Monday, June 29, 2009

Win a Janome 6600 NOW


So this is it. The moment you all have been waiting for. I'd like to think that the quilt along and all the giveaways along the way have been fun. And educational. And worthwhile. But let's face it. They don't mean squat in comparison to this.

I know things people. I've been to college. And around the block a time or two.

I've got my finger on the pulse of the human spirit.

You have been waiting for the mac daddy. And today is the day.

Leave a comment to this post for your chance to win the miraculous Janome 6600.

It is fantastically amazing. I love it so much that I missed it while on vacation. For real.

Some of my favorite features are:

-- the independent motor for bobbin winding
-- speed control lever
-- the start/stop button
-- the almighty automatic thread cutter!!! (can't I get a Amen on that one?)
-- extra high pressure foot lift
-- knee lift!!

Oh. I. Could. Go. On. For. Days.

What? You don't want me to go on for days? Hmmm.

Ok. Well, let me just summarize by saying that I love the Janome 6600 because it allows me to make quilts with absolute ease. Like this.

::Deep cleansing breath::

Leave a comment to this post for a chance to win the Janome 6600. Only one comment per person. International entries welcome. Contest will run from now (June 29, 2009) until next Monday, July 6, 2009 at 6:00pm EDST US. A winner will be announced on Tuesday, July 7th.

Good luck!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quilt Along Week 7 How to Bind a Quilt

Dude. I must apologize in advance. You are about to encounter an obnoxious number of photos. Bear with me as I'm about to cover trimming and squaring up your quilt, making the binding, sewing the binding on the front of your quilt, and hand sewing it onto the back.


Can you handle all that? Of course you can. Because this is it. This is the final step in making your quilt. The end is so close you can almost taste it, right?


You have your fabric for your binding. You can figure exactly how much you need depending on how big your final quilt is. My final quilt (after trimming . . . which we'll get to here in just a sec) measures 66"x77". I am cutting my binding from selvage to selvage because I want the stripe to run horizontal once complete so that means that the length of each binding strip will be 42"ish. If I add up the total length around the perimeter of my quilt I will need 286 inches of binding to sew onto that. So, I divide 286 by 42 and get 6.8. Therefore I need 6.8 strips for my binding . . . so 7 strips.

With me?

If not, don't feel bad. When I first started quilting I always had to have the kind woman at the quilt store help me figure it out.

To make the binding, you are going to cut 2.5" strips. You are a pro at this by now cause our entire quilt top is comprised of 2.5" strips. So, fold your fabric just like we did in Week 2 and then straighten up your edge just like we did then too.

Then cut however many 2.5" strips you need for your binding. Still wiggin' out? Get to the Flickr group and we'll help you do the math there. There are some real math geniuses over there. Real smart cookies I tell ya. Rumor has it that some of them were math writers for the movie Good Will Hunting.

Not really but it sounded impressive, right?

There are my 7 binding strips that I need for my quilt. You may need more or less depending on the size of your final quilt. I went ahead and cut extra strips for my littler quilt that I made with the leftovers. If I'm making binding for one I might as well make it for the other to, eh?

Let's take a minute and get your quilt trimmed up. The quilting is done so the extra batting and backing needs to be trimmed off. And you want the final quilt to be nice and square.

I always use my cutting mat, straight edge and rotary cutter to trim it up. It has all the nice lines and it goes quickly this way.

Even if your quilt top was square as square can be after you made the top, the quilting process can sometimes pull or stretch it a little bit and make it a little off. Trim right down to the original quilt top size. Then I like to fold it corner to corner and just make sure that everything matches up nicely . . . and if not then adjust the trimming accordingly.

Yes, I'm sure there is a more mathematically and technically sound way to achieve the perfect squared-up quilt but this method works great for me. Besides, haven't you learned by now that there is really no right or wrong way in quilting? Your way is just as good as any other way. I promise.

Ok. So back to the binding strips. You'll see I've got one laying horizontal and one vertical. Right sides of fabric together.

