Binding Tips

Happy New Years Eve!   For my final post of 2008 I decided I needed to share some of my tips for hand-stitching binding.  I’ve been saying I need to do it, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  I hear so many quilters grumbling about hand-stitching binding.  In fact, some sound like they really hate it and will procrastinate with finishing that part for months, maybe years!  I love doing the hand work on binding.  Call me crazy, but I do.  It’s a chance for me to put my feet up and put in a movie – one I have memorized, of course, as I don’t actually get to watch it, just listen 🙂 .   Another reason I love binding, is that it means another project is finished and I can start a few more – LOL.    After hearing all these complaints, I started asking everyone why they hate binding and it seems the common complaint is that it takes so long.  As you may have read in a previous post, I tend to sew at the fastest pace possible.  I do the same with binding – though there are several key factors that allow me to do this.

First of all, you need the right Equipment.  Remember my post on Tools of the Trade?  I mentioned that I love straw needles and hand quilting thread for doing binding?  These 2 items are KEY to my method.


Now, here’s why.  If you use regular thread to stitch your binding, you have to use a double strand and it’s constantly tangling.  That’s SOOO Frustrating!!!  If you use hand quilting thread, you only need one strand.  It’s coated, so  it slides through the fabric very easily.   The coating also makes it stronger and more durable.

Next you need a straw needle.  They are everything I wish I could be.  Sleek, thin, long, bendy and a good used one has beautiful curves!!!    I know many quilters like the short quilting needles.  I have so much trouble with these and the longer straw needles are easier for me to handle.  Their long length makes them easy to load full of stitches, as you will see below.  As you use them, they will begin to form to your hand, often incurring a permanent bend.  (Don’t throw them at this point, they are just broke in).  I recommend using Jenna Kimble’s needles from Fox Glove Cottage in a size 10 or 9.  (You can purchase them at our online store here)

Secondly, you need the right Technique.    One of the things that makes this process take so long for many quilters, is that they do all their stitches individually.  This picture shows me taking one stitch and then pulling it through.  Think how many stitches it takes to do binding and how long it takes to lift your arm up OVER and OVER again!long-arm-binding-shot

I eliminate all this needless exercising.  What I do instead, is a technique I call Loading The Needle  –  (That’s not technically what I do, but hey, I’m bad with naming things!).    To do that, follow the steps below:

1.  Take one stitch and pull out about 6″ of thread as shown.


I’m wishing I was a hand model today.  Oh well.

2.  Then take as many stitches as you can until that 6″ of thread is used up.


Here’s a close up of those stitches


Here’s an extreme close up of an individual stitch.  The stitch starts by coming into the backing fabric, right next to where the last stitch ended.  The stitch ends by coming up into the binding fabric by just a few threads, then repeat.  I usually do my stitches about a scant 1/4″ in length.


3.  Next, pull the thread (and stitches) all the way through.   Your arm will finish way up in the air as shown in the first photo.  As your thread gets used up, this will change a bit though.


4.  Repeat Steps 1-3 until the quilt is finished.   I hope this helps you to like binding a little bit better.  It’s really a simple technique and you will be able to have that binding done tonight, not next month!  I should remember to mention that I don’t use a thimble or anything like that.  I just find it slows me down.  If you don’t already have a toughened or calloused finger from doing binding, you may find that your needle may poke through the skin on the tip of your finger.  When this happens, I usually just put a dot of super glue on my finger and let it dry.  Repeat if you need a thicker “thimble”.

As my part of wishing you a Happy New Year, I am going to have another give-away (in case stitching binding faster won’t help you in the new year).  I think you may need a new BOOK and KIT to get your new year started.  Anyone???    To enter for the drawing, all you need to do is leave me a comment – maybe something about your feelings towards hand-stitching binding,  if you prefer to do it by machine, or something like that.  If you do that, here’s what you will get:


A kit for this quilt, From the Heart, found in my newest book,  Living Large.


Wishing you Faith, Hope, and Love in 2009!!!

About Heather Peterson

Quilt pattern designer
This entry was posted in Binding Tips, Quilting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

245 Responses to Binding Tips

  1. molly says:

    I love binding quilts. It gives me a chance to sit down and watch (or listen) to TV.

