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Quilting Finishing Techniques For Borders and Binding

finishing techniques quilting

Quilt Finishing Techniques. I see so many questions about this. What method do you use? As I am finishing a quilt, in fact two quilts this week, I thought I would take this opportunity to share my finishing methods.

I remember the days when I was baffled too as a beginner, but it really is quite simple. I tried several different methods of binding, but there is only one I use now. Here are my tips for the best professional finishing techniques for quilting.

BORDERS

Borders are somewhat easier to do than binding, although there is nothing difficult about either of these finishing techniques.

  1. Decide on the width in relation to the actual quilt.
  2. Decide how many borders.
  3. You can mix widths of borders, say one at 8cm wide and one at 2.5cm wide.
  4. You can also use different colours, but I would always choose colours that are in the quilt, even if in a tiny amount.
  5. Decide on straight or mitred. I prefer the latter. A bit trickier but not impossible by any means. Mitred corners take a bit more fabric.
  6. Cut on the grain.
  7. Do not stretch when attaching.
  8. Attach by machine, right sides together.
  9. Attach before quilting your sandwich.

BINDING

Binding finishing techniques is what gets most people, they just do not know how to bind. There are many ways to bind, but by far the best for a professional finish and worth taking the extra effort is:

  1. Always cut on the bias. Make your own binding.
  2. Join strips together on the diagonal.
  3. Machine stitch, right sides together to the front of the quilt
  4. Hand stitch to the back of the quilt.
  5. Do not stretch.
  6. Attach after quilting your sandwich, making sure that the wadding goes into the border.
  7. Narrow binding is often best.

I include finishing details in my tutorials and quilt patterns which can be purchased here

You can often see images of my work on my facebook page

Work, words and images copyright Karen Platt 2019.

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Exhibition Quilts at UK Quilt Shows

Exhibition quilts have the power to fill one with dread. Whilst visitors marvel and judges may criticise or praise, the intrepid quilter takes her skills in her hands, hopefully meets the deadline and achieves what she set out to do.

The world of exhibition quilts is one I said I never would enter. Some exhibition quilts are gobsmackingly amazing. What on earth has made me decide to enter quilts this year?

You think I have the answer? Not absolutely sure I do. I think it was a mad moment but then I have had months to think about it, so I am fooling anyone who believes that. To be honest, I found the art category at FOQ 2018 slightly underwhelming. I found myself thinking I can do this.

Of course, that is just stage one. I have the design created already. I have changed it a dozen times in my mind’s eye. I have settled on the subject, how I want it to look, down to the fine details of fabrics and threads. The problem is can I quilt it?

I have not entered the FOQ one yet, but expect to before the deadline. Before I make my final decision, I have entered another quilt show entirely. I encourage everyone to do this if they are thinking of entering FOQ. Try somewhere else first – a smaller show preferably in the previous year. Less pressure is always good.

I have entered the Miniature Quilts section of the British Stitch and Quilt Village show at Uttoxeter racecourse 12-14th April. Make a date in your diary. This one too is already designed and I know definitely how to quilt this one. Just have to make sure it does not measure more than is allowed.

I am not sharing work prior to the competitions. So I shall keep you entertained in other ways. I will still be quilting other designs. Talking of which, I have now designed the back of the Snowflake quilt. Not quite like the image, I will be using my tea dyed not rust dyed fabric. There will be snowflakes. I need to get a move on and finish this one now. The spring one is also just about designed and ready to start.

The other winter quilt is already available as a kit.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

snowflake quilt
winter quilt kit
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Speaking at Quilting Shows 2019

speaking

Speaking engagements are my excitement for this week. Get booking please ladies and any men out there. First engagement of the year is 12-14th April 2019 at the British Stitch and Quilt Village at Uttoxeter, so please grab your space now to hear my take on colour in quilts. I am speaking at the same time each day.

At the moment my next speaking engagement is not until August 4th at the Festival of Quilts, where I speak twice on the same day, once on colour and once on design. So you can have a double whammy. Booking is not open yet, but keep your eyes on the website.

I have some more lined up, to be confirmed. Don’t forget you also have the fantastic opportunity to come to India with me, on a Colouricious holiday. The chance of a lifetime. I need 9 more people for this to go ahead, so please book on the Colouricious website today. 11 months to go, we leave on 7 January 2020.

I finished January with a sort of ho-hum week. Everything is hanging in the balance. People who were supposed to come back to me have still to do so. I wait with bated breath to see if it all comes to fruition. In anticipation, I had a lot of writing to do – contracts and so on. Lots of contacting to do, for if they don’t come through, trying to find someone who does. All under wraps and I have everything crossed to make it happen. I am hoping next week is the one.

Apart from the flurry of writing, I am hand stitching the calico quilt. When I am not doing that, I am writing up the pattern for it. Sore finger into the bargain – the only negative of hand quilting. The machine stitched quilt is ready to start again since the snowflake panels are now cured and ready to heat set then attach.

I am almost there with a hand knitting pattern too, just the last armhole bands and that pattern needs writing up too.

I took photos of the painting exhibition and I must find space for my paintings on my website again because I have given up on Artfinder, it just does not work for me. They have changed their costs twice, in their own favour of course.

Words, images and work copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Book Review Quilting On The Move By Alistair Macdonald

Book Review Quilting On The Move By Alistair Macdonald, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 971782214489, price 7.99 available in the UK.

Part of the Love To Sew series, this book is all about English Paper Piecing for hand quilting. There is a brief introduction, materials and tools section, basic techniques, projects and templates without a seam allowance but actual size. There are 18 projects in all, suitable for beginners upwards. The beauty of EPP is that it is entirely portable and easy to do anywhere in a few minutes grabbed here and there. I found the photos slightly on the dull side, and unclear on the bias binding attachment images. The basic techniques section only covers making hexagons, bias binding and inserting a zip. Good projects include a hobby bag (looks more like a pencil case to me), tea cosy, pincushion, make-up bag, man’s scarf, table runner, peg bag, tablet case and so on. All small projects using hexagons and other shapes.

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Book review Improv Patchwork by Maria Shell

Book review Improv Patchwork by Maria Shell, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617454967, price 19.99 in the UK available from www.searchpress.com

Subtitled ‘Dynamic Quilts Made With Line & Shape’ this book promises much. Every quilter wants to make dynamic quilts. It begins with ‘Where You Are’ and goes on to the usual tools and materials section but with some very good tips, then ‘Color, Pattern and Repetition’ sadly basically colour wheel stuff, ‘Ruler Made Stripes’, ‘Mat Made Stripes’, ‘Polka Dots’, ‘Triangles’, ‘Chevrons’, ‘Checks’ and finishes with ‘Putting It All Together’ plus resources. An outstanding line in the introductory chapter for me is ‘I hope you can begin this quiltmaking journey with a willingness to fail’. As a teacher I encounter so many students who expect to succeed from day one, who become despairing at their failures. Maria Shell understands my philosophy that all making is good on one level or another. The sections are basic geometry work with good ideas for quilts and techniques. Even the ‘polka dots’ are not circles but squares and strips. Some design ideas and how to work out your design as well as construction. Brief but interesting. I have come to know the term ‘improv’ as working ad hoc, but this book does work more to grids, so I am not sure it was wise use of the word ‘improv’ in the title. I think Experimental Patchwork would have been a better title.

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Book Review The Anniversary Sampler Quilt by Donna Lynn Thomas

Book Review The Anniversary Sampler Quilt by Donna Lynn Thomas, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617454554, price 24.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

There’s a story behind this quilt made to celebrate forty years of falling in love. It includes 40 traditional blocks and 7 keepsake settings. This book will also help you commemorate and preserve the memories of the special events in your life. The 40 blocks tell the story, they are given in ten chapters. Each of the 40 blocks is used twice. You’ll also find General information and Speciality Quiltmaking Skills to help you put the blocks together. The separate quilt settings help you to celebrate different events. Choose blocks that have special meaning to you, to design your own remembrance quilt. Great diagrams and photos and the quilting instructions are easy to follow. Every block in this quilt is a treasure. Some you might know such as Dresden plate, others you might not have tried. Together they make a superb quilt. Full instructions and assembly are included.

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Teeny Tiny Quilts by Donna Lynn Thomas

miniature quiltsTeeny Tiny Quilts by Donna Lynn Thomas, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, price 24.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

I am slowly becoming more and more interested in miniature quilts. I was mesmerised by them at a recent quilt show. It is such a struggle on a domestic machine to wrestle with a gigantic quilt. Yet minis present their own set of challenges. This book presents fabulous images of 35 mini quilts and 12 wonderful projects. You are going to fall in love with doing this. Each pattern has two or three sizes to ease you into getting smaller and smaller. A bit like Alice in Wonderland! Note that if you are making miniature quilts for exhibition, you need to follow the organiser’s instructions on size. The book takes you through the basic supplies, fabrics and quilting basics. Useful information is found on triangles, on point, nesting, quarter inch perfect seams and finishing. Even if you are a beginner, there is enough practical information here. The projects are also graded for skill level. The projects are a delight, I love the thought that has gone into this book. The instructions and diagrams are first class. When you move onto the next level, it’s all about making the parts smaller. All in all a fabulous primer on mini quilts and one I am happy to recommend.

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Book Review Sew Beautiful Quilted Bags by Akemi Shibata

quilted bagsBook Review Sew Beautiful Quilted Bags by Akemi Shibata, softback, published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216308, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

What a fabulous book. 28 bags from Japan that you are sure to want to make. When it says beautiful, believe it. The author has a signature style that really speaks volumes. Elegant and stylish. Great bag shapes, beautiful fabrics, practical style. These are bags you will be proud to make and own. Different patterns include purses, pouches, shoulder bags, backpacks, cases, totes and more. There really is something for everyone. I think that, like me, you will want to make each one. It is often hard to find something different in the bag world, but this book offers a unique and distinguished feel. Learn techniques such as patchwork, applique, embroidery and beading. Use scraps of fabric and turn them into works of art. Clear instructions with colour diagrams and photographs. Full size templates are given where necessary for pattern parts but you have to trace them. The finished bags look fantastic but I do prefer to make fabric handles. There is also a lovely embroidery sampler and a sewing case in redwork. An applique collage is also included. In addition at the back of the book, you will find basic quilting techniques with personal tips. This includes finishing techniques and making covered buttons. There is a short embroidery stitch guide. Most importantly at the the back of the book you’ll find pattern sheets for all the projects – these are full size. They are to be photocopies or traced as the sheets are double-sided. I am happy to highly recommend this wonderful book. I cannot wait to see more of this author’s work in print. Don’t keep it to yourself, this is a book to buy for all your sewing friends and bag makers. Just as good as her first book, but a few less patterns.

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Progress and only two weeks into the New Year

Progress is sometimes hard to come by. No matter how hard you try progress can be elusive. This happens in all walks of life and it certainly happens in textiles.

Sometimes it’s that the ideas will not come (never suffer with that one), often it’s not having the right materials and occasionally you are stumped in great need of a technique that you do not know.

Experimenting can help overcome this – trying out different things and thinking outside the box.

This second week of January 2019, I spent launching a brand new, exciting range of snowflake fabrics. There are a total of 16 mix n match fabrics in my new permanent range. I am delighted with these.

I also made great progress with my latest Winter Inspirations quilt at last. I am trying to ignore another idea I have had for a second winter quilt until much later in the year. This one has not followed my initial sketches too closely. I tried out an idea that does not work either, but I have a final design. I am hoping it comes together quickly now and will be added to the website by the end of the month.

I was more than pleased to return to hand quilting this week and a UFO that has been sitting there for a few months. I am hand stitching a patchwork jacket using a running stitch. The wadding is silk and the front is a patchwork of fabrics with a blue lining.

I finished a cardigan and hat and started knitting a cabled waistcoat. I have altered the basic stitch pattern to make it unique to me. I think this really is the last of my Rowan lightweight double knitting wool bought in the 1990s!

Enjoy your creative projects, whatever you are making. See you soon when I will be telling you of my first speaking engagement at a quilt show in April.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Best of 2018 Review

Best of 2018 Review. Yes there were good things about 2018 but it was more of a year that did not go according to plan.

What was the plan? With the ugly three-headed monster known as Brexit looming, I planned to travel. Big time. Travel like I had never travelled before. See as many places as I could. Workwise I had travel plans – travel means inspiration.

What went wrong? Through no fault of my own, I had next to no travel money, so I made it to the one place I had pre-booked – Lisbon. I for one am sincerely hoping that Brexit can still be blown away and I retain my freedom of movement.

I introduced so many new ecourses, tutorials and even quilt patterns that I began to feel like a one-woman factory churning out inspiration by the bucket load to an audience that is increasing day by day. I am feeling a positive flow of energy to my work.

My new website launched this year and an Instagram account. Both looking good and receptive people building daily. Phew – but this is like a job within a job. I want to design and I find myself wrapped up in social media. It’s tricky.

So let’s look at a few highlights. The current New In page of the website is looking fantastic with my new range of quilting fabrics. There are now seven inspirations ebooks. There are now several quilts and patterns for sale. I have just launched the Colour For Quilters ecourse. This extends my work done between 1996 – 2018 on colour in gardening. Colour is my thing. I am still dyeing and now printing my own fabrics.

Do I have plans for 2019? It’s more work for little miss workaholic and I aim to build that audience and get positive vibes and sales with new products. There’s everything to play for. See you on the other side. Stay tuned for more exciting textiles and quilts.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018 (just!)