Tag Archives: cluck cluck sew

Favorite Finishing Techniques and Tools

With so many fabulous tutorials out there in this vast internet world, I try to avoid reinventing the wheel whenever possible. So far, when it comes to finishing my quilts and other stitched projects, I’ve had great luck in finding clear, well-written tutorials that help clarify exactly how to best finish a project. Today I thought it might be helpful for me to create a reference list of my top go-to finishing tutorials and tools to share with you.

finishing tips and toolsHere is a visual map I drew to help keep track of my favorite methods during an #Honestcraftroomies Periscope hop about this topic a few weeks ago, along with my top favorite finishing tools. (If you click the photo it should open in another tab a bit larger so that it’s easier to read. All of the information is in the blog post, too, though!)

I’ll begin by linking to each of my favorite finishing tutorials below with a brief explanation as to why it is a favorite (Each heading and photo link to the tutorial. Click and it will open in another tab. Peruse at leisure. Bookmark. Revel in sweet knowledge!)

Making Straight-Grain Quilt Bindings
by Bijou LovelyBijou Lovely making-quilt-binding

Holly DeGroot at Bijou Lovely was one of the first quilters I started following regularly, and for good reason. Her photos are superb and eye candy abounds! This tutorial is super straight-forward and has clear photos for every step. It also shows you how to get the end of your binding ready for the next step: attaching it to the quilt, which is very helpful. When binding any large, rectangular quilt, either entirely by machine or hand-stitched to the back, this is how I make my binding.

Attaching Binding to a Quilt
by Bijou Lovely 

Bijou Lovely binding attachingThis gets you set up for hand stitching your binding to the back of your quilt. The brilliance is in the overlap join where the beginning and end of your binding meet. For someone who initially struggled with getting that final binding seam sewn straight and in the proper place (hi, that’s me!), this tutorial was a lifesaver!

Machine Binding a Quilt
by Cluck Cluck Sew

Cluck Cluck Sew Machine-Binding-TutorialWhile I love hand stitching bindings to the backs of quilts, some quilts just warrant machine binding, either for durability or for the sake of saving yourself a bit of time.  This tutorial is fabulous! I now machine bind all baby quilts and kid quilts, and I use this tutorial to help machine bind things like mug rugs and table runners, too!

Binding Tiny Things
by Crazy Mom Quilts

crazy mom quilts binding tiny things mini tree and binding stripThis tutorial makes binding tiny things a breeze. Seriously! One tip I have to emphasize is the step where you press the binding away from the front of the quilt after sewing it on. This step makes all the difference in the accuracy of your final stitches and the overall perfection of your finished (finished! yay!) mini. If you are at all infected by the mini mini quilt bug, this tutorial is a must!

My Top 3 Finishing Tools

Finishing a quilt includes more than binding. To me, quilting and burying threads count within the ranks of “finishing steps”, too. I have three top tools that I couldn’t live without when it comes to actually quilting a quilt and burying all those threads. (Each tool name is linked to where you can buy it, but they are not affiliate links; they are just there for your convenience. I’ve heard rumors that Maine does not allow affiliate link payout, and I’m thinking they may be true. You probably will see a lot less affiliate links, but I will always link to products because I think it’s helpful to you!!)

Hera Marker

hera marker in useWhen I first heard of a Hera marker, I envisioned a special pen. The name is misleading a bit until you realize that it “marks” the quilt with creases, NOT with actual physical marks like a pen, pencil, or chalk would. (The white thing in the photo above is the Hera marker for those of you who have not yet heard of them). Hera markers are my go-to quilt marking tool, and I use one for marking straight lines for small quilting projects, marking increments before free motion quilting, marking seam lines when joining binding or sewing HSTs, and just about any other time I need to mark the fabric somehow.

Painter’s tape

painters tape marking quilt linesPainter’s tape is another fantastic tool for those of us who shudder at the thought of actually writing on a quilt top. I use painter’s tape to help keep straight line quilting evenly spaced and as a visual guide when sectioning off areas of free motion quilting. It is easily repositionable, and paired with a ruler, can be placed exactly straight. You NEED some of this in your quilting arsenal. (I also use it to tape up quilt blocks for photos!)