  2. krista says:

    Oh I’m first!! Although one doesn’t get picked very often…someone has to do it!!

    I have never seen a straw needle before. Is that close up picture a metal one?

    I’m so going to try those needles if I can find them. I love new gadgets!

    My favorite part about quilting is the binding. I know, I think I’m backwards in the head but it’s true. I love cutting the fabric, sewing it and quilting it but my favorite is sealing it all up. It feels like I’m just pouring love into it to finish it off. Make sense?
    Well anyway your quilt that you are working on is gorgeous. Your book is amazing and I think you are my new best friend with that kit!! LOL

    I hope you have a great new year’s!

  3. krista says:

    (I type too slow! giggle!!)

  4. Kristen says:

    Happy New Year! What a fabulous way to end the year – learning how to do binding faster! I find that I love doing the binding – I’m pretty slow at it, but I don’t mind as I get to snuggle under the quilt while I’m working on it. Plus, it means that my quilt is finally almost done!

    Can’t wait to try your binding method – I have two lap size quilts that I just sewed the binding onto that I can practice your method on.

  5. Moneik says:

    I’ve been quilting for 10 years and NEVER did a hand binding until July of this year when I competed in a quilting challenge and handwork counted as sewing time, so I started doing bindings in the car on the way to work (commuting- I wasn’t driving), watching TV with Hubby, and during lunch and breaks at work. Now I don’t mind it so much. It still not my favorite part, but I can do it pretty quickly now, though I do more of a ladder stitch than a whip stitch.

  6. CarolE says:

    I love putting on binding by hand — and I look forward to using your tips to make me love it even more!

  7. Anita says:

    I hand sew my quilt bindings down but oh how I wish I’d seen your post earlier in the month! I made two 75″ square quilts for gifts this year. Your technique would have made the hand sewing go so much quicker. I’m going to try out the straw needles and hand quilting thread. Can you recommend a good needle size and brand of thread?

    thank you and happy New Year!

  8. mrscjallen says:

    I have never attempted hand sewing the binding on…I have never attempted binding. But I have a quilt to finish up while I am on vacation so your tutorial couldn’t have come at a better time. Can’t wait to try this.

    What a beautiful quilt…would love to have a go at it.

  9. Pingback: Quilt pattern giveaway · Needlework News @ CraftGossip

  10. Juli says:


    Although I’ve been interested in quilting for a long time I always stayed away from it because I didn’t want to hand sew the binding on. A few years ago I fell in love with hand sewing to finish my cross stitch projects. I’ve just recently purchased a new sewing machine and have started taking quilting classes. I’m really looking forward to sewing the bindings on. It’s funny how a bit of time changes things.

  11. Sherri says:

    Oh I definitely need a book and a kit to start off the new year! And thanks so much for the post…I’m going to try straw needles for my binding and also load the needle as well! Happy New Year!

  12. MichelleB says:

    I love binding by hand. I must do it, and I must do it so that the thread doesn’t show! LOL I look forward to trying your method – and also thread and needle choice. I’m one that uses a tiny needle and regular thread (which I curse every time it gets tangled). Happy New Year!

  13. Linda says:

    What a wonderful way to end the year and to start the new year. Love your tutorial, I’ve been doing my bindings as you do for a number of years now. Makes it so much faster than those individual stitches.

  14. I love to bind! It is peaceful and rewarding. Good luck with yours!

  15. Jan says:

    Oh my goodness, what an ever so nice give a away! I actually enjoy handstitching binding, EXCEPT when I have made 3 table runners and 2 wall hangings that need to be done before Christmas and I am frantically stitching until the day before . Then, it isn’t enjoyable! I do like your tip though, and I will definitely try it next time. MAYBE, just maybe while finishing up this quilt! OOOOO, wouldn’t that make my New Year!!!

  16. Anne Simonot says:

    It takes some time but I love hand-sewing the binding on. It’s calm and soothing and you can watch TV guilt-free (What Not to Wear is a favorite while binding). A person gets better at it, too – my stitches are so much better now and damn near invisible, than when I first began. Hope you pick my name – your kit looks beautiful.

