Tuesday, January 30, 2024

epic binding party weekend

recently i was reading a substack email i subscribe to and the author said something like, “the fun thing about having your own email is you can talk as much as you like about your topic in a way no editor would let you.” it immediately made me think of how i prattle on and on in my blog posts about any details i want because no one is there to check me or make me clean it up. this is my space to speak to myself about what i’ve been sewing, no outside editing involved. which i’ll admit, makes for sloppy writing. 

but here we are, and that’s what you get. sometimes I do think I could make more of an effort to be presentable in this space, more succinct, more reader friendly. but what i'm really doing is having a conversation with myself and allowing others to listen in, so rambling on and on in an ineffective writing style it is.

now on to quilts.

there's going to be a lot of talking, but you can also just scroll for the pictures.

there has been a pile of quilted-but-not-trimmed-or-bound quilts in a corner of my bedroom since last spring. there are SIX quilts in this pile; SIX quilts that got around the final lap and never made it to the finish line. (i elaborated on why in my last post.)

they are not entirely unused as my grandson does like to plop down on them when he comes in to play with my collection of toy animals i keep especially in this room. he will say, “sit!,” and then squat down and back up to the pile before dropping down. it’s cute. 

but these quilts were intended for more.

two weeks ago, my youngest daughter decided it was time to get the binding on her quilt completed. she proposed that we have daily "stitch and listen" sessions together so we can both get some quilts bound. of course i said yes.

we have started with listening to the narnia series on audible and stitching for about 30 minutes. it hasn't exactly been daily, but we do get around to it several times a week. (for the record, kenneth branagh is the reader for the magician's nephew and is quite fabulous. i wish he narrated the whole series.)

after a few sessions of stitching, i have nearly completed "liberty holly hobby."

 i quickly realized if we were going to keep these sessions going, we'd need more handstitching projects. that pile of nearly-ready-to-bind quilts in the corner came to mind.

we were having a girls weekend at home as my husband was going to be away for a few days, so i decided to put aside the all-important house reno project for a bit and do some quilt work with d5.

our goal was to trim up the quilted projects, make bindings for them, and get them machine attached.

we pulled everything out to have a look, then picked out our binding fabrics. for most of the quilts, i already generally knew what i wanted to use.

have you ever tried to work in a sewing room that hasn't been used in month and months? it's very frustrating! i felt like i spent the majority of the first hour of work just shifting things around and trying to locate supplies. i sure wish everything was shipshape in there and easily accessible, but it is not.

eventually i was able to get started on the actual project.

i pulled the cutting mat off the cutting table (always a pain to do as it's always covered with stuff) and put it on the floor of our central hallway so we could trim up the quilts there. i'm still able to crawl around on the floor pretty well, so this is the best place for me to trim the quilts because i can lay them out completely flat here.

"melonaide brightside" was the first quilt i trimmed. then i started cutting the binding for it. d5 measured binding against the trimmed quilt for me. we worked out a system where i cut, she measured, i pinned and marked the strips, she sewed the bindings together, i trimmed the corners off, and she ironed and rolled the completed binding.

our "to do" pile just off the cutting floor in the piano room.

while i was moving stuff around i came across my oldest daughter's quilt she made in high school, but never bound. the binding fabric was with it. i have always wanted her to finish the quilt herself so it's completely her project and so she knows she can do the whole thing. she's asked a few times over the last few years to work on it, but never at a time that i could help her with it. 

i decided done was better than my ideals and asked d5 if she wanted to secretly bind it for her sister as a surprise. she agreed, and we made the binding. it was actually about a foot short of what we needed, so i found a coordinating red solid to add. i think it will be a cute touch in the binding.

we worked on these throughout the day and evening, then took a break for a "pride and prejudice" movie marathon. it was a fun girls day together.

in the morning, i got right back to it.

i now know it takes me about 30 minutes to make a binding.
we got all six made for my quilts, one for d1's quilt, and an extra one for another project i have in the quilting phase. i already had the binding picked out, so i just added it to the group while we were at it batch processing all of these.

my binding choices were pretty classic here: there are several stripes, a few solids, and a couple of basic neutral prints. i like a binding to set off a quilt and to be dark enough to not show use easily. i feel like light colored bindings can get grungy, so i go with something mid-tone to dark.

i started out the first morning intending to trim and bind each quilt in order, but after the first one, i decided to do all the bindings at once. this was because i had my little helper working with me and i needed to keep her constantly moving or she'd wander off.

on the second morning, i got to work trimming all the quilts.

i'm none too confident in my square trimming of these quilts, but they're done and look square enough to me. part of the problem is one of my long rulers got set down in the middle of the quilt pile in the piano room the night before and a certain daughter sat on it, snapping the ruler. so i was down to trimming and squaring with my large 10.5" square and one long 6"x24" ruler.

once all the trimming was done, i started machine attaching them to the quilts. i started with the quilt i most wanted to complete - "mildred and ethel." for durability's sake, i bound it with the green crossweave i used for the background of the quilt. liberty bindings are delicious, but i worry about their durability as a binding gets the brunt of wear-and-tear on a quilt. plus, i didn't have enough of any of these prints to use as a binding. so the sublte, blend-in crossweave it was.

next up was "aunt bet's mother's day quilt," and this is where my little helper gave out. she didn't want to help with the next phase of attaching the bindings, so i was on my own.

"aunt bet's mother's day quilt" got a black and white spotted binding. i would have liked a black with white swiss dot, but i didn't have any of that around, only white with black dots, and that's too light for a binding. this was acceptable enough.

after attaching six bindings in a row, i now know it takes me about an hour from the start (pinning the binding on the perimeter of the quilt) to finishing the last stitch.

"melonaide brightside" got a solid teal green binding of kona cotton color of the year 2020, enchanted.

i'm so happy to have my both my first two "crossroads" quilts nearing completion! they were such fun projects. i'm excited to put them in use and experience them as completed quilts.

i pulled down what i thought was a black and white stripe to possibly use for "aunt bet's" but it turned out it was navy, not black. i decided it was a good pick for the original "crossroads," which is mostly citrus colored, but has touches of blue throughout.

my new pile of attached bindings in the piano room was looking lovely in the late afternoon light. by now i had four bindings attached. two more to go, racing against the light.

"low-volume crossroads" was next in the queue. it got a nice grey stripe binding.

as i prepared the last quilt, i stopped to read some of the text on the heather ross snow white print i used as a backing. i hadn't read this line before and found it so wise. it sums up the usual balance of beauty and reality in this imperfect life quilte well, i thought. 

"she found the cottage full of charm and laundry."

that's life to the tee, if you ask me.

i was, admittedly, a little weary at this point, but i pushed through and got the last binding attached. i selected a neutral tan and white floral from amy sinibaldi. it's a little light, but it's a low-volume quilt, so it works.

 and here they are.

six bindings attached in one weekend and many hours of handstitching bliss coming up.

at some point, these will even be completed quilts.
but at the moment it's the handwork that i'm looking forward to.

the leftover binding strips, rolled into one.

the end