Finished! The Up From Here baby quilt is complete. Some things I might do differently next time, but overall, quite happy with how this one came out. Definitely worthy of being given as a baby gift. And, other than finishing up the one that was already started, I don’t think I’ll ever be hand stitching binding again. Thank you to the folks at Cluck, Cluck Sew!
Four other projects under foot at the moment:
- The mini Fair Isle quilt needs to have the binding finished.
- The (No) Golden Shadows quilt needs to be basted, quilted and bound.
- The Modern Block of the Month needs to have the blocks pieced together (w or w/o sashing???), and then basted, quilted and bound.
- A memory quilt for my son’s best friend who is moving in June.
And of course, I’ve already got some other things picked out!
I had wanted a finish for Finish Up (From Here) Friday, but not sure if it will happen. Just as quickly as Diego the dog moved out, Remy the dog moved in. We’ve now had at least 5 chihuahua mixes as fosters, and I have to say, I’m ready for a dog that you can’t step on. Bring on the St. Bernards, please! Remy likes to try to walk on my legs while I’m sewing.
As for the baby quilt, I decided not to use any batting since the baby is due in early fall in Florida, and just backed it in a light grey flannel. I stitched outlines into all of the flowered parts of the blocks and then added stippling to the entire black and white section. Somewhere in there the machine ran into some tension problems which didn’t work themselves out till the end. It would look odd, but you can’t really see the quilting since it is white thread on a mostly white background, so I decided to just leave it alone and not risk making things worse.
For the binding, I used the leftover floral scraps, some tiny black on white polka dot scraps from another quilt and an extra fat quarter of the blue floral I had used. I tried to line it up so that the black and white binding was on the floral part of the quilt and the floral binding was on the black and white part of the quilt, and that mostly worked out. I stitched the binding down yesterday and was going to start the hand stitching today. And then I decided not to. I slowed down the speed settings on the machine and began to machine stitch it down. After the first few inches, I realized that I didn’t even need pins to hold it in place (though I did order some Clover Clips that haven’t arrived yet). Why did I ever hand stitch anything? It’s been about twenty minutes and I’m more than halfway done. And it is so much neater than my hand stitching. If it’s not done today, then definitely over the weekend!
Machine Binding a Quilt
Because I have such a fondness for quilting shortcuts, I just learned to machine bind a quilt! I used this great tutorial from Cluck, Cluck, Sew, and for my first time, it came out pretty well! It was definitely quick and easy, and definitely came out as nice, if not better, than my hand-sewn versions.
Here is what I learned to pay attention to for next time:
- Use a larger binding. She recommends 2.5 inches (before you fold it in half). I had already cut my binding at 2 inches, and I could have used that extra 1/2 inch (or more) to work with!
- Use a binding that is a different color than either the front or back fabrics you are sewing it to. My binding is orange and white which was easy to pick out on the front green and gold fabric. The backing fabric though is red and white, and whenever the whites were on top of each other, I couldn’t really be sure what was directly under the machine.
- Finally, until I get better at this, I should consider doing it backwards: sewing on to the back first and then the front. I have trouble keeping the second set of stitches out of the binding that has already been sewn on one side, so it would probably look better having that side on the back.
Either way, the M&Ms Christmas quilt is now finished! Can’t say I love it (or even really like it) but it was so great to have a “practice quilt” to try out some new things. After finishing some of the other projects that I’m in the middle of, I think I’m going to do another practice quilt!
In the meantime, I’m looking for someplace to donate this one and/or an ugly Christmas quilt contest to enter it into (they have those, right?).