Self-threading needles

self threading needlesThese needles sound magical, and trust me–they are! When you have a gabillion threads to bury after epically quilting your quilt baby, the self-threading (also called easy-threading) needles are your bff (that stands for ‘best friend forever’, for those of you who aren’t savvy to teenage acronyms). The drawing I did of the self-threading needles shows how they work best (in my humble opinion) so I’ve included that above. Basically, they have an open top so that you can just pop your thread end right down into the eye of the needle, easily burying threads like a champ, again, and again, and again, and again…

I hope this collection of resources is helpful to you. There’s nothing like finishing a quilt, and these tutorials have helped those final steps be as smooth as possible for me. You know me; I love to share the love!

I’m sure there are more great tips and techniques that haven’t yet crossed my quilting path, and I’d love to learn about them. What are some of your favorite finishing techniques or tutorials that I haven’t included here? Thank you in advance for sharing!

I’m linking up with Tips & Tutorials Tuesday and Quilting Mod’s Lessons Learned Linky #3.

Pinkalicious Hazel Hedgehog Baby Quilt Finish

No, I have not yet had my baby. I know I’m getting into the window where I should just automatically say, “Here, visit this site: http://haveyouhadthatbabyyet.com” and be done with it. He will come when he’s ready. I’m thinking I’m ready now, so whenever he’s ready, I’m game!

In the meantime, I can share some of my finishes with you! In these past few weeks, I have been nesting in all sorts of ways, trying to wrap up big projects before our home is graced with the presence of a newborn. One of my big finishes was the Pinkalicious Hazel Hedgehog Baby Quilt I made for my sister-in-law’s first baby, Reagan. She’s due June 14th but is actually showing more progress toward that end than I am! I am excited that I finished her quilt before baby time.

finished pinkalicious hazel hedgehog baby quilt relief quilted name in heartAs you’ve seen in a previous post, I used matchstick quilting to relief quilt the baby’s name into the heart. I used Aurifil 50wt variegated Bubblegum-3660 to match the background fabric, since I wanted the name to be subtle.

hazel quilt detailI opted for an all-over flower and swirl free motion quilting (FMQ) pattern in the background, using 50 wt Aurifil 2600 – Dove. I used matching 40wt thread (Aurifil 1100 – Red Plum) to quilt a similar but more linear flower/daisy chain type pattern in her hair. For Hazel’s face and body, I used 40 wt Aurifil 2423 – Baby Pink with a more subtle, outlining features approach with my walking foot. I’m super happy with how all of the quilting turned out!

folded hazel hedgehog pink baby quiltI love the look of this quilt folded, since turquoise and magenta trimmed with black is SO aesthetically appealing to me. (One day, I really will finish this quilt for myself so that I can enjoy this color combination daily.)

folded quilt in the rainy grassI bound the quilt with Architextures Words in Black (Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman Fabrics). My thought is that the black frames the quilt really well, and the white words will help it hide dust and dirt much better than a solid black would.

machine binding close upI bound the quilt using Cluck Cluck Sew’s Machine Binding method, since I’m hoping that this quilt sees a LOT of action and washes in its lifetime. I love how neatly the machine binding squares up the front of the quilt, and you really can’t beat its ease.

quilt label hand stitchedI hand stitched the label onto the back using my first attempt at blanket stitch. Admittedly, it was a lot tougher to keep even and secure than I anticipated, but I’m hoping that with practice, that will all improve. I realized while writing this label that I will be an Aunt for the first time once baby Reagan is born! So exciting!

Pinkalicious Hazel Hedgehog Baby Quilt

Completed May 2015
Pattern: Giant Hazel Hedgehog pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, speech bubble heart and layout is of my own design.
Size: 48″ x 52″
Fabric:
Front: Background: Michael Miller Stitch Circles in Aqua; Heart: Pink Star fabric, Starlet by Blank Quilting; Speech bubble: Cotton + Steel Basics by Rashida Coleman Hale; Hazel’s Face & Body: two shades of Kona pinks–I didn’t write down the names back when I bought them!; Hazel’s hair:
Back: Calypso by Ro Gregg for Paintbrush Studio
Binding: Architextures Words in Black by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Batting: 100% cotton Soft n’ Crafty batting
Thread: Aurifil 50wt 2600 – Dove for piecing, quilting background and speech bubble, and sewing down binding; Aurifil 50wt variegated 3660 – Bubblegum for matchstick quilting the heart; Aurifil 40 wt 1100 – Red Plum for quilting Hazel’s hair; and, Aurifil 50 wt 2423 – Baby Pink for quilting Hazel’s face and body.

