Tag Archives: Norma’s quilt

Binding the Satin Log Cabin

Now, don’t get me wrong, but I enjoy my job. It keeps my mind active; like solving little jigsaw puzzles all day long.

But I hate that my job eats into my creative pursuits. By the time I get home most evenings, quilting is the last thing on my mind.

Here’s my final push to finish Norma’s quilt . . .

I bought black satin for the binding. I cut it into 4-inch bias strips, sewed them end-to-end, and pressed the resulting strip in half.

Starting along the middle of one side of the quilt, and leaving a long tail free, I pinned the bias strip to the quilt, raw edges even.

Pinning the satin binding to the quilt
Pinning the satin binding to the quilt

I stitched the binding to the quilt, stopping 1/2 inch from the end, pivoting the quilt, and stitching off the edge of the quilt.

I folded the bias binding back so the raw edge was even with the quilt.

Folding back the bias binding
Folding back the bias binding

Then, I folded the binding so the fold was even with the edge of the quilt. I pinned and stitched the binding, stopping 1/2 inch from the next corner, and repeated the folding back and folding forward all around the quilt.

Folding the bias binding forward
Folding the bias binding forward

Once I had stitched around all four corners, all that remained was to sew the two ends together.

The two ends
The two ends

Keeping them as flat as possible, I nested the longer end inside the shorter one. I marked a line on the longer end where it met the shorter end. I opened out the longer end and cut the excess binding 1 inch past my marked line. I opened out the shorter end and pinned the two ends together, right sides together. I stitched them with a 1/2 in seam, pressed the binding, then pinned and stitched the binding to the quilt.

Stitching the ends of the binding together
Stitching the ends of the binding together

Starting at a corner, I turned the binding to the back of the quilt and pinned it into place. I stitched along the seam, pulling out the pins as I go.

Pinning the binding in place before stitching
Pinning the binding in place before stitching

The fold of the binding extends past the stitching line to ensure that I catch it when I sew from the front. Yes, it leaves a small flap of fabric on the back, but that’s how I roll.

A shot of the back . . .
A shot of the back . . .

Your mileage may vary . . .

Now, I just need to print a label for the back of the quilt . . .

I will deliver the quilt to Norma this weekend . . . she’s giving it to her son when he comes home for Easter.

Quilting done . . . time to bind.

This weekend, I finally finished quilting Norma’s quilt . . .

It turned out better than I expected, and completely different than planned.

Originally, I planned on a simple diagonal cross-hatch across the face of the quilt. Because the top was not square and flat, I needed a way to ease in a little fullness (and sometime a lot!!) as I quilted.

My friend Tom suggested quilting in the ditch, which I hadn’t even considered because there were a LOT of seams to stitch over. I embraced his suggestion, and it turned out to be the best possible solution for easing in fullness on a seam-by-seam basis.

I stitched along ALL the seam lines, even the seams joining short sections together. It was my way of leaving as small a footprint as possible on this quilt.

Here’s how I prepared to attach the binding.

First, I stitched along all the seams of the border sections.

Stitching down border seams
Stitching down border seams

Then, I zig-zagged along the edges.

Zig-zag along the edges
Zig-zag along the edges

I trimmed the excess backing and batting close to the edges, and zig-zagged along the edges a second time.

Here’s what the quilt looks like (though the lighting doesn’t do it justice).

Norma's quilt quilted
Norma’s quilt quilted

This evening, after work, I’m buying satin for the binding. I’m leaning toward gold, since gold is a predominant color, but we’ll see.

How do YOU like it??  Please leave a comment, thank you.

 

 

Nearly there . . .

Has it really been two weeks since I last posted??

I started a new job about two weeks ago, and it has severely impacted my quilting time.  But I’m glad to be gainfully employed after nine months.

I have continued quilting Norma’s satin Log Cabin top. Friends tell me they can’t wait to see the finished piece.

Well, how’s this?

Stitch-in-the-ditch (from the back)
Stitch-in-the-ditch (from the back)

I have only two more blocks to stitch (out of sixteen) before I tackle the border and binding.

It seems I’ve been quilting forever!! On a whim, I’ve decided to measure the seams when I’m done.

Would you care to venture a guess how far I quilted??

