Mixed Veggies — and a Migration

Hello there! I’ve been silent for a few days because my website/blog is undergoing a migration to a new server. I committed to this undertaking last week only to find out — after the fact — that it could take up to 18 days for the migration to be complete. Yikes!

Today I got the green light to make a post to let you all know what’s going on with First Light Designs. I’m taking advantage of that to include a quick update on one of my recent projects:

Yes, it’s another set of oven mitts following my tutorial posted last month. Aren’t these mitts cute? I made this pair for my friend Debby. She picked the sweet pea fabric for the outside of the mitts and I found the perfect fabric in my stash for the lining fabric that continues the veggie theme:

The mitt on the left above is ready for the binding on the cuff edge to be tacked down, at which point the mitt can be turned right side out. I love the surprise of seeing the colorful veggie fabric when you peek inside a mitt:


An apparent drawback of the current website migration process is that no one can leave comments on my blog for the time being. That’s a big disappointment! Bloggers love to get comments and I have really missed that connection with my regular readers. Let’s hope the migration to the new server is up and running in short order so I can be back in the blogging business (and you can be back in the comment business if you so choose)!

 

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, oven mitts, update | Leave a comment

Season’s Greetings

What?? Here we are midway into a glorious spring in Portland, Oregon and my thoughts are on winter. Why, you ask? Because I have finally started work on the fourth and final quilt based on my Season to Taste pattern. This is the first of three blocks:


When I designed the pattern in 2014 I envisioned making a wall hanging (or table runner) for each season of the year. I started with the fall version, naming my quilt Autumn Reflections, and the spring version, Under Paris Skies. Those are the ones you see on the pattern cover above.

In 2015 I made a summer version named Sun Flowers. All three were on display last month at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego:


Every so often I would think about making a winter version but I could never settle on fabrics. Did I want something in red and green to evoke the holidays or something in wintry hues of grey and dark blue? Did I want to make kaleidoscope blocks using eight repeats of the same print or a scrappy version using eight different prints?

Months passed. Years passed. (Hmm, my last post was about a quilt I started in 2015 and finished just this year. Do you see a pattern here?)

Then a few weeks ago I saw a photo of a quilt my friend Linda D. had made using a lovely collection of green and red prints. When I inquired about the fabric line (which turned out to be “Northern Light” by Annie Brady for Moda Fabrics), Linda generously offered to give me her leftover fabric. She actually made two bed-size quilts from these fabrics. When she dropped off the “scraps” I could see there was enough fabric in the sack to make a third bed-size quilt!

Today I stopped by Montavilla LO to pick up some background fabric. (Hard to believe but nothing in my stash seemed “just right” for this particular project.) At the shop I found a piece of “Grunge” by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics that seemed like it might work — a creamy white with just a touch of green in the subtle texture and shading:

Alas, the green looked too minty when placed next to my kaleido block. I was about to give up the search when it occurred to me to flip the fabric over. You may not be able to tell from the next photo but trust me: the wrong side of the Grunge fabric is perfect:

 

 

 

Posted in kaleidoscope quilts, table runner, update, wall hanging | 2 Comments

My Next Quilt

. . . or perhaps I should say “My Next Quilt Finish.” Today I pulled a UFO out of my sewing room closet that’s been waiting in the wings for — oh, the last six years (!) and put a border on it:


This Unfinished Object dates back to 2015, when I took a class from Joyce Gieszler on Grandma’s Surprise, the quilt pattern featured in her book Then and Now Quilts (Kansas City Star Quilts, 2014). In 2015 Joyce’s colorful version using cotton+steel fabrics had set Pinterest ablaze . . .

. . . but it was her three-color version shown on the right that I had fallen for:

Her class was great fun and I made my top pretty quickly, eking out a border of the background fabric with just enough left over to cut binding strips so the image would float. The quilt top finished at 57″ square. Because I like to piece my quilt backs, I put the project on the back burner while waiting for inspiration to strike.

Well, you know what they say: time marches on for all of us. Suddenly, 2021 was well underway and I had never gotten around to the backing. Today, when I pulled the quilt top out to take a look, I decided I wanted it to be a bit larger and added a border of the black leafy print. Now it measures 66″ square, a really nice size for a throw or lap quilt.

