Tip Jar: Single-wide…

There are some things that you need to actually see in person to figure out – or have someone explain how it’s done.

Antique Amish Quilt

Wide bindings – 1/2″ or more that lay very flat.

While I’ve seen many photographs of antique quilts with wide bindings, I’d only ever seen one in person, an Amish quilt from the Esprit collection in San Francisco.  It was before I started making quilts and attaching bindings so unfortunately, I didn’t pay it much attention.  Books didn’t help as it wasn’t a popular technique and my experiments in trying to duplicate the look didn’t turn out well.  (Think the wide, poufy, faux-satin binding on not-so-old blankets.)

Gwen Marston.  She’d figured it out – instead of the usual double-fold binding that most of us are accustomed to using, wide bindings are best done with a single-fold bias binding.


I couldn’t wait to try it out.  Love.  Crush!  This binding finishes at 3/4″ wide.

To date, I’ve done three projects with wide bindings.  This is the first one I can share, it’s a variation of the Modern Maples quilt that’s been on social media for the past year or two.  I’m not sure who came up with the original idea – if you know, please let me know so I can give them credit.


I loved the random setting used by several people – and credited to Lori Holt – but by the time I got to thinking of a setting, I’d already made my blocks.  I had more big blocks than I needed and not enough fabric to make more small blocks… so I improvised.

The fabric is the upcoming Regent Street 2015 Lawns with a gray woven from the Fiesta Wovens collection.

But back to the binding – it measures 3/4″ wide on the front and back.


Here’s how it’s done.

Planning ahead.  Since I knew that this quilt was going to get a wide binding, I asked my lovely machine-quilter to do some extra stitching on the outside 1/2″ of the quilt top.


The only purpose for this is to keep the edge within the binding as flat as possible.

Step 1.  Cut the binding strips on the bias – 3″ wide.


They’re a little bit wider than necessary but I found that while 2 3/4″ is wide enough, it was easier to fold under and stitch with a little bit more generous seam allowance.

Sew the strips together with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance and press the seams open.

If desired, wind the binding on a spool or card to keep it from getting tangled while it’s being stitched onto the quilt.


It also looks pretty.

Step 2.  Using masking tape, mark the desired seam allowance on the sewing machine.  For this binding – I measured a 3/4″ seam allowance.


Now measure the same seam allowance – 3/4″ – in the front of the needle – this is for the mitered corners.


Yes, I forgot to take this picture until after I’d finished attaching the binding.

Step 3.  With right sides together, align the edge of the binding with the edge of the border/quilt top.  With the edge aligned with the tape-marker for the seam allowance, begin stitching the binding to the quilt top.

Step 4.  Using the horizontal tape as the guide, stop stitching when you reach the point 3/4″ from the corner.  Turn the corner and stitch back to the edge of the quilt top as shown.


Step 5.  Lift the presser foot and fold the binding strip back to the edge as shown – making sure that there aren’t any unseen folds in the fabric, and that the corners are sharp.


Step 6.  Keep stitching using the 3/4″ seam allowance until you reach the starting point.  Join the seams with a diagonal seam – just as you would do for a double-fold binding.  Press the seam open and finish stitching the binding onto the quilt top.


Step 7. While this isn’t required, I recommend pressing the binding open – away from the front of the quilt top and toward the binding.  This minimizes the chances of a fold along the seam, and it seems to help me make the fold over the edge of the quilt top.    


Step 8.  Folding under the edge along the line of stitching, pin the binding in place and stitch it down.


I think you’ll be surprised at how easily the corner goes – just remember to stitch down the fold in the miter on the front and back sides of the quilt.


I did wonder if I would have to press the binding flat after it had been washed but it hasn’t been necessary.  This is what it looked like after it came out of the dryer.

Two more things to mention.  First, the fabric.  I love the Regent Street Lawns – the first collection and this new 2015 edition.  The fine threads and tight weave of cotton lawn makes the fabric very lightweight.  It’s easy to sew with – though I do have a few recommendations.

  • Pre-washing.  Because of the tight weave and fine threads, cotton lawns don’t shrink as much as regular quilting cottons.  However, pre-washing is still recommended if you’re going to use the lawns for garments.  For patchwork, if you press with steam – as I do – then prepping the fabrics with starch or sizing will give the fabric a little bit more body and alleviate any shrinkage.  If you’re mixing the lawns with regular quilting cottons, those fabrics should be “prepped” or pre-washed as they will shrink more than the lawns.
  • Thread.  The very fine weight of the fabric means that a fine thread is recommended for piecing – a 50 wt. Aurifil, a 60 wt. Presencia or a 50 wt. DMC Embroidery thread.
  • Needle.  The finer thread and fabric require a finer needle – no more than a 75/11.  A 70/10 is ideal – unless you’re sewing the lawns to a thicker, linen-like weight fabric.