Norma’s Quilt, status update . . .

Quilting schematic
Quilting schematic

Well, as of this post, this is as far as I’ve got with quilting the satin Log Cabin quilt.

I’ve quilted the horizontal and vertical sashing (and the sections thereof).

I’ve quilted two of the Log Cabin blocks. I’m quilting them from the outside in to minimize distortions because not all the quilt blocks are consistent in size. I figure any and all inconsistencies can fall to the center of the block.

Here’s the first block I quilted:

First Satin Log Cabin Block
First Satin Log Cabin Block

Here are the steps I took to quilt the second block.  First, I pinned then stitched the two longest vertical “logs.”

First-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
First-round Satin Log Cabin stitching

Next, I pinned and stitched the longest horizontal “logs.”

Second-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
Second-round Satin Log Cabin stitching

And so on . . .

Third-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
Third-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
Fourth- and Fifth-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
Fourth- and Fifth-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
Sixth-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
Sixth-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
Seventh-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
Seventh-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
Eighth-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
Eighth-round Satin Log Cabin stitching
Final Satin Log Cabin block
Final Satin Log Cabin block

Yes, it’s a lot of work, but well worth it!!  Since I’m stitching in the ditch, very little of my sewing will show on the quilt, and the machine-stitching anchors the hand-embroidery.

Please tell me what you think of this in the comment section below.

How I machine-quilt . . .

In case you’re just joining my story in progress, my latest project is machine-quilting a satin Log Cabin quilt top hand-stitched and hand-embroidered by a woman in the 1920s while she was dying of cancer.

Satin Log Cabin quilt top
Satin Log Cabin quilt top

“Pissing off the purists” is my response to those who insist I must hand-quilt the top as well. It took me four years to hand-quilt my first quilt (from the summer of 1976 to Christmas 1980 (or was it really ’81??)). I have no desire to repeat the experience.

In order to leave as small a footprint as possible, I am stitching-in-the-ditch ALL embroidered seams (though I have found one short unembroidered seam that must have slipped by).

Some of the Log Cabin blocks are larger than their neighbors, resulting in uneven sashing between the blocks and zig-zag borders. I decided to stitch the sashing rows first, locking the blocks in place. Then, on a block-by-block basis, I will quilt each Log Cabin block from the outer “logs” inward, so the excess fabric falls to the center of the block.

(I have an idea of what to do with the excess fabric, but you probably won’t like it, so I’m not gonna tell you.)

Since it does no good to show you the quilt as I progress (you can’t see the stitching in any event), I’ve drawn a representation of the quilt, using bold lines to indicate what’s been quilted. Here’s where I am currently:

Vertical sashing and center horizontal sashing stitched
Vertical sashing and center horizontal sashing stitched

Today, I want to show you the steps I take to stitch these seams.

First, I pin along the seam I intend to stitch with safety pins parallel to both sides of the seam, and straight pins perpendicular to the seam:

Pinning the seam prior to stitching
Pinning the seam prior to stitching

Next, I roll the quilt to the right of the seam. This roll fits in the throat of the sewing machine. I hold the roll in place with bicycle clamps (which are normally used to keep pants legs clear of the bicycle chain):

Rolling the quilt
Rolling the quilt

I am sewing on a 30-year-old White sewing machine that sits within a cabinet for a sewing machine I threw away years ago. Behind and to the left of the cabinet are two plastic folding tables, set at right angles:

Machine-quilting setup
Machine-quilting setup

The bulk of the quilt rests on the table to the left, and the entire quilt slides along the table to the back as it is sewn:

Preparing to stitch
Preparing to stitch

I insert the quilt roll into the throat of the sewing machine, and line-up the seam I’m stitching. I lower my presser foot, and pull the bobbin thread to the top. I use my right hand to guide the quilt roll and I run my left hand along the seam in front of the presser foot (to prevent embroidery stitches catching on the presser foot toes). I take several short stitches to lock them in place, then lengthen the stitches (my left hand is missing from the photo below because it is holding the camera, right??).

Stitching a seam
Stitching a seam

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m headed back to the studio. There are plenty more seams to stitch. I’ll be back to show how I handle the Log Cabin blocks once they’re locked into place.

Thank you for reading; please leave a comment below.