Friday, March 17, 2017

towel binding tutorial

I have received many questions (on Instagram, here on the blog, and in a Facebook group I belong to) about how I bind my handwoven towels. I decided the easiest thing to do is to post a tutorial here. warning, this post is photo heavy!

When I take my towels off of the loom, the first thing I do is zigzag both ends of each towel and cut them apart. The zigzag prevents the ends of the towels from unravelling during the washing process. Since I want the recipients of my towels to be able to actually USE them, I throw them in the washing machine and dryer before I even bind them. This shrinks the towels, tightens the weave and makes them ready to bind. I do NOT prewash my binding fabric as I find most good quality cottons don't really shrink much when washed. This is my preference.... some might disagree with me.

After it's been washed and dried, measure the width of your towel.

You will need 2 strips of binding fabric, one for each end. I cut mine the width of the towel + 2" X 2". 
Now press your two strips in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together....

I love to use little gingham checks, plaids & stripes for my binding. You can use anything at all, as long as it is good quality cotton fabric. Sometimes I cut my binding on the bias just because I like the look of it cut this way. Since there are no curves being bound, bias cut is not necessary.

Now I use wonder clips to clip my binding to the edges of my towel. Be sure to leave an inch of binding hanging off each end. Oh, and all of those fuzzy edges? don't worry about those for now.
Now head on over to the sewing machine. Sew the raw edges together. I use a 1/4" seam and a straight stitch.
Now that the woven edges are securely stitched down, you can go ahead and trim off all the fuzzy bits...
Now back to the ironing board. First, fold the extra inch on each end in and press
Now press your whole binding strip up flat...

then flip it to the back of the towel, hiding the raw edges and tucking those little bits on the end under neatly, press and clip again with the wonder clips...
Back to the sewing machine (we're getting our steps in here girls!) where you will stitch close to the folded edge of the binding...
And you're done. Look, you can barely see the stitch line on the front of your towel. It disappears right into the weaving...
I love the nice, neat finish this gives to my handwoven towels!

Friday, March 3, 2017

be present

As I hinted at earlier on, my 2017 word(s) of the year is Be Present. While some years I struggle to choose a word, this came to me early on (fall of 2016) and I never wavered in the choice. I am working on focusing on each moment, not living in the past or fretting about the future. Let me just say this is a work in progress!

As always, I ordered a beautiful necklace from an etsy artist. This year my necklace was made by Katy Ryan Designs and I love wearing it every day. It is a constant reminder to stay in the moment!
I recently finished my Word of the Year quilt to add to my collection. This is my fifth and final finish for the first quarter Finish Along. With nearly a month to spare!

Do you have a word for 2017?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

MQG swap received

It was so much fun stalking my Modern Quilt Guild mini swap group on Instagram, watching the quilts evolve and speculating which one might be for me. Honestly, there were so many beautiful quilts and I would have been happy with any of them. But, MAN OH MAN! When my mini arrived I was over the moon excited!
These beautiful Anna Maria Horner feathers were made for me by Jane (Janequiltsslowly). And not only did she nail my likes (bright colors, Allison Glass Sun Prints, feathers...) but her workmanship is impeccable. She even put hanging corners on all four corners so I could choose which direction I wanted it to hang! Such a great idea, which I will surely copy down the road.

This lovely quilt is now hanging in my front room, right inside the front door, where I see it a million times a day. Thank you Jane! I love this.

Monday, February 27, 2017


Last week, Tisha, the owner of Not Your Mama's Quilt Store posted a video of a new product they had gotten in. 1/4 inch hexie papers! Yes you read that right. Not one to avoid a challenge, I ran right over there and bought a package. By the end of the day I had made a hexie flower....
Seriously, those hexies are SMALL! I searched my stash to find something small enough to fussy cut and these little mice fit the bill. Aren't they adorable?

I kept adding solid hexies until I had this....
At first I thought I'd make it into a bookmark, but it really wanted to become a pin cushion. Who am I to argue? I added some borders and a backing, filled it up with walnut shells....

so much fun! and totally not on my (long) to-do list, but oh well!

Ok, time to get back to that list...... until something else distracts me!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Modern Quilting challenge

I always enjoy when my guild (McKinney Modern Quilt Guild) issues challenges to us. At our February meeting, we each chose a modern fat quarter from a bucket (we had each brought one to contribute). From another container, we chose a piece of paper with one of the elements of modern quilting written on it. The challenge was to go home & make something using the fat quarter and modern element.
I received this awesome Cotton & Steel print and the element "negative space". Fun! I decided to add in this dark blue peppered cotton for my mini quilt.

Out came my trusty graph paper. I quickly came up with this simple sketch:
After I fussy cut my fat quarter, my mini quilt came together pretty quickly:

The biggest challenge for me with negative space is that you have to make it interesting somehow! I'm not the best machine quilter, but I'm getting better at it. For this quilt I used some straight line quilting to echo the diamond shapes on the right side and some zig zags on the left side. 

I can't wait to see what my guild mates have done for their challenges! We'll be sharing them at our March meeting.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Liberty EPP plus pillow

One of my first quarter goals for the finish-along was to take strips of this beautiful stack of Liberty:
make them into plus blocks:
And make it into "something" which quickly became a pillow:
there's something about Liberty prints that's just so yummy, isn't there? And English Paper Piecing with Liberty Lawn? Oh man! they stitch so beautifully. I really enjoyed this project.

I used a pretty pink grunge from my stash for the back, and bound the edges in one of the Liberty prints that was just too big for the EPP piecing:

This is my fourth finish for the first quarter in the Finish-along. One more to go!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

springtime towels

In an effort to use up some of my scrap cotton yarn, I warped my loom in a rainbow of stripes that made me believe in spring...
of course, in the process of "using up scrap yarn" I ran out of some colors prematurely and had to run to Walmart and buy more. LOL

Some quick plain weaving later and I have four lovely towels...
one plaid towel (with a slightly incorrect color order, but if I hadn't told you, you wouldn't have noticed, right?)
And three striped towels...
yes, I know there are only two in the photo. trust me there are three total
All of the ends bound in a bright & cheerful striped fabric...

yarn: peaches & cream cotton from Walmart
heddle: 8 dent, warped at 20 inches