Stash Report 2015: February

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At the end of January, I posted about how I’m doing a Stash Report, calculating my fabric usage. Do I use more than I buy?

Well I am an absolute big, fat dolt because when I posted my tally in January, I was oh so proud of how I worked out the estimate of how much fabric I had used, but I forgot one very big thing: I participated in a fabric destash on instagram. IG fabric destashes are where you post pictures of fabrics you want to sell and list them under a destash hashtags so people can see what you have to offer and then payment is arranged via paypal. For Ausssie buyers and sellers, we have the #greataussiedestash, for example. As to not spam my regular feed with fabrics for sale, I have a separate IG account for the times I have things on offer at @rawdestash.

Anyway, I destashed fabrics in January and forgot to add them to my tally! So, my correct tally for last month should be:

January Yards
Fabric IN 0
Fabric OUT 19.5
Monthly Total -19.5
Year to Date  -19.5

Which brings us to February, where because of the money available from my destashing, I was able to do more purchasing and therefore I have done more purchasing than using, whoops!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Feb Stash Report 1: Salt Air by Cosmo Cricket (fat quarter bundle)
Salt Air by Cosmo Cricket (Fat Quarter bundle)

Salt Air by Cosmo Cricket kind of came out in the period where I was fairly new at quilting and was just figuring out buying online so I never ended up with any as it was pretty much gone by the time I decided I wanted it. Then it was offered up for destashing and I grabbed it with my grabby grab hands! What will I do with it? Because I’ve said I’m trying to only buy fabric with some kind of purpose? HA. I’m actually filing this one in the “bought it because I’ve been interested in it for a while” basket, which doesn’t count as ‘bad’ compared to new fabrics I’ve only just heard of and seen and must by right now.

I have been considering using it with my next purchase… Daysail from Bonnie and Camille.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Feb Stash Report 2 Daysail by Bonnie and Camille (Fat Eighth bundle)
Daysail by Bonnie and Camille (Fat Eighth bundle)

Fun fact about me: I have a thing for boats. Cruise ships mostly, especially the mysteries surrounding sunken ones (I like Titanic because I’m interested in the ship!), so I was drawn to this line because of its boat motif and the awesome text prints!! (Want yardage of those, yes please!). This bundle is also going in the “been eyeing it off for ages pile” (as I discussed in my previous post about checking out the coming soon fabrics) and I’ve known I wanted a bundle of it as soon as I opened up the charm pack I bought ages ago when I made my Bonnie and Camille Charm Along quilt. I’m even using the remaining charms of Daysail in another quilt that’s on my Finish Along goals! But, I want this fat eighth bundle so I can pair it with Sweetwater’s Boathouse (which I bought last year so it doesn’t count on the tally :P ). The only plans I have for these is to make something awesomely nautical themed.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Feb Stash Report 4 Shot Cotton and Geekly Chic cassette tapes
Shot Cotton and Geekly Chic Cassette tapes

There’s 2m of burgandy shot cotton there! Sounds bad, but I need it to add to my next Possum Magic round! At least I bought one thing with a purpose! :D And thanks to a Christmas voucher I hadn’t finished spending and 30% off, I only spent $8 on the whole lot, woo! The cassette tape fabric (Geekly Chic from Riley Blake) was a bit of a whim buy but Serena and Carla have been trying to twist my arm into making a Sew Together bag, so I was thinking of using this in it. Maybe as the outside piece? Maybe I could cut out the cassettes and do something else with them?! At least I have two fabrics with plans!

PSA for Aussies: Did you know Big W stocks cheap fat quarters? That’s where I got the cassette tapes from and I’ve previously seen fabrics from Lori Holt and Lizzy House. The fabric stocked at by Big W is from the wholesaler Leutenegger, which on their site say they stock fabric from Riley Blake, Andover and Windham, amongst others, so the fabrics are the real designer deal. Just because it’s a cheap/discount store doesn’t mean everything they sell is cheap quality :)

Riddle and {Whimsy} Feb Stash Report 3 creepy text print
Creepy text print

I did fail with my last purchase of the month, buying purposely “because I want it”. This one I bought purely because it’s kinda cool; and I always love a text print! (Even despite the icky bug biology and spiders on there). Unless you prefer bugs to the skulls and heart and brains! This print is definitely in the “naughty” basket! On second thoughts, maybe this would would make an awesome Sew Together Bag instead?!

