Tuesday 29 April 2014

Foolproof Method for Joining Your Binding

I have noticed that there are a multitude of posts around bindings on the net and the different ways of joining the ends. Of late, I also have come across a number of tools that are on the market to make this job easier.

I thought that I share a method that I found in Darlene Zimmerman's book "The Quilter's Edge" (a brilliant book going through all sorts of borders, bindings and finishing touches). I have used this for some time now after struggling for years with the same issue and can confidently recommend this as absolutely perfect...works every time without fail - except the one time when I cut off the wrong end :) Needless to say, never made that mistake again!

Well, in order to show this, I actually bound one of my "wild"  FMQ practice pieces from last year. Bonus...this has been lying around for a year collecting dust. For this little piece (19 5/8"square), I chose a 1/4" width for the binding, choosing a gold print to highlight the inlining I did on the feathers. Now, with a 1/4" width, the backing and batting was trimmed to the edge of the quilt top before I attached the binding. Had I chosen a wider finished width I would have left the cutting of the backing and batting until after I attached the binding to fill in the binding.
If you wondered about what width you should cut the strips, here are the most commonly used widths for bindings and the widths of the strips that you need to cut:

Finished width of binding
Size to cut binding strip
2 1/2”

  • Attach your binding as per usual, i.e. beginning halfway along one side of the quilt and leaving a tail of approximately 8-10", align the raw edges of the binding and the quilt top, then sew it around the quilt top with a 1/4" seam, mitring the corners as you go. Leave enough space as you approach the beginning of the binding so that you can comfortably join them up under your machine, leaving again a 8-10" tail at the end of the binding.
Leave a 8-10" tail at the beginning and end of the binding
    • Bring the tail that you left at the beginning and the end of the binding towards each other, fold over, grease, and leave a 1/4" space between them ( I just eyeball this space as the binding has some give in it anyway).
    Fold over, leaving a 1/4" space
    • Cut the left binding tail off where you made the grease.
    Cut the left side off at the grease mark
    • Take the piece from the binding that you have just cut off the left side, open it, and place it over the right folded binding at a right angle.
    Lay the cut off piece on to right side at right angle and mark

    Cut the folded over section at the mark
    • Make a mark and cut the folded over section of the binding at this point (this will be the measurement of the width of your binding, in my example 2")

    • Open the binding strips and join them as shown in the photo with a 45 degree seam. Trim the seam to 1/4", press open, then fold the binding back in half lengthwise and voila, you have a perfect fit.
    Join the binding

    Perfect fit!
    This works beautifully and makes for a perfect join. Another tip: I use a short stitch length (2.0 on my Pfaff machine) to join the ends which makes the join pretty much invisible.

    Yah, finished (almost!) another UFO. Just need to stitch the binding to the back. This will go on one of the walls if I can find a free one. (this looks better in real life...somehow the gold shiny fabric just would not photograph right)

    Hope that you find this useful.Linking up to Freemotion by the River


    Monday 28 April 2014

    Spiderweb Blocks Revisited

    I started the Spiderweb blocks last year with the intention to sew them at leisure throughout the year. Did not get that far

    Somehow I lost interest half way through the year and nothing much happened on this one. Well, after finishing the Dresden Plate, I suddenly felt the urge to continue with this. Probably due to the amazing amount of scraps that I am accumulating...

    Anyway, cranked out a few more quarters of the block. The funny part was that I could not exactly remember how I had done the block and had to look up my own tutorial to refresh my memory...all I could remember was that I used  some interfacing to construct this. This is where the blog becomes very handy.  You can find the instructions  under tutorials on the tabs above. This is one of those blocks that  is great to just whip up when you don't feel like doing anything too taxing but just want to sew a bit. And, needless to say but you must love the scrappy look.

    Good effort
    Love playing with those blocks...so colourful!
    If I continue with a few quarters per month I could get a quilt out of this by the end of the year. Let's see how I go...I got several other projects on the go and in my head and do not often stay on task.

    There is  a new pattern I want to try, a new baby quilt to construct, then there is Cheryl's quilt to be basted and quilted, EPP  projects...and so the list goes on

    As you can see here, getting side tracked even when photographing blocks...I started playing with the camera:

    Talking about photography the other day with my friend, Maxine...here it is...small F value and some tinkering around in the manual setting. Was really happy as I got the background all blurred which was the intention of the exercise.

    Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch  
    and  Darn Crafty Linky Party 

    stitch by stitchSew-Many_Ways


    Friday 25 April 2014

    Pfaff 4.2 Second impression

    I have had the new machine now since January and I thought it was timely to give a bit of an update.

