Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Binding on Average

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, 
the last of the human freedoms 
- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
~Victor Frankl in Man's Search for Meaning


Today seemed like a good time to review binding because frankly, I've gotten a bit lazy. There are many good videos on YouTube showing how to apply binding, turn the corners, and finish it off. In general I like this McCall's set of four videos but find they've missed an important step - waving edges. That happens when the binding length is not measured and fitted to each side. 

It's easy to think the quilt is perfectly squared up but that's not always true. So cutting binding to the sum of the sides isn't enough to keep the edges flat. Sewing the binding to the quilt without comparing the side and the binding lengths allows them to stretch... even when using a walking foot. 

A smarter way to attach the binding is to measure across the middle of the quilt in both directions and use those measurements for the sides. If the quilt is square like this one, measure both directions, take the average, and apply it to all four sides. 

In this case, my "perfectly square quilt" was off by 1/8-inch. The average is 42.5 inches. 

A retractable tape measure helps with accuracy in planning
Measuring across the quilt to determine
the length of the sides of binding

Insert a pin several inches from one end of the binding. In the photo below the pin is about ten inches from the end of the binding. {You can also mark the place with a pencil or marking pen.}

Start marking the binding with a pin 

Add another pin when you reach the average length {the one measured across the middle.} You will do this four times for a total of five pins in the binding. If your pins tend to fall out, you might prefer to simply mark them with a pencil. Just make sure you mark on the "top" so it will fold inside the binding.

Measure the binding and insert a pin at the appropriate length for each side of the quilt
Insert another pin each time you reach the average length

Starting with the first pin line it up with the first quilt corner/edge. That extra ten inches will extend back over the "fourth" side. Pin the binding to the quilt at each corner until you return to the starting point with that fifth pin. 

This isn't a good photo but the binding is pinned loosely to all four sides and overlaps the original extra bit here. 

Pin the binding on the fourth side
over the original extra

Go back to ease the quilt and the binding on each side with more pins. On the fourth side, pin the last overlapping binding but remember it won't all be sewn the first time. The two ends need to be fitted together. Mark where the binding ends meet and plan to leave some space to sew them together. Again, look at the YouTube videos for a method you like.

Fold the original leader back
when pinning the binding in place

EDIT: Patty "The Quilt Lady" has a different way to sew bindings that she has used for years. It looks like her corners might be tighter than mine but she still matches the length of each binding side to the average length across the middle. 

This post is a personal sticky note that I hope helps you, too. 


Mary Robinette Kowal's latest installment of the Lady Astronaut series was my latest book. I find the the premise of this series very engaging. The Relentless Moon is the first story without Elma {the original Lady Astronaut}, who is on her way to Mars. In addition to a Martian base, humanity is creating a lunar base to evacuate more people. Post-Meteor life means women and Blacks have new opportunities but there have been several accidents that could ground the space program. Are they caused by minorities or by political extremists or are they the result of poor planning by the space program?  There is evidence to support all these reasons. 

Nicole Wargin, another of the first women astronauts and the wife of the governor of Kansas where the US government and space effort is headquartered, is sent to the moon again to help discover the truth. At fifty, she is intelligent, resourceful, and privileged but also experiences physical and mental issues - like a real person. Mary expands her book universe tremendously by developing the motivations and point of view of {previously} secondary characters.  

Well researched, well written. I enjoy the twists that happen in this alternate world including how Mary addresses racial and gender equality. 


Early voting begins today in Texas. Wherever you are, print a sample ballot; research the candidates and issues and take it with you to vote. VOTE UP THE BALLOT. That means research and vote each position on your ballot, not just the presidential race. 

My ballot has already arrived at the election office. Where is yours?

Enjoy the day, Ann


Julierose said...

My ballot is in its "proper" drop box ;)))

I have been looking at that book series and wondering if I would enjoy it--thanks for the review...

Binding--especially on big quilts-- is not my favorite part of quilting...hauling them through the machine under my walking foot has become a big issue for me. I am presently doing little things and my BIG Kahoona quilt(CS) is hanging in my closet until I decide what to do with it...???
Hugs julierose

patty a. said...

I have to admit that I am not as picky when I bind a baby quilt. I do a good job, but I don't measure. Big quilts - well, that's a different story. I am picky about my corners on all my quilts. I did a post on 6/25/2012 on how to machine sew mitered corners and that is the only way I make my corners now.

LA Paylor said...

I am very careful about binding. One time I had some prairie points to add in, and there had been some stretch on the top, I had to carefully block it then cut grosgrain ribbon the exact center measurements, baste it in, then put on the binding over the prairie points, and turn the binding to the back to flip the points out. Whew, worth it as the quilt is still a favorite and won a lot of awards.

JoniStrother said...

I need to improve my binding, so this is a great post for me personally, Ann!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Early voting starts tomorrow here - doing our research to up vote the ballot.

Janie said...

Yes, the binding adventure! It adds that final frame. To blend in, repeat or make a statement, fun choice.

Mystic Quilter said...

I follow the method of measuring through the centre of the quilt, always have done and found it pretty accurate. My mitres at the corners are sometimes not as good as they ought to be!
Good luck with the election voting - we had early voting begin 10 days ago and Election day is this coming Saturday 17th, Jacinda Ardern (Labour) is leading presently, and so she should, she has been superb. Also when voting New Zealand is holding one Referendum for Yes or No on Legalisation of Cannabis and the an other is the End Of Life bill.

KaHolly said...

I don’t mind the binding process! It means I’m almost finished! I just take my time. Even though early voting began today (New Braunfels), we are going to wait a couple of days. We have to fit it into my daughter’s work schedule and figure the lines might not be as long after a few days.

Nann said...

Thanks for the details of your process, Ann. (I start at the center of the bottom and work around the quilt. I've begun cutting the binding 2-1/8" instead of 2-1/4".)

Ann said...

Aren't we glad our votes are in!
I'd love to know what you think of this series. I enjoy it tremendously.
It's getting harder for me to manipulate larger quilts, too. I have an L-shape arrangement that takes some of the weight of the quilt off my arms though.

Ann said...

I've gotten pretty lazy. However, the spiral quilting made me relook at my binding. It's hard to do that and not pull the edges of the quilt so the last time I had a ruffled edge. Sigh. I'm curious hous your corners last with all the seams there but it does look neater than mine.

Ann said...

That sounds very exacting, LeeAnna, but I'm sure it was worth all your efforts. Congratulations on the awards. I'll have to remember to use grosgrain sometimes.

Ann said...

Thanks, Joni. I hope it helps.

Ann said...

Yea, voting! I hoe to see every eligible citizen cast a ballot. And continue to vote in all our future elections.

Ann said...

Good points, Janie. Yours look lovely.

Ann said...

I've just gotten lazy about measuring the baby quilts but I'm recommitting to taking more care.
I only see good things about Jacinda. She certainly led you to better Covid outcomes than we've had. A good reminder of what true leadership looks like. Cannabis is being voted on by states but is still illegal nationally. Same with End of Life.

Ann said...

That's a good way to think about it, Karen. I just tend to rush through when it's a baby quilt. Good luck when you do go to vote. I think you've got a good plan.

Ann said...

Starting near the center sounds like a good idea. I like the 2.25" binding because it always wraps that little bit further on the back. I hate having the stitching run over the back binding.