So.. how much damage did I do in February…

 February Yards
Fabric IN 15.75
Fabric OUT 3
Monthly Total 12.75
Year to Date -6.75

On the plus side, I’m still “winning” since I have still used up more fabric than have brought in! Thanks to finishing a few minis this month, I squeezed some fabric out! Now I just need photos of the minis to prove I finished them :)

Hello, pretties 😘 #amh #annamariahorner #aussiecharmswap

A photo posted by Joanna (@riddlingwhimsy) on

Technically, there was more fabric coming in this month that I didn’t count, however it was from a charm swap. I sent my charms in January and received my swapped charms back this month. Since I knew they were a straight out but then in as I was virtually just swapping the same amount of fabric I already had, I didn’t bother counting them at all in either month. Look at all that Anna Maria Horner goodness! there’s 112 different AMH prints in there! :D

Does anyone have a favourite charm pattern, or know of a pattern that easily uses charm squares? I’m so stuck on pattern ideas for these! We have a charm patterns Pinterest board for the swaps, but nothing in it has been speaking to me! I have been thinking about Carolyn Friedlander’s Outhouse, though…

How to make your own quilt labels

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If you’re familiar enough with my blog, you may remember my discussions on quilt labels before, and my struggles trying to make one I actually liked. I’ve made some in a few different ways with a few different styles but after spending some time recently working on a new blog header, I decided to tackle quilt labels again. This time I made a few that I was quite proud of that will be the labels on the swap minis I am currently making. When I shared them on instagram, I had quite a few comments asking how I made them, so I figured I’d share!

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Labels I’ve put together so far

The method I’m using is by printing onto T-shirt transfers and ironing onto ribbon to make a fold over/tab style ribbon. I’ve been interested in purchasing labels from Ikaprint however my conundrum is that I change my mind a lot on what I actually want written on the label and I didn’t want to spend money on something I’d be stuck with, so I wanted an easy way to make my own labels customisable as needed.

I first came across this particular method on a post from My Fabric Relish who uses twill tape as the label base. I’ve tried it with twill tape but had random results with the transfers not properly sticking so the whole image doesn’t transfer properly so results may vary. So, I’ve been using ribbon. Just plain old white, satin ribbon.

My pack of transfer papers came with 10 sheets and was $30 and I can fit at least 35 labels on it (size depending) and a roll of ribbon was about $4. That’s 350 personally customised labels for $34.

If you have concerns about T-Shirt transfers and how well it will hold up in the wash, think of it this way: The transfers were made for putting designs onto T-shirts –ie. clothes that you wear. I don’t know about you, but I wash my clothes far more frequently than my quilts! Will the label wash off eventually, as T-shirts designs often do? To be quite honest: probably. But other labels deteriorate as well. For me personally, I’m happy to overlook it since I feel like a dinky little quilt label will hold up longer than a shirt design. That’s just my two cents! I do plan to report back over time on how the labels are going though.

Making quilt labels

What you will need

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  • T-shirt transfers
  • Ribbon or something similar (like twill tape)
  • Computer with a graphics program
  • Printer (read your transfers instructions on suitability of printer type. I have an inkjet)
  • Regular printer paper
  • Iron and ironing surface
  • Cutting device (scissors, blade etc.)

Before following any of the steps below, read through the instructions that come with your transfers to understand how yours work. I can only provide detail about what I did with my transfers (made by papercraft) which may not be the same as your own transfers!

Step 1: Design

Measure your ribbon, and work out how big you want your label to be so it will fit (eg. a 1.25″ square on a 1.5″ wide ribbon) and create a workspace that size. Because these will be printed out, if you can change your image resolution in your graphic program, set it to 300dpi which is the recommended resolution for printing images (72dpi is recommend for viewing on screen).