Second, the Modern Maple.  My large Maple Leaf blocks finish at 10 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ and the small Maple Leaf blocks finish at 5 1/4″ x 5 1/4″.  I made 32 big blocks and 20 small blocks – and my finished quilt measures approx. 68″ x 73″.

I used one Layer Cake and one Charm Pack to cut the pieces for my quilt –

  • Prints – Large Blocks:  32 sets of the following – 3 matching squares – 4″ x 4″ for the plain squares / 2 matching squares  – 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ for the HTSs / 1 strip – 1″ x 6″ for the leaf steam.
  • Prints – Small Blocks: 10 sets of the following – 6 matching squares – 2 1/4″ x 2 1/4″ for the plain squares / 1 square – 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ for the HTSs – two sets of 4 matching – and 2 strips – 3/4″ x 5″ for the leaf stems.
  • Background – Large Blocks:  32 sets of the following – 3 matching squares  – 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ – 2 for the HTSs  and 1 for the stem square / 1 square – 4″ x 4″ for the block.  Trim finished units to 4″ x 4″.
  • Background – Small Blocks: 10 sets of the following – 2 matching squares – 2 1/4″ x 2 1/4″ for the plain squares / 1 square – 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ for the HTSs / and 1 square 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ for the stem square.  Trim finished units to 2 1/4″ x 2 1/4″.
  • Background – Plain Squares:  8 squares – 5 3/4″ x 5 3/4″.

For an excellent tutorial on the construction of the Modern Maple block – Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft.

Both the background and backing fabrics are silky-wovens from the Fiesta Wovens collection.  While the thread-count isn’t quite as high as it is for the lawns, the fabrics are a bit lighter-weight and finer than regular quilting cottons.  The batting used in the quilt is Luna Loft, a light-to-medium weight cotton-poly blend batting.  The finished quilt is very light, very soft and quite wonderful.

(It was quilted by Maggi Honeyman.)

It goes without saying that I’ll be making more quilts with cotton lawn.  And with wide bindings.

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Family.  Check.

Friends.  Check.

Ditto for the good health of the aforementioned and ourselves, of course.

The Pilgrims celebrated a successful harvest… so I suppose I should also be grateful that my “successful harvest” comes courtesy of Kroger’s and not the Wampanoag.

Since “gratitude” is a state of mind – a way of living – I’ve always taken that to mean that we should be thankful for the little everyday things that make us happy – the little pleasures.

So I asked the ladies in the office what they were thankful for this year and it seems we have quite a bit in common.


(Image from LuluLemon.com)

Stretchy-pants and leggings were a very popular answer – Tammy, Cheryl, Lissa, etc.  I think this would be the overwhelming choice as the real “casual Friday” attire.

Food was mentioned – a lot.  Erin listed Taco Tuesdays at Rosa’s as being her “most important”.

Rosa's Taco Tuesday

While we haven’t had Rosa’s for lunch, we do have quite a bit of variety.  Chelair specifically listed Susan as something – someone – she is thankful for.  Actually, she initially said “our wonderful lunchtime catering service”.  But that’s Stiffy – aka Susan.  She does many wonderful things at Moda – designing the gorgeous kit boxes and quilts, writing patterns and project sheets, and answering inDesign questions from a twit in the office across the hall – but she also keeps us fed by taking orders and making the trip to pick-up lunch.

Outlaw is thankful for Cranberry Salsa – it is the season!

Mel's Kitchen Cafe

(Image from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.)

With tortilla chips and some sort of cold beverage made with limes.

Central Market.  Whole Foods.  Market Street.  All were mentioned at least once.  (They’re all upscale grocery stores in the Dallas area.)

Krispy Kreme?  With a couple of boxes in the sample room going fast, those made the list.  As did Nothing Bundt Cakes –  they’ve got Joy’s number.  Or rather, she’s got their number – the address is a Favorite on her phone.


The popularity of stretchy pants is starting to make sense, isn’t it?

And cold weather!  Not because anybody really likes the cold, it’s that it means coats, sweaters and layers… a lovely cover-up for annual holiday weight gain.

