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If dreaming about quilting were a seamstress qualification then, well, let’s just say that I would be well on my way. Binding has been a bit of a puzzle to me, especially since I am so stubborn that I have really wanted to try and figure it out on my own.

Every night, almost without fail, mixed in with the using and drinking dreams that usually accompany new sobriety, I find a dream or two about quilting. Specifically, binding.

Last night, believe it or not, I think I devised a way for my brain to wrap around the whole binding concept and am painfully close to pushing that mental connection into my physical reality.

Today I completed the backing for my sister Kaitlin’s quit:

And cut the excess batting.

 

 

I am using a one hundred percent polyester batting, which I originally got because I like the idea of it providing extra warmth in spite of my instinctual preference towards all natural materials. For some reason, I don’t think the extra warmth factor is going to be that big of a deal since Kaitlin lives in Texas. I have a mental image of her sweating under this thing cursing me. :)

I also found the polyester batting more difficult to work with than cotton. Being lighter, the drape of the quilt and overall feel is different. In the future cotton will be the way I go (and I quote Brandon, “I told you cotton was better”. ass :) )

I am going to take the rest of today to decide on the material I’ll use to bind this quilt with as well as the color of thread for the quilting. I’m leaning towards this one:

 

 

I think white thread would pop too hard against the gray, and gray would be too harsh against the delicateness the white in the backing exudes. My thoughts are that this light blue (color number 602 in Gütermann 100% Polyester) will be just light and/or dark enough to be okay against both and it is a great match to the patchwork. Any comments or ideas would be greatly appreciated!

BTW. An update on my finger:

It has been a real bitch trying to sew as it heals, but I had some help from a little Nail Hardener. When I cut my finger, it was through the bone and through my nail (basically cut it in half) so I have shellacked (much to the disgust and dismay of most people I share this with) my nail with several layers of said product and formed it back into one solid nail. I understand, on a certain level, the need for my finger to breathe, etc. etc. but my need for sewing is more! And it seems to be healing just fine, thankyouverymuch.

 

 

(left pointer finger)

***DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional manicurist, nor do I claim to be. I think my entire left arm is merely attached to me to provide balance and be esthetically pleasing as far as symmetry goes. I also never learned to draw inside the lines as a young child. I may actually be mildly retarded from all my fabric adhesive spray fumes… Can I squeeze another excuse in here for my atrocious nails? :) . Please don’t judge the paint job. Thanks!***

 

Tenderloin Textiles

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Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on April 18, 2011 at 7:37am
Good choice for the binding thread.  It should just disappear (blend in) as you stitch it down.  You've had lots of great suggestions.  I trim my excess backing & batting so it is manageable (like Janet said) leaving about 2" give or take all the way around.  I stitch down my binding to the front side and then cut the batt & back to half the width of the binding, so that when it folds over to the back, the batt & back fill the binding.  That's just the way I do it, which doesn't mean it is the "right" way, only that it works for me.  Your sister will love it! 
Comment by Anita on April 16, 2011 at 1:54pm
I just looked at the quilt you are making for your sister.  Outstanding! and I love the way you did the backing..........there is no rule it has to be all the same fabric.  AND, your choice of thread for the quilting is perfect!  Your finger, well, I have sewed one of my fingers through the nail and finger with the sewing machine needle into the fabric...UGH...what a nightmare...that was last year.  No fun. Welcome to the group.
Comment by Ashley Jackson on April 14, 2011 at 3:13pm
Wow! I was so excited to the responses and encouragement from everyone!

Janet: I have cemented the layers of my quilt together as only a sober alcoholic could (with probably too much fabric adhesive- lol) but I really appreciated what you said all all the tips, I will definitely heed your advice for my next quilt. I REALLY appreciate it.

Sue: not sticking my needle through the spool is going to be like not putting the straight pins in my mouth- hard habit to break, but obviously one for good reason to be broken. I will work on that :). Also, thanks for the link and suggestions, I am going to check out that site right now. Since I didn't leave any batting to fill my binding, I suppose I will have to make it rather tight and small. Oh my, new obstacles. Lol. Thank you again. You words helped a ton.

Pat- my finger has been healing for almost a month, so don't misunderstand, I have had to take it easy. I am so glad your daughters hand is better now!

Laura- I look forward to our quilting skills growing together through this site! Thanks for the compliments on the thread BTW.
Comment by Sue Weldon on April 14, 2011 at 2:10pm

2 more suggestions from the peanut gallery:

1.  I was always taught NOT to stick my needle through the thread on a spool like that, it'll split the fibers on the thread.

2.  Don't cut your batting even with the fabric after you've quilted.. leave a little extra sticking out the sides.  Once you've sewn on your binding, you'll still want to leave a little extra so that it 'fills' the binding.

 

http://quilting.about.com/od/bindingaquilt/ss/mitered_binding.htm   is a good site for binding instructions.  It's really not that hard to do, once you see how to do it.  If all else fails, go to your local quilting store, they're usually pretty patient with newbie quilters and are glad to show you!  Maybe they even have a "Sit and Sew" time for people to just come in and sew and ask questions.

 

You're doing fine!  As long as you're having fun, that's all that really counts.

Comment by Pat Jackson, OH on April 14, 2011 at 12:25pm
Congratulations on your sobriety.  Keep up the good work.  My daughter empathizes with you about your finger and is amazed that you could sew with it.  When she cut hers last summer (5 stitches) she couldn't do any kind of sewing for 2 weeks.
Comment by Janet/MO on April 14, 2011 at 12:12pm
Ashley, I think that blue thread should be just fine for your quilt.  If I may, though, let me give you a hint regarding your batting & backing.  Do not cut them to the same size as the top until after the quilting is finished.  It is kinda late for this top, but if you do not leave yourself at least 2 inches all the way around, you are apt to run in to the situation of being short of fabric on the back because the quilting will draw up the fabric.  Also, have you spray basted the 3 layers together?  If not, you either need to do that or baste them with quilters safety pins or thread.  Since you didn't leave yourself any extra room on the back, I would suggest you baste pretty heavily as that will help keep the 3 layers from shifting.  Good luck.

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