Example of changing your image sizes and resolution (Photoshop)
Change your image size and resolution before you begin (Photoshop)

You don’t need any fancy graphics skills to do your label! Check out dafont.com for lots of free and fancy fonts (check the licensing for terms of use on the fonts — quite a few are usable for commercial projects as well as personal). By just changing features of the font with things like the spacing between the letters (kerning) and even by using bold or italicise and changing the colours you can come up with pretty neat designs. If you do want some kind of feature image and have poor drawing skills like me, try looking through dingbat fonts for simple iconic images. Also, lots of design blogs offer free resources of textures, brushes and editable files for frames, borders and shapes.

Make sure to save when you’re done (and even periodically to make sure you don’t lose any changes!). If you use software like Photoshop that lets you use layers, remember to save a separate editable version as well as a flat image so you can later edit any design elements. This is how I’m able to change details like the quilt name and washing instructions as well the colours.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Make your own labels
Name and quilt details on the front; washing info on the back

Tip: A fold over label is double sided so if you don’t get all the info you want/need on the front side, then make a second image to add on the backside – eg. washing instructions*. You could either make a larger image that will be folded or just make two separate ones to mix and match.

*If you prefer to provide a printout of washing instructions with your quilts, check out Serena’s handy dandy laundry guide on her blog.

Note: Depending on your printer settings, you may have to reverse/flip your images before saving it in order for it to print out the correct way as the transfer paper will stick down the mirror image of what you have printed. Some printers (like mine – a Canon something or other) have a “T-Shirt transfer” setting under the media selections (where you can choose to print on paper, or on photo papers etc) which will magically flip the image for me when it prints so I don’t need to have my image pre-flipped when printing.

Step 2: Test

When I’m happy with my design and have saved it, I insert it into a Word document and do a test print. This is why you need some paper handy! If you need to, adjust the size of your image in Word.

Riddle and {Whimsy} check the size of your label
Make sure your label design is the right size

Then, just print it out on paper and admire it! Check out how the colours and quality look. Is it legible? Do you need to change anything about it? Hold it against your ribbon and make sure it’s the right size and will fit. If you need to make any changes, then go back to step one and fiddle around and repeat until you’ve printed out a design you’re happy with. Once it looks right, then you’re ready to print the real thing!

Step 3: Print

To get the best use of the transfer paper, change the margins on your Word document as small as possible so you can fill up as much of the page as you can. My transfer sheets instructions say to cut close to the image so I don’t need to worry about spacing them out very much. The amount of labels you can fit will depend on the size of your design and your own margins.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Printing labels page example
An entire page of labels!

Read over your transfer’s instructions again for any special printing instructions and printer compatibility (my sheets are for inkjet or bubble jet printers only, other transfers may be different). If your printer has a mirror image function, then make sure your logo isn’t already a mirror image before printing otherwise you’ll print it the ‘right’ way around onto the transfers and will end up with a back to front label when you’re done! You can always run a piece of paper through to test the settings if you’re unsure.

I also like to set the print quality to high to ensure my image comes out crisp and clear.

Note: Printing out a whole sheet of labels is best if you’re going to use the same info/design, or if you’ve prepared all your custom details already. I’ve been trialling printing a few at a time (a row of the page) and plan on changing the page sizes in Word as my sheet gets smaller to accommodate the changing size.

Step 4: Iron

How many labels you cut out at a time is up to you. I prefer to cut out what I need when I need it as I’m less likely to lose a piece of paper I can file away and more likely to lose track of lots of tiny little pieces!

Measure up your ribbon, remembering to double the length of your logo so the ribbon can be folded over and add a seam allowance on both sides so that the cut edges will be stitched up into your project. My logo image is just under 1.5″ and I cut my ribbon into a 3.75″ strip to leave room for the seam allowance and the fold. If you have pinking shears, I highly suggest using them when cutting your ribbon to help prevent fraying (I need to get some!) but this is another reason why I only like making a few labels at a time – so all my premade labels don’t unravel ;)

Riddle and {Whimsy}  Make your own label tut 3
Measure your ribbon, including allowances for folds and seams

Position your transfer onto the ribbon and iron it down! Remember to position it in relation to the middle fold and the seam allowance! Check your transfer’s instructions on this step for the time taken under the heat and whether you need to ‘iron’ or even ‘press’ with your transfer type will be detailed there. 60 seconds is probably on the high end.