Time:
Planning: 1 hr 30 min (includes designing speech bubble heart)
Cutting & Pressing: 3 hours
Piecing the top: 5 hours 30 min
Piecing the back: 30 minutes
Squaring, layering, and basting: 40 min
Quilting: 6 hours 20 min
Finishing (making binding, squaring quilt, burying threads): 45 min
Binding: 1 hour 45 min
Total: Approx. 20 hours

Related blog posts: April Goal {ALYoF}, Pinkalicious Hazel Hedgehog Baby Quilt Beginnings, Hazel Hedgehog Progress, April Finish: {ALYoF} Pinkalicious Hazel Hedgehog Quilt Top, Plus Some!, The Big Push, Relief Quilting Words in Negative Space {Tutorial}

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, and hoping that another little bundle decides he’s finished and ready to make his way to the outside world before next Friday!

 

 

Friday Finish: Lillian’s Baby Quilt

Finally! Over the past few weeks especially, I’ve hinted at this project and have shown little peeks at quilting and piecing details, but now I can finally show you the whole finished quilt!

2014-04-02 18.17.06

I began this quilt before little Lillian was born, and my friends didn’t find out the gender in advance, so I worked to choose gender neutral fabrics in creating this quilt. The center square is from a pattern I found in an old quilting magazine (I will link to it when I return to Maine; I don’t have the magazine with me and don’t remember specifics), but I really didn’t like the border suggested in the pattern and after much internal debate decided to design my own. I created the heart cornerstones, and I’m really happy with the mosaic-style cobblestone outer border and how well it frames the quilt.

For the back, I used a flannel fabric similar to the jungle focal panel in the front center square, with a single row of the color cobblestones mirroring the focal panel on the front.

2014-04-02 18.16.35

We are down in New Jersey visiting my family, and last weekend my dear friends and recipients of this quilt came down from NY for a visit. We haven’t seen them in nearly–or over–a year! I have been working hard to complete this quilt so that I could gift it in person, and while I came down to the wire, I did it, hand stitching the label the night before their visit.

20140409-000844.jpg

I’m really happy with the way this quilt turned out, and it is a showcase of many firsts and newly practiced skills, primarily the free motion quilting (FMQ). You can see more about my process in making the quilt, as well as more FMQ detail in my posts Baby FMQ for the Win, Free Motion Quilt-a-thon, A Sensory Adventure with FMQ, and An Unexpected Element. Seriously, the other posts are worth checking out! I’ve only been hinting at it a little, right? hah!

Since it’s a baby quilt and hopefully will see a lot of use and tough love, I opted to machine sew the binding. I also was pressed for time and really wanted to be sure to finish the quilt before departing on our trip. I used the method suggested in Cluck Cluck Sew’s Machine Binding Tutorial. With this method, the binding is sewn to the front of the quilt first, and THEN the back. The final stitching, when done correctly, traces the edge of the quilt right inside the binding, so it looks like part of the quilting. Just like the tutorial promises, most of the time it turned out perfectly:

Stitches trace the edge of the quilt just inside the binding: perfect!
Stitches trace the edge of the quilt just inside the binding: perfect!

and some of the time, I hiccuped and the stitches ended up on top of the binding:

Oops!
Oops!

All in all, I’m very happy with this quilt, and I’m eager to see many baby, toddler, child photos with this quilt getting grayer and grayer in the background! Enough about the quilt; here are some photos from the day, gifting and of course adorable Lillian!

Gifting the quilt and discussing the little details.
Gifting the quilt and discussing the little details.
I love babies! Lillian was adoring her view of her momma, otherwise I would have been snuggling that girl up close!
I love babies! Lillian was adoring her view of her momma, otherwise I would have been snuggling that girl up close!

2014-04-05 12.20.55

My son Max wanted Lillian on his lap, always. He was so very gentle!
My son Max wanted Lillian on his lap, always. He was so very gentle!

Since it’s Friday and this is an epic finish for me, I’m linking up! Click the links below to see many other awesome finishes.

Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday
TGIFF