  17. Tressa Spigarelli says:

    I like binding in that it means I am finally finished with the quilt. I have never tried just doing it in 6 inch increments and then pulling up but perhaps on the next quilt I will give it a go. Thanks for sharing your techniques and tips.

  18. Sinta says:

    Happy New Year Heather! Thank you for the binding tips… I can’t wait to try them out. I had been using Mettler’s Satin finish thread, that seamed to glide through the fabric and didn’t tangle much. But I am very willing to try your method. Who knows, maybe I can get through two quilts in one movie! Oh, and yes I would love to start a new project/Faith Love Hope is too cute!

  19. Gillian says:

    Thank you so much for the tips, something simple has been taking me hours and hours to do. I have been using needles from the supermarket and my normal sewing thread to bind. I will definitely be trying your method.

  20. Heather says:

    Happy New Year to you too 🙂 I think that binding is fun, because when it’s done, that means your quilt is finished 🙂 I also put on a movie I have memorized! I’ve never heard of a straw needle before, I’ll have to see if the quilt shop here carries them. And using quilting thread is great, hello… why didn’t I think of that??? 😀

  21. Karen says:

    I usually don’t mind hand sewing binding but the last table topper I did I had to force myself to finish it! I’m looking forward to trying your method and the straw needles. Thanks!

  22. Sequana says:

    I really love doing binding, but hate thread tangles. I’m gonna get out my hand quilting thread, fer shure.

    I love the longer needles too.

    Happy New Year!

  23. Jane says:

    I love to hand quilt, but the picture of you with your arm in the air, that is me!! I am going to try your “load the needle” I have been hand quilting for over 25 years and never saw a straw needle. I think I might have to give that a try. BTW love the fabric on the quilt you were binding!

  24. Claudia says:

    I always have done binding by Machine. On the last quilt I did I started to do it by hand. I think i’m going to start binding by hand. I think it gives the finished quilt a cleaner look on the front.

  25. Andi says:

    What a great tutorial. I’ve picked up a couple of wonderful tips that I will definitely be trying next quilt. (I am used to all that arm lifting and knotted thread).
    Happy new year. May 2009 bring many wonderful creations to bind.
    Andi 🙂

  26. Carol says:

    I also love to do bindings. I have even helped a friend bind hers!!! I love using the straw needles for applique, but have never tried it with a binding. Will try that on my next quilt!
    Love your giveaway…please enter me.

  27. Mandi says:

    I would love to win. I’m learning to sew because I have this deep desire to make quilts… as if I don’t have enough crafty projects.
    I love me some quilts though and I want to make my own!

  28. Joanna says:

    I LOVE doing binding, for just the same reasons as you. And guess what else? I do it the same way you do too – even loading the needle! Saves so much time:) I love the fabrics in the quilt you demonstrated on!!!

  29. Rochelle says:

    I am also one of those people that love sewing the binding. It gives me that last chance to admire my work before it travels to its new home. Thank you so much for the extra tips. I will try loading the needle on my next binding and see if I can speed up my process.

  30. Elizabeth says:

    I really enjoy binding by hand. I find it very relaxing and yet I feel like I’m accomplishing something. 🙂 Thanks for a wonderful giveaway and have a terrific new year!

  31. Toby says:

    I can’t claim to love binding, but your post was a breakthrough to me on several points – and I’ve been quilting on/off for 15 years!

    Thank you! This will make the process much more pleasant.

  32. Kathleen says:

    I love to do binding, for just the reasons you mentioned. I hate to “waste” time watching TV, and am always reading or quilting while watching. I will give your technique a try, and am searching for my straw needles…..
    Your fabrics are wonderful. I’d love to win the kit!

  33. Ellen says:

    I do not mind the hand-stitching at all as long as I have my leather thimble on my finger to push the needle through! Love your great recommendations on hand-stitching and will give it a try! Many blessings in 2009.

  34. Beth says:

    Great technique Heather! I just wish you had shared this about 10 days ago when I was binding 4 twin size quilts in 48 hours for Christmas gifts LOL. I bet I would have finished faster doing it this way. I will certainly do this in the future though 🙂

    Thanks again and Happy New Year!

  35. Carrie says:

    Happy New Year Heather & Joel!

