03 August 2010

In which I learn there is more than one "right way."

Right before we left Denver, I was talking to Rachel about some gorgeous fabric she had in her stash. The fabric had been in the running for curtains for Baby Jack's room, but she ended up choosing something else. We were discussing what she could make with the fabric since really, it would be too shameful to let such a lovely print just sit on a shelf.

"Why don't I just send it to my Aunt Kathy? She can whip it into a quilt in no time and then I'll bind it for you," I said to Rachel.

"Umm...okay!" was basically the gist of what Rachel said.


I've told you about my Aunt Kathy before. She is the one who has tried, thought about trying, or mastered every craft in the whole entire world, amen. Now she is the proud owner of a long-arm quilter and she can continue to help me make all of my crafting dreams come true. As I predicted, Kathy had the quilt finished before I made it back to Idaho. She expressed her concern about the red/pink bird pattern for a little boy, to which Rachel and I paid no attention, and we thanked her profusely for helping us out.

On to the binding.

I knew that the only way to bind a quilt was with continuous bias binding. I swear I have done it before. But a full day of following the online tutorial I found left me with sub-par continuous binding. So, I gathered up my pride--and bought more fabric--and drove to Kathy's house for a little instruction.

Kathy has recently joined a quilting guild and has been learning new techniques and tricks with each quilt she makes. When I told her I needed to bind this quilt but couldn't figure out the bias binding she said, "actually, it only needs to be on the bias if you're going around curves; otherwise, on a straight edge quilt you can just cut the binding straight."

Blink, blink. "Um, okay. If you say so."

If anyone else had tried to tell me that I would have been like, "Nuh-uh. You don't know." But Kathy possesses an authority that I only passively question and usually end up obeying. She showed me how to cut the ends of the strips at an angle so that there wouldn't be too much bulk at every seam, and how to of-set the edges when you stitch them together so the binding will be straight. Then I told her that I wanted to machine sew the binding to the blanket and then flip it over and whip-stitch the other side by hand.

Blink, blink. "Okay well, you're not going to do that."

Apparently the younger generations at the quilting guild always machine sew the binding on. Hand sewing is how the old ladies do it. This time I was a bit more hesitant--I kind of had my heart set on stitching while I watched SYTYCD, but since I was there, and Kathy was letting me use her machine, and I realized I could be completely done by the time I left her house, I agreed (see above paragraph).


"Now you can measure, and check, and put all the damn pins in that you want, or you can just put this binding on here and sew like a crazy woman," was exactly what she told me when I sat down at the machine. I realized that sometimes learning things from Aunt Kathy is exactly like learning things from my dad, only with a higher pitched voice.


The end result was, pretty good. Not bad. Good, not great. A bit wonky in spots. But I'm satisfied with it being my first ever machine binding, and Baby Jack seems to approve. He doesn't even seem to mind the birds.

Thanks so much for all of your help, Aunt Kathy. What would I do without you? Probably hand-sew a crappy binding onto a quilt, that's what.



Hannah said...

wow, mandy! fantastic!!! Really, really cute.

I'm jealous that you know someone with a long-arm.

dw said...


Your Auntie is MY KIND OF WOMAN!

Charlotte said...

I love it that you used damn.

I felt completely comfortable passively accepting my grandma's cooking advice, which I think we can all agree was entirely merited. And one time she said that since Provo is a lower elevation than Denver, I didn't have to worry about adjusting the leavening. And I wound up with swimming pool cakes. I threw those. Grandma then advised adjusting the leavening. That's the only time passive advice acceptance led me astray.

I pretty much love the quilt.

Hil said...

Oh my goodness, I am in love with that quilt.. and that cute baby Jack!!! Adorable.

Once again, well done Miranda.

paws said...

I love that print, too. It's great for a little boy.

Jason & Makenna said...

Gorgeous fabric. Just the colors I had picked out for our next nursery....that we won't be needing for a long time. :) Great job!

Staci said...

I <3 your aunt Kathy. Did you ask her about my funky binding stitching? Am I supposed to do that? Aw what do I care?! I <3 my funky stitches!

Rendy Tucker said...

Okay- Seriously I need step-by-step instructions. I have a nearly-done quilt on Scarlett's big girl bed and it needs to be bound by the time the new baby is ready to be in the crib. And considering that I don't have more than a hour to myself at a time. . . I think I should get started soon and do it the quickest way possible. PLEASE help me. :)

michelle said...

I always use straight cuts for my bindings, too. But I machine sew the raw edge and then turn over the folded edge and hand stitch it. I would like to know how to do it this way!

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