More fun with Scraps

I’m still “dancing” with the Scrap Dance Pachanga mystery quilt by blogger Carole at From My Carolina Home. Last week was Step 7 in the mystery. We got the instructions (still available on the blog) for Block A. It was fun to put some of the bits and pieces from previous steps together. Here are my blocks.

Block A Scrap Dance Pachanga 2021
Block A Scrap Dance Pachanga Mystery Quilt

This block used some of the 4 patches, 2 patch rectangle units and some of the half square triangle units. It was fun to play around with the colors and try to balance them out a little bit. These blocks went together quickly. I am doing the throw size this year. (In the past I have done the king size for most of the Scrap Dance mystery quilts).

Next step comes out on May 14th and I am looking forward to what we do with the other units left in my project basket.

I was inspired by my friend Nancy to do a bit of “cleanup” in my sewing room. She & I were working through some donations for the quilt guild, sorting and organizing. Alright….Nancy was doing all the sorting and organizing and I was playing with the scraps, trying to save as many as possible. One donation I picked up in March came with a bunch of plastic drawer units. These units had been stacked up all over the place in my garage, and needed to be emptied of the contents. As we did the emptying, I realized these drawers would fit just under one of my cutting tables, and might help me better contain my own scraps.

New scrap storage plan

Since the guild is not currently meeting, and storage space is at a premium here, I sold those drawer units…..to me. We usually sell this type of thing for at the guild, at a “fair price”. Because they are bulky to transport and store, I often sell them for considerably less than what you would pay for them new. (If I have to drag them to a meeting to sell, I don’t want to drag them back home !) We probably won’t meet until the fall at the guild to sell anything, and I decided I “needed” those draws! I guess I can always “donate” them back later if the system doesn’t work for me. But, for now….I am happy~!

I took all the scraps that have accumulated for sorting/trimming and sorted them by color into the drawers. Previously, these were piling up in an open basket stacked sorting system and it was starting to overwhelm me. In the process, I also emptied out a “laundry hamper” of scraps, and cleaned my cutting table.

Cleaning up the cutting table
Cutting table is cleaned!

My cutting table has been buried in stuff for a while, but now, the big baskets are projects, and the smaller ones are things I still need to trim. I unearthed several things I set aside for later and gave them their own big basket. A couple of bits ended back up on the design wall for inspiration.

leftover blocks
Inspiration pieces

I really am inspired to turn that big block with the checkerboard border into a pillow. The house blocks are leftover from a class at the guild, and I want to keep making some.

During the “scrap sorting” I set aside a basket full of “leftover block/units” for crumb quilts.

I busied myself for a couple of days, inspired by Pat Sloan, making crumb blocks. You might recognize some of the pieces in the crumb blocks below from the big block above. That center house block may come out and end up on the wall with the other houses too.

I never “got to the bottom” of the crumb block basket. Really I just skimmed the surface and have made about 25 blocks. I will have to find a cohesive way to put them together and turn them into a quilt at some point. Meanwhile, they have been assigned to their own project basket and I moved along to something else.

I had lots of scraps to work on for the guild, things that were donated. I set a timer and worked on them for one hour, and got them all ironed.

Now that these small pieces are ironed and sorted by color and general size, I will trim them up. If they are of a size that I can price and sell at the guild meeting then they will get folded and priced. There were a lot of “fall colors” and I think I see a nice “bundle” coming together.

Speaking of fall colors, you might recall back in November I mentioned I was “Stuck in the Middle” of quilting my Autumn Jubilee quilt. This is another pattern by Carole/From My Carolina Home. Thanks to my friend Nancy, this past week I was able to FINALLY finish the quilting. It has languished on the frame for 5 months, all while I picked out poor stitching. The quilting is now DONE! The quilt is off the frame, trimmed and ready for the addition of the label and binding.

making binding
Binding for Autumn Jubilee

The binding will go on fairly quickly, as it is all done by machine. The main color of the binding is the stripe, with just that little green flange showing on the face of the quilt. The method I love is called Susie’s Magic Binding. I love sharing the link to Aunt Marti’s 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks blog. It is where I first saw this type of binding and the directions are so well written, along with a subsequent video. I was a fairly new quilter when I learned this method and love to share with others. The “hardest part” of the method is joining the two ends, and I just recommend you take your time, use a basting stitch to make sure you have a nice alignment. I know with a stripe pattern, some may not be happy with diagonal stripes not aligning, but personally, I am not worried at all. Time to go make my label and next blog you will see the finished quilt top!

Speaking of labels, I finished and attached two more for the Senior Quilt project I was working on. The volunteers at church got together and tied the quilt two weeks ago.

Emily's quilt
Tied and ready to trim
Senior Quilt labels Emily
Modified a label from Kreative Kiwi

I used a label from Kreative Kiwi and eliminated the line where you might hand write the name. I inserted the names using fonts from my software.

Senior quilt labels 2021

The verse on the back of the quilt was digitized by Designs by JUJU. I’m not happy with the stitch out on this label, too many puckers but I figure it will have to do on a deadline. I am certain I had stabilizer pulling in the hoop as the stitch-out took place. I think once the quilt is washed and all that stabilizer “softens up” and the quilt crinkles it will not be so noticeable. I guess if you aren’t a machine embroiderer it wouldn’t matter, but it makes me a little nuts when I see that puckering.

