Friday, July 31, 2015

Picking binding

   I had a question about how I chose fabrics to bind a quilt from Linda. And what was I going to use on the latest scrappy quilt.   A flood of things came to mind.  Along the way I have  learned a few things....mainly to follow my instinct at the end.     I know some quilters plan ahead and cut binding strips as they cut pieces and borders.  I don't always think about binding fabrics until I get to that stage.   It is just a matter of preference and what effect you want.

   So I will share my thought process and let you find your own way and inspiration.  Please remember, my quilts are for use....on the walls, on the sofa or bed....not for big exhibition quilt show.  If I was looking to win a big show, of course,  I would need to change some of my ways. Judges look for things like hand stitched bindings, and bindings cut on the bias.  Needless to say, mine usually are not.  I'm not doing tutorials or "how tos".....there are plenty of those elsewhere.  Just check Pinterest.

  I see the binding as the final frame.   Think of a picture frame  and how it finishes off the print or painting.
   So for a quilt.....It might look best to blend with the border fabric.  Most of my small wall hangings have a binding that blends with the outer border.  I want the center to be the focus.  In this case, I used the same fabric.  If I am short on fabric, I would just look for a very similar fabric to use.

  Small watercolor quilts that have a solid border also get a binding that matches.  There is so much going on in the center that a contrasting binding would be a distraction.  If the border is a print or batik, I would also match as close as possible to it.

    Other times,  a contrasting binding accents the colors or fabrics in the center piecing.  It might tend to lead the eye back to the center.  For this baby quilt, the Mom wanted pink and green I made sure there was a bight pink binding for the finish.  It's unexpected and fun in this case.  And I got to use up a lot of that bright pink.

   Another contrast binding to accent the color and pull all the blue/purple out to the edge.  There was quite of bit of blue and purple in the body of the quilt and the border strip and binding just made it all pop.

  Yet my favorite binding is mixed.....whatever strip is leftover from the center gets added to the binding.  I simply string them all together until I have enough length to go around.  You might note that I am guilty here of joining some fabrics bluntly rather than a diagonal join.  I probably was short on fabric and needed every inch.

  The diagonal join is the best method to use to distribute the bulk.   Here's a good tutorial on joining binding strips.  It is the technique I use.

     One more.......This quilt had a very busy border, so it was easy to use up any leftover floral strip for binding.  It was mixed floral strips  and yet blended into the border without distracting from it.
  The  question about the latest scrappy rail quilt.....its binding will be  an assortment of whatever leftovers I find.  It is just that kind of quilt.
  Maybe a few of my ideas will spark your creativity to experiment with your binding choice.  Match it, mix it up, or find a bold contrast.  As long as you like it, it is good.
Happy stitching.


Vroomans' Quilts said...

Wonderful post today. Sometimes I make my bindings ahead because I know that is what I want to use. And there are those that have to wait till I get the right inspiration for the look I want.

Quilting Babcia said...

Great post Debbie. So much to consider for such a small part of the overall process. I love bias bindings but lately have gotten lazy and just use straight cut bindings. Love the look of scrappy bindings.

Jasmine said...

I completely agree with everything you say here. If I have a hard time selecting a binding, I will audition different fabrics. Just remember to look at a narrow strip to get the right picture.

Quilt crazy said...

I agree totally. I would add that some times stripes or dots can add an interesting pop of fun. I just did a blue and red stripe on a cat in the hat quilt yesterday. I'll put it up on my blog when it is finished.

Janet O. said...

Like you, I don't usually think about the binding until I get there. And on a rare occasion when I choose my binding as I choose my fabrics, I don't always like my choice in the end. : )

Lindah said...

Good post on binding choices. The commenters have good ideas, too. I'll have to admit that I collect stripes for bindings. Especially when they are on sale!

Dana Gaffney said...

I think going with your intuition is the best idea, usually the quilt "speaks" to me about what is right, if it doesn't then I end up trying all kinds of different colors until one pops.

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