Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wrestling a python

.... a quilt python, that is.

Putting the binding on quilts is the one task I least like in quilt making.  So many of my friends say it is their favorite step,that  it is relaxing, and it means they are almost done.  To me it is a major wrestling match with the quilt.

My sewing machines are all set-ON-the-table types,  not set-IN-the table.  The one machine with a walking foot is a little Janome Jem Gold.  As a machine, it works fine, but I do have to help the quilt along. Quilts tend to get caught on the base of the machine or on the edge of the table and suddenly the seam is skewed.  I have tried setting extra tables and or ironing boards next to the machine table to support the weight of the quilts, but I still have to pull and push, and shift to keep everything straight.  The bigger the quilt, the more difficult it is.

Not only are the quilts likely to be unruly, the binding strips also get in the way, especially if they are left loose and long.  I have found that I can control them by accordion folding them and tying them with a strip of selvedge or skinny fabric.  I then pull out what I need and pin it to the quilt. When one side is pinned, I tighten the ties and the unsewn binding stays put in the accordian fold as I sew.

I just got the wedding quilt back from the quilter.  Marilyn did a fantastic job.  I'll show you soon.  That quilt is huge.  96 x 99 inches!  I decided I had to get the binding on now or it may be ages before I get it done, just because the job is so massive.  I took a deep breath.  With my husband's help, I rolled up the quilt and slung it over my shoulder.  All rolled up and being fed to the machine from a higher level than the table made it quite manageable.  I sewed up one side, unrolled the quilt, turned and pinned the binding , re-rolled the quilt (again with help) , slung it over my shoulder and sewed the next side, etc.  It looked like and felt like an enormous python, heavy and awkward.  But, it was worth the trouble.  I got the job done with only one skewed spot which was easily fixed.  Here I am... wrestling the python.

Next comes the part that literally puts me to sleep. ( I finish the binding by hand.)  I start yawning hard about 1/3 of the way down one side.  Then my eyes start watering.... zzzzz.   I need a visit from the quiltmaker's elves.  

As soon as I finish this onerous task,  I'll be taking close up photos of the quilting and will post for you to see; after I catch a few zzzzzs!


  1. I do the same thing with my binding except I make longer loops and grab them with one of those binding clip. And funnily enough, I do EXACTLY as you do... fold the quilt and then throw it over my shoulder when I add the binding. As for the hand sewing... I find a good TV show and "watch" it while I sew.

    (Millie is the cat)

  2. Great analogy for the rolled/folded quilt! There are photos of Gwen Marston in her books with fabrics, etc. over her shoulder to help the "feed" process - obviously great minds think alike!

    Can't wait to see the finished photos!!

  3. The turquoise looks great against the gray polka dots. I am working with a python today, a little smaller. Sometimes I put a few books down with my largest cutting mat on top to give me a lift table.

  4. Send it to me and I will gladly hand stitch the binding. Definitely a favorite step for me. I trim my quilt before stitching on the binding. I leave the binding piled on the floor and I wrestle the quilt. It helps to push my table into the corner to keep the quilt from falling off the edge, but I still pile it on my lap as well. Oh, and I don't pin the binding on. Have never had any problems. (knock on wood.)

    Congrats on a finish. I wouldn't know what that feels like ;)


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