Thursday, April 4, 2013

Magic Fingers

I'm always asked why I do my finish binding on the FRONT of the quilt instead of the back.

Simple answer: I think it looks better. Above, is a photo of a corner of my quilt, all sewn down, by hand, on the front of the quilt. Can you see any stitches? You cannot.

Here is the corner on the back
I don't like the pucker that happens in the corners where the bulk of the fabric pivots. I like my way better, where the fabric appears to be just lying on the top of the edge.

And then there's the ego thing.

When I was in my twenties, (you know, like 30-plus years ago) I was part of an artists-in-the-park day at a local museum. It was hot as hell and I took refuge in the shade. (Everybody else took refuge at the beach.) I was hand quilting a quilt. A little old lady came by and looked at my quilts. She was looking very closely, turning the edges over and over in her hands, looking at the binding both back and the front.

"Which side of the quilt do you sew the finish binding on?" she asked.

"Oh, I do it on the back, so it doesn't show."

"I can't see any stitches. I can't see them on either side."

I reached for a quilt, flipped it over, and pulled the binding apart from the backing slightly, revealing my stitches. "See?"

She examined the quilt again.  "Can you show me how you do it?"

I didn't have anything that needed binding, and my needle was threaded with stiff white quilting thread.  "Well here, let's do this." I folded an edge of my quilt over to the back, and using my quilting thread, demonstrated my blindstitching. (If you want to know how I do it, I have instructions here.)

The quilt was dark blue. I was using stiff white thread. When I was done sewing, neither one of us could see the stitches.  The woman looked at me and smiled. "You have magic fingers."

As she walked away, I looked at my quilts. Why was I hiding my invisible stitches on the back, where they didn't make any difference? If they were truly invisible, I should show them off, on the front.

I've done it that way ever since.

And I've never forgotten the gift she gave me, "You have magic fingers."


eva said...

Amazing how one positive comment from someone you may never meet again, can have such long lasting impact!!

It's truly a gift when that happens..

Mary K said...

She was your muse or angel. It just depends on how you look at it. Awesome work!

Mr. Karate said...

There's more magic than just in your fingers.

Millie said...

Why thank you my darling!

CathyQuilts said...

I've done it that way because it just made sense. I often use a pieced border and that way I don't cut off the points or leave gaps on the piecing. A slight nudge to this side or that doesn't show, but cut off points do.