I had to do a little bit of machine quilting on that quilt before putting the labels on the back. Our group tied the quilt, but the borders needed more “anchoring”.

adding some quilting
Stitching in the ditch and in the borders on Emily’s quilt

I used my walking foot and did a serpentine stitch, stretched to it’s maximum length on the yellow and blue borders, along with some basic straight stitching in the ditch along the borders. The wide backing came from Marshall’s Dry Goods (Batesville AR). If you are ever shopping for wide back, they are my preferred location, with quick service, and great prices.

Time to get busy and make that label for the Autumn Jubilee quilt and get the binding on. It is going to be a hot sunny day, and the pollen count is very high, so I think hanging out in the sewing room with the A/C running will keep my allergies in check.

What’s happening in your sewing room this week?

Little project

Recently, I have been working on little things and enjoying a bit more time in my sewing room now that September has brought in some cooler temperatures. Hot summer days in the sewing room over the garage can be a bit much, and the pool is always enticing me to goof off. The last few nights have been in the 60’s (F) and really chilled things off from those hot humid summer days.

I had a project “sitting around” for a while (only a year I think). The blocks I had were a result of some ‘pattern testing’ for my friend Carole (https://frommycarolinahome.com//) a while back. It is easiest for me to test a pattern by actually making a few blocks. I decided at the time to sew them together and make a table runner. That has been sitting by for at least 18 months I believe. Anyway, I decided to add some narrow white borders to frame it, and finish it up with straight line walking foot quilting. I did a little fun stitching on the border using a pattern built into my Janome 8900 sewing machine.

The pattern is from the Scrap Dance series, and this is the Scrap Dance Minuet. The pattern is available for purchase on Carole’s blog – https://frommycarolinahome.com/my-patterns/

Scrap Dance Minuet pattern

My setting isn’t one of the pattern options. I made 3 block A and 3 block B’s. Dimensions before the white borders were 12.5″ x 72.25″. I added 2″ wide borders and made 198″ of binding. Of course I used my favorite Susie’s Magic binding, and you can see the little pop of blue with daisies on the edge of the binding.

You may wonder about that dark binding. I just wanted something a little darker to ground the table runner. Besides…it matches the back of the table runner. You may think it is an “odd” fabric, but there was a point to it.

Label for table runner

This will be an anniversary gift for a couple we know. When I presented the idea to my husband he thought it was a great plan! The fella is a “train buddy” of my husband. He always jokes about the great locomotives he gifts his lovely bride for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. She is quite an artist, and I hope she enjoys the “floral” side. I can just picture him flipping it over to the “train track” side to tease her a little.

I had an interesting time making the label for the back on my Janome 11000 embroidery/sewing machine. I used a program on the computer called Embrilliance in Express Mode to do the wording. I couldn’t merge the art into that program because it is copy right protected. BUT, I was able to merge it on the screen of my embroidery machine. I am fairly excited that I was able to do that!

The little video below is about 7 seconds. At the very end you can see a snippet of the machine screen. It shows the time for stitching as about 62 minutes, 27000(+) stitches. For some reason, it took me considerably longer, as I fought thread breaks all the way through. But, I persevered and finished. Note, I changed to a metallic thread needle with a slightly bigger eye, added more stabilizer under the hoop, changed to different brand of thread and much more to try to get it to stitch out nicely.

Once this was finished stitching, I attached the label to the back of the quilt and got busy finishing the binding and hand stitching two edges of the label. I use a light weight fusible pellon when I make the label putting the fusible on the FRONT of the label with the fusing side towards the pretty side of the label. I stitch all around the label, then slit an X to make hole in the center of the fusing and “turn” the label. It gives the label a nice finished turned edge and I can press it on the back of the project. I like to catch two edges in the binding to minimize how much hand sewing I have to do. Having the fusing on the back makes for a neat edge on the label and helps to prevent removal of a label. (I learned that trick from Pat Sloan when she was making circles for applique. It works for lots of things I have found.) In hindsight, I should have left the cut-away stabilizer on the back of the label, as the backing fabric shows through the white fabric. Note to self for a future label project! Oh I always learn the hard way. Not turning back on this one though!

It felt good to finish this off and the timing to give it as an anniversary gift was perfect.

Are you clearing up any UFO’s??

Machine Binding methods and tutorials

Yesterday, a friend of mine from church called with some “quilt questions”.  She has worked with me on our Senior Quilt project in the past and is an excellent seamstress.  She is getting ready to “bind” her quilt, and wanted to chat before she got started.  She had been at the fabric store and looked at the price of the premade double fold binding packets and knew that I could give her a better method.  I answered the questions on the phone as much as I could, then offered to share some resources that I have unearthed online.  By the time I got finished sharing all of it with her in an email, I felt like I’d just written a blog post.  I thought others who read this blog might find it useful too.

DISCLOSURE — none of these methods are my own, they are all resources I have come across in the 10 years that I have been quilting.