    I’ve written this before… I knew there was a reason I liked you! I love hand-stitching the bindings and I do it much the same way that you do, except that it looks like I stitch in the opposite direction that you do. I love straw needles — anything else is too short — and Jeana Kimball’s are my favorites. And, when they get that curve, they’re perfect! (I used to think there was something wrong with me when I would bend my needles… like I was some kind of quilting Amazon.)

    And, Heather, you absolutely made my day with that super-long thread. All the “stitchers” I know work with little short threads while my thread-lengths are 30″ long… or more. But you’re missing the binding clips… you need lots and lots and lots of those. 🙂

    Happy 2009!

  36. Casey says:

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve never done any kind of binding before, but I just put together a little doll quilt for my daughter that needs binding, so I’ll be using your method.

    The quilt kit you’re giving away looks fantastic! thanks for the oportunity. Happy New Year!

  37. Tracy says:

    There is nothing like finishing a quilt project with a beautiful hand sewn binding. Thanks to my mom and sister who helped me bind four wall hangings for Christmas! Usually I love to sit in my favorite chair with a chick flick and sew away!

  38. Gina says:

    For me, hand sewing the binding is best done when making a long trip with my husband. It keeps me busy and I’m not as likely to be a backseat driver. Both of us are happier!!! I love your designs and subscribe to your blog for inspiration.

  39. Christy Romine says:

    I have to admit I’m one of the guilty who has a stack of almost finished quilts in my sewing room, just waiting for the binding. I’m all about finishing the quilt tops. I love the instant gratification of watching the quilt top come together and seeing how the colors, fabrics, and pattern work. Once that is done, I’m always ready to move on to the next quilt. During the winter, though, cuddling up on the couch with a quilt on my lap sounds appealing, and the idea of a fast binding method is right up my alley. So, thank you, and I promise I’ll try it!

    Happy New Year!

  40. Rachel says:

    I actually really like hand stitching the binding. I can’t wait to get to that part!! 🙂 But your tips here help make it easier and quicker. It is frustrating having the thread tangle, so I will need to use the quilting thread from now on.

    Thanks for the great post and the chance to win this lovely kit & book!

  41. Victoria says:

    oh my gosh. I just found your blog, on needlework news. Are you on NEST LAKE? I saw the lake photo, froze over, and I recognize those little islands! I have a cabin on Nest lake…!!! wow, that would be wild! Great stuff, lovely blog!
    I hand sew my bindings… Takes time, but, it looks so nice. Thanks for the tips!

    If you are on Nest lake, I’ll have to boat over in June, we’re on the other side of the islands…!!!

  42. Kris says:

    I am anxious to try your method for binding, and I am crossing my fingers that I win that kit!!
    Happy New Year!

  43. Tammy says:

    I actually like to bind quilts, it’s very relaxing to me. I have never heard of “straw” needles but I intend to find them and quick! Thanks so much for the info!

  44. lori jolley says:

    How funny that you don’t like to do the binding. Good thing we are all different. I like to do the binding. It’s soothing and I love knowing I’m almost finished.

  45. Sharon says:

    The hand binding is almost my favorite part of making a quilt. It gives me a chance to slow down and enjoy the quilt making process. And when it’s done, it’s finished!

  46. Ruby says:

    I love hand sewing, it’s one of my favorite parts of the process. LOVE your patterns and books.

  47. Carey says:

    I really detest binding, I am ready to move on to a new project at that point, so I love your idea of extra stitches before pulling the thread through – what a wonderful idea to quicken up the process !

  48. Eunice says:

    From a non-quilter that always enjoys your blog. I’d love to give the kit to my sister.

  49. Janet says:

    Thank you Heather! I really don’t mind doing bindings, but you gave me a couple of new ideas I will definitely put to use. Now I just need to find those needles somewhere! I like the idea of the super glue on the finger too!
    The quilt kit is adorable! I would love to win 😉

  50. Laurie says:

    I’m another who doesn’t mind hand sewing the binding. I’ve used the hand quilting thread many times, just for the reasons you said – that double of regular thread can get messy when you use a long piece!
    Wishing you a Happy New Year – and look forward to more tips in 2009

  51. Rachel says:

    I agree with you – I prefer to do bindings by hand. Not only is it a relaxing way to spend an evening, but I find the finished job just looks better. I tried sewing on bindings by machine, but it always ends up in a mess. Thanks for sharing your technique. I never thought about using a longer needle, but it makes perfect sense.