Holly was happy to be out of the office when I asked the question.  A few others avoided the question – lucky them, right?  I cornered Jamie long enough for her to state that she was thankful for “overly bushy bears” and “man buns”.  I think everyone was afraid to ask why.


Okay… maybe the girl has a point.


Maybe not.  Do you remember how cute he was on Growing Pains?

My favorite “thankful” is from Ducky.  She’s thankful that her four-year old grandson, Kolton, still considers her to be “safe – home” when her older – bigger – grandsons are chasing him while playing tag.  He proclaims “You can not touch me when I’m with Momo!”  She loves the great hugs she gets when they play that game.

I’m betting her grandsons are thankful that their Momo is the sort that has a 9 1/2 foot rubber duck in her yard at Christmas…


Ducky is thankful about it too – she’s planning to get the Quack out for the holidays this weekend.

Most of us already knew that Lissa was probably going to mention BitEmoji – she was the first in the office to start having fun with it, and there is a rumor that she’s trying to create a BitEmoji family Christmas card.  (An “emoji” is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication like texts, e-mails, etc.  Bitmoji is your own personal emoji – a cartoon-like icon/avatar that you create and customize to look like you.  Maybe.)

As she said – “It’s my alter ego! And I can change my wardrobe frequently without ever having to do laundry.”


A perfect ending!

Happy Thanksgiving!

(We’ll be back next week with something a little more serious.)

(Or not.)

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Feeling a bit frivolous…

I know.  I can’t believe it either.  November is almost-done, Thanksgiving is this week, and I don’t even want to think about how rapidly Christmas is approaching.

After that, it will be 2016!

I feel like I just got here yesterday… though I also feel like we worked on these quilts yesterday… and that January was eons ago.  (It doesn’t help that we’re already working on Christmas of next year in the office… “a long winter’s nap?”… yeah, right.)

Let’s get back to the matter at hand – something pretty that’s been in the works for months and months – Frivols No. 4 – the collection is Windermere by Brenda Riddle.


The quilt is Lakeland – named for the English Lake District that Brenda loves.  The quilt measures 50″ x 50″… though it could be made larger with the addition of a border.  Or the four blocks could be made into pillows.  (I’d keep two and give the other two as gifts.  Maybe.)

I confess that this is one of my favorite tins – it’s PINK!  How could it now be wonderful?


I’m still sewing the Maker Blocks – I’m caught up through Month 4.  I’ve also started making some of the extra blocks I’ll need for the sampler quilt I have in mind.  (No, I still can’t believe I’m working on three sampler quilts at the same time.  New Year’s Resolution for 2016 – only one sampler quilt at a time… after I finish these, of course.)


Pictures of finished quilts and “arriving Frivols” are continuing to show up on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag – #ModaFrivols.  So many wonderful finished quilts and projects –


… including one all the way from Australia. 

Patchwork Pear

This is from Elizabeth at The Patchwork Pear in Port Lincoln, South Australia.  The quilting is perfection.

We’ve also been having fun with the Moda Sampler Shuffle – #modasamplershuffle.


Row 1: Debbie – @quiltedmoose / Thelma – @thelmacupcake / Kristine – @quiltersattitude

Row 2: Jemima – @jemimas_creative_quilting / Laura – @laurastitch / Annalee – @annalee_k

Row 3: Lisa – @lisa.norton.351 / Liz – @lizfromshush / Karyl – @karyllynnesmith

The first twelve blocks have been posted on shop websites around the world – the next three blocks will be available on Friday, November 27th.  It will be something to look forward to after a day of college football, shopping and leftovers.


Top left: Diane – @quiltnchick / Bottom left:  Nancy – @nancyoakeson

On the right: Deborah, Kimberly, Sarah & Cheryl – the ladies from @fatquartershop

Me?  I’m caught up – and I’ve finished my flying geese for the borders.  (Of course, I’m behind on the other two sampler projects so I’m not in any danger of get hurt patting myself on the back.)


I have a Zen Chic-y thing going on – For You, Flow and Modern Background Paper.

With sewing before Market and since, I’ve been unwrapping bundles and rolls, enough to accumulate a nice pile of the measuring tape ribbon.  Enough to make something?


I see another one – or two – of these in my future.

I must sew faster – and more.

With a nice long weekend ahead… I see that in my future.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Charity Quilts: Bringing Light to Darkness

For lots of us, Show and Tell is the best part of our quilt guild meetings. I adore seeing what people are working on and hearing the sometimes funny, often touching stories behind their creations. But one portion of Show and Tell that never fails to amaze me is when the “service quilts” are held high: the freely given hours of incredible workmanship always knocks my socks off.