My absolute lazy self wants to machine bind quilts. I don’t have enough time in my life to sit and hand sew binding.  My brain has already started another quilt by the time I get to binding. I know many people find sitting and binding while enjoying a football game or a movie is relaxing.  I have 2 cats that would be in the middle of things, so it is out of the question in my life. Besides…I already told you, I am lazy.  (Really I want to get it done and move on!!)
Let’s start with my favorite
Susie’s Magic Binding” , also known as “binding with a flange”.  My hubby thinks it really adds a “pop” to the quilts.
                                                     This is MY preferred method for binding quilts 
I discovered this binding method on a blog called 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks. Tuesday Tutorial: Susie’s Magic Binding

 The directions are well written, easy to follow.

The video gives great instructions to follow along with the written instructions from her blog.

Susie’s Magic Binding Video Tutorial

Take note at around 8 minutes into the video of the method that is used for joining the ends and lining up the “flange/piping”.   This is the only “tricky thing” about this style of binding, and that is joining the ends and making the flange line up.

MY TIPS — In any method you use, I find that once you attach the binding to the BACK of the quilt, you get a better result by taking the quilt to the ironing board, and pressing that binding, against the seam, towards the raw edge of the quilt.  That way it is sharp and crisp when you roll it to the front.  I also take the time to bring it around to the front and PIN or use clips to hold the binding in place, so I have less fiddling around while I sew.  I use my WALKING FOOT when doing binding, because you are going through SO many layers.  I also use the TQM ” The Binding Tool” to join my ends, and I often BASTE the join until I have the piping lined up perfectly. I don’t always get my join perfect first try, and I find that basting the join works for me.  There are many ways to join the ends of binding and you-tube is a great resource.  I have never mastered the “pin trick” in the video above.  Near the end of this post I put a link to a video I used when I first got the TQM Binding Tool. That video is from Jenny Doan at Missouri Star Quilt Company.
OTHER TYPES OF MACHINE BINDING –All of these videos and links are from EXPERIENCED quilters who are great teachers.  There a LOTS more out on youtube, but I am sharing some of my favorites.
SINGLE COLOR BINDING
I love Susan – “the Gourmet Quilter ” and her methods and instructions.  In the first video, she tells you how to measure and make your binding, —  How to measure, cut and make a binding strip – Quilting Tips & techniques 093  
The 2nd video is her method for attaching and making the “finish” where the ends come together – How to Bind a Quilt by machine – Quilting Tips & Techniques 094

Susan joins the ends of the binding in a different method to the one that is done in Susie’s Magic Binding.  I learned this method that Susan shows in a quilting class at a local quilt shop.  (Like I said, many ways to achieve similar results!)

Pat Sloan  – a well known instructor – has a great tutorial on her web page for machine binding.  (I prefer double fold binding, but her final result for attaching is worth looking at) Pat Sloan Machine Binding tutorial
I haven’t looked for a video done by Pat, but her website may have something if you search around.
Jenny Doan – Missouri Star quilt Co has some great videos, and does one on “machine binding” using 2.5″ strips.  She is fun to watch too — https://youtu.be/-GVA05MxXTU

NOTE – Jenny mentions near the beginning of the video about The Binding Tool” and has a video on HOW to use the binding tool.

There are LOTS of ways to join your ends, and using The Binding Tool is MY preferred method.

Donna Jordan of Jordan Fabrics has great tutorials on You Tube. In the video below, she is giving you a “fast method” for machine binding and has used “butt joints” not a 45 degree angle when she is making her binding.  She has great tips for turning corners etc.  Her method is sewing the binding to the front, and stitching in the ditch on the front.  She is a very technical sewer and gives great explanations.    Jordan Fabrics Quick Method for Binding

I enjoy making the binding and machine attaching to my quilts.  Often times I bring home the quilts from church that our group has made and bind 3-6 of them.  I started doing that when my husband said to me once that it wouldn’t be fair to all the kids if the one I bound looked so “cool” and the others had “traditional binding”.  I try to pull colors from the quilts so the binding is a feature.  Here are a few peaks of what I have made over the years.  If you click on the photo’s below you will go to the folders they are in on my FLICKR page and you can zoom in a little.

Susies Magic Binding Dakota quilt

2 spools of binding

Binding set up on my machine

Binding a Senior Quilt

I just love the way the piping shows against a quilt –

Stripe binding

Below is a picture of a project I finished at a retreat this year and it has Susie’s magic binding.  The little piping really pops along the edge. Contrast is important when choosing what to use. In this case, I had plenty of that fabric, but made the main fabric “scrappy”.

Quilted and bound

QUICK EDIT FOR 2 more photo’s……because my hubby said you might want to see “MORE” and “CLOSER” etc…..

Binding for Addison's quilt

This grey and coral binding is on my youngest granddaughters quilt.  It got a 2nd place ribbon at the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show in 2017.

Quilting on Addison's

Hubby said to “give you a close up” so here you go — 

Addisons quilt

**looking back at this quilt I think the judges were right….it needed more quilting in the border…**

So, that’s it.  I hope you enjoyed this little binding journey!