    And, yes, I think I DO need a book and kit!

    Happy New Year!

  52. Kay says:

    What a great tip. I love the idea of loading your needle. I will also try the straw needles and hand quilting thread. I’ve never used a double strand of thread though, hope all those bindings I’ve done hold up. I also HATE handing sewing binding on. Years of hand work have left me with carpal tunnel. I’ve tried sewing the binding to the back side of the quilt and machine stitching it down on the front. Not so nice. I only do that on kids quilts or something like placemats. Thanks for something new to try in 2009.

  53. Erica says:

    Thanks for the picture tutorial! I enjoy stitching down the binding on a quilt; I often have a binding project packaged up in a bag to take to work and putter away at over the noon hour. I like the tip for the handquilting thread and for the straw needles and will definitely give that a try. I would love to be the lucky winner of the kit but I’m a winner just the same for being a party to the knowledge you are able to share! Thanks!

  54. Kathy says:

    OK, this is really spooky. I logged on and went directly to your site as I was looking for a binding tutorial that I remembered seeing previously. I made the embarassing mistake of not buying enough binding and having to join some more together.
    Don’t know where I was that day! Anyway I got a shock when I looked at the title of the post.
    What a way to start the new year. The right place at the right time!
    I love sewing the binding on. It means to me that this project is ready to be used and loved. Will definitely trying your method, (hopefully this afternoon).

  55. Ann says:

    I love to bind with a movie or a TV series in the DVD. I haven’t tried your way yet but I will.

  56. meowy says:

    Eek, binding stresses me out still. The couple of quilts I’ve done were both machine sewn. I get queasy thinking about putting binding on any project, from quits, bags, potholders.

    I’ll have to make a coaster and try hand binding it using your tips 🙂 Nice and small and if it’s terrible, it’s okay because it’s covered by a glass!

  57. Ferne says:

    I love binding. I plan to give your method a try just as soon as can get my hands on some of those needles. I always go for the longer needles too. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy New Year!

  58. Cindy says:

    I’m like you – I love binding. It’s so mindless and relaxing and the quilt is done! Thanks for the great tips. Happy New Year!

  59. Like a lot of quilters, I LOVE sewing the binding on. It means I’m almost done! I’m going to try your method on my next quilt.

    What a wonderful giveaway. Hope you have a very happy New Year!

  60. Sue says:

    Binding the quilt has always been very rewarding! It means I finished my project. I use the smaller needles and thread that says hand or machine quilting. Tangles are frustrating, but I try not to use too long of a piece. I never thought about taking more than one stich at a time. Thanks for the great idea! Happy New Year!

  61. I’m one of those who enjoy binding …. it means the project is nearly finished and I ‘watch’ TV while I’m doing it.
    Your new book looks great … I’d love to win the kit.
    Happy New Year.


  62. Dorrie says:

    I don’t mind hand binding either! It’s one of those things I can do once all five kids are in bed–kind of a wind down from the day. I’ve not yet tried the hand quilting thread, however; I’ve always just used a double strand of regular thread–I’ll have to give the other a try! And your kit giveaway. . .very nice! Happy New Year to you and yours!

  63. Stefanie says:

    I love hand stitching my binding but my carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t! Thank you for sharing your tip with us.

    I am looking forward to starting a NEW YEAR! I hope that everyone will have a prosperous one! What a great way to start the new year than with a new quilt kit!

  64. Leslie L says:

    It looks like you have quite a few fans of hand sewing binding–and I’m another one. It’s very relaxing. But relaxing or not, if I can finish something faster, great. So thank you for your speed-binding tips. I’ll try your technique next time I bind a quilt, which hopefully will be soon because I have so many ideas for new projects!

    Happy New Year!

  65. Auntie Pami says:

    I cheat with binding. My mom does it, but it’s a great trade. I quilt all of her quilts!

    I sent you an email about the thread cutter.

    It is called an Easy Cut by Sew Unique.

    Happy New Year!

  66. Auntie Pami says:

    Happy New Year!

