In a Bind

I needed to make binding today for I quilt I made for my friend, Cheryl Lynch - she asked that I make something for the gallery for her soon to be published book - can't show you a photo of the quilt, but I can tell you I used all Kaffe Fassett fabric from Glorious Color, Liza Lucy's on-line resource for all things Kaffe. I'm using the Venetian glass pattern for the binding - I only use bias binding - I love the process of making the binding. I start with a square of fabric large enough to give me the needed 236 inches of fabric.

Woops - mistake sewing my binding triangles together - need to seam rip. Here I go living on the edge again. I know a lot of quilters are content to pick stitches out when they've made a mistake. Sorry, that just takes too long for me. We are using a tool called a seam ripper, not a seam picker. I slip my seam ripper into the seam and, very carefully, slide it along the seam, ripping it open. You need to stop every couple of inches to clean the ripper of thread. Warning - you want to get proficient on this method before you try it on a project. If you are not careful you run the risk of slicing the fabric. When you get good at it you can open up a 2 foot seam in a few seconds - I'm good at it!


Once I get my binding tube together I use a smaller cutting mat to slip into the tube to cut my binding. This is not a great photo, but hopefully you understand. By slipping the mat inside of the tube you can simply spin the tube as you cut your binding.

Once my binding is cut I iron it - as I iron the length of binding I roll it onto my can of spray starch - that way it's not all over my sewing room floor picking up loose thread and getting all messy. When I sew the binding onto the quilt I put the "spool" of binding on the floor and unwind as needed.

Here are two important tools I cannot live without when it comes to binding. The red laminated paper, called the "Strip Ticket" is invaluable - one side has an illustrated step by step instruction of how to make continuous binding, and the reverse side has a chart listing the amount of fabric needed according to your binding width and desired length. You can find a version of the Strip Ticket in most quilting shops. The Fons and Porter Binding Tool is a relatively new tool for me, and I don't know how I lived without it - take my advice - you need it - you will get a flat final seam every time.

Too close for comfort - today I calculated that I needed 236 inches of binding. That was a loose estimation - my border is scalloped - oh no, I cut exactly 236 inches. I like to have a few extra feet of binding. Panic - slightly - I didn't have any more fabric left! I could not believe it - 4 inches of leftover binding - way too close for comfort!

Tonight's healthy dinner is vegetarian, actually vegan - we are having Sauteed Greens and Cannellini Beans accompanied by a slice of wheat berry bread topped with carrot and fennel bruschetta. You can follow the beans and greens recipe as written - it is only 270 calories per serving. Instead of using canned cannellini beans I used dried calypso beans - aren't they beautiful? I like making something with dried beans on a Monday - makes me feel like I'm back in Louisiana where they make red beans and rice on Mondays, giving the women time to do their laundry - I didn't do any laundry today! The kale is from the West Chester Grower's Market - kale is so beautiful - I've been known to use it in bouquets on the dinner table.

I'm not a real gadget person in the kitchen, but I do love these small 2 ounce measuring cups from OXO - great for portioning out oil - at 100 calories per tablespoon you really need to watch portions.
Here's dinner - served in and on gorgeous pottery from Willi Singleton, an amazingly talented artist who resides at the base of Hawk Mountain. To make the carrot and fennel bruschetta I simply sauteed in 2 teaspoons olive oil - 5 sliced carrots, 1/2 cup chopped fennel, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 tablespoon capers, 4 diced dried apricots. I finished the bruschetta with a handful of chopped parsley, and then spread the mixture onto the bread - loaded with whole grain goodness and a powerful blast of Vitamin A - it's all good for you!