Monday, December 20, 2010


Hello there my friends! Jingle, jingle, jingle! Only a little less than a week until Christmas! How are you all holding up, have you finished all of your projects & gifts? I have not. Oh dear... it's going to be a race to the finish line again this year. Didn't I swear last year that I was going to start early? Ah well, it's a part of the hustle and bustle I guess. At least I'm not out there with all the crazy shoppers :o)

Sew guess what?? I finally finished quilt my first quilt! You know, the one I started back in... hehe... July? Oh boy! I didn't think it was going to take that long. Actually, each of the steps making the quilt went pretty quickly, it was the span in between each of those steps where I stalled out.

I've wanted to show you guys the finished quilt for a while, but we've had such dreary weather the last few weekends, I haven't been able to snap any decent pictures. It's totally dark by the time I get home from work every night, so the weekends are about the only time I can try for good pictures. This weekend was very cold & stormy, but for a few brief moments on Saturday, the hard rain softened into a misty drizzle and although the light wasn't great, I made a break for it.

A simple quilt. 4 inch blocks, quilted every other row (the plain rows), diagonally.

I love the colors of this quilt. Soft and pretty...

Here's my label, quilted right in to the design. I thought I'd made a mistake here, but the ladies at the quilt shop disagreed and insisted they should be incorporated this way, that way they can't come off and get lost in the years to come. I hadn't thought about it that way, so I guess I'm glad about this particular mistake.

The last step, as I'm sure you quilters know, is the binding. Gah! The binding!!

I don't know if I mentioned it here, but I took a class at a local quilting shop to learn binding application. I wanted/needed to learn to do it myself, and although there are a lot of terrific resources on the web, for me, there are just some things that have to be learned in person.

Taking the class was definitely worth the $25 tuition, but I have to admit, I wasn't exactly thrilled when I'd left the class. I really wanted to learn how to apply the binding entirely by machine. My instructor however, felt differently and would not show me the machine method. She said that the proper way to do the binding is to sew it first by machine to the front, then sew it by hand to the back. She wouldn't say why, just that that's the way its done. Hmph! I understand that machine application might not be the most professional way to finish a quilt... but I'm not a professional. I just want to make and enjoy these things, not enter them in shows. I was so put off by this, that after the class, my nearly finished quilt sat, untouched for probably a month. I'm such a brat.

Well anyway, one day a few weeks ago I decided to heck with it! I know how to sew by hand (you sort of get the hang of that when you're learning decorative embroidery...) but I don't have the patience to sit and sew a straight line (the whole goal of which is to never be seen), for hours and hours by hand. If I'm going to spend hours sewing by hand, it's going to be something pretty, like embroidery, not the fracking blind hem stitch, yuck! Oh jeez, I really do sound like a brat.

But it's truuuuueww... Ok, now I just sound whiney.

So one day I grabbed that quilt, pinned down the binding and stuck that sucker under my machine! Thirty minutes later, viola, I'm done! It's not perfect, but it's done. And in this case, I'll take completion over perfection.

So... question? Why aren't you supposed to sew the binding on by machine? Is it really so bad? I haven't received a good answer on that, but I don't know any quilters in real life. How do you guys do it? I know a lot of you are experienced quilters, so please, please tell me. Was I wrong? Do I just need to work on my patience and sew these bindings by hand? 
Overall, I really enjoyed the quilting process, and want to do more of this sort of thing (in fact I've already started two more quilts) but I don't want to get hung up on that last step which literally ties the entire thing together, and feeling like I'm doing it wrong.

Give it to me girls, I can take it.



Sandy said...

Seriously, you have just given me the courage and inspiration to do a patchwork quilt I have been wanting to do for a long time. I too, am a brat! I too have no desire to sit for hours and sew straight lines that should not be seen! So I say, it's my way or the highway, people! That binding is going in the machine! By the way, your quilt is beautiful, and I love how you worked your label right in with your pretty embroidery. Thanks for sharing with us.

katevet said...

This is one pretty quilt! I remember my first quilt like it was a month ago. Actially, it was! All the hard work pays off! The label is super gorgeous!

beadgirl said...

I must say I do it the way your instructor tried to get you to do it -- I sew the binding to the front by machine, and slip-stitch it to the back. But I have only ever completed small wall hangings, which makes that a lot more tolerable. Someday (I swear!) I will finish the two bed quilts I have started, but I have no idea what I will do about the binding. I think sewing the binding is the worst part of quilting, and like you I am not looking forward to hand-sewing such a long binding.

Shirley said...

If I have a binding to put on one of my lap quilts, I usually sew it like your instructor said, then take it with me when I go to the doctors office, the hospital and etc. You can't take the sewing machine with you. You did a great job on your first quilt. Have a wonderful weekend. Merry Christmas from a Missouri Friend.

Jill said...

I love that quilt~ the photos are great, but those colors and prints are even yummier in person! I love the label~ makes it even more special. Girl, you are going to give me the bug for quilting if you keep making these beautiful quilts! Maybe I'll get brave one of these days...

suzitee said...

I have to admit...I do it the way your instructor said, too! I mitre the corners, and I'm not sure you can do that when it's sewn by machine? I am soooooo loving the colours you've used, and the embroidered label. I will also first quilt had safety pins holding the binding on for many many years...that's how much I hate hand sewing the binding LOL! It actually went to it's grave with safety pins :) Can't wait to see your next project!

parTea lady said...

Your quilt is beautiful. The fabric color and pattern is lovely and the handstitched label looks great.

Kamisha said...

Love your quilt! It's gorgeous! I'm getting a really nice sewing machine as a Christmas gift this year and I'm going to (hopefully) learn quilting and some other things I've always wanted to do!

So I'm glad you ask all the hard questions for me! =)

Oh and I got your email! Can't wait to see what's in the package!


my cup of tea said...

Hi Lisa! Well I have to say I DON'T do it the way the instructor said. The ladies in my quilt group have tried to encourage me but well, I just don't do that way. I sew both sides with the machine but after I sew the binding on the first side I use clear thread on the the other side and I make my binding a half inch wider than normal. They are turning out really nice! I seem to complete more now than i did when I started. I think you need to do it the way you feel comfy!

Beedeebabee said...

Your quilt turned out just beautiful, Lisa, and I love how you embroidered your name and date AND incorporated it into the quilt. I've never made a quilt, but someday I'd like to try...when my sewing machine and I start talking to one another again! xo Paulette