Herringbone Finish and Tips for Better Binding

Today I get to share the big reveal: Herringbone is finished!

herringbone_finishedHerringbone, 63″ x 73″ designed and made by Christa Watson for Camelot Fabrics

You can click the links below to read my WIP process posts as I worked on this quilt:

Herringbone took a total of 25 hours to complete (13 hours to cut, sew and press the top; 12 hours to baste, quilt and bind by hand.)

I wanted to share a few tips for better binding that I practiced while finishing this quilt:

binding_cornerWhen attaching the binding, I marked my stopping point with a water soluble pen so that I know exactly where to stop stitching at the corners. Whenever I “fudge” this part of the process, it always gives me problems.

binding_ironAfter the binding is attached by machine, I will iron it away from the quilt so that it’s easier to pull over to the back for hand sewing. (By the way, this is another reason I prefer to quilt with cotton thread and natural fiber batting, so I don’t have to worry about melting anything with the iron!)

binding_clips1When I get to the corners, I fold them so that they match up evenly and use Clover Wonder Clips to secure the binding in place. I fold over the corners opposite from how they are folded on the front to reduce bulk. I also prefer to add clips so that the clear side of the clip is showing on the back. It seems less bumpy that way.

binding_clips2I use a liberal amount of clips and space them pretty close together. So far, I’ve invested in two 100 clip packs and am ready to order another set. I prefer to clip all the way around the perimeter of my quilt so that I can sew continuously without having to adjust the clips!

For more step by step pictures, click here for my indepth tutorial on binding by hand.

Herringbone is on it’s way to the Camelot Fabrics quilt booth at Spring Market. I won’t be there, so if any of you go – be sure to snap a picture of it for me, will you?


Herringbone WIP – Simple Stipples and FMQ Tips

Today I’ll share with you how I’m quilting my Herringbone quilt. Just call me the stipple queen. 🙂 I did all piecing and quilting on my Bernina 710 without a stitch regulator.

stipplingHerringbone by Christa Watson; free quilt pattern designed for Camelot Fabrics

I spent the first 10 years of my quilting career stippling everything I could get my hands and needle on! Then I took a break due to stipple burnout and starting spending way too much time quilting more labor intensive custom designs on my quilts. However, for Herringbone, I returned to my favorite go-to allover motif: stippling!

Since I wanted the quilting to enhance the graphic nature of the design rather than steal the show, I chose to go with a thin, 50 weight Aurifil thread in both top and bobbin. I tried out several colors to see which would blend in the most with both the yellow and grey fabrics.

aurifil_thread_choicesTip: audition thread colors before you begin quilting. The grey blends best!

I ended up going with Aurifil #2600-Dove which I think is just the perfect shade of light grey! It surprised me how well it seemed to disappear into the yellow fabric – providing scrumptious texture, rather than a heavy, “thready” appearance.

For this quilt, I practiced on a few scraps first (like I always do) and tested my machine’s tension. Here’s a quick tip: if your machine has really nice tension when you are sewing regular seams, it shouldn’t need to be adjusted too much for free-motion quilting.

herrinbone_quilting_glovesI usually quilt with flat hands forming a hoop – gotta love those Machingers!

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little until you get a pretty stitch! For some reason, the day I quilted it, I was able to achieve more consistent stitches with the feed dogs engaged, but covered with a Supreme Slider. I didn’t fret about why, I just went for it. I’m very pleased with the consistency of my stitching on this quilt and I think slowing down just a little helped, too.

I made a label ahead of time and ironed it to the backing fabric with fusible web before I quilted it. Because I am using a thin blending thread, the quilting stitches will hold the label in place nicely without too much distortion of the writing.


I chose to use a coordinating chevron print from the line for the backing – “sew” fun!

I also tried Soy batting for the first time with this quilt and I really like it. It stuck really well to the quilt while spray basting, and I like the drape and heft of it. I reminds me most of quilting with a nice cotton batting (like Warm ‘N Natural) but with a little more loft to it. Now I need to see how it washes up!

bamboo_battingSoy Blend batting given to me by my friend Cory. It was fun to try!

I timed myself like I usually do, and it took less than 4 hours to completely stipple this baby. After spending over 40 hours intricately quilting my last quilt, that was like a speed record for me! (Hmm – I need to seriously quilt more quick and fun allover motifs for the next few quilts….)

Now I’ll go get the binding put on and share the final reveal next time!

Roundup of Machine Quilting Blog Posts I’ve Written:

I’d like to leave you with links to several blog posts I’ve written about machine quilting, both here on my blog and for Craftsy. Some of my tools and techniques have changed slightly and a few things may be repeated, but I’ve covered a lot of basics:


Herringbone WIP – Tips on Working With Directional Fabric

I finished sewing my Herringbone quilt top this week and I wanted to share with you a few new things that I tried while making it.

herringbone_top_closeupHerringbone quilt top, using the free pattern I designed for Camelot Fabrics.

Herringbone is made from a plethora of HST’s (half-square triangles). Usually, the fabric direction doesn’t matter, but in this case, I wanted to figure out how to line up the directional fabrics I was using so that they all went the same way.

herringbone_cut_fabric_squaresI used Gray Matters More fabrics in yellow and gray – so yummy!

I started out by cutting all of the squares like I normally do. My favorite method of making HST’s is to draw a line down the middle on the wrong side of my background fabric, match it up right sides together with the main print, and sew on either side of the line. Cutting the squares apart on the lines will then yield 2 half-square triangles each.

herringbone_hst_stackDon’t you just love a stack of yummy HST’s? They look like little triangle sandwiches!

For my “experiment,” I flipped the background squares so that half of the lines were left-diagonals, and half were right-diagonals. I then matched up each background square with a print square, keeping the print squares oriented in the same direction.


After sewing and cutting apart, I ended up with 4 stacks of HST’s with the prints running in 4 different directions, exactly what I wanted for this pattern. Each half of the squares shown above produced two different orientations below.

hst_paisleyI’m very visual, so I had to constantly refer back to my pattern to line up all the pieces in the correct block position. (I’m not sure how the directional shift will look with other HST configurations, but you can test it out and see.)

herringbone_block_diagramThe fabric shown below is one-way directional rather than two, so I just needed to separate them into 2 different directional stacks, rather than 4. Do any of you math geniuses out there remember what type of asymmetry that’s called? I forget!

hst_directional_fabricI still had to mark and sew diagonal lines going left and right for these 2 piles!

Since I decided to get carried away with lining up the prints in my blocks, I decided to match up my border seams as well. To do this, I cut out strips that were the exact same width, following the same design repeat. I then sewed a seam between the motifs, trying to match up the design as best I could. I trimmed the seam allowance down later.

border_match_seamsThe picture below is how it looks on the front. The key is to match the print where it will be less noticeable, like in between rows of design motifs.

border_motifMy final top tip is for joining seams that cross over your triangle points. Sew on the side where you can see the tiny triangle in the seam below. This will help you achieve nice, crisp triangle points. 🙂

seam_intersectionIt feels great to have a finished top – or as some would call it, a “flimsy.” I love how it looks exactly like my original EQ7 design (minus the design wall wrinkles and bad lighting). Next time I will share with you how I quilted it.

herringbone_combinedOn the left is my finished top. On the right is my EQ7 sketch. I love it when they match!