Detail of a quilt made by Moda staff members for newborns whose parents were lost on 9/11.

Whether you call them charity quilts, service quilts, or by some other name, it’s obvious that quilters love to share their stitching skills. When I interview people I hear time and again that there’s a different feeling to this industry than in many others: the generosity of quilters is well-established and includes help given to local, regional, national, and international causes.

2015-11-Quilts for Habitat house

Old Capitol Quilt Guild members with quilts stitched for a local Habitat for Humanity house.

On a local level, many guilds and individuals make quilts for children’s hospitals, domestic violence shelters, and other organizations or help raise funds by supplying quilts for raffles. Several members of my guild recently made quilts for members of a family moving into a new Habitat for Humanity home. They personalized them by giving the daughters quilts in their favorite colors and stitching the son’s quilts with soccer motifs.

On a regional level, quilters frequently step in during times of natural disaster—they’ve come together to create quilts for victims of floods, earthquakes, fires, and tornadoes. Quilters bring solace internationally, as well—the Quilts for Japan movement, for example, sent quilts to victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Some of the best known organizations that distribute quilts to those in need include Project Linus, Quilts of Valor, and Quilts for Kids. Charitable sewing is not just about quilts, either: American Patchwork and Quilting’s 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge has delivered more than 650,000 pillowcases to children and families in need, and Days for Girls provides washable, reusable feminine hygiene products to women and girls worldwide.


Label on a quilt made by Moda staff for “9/11 babies.”

In addition to Moda’s Howard Marcus fabrics benefitting a variety of causes (here, here, and here, for example), United Notions/Moda staff members have sewn charity quilts, including after 9/11. Touched by an article in People magazine about the women who had or were having babies and had lost husbands or partners in the attacks, staff members stitched quilts for all those babies.


One of the quilts made by Moda staff members for babies whose parents were lost on 9/11.


As quilters, we well know that feeling of covering someone near and dear with a quilt that represents our care and love. But why do quilters do the same for people they don’t even know? To be honest, there’s some selfishness involved—we get to have fun, sewing with friends, playing with fabric, and maybe even making a dent in our stash. But the real payback is the letting recipients know they’re not alone, that someone cares enough to share her time and talents, and to bring a ray of light in a time of darkness.

Do you quilt or sew for charity? Please share your story in the comment section—we’d love to hear from you.

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There’s still time…

Or is there?

There are less than six weeks until Christmas and Kwanzaa, and less than three weeks until Hanukkah.  So how much sewing time is left?

Enough to make any of these projects?


(All images found on Pinterest.  Clockwise from the upper left –  Flurry Fabric and pattern by Kate Spain/image from Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe.  Feathered Star by Anita Peluso/Pattern by Marsha McCloskey.  Original pillow design by Amy Sinibaldi – NanaCompany.  Trim the Tree – pattern by Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill, made by Rita of Pink Polka Dot Creations.  Christmas Dresden Plates by Amber Johnson of Gigi’s Thimble.  Winter Wonderland by Sherri Falls & It’s Sew Emma.)

If you’ve still got some holiday sewing to do – what are you going to make?  Is it for decorating – or are you still making “handmade” gifts?

Or is your list done… right up until you see some of the wonderful projects posted during the 12 Days of Christmas events done by Sweetwater Designs and Fig Tree & Co.?  (The Sweetwater girls started last week and are on Day 3 while Joanna won’t be starting until Saturday, November 28th.)

My “made for Christmas 2015” sewing is done – I think.  I could still get the crazy idea that I can start-and-finish something.  I did get a Christmas quilt made using Kate Spain’s Jingle collection and the Lollies pattern by Thimble BlossomsCamille Roskelley.


While I love the aqua blue mixed in with the red and green, I know that not everybody does.

What are your favorite colors to use for decorating during the holidays?

Blue and silver for Hanukkah?  Red and green for Christmas?  What do you think of adding a little bit of aqua or hot pink – a “Shiny Brite” kind of Mod holiday?  Or do you fancy the Scandinavian palette of red, white, gray and mocha?


Winterrose by Wenche Wolff Hatling using JOL.

What about just “red and white” – or cream?


Okay, Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Co. does slip in a little bit of green on occasion.

Have you started decorating?  Or are you like Nordstrom’s – preferring to “deck your halls” with Christmas the day after Thanksgiving?

I think you know that when I have questions, there is a possibility of a little bit of quid pro quo.

It is the season for giving, right?  Or it will be soon.

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