Evening in the Garden Quilts

Adventures in Fabric Art


January Goals Completed!


I hope you all found the four goals for the month as motivating as I did. I found that they really did focus me, eliminating that “when I get around to it” mentality I often have. I know that my January goals were not that ambitious, but that was intentional. I’ve been moving in slow motion for a while, and doing a lot of procrastinating, so I just wanted to spell out a few concrete goals. In addition, I did make an extra quilt on the way to the Quilt of Valor, so not too bad. You’ll see I’m doing much the same for February.


1.  Construct Quilt of Valor top during New Year’s Day Sit and Sew (also #NDSI on Twitter).

2.  Quilt/finish said QOV quilt.
3.  Create and post tutorial about binding a quilt with blanket binding
4.  Create a fun, new quilt of my choice using stash fabric, inspired by playing with said fabric.

February Goals

1.  Make a primary or bright baby quilt for Etsy shop.
2. Pillow covers for living room pillows.
3. Make a floral quilt for Etsy shop.
4. Mail or deliver the QOV and my ConKerr Cancer pillowcases

I’m linking up to Getting It Done on Patchwork Times.


Blanket Binding Tutorial


Here is the tutorial several readers requested in December, 2012, for finishing a quilt (usually a baby quilt) with rayon blanket binding.  It’s easy, and it really is a favorite for those little fingers to stroke.  The width does require a few design considerations, but applying it is quicker than making and sewing on regular binding, even if you do yours all by machine.  I don’t know if there is a “better” or more standard way to attach this binding, but this is the way I do it, and I’m always satisfied with the result.


For demonstration purposes, I chose to make a cat mat.   My cats don’t really need an additional mat (it will keep your furniture clean), but I needed to use up this frisky cat print fabric and this..ahem…bright yellow blanket binding that has never complimented anything else.

Design Considerations

Blanket binding is nearly two inches (four inches folded in half) of solid color around your quilt.  While it doesn’t have to be nearly as loud as this example, it does add a lot more color and is a much stronger design element that narrow binding.  Be sure to addition your binding to make it accentuate the rest of the quilt, and be aware that there are several shades of most colors available.  Wrights make several shades of pink, for instance, and I think the dye lots vary, so you should be able to find the perfect one.  One package contains 4 3/4 yards, which is perfect for the size baby quilt I usually make, 36″ x 42″.  If your quilt is larger, be sure both/all of your packages really match each other.

Urbana-20130129-00603This two-inch finish will change the design of your quilt.  If your blocks go edge to edge, quite a bit will be covered up and the design may look “cut off”, probably a bad thing.  Three- to four- inch borders that once finished your quilt will now be cut way down to very narrow borders, possibly a bad thing.  Narrow borders or patches of different colors will show through the blanket binding and look funky.  I usually like to use a six-inch wide border, so that when two inches are covered up, four inches are still showing and it looks intentional.  It will look odd to put such a wide border on a small baby quilt, but much better when the binding’s attached.  I forgot what I was doing when I quilted this example and put rows of quilting near the edges.  It won’t hurt, but these will be covered by the binding.  Plan ahead.

Notice how smooth and flat the yellow binding looks on my cat mat?  That’s because I have not washed the mat.  When I do, the mat will shrink a bit, but the binding will not, creating a slightly ruffled effect on the binding.  This is just lovely on a little girl’s quilt.  If you don’t want this effect, zigzag the edges of your quilt and wash it first, then bind it.  I don’t think my cats will mind.


I like to finish the edges of my quilt first with a basting or zigzag stitch.


Baby quilts wear out, and sometimes the rayon binding wears through, so I don’t want raw edges and batting ever hanging out.  It also makes a nice stable edge to work with.


Then I set up my machine with something resembling a blanket stitch.  You can use any decorative stitch.  Test it out on a quilt sandwich scrap and adjust the width and length until you are happy.  On my Bernina 440QE I used stitch 45.  I flipped it to put the solid line of stitches on the quilt inside of the binding and to let the “rays” catch the blanket binding.  I changed the stitch width to 5 and increased the length a little.  I used a walking foot with good results, but I don’t think I always do, so experiment to see what you like.

