Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Finishes - Nature's Blessings. . .

Friday is here and thanks to a gift from nature I have been sick with a summer cold thing. Since my brain is in a bit of a fog, I decided to silently share these pictures of the blessings of nature near my home.  Enjoy and be inspired.

As I have been gifted by nature, I gift to you any of these photos that may inspire you to be creative.

Happy Friday,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Finishes - To Bury or Not to Bury. . .

If you are a hand quilter, you are very much aware of hiding your ending stitching threads by burying them.  But what about being a machine quilter?  Do you need to bury threads also?  Here's my Friday Finishes' topic.
In hand quilting, the thread knot is buried in addition to the thread ends, making endings neater and less noticeable.  With machine quilting, we generally create knots with our stitching and clip the threads as seen here.
I find that burying threads, whether hand or machine quilting, always makes thread endings neat.  With machine quilting, I do generally stitch my knots, cut the threads leaving long tails, and bury them as seen here.  Although you can see where the stitching ends, there is no clipped threads showing as above.
The trick to burying threads easily, without much hassle is to begin with a self- threading hand needle.  They are called different names depending on the brand.  Also, as I was once told, not all needles are created equal.  The slits can be too tight or too loose.  So find the one that works for you and don't let it out of your sight.  See the small V at the top of the needle?  It has a slit in it that allows thread to be pulled down into it without having to thread it through the eye.
The thread is laid over the V and then pulled down.
Once pulled through the slit, the thread is in the top needle hole.  I find that self-threading needles are not good for sewing with because the thread can slip out of the top hole.  If you want to sew with the needle, thread the thread through the lower eye so the thread won't slip out of the slit.
Now that you have the right needle,  pull the top thread and the bobbin thread that was pulled up when stitching was begun through the eye slit.
Push the needle through the fabric where the threads were pulled up from, or as close to it as possible, into the batting and up through the fabric an inch or two away.
Clip the threads and the threads are buried.
Handling your beginning/ending threads in this way helps to hide where stitching is begun or ended, creating a clean finish.  This is a very personal decision because, of course, there is no right or wrong way.  This is just my two cents worth.

Happy Friday,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Finishes - Binding Endings. . .

It's been a busy and short week.  I realize I haven't posted since last Friday Finishes.  I hope everyone enjoyed the 4th.  I did if for no other reason than I took time off to spend some quality outdoor time in the beautiful weather.
When last I posted, the "Ladybug" table runner was quilted and ready to be finished.  The outer borders will now be put on.  They are being put on after the quilting so that I don't have to quilt them other than the seam line which will be sewn through all three layers.  This method is used so I can keep the quilting amount equal without having to actually quilt in the border itself.  I begin by placing the one outer border rights sides together with the red inner border.  Sew the usual 1/4" seam allowance.
Press seam to outside.
Here is the seam quilted through to the back.  The remaining borders were added in the same manner.
Now is the time to add the binding and I am auditioning a few different colors.  
Here is the same red as used for the inner border.
This is a batik from my stash whose colors match the background and flowers.  I really like the texture on this so this is it.  Remember, there is no right or wrong, just what you like.
Three strips were cut at 2 1/4".  This is my preferred binding width.  I join the strips in the following manner.  The first strip is laid right side up horizontal on the sewing table.  The second strip is laid at a right angle with wrong side down.  Sew on the diagonal.  Mark diagonal line as needed.
Chain piece the strips.
Because I eye the diagonal line, I check the seam to make sure it lies correctly before I trim it.
Using scissors , I trim to approximately 1/4" and clip and the dog ears.
With the strips joined, fold the binding in half.  Leaving an 8 - 10 inch tail, begin sewing the binding approximately 1/3 from the table runner end to the front of the table runner, raw edges together.  The tail will be used to join the binding's end.
For corners, stop sewing 1/4" from the end, backstitch, and end sewing.  
Fold binding at 45 degree angle as above.
Keeping the angle, fold the binding back down and begin sewing from edge.
As you turn the fourth corner, sew the binding toward the binding's beginning until you get approximately 12" from the seam line.  Backstitch and end stitching.  The two ends will now be joined with a diagonal seam.  I begin by making a line on the tail left at the binding beginning about 1/4" in from the end.
Lay the binding ending tail over the chalk mark and finger press.  
Opening up both strip ends, I make the chalk line stronger on both.
The strips are laid at right angles as before. . .

. . .lining up the chalk lines as shown.
 Sew on the diagonal, keeping the chalk lines in place.  Pin if necessary.
Pull the binding straight to make sure it lies flat on the table runner.
When satisfied that binding fits, trim seam allowance with scissors.
Beginning where the binding seam line ended, begin stitching by backstitching and then sewing to the beginning seam line overlapping the stitching and backstitching to end.
Here is the completed seam line.  It looks just like the joining strip seams.  
Now no one can tell where the binding begins or ends.  If this all seems a bit confusing, please feel free to comment with a question and I will do my best to answer it.

Happy Friday,