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Peel the backing paper off slowly to make sure the image has transferred

To remove the backing paper, I go a little rogue with my transfer’s instructions here as it tells me to wait for it to be “warm to the touch”, and not fully cooled when removing the paper. When pulling the backing paper off while the ribbon is still warm, it tends to warp my ribbon but waiting until it cools lets the paper pop right off without the ribbon warping at all. Check what your instructions tell you to do though, and test to see what works for you. If your ribbon does warp, position the paper back over the transfer image to protect it, and put the iron over it for a few seconds to flatten the ribbon a little.

Pull the paper off slowly, checking that the image has transferred onto the ribbon. If it appears a little sticky or hasn’t fully transferred, fold the paper back down and run the iron over it again for a few more seconds.

Step 5: Use it!

Congratulations, you’ve just made your own label! Now go make stuff so you can attach them!

Riddle and {Whimsy}  Make your own label tut 8
Secure labels to the back of the quilt before binding

I sew my labels against the edge so it’s secure when I zip around with the binding. Then just bind as normal! My transfers also suggest waiting 24-48 hours before washing to ensure the transfer is set, so be patient before adding your stuff into the laundry!

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Labels are finished and fully secured under the binding!

And that’s how I made my labels! They can be as big or as small and as detailed as I like in any colour I choose at the time! So far, I’ve made a label with my name (for more personal things) that has included washing instructions and another set with the quilt name. Then there’s also my “blog labelled” labels that include my name, the swap/quilt name. It only takes a few minutes of prep to change it all on the computer.

I hope this all makes sense, but let me know if you have any other questions!

4×7 Sewing Challenge: Week 3

The third week into the 4×7 Sewing Challenge hosted by Berry Barn Designs has seen some projects near the finish line which makes me feel super accomplished!

First up, I spent the first few days on the computer making a new blog header, and then I decided I needed new quilt labels to match my new blog look! I love the new look of my header so I think I’ll be happy enough to keep these labels ongoing for a while.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Making labels 2
Labels ready for mini swap quilts

My swap partners are my guinea pigs as I designed my first batch of labels with my mini swaps in mind. I’ve also been playing around with them to add in other details, like washing instructions too. I also made more personalised one that feature my name more as well!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Making labels 1

When I shared them on instagram, I had a few questions on how I made these labels, so I have a post in the works about that to share soon… let me know if you have any other particular questions that I can add in the post as well!

Since I had labels for my swap quilts ready to go, I figured it would help to actually make the mini quilts for the swap. No need for labels if there’s no quilt lol!

My partner for the Kitten Mini Swap likes Bonnie and Camille fabrics, and the line I have the most of in yardage amounts is Happy Go Lucky, so I pulled from what I have to make a cat out of the one line. I also thought I had more of the line, in particular a couple of specific prints, but apparently I don’t. At least not in an obvious place in my stash drawers o_o Anyone else think they have particular fabrics they don’t actually have?!

Riddle and {Whimsy} kitten mini swap (potential layout) - Happy Go Lucky fabrics

First I laid the fabrics out for a “red” cat and kept thinking about it and then ended up moving it around to make a navy blue cat instead!

Riddle and {Whimsy} kitten mini swap WiP - Happy Go Lucky fabrics

After I made the curved arch piece, I was much happier with this fabric layout choice so kept going until I made the whole cat!

Riddle and {Whimsy} kitten mini swap - Happy Go Lucky fabrics

My background is made up of a random low volume fabrics which I pieced together in an improv style ages ago, after seeing this super awesome colour wheel Adorn by Chelsea of Patch The Giraffe (love). I changed my mind on the stripes because I knew there was no way i could be bothered trying to get all those lines lined up!!

Since the cat was mostly done, I moved onto my #igminioz mini and finished that off!

Riddle and {Whimsy} igminioz

It’s now quilted and bound and finished and isn’t due until mid April, so I’m super excited I have plenty of time spare until the deadline! I just need to figure out some extras for this one for when I send it, and I’ll share the finish soon once I take pictures (since it needs a separate post for the Finish Along anyway!).