I used 50 wt. thread in the same color as the binding so that it blends well.  I backstitched each time I began and ended.  I often use more decorative thread for this.  If your thread is slippery/silky you may want to pull the ends through and knot them, as they can come undone otherwise.


Open the package of binding, unroll it, and line it up even with the top of one edge of your quilt.  You are placing the edge of the quilt between the two halves of the folded binding, sandwiching it.  The binding is usually folded pretty evenly, but if there seems to be a little extra width on one side, place this side on the bottom of your quilt to be sure that your stitches catch it well.  I am not a pinner, but you will want to use a least a few thin, sharp pins when you first do this.  Make sure the quilt is pushed all the way into the binding, but just barely.  Let it ride in there easily, not pulled tight or stretched to one side or the other.


Sew the binding on along the first edge of the quilt, sewing all the way to the bottom edge.  Backstitch and clip your threads.  Check the back- the bottom stitching should look nearly the same as the top.


Remove the quilt from the machine.  Fold the binding to create a miter.  Pin this on the front and back, making sure to form both miters neatly.  Pin the binding along the new edge of the quilt.

Begin sewing the miter down from the top corner (backstitch).  Pivot, and sew the next edge, all the way to the bottom of the quilt. Repeat for the last two edges, stopping a few inches away from the final corner.


Mark the edge of the binding where the edge of the quilt hits it.  Cut off the extra binding an inch or so below your mark.



Fold the binding straight across where you have marked it.  It will fight you, so you may want to press it.  Then fold the corners in to form a “miter” (half miter).  This takes make a few minutes and a few tries to get right.  You may want to press it.  I used pins to secure it.  Now put the binding into place on the quilt, overlapping the binding where you began.  Make sure it comes all the way to the corner, covering any raw quilt edges.  If necessary, adjust the folding until it fits well.  Pin securely on both sides.  (This is a little bulky.  I keep thinking there is a clever way to clip the extra bulk, but I have’t found it.  More important to keep those raw edges under wraps.)


Return the quilt to machine to finish sewing until you reach the miter.  Pivot and sew along the miter out to the corner.  Backstitch securely  and admire your bound quilt!


Honestly, this binding is easy!  Writing about it took much longer than doing it!  This my first tutorial, so I have no idea if any of that made sense.  Please let me know what you think, and ask questions about anything that wasn’t clear.

Urbana-20130127-00597I’m linking up with Tuesday Tutorials on The Kurtz Corner.

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Design Wall Monday: A bright baby quilt


No blocks on my wall yet, just fabric, as I play around with choices for a brightly colored baby quilt.  I love this half-yard of polka dot batik.  My current plan is to cut it into five inch squares and frame them with the other two fabrics.  I’ll choose the centers so that the turquoise fabric doesn’t surround turquoise dots.  The lighter fabric is quite calm in color, but this quilt will still have a lot going on.  Hmmm.

Are you playing with your fabric?

I’m linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.


Sunday Stash Report 1/27/13


Another good week, stash-wise, with a quilt (11.5 yds.), and pillowcase (1 yd.) completed.

I did purchase fabric on Saturday which will change the count in the next week or so, but it was planned and practical. I bought several Kona blues (after realizing how little I had for the QOV), and several good lengths on sale for backings. I like a pieced backing, but not always, and not one that looks thrown together. It’s nice to fondle fabric before purchasing, but I’ve never been disapointed by anything I bought from eQuilter. Their photography and descriptions are wonderful.

This week: +0 yds., -12.5 yds.
YTD: +0 yds., -34.5 yds.
Net stash used in 2013: 34.5 yds.

How are you doing on your destashing?

See more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times.

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WIP Wednesday: QOV


Thank you for your imput about the borders for this quilt. It was fine without a border, but I needed it to be a little larger. I didn’t have enoigh blue to use it by itself, but I think that the triangles separate it nicely from the busy print.


I am now quilting along the edges of the block frames and a quarter inch in on either side.  I think the centers will get closely spaced lines in the same direction as the piecing.  I’ll do the blue triangles in zigzag lines.


I’m linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.


