The last week of class was devoted to bindings. At the end of week three, Gus and I decided that a solid black would be best with the zebras and the lions. The goal is a neatly applied French Fold or double binding. The double layer adds some strength to the border. We did a straight cut rather than bias cut as there are no curves in the class quilt. And while the bias cut bindings does add additional strength, it also introduces a degree of stretchiness.
After pressing the fabric, I cut five 2.5 inch strips and pressed and starched them. The next step was to join them at 45 degree angles to create one long strip. The diagonal join reduces the bulk at the seams which does indeed make a difference when stitching onto the quilt. The creation of the binding was actually much easier that I thought it would be. I did mark the fabric with pins so that I would not end up with different shades of black from sewing the fronts and backs at random.
After pressing the binding the next step was to stitch the binding to the front of the quilt, lining the raw edges of the binding up with the edge of the quilt. And then the fun began. I started stitching the binding to the back of the quilt with what turns out to be a very thick needle. The instructor suggested I try straw needles instead, and another quilter suggested size 11 sharps - so I now have both in my stash. I also added a needle threader to my gadget collection... something I never thought I'd do. However, with this size needle, I met my match and decided I'd rather spend my time stitching than attempting to thread a needle. The first side of the quilt, I started to get cramps in my hand holding the folded over binding so that it would cover the seam from the front. After I started pinning sections of the binding, using the pinmoors to keep from stabbing myself, it was much easier and less tension in my hand to get the binding attached. I have successfully stitched about 80% of the binding on now, part in class, part at hockey practice, and part at the games today. I should be able to finish on Tuesday night at practice.
I am happy to say that I'm no longer scared to sandwich and bind a quilt. Taking the class and working with the instructor and other students definitely helped me to get over my worries which was my biggest goal. Plus I have a cute quilt finished to boot.