And the backing? Some time ago I had purchased a piece of 118″ wide backing fabric in a pale grey leafy print. In the spirit of “get ‘er done!,” why not forget the pieced backing and just make a backing out of one piece? I got ready to cut the 74″ square I needed for the backing — longarmers like the backing to be 4″ larger on all sides — and then discovered a 3″ tear in a spot which made it impossible to cut the backing from one piece.

Boohoo!

It looks like a pieced backing is in the cards after all.

 

 

 

Posted in kaleidoscope quilts, update | 6 Comments

Oven Mitt Tutorial from First Light Designs: Part 2 of 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my Oven Mitt Tutorial, which covers the sewing of the mitt and contrasting band around the cuff edge as well as the final step of tacking the band down before turning the mitt right side out.

Part 1 of my tutorial covers fabric requirements, instructions for downloading and printing the pattern, assembling the layers, and quilting the resulting “quilt sandwich.” Click here to see Part 1.

Click here to download the free pattern:
Oven Mitt Pattern, page 1 of 2
Oven Mitt Pattern, page 2 of 2

Click here to see the Prequel to the Tutorial, in which I explain why I decided to write a tutorial and offer some tips on making sure my pattern fits your hand.

In Part 1 you create a 19″ x 14″quilt sandwich” composed of four layers: outer fabric, cotton batting, insulated cotton batting (Insul-bright), and lining fabric:

After quilting the four layers you trim them to 18″ x 13″:

Part 2 starts right now!

Fold the quilt sandwich in half, right sides together, with the fold on the left. Lay the freezer paper pattern on the fabric, shiny side down, making sure you have at least a half-inch clearance all around. Use a hot dry iron to press the pattern in place:


Using a marking pen or pencil, make a small dot on the fabric next to the pattern about halfway down the finger side of the pattern (see arrow in photo below). Draw a line along the edge of the pattern from the dot to the bottom edge. Draw a second line ¼” to the right starting ¼” above the arrow:

That second line is the cutting line.

Use Wonder Clips around the raw edges of the quilt sandwich. You don’t need a lot of clips – just enough to hold the layers together:


Now you’re ready to sew.

Before you start stitching: make sure the thread in your machine matches the dominant background color of the outer fabric. Once you turn the mitt right side out, you’ll be able to see thread stitches along the seamline. (This is also true of store-bought mitts, by the way.) It’s because you are stitching through eight layers; that’s a big load for two interlocking threads to carry, especially when four of the eight layers have some bulk to them. (There may be times when your bobbin thread is a different color than the top thread. It’s the bobbin thread you are likely to see once the mitt is turned.)

Using an open-toed walking foot, which feeds the eight layers together evenly, sew from the bottom edge of the thumb side of the mitt (see photo below) with the needle right next to the freezer paper, stopping when you get to the dot on the opposite side. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the stitching line.

The secret to not getting any sharp points as you stitch around the curves of the thumb and finger portions is to go slowly, stopping when necessary to lift the presser foot and rotate the mitt ever so slightly to keep the line of the curve going smoothly. Any points that get stitched in will be visible when the mitt is turned right side out.

Here’s a close-up of the stitching in process:

You can see why an open-toed foot is important: you need to see the needle going in and out of the fabric right next to the freezer paper.

Using very sharp sewing scissors, cut along the bottom edge (only) as shown:


Gently peel off the freezer paper pattern:

(You can use the pattern over and over again.)

Return to the sewing machine and stitch around the mitt again on the same stitching line, backstitching at the beginning and end:

This step is important to strengthen the seam and relieve some of the stress on the stitching line when the mitt is turned. The stress is greatest on the notch between the thumb and finger sections.

Be as exact as you can stitching on top of the first stitching line. In this close-up of the notch you can see that I took two stitches in a slightly V shape:

You can also pivot at the end of the thumb curve, take two very small stitches straight across, pivot again and start up the finger curve. I’ve tried both ways and it doesn’t seem to make a difference when the mitt is turned.

You can see I used black thread here. That’s because the background color on the right side of this mitt is black. When the mitt is done, you will not be able to see black thread on the inside of the mitt at all.

Now it’s time to trim the seam allowance.

Starting on the side with the partial seam where you marked the outside line (¼” away from the stitching line), cut along that outside line until you are a quarter inch beyond the dot you marked:


Taper to a full 1/8” seam allowance and continue cutting around the finger portion, stopping when you get close to the notch between the thumb and finger portion:

If a 1/8” seam allowance makes you nervous, shoot for 3/16”. It is not necessary to cut a ¼” seam allowance; in fact, it will make it harder to turn the mitt inside out and won’t give your mitt as smooth a look around the curves.

Flip the mitt over and start cutting from the other lower side, working your way around the thumb curve:


When you get to the notch, carefully trim to within 1/8” of the stitching line:


Because you left a partial seam, it’s going to be quite easy to apply the binding:

Check first to see if you need to baste the layers together at the bottom edge. I find that when I quilt my sandwich with overlapping wavy lines, I often need to take this extra step. Here you can see I basted a quarter-inch from the edge:


From the 2″ x WOF binding strip, cut an 18″ strip. (Save the remainder of the strip for a second mitt.) With the mitt opened up, align the strip along the lower edge, right sides together. Extend the top of the strip one inch beyond the side edge of the mitt:


Starting at the top of the binding strip, sew around the bottom edge with a 3/8” seam. It is not necessary to pin the strip to the mitt first. Stop stitching when necessary to make sure the edges are aligned and remember that both sides of the mitt are gently curved along the cuff edge. You’ll need to stop every few stitches to adjust the fabrics as you approach the side seam but you should find it fairly easy to manipulate the fabric under the needle while keeping the edges aligned properly.


When you get to the end of the strip sew right off the edge of the fabric. Here’s what the mitt looks like now:

To finish sewing the seam, clip the edges together, making sure the edges of the binding strip are aligned at the top and bottom edges:

Note that the seam allowances at the top of the binding strip are folded down (see next photo too).

Look very carefully at the next photo. You will see that I have drawn two solid lines visually extending the cutting and stitching lines drawn earlier on the mitt. But I don’t want to sew on that stitching line in the binding strip portion because the binding strip will be too loose; in other words, it won’t fit snugly around the open edge of the mitt when the strip is folded in place. The dotted line to the left of the solid lines is the actual stitching line:

To mark the stitching line place a ruler with a horizontal marking (in this example the 2″ line) aligned with the bottom edges of the binding strip. Draw a dotted line from the dot on the seamline (where the mitt and binding strip were joined) to the bottom of the binding strip. Note that the dotted line is at a 90˚ angle to the horizontal line on your ruler:

Now you can finish stitching the seam, backstitching at the beginning and end. Trim the seam allowance to a generous 1/8″ just as you did around the rest of the mitt:

At this point I know you are eager to turn the mitt inside out but you will find it so much easier to tack down the binding if you do it before turning. So . . .

Start at the seam. Finger press the seam to one side and turn the top edge of the binding strip down about a half-inch:

Turn it own one more time, pulling it snugly over the seamline and making sure the folded edge covers the line of stitching. Hold in place with a clip:


Place a clip on the other side of the seam (where my thumb is) and work your way around the cuff edge, placing a clip every couple of inches:


Using thread to match the binding fabric, tack the folded edge of the binding in place:

Now you are ready to turn the mitt!

You’ll find that the finger portion turns quite easily but it may take some time to work the thumb through. Be patient with this step and do not give in to the temptation to use some object to push the thumb out from the inside. Use your fingers and thumb only until the mitt is fully turned.

Voila! You have a beautiful functional oven mitt. . .

. . . with a pretty interior . . .

. . . and a beautifully finished accent strip around the opening:

Now all it needs is a mate!

This mitt is heat-resistant (mainly because of the Insul-bright batting) but not heat-proof, so use care when wearing it just as you would with a commercial oven mitt made of cotton fabric.

Oven mitts made with this tutorial and using the fabrics specified can be thrown in the washer and dryer. Wash them in warm or cold water and dry them on medium heat.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns after reading this tutorial. I’ll be happy to respond!

 

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, oven mitts, tutorial, update | 3 Comments

Oven Mitt Tutorial from First Light Designs: Part 1 of 2

I’m delighted to bring you Part 1 of my Oven Mitt Tutorial. (Part 2 will be fast on its heels!) I think you will find my method of making a top-quality oven mitt to be fast and efficient, eliminating extra steps in tutorials I found when searching online for a pattern and instructions. My directions include a nifty way to add a contrasting band at the cuff edge.

You’ll also find this a really fun project to work on. So pick out a fabulous 100% cotton print and get ready to dress up your kitchen!

Part 1 covers fabric requirements, instructions for downloading and printing the pattern, assembling the layers, and quilting the resulting “quilt sandwich.”