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Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day


Thursday, January 24 is Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day.  I know that sometimes we just have to order online, but these shops sure are important, and we have to support them whenever we can.

First a disclaimer:  This can’t be called my “local” quilt shop, because it isn’t even in my home state, but it is the one where I spend the most money, and sometimes visit the most.  My most local shop is very small and rather expensive, though they do service my machine, so I try to go there when I can.


Patchwork Plus is located in Dayton, Virginia, very close to Harrisonburg.  We have lots of family in the area, so I shop when we are visiting.


They bill themselves as the largest quilt shop in Virginia, with over 9,000 square feet!  Yes, this is a large shop.  The batik section alone keeps me busy when I visit, but they have EVERYTHING.


The 150 sample quilts on the walls (this is from their ad- I didn’t count!) are wonderful for inspiration.  On this last visit, I was lusting after the sewing machines they had on display.  They have enough help that there is little waiting, and the clerks are very patient and knowledgeable.  What more could anyone ask of a LQS?


I’m linking up to The Local Quilt Shop Blog Tour.


Design Wall Monday: QOV


I have 35 blocks ready for today’s MLK Day Sew In (#mlkdsi on Twitter). Please join us! It’s nice to have company sewing. Company for whom you don’t have to dress up or clean up!

I’m auditioning this border fabric, which I really want to use. However, it’s looking awfully busy, and the sides have to be pieced with the blue because I don’t have enough of the mountains. I will stare at it as I put the field of blocks together this morning. Don’t be surprised if this has different borders next time you see it.

Hope you’re able to sew today.

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.


Sunday Stash Report 1/20/13

Starting the New Year in the black!  This can’t last forever, but I’m doing well so far on stash reduction.  So far I’ve bought some thread and a roll of batting (which don’t count here!), and several customers are talking to me about commissions, so I know there will be fabric purchases soon.  Until then, I will enjoy these numbers.

I used 10 yards for the Winter Nine Patch this week.  That puts me here:

This week:  +0 yards,  -10 yards

YTD:  +0 yards,  -22 yards

Net stash used in 2013:  22 yards


How are you coming on your stash reduction?


See more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times.



Finish It Up Friday 1/18/13

WinterWinter Nine Patch

Love it!  I finished my Winter Nine Patch today in time to wash and photograph it on this cold be sunny day.

winter flakesThis quilt is best seen in person, because the fancy quilted snowflakes probably don’t show well in the pictures.  In  person, though, they are a subtle frosting all over the quilt.  The term “surface embellishment” comes to my mind with these.  No beads or buttons or spangles, just slightly shiny, etherial snowflakes.

Winter flakes 2I quilted this by stitching in all the ditches on the front with Superior’s Bottom Line thread.  This gave me a nice, stable, flat, square quilt.

Winter back
Then I flipped it over and quilted from the back.  I quilted the large batiked snowflakes of the backing fabric, and added smaller ones in the gaps between.  I used Bottom Line in the top, and a very heavy, shiny, white rayon thread for the bobbin work.  I think it is YLI, but the bottom cap and label are missing, so I’ll never be sure.  The thickness is similar to Superior’s Razzle Dazzle.  I got very lucky in sewing with this.  I left my top tension alone (4), and loosened the bobbin a half turn, and my first sample was perfect.  I wasn’t really sewing with the rayon, I was just letting it ride on the surface while I caught it with the top thread.  Even with the top-stitch needle, this thread was way too heavy to ever really form stitches with.  That’s okay, it showed more this way.


The batik snowflakes were harder to quilt than I had guessed.  They were irregular and unsymmetrical.  To do it over, I would use a marker to trace better patterns over top of the prints.  Instead, I improvised and “improved” them as I went along.  I am happy.

Winter chair

You know what I’ll be snuggling under on this wintery evening!

Winter yuri

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF at Celtic Thistle Stitches.


WIP Wednesday 1/16/13



Time to begin quilting my Winter Nine Patch!


I’m going to start with stitching in all the ditches from the front with my walking foot.


Then I want to turn it over and quilt the giant snowflakes from the reverse.  I have some very heavy (lost the label) white rayon that might work for that.  We will see.

I’m linking up with WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced.