Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More Yoga Matt Bags

Here is my latest yoga matt bag. I really love this one. It has two straps and a zipper. My last bag was just a bit too small for the thick pilates matt that I have. It was really hard to get my thick matt in and out of the bag; however, I have a thin yoga matt and it is fine in the other bag.

This is the "Purses Bags & Totes" pattern by Cindy Taylor Oates. I made a few changes to the pattern though. I didn't quilt the bag with batting in it. Instead I lined the bag with nylon windbreaker type material and I made cloth straps to go around the bag instead of webbing. You could easily add a pocket to the outside of the bag if you wanted. The ends of the bag also have a sun embroidery on them.

I got the pattern here from SewThankful and I was really pleased with their service.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The finished quilt!

I'm sorry I haven't blogged in a little while. Those last few posts were pretty intense and I needed a bit of time off.

I was also doing a pilates certification all weekend (it's not finished yet!) so I didn't have much time.

This is a picture of the finished quilt that I did for my Mother. You have seen this quilt in bits and pieces but not the whole thing so here it is! I think that it looks so fresh and spring-like. It is about 86" x 96" big. And yes it was quilted on my regular sewing machine without any problems.

Just a reminder that if you have any questions or comments you can leave them here or you can e-mail me at

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Label and turning the binding to the back

Before you turn your binding to the back of the quilt you have a t least one more step. It is now time to add a label to you quilt. I like to enclose my labels into the binding of the quilt on two sides so that I have less hand sewing to do. I write with a Pigma pen on the back of the quilt who the quilt is for, who made , when and where. I always think that I am going to remember when I made something but I rarely do; and, 50 years from now people will wonder about the quilt.
Make sure that you don't sew around the whole corner when you attatch the label or you will sew into your mitre. You will then blind stick the label down on the remaining sides just like an applique.
If you are adding a hanging sleeve to your quilt you would do it at this stage. I will blog about that in a future blog.
The next step is to turn your binding to the back. I like the finish of turing the binding to the back by hand the best. Yes, it does take some time and it is very repetative but I really like the finish.
Lots of quilters use straight pins to hold their binding at the back of their quilts but I really like these cheap barettes that you can get at the dollar store. Quilt stores do sell a "quilt" version of the same thing but these work just as well and cost a lot less. And, they come in cool colours!
Use a blind stitch again and stitch the binding to the back.

When you get to the corners you will mitre them at the back as well. When you fold over the binding at the back make sure that you fold over the opposite side first. If you fold over the same side as the front first your corners will be lumpy. However, if you have it top-bottom bottom-top your corners will be smooth. IE if it is left on the bottom and right on the top then fold over right on the top and left on the bottom so that you will have opposites when you look at it. I hope that you can see what I mean from the picture. Try it and feel the corners and you will see what I mean. Take a couple fo stitches on both sides, stabbing through the corner, of the quilt to stitch down the corner and continue on to the next corner.

I hope that this was all fairly clear for you all! Please feel free to post your comments and questions.

In my binding series of blogs I was thinking of blogging on how to afix a hanging sleeve and how to put a flap or another embelishment into your binding. What do you think? Please let me know here what you would like to see and I will see what I can do.
Happy Quilting!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Double Fold French Binding

Here is the blog on double-fold french binding finally! It's a long one so maybe get a cup of tea or a glass of wine :) I hope that you enjoy it.

I make my binding from cross-grain or length-wise-grain strips unless I need bias strips for rounded edges. I really like length-wise-grain since it is so strong and have very little bend to it.

I usually cut my binding strips 2.5” for large quilts and 2” for small wall-hangings. I find that I don't like the look of a really thick binding on a small wall-hanging.

I join my binding strips on the bias by putting the two strips right-sides together like the picture and sewing them on the diagonal. You can draw a line if you wish Do this until all the strips are joined. Trim the excess fabric off so that you have just a ¼” seam allowance left.

Take your binding to your ironing board and press the seams OPEN to distribute the bulk of the seam-allowance. And, press the binding in half lengthwise so that the wrong sides are together. I generally press the seams open as I go along pressing the binding in half. By pressing your binding in half now you will get a smoother crease in the end and save time while you are machine sewing it on.

Now take your binding and quilt to your sewing machine now and make sure that you have your walking foot on. Start on one of the long sides of your quilt and make sure that you leave a long tail of extra binding so that we can join it latter. Sew your binding on with the correct seam allowance:

  • If you cut your binding at 2 ½” sew your binding on at 3/8”

  • If you cut your binding at 2” sew your binding on at ¼”

If you sew a 2 ½” binding on at ¼” your binding will either not be “full” when you turn it to the back; or, the binding on the back will be much larger than the binding on the front. You may need to measure this on your machine to make sure that you get the correct measurement. The edge of my O/A foot on my Pfaff machine is a very accurate 3/8” so it is perfect for 2 ½” bindings. After sewing for a few inches turn the binding to the back of the quilt to audition it and make sure that you are sewing it on with the correct seam allowance. Sometimes if you are using thick fabric and thick batting you may have to make this allowance smaller.

