Wednesday, July 25, 2012
I've finally figured out binding! Not that I was completely incompetent before, I've just always been a hand binder and I've realized that with making more quilts and more charity quilts, I don't want to hand stitch all those bindings. Or spend hot summer nights sitting under a quilt while I stitch binding!
But this is my fourth quilt using a machine finished binding and I've finally got it right. Not perfect (there were a few skipped areas and a few ugly areas) but, finally, right. See, I like a really tight binding, a binding that finished up a little over ¼"* thick and uses 2" strips. It's partly that I like the look, but also I'm cheap and 2" strips are cheaper than 2½" strips. Those thin strips don't give you much wiggle room, though.
I kept having problems with the back just looking like crap. I was skipping areas while others had too much binding folded over. The real issue? Hand finishing binding is too forgiving. You don't have to trim the quilt too exactly since hand stitching gives you so much control. So when I was machine finishing my binding I was going too fast and being sloppy. Yesterday I learned to slow down, use my walking foot, trim accurately to a scant ¼" and press slowly, and yes, accurately. It paid off in a binding that looks much better and while it probably took twice as long as my previous slap dash machine finished bindings, still took about one tenth the time of a hand stitched binding.
If I ever start pinning these things they'll be naming mountains after me.
* know how to get an accurate ¼ on your pc? It's alt0188 ½ is alt0189 ¾ is alt0190 Sadly that ends fun with fractions.