In 2012 I had a chat with a couple of my fellow quilty friends and we decided to run a small group swap to make ourselves a little rainbow fabric – we needed 12 people to make that happen. Using the power of Facebook I set up a group and set about finding 11 like minded people. Today our little group has close to 400 members and we have run a multitude of swaps with people all over the country.
Part of what makes our group fun and interesting is the swaps – but a bigger part is the interesting, quirky and funny people you meet and the chats and support you get and give. If you are interested you can find our group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/149803875155388/
The swapping and chatting led to organising a bit of a get together. One of out members knew of an old monastery that was available for hire and thus was born the Rainbow Fabric Retreat! We had the first retreat in 2013 … and recently we had our second retreat!
So what happens on retreat? Well we sew, we talk, we EAT (OMG the food was divine), we drink and repeat! If we are lucky we gt some projects finished… if not .. then we get a few days away in the bush where we can relax, chat and be merry.
These are the lovely ladies from RFR 2014
The Monastery is an old mud brick place with about 14 bedrooms – a huge kitchen, a lounge room and a room that we made into a sweat-shop! The following pictures will give you a bit of a feel for the place… the photos are complements of Christie-Leigh – She can take a great picture AND see be brave enough to stay on even after the bumps in the night! What more could a girl want?
The Sweat shop.
Our rooms overlooked the bush surrounds
There is a hobbit house on the hill
With watchful eyes of owls… and possums, koalas, kangaroos and many other less cuddly looking creatures!
This is where our resident master chef Sarah worked her magic!
The halls to our rooms
And a shared bathroom.
It is such a nice thing to do .. it can be a bit daunting meeting new people and staying with them in the bush… but hell… we are quilters.. how bad can it be?!?
This trip our furthest visitor came from Adelaide.. Jenny was a delight to meet. She was always so smiley and happy I had to nick name her chuckles.. which I did not mean as the scary clown – rather as the lovely happy person she was. Fingers crossed she can come back to our next retreat.
Sue was our second distance traveler flying in from Melbourne. After seeing people so long online it was nice to meet them in the flesh.
I think I will leave it here. If the retreat attendees want to fill you in on any part of their adventure I invite them to leave their story in the comments section.
So today is Mothers Day in Australia… Today started out with me snuggled in bed being provided with a fresh coffee followed by bacon and eggs with home grown tomatoes on sourdough… yup I have it pretty good!
Taking full advantage of the day I announced that I would be unable to do housework as I was required to only do the things I wanted to do on mothers day… Therefore I planned to quilt (there was also a nap around mid-day).
If you are a regular reader of my blog you will be aware that I recently became a proud owner of a John Watts frame and a Juki Machine to go with it. This means that a number of the tops that I have made in the past are coming to life as proper quilts.
Here in the New England – in addition to being Mothers Day – it was also pretty darn cold and a bit rainy… quilting was the perfect plan.
I pulled out one of the tops that I have had laying about and decided to get in some practice. The fabric for the quilt top i decided to work on – I picked up through a destashing site – I cant for the life of me think of the name of the fabric range – if you recognize it – please let me know in the comments. anyway – that is about all from me.. the rest is just some pictures of the project…
The bigger picture…
If you have any questions or would like me to have a go on one of your quilts… let me know.
PS: the fabric range is Lilac Hill Moda fabric. 😉
How to join your binding by machine to both sides of your quilt!
So now that you have made a nice long strip of fabric that is now pressed in half – and long enough to go all the way around your quilt plus some we can start to add the binding. again this is a picture heavy post – 🙂
My binding strip will look like this
I am going to start by attaching the binding strip to the BACK of my quilt. I am going to start joining my binging strip to the MIDDLE if one side of the quilt.
Leaving a 12″ tail (or there abouts) NOTE: this is a very small square that I am attaching binding to so go with the words – the pictures are as an example
Line your binding up with the edge of your quilt. I pin the binding on as I go – it makes the sewing part go nice and quick!
Now when I get to the corner I take binding all the way to the right … then I flip the fabric UP –
Making sure that a 45 degree angle is created – see the picture below
Then making sure that I keep the corner in place I flip the fabric down to line up with the next edge of the fabric.
This fabric flap will be created. This is what will make the mitered corner on the flip side.
Again, use your pins to make sure that your fabric stays in place. Keep the flap laying flat at this stage.
you do this for all four corners till they are all pinned. then you have two long ‘tag’ ends that we will join – in the same angle join that we did for the strips – once we have sewn the binding thus far.
Move your needle point to a right position to reduce the seam.
We start about 1/4 inch from the top edge. Note: I use my walking foot on both sides for my binding.
As you come to the end DON”T stitch down the corner flap. Flip the flap up and stop stitching about 1/4″ from the end.
Lay the flap back down to start the next side – again starting 1/4″ in.
Do this for each corner.
Now it is time to join the flaps.
Trim ONE end of the fabric – using the bit you have trimmed off – lay it on the other tail – you need to have an overlap the WIDTH of your binding. (I used the selvedge to show you in the image below)
without twisting your fabric – Open the fabric from the LEFT side and lay it right side up – with the fabric OPEN.
