Ever struggle with how to bind a quilt?

I want to take some time to talk about binding. There are several different ways to bind a quilt. Some methods are designed to save time, others not so much. The most popular is the double fold binding method. It’s the way I was taught and has become my method of choice for most of the quilts I’ve made.

The only exceptions are my art quilts and the method used depends on the purpose of the quilt. For art quilts/wall hangings, be creative. That’s my best advice. Art is meant to be, well, artistic. Think about the overall impact you want the quilt to have for the viewer and then think how to “frame” it. The binding is the final “frame” for any quilt – it is your final chance to stop someone’s eye from leaving your quilt. Look at my one of my art quilts below. Notice how the borders and the binding work together. The black border on one side and the black binding on the other side stops your eye; thus, framing the piece.

For utility quilts, I *highly* recommend the double fold method because it is a method designed for durability.  By utility quilts I mean quilts used as bedding, baby quilts, lap quilts, or any other type of quilt that you make with the knowledge it will be used. The reason why is best illustrated by the below picture.

This is one of the first quilts I made (approximately 10+ years ago). Sadly, my at the time young puppy got a hold of the quilt and ate a very small hole into the quilt. (I can see a lot of quilters just cringing.) I was upset with her but not for long, because I will have only 10-15 (if I am lucky 15) with my puppy. I will have this quilt for much longer (hole and all) and it will always remind me of my fur baby. I did use this quilt for a time (yes, back on topic!) and, as you can see, the binding wore down. However, the quilt edge is still protected because of that second layer of fabric from the double binding method.

I will provide binding training videos, if people comment a desire for it. There are lots of binding training videos out in cyberspace, as a result, I don’t feel the need to redo what others have already done quite well. However, if my style of writing is something that you find helps you to assimilate data then comment or e-mail me and I’ll see what I can do. 🙂

Until next time and have a fabulous day!

Nelum

The Dilemma with Gorgeous Large Print Fabrics

As I was laying out fabrics for my next set of mug rugs, I had set aside this beautiful blue large print fabric along with a couple of complimentary fabrics.

I go through 2 phases of fabrics selection — well most of the time – sometimes 2 phases isn’t enough! The first phase is just colors – selecting a collection of fabrics with colors that would look fabulous together. Next might be several iterations of ironing and laying out the fabrics and taking a close look at the printed designs on it. I need to answer several questions before the fabric is used.

  1. Does the fabric look good in small pieces? (Because, let’s just face the fact that, as a quilter, I cut up fabric to sew it together into a beautiful, harmonious quilt – ultimate goal is harmony in design, color, and texture.)
  2. Will the chosen quilt/block pattern do justice to the fabric?
  3. Will I need to fussy cut to attain the desired end product? If, yes, will fussy cutting add or take away from the fabric, and thusly, to the overall quilt?

For example, look at the above fabric. In its wholeness, it is quite a magnificent piece. Now, imagine it in 2″ x 2″ squares. Each square would look different. Some would have a dark blue background and others a white background. Some would have leafy, flowery curves and others straight lines and geometric shapes.

I could fussy cut it, but then I’d lose the beauty in the parts I elected not to use in the quilt.  This fabric screams to be used in a much larger design and, as a result, it was ironed, refolded and placed back into my stash – for now! 


Love of batiks

I grew up appreciating art and artists. You see, both my parents are artists though now mostly retired:  my mom with her sewing and fabric, and my dad with his ink-line drawings. My dad, when he wasn’t helping my mom with the tailoring business, would sit and draw. My parents had a huge appreciation for batiks, because it is a large art form in Sri Lanka. I remember visiting an artist in Sri Lanka that sold batik shirts. This artist used the canting method to make batiks. It is a lengthy process of hand painting designs onto a cloth with wax, dying the fabric, adding wax for the next dye color repeating this process until the batik had the desired colors and patterns.

To this day I love batiks — doesn’t matter if it’s the canting process or the stamping process. When you hold a gem up to the light, remember how it just glows? Well, batiks do that for me. The colors in batik fabrics seems to be so rich that they glow. Also, because it is dying and not printing, the color has a lot of variation, which makes batik fabrics difficult to work with in quilts, but when you get the perfect combination and layout the quilts are just magnificent!

Also, batiks have a higher thread count, largely due to the resin and dyes (more threads holds the resin or dyes better). When you buy sheets, you will notice the higher quality sheets have a higher thread count. Same rules applies to cotton quilting fabrics: higher quality means higher thread count. The higher the quality of the fabrics used in a quilt means the quilt will last longer.

Thus, you now understand my sincere love of batiks. That’s not to say I won’t use printed fabrics but I will always gravitate to my batiks…always.