Has anyone else done swaps? What kind of goodies do you like to send and receive? I’ve found it easier to collect for the Kitten mini swap because I just need to find cat themed things, ha! (I have th emost perfect card for that!). But a generic swap is a little trickier! Since it’s Australia based, not sure what I could send that my partner couldn’t find for herself anyway?! I was thinking of making the mini Swoon I started with into a pot holder extra or something? I also have the Tula Pink swap to think about but my partner is super-duper quiet so I have even less ideas there!

Bear Necessities

I’ve been trying to work on blog maintenance (you may have noticed my new header), including updating my blog tags and categories which is extremely overdue but I keep stopping and starting because I’ll tag and categorise and then decide that I don’t like the terms I’ve used so I delete them and do it all over again. Does anyone else do crazy things like that?!

When looking through my saved posts/drafts, I found this WiP post that I never ended up sharing! I had popped this project on my 2014 Quarter 4 goals for the Finish Along but didn’t get to it, and left it off the list for this quarter. I think I’m going to have to put them on the next one though!

These blocks are made with the Wild Bears pattern from Quilter’s Cache and the main fabric I’m using is Sweet as Honey by Bonnie Christine, along with a handful of fabrics in similar colours. I’ve been calling the quilt Honey Bears.

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I’ve written notes down to make piecing the block easier as the actual pattern uses methods I’m not fussed on. I’m glad I wrote them down since I’ve left it so long I don’t remember my measurements.

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Since it’s been a year I’m sure my piecing skills have improved in that time too so my next sets of blocks should come out better!

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I think this one is my favourite block so far

Just looking at these blocks now make me want to whip it out and work on it! But I made a list this quarter and I want to make a dent in those projects first! Hopefully the motivation to work on this will stick :D

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There are 7 blocks put together so far. I’m not sure how many I’m going to make altogether It’s going to depend on how big I feel like making it in the end!

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4×7 Sewing Challenge: Week 2

My Layers of Charm post has been updated with the winner of a layercake from Fat Quarter Shop! Was it you?!

Despite the sewing I’m showing off in the 4×7 Sewing Challenge run by Sarah of Berry Barn Designs, I haven’t really accomplished a lot overall. Considering I have all day, every to sew as much as I want, I feel like I could accomplish a lot more than this! This upcoming week, I do feel my ‘sewjo’ returning but we’ll just have to wait and see how motivated I am next week ;)

For week 2, I dabbled with a few things from Week 1 of the challenge, as well as some new things.

Riddle and {Whimsy) #clambakeqal

One of the swaps I signed up for is the #aussietulapinkswap. Before receiving partner details, the Clambake Quilt Along was announced, and I just knew it was the perfect project for my mini! Most of my Tula stash is scraps, so I knew I would need a scrappy project. I can’t do much more than this for now though, as I need to finish the blocks on my Birds and the Bees quilt to get the remaining scraps to cut up into clams!! Good thing this swap isn’t due until the end of April…

I also managed to trim up my half square triangles for my Sew My Stash Precuts Party project!

Riddle and {Whimsy} #SewmystashPrecutsParty

After trimming, I weighed my offcuts – 76g. That’s approximately half a yard worth of fabric by weight. All in unusable scraps! I know people still keep and use pieces like this for various things but there comes a point in my scrap collecting where I say bye-bye, so I don’t keep these. But it hurt to see how much fabric was actually here! Then I put together one block just to see how it works!

Riddle and {Whimsy} #SewmystashPrecutsParty

The HSTs were also pieced into hourglasses, ready for cutting up again so all I need to do to that project now is ~make them disappear~. I have another couple of weeks until the deadline to at least have the top done so no rush yet!

Finally, I started some work on my #kittenmqs2015 cat mini. Again, before receiving partner details, I knew what pattern I wanted to do so all I had to wait for was finding out my partner’s fabric preferences. The pattern I chose requires paper piecing (which I hate!) so I put together a practice piece first.

Riddle and {Whimsy} #kittenmqs2015

The pattern is my own take on the Sawtooth Cats pattern which I came across while pinteresting as I was putting some ideas together in a board just for this swap. I haven’t been able to find the pattern locally except for an ebay listing and I don’t have much trust in ebay these days so have chosen to not purchase from there and I haven’t purchased from overseas because a) Aussie dollar sucks right now and b) the only sites I’ve found it on look as dodgy as an ebay listing (I’m a website snob so if your site looks like you made it in geocities, I’m not buying there!).

So, to improvise, I used a New York Beauty block pattern for the cat body (the easiest/beginner one of course!) and then when that was pieced, I measured the sides to build up the cat’s front half. The tail fabric is strategically placed over the oops I had of missing a spot, but how handy that the tail goes there to cover it up ;) I’ve also got this partially quilted. I decided to make a mini or large mug rug or something with it to send to my mum because why not? I tried wood grain quilting for the first time and she’ll at least think it’s great :D

4×7 Sewing Challenge: Week 1

Sarah of Berry Barn Designs has started up a challenge this month: 4×7 Sewing Challenge. Sew 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week for the 4 weeks of February to try and fit in some “me time” sewing during a busy day. There are prizes on offer when you linkup each week, so what’s a greater incentive to do something than free fabric?! (Probably a money tree that would never die, but free fabric is a close second, right?!).

My first days of the challenge consisted prepping my Swoon blocks by finishing the cutting of the print fabrics. I decided the background I will cut as I need it just because a folded up piece of yardage is easier to handle and store than a billion little white squares. To be honest, I generally don’t like precutting every single block for a quilt, because on the off chance I change my mind on it, I’ll be left with all these random scrap sizes of fabric that will limit what I can use it for. Whereas if I give up and still have half the fabrics as fat quarters, well I can do something with that, so it doesn’t feel as wasted. Since I’ve been pretty committed to wanting to make a Swoon though, I was happy enough to cut up the prints.

4x7wip1

Once I finished cutting, I decided to make a block so I could have a second one to admire with the one I’ve already made. As I was laying out the fabric, I decided I wanted to go for another look with this, and instead of the traditional two colour Swoon, I decided on making them three colours instead. Now when the quilt is done, the colours and prints will be spread out more across the quilt top to be enjoyed on all sides of the quilt.

While making the block, I also decided on how to quilt this myself which would save me money for not taking it to a longarm quilter. If I can do it myself for free then that is always my first choice! I’ll save those dollars for my fabric instead! :D

Since my Swoon is not on my Finish Along list, I decided it was time to work on something that actually is. Like my #igminioz mini.

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I’ve fixed the ends of my strips, and have joined the columns together, have found something to use for a backing so now I just need to get my butt together to baste it and quilt it.

During the week, the Sew My Stash 2015 Precuts Party was announced: make something out of a precut you have stashed.

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Since its release, I’ve had a layercake of Rocket Age stashed and I’ve known for a while what I wanted to make with it: Disappearing Hour Glass blocks. Stars with space fabric! Stars with rockets on them! The Riley Blake layer cakes only have 20 pieces in them so I had to find other fabrics to add to them, so I raided my solids drawer and found a few matches to cut 20 10″ squares from to pair with the prints. Because I’ve had this idea for a while, I also bought some fabric in advance for the backing (the rocket print in the bottom left) and if my measurements in my head work out, It should be just enough for the whole backing for this quilt when it’s done. So, before the weekend, I got stuck into making half square triangles and then put them aside to wait until my weekend project was done before trimming as I like to trim HSTs while watching TV and I had another TV watching project on the go.

No picture of that as I’ve already posted it since it was already technically finished but I decided to hand bind the binding on my Supernova quilt. Yes, that’s right. Me, hand bind. Me, who has exclaimed everytime I think of hand binding “I hate hand binding and I will never do it” did hand binding. My decision for doing it was that I needed to fix the binding on the quilt anyway as there were a couple of places that I needed to resew as the thread hadn’t caught the binding on the back (I use Red Pepper Quilt’s tutorial for machine binding, by the way, where you stitch it to the front, flip it to the back – as you would to hand bind – but then ditch stitch on the front to catch it on the back. This way the machine top stitching is visible on the back of the quilt, not the front of the quilt). After this quilt, it’s made me even more adamant to stick to my “no hand binding” rule unless it’s for something super duper special (like this quilt was.). I have better things to do then spend 10-15 hours on the couch watching TV and hand binding. I could have made a whole new quilt top in that time!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a layercake thanks to Fat Quarter Shop! Submit your details in my previous post!