Sunday, July 28, 2013

Machine Binding Details

I wanted to give a proper tutorial on the machine binding of these potholders and I took a lot of pictures for it. Here they are with the caveats that these are POTHOLDERS, not "Art of the Western World"! LOL!
So if thread doesn't quite match and stitching shows on the front, hold your breath and remember;

1. that somebody is going to spill spaghetti sauce on them,
2. and then put them too close to the burner so that they get a scorch mark,
3. and then smear them with chocolate pudding,
4. and then wash them every week or so.

The moral is to relax and have fun making these while you get in some practice at machine binding!

(Text is below for the corresponding picture.)

On your 2 1/2" ironed-in-half prepared binding, fold over a little of the raw edge on the end and finger press it, then refold the binding shut.
With scissors trim off any uneven excess batting and backing on all sides before you begin applying the binding.
Place the prepared binding with the folded-in end-edge right on the corner of the right side of the potholder, with all the raw edges of everything together towards the right, and the long fold on the left. Sew towards the next corner with a generous 1/4" seam allowance. If you go too wide on your seam allowance, you'll have the devil's own time when you go to topstitch the other side.

Stop stitching before you get to the corner and make a 45 degree angular fold off to the right. Be sure that it sits right onto the corner of the potholder and finger-press it VERY HARD!

Next, flip and fold the same strip backwards over towards the left, such that there is a fold along the side of the corner and the raw edges line up along the bottom edge. Again, finger-press this little fold VERY HARD.

You are creating a "fabric memory" here, so that the fabric will do just what you want it to do in a few moments. Now re-open those folds and continue to stitch VERY SLOWLY until you are exactly 1/4" from the edge (which you cannot really see because the binding is on top of it, but it should be right on the 45 degree angle fold line).

Now, pivot the corner of the potholder and sew BACKWARDS slowly for that 1/4" until you are just off of the fabrics. Immediately, put your machine back into forward drive so you don't forget to do that.
Lift your presser foot and gently refold all those folds you so carefully did before. Set your presser foot back down on top of it all at 1/4" away from the "new" raw edge going down the next side.

Now you just stitch through all those layers and sew your 1/4" right down towards the next corner.

Continue to repeat this process until you have all three corners done and are ready to do the last corner with the hanging loop finish.
My binding was scrappy, so do not be alarmed that the turquoise fabric changed into a peachy orange color.

Trim off the excess end of the binding at about one of your hand-widths, I'd say about 4 1/2" to 5" from the end of the last corner.
Also be sure to finger press the beginning of the binding outwards, or away from the potholder's face. In the above photo, it is the turquoise piece.

Next, fold in the raw edges of the very end of the cut off binding piece and then refold it shut. Crease this well so that it doesn't act up on you later.

Now this is a little nerve-wracking to describe, but bend the raw edge of the binding inwards, or to the left, by about one third, and at the same time, flip the long folded edge of the binding over on top of the raw edge that you just folded inwards.

Yes, this is most definitely a little fiddly! But take your time! Get it all the way you want it to be and then stitch slowly right down along the top of the fold to the end.

Notice that as you went along, you have stitched right off of the potholder. Take a back stitch or three to secure the very end of the hanging loop and cut your threads.
Whew! You got it all applied, now it's time to flip the whole thing over!

Take the time to pin the two ends of the binding, the beginning end, here in turquoise, and the last end of the binding with the loop on it, here in peachy orange. I never pin anything, but trust me here!

Now you are ready to fold the long piece of the loop and place it over all those funny-looking ends and edges to cover them up!

Set your needle onto the beginning edge, (turquoise) and stitch an angle across the corner to secure the end of the hanging loop. As you go, pivot a bit to sew down onto the side (peachy orange), to topstitch the whole thing, removing pins as you go.

When you get down to the first corner, be sure to trim ACROSS the point of the inside of the corner's miter. Be certain to not cut any stitching. Then fold out the binding to form your mitered corner by pushing the raw edges to the inside of the binding.

Here you NEED TO PIN along the bottom edge and make sure that that edge goes down first, so that the vertical edge is miter folded on TOP of it.
Stitch carefully down onto the corner and be sure to catch in the fold of the upper miter when you then pivot to continue down the next side, removing pins as you go.
In a perfect world, it shouldn't matter which dang fold goes first, but trust me, I've done it both ways and it comes out neater and better if the horizontal is folded in first and pinned, with the vertical on top.

