Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Miles and Miles...

Holy Smokes!

I mentioned that I finally sent my first-ever king sized quilt off to the longarmer (thank you Jan Kramer!). Jan even got it back to me in plenty of time so I could bind and label it in time for my anniversary; but the thought of making that much binding and wrestling the cotton croc through my machine was too overwhelming.

Finally, I decided to cross two things off my "to do" list at once: I made a continuous bias binding for the first time ever (I know, I know) and sewed the binding onto my quilt.

I found some pretty simple directions in a book that look almost exactly like the ones seen here at Quilter's Cache. The only difference is that the directions I had didn't say exactly how much it would make, just that a 36" square made enough "for a large quilt." Well, I have a very large quilt - 105" square - so I decided to use a 40" square of fabric to make my binding.

Can I just say, in my own defense, that geometry was not my best subject? No, the irony is not wasted on me that I took up quilting as a hobby.

The directions worked great. The binding turned out perfectly and quickly, as promised. I am a convert to the method. Sewing it onto the front of my ginormous quilt was not nearly as challenging as I had feared. In fact, I already whipped down 2 of the sides while watching Law & Order reruns that TiVo so kindly recorded for me. The only miscalculation?

This. This is the leftover binding. Yes, the leftover. This is what I have after binding my entire king sized quilt. From a mere 40" square of fabric. How is that even possible? It boggles even the mind of someone less mathematically challenged than I. I haven't measured it yet, but it makes me giggle every time I look at the bundle.

The Quilter's Cache link above has a great formula for calculating the size square you actually need to cut. I needed 420" plus some for my quilt. Let's say 450" for comfort. Multiply that by the width of the binding you are using - in my case 2 1/4". That gives me 1012.5. The square root of that number - 31" - is about the size square I needed. All easy with a basic calculator.

But if you reverse the process and multiply 40" x 40" (the size square I actually used) you get 1600. Divide that by 2 1/4" (width of binding) and you see that I made about 711" of binding. Only about 261" more than I really needed! Luckily it was all out of my stash and I will surely find a use for it.

All in all it was an inexpensive lesson, and one I won't soon forget. I hope you learn something today, too! Drop me a line and share what it was, or link to your blog and tell us all.


  1. bless your heart...a whole new meaning to 'bound up'. When I struggle over yardages I often think of my high school math teacher and how hard he worked to teach me algebra. Hopeless.

    Love the quilt on the working wall too!

    Thanks for sharing, KalamaQuilts

  2. I usually make much more binding than I actually need. . .but since I have started making them all 2 1/2" wide I just keep the extra wound on a paper towel center so that I have binding ready for either small projects or to piece together for scrappy bindings.

  3. You're all ready to bind another quilt! I seem to have a mental block about figuring out how much binding to cut too. But sometimes it works out well ... a couple of years ago my sister and I were finishing up our quilts from a class in order to put them in a show. We were both right down to the deadline, and she was VERY happy I had cut enough binding for two quilts!


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