Sunday, May 6, 2007

Almost to the Top

It was such an amazing feeling to have created an almost-complete quilt. A huge obstacle loomed ahead, though--one I had been trying to ignore. The quilt binding. I had read several descriptions of binding online, and every one of them confused me.

I went back to Mitchell's Machine Quilt book and, thank the heavens, she had written a clear, easy-to-understand description of the process. I wasn't ready to tackle a continuous binding all the way around the quilt, so I chose to add what she called a "french-fold blunt corner binding." That is, I cut strips 2-1/4" wide and the length of each side, the top, and the bottom. I folded and ironed them in half, wrong sides together. Then I laid the binding on the front side of the quilt, matched the raw edges to the raw edges of the quilt, and stitched a 1/4" seam. I trimmed the backing and the batting (I think to 3/16"), folding the binding around to the back, and whipstitched it onto the back by hand. At least I think I whipstitched it. I wasn't really certain how to whipstitch something and I couldn't find clear instructions online, but I think what I accomplished is a reasonable facsimile. I bound the sides first, then the top and bottom.

I have mixed feelings about handstitching the binding. Part of me really enjoyed it. I rarely stop working and just relax, but I stitched the binding in front of the television, which offered some much-needed rest. On the other hand, it was a slow and tedious process, and I was anxious to complete my first quilt. I'm not sure whether I'll continue to sew the binding on by hand or learn how to do it by machine.

I was done. I had completed my first quilt ever. The view from the top was breathtaking.

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