Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bindings 'n Backings

How do you spell binding?  In my home it's spelled C-A-T-N-I-P.

Normally, Lucas leaves me alone when I'm sewing.  Actually, the fat galoot is usually snoozing somewhere - if it's warm he's in a puddle of sunshine by the window - and if it's cold he's under the quilt on my bed (the big baby!).  But he loves days when I do bindings - either sewing them on or making them - in particular the ironing portion of the entertainment.  He won't be shoo-ed away either.

Moments after I took this pic he almost pulled me off my chair by launching his 25 lb mass onto the tail of the binding - I had made the mistake of wrapping it around my neck a few times in an effort to keep it out of his reach.

I decided today was the day to sew the bindings on two lap quilts.  I was under the impression that I had made the bindings for both quilts.  I had too - only I was obviously seriously math-challenged on the day I made them.  (A cautionary tale of why drinking wine and sewing don't go together.)

I don't pin my bindings on (pinning is for sissies, says I, with great bravado), I just sit down and sew.  Well about the time I was rounding the second quilt corner on the first quilt I began to notice that the binding was running out faster than the quilt.  This necessitated a search through stash for binding material.  I found a large scrap of the same material (actually I think it was cut off the backing for this same quilt) but no width of fabric.  I was obliged to cut many short strips, and piece them together.  Now I do pin strips when angle joining, and I viciously jabbed my lip with a pin so that I now look like I've been stung by a bee.  Pinning is not for the distracted, sez I, bravado forgotten.  I attached the new length to the binding partially sewn to my quilt - right side to wrong side.

That took a minute to unsew and resew the right way before I could finish attaching the binding.  Then I measured the second quilt against it's binding and discovered I was short by the same amount.  Stink!  I found more of that fabric (full width this time), cut two strips of fabric, joined it and sewed it on the quilt.  Here's what's left over of the bindings.

I obviously overshot the mark with the first binding, but I came within three inches of needing to cut more binding on the second one.  You know, I don't remember quilting being this fraught with frustrations.

Then I cut and pieced the fabrics for the backing for my black-sashed crumb quilt (the one I have to shimmy past as it has been hanging in the doorway of my bedroom as a reminder for days now).  Two widths of fabric wasn't quite enough for the length I needed so I shimmed it by adding in a row of the left-over crumb blocks in the middle.  The striped fabric is prettier than the solid colonial blue, so I sliced it in half lengthwise so I could have it at the top and bottom of the backing.

I wrestled this new backing over the ironing board twice to get all the wrinkles out and the seams pressed.  Then carefully folded it so I could hang it on a hanger with the quilt top.  It's now waiting to go to the long arm quilter.

And then I made the binding, much to Lucas' delight.  This time I double checked my math and added two additional strips for good measure.  Here it is all pieced and ironed.  I roll it around whatever I can find (a mason jar works well), then slide it off, pin the end and put it in my stash.

Make the binding when you make the quilt top or the backing, a more experienced quilter once told me.  Fantastic little tidbit of advice.  Otherwise I might use the fabric in something else.

Numerous small boo-boos aside, this was a productive bit of sewing.  I have some murder mysteries recorded on the PVR, so will start hand stitching the binding on a quilt tonight while watching the television.

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