When you get to a corner stop about ¼” before it and pivot the quilt so that you can sew directly into the corner. If you sew into the corner your binding will be stronger and it is easier to fold the fabric in the next step. Remove the quilt from the machine and cut your thread.

Fold the fabric directly up so that the raw edges of the binding are in line with your quilt edge and the binding is extending beyond the quilt. Make a good crease in the fabric with your finger-nail.

Next fold the binding straight down. This will form the miter when we fold the binding to the back. This step is so important! Many people just pivot around the corner of the quilt and then not know why they don't get a nice finish in the corners. Take the extra couple of seconds to miter your corners properly. You won't regret it.

Finish the remaining three corners. You will then return to where you started. Stop sewing about 12” before you get to the starting place and take the quilt off the sewing machine. You will have two long tails one at either end. What we are going to do now is join the ends so that we have a seamless finish. You need to overlap the binding ends by whatever your binding is cut at. IE if you cut your binding at 2” overlap the two ends by 2”. I love this little Omingrid 2 ½” square for binding because it is easy to get between the two ends (much easier than a 6” ruler since sometimes you don't have that much space).

Cut off the excess fabric. Notice how the 2 1/2" ruler is just perfect for this job and makes seeing where to cut so much easier. We are now going to sew the strips together just like in the beginning when we made the binding.

Put the ends together at right angels just like we did when we first made the binding. I like to use a pin here to hold the ends together in the right spot since it is a little challenging to hold the ends together sometimes. You may have to bunch up the quilt a bit.

Take the quilt and binding to the sewing machine and sew a diagonal line just like in the beginning. Now let the binding go and make sure that you haven't twisted the binding before sewing or done weird things BEFORE you cut off the seam allowance. The first couple of times you do this you may need to rip this seam out and try again since twisting the fabric or sewing in the wrong place is very common and easy to do.

Cut off the excess fabric. Press the seam open to distribute the bulk. And, it should look just like the rest of your binding. Continue to sew on that last little bit of binding and your finished! This way of ending your binding takes a bit of practice but it gives a seamless finish without any lumps and bumps.

I hope that you enjoyed this blog and I hope that I was able to make sense :)

If you have any comments of suggestions please feel free to comment here and I will try to answer your questions.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Squaring Up a Quilt

I thought that I would do a two or three part blog on squaring up a quilt, after quilting, and doing a double fold french binding. I find that many quilters simply take scissors to the edges of thier quilt and cut along the edge of thier top border; and, I get a lot of questions from fellow quilters on how to sqaure up a quilt properly so this seemed like a good idea to me :)

Step One: Place a large square ruler in the corner of the quilt. Omnigrid makes a new 24" ruler that is wonderful for this but I am using the 14" in the pictures. Line up as many lines as you can along your borders and get the most square and straight lines that you can. You may have to move the quilt a bit to achieve this. I usually cut my final borders 1/4" bigger than I want so that I have lots of room to square up the quilt. After you cut on the two sides you will have a nice 90 degree angle corner so that the rest of your quilt will be square.

Step Two: Continue cutting the edge of your quilt with a regular ruler, matching up one of the lines on your ruler with one of the lines on your boarder or quilt body, until you get to another corner. When you are about 24" from the next corner use your square ruler again and sqaure up the next corner. Hopefully then your lines will meet up without a problem. Sometimes at this point you find out the somehow your borders are different sizes. If this is the case go back and square down to the smallest size.

Once you have squared up three corners you will be coming back to the original corner that you started with. Keep on cutting until you get within one ruler length of the oringinal corner then match up with the original cut. Make the last cut and you are done! :)

As an aside; when I am adding the borders to my quilt top I do this same process after adding each border. I will add a first border then square up the quilt. Etc for additional borders. This prevents corners that take on a life of thier own and growing at wierd angles.

I hope that you enjoyed this and please feel free to comment here on my blog if you liked it. I will show how I bind a quilt next using double-fold-french binding.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mchine Quilting

Well I spent the day machine quilting! My boys were in school until 3:00pm so I spent the day machine quilting; maybe I should say finally I machine quilted the quilt that I basted ages ago. I had such a great time. I put on some Ella Fitzgerald and just quilted away while singing. I think that I must have been a very funny sight for a while today singing "a tisket a tasket...." while quilting; but, quilting with music is such a great way to quilt. My stiches are better and my quilting is better. I can't imagine quilting in silence. I am not a silent person by any means :)

This is the quilt that you may remember from a previous blog when I basted the quilt top so it is shamefully over-due for me to have finished it.

The quilt is composed of a big block quilt kit. Only, instead of doing all big blocks I did some 4-patches and then 1-patches. The squares all equal 9" finished.

So what do you think? You can leave a comment here on my blog if you like! Miss M. you know that this quilt is for you so what do you think?
Happy Quilting!