Part 2 covers the sewing of the mitt and contrasting band around the cuff edge as well as the final step of tacking the band down before turning the mitt right side out.

Fabric and notions for two mitts
½ yard (or two fat quarters) 100% cotton for outer fabric
½ yard (or two fat quarters) 100% cotton for the lining
⅛ yard 100% cotton for the contrast binding at cuff edge
½ yard insulated heat-resistant batting (Insul-bright)
100% cotton batting (enough to cut two 14″ x 19″ rectangles)
100% cotton thread

For the outer fabric choose fabrics that are medium to dark in value; light-colored fabrics are not practical for oven mitts (but they work very well for the lining).

For the insulated batting I prefer Insul-bright, made of polyester fibers needled through a reflective metalized polyester film. According to the Warm Company, maker of Insul-bright, the fibers “resist conduction while the reflective metalized polyester film reflects radiant energy, hot and cold, back to its source.” Insul-bright doesn’t have a right or wrong side.

Supplies
Sewing machine with open-toed walking foot
New needle in your sewing machine (90/14 Jeans or Sharp recommended)
Standard sewing supplies (scissors, pins, measuring tape, seam ripper, etc.)
Rotary cutting equipment (mat, rotary cutter, rulers)
Wonder Clips
One piece of white freezer paper about 10″ x 14″

Part 1. Download and print the free pattern. Click on the links below:
Oven Mitt Pattern, page 1 of 2
Oven Mitt Pattern, page 2 of 2

Check the 1” registration line to make sure the pattern printed at 100%.

Trace the pattern directly onto the flat (not shiny) side of the freezer paper, matching the top and bottom pieces on the dotted lines. Lay your own hand on the pattern to see if it fits. Make any changes you feel necessary. For tips on making adjustments to the pattern, see my post Oven Mitts that Fit: the Prequel.

Cut around the outside edges of the pattern. Do not add a seam allowance. Set aside the pattern for now.

Part 2. Cut the fabrics
For each mitt:
Cut (1) piece 19” x 14” from outer fabric*
Cut (1) piece 19” x 14” from lining fabric*
Cut (1) piece 19″ x 14″ of Insul-bright
Cut (1) piece 19” x 14” of medium-weight cotton batting
Cut (1) strip 2” x WOF from binding trim fabric. (It’s important to cut across the width of fabric rather than the length because you want the strip to have a bit of give. One 2″ strip x WOF will provide binding strips for two mitts.)

*If using directional fabric, keep the direction of the design in mind (as well as the quilting motif if it is directional too). In the photo below, both the design and quilting motif are going across the width of the mitt, not the length:

Part 3. Prepare the quilt sandwich
On a flat surface make a quilt sandwich of your four layers in this order: lining fabric right side down, Insul-bright, cotton batting, outer fabric right side up.

The thread color you use on the outer fabric can blend or contrast; that’s a personal choice. Match the bobbin thread to the lining fabric if you want it to blend. Use your preferred method to baste the layers together and quilt as desired.

Sometimes I quilt a 1” grid as I did on these mitts . . .

. . . but most often I quilt random wavy lines, some of which cross each other, because it’s fast and easy and I don’t have to mark a grid:

The wavy quilting motif is easier to see on the lining side:

Trim the sandwich to 18″ x 13″:

Fold the quilt sandwich in half, right sides together, with the fold on the left. Lay the freezer paper pattern on the fabric, shiny side down, making sure you have at least a half-inch clearance all around. Use a hot dry iron to press the pattern in place:

The sandwich is now ready to be transformed into an oven mitt.

Proceed to Part 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, oven mitts, tutorial, update | 4 Comments

Oven Mitts that Fit: the Prequel

The prequel to the tutorial, that is.

My oven mitt tutorial is almost ready to go. Before I hit “publish” on the post, I want to give you a bit of background (by way of explaining my obsession with making a beautifully finished oven mitt) and a couple of hints on making a pattern for a mitt that fits your own hand.

For the last three or four years I was on the lookout for new oven mitts but was never able to find suitable replacements. The ones in stores were either too big or poorly made, sometimes both. My twin sister Diane was in the same boat. We actually bought our mitts at the same time years ago and they had definitely seen better days. We were bemoaning the lack of good store-bought oven mitts around Thanksgiving last year. At that point I decided to make my own — and make a pair for Diane to boot.