Finish all your corners this same way, tugging the binding around to the back and smoothing it down as you go.

When you get back to the starting point, go over the tail end of the hanging loop one more time to reinforce it. There are so many layers on this that it helps to be going forwards rather than backstitching. Trim the threads and then you're DONE, baby! Congratulations!!!

I can do a complete binding around one potholder in about 15 minutes; 7 or 8 minutes per side,. The first one took me twenty forevers, LOL!

I hope that you can do your own now!

Happy sewing!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Friday Fun!

First today, let me say that sometimes Blogger has a mind of its own and I cannot figure it out. So if you have placed comments that were not given a private response, or perhaps had your blog's button disappear from my "Blog List", I do apologize.

We are enjoying a bit of a break in the intense heat with temperatures about 20 degrees cooler all around. Yippee! It's much more like New Hampshire now.

Yesterday was the Friday group of the "Sunshine Gang" at the Alton Senior Center. We laughed once again at the brief misty showers in the morning, because we have always said that we make our own sunshine with our smiles!

We are all working on different projects and the conversations seem to center on various quilting issues. Margorie was laying out the pieces for her scrappy baby quilt early on in the session.
We took this photo to use my camera to double check that no pieces were accidentally placed incorrectly.
There is something about the smaller scale of viewing a quilt top with a photo that helps our brains discern any anomalies in the pattern. If you've goofed, the camera sees it! Some quilter's even buy one of those little apartment front door "peepholes" from their hardware store to view their quilt designs. It really works!
We wished we had done that with Sue's big quilt, too, before she got it all assembled, because we found an error in one of the blocks of her blue Lemoyne Star. Sorry I don't have the error recorded, but here is Dorinda working on helping to correct it. Lots of "frog stitching," rippit, rippit!

You can see that Pauline was waving to Gorgiana as she came in and had been helping Sue slice off selvedges from her pieced blue backing.
I had my Featherweight, "Scottie" out and managed to get one round done on my 16 scrappy Civil
War log cabin blocks. Progress is very slow what with all the socializing and eating chocolate between seams. Margy had some preprinted Yoyos to stitch, too.

Pauline and I sat together for lunch and actually ate our Cream of Spinach soup to make up for all that chocolate, LOL Never fear, it was freshly made and it was delicious!

After lunch, Amy Braun, the director of the Alton Senior Center, most graciously allowed me to speak briefly to the group promoting the Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild raffle quilt and sell tickets for it. The group had lots of questions about the size of the quilt, what charities were being advanced by the guild, when was the raffle, and such. I did my best to answer them all and I was rewarded with selling off all my tickets! Yipppee!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Potholders in Production

Hooray! I have received confirmation that I've been accepted for a booth/table space at Gilmanton Old Home Day!

That's where I want to sell my Sawtooth Star (or Variable Star, or Evening Star, depending on who you ask) potholders. Now, wouldn't it have been awful if I had all these made and hadn't gotten into the fair? LOL!
The way I work (play) on these is to keep a stack of various colored 4 1/2" squares off to the left of me, and keep a big stack of both lights and darks in 2 1/2" squares to the right of me. I cut a few of the rectangular 4 1/2" x 2 1/2" bricks in sets of four matching fabrics by stacking four layers of 2 1/2" Width Of Fabric strips. Those become my Flying Geese. I make the FG first, and then have a ball auditioning which fabrics I'm going to select for the center square and the cornerstones.

Although the two above are very similar, no two are just alike. I am always thrilled to see the pieced star go together and I usually admire it by muttering, "Wow, look at that one!" to myself.
I know that I could use the speed piecing method for these geese, but I'm enjoying making the cute little Bonus Triangles from the cut away section. Bonnie Hunter calls them, "Quilt Seeds!" LOL!

If I were to hire child labor to produce these in Pakistan, I still wouldn't be able to charge less for them. But I'd put a brand name on them of "Motley Kitchen." People who need their things in matched sets need not apply to become my customers. I sell only to the scrappy and happy folks. LOL! I charge $6.00 apiece or two for $10.00, step right up!

I have all twenty pieced and a nice little stack of eleven layered and quilted, but I haven't done any bindings yet.
The backings are all the same fabric, so maybe I'm not as scrappy happy as I think. This is a bone and cream bamboo print that I bought years ago from It really won't work in an American Civil War reproduction style quilt and I had three yards of it to move along.
By the way, I stopped using when I became tired of the sleazy way that they package their products for shipping, such that they arrive all skewed and wrinkled. I've learned that Fat Quarter Shop, in Manchaca, Texas is far more to my liking.
Yes, I am a hopeless fabric snob! Cars? nope. Jewelry? nope. People? nope. But fabrics for quilting? You betcha, big boy!!! LOL!