  67. Lisa says:

    Happy New Year! I can’t wait to try your technique for binding. I just finished a quilt and used your tip for cutting bias binding—you’ve been such a help! Hope I win your book….I too have switched from folksy quilts to a more contemporary look and would love to try out your new patterns.
    Since we have already celebrated our New Year here in Seoul, Korea I am writing to you “from the future”…..enjoy your celebrations.

  68. Christin says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I don’t think I can read enough tutorials on the hand stitching part of binding attachment! I have a baby quilt that has been done for nearly 6 weeks and I can’t bring myself to do the final hand stitching part. 🙂 You’ve inspired me. I’ll try again tomorrow hehe

  69. Carmen says:

    I will have to try your binding technique. Anything to make it go faster.

  70. Sue Cahill says:

    I sometimes I think sewing on the binding, for me always by hand, is my favorite part of making a quilt. There is something so satisfying about the process and it means the quilt is done, hooray!
    Hope you have a very wonderful year and I look forward to reading your site all year long.

  71. Anne says:

    I actually thought the first picture of you pulling the thread out was going to be the “what not to do” picture. LOL I’m going to try your technique next time. Like you, I love the binding process because hand work is my favorite part. Backing up….the pics of you guys on the cruise are great!

  72. Barbara Colvin says:

    Heather you are so clever! I’m going to give that method a try. No double strand-hooray!!! I sometimes finish the binding with a decorative machine stitch on smaller projects like potholders. I love your little contests, and I’ve been eyeing that book. Fabric and books-I need more room LOL

  73. Jeanne says:

    I don’t mind putting on the binding by hand and I thought I was pretty fast at it, but I will be trying your tips to see if it is any faster. I agree that a thimble is hard to manage, and the needle does eventually go through the tip of my finger.

  74. shauna says:

    Thanks for the great post and tips on binding. I also like to bind for the same reasons, a chance to “watch” a movie covered with a quilt. I really like your idea of loading the needle. I’m going to try that with my next binding. And also the straw needles.

  75. Melisa says:

    Thanks for the binding tips! I never thought to use hand quilting thread although tangled threads are one of the reasons I so dislike doing hand binding. Can’t wait to try this. Happy New Year!

  76. Jana says:

    Love the pics with comments on how to hand bind. Excellent post!
    Happy New Year!

  77. Trudi says:

    Thanks for your tips, they are great. I don’t mind the hand stitching part of binding, even though it does take forever. I save a bit of time by having needles threaded and ready to go in a clover needle dome thingy.
    What I don’t like about binding is trimming back the backing and pinning and machine sewing on the binding. I have a gorgeous quilt sitting in the cupboard waiting for me to be motivated enough to finish it.
    Have a Happy New Year, I hope you get stacks of stitching done.

  78. Tammy says:

    I have the binding machine sewn on 4 small tops and I will definitely give this technique a try…thanks!! I love that quilt top, that would for sure be a nice way to start off the new year 🙂

  79. Laura says:

    Great tutorial! I’ll have to send it to my friend who hates hand binding. I’m like you as I love hand binding. It’s a nice feeling of satisfaction of having a project finished and I love the way it looks! For me it’s very relaxing and I also love to listen to a movie at the same time. Thanks for posting and please enter me into your give-a-way! Beautiful quilt and kit:) Happy New Year!

  80. Amber@MMM says:

    Great tip~thanks for sharing!

    I have only made two lap quilts and a doll quilt. I had quilted the lap quilts and thoroughly enjoyed both that and doing the binding by hand. I machine quilted the doll quilt and found that it was nice to sit at the end to finish the binding by hand.

    I love doing hand work, though, so that may be why I enjoy hand binding . . .

  81. Ellen Easter says:

    Happy New Year from Australia

    I will definately try the hand quilting thread for my next binding – Thanks for a great tutorial

  82. Linda T says:

    What a great giveaway! I would love to win – count me in! I really enjoy the binding part; especially sitting and handstiching it. That means that the end is in sight!

  83. Deb says:

    I love to do hand binding! I like you plug in a movie i have seen a hundred times–or know very well, and bind away! I can do a queen size quilt in an afternoon! Would love to win your giveaway!

