJour_3back

I did my best to get it up on my garage-door-photo-studio today, but I had a wrinkle in the quilt that I just couldn’t manage to ease out, so I have to resort to other photos to show it off.  I like looking from the back of the quilt outward, like it’s stained glass.  I had purchased about 5 yards of backing fabric, unable to remember how big the quilt top was.  I needed more, so spliced in a yellow coordinating print, then took it all over to my Cathy, my quilter.BelleEtoileduJour_6BelleEtoileduJour_7

She was a good sport and let me choose a new pantograph for her collection, which I think really works well with the quilt.  The original quilt called for purple fabrics in those 18″ blocks, but I went instead with periwinkle, a favorite color of mine.BelleEtoileduJour_8label

The title comes from an old poem, where the poet calls flowers “Day Stars.”  I had Google translate “beautiful day stars” into French, then ran it by my French-speaking husband who said it was fine. (I didn’t want to be swearing in French, or something.)  I don’t really believe there is a top or bottom to this quilt, so I sewed the label on an angle, just for fun.BelleEtoileduJour_2And again, if you haven’t started your listing of your quilts, start now!

 

Halfway There

4-in-art_3Halfway There_1front

Halfway There
Quilt # 180
13-1/2″ wide by 20″ tall

That night, I was alone in bed in the guest room, five pillows behind me and one to each side, propping me up in a sitting position.  I couldn’t lay down to sleep as it was too painful, so I semi-sat there, my head leaning back on the pillows, staring up at the ceiling.

My husband Dave had tucked me in that night, as he had done every night since the rotator cuff surgery three weeks earlier, helping me find the right position for the pillows, touching my cheek, making sure I knew he loved me, then turned out the light and walked down the hallway to our bedroom that now seemed oh, so far far away.  I felt adrift on a sea of pillows.

Halfway There_4detailI tried to shift slightly, trying to move to a more comfortable position: there wasn’t one. The pain pills they gave me from surgery had been effective, but unfortunately their side effect was ever-present weeping, so I’d ditched them a couple of weeks earlier, relying instead on acetaminophen, which barely tamped down the pain and discomfort.  I was pretty much a mess.Halfway There_3I gazed at the ceiling, waiting for that sleep that wouldn’t come — hadn’t come, since I’d moved from the uncomfortable recliner chair two days post-surgery and had come off the prescribed drugs.  The light from the white Christmas lights we’d left in the laurel bush outside the window shone up through the slatted blinds, casting a linear design on the ceiling.

I studied that pattern of line-upon-line, trying to let it dissimulate the discouragement: there was three more weeks of the sling, the sleeplessness, the being away from my husband, the not-sewing, the one-handedness, the inability to be present in my own life, the trying to be cheerful for whole minutes at a time.  Three more weeks of pain.  Three more weeks of the uncomfortable sling and the loneliness.  Three down, three to go.

The shadows were linear like the slats in the blinds: they started light, the bright lines gradually decreasing until the dark bands became more prominent, obliterating the light.  Half shadow, half light.  Half of each.  The realization that I was halfway there settled into the cracks in my fractured thinking.  The timer on the Christmas lights clicked off, all was shadow and I finally fell asleep, exhausted by the pain, the mental struggle — and, as anyone who has been through this knows — the isolation.Halfway There_7Halfway There_8Halfway There_10backOur theme this year is Light, and Camilla chose this quarter’s theme of Light in the Darkness.  I certainly had time to think about it.  I loved the nuance and the subtlety of it, and was glad to figure out how to interpret it.Halfway There_11label

Halfway There_9

There is no deconstruction post for this art quilt.  I had to cut off lots of outside edges when I trimmed up my Piggies! quilt blocks, and used those pieces to make a “whole cloth” of low-volume prints to be my “ceiling” fabric, as we have those old-time popcorn ceilings with texture. Using flat white cloth didn’t seem right for what I had seen night-after-night. I also liked that all those blocks sent from my friends helped pull me along and out of the sadness and loved their significance in this quilt, and appreciated anew all the encouraging comments from those who cheered me on (thank you).  The darkness seemed to have a texture of its own as well.  I did indeed have time to study it, and thought this seed print from Australia would stand in well for the shadows seen by a quilter, staring at the ceiling, late into the night.

It’s my turn to announce the next theme so look for it in my next post.  And my recovery?  It’s going well.  I’m now past the three-month mark and while occasionally achy, don’t have much pain.  I go to physical therapy regularly.  When I hit the 12-week mark, my therapist said, “You’re about halfway there.”  I guess that finish line moves, depending on the perspective; I do expect at six months I will hear it again.

You’ll notice that the quilt is sometimes light-on-top and sometimes dark-on-top.  I think it works either way.

Last thought: when I stood in the aisles at Road to California this past year, not buying anything,  I hoped that by next year’s quilt conference I would be able to say it was all done and all behind me.

I still have that hope.

4-in-art_3

Please take the time to visit the other Four-in-Art Quilters in our Fifth year, as they interpret their visions of Light in the Darkness:

Betty        Backyard Camping

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

All of our blocks are on our blog, Four-in-Art.

Liberty USA Mini Quilt, 2

liberty-usa_first-side-sewn

I’ve made some progress by getting the first (left) side sewn down.  liberty-usa_first-side-sewn1

It’s pretty wonky, but I’m leaving it as a testament to this wonky time in my life.

In my pain-killer-addled brain the day I mapped this out, I resorted to doing the freezer paper appliqué method, so everything looks pretty 3D-ish when laid out.  In hindsight, I probably should have done it differently, but the quilt will still get done this way.  Better to move forward, than to take too many steps back.