In preparation I went online and checked out several printed tutorials. Boy, was I surprised! Some of the tutorials were way too much work. Some had you cutting out left and right hand patterns. Why on earth . . . ? The mitts are the same shape on both sides, for heaven’s sake.

Others had you make two mitts – one from the main fabric and one from the lining fabric; you inserted the lining mitt into the main mitt and sewed the two together, meaning you were doing twice as much cutting and sewing – and not even getting a mitt that was quilted all the way through. Not one tutorial gave what I considered good instructions for a nicely finished cuff edge made with a contrasting fabric.

There had to be a great method out there somewhere, I thought, and if I couldn’t find one – well, I would just have to figure one out for myself. But I needed a pattern to get started. I downloaded a couple of free templates. When they were printed I could tell they were too big. What to do? Why, make my own pattern.

I simply traced around my favorite old mitt on a piece of freezer paper:

Did you notice that the pattern is flared at the bottom? That makes the mitt easier to slip on if you are wearing a garment with long sleeves.

For those of you unfamiliar with freezer paper, it has a shiny coating on one side that allows it to be ironed temporarily onto fabric. No need to use pins. The freezer paper can be peeled off easily, leaving no residue — and it can be used over and over again. The best place to get your freezer paper? The grocery store! The only brand I’ve ever seen is by Reynolds Kitchens. Crafters and quilters love it.

Combining what seemed to be the best elements of some online tutorials, I made a test mitt. That was the easy part. The hard part was applying the binding strip around the cuff edge. The opening of the mitt is relatively small, presenting a challenge first in moving it under the needle of the sewing machine and then in joining the raw edges neatly. Most tutorials are maddeningly vague about this step or produce results that leave something to be desired.

I experimented with different widths of binding strips and various techniques for joining the ends, making several sets of mitts in the process, including this early pair for Diane:

The results were satisfactory . . . but I was looking for something more. The best solution came to me last month in a “what if?” moment. It seems so obvious now.

Want to know my secret? A partial seam!

That’s right. By leaving one side seam only partially sewn, there was more room around the cuff edge to manipulate the fabric while applying the binding strip. And then I could finish sewing the side seam, which now includes the binding strip, giving me a beautifully finished mitt when the strip was turned down and tacked to the inside:

Are you intrigued? Want to make your own? I hope so!

My tutorial will come with a link to a printable template so you can make your own freezer paper pattern. Or you can do what I did and draw around a mitt you already have. If you use my pattern you can modify it to fit your own hand. If you make your own pattern by tracing around an existing mitt, you can place your hand on it to test the fit as I do in the photo below.

The edges of the pattern should be at least ¾” wider than your hand around the thumb and finger portions. There should also be at least 1” from the notch between your thumb and fingers to the notch of the pattern and from the tip of your thumb to the end of the thumb on the pattern. Note the arrows:

It may look like my hand would be swimming in a mitt that size but you need room to turn the mitt inside out and still have room for the seam allowance.

My tutorial is so detailed and picture-laden that it is coming to you in two parts. Part 1 covers fabric requirements, instructions for downloading and printing the pattern, assembling the layers, and quilting the resulting “quilt sandwich.”

Part 2 covers the sewing of the mitt and band around the cuff edge as well as the final step of tacking the band down.

Look for Part 1 in the next few days!

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, oven mitts, tutorial, update | 11 Comments

Obsessed with Oven Mitts

Hello there! I’m still around, working hard on my oven mitt tutorial while dreaming of quilts yet to be made.

This may be one of the most detailed tutorials I’ve ever worked on, with lots of process photos. Each time I think I’ve taken the best photos, I find something that needs to be improved. That means making yet another mitt. The result is that the publishing date of my tutorial keeps getting pushed down the road. I really want to get it right so I hope those of you waiting for the tutorial will be patient a bit longer. Every mitt I make brings me closer to the desired end product.

Here’s a pair I made recently for my friend Nancy:

She wanted mitts in turquoise or burgundy. I found a great turquoise fabric in my stash dating back to 1999. I know this because the date is on the selvage.

Nancy is a fabulous gardener so I found a lovely floral fabric for the inside of the mitts. Take a peek:

In exchange for the mitts, Nancy is bringing me a pie made by her husband Cliff, who is known for his delicious pie crusts. I call that a win-win!