  84. Eileen says:

    I love hand binding…….I have about 5 or 10 minutes of free time between when the kids get on the bus and when I leave for work each morning. I love to start my day with 5 minutes of hand stitching. Of course, 5 minutes at a time makes the project last a long time!!

  85. Dawn says:

    I also enjoy sewing the binding on by hand and look forward to trying your “loading the needle” technique. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  86. ann says:

    I love to do the binding. I can sit in my favourite chair, watch a movie , chat with whichever kid is nearby, catch up with my husband, totally ignore all my marking from school that is packed away behind my chair. I get snuggly under what is really a quilt at this point. I love to do the binding.
    But WTH is a straw needle?? is it an American name for a type of needle we have in Canada? I’d love to know—I need to know;)) But i will say that I will be using the handquilting thread as I’ve not done that before and I’m likin’ the sounds of it. Thanks for all the tips Heather–I’m a fan.

  87. Lynn S says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I’ve be a one-stitch-at-a-time person–but am definitely going to try this new technique out! I can see why the two tools are important! What a great way to start the New Year with an idea that may save me some extra time!

  88. Nancy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. My brain went ‘well duh!!, this is like quilting…. you don’t take one quilting stitch at a time so why would you take one binding stitch at a time?”

    Thank you so much for kicking my brain cells into gear.

    Happy New Year!!

  89. Ruth says:

    I’ll have to give that a try. I don’t mind hand stitching the binding. I like to have hand work to do while watching TV. Please add me to your drawing.

  90. Sharlene says:

    Super glue as a thimble????? And when you take it off does it take some skin?? I don’t like thimbles either so I’ll just give this a try.
    Thanks for the binding hints and the give away.

  91. AllenQuilts says:

    I used to dread the binding, but have gotten to where I rather enjoy the process. I was happy to see that you hold your quilt, and stitch the binding the same way I do. I have seen tutorials that show the quilt being positioned where you are stitching the binding “up” onto the quilt, rather than down, but that way feels awkward to me. I don’t use binding clips or pins, either.

  92. cheryl says:

    I love hand stitching binding! It is a nice, close to the project way of finishing off something special. Great tips! I love your work!

  93. Jana says:

    I love binding by hand. I’m going to try this loaded technique the next time I do one.

    I hope I win! I tried to get this book using a gift card I got for Christmas, but the shop was sold out!

  94. Mindie W says:

    I am such a quilting novice that I am always looking for new ways to bind. I am so excited to try your binding technique soon

  95. jo says:

    I am a machine sewn binding girl….
    I previously was a hand sewn girl but my rough and tumble kids were too rough with them and I found myself re-sewing on in places where they had caught it and pulled the threads. Also many of my wall hangings get hung outside after I have had them in the house awhile. The wind is rough on them too so I have converted to being a machine binding girl.
    I love straw needles…I use them lots!!

  96. Anne says:

    I too love hand binding while watching (listening to) a memorized movie. I have never seen this techinique and will start using it with my very next binding. What a time saver. Thanks so much for the tutorial.

  97. Tracy says:

    I love hand sewing the binding to a quilt. It gets me out of my sewing room and up with the family.

    P.S. Life is good! Happy New Year.

  98. Lori says:

    I like hand sewing the binding down. It’s relaxing and I know another quilt will be finished soon. I too love straw needles!!
    Beautiful quilt!!!
    Happy Stitching in 2009.

  99. Mindy Taylor says:

    I have to say that I really do enjoy sewing binding on. Theres just something about seeing the freshly quilted fabric laying on my legs and relaxing with a needle and thread. Thanks for the great tips on the needles I will have to try. I LOVE this quilt And what an honor it would be to get the kit from you. I hope I am luck enough to win. Happy New Year.

  100. annie says:

    Have to admit….I enjoy the hand binding part!!!! Great excuse to catch up on my Netflix. My technique is similar to yours, but I usually stack three stitches and then pull. Thanks for the chance to win book and kit. Love your blog. Happy New Year. Annelies

  101. Dana says:

    I love the hand binding – it’s simple and I love a finished quilt. Thank you for the info on the needles, I will have to try them. Thank you!

