Hand is a Four-letter Word

We are excited to have Eileen Roche, Editor of Designs in Machine Embroidery share this content with you, which was originally posted on Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog :

Hand is a four letter word
I’m a machine girl, always have been, always will be. I’m amazed, impressed, in awe, humbled by those who stitch by hand. But truth be told, I don’t get it. I think the ONLY thing I like about handwork is, it’s portable. You can throw it in a bag and take it anywhere. Kinda hard to do that with your embroidery machine. Just ask my sweet husband about that fishing trip we took to Arkansas. You know, the one where I told him, “I’m just going to bring a little bit of work with me. Okay, honey?” Here’s the photo of ‘my little bit of work’. But he still loves me.

Machine Embroidery Blog

Since I don’t like handwork, I’m always looking for a way to turn handwork techniques into sewing techniques. Take binding for instance. Most people believe binding should be sewn by hand to the back of a quilt. I think that’s because they only make one or two quilts per year. Oh okay, that sounds kind of mean and it’s probably not true. It could be they just have higher standards than I do. That’s more like it.

In fact, my standards on binding are not really that high. If I could leave the quilt, raw-edge, I probably would. I have been known to show quilts in a classroom setting without a binding. You might remember my friend, Cindy McCord – a student in San Antonio. Cindy just couldn’t bear to let me show an unbound quilt (honest, there was only one!). She took it home on Friday, purchased the perfect fabric, bound and returned it to me at the start of class on Saturday morning. Wow, that was impressive.

Cindy And Eileen

Since that humbling moment, I’ve taken great strides to bind my quilts. But I still absolutely refuse the hand-sewing part. And this morning, I found a new use for a sewing foot that’s been in my drawer for years.

Embroidery Machine Foot

The lowly, blind hem foot is apparently, the perfect tool for stitching in the ditch. Why didn’t I know this? Or think of this? Or try this sooner? Doesn’t everybody else know this? I looked at that little foot and thought, hmm, that metal guide might be just the thing to run along the binding seam and keep the whole mess, I mean beautiful quilt, under control while the binding is sewn to the back.

After sewing the binding to the quilt, I pressed the binding to the back and pinned it from the front. I slid the binding under the blind hem foot, nestling the foot’s metal guide in the seam.

Foot on binding

I placed thread that matched the quilt – not the binding – in the needle and moved the needle so that it was just a millimeter to the left of the metal guide. Then I floored it! I whizzed around the binding, pausing only to remove the pins. And when I flipped it over – I was thrilled! The entire binding was captured from the front.
Binding Captured

No stray sections wandering off the back of the quilt. Yippee! Oh my, what a relief. The quilt is really done – completely finished and 5 days – yes 5 WHOLE DAYS – before being handed off to the mom-to-be at her baby shower.

Daisy Quilt

These new moms love the contemporary quilt movement. How about you? Do you love it or could you leave it? Are inspired by their use of negative space and clear color? Truth be told, I’m intrigued and have been delving into designing some quilts with this contemporary slant.

Thanks for reading!

Reprinted with permission from Eileen's Blog.

Comments (1) -

tourlady522 5/12/2013 12:08:21 PM

What a great idea. I am going to try this on my next quilt. Thanks for sharing.

Bonnie Abbott

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