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, oven mitts, update | 4 Comments

In Praise of Single-Fold Binding (A Tutorial of Sorts)

Double-fold quilt binding (also known as French binding) is clearly the standard in quiltmaking. I’m here today to sing the praises of single-fold binding, an option you may not have considered before. Most quilt reference books don’t spend a lot of time on single-fold binding other than to point out its recommended use on quilts with curved or scalloped edges where the goal is less bulk in the binding.

And that’s the one huge advantage of single-fold binding: it’s less bulky, meaning it lies flatter, and that’s especially noticeable on mitered corners. Here’s a look at mitered corners on my latest quilt, Tea Time on High Street:

Nice and flat, right? That makes it a terrific option for art quilts and wall hangings.

It’s also a good choice for quilts that will be gently used or not handled frequently. Think about quilts that come out for display at certain times of the year, usually for special holidays, such as the Fourth of July, Halloween, or Christmas. I used single-fold binding for the first time on my recent quilt ‘Tis the Season, which you can tell by the name is tied to the holiday season:

Are there any disadvantages to single-fold binding? Well, yes. It isn’t as durable, as there are fewer layers of fabric wrapping around the outer edges of the quilt. With double-fold binding, there are four layers of binding on the front of the quilt and two on the back. With single-fold binding, there are two layers of binding fabric on the front and two on the back. That may not seem terribly different but consider that there is only one layer of fabric going around the outside edge of a quilt with single-fold binding whereas with double-fold binding there are two layers.

Another possible disadvantage is that if you were to use light colored binding on a dark quilt or use dark batting, there’s a chance of shadowing on the outside edge of the quilt.

You have to think about how a quilt will be used before deciding on whether to use single-fold or double-fold binding. I would definitely put double-fold binding on a baby quilt, for example, as I would want that quilt to be loved, used, and dragged around by the recipient until it was completely worn out. I would also use double-fold binding on a bed quilt or lap quilt that was going to be laundered frequently. For almost any other quilt, I would consider single-fold binding. If you decide to try single-fold binding on one of your next quilts, I predict you will like it.

The first question you might ask is: what’s the formula for determining the width of binding strips? I consulted three reference books, each of which had a different formula! I think this one is the best:

finished width of binding x 4 + ¼”

— for ¼” finished binding:  cut strips 1¼” (¼” x 4 + ¼”)

— for ⅜” finished binding, cut strips 1¾” (⅜” x 4 + ¼”)

— for ½” finished binding:  cut strips 2¼” (½” x 4 + ¼”)

Caveat:  the loft of the batting can affect this formula so be sure to test on a quilt sandwich made from layered scraps and your batting before cutting binding strips.

The procedure for applying single-fold binding is quite similar to double-fold but there are a few differences. I’m going to walk you through the steps using Tea Time on High Street as an example.

Having decided on ½”-wide binding, I tested on scraps. Much to my surprise, I found that cutting my strips 2″ wide instead of 2¼” and sewing a scant half-inch seam gave me the ½” finished width I wanted. (On a subsequent test using 1¼”-wide strips for a ¼” finished binding, my results were spot on.)

In the photo below, my 2″ wide binding strip is aligned with the raw edges of the quilt, right sides together. I’m using my walking foot, which feeds the layers evenly and allows me to see the needle going in and out of the fabric. I stop stitching about 3″ from the bottom edge of the quilt. . .

. . . and fold the binding strip to the right at a 45˚ angle, making sure the bottom edge of the binding strip is even with the bottom edge of the quilt before finger pressing the crease:

When I open up the binding strip I can see where I finger pressed it. Using a sharp #2 pencil or a removable marking pen, I make a small dot on my stitching line just above the pressed crease:

Then I sew down to that dot, knowing I can go absolutely no farther than the dot before backstitching a few stitches. I can even stop a half-stitch before the dot. I do that to make sure that when I start stitching down the second side, there’s no chance my sewing lines will intersect. If they cross each other by even one stitch, I won’t get a properly mitered corner.

Next I fold the binding strip straight up, just as you would for double-fold binding . . .

. . . and then straight down, also just as you would for double-fold:

Did you notice that pin on the left edge of the binding where two layers of fabric must be perfectly aligned? I keep that pin in when I sew the next seam because it holds all of the layers in place to prevent shifting and it’s not in the way of any foot I might have on my sewing machine. (In fact, I leave that pin in until I am ready to form the miter and pin the binding in place.)

