Sunday, November 8, 2015

Precision Pieced Binding

Precision Pieced Binding
Binding is usually the final step to finishing your quilt. Make it special! Whether your quilt is pieced, appliqued, painted or crazy, you might want to try my binding technique. Made with multiple matching fabrics, you can choose exactly where binding seams meet, and sew the binding seam at any chosen angle. It could add a nice finishing touch on a landscape quilt, and carry the scene out to the edges of the quilt with matching fabrics. 
"Precision Pieced Binding" is now published in American Quilter, November 2012Editor-in-Chief, Christine Brown asked me if I could explain - and photograph - a technique for precision pieced binding on her quilt. Yikes! I had no idea how I would do that at the time. However, the deadline was generous, and I agreed to give it my best effort. The technique I've worked out can be used with bias binding or straight of grain, with single or double fold binding.
Bonus:  At the end of the article is a technique makes that last binding seam (which can be the most challenging) easier and more accurate than any other method. I have not seen anyone else join their seams in this way, but it is SO easy!
I hope you will try my Precision Pieced Binding technique on your next quilt. This issue is available now at news stands and bookstores. Support your local quilt shop or order at

Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham

(c) 2012 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

Friday, November 6, 2015

May I Interrupt Your Quilting Design?

Deborah Y. sent a question to AppliqueAddicts, a Yahoo group: “I feel like I'm stuck in a handquilting rut. Any suggestions other than cross hatching and echo quilting to complement applique?”

There’s nothing wrong with quilting a classic background grid or echo quilting. It’s relatively easy to mark and so relaxing to stitch; almost meditative. Your mind can ponder the world as your needle and thread gradually bring the surface of your quilt to life.

I shared a photo with the group of an antique (1848) quilt from my collection for inspiration. This quilt has floral quilting designs in the open spaces among the applique. (The applique and quilting designs were traced from that antique quilt for patterns and published in my book, Baltimore Garden Quilt.*)

Here is how the designs look on the antique quilt. Dense background quilting helps to emphasize the floral quilting designs; in this case very close straight lines, almost stippling. But that doesn’t mean that stippling is required, or even necessary, to make use of the floral designs.

Here is how the designs look when they fill an open space on my reproduction of that quilt. My friend, Marty Vint (Dogwood Quilting), skillfully quilted around the applique first. Then she used my tracings of the antique quilting designs and quilted those designs to fill the open spaces; thus background “fill” was not needed.
And here is the back of my reproduction quilt. Plenty of lovely quilting here! (Judges have awarded this quilt with several ribbons at national quilt shows.)

My friend, Carla is hand quilting her Baltimore Garden. She shares her progress on Facebook, and has kindly given me permission to re-share her photo here. Carla is quilting a background grid, and sprinkling just a few of the original motifs in the open areas between the applique.

On another antique 1850s applique quilt (shown below),  various feather motifs interrupt double rodded quilting lines. Antique quilts are my favorite inspiration!

Copy bits of your applique designs and echo them in your quilting. Add a single stemmed rose, a bird, a heart or heart-in-hand, or any motif special to you. I like to add a double heart. Tracing a child’s hand is another fun idea. Wind some leafy vines around your applique or between your blocks to simulate sashing.

Quilt your initials or your whole name into the quilt, and of course, a date within the quilting. Finally, be sure to plan a label for the back of the quilt, and document your quilt for those who will care for your quilt in years to come.

*From the CD included with the book Baltimore Garden Quilt, print selected patterns as needed. A complete full-size paper pattern set is also available as a separate package at my website .)

Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham

(c) 2015 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.