    Since January, I have worked on three different projects. I gave that machine a hell of a workout on my Wholecloth quilt, micro stippling the entire background. Then I pieced and FMQ  my recent baby quilt and lastly, I completed a Dresden Plate table runner. So, overall I would have worked with most of the basic functions ( and some more). If you read my first post, you would remember that I had promised myself to actually use some of the functions that I had abandoned on the Pfaff 4.0 because they just were too much hassle.

    Let's look at the basic buttons

    On the left from top to bottom, there is the Needle Down, the Stitch Restart, the Speed and the Thread Snip button. On the right, again from top to bottom, there is the Immediate Tie Off, the two Presser foot buttons (up and down) and the Start/ Stop button.

    The most used one would have to be the Needle Down function. I use this all the time...it means the machine stops in the Needle Down position, when you stop. This is ultra handy when FMQ and I would nowadays be lost without it.

    I did use the Tie off button a lot on the last two projects. The Immediate Tie off button is for one off tie offs that you might want to do ( you can also program tie offs at beginning and end, as well as the snip off, but this would involve a different button). Yes, I have started to seriously use this again, particularly when I did the recent Dresden Plate project. I had a laugh though. Does the manufacturer not know that I need this to be flexible, depending on whether or not I make mistakes! So I used the tie off option on Stitch 52 (this gives you a very neat and tidy tie off which is especially designed for quilting) and off I went...I then made a mistake here and there and had to undo my stitching and I must say, the tie off was a bugger to get out...every single time. Like I stated before, that baby is tight and will not come out in a hurry.

    The Stitch Restart button is a very useful one...when I stopped sewing, i.e. when I decided to undo part of my stitching, I then could use this function to start at the beginning again, in my case I had set the machine to start each stitching line with a tie off.

    Presser foot up and extra lift toggle...I use this a lot when FMQ to have a look where my stitches are when I have stopped and want to restart in a consistent manner. The button below  is the Presser foot down and pivot toggle...this is obviously useful when changing direction, for example when I was echoing around my Dresden Plate using the walking foot.

    Speed control...I use this depending on what I am working on. I learnt FMQ on a machine that did not have a speed control button, so I am fairly used to regulating the speed by myself. However, this is handy when I want to make sure that I do not  inadvertently go faster, for example when quilting feathers I run the machine at a very slow speed. In contrast, when stippling or swirling around over an entire quilt I will set it to the maximum speed, so that I can slow down and speed up as needed for the design.

    Start/stop button...now I have had some fun with this when chain piecing. If you are not stitching an accurate 1/4" seam allowance and are just doing some straight sewing, this could be quite useful. I was stitching a lot of HST and as I was feeding them through the machine I tried this button. With a little bit of concentration and coordination of your hands you can have the machine running while you just feed the pieces through...I did about 40 of them in one hit.

    Thread snip...this is the only one I do not use that often ...I did however use it in the construction of the Dresden Plate wedges to see whether it would behave for me...I had set the machine to tie off the thread at the beginning as well and I was impressed...it did the tie off very neatly and the short cut threads did not cause any thread nests.

    Overall, the new feed definitely delivers...I have now sewn a few bindings on and in comparison to the Pfaff 4.0 I have had no more issue with the irregularity of stitches or the machine veering off when attaching the binding. I also noticed that when I stitched my baby quilt that the machine had far less trouble than the previous version to stitch over bulky seams (my baby quilt was a pinwheel quilt where eight seams meet in the middle). In fact initially I went over them with some trepidation as I was used to the bulk causing the machine to struggle and then causing irregularities in the stitch length...this did not happen on the Pfaff 4.2. It rattled effortlessly over the bulk.

    I also experimented with the different FMQ modes and the different feet, but I will leave that for another day to talk about.

    Happy quilting


    Monday 21 April 2014

    Dresden Plate Table Runner Finished!

    It is quiet in my corner of the world. I have been working away on the DP table runner. The quilting was somewhat frustrating. I really do not enjoy quilting with the walking foot. While it works well, I do not like the constant turning and wrangling with the project at hand. That is where FMQ is so handy as you can go any direction you want. With the walking foot and the turning I had some extra puff in the middle block where I must have pulled too hard towards the seam of the block. Not a big issue though, as it is hardly visible. Nevertheless, for this one I thought it was safer to use the walking foot when outlining the shapes for consistency sake (except for those circles in the middle and ditch quilting around the Dresden). This turned out really nice, I think.

    The detail of the outline quilting

    I stitched some lines in the border which proved a bit difficult...again had some pulling of the fabric. Then I decided to try out Susie's Magic Binding tutorial demonstrated on 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks: All About Aunt Marti. As you can see, not a lot of forward planning on this piece. This binding was sewn on from the back and then machine stitched to the front (in-the-ditch of that little flange). This was very interesting to do...I was not confident at all that I would be able to machine stitch the binding on straight. To my surprise, this worked really well...all I needed was lots and lots of pins to hold it all in place. Given that this was my first time of doing this method, the stitching in the ditch was a bit challenging, however I soon got the hang of this with using one of the pins to gently hold the binding straight. Overall, I was impressed.

