Monday, March 23, 2015

Finishing Touches

Some of us like to make quilts for show.  Others like to make quilts for many other reasons.  Whether you show or not you should be aware that the binding and the back of a quilt play a significant part in finishing a quilt and making it look its best for for its chosen purpose.  This means that it is critical that you learn to do it right.

The back must be neat with no loose threads or unsightly thread knots, tangles or pleats.

TIP:  A busy back helps to hide uneven stitches, which is handy for the novice quilter.

TIP:  Avoiding unwanted knots on the back is a matter of practice through which you gain control of hands, feet, eyes and machine.  I am not talking about the hidden knots you tie to secure your threads.

TIP:  Loose threads must be knotted and run into the batting.  I do mine every time I stop so I don't miss any.

Pleats on the back cannot be hidden so it is important to prepare your quilt carefully for quilting.

TIP:  Make sure your backing is free of wrinkles and secured firmly, but not stretched, before you place your batting and quilt top on it to complete the sandwich.  Do you know how to properly sandwich and baste your quilt?  If not, let me know and I will post my method.

None of this is hard to learn, but does require vigilance during the quilting process.

The binding is the icing on the cake and if it is not done right it spoils the look of the whole thing.  I have just discovered Sharon Schamber's method and am very pleased with the results.  This link takes you to part 1, but part 2 is easy to find when you are ready.

The quilt below was in the Hoffman Challenge 2013 and the judge noted on her evaluation that there was "a problem with the binding."  That's a big help!  What was wrong with it?  I had to wait a year to find out because it spent the year traveling with the Hoffman exhibit.  Stay tuned and I will share with you next week what I think the problem was.

Fenestra Rosa

P.S. Fenestra Rosa is latin for Rose Window.  I must have been feeling intellectual when I named it!


  1. I have gotten several judges comments on binding too - usually corners not square or binding not completely filled...but I work to do a little better on each quilt! I really enjoying seeing what different judges say about the same quilt too!

  2. This Rose Window quilt is beautiful. Do you have a tutorial or pattern for it?

    1. Thank you. This is my own design and I wing it as I go, solving problems, inventing worries and eventually finishing. I don't have a pattern that I can share - I don't write out directions. I will write a little more about it in subsequent posts. It presented some interesting challenges.

  3. This is an incredible quilt! It makes me think of a floor standing juke box from the 50's.

    1. I had to laugh. I never thought of it as a jukebox, but you are right, it does look like one of those old musical wonders.

  4. It looks incredible, what a work of art!