You will sew right along where the pen is laying. From one corner to the next.

Then when you open up the seam you'll have one long continuous 2.5" strip. This makes for a good strong seam that will last and last through all of the tugging and general abuse your binding will take over it's life.

Press open this seam nice and flat. Open this time. Not to one side. Open.

Repeat this process for all of your binding strips. You'll have one super long 2.5" wide strip.

Once you've got them all sewn together then on each of the two ends, iron down a flap about 1/2 inch. Technically you only need one end folded and ironed this way, but I like to do both so that it doesn't matter which end I start with when sewing it on my quilt. It only takes a second and it will make it impossible to accidentally do something wrong in the sewing on phase so I highly recommend it.

Can you tell I've made this mistake before? And maybe more than once? Shhhh. Please don't blow my cover.

Now, fold your strip in half and press. The whole dang thing people!

So in my case all 286 inches of the binding. Once you've completed that your binding is made and your ready to machine sew it onto the front of the quilt.

The raw edge of your binding lines up with the raw edge of your quilt top. DO NOT start at a corner of your quilt. And, DO NOT start at the end of your binding. Look closely at the photo.

Leave a few inches of the binding free and unsewn. This is because when the binding comes back around to meet up with this the end will tuck inside of the channel and all the binding will be sewn down together to make a complete and continuous binding. Stay with me. You'll see.

Just start down from a corner of your quilt top by at least 8-10 inches.

Again, with the raw edge of your binding lined up with the raw edge of your quilt, sew the binding on using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Ok. You are approaching a corner of your quilt. The most important thing to remember is . . .


Stop sewing approximately a 1/4 inch from the corner. Lock in your stitch (forward and back one or two stitches does this well).

Then take it out of the machine.

Turn your quilt so that you'll be in position to start sewing the binding onto the next side of your quilt.

You are going to make a nice clean corner by folding your binding first up like this.

And then down like this.

Your needle should go down 1/4 inch from the back edge of the quilt and 1/4 inch from the side edge of the quilt. And your stitching will pick up right where you stopped it a second ago before you removed the quilt from the machine and turned it. It will make a perfect corner and you will be tickled pink. Guaranteed!

Keep sewing your binding on all the way around.

As you approach where you began stop. Keep your needle down into the fabric. Look what you've got.

The end of your binding strip (you'll probably have to trim it a little cause it is probably longer than it needs to be. Trim it so that it overlaps with the beginning by at least 1 inch) needs to tuck right inside the channel of the already sewn down binding strip. This is why you didn't start right at the end of your binding in the beginning. You needed this extra bit flapping in the breeze to allow you do join the beginning and end now.

Study the photos. I think they make it clear.

Now you're ready to flip the whole quilt over and begin hand sewing the binding to the back.

Don't start at a corner. Just start at some point along one of the straight sides.

Get your needle started by getting it into the actual quilt.

Right where your thread is located is exactly where the needle needs to come up through the binding. And right as close to the edge of the binding as you possibly can.

This series of photos show you the stitch. It's called a blind stitch. My stitches here in the photos are a bit exaggerated so that I'm sure you can see them. If you just catch the very edge of the binding then you will barely be able to see the stitches at all once complete. Hence the name "blind stitch". Catchy eh?

Ok. Corner ahead. Don't panic.

Continue sewing all the way up the edge of the quilt.

Then fold the corner down. OH!! Look at that perfect corner ladies and gentlemen!!

Use the same blind stitch technique to sew the corner down. Again, I'm using exaggerated stitches so that you are sure to see them. And since this is a corner that will get lots of use and abuse during it's life I'm sure to do short stitches and sew it well.

Now keep blind stitchin' all the way around. And before you know it you'll be done!!

Ye-haw little cowboy!! You've done made yourself a quilt!!!

Now check back later today for the mac daddy giveaway post.

How do cowboys sign off?

Adios pardner?

Giddy up?

Get along little doggies?