  102. Mary-Kay says:

    I don’t really like the binding part but I make myself finish it so I can start something new. I sort of use the same technique as you but my stitch is different and I don’t use that kind of thread. But I’m going to give the thread a try. Love your blog.

  103. Regina says:

    Interesting technique -I will have to remember that next time I bind.

    I always hand stitch my binding – I like the way it finishes better than topstitching, and like some other posters, it is kind of putting the last ME into the quilt before I give it away.

    I pull to the side, though – maybe that is why I have not noticed a tired arm yet – it is more my fingers and hands that cramp up.

  104. April says:

    Actually, binding a quilt is one of my favorite parts of quilting. It is the time I get to relax and enjoy the finished product. I don’t feel the need to rush the process with a machine, the hand stitching gives me time to think about and pray for the receiver of the quilt!

  105. Jackie says:

    I have to say I enjoy binding very much! It gives me the opportunity to actually sit down with my hubby and enjoy some time while still being productive. I take my time doing the binding using very small stitches that you can not even see, so it fools people. They don’t even know that it was hand sewn. Thank you for the opportunity to enter in your giveaway! The quilt book and kit look fantastic and I would love to make them.

  106. Hannah says:

    Thank you so much for the tips on binding. It’s such a simple solution! I will be trying this tonight on my newly finished table topper. I love the quilt and hope I win the kit!! Happy New Year!

  107. tanaya says:

    I’m always afraid that my handstitching will not be strong enough to hold for years. I think I’ll try your technique on my most recent WIP. Thanks!

  108. Robyn says:

    You know, I’m like you in that I don’t mind the binding. It’s something I can do while watching TV as well. It’s relaxing and kind of a culmination of the whole project. I usually save a binding job to do during a movie with my hubby. Last binding I finished was during The Bishop’s Wife at Christmas, what a great movie!
    What a great kit for the giveaway too, thanks for the chance to win!

  109. Tonya says:

    Can’t wait to try this hand binding technique on Saturday when I meet with my quilting buddies for our 1st quilting session of the new year.

  110. Kimberly says:

    For some reason I find the traditional way of stitching down binding by frustrating. Since I quilt to relax I use a running stitch. It really isn’t that noticeable if you use matching tread and plus I think that it gives the quilt a little bit more of a homemade look. All my quilting friends tend to make fun of me for doing it this way, but you know what I bind all of my quilts this way and have even won 2 blue ribbons in the Northern Wisconsin State Fair! So I must be doing something right 🙂

  111. Mary on Lake Pulaski says:

    First of all…wow to the give-away. Such beautiful fabric and pattern.
    Next, I do machine binding on place mats, wall hangings, runners and pot holders. It’s extra strong and no one usually is looking at the back. But for baby and regular quilts, it by hand.
    Love your method and will be trying it tomorrow.

  112. Betty Johnson says:

    I’d love the quilt-kit and book. I like to do binding best, because it means the end of the quilt project!!

  113. Ginger says:

    I have never bound a quilt, but my resolution is to learn how to quilt this year!

  114. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the tutorial – marked this post in google reader! 🙂

  115. sewgratefulquilts says:

    I’ve always loved sewing on the binding. It’s as if each stitch is a pat on the back. Afterall, it means another quilt is almost done!

    I have a quilt to bind tomorrow and I’m going to try your technique. Thanks for sharing.

  116. Becky says:

    Thanks for the binding tip. Nice to know my technique is very close to yours. Binding is pretty enjoyable to me because I can sit and watch TV with the family and participate in the crazy conversations.

  117. Sue C says:

    I just finished my first quilt… a smaller lap quilt… and really struggled with the binding! It turned out pretty well and my mom loved it. I love your tutorial. Thank you! 🙂

  118. Judy W says:

    Thank you for your binding technique. I am a novice quilter and have never even thought to hand stitch my bindings — I just always did it on the machine. I will try it soon!

  119. Carol Broughton says:

    Thank you for the great tutorial, Heather! The photos are awesome, very clear and easy to follow. I actually prefer to hand stitch the binding as I find it relaxing and I am also planning my next project! Love your books and patterns.

    Happy 2009!

  120. Jes says:

    I am planning on making my first quilt very soon and am happy I have found your tips on hand binding