    What I was not impressed with was my lack of forward planning. Given that I had quilted straight lines around the border, the flange then highlighted that they were not straight (compared to the line of the flange), especially around the corners...this is very noticeable but nothing much I can do about this now. I reckon if I was to do this binding again, I definitely would not be quilting lines in the border...just in case. Can't trust myself to get things straight lately.

    Anyway...this binding looks nice on the runner...it is fairly big and chunky though...I like this for a runner, but I am not sure I like this for a quilt.  Might try a different method that I have seen where the little flange is sewn on first and the binding is attached as per normal. This would give you the flange without the bulk.  Well, all good learning though.

    Monday 14 April 2014

    Slight Overestimation Of My Capabilities

    So I was going to FMQ some circles over my Dresden Plates. Sounded simple enough and given that I now have a round FMQ foot this should have been a breeze. Well, you should have seen me yesterday...tried to circle around the center circle. I normally can echo around shapes with no problems...maybe not always 100% consistently but close enough. This though drove me to distraction...could not keep up a 1/4 echo, no matter how hard I tried. Changed the foot to the Echo FMQ foot that I got which involved dismantling the shank of the machine. Also did not work for me...back to my round foot...and so it went on.

    I reckon it has to do with going over multiple colours and patterns...normally I echo around a shape that is surrounded by one colour...so I can focus on my foot and the distance that I am echoing. In this piece, every time I hit a new fabric, it threw me...maybe my brain just cannot handle it. After a while I tried drawing the circles in...ha, went through half the kitchen cupboard to find suitable circles! This happens every time I need to stitch circles on something.

    On Sunday I had enough and went out and bought a stack of circle templates.  Beautiful, a whole pack of 9 ready made circles...that fixed the problem (I think!)...should have done this ages ago.

    I did the outer circle with the walking foot and once I got the templates drew on the center circle. Tomorrow I will FMQ this and then echo this around the outside of the center circle. I think that is all I am going to do on the plate.

    Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch


    Saturday 12 April 2014

    New House Guest

    We have a new house guest amongst our midst who belongs to my daughter. Odd cat who is quite nervous and is still feeling her way around. Yes, but cats and quilts...

    Can you see that look...almost saying 'this must be for me to sit on'.

    Still trying to figure out what sort of cat this is. She is strangely elongated with very long limbs and quite big and as you can see consists mainly of really thick fur. And what about the hairs in the ears...too funny. My daughter reckons she might be a Norwegian Forest cat but I think she is an American Maine Coon cat. Done some reading on the Internet and it sort of fits...I read that the American Maine Coon cats are fairly vocal and this one certainly fits the bill. Makes the weirdest noises, just about talking to you. Never have heard this before.

    Finally found  'Feline Friday' Link up over at Sarah Did It and will join in to see whether someone could shed some light on this.


    Wednesday 9 April 2014

    Ripping off my content

    Well, you might have heard by now that there was a web site out there (quiltpatternspro.com) that copied content and images from a large number of quilting blogs. The web site in question has since gone down...hopefully never to raise its ugly head again (but I doubt it, probably will change its name and picture and pop up again in a few months).

    I had planned to do some quilting yesterday but instead was exploring this in some detail. Earlier in the day yesterday I did get an email from a very kind reader (thank you again, Nicole!) informing me that my content was on that web site. When I had a look I was absolutely stunned...not only was my current post on there, but at least 7 - 10 other posts from the last few months. I felt really defeated, I must say. While I was aware of these programs, I obviously did not realise the extent of he issue.

    My blog is a fairly modest affair...I blog for fun in my spare time and enjoy interacting with other quilting bloggers out there. I have a small following which I value greatly...when a new follower comes in, I usually go and check it out and more often than not discover great new blogs and new inspiration and along the way "meet" some nice people. I have set up my blog in a way that is hopefully interesting to people and when they come in I hope that people will have a bit of a look around and find some stuff that is of interest to them and return on a regular basis.To look at my carefully constructed posts on this other web site with no link back to my original post amongst a multitude of ads was quite disappointing, to say the least and plain offensive.

    So, I went to work on trying to figure out what to do about this...from what I knew by then, the choices were fairly limited. I had read previously that if you incorporate several links within the text of your blog post that this would act as a deterrent in terms of copying from your blog...well, obviously not...this website copied the whole posts with all the links in it...