Tanner, with the tan nose and white bib is in back, while Tiger, who has no white at all is in the foreground.  

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Special Occasion

Today was a very special day for me for two reasons; first, there was a farewell party for Sally, who is one of our beloved "Sew & Sews", the sit'n'sew group from the Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild. Cindy organized the event and it was hosted by Sharon in her lovely lakeside home.

Sally, pictured below, is off to a relocation to Leisureworld in California and we all wanted to give our special regards.

I had been holding out on showing you the little table topper or wallhanging quilt that I made for her.

Here it is before it was bound, I'm laughing because I now realize that I have no pictures of it finished, LOL! Never mind!
It is all floral scraps with one large bloom that represents Sally. I named the quilt, "Friendship Garden" and I quilted those words on it with free motion quilting.

The above photograph was taken before I sewed the two necessary French knots by hand to dot the two letter "i's" in the word friendship.

I outlined each patch in the garden, put 22 hearts on a vine all the way around it on the outer border, and bound it with a deep maroon binding.
It was well received and I was so glad because every stitch was made with love.
It was a warm day and we all certainly enjoyed our potluck lunch together on the screened porch.

But remember that I said at the beginning of this post that there were two special events today? Well, my charming hostess, Sharon, is the gal who just became the new grandmother of the triplets that were born May 31st of this year.
Today I got to present her with the "jewels of her office" in the form of those three log cabin baby quilts that I made for her. She had seen pictures but now she got to see the quilts for real and touch them.
Sharon and I are seeing the quilts.
On the way home from the party, I stopped off at Reuben's Alton Home & Lumber Center and bought a nice new 25 foot tape measure for measuring quilts and battings and backings and such. Now perhaps I'll be able to find the perfectly good one that I've misplaced here somewhere, LOL!

I got myself a great metal nozzle for the hose outdoors, too. That means that Matthew can wash Raven out on the deck with a proper nozzle and not run the well dry. Hmm. What a concept; having the right tools! LOL.

Happy sewing and stay cool!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pleasant Diversions

The word of the week, or weeks should I say, is MUGGY! I took this picture of my tall phlox before this mornings rain took all the blossoms away when it poured!

They are really too tall for this setting and I've tried to move them twice. I don't get all the roots, so they promptly grow right back! I'm not trying to move them anymore, LOL! They've earned the right to stay. Besides, this location is right by my door and the deer won't come this close to eat them up.

I got distracted doing a few medium-sized HST's for a scrappy Milky Way quilt by Liz Porter, is it? Or Marianne Fons? Do I have them bass-ackwards? It was in a magazine and I bought the magazine but I have misplaced it, temporarily, don't you know?
These I need to match up with four-patches that are 4 1/2" as a unit and they will be 4" finished in the quilt.
They are scrappy, some florals, some Civil War reproduction, some of whatever my fancy moves me to include, LOL!
You can see the four patches there too on the ironing board.
Then I stopped doing those when I got an email for the Old Home Day in Gilmanton and I took a booth to sell a few potholders. Then I decided that I'd better make a few potholders. Ya think?
I made up about a dozen and pressed them nicely with my Rose-scented homemade best press. Each one amazes me as I make it as no two are alike!
I use up my "bad" or "ugly" fabrics on these. Then whenever I see them all made up, I say to myself, "Now why ever did I think that was ugly?"
Quilting is very simple and fun on these! I just do an outline of the star and put an X through the center.
My futon-loving hound, Raven,
had gotten the red quilt pretty dingy. She's awfully fond of taking dust baths outdoors and then coming in and wriggling on the quilt. It's a Labrador thing, I guess.
So I piled the quilt and three backings into my old car to head off to the Loudon laundromat. I won't use my washer because it has an agitator. Here is the quilt all bright and clean after it came home!
Of course, if I'm going all the way into Loudon, that's right near Concord, too, so I might just as well drop in on Nancy Gesen of the Golden Gese Quilt Shoppe, right?
Ahhh, and I love her historicals!
Even better, they were all 20% off for her July sale!
And no shipping charges when you support your local quilt shop, hooray!
The kitties are demanding equal time just because there was a dog picture shown, so here it is:
Happy sewing!
Stay cool and quilt on...

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