Then OPEN the fabric from the right – lay it right side DOWN at a 90 degree angle to the first strip – just as you did in joining your strips. This can be a little fiddly but it is VERY worth it. Pin these two together. You then stitch from the top left to the bottom right where the fabrics cross. You trim the corner off and press the seams open.
then fold back in half – and stitch.
Once stitched press the fabric away from the back
flip it all over
and press and pin
adjust your needle position to the far LEFT
Leave your needle down at the corners – lift your foot and pivot.
By moving your needle and sewing as accurately as you can – you will end up with a stitching line on the front close to the edge and it will be stitched onto the backing fabric not on the binding.
Sorry this post was so long and picture heavy – but maybe one day it will help a beginner out!
*Note this is a photo heavy post – I like to see things.. so I am hoping my readers do too!
When I first started quilting everything seemed quite daunting. Binding was no exception. Whilst it has been a bit of a challlenge to find my ‘groove’ in binding – I have worked a method that suits my style. This post will take you through minimizing bulk fabrics in joining for binding.
I am going right back to the basics with this post.. it is aimed at the newby quilter in a hope to make things a bit easier along the way. Please feel free to comment below and leave your hints and suggestions for binding.
Lets start by joining our strips of fabric… Usually binding is cut (mine anyway) at 2.5″ by the width of fabric (WOF) – or shorter if I am using sorter bits to get a colour change or just because it is the amount of fabric that I have in the fabric I want to use… but generally 2.5″ by WOF. In the pictures below I have used a binging of 3.5″ because I have used a double layer of wadding (for a bit of extra heat protection).
Rarely is one WOF strip long enough to go all the way around a quilt so we need to join them. the best way to avoid excessive bulk in fabric joining is to make the join on an angle which is what I will demonstrate here.
The two strips I want to join. They must be the same width. they can be any length.
Lay the first strip right side (good side) UP horizontally in front of you, then place the second strip right side DOWN at a 90 degree angle on the top right end of the first strip.
If you are unsure of your ability to sew a straight line from one corner to the other – you can go ahead and draw it on in pencil or other fabric pen. Where your two fabrics cross you will notice they make a square. You are going to sew from the TOP LEFT to the BOTTOM RIGHT of that square. I have drawn the line below to show you what I mean.
If you dont need to draw the line I still encourage you to use a pin to keep things steady.
Stitch along the line. (I don’t normally use contrasting thread… this is for demonstrative purposes.)
Once you have sewn the line – remove from your machine, and trim off the threads. the fewer threads the better the end product.
Leaving about a 1/4″ seam from your stitched line trim the corner off. You can measure this with your ruler and rotary cutter – or just trim off with scissors.
Now flip the top fabric over so you are looking at the wring side of both fabrics and you will see your diagonal seam.
Press the seam OPEN
Flip it over and have a look at your awesome 45degree join.
Fold your fabric (wrong sides together) for the length of the fabric. I am holding it open a little here so you can see how a join like this reduces bulk.
And there you go – fabric joined and pressed in half ready to become your binding!
See the next post on how to use your newly joined fabric to make an awesome binding.
Yesterday I finished my first quilt that was made by someone else. It was also the FIRST quilt this person had ever made. No pressure… just don’t F%&* it up!
So fair is fair – the thought above is entirely mine. I know my friend Wendy would have been very understanding if I managed to completely destroyed her quilt…a bit shirty perhaps… but I am sure we would have stayed friends.
The quilt was a simple squares design made up of a great variety of colourful fabrics. An eclectic blend – and really quite pretty. Wendy is a free spirit kind of gal. Very kind and friendly and super sweet. As always I mounted the quilt on the frame and began contemplating the type of quilting that I would do.
It is autumn here at the moment and my quilt table looks out onto an ornamental pistachio tree that is currently doing the most amazing colour change … and dropping leaves is an extremely beautiful leafy kind of dance.
Inspiration – Check √
A bit of a drawing about how…
And as usual my drawing skills leave a bit to be desired… now onto the quilt
And thus it went with twirly leaves on the quilt as I watched leaves do their twisty twirly dance from the tree in my front yard.
Now I am not sure how the rest of you roll… but I am a machine binder. I sew on the back first then flip to the front and machine that down as well. I thought I would pop in a couple of pictures of that as well… perhaps another day I can do a post on how I do mine (I am sure it is no different from what others round the world do – but no harm in a repeat. I actually quite enjoy binding. Whilst not technically part of the quilting process for me – I know my friend Wendy was keen to have her quilt, and with the minus degrees due in a cold from this weekend I thought it would be nice to get it to her as soon as I could.. so I bound the quilt for her.
This is me attaching the binding to the front.
A needle down foot up pivot for the corner (I do all my binding with a walking foot).
This is the line it makes on the BACK of the quilt (note this picture was taken after I had washed the quilt and put it through a hot tumble dry – hence is a bit puffy and wrinkled)
And this is how it looks on the front (again post dryer)
This one is just to show the different fabrics that were used for the binding. And last but not least the quilt all folded waiting for Wendy to arrive!
I think Wendy was pretty happy with the whole experience. I am also pretty sure she is ready to start on her next quilting adventure.
My next project is to make 16 mug rugs – all different – for my mum who is hosting a mothers day morning tea for her garden group ladies. I had best get off the computer and back to stitching!
Thanks for reading.