I work my way around the quilt, forming the other three miters, and finish the fourth side of the binding by sewing the beginning and ending tails together with an angled seam and finishing the seam between the two lines of stitching. (There are several ways to finish the tails of quilt binding so I’m not going into that here.)

From the right side of the quilt I press the seam toward the outer edges, avoiding the corners:


Starting about 2″ from a corner, I bring the raw edge of the binding up to the edges of the quilt, forming the first fold . . .

. . . and then fold it once again so that the folded edge covers the line of stitching. Then I put a pin in to hold the binding in place:

I rotate the quilt and do the same thing on the second side:

With the raw edge turned under, you can see how the corner is getting ready to be mitered:

You can form the miter from either side. I usually try it both ways and pick the one that looks best:


On this corner I tried it both ways and neither side lined up just right. See how the right side overlaps the left side by a couple of stitches?


It was an easy fix, though. I just opened up the corner and adjusted the fold a tiny bit:


This time the miter came together perfectly:

And now I’m reading to tack the binding down:

Some people don’t enjoy this aspect of quiltmaking but I find it both relaxing and satisfying.

Please let me know if you have any questions about single-fold binding. And if you do give this method a try, I would love to hear about your experience.

I’m ending this post with a shoutout to my friend Pam Raby of lovedtopieces.com who first brought single-fold binding to my attention. As I told Pam after trying it out with ‘Tis the Season, “It’s a game changer!”

 

 

 

Posted in single-fold binding, update | 6 Comments

Oven Mitt Breakthrough

For those of you wondering whatever happened to that oven mitt tutorial I promised a couple of months ago, I have an update for you. I actually started working on a tutorial back in January but got hung up working on instructions for applying the binding.

Each set of oven mitts I’ve made since making my own pattern in December has been nicely finished but applying the binding has been a process best described as “fiddly.” My goal has been to figure out a way to apply the binding for a neat finish that can be effectively illustrated in a picture-heavy tutorial and be easy enough for a confident beginner to follow.

To that end I’ve been experimenting with different widths and different ways of joining the ends. I’ve tinkered with single-fold and double-fold binding. The results have been acceptable. But ease of construction? Not so much. “There has to be a better way,” I kept thinking.

The other day I had a “what if?” moment. Yesterday I tried out my idea. I was on the right track but took one wrong turn. I tried again today — and it worked! The result is the set of oven mitts you see above.

Isn’t that fabric cute? It reminds me of a Valentine card I received as a kid that had peas on the outside. Inside was the message “Peas be my pod-ner.”

I have the perfect person in mind for these oven mitts. She’s Irish and loves the color green as much as I do. She reads my blog so I’m betting she’ll figure out these are for her. I’m planning to visit her next month but don’t want to wait that long to give them to her. If I get them in the mail tomorrow, she might get them by St. Patrick’s Day.

 

 

 

Posted in family, oven mitts, single-fold binding, tutorial, update | 7 Comments

It’s a Wrap: Tea Time on High Street

Here it is! Tea Time on High Street is officially finished — pieced, quilted, bound, and labeled. Today was an absolutely beautiful day in Portland, with the temperature almost reaching 60. I took some photos outside late this afternoon, hoping to capture the true colors in the quilt. It’s amazing how the colors shift depending on the time of day and the amount of light hitting the surfaces. The gray may look cooler in some photos as a result.

Here’s the back of the quilt:

In this next shot the binding appears to be fuchsia but in reality it’s a vibrant coral . . .


. . . and here’s a shot of the back where the binding looks a little orange-y:

For the label I made an inset circle using the dotted fabric of the binding as my background and then enclosed it in a larger circle:

Did you notice that the ring around the label is the same width as the accent strip and binding? All part of the plan.

To sum up:

Tea Time on High Street measures 55″ square.

It’s based on the pattern Tea Time in Bali by Larene Smith but doesn’t follow it exactly.

The pattern calls for strip sets to be sewn into tubes, then cut into triangles that open up to form bias-edged squares.

I started with a Jelly Roll: 40 2½” strips of fabric from “High Street,” a line of fabrics designed by Lily Ashbury for Moda Fabrics.

Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day quilted it with an edge-to-edge design by Urban Elementz called “Soho.”

I’m really happy with the way this quilted turned out!

 

 

 

Posted in single-fold binding, update | 4 Comments