    I used Who is Hosting This? to get to the host of this web site and then did some further searches in the evening (with the help of my husband) to drill down to several email addresses, including the offending web site. I did not bother with them but went for the host instead. I wrote a very formal letter of my objection of having my content and images copied. I particularly liked this part of the letter:

    I am the sole owner of copyright in http://thequiltyarn.blogspot.com.au.  As the sole owner of copyright, I hold the exclusive right to reproduce, modify, post, and distribute those materials and to grant others permission to exercise one or more of those rights.  I have not authorized quiltpattenspro.com to reproduce, modify or distribute any of my materials in whole or in part. 

    Anyway, send that of and then also contacted Google and filled out a form about having my content scraped. Will this protect me...no not really, but it certainly felt good to respond to this. On my exploration I noticed that other bloggers had become aware of the problem. Read the approach that The Bitchy Stitcher took or head over to another blog, Molly Sparkles , who really let loose...really enjoyed reading this.

    So, what can be done to prevent this from happening again:

    1. When you search on the internet around having content stolen from your blog, you will find several tips and suggestions...it really depends how far you want to take this. At the most modest level you can put up a copyright notice. In reality that really does not do anything much other than state that you hold the copyright (which incidentally you hold whether it is written on there or not). Going a bit further you can implement the idea promoted at the Bitchy Stitcher, i.e.she talks about including a graphic at the end of each post that links back to your blog. I have seen a similar thing on the Blogologist ...he is using the RSS Feed Footer in Blogger. Basically every post that you write will have a link back to your home page. While this will not prevent copying, it is likely that the offending web site will not be sitting there editing the links out of your blog post, as I believe this is an automated thing, so readers still can link back to your original site.

    2. You can go further and investigate whether to disable the option of copying either the images or the text or both on your blog. I only went over this briefly and cannot give advice on this as yet, as I myself will need to read a bit more about this...however, this involves inserting additional code into the HTML code of your blog, so that people actually cannot copy anything. Now I cannot comment as yet on whether this works or not or how hard this is...sounded very technical to me, however it seems an option.

    3. Be vigilant around your own blog and the blogs of other quilters...this example yesterday was a great show of strength from the online quilting community in terms of rallying around their intellectual property. If you see a blog post that might be copied, let the owner of the blog know and spread the word! As we have seen yesterday, it works.


    Tuesday 8 April 2014

    FMQ - Flower Scroll Design

    Finally managed to have a closer look at Amy's FMQ Adventures Link up that she started last month with a series of tutorials on McTavishing. Unfortunately I could not participate as I was seriously piecing away on two different projects...switching my machine over to FMQ would have side tracked me again (and we know what happens then). With my baby quilt out of the way and my Dresden Plate table runner ready to baste, I feel now ready to play a bit again and that Flower Scroll design looks just lovely. I hope we can work up to the feather flower version...tried this a couple of times but something seems to be going wrong for me on that one.

    Anyway, here are my practice pieces of the Flower Scroll design

    First attempt
    Yep, could do the shape but could not really travel all that well with it...sometimes I managed and sometimes I did not, ending up all over the place and having those unquilted pockets appear. Also lacked my particular take on traveling with this particular design. While I could see how Amy was doing it in her video, I obviously need some more practice to make this design my flower scroll.

    So, next attempt I went much smaller to get a bit of a grip on the traveling

    Second attempt
    Some odd shapes in there, but getting a bit better...felt that I was getting a feel for how to travel from one spot to the other.

    Third attempt
    Yes, definitely starting to work, even though it might not be that obvious from this sample...more consistent shapes and I managed to travel a bit all over the place. Paid attention to how I did my scroll as that determined which side I ended up, so that was a bit helpful. Also swung out a bit more on the echoing which tended to fill the spaces a bit better.

    This was good fun...definitely need more practice

    Linking up to Amy's Freemotion Monday Quilting Adventure

    Saturday 5 April 2014

    New Pattern on Craftsy

    My Windmill quilt is now on Craftsy!

    I am chuffed to say the least. Spend quite some time drawing little pictures on the computer and can confirm, it pays to read the 'How to' of the drawing program you are using...ha, ha something I rarely do, hence spending an extraordinary time getting angry with the computer.

    Here is a little example of what this looks like:

    Stitch two half square triangle units together as shown. Join a 2 1/2in x 4 1/2in white tone-on-tone rectangle along the long edge. Press the seam towards the white fabric. This completes a quarter unit.

    I am a visual person and like to have lots of pictures in my patterns ...just find that it is easier to follow as I am not inclined to read pages of instructions.

    You can find my pattern using the Craftsy widget on the sidebar or click HERE... but be warned, looking at Craftsy patterns is guaranteed to provide absolute inspiration overload. I had a bit of a look around this morning and found a pattern for Meercats!...too cool, absolutely loved this.

    Have a great day


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