It’s not perfect…

In April I wrote about a quilt I was making to send to Japan as part of our guild’s effort to help victims of the tsunami. At the time I was cursing my sewing machine, needles, thread, and everything else within sight (except myself, of course) because the needle broke twice while I was free-motion quilting some of the last blocks. How lucky I would have been if that had been the only problem with this quilt.

The next time I sat down at the machine breaking needles and snapping threads were the norm. Although I tried to solve the problem by playing with the tension and changing the top and bobbin threads to different weights, I couldn’t win. So I put up the feed dogs and straight-line quilted the remaining 5 blocks. Then I straight-line quilted the borders. Or should I say I rendered an artistic interpretation of straight lines? There’s virtually nothing straight about these lines. All this made it a very easy decision to wash the quilt before giving it away. Hopefully the shrinking of the fabric will hide some of the flaws in workmanship. 

Okay. Binding time. I was determined to completely machine stitch the binding. Some quilters machine stitch the binding to the front, pin it to the back, and stitch in the ditch on the front side catching the binding’s folded edge on the back. When I’ve tried this in the past I ended up with a dog’s breakfast on the back, with the binding edge seeming to weave in and out of the stitching.

Other quilters recommend sewing the binding to the back and sewing it to the front with a blanket stitch. I tried this and found the blanket stitch was far messier than just straight stitching, so I went with straight stitching. Now it isn’t perfect, but in my opinion having the a single row of stitching occasionally show on the back is somewhat tidier than the gaps and flaps I got when I sewed the binding to the front first. (In the end, there are only about 12 inches of noticeable stitching on the quilt back that ought to have been hidden in the binding.)

The upper image shows the front of the quilt sample, with blanket stitching on the left and straight stitching on the right. The bottom image is the back of the same piece. Here the straight stitching is on the left and the blanket stitching is on the right.

So I’m binding the quilt. It’s stitched to the back and I’ve sewn about one half of it to the front when I realise the binding is pure white and the quilt is off white! How the heck did that happen!? I wasn’t aware that I even owned any not-quite-white fabric, and there sure wasn’t any in my stash when I pulled the Kona bleached white from the shelf. I’d post a picture, but the subtle differences in colour aren’t visible in a photo.

After listening to me beat myself up over this, DH asked if I could cover the old binding with new. Smart guy, because I really could cover the binding with something that would make me happy, I just don’t know if I will. I’m sort of ready to say good-bye to this one, even though it does look pretty good now that it’s done and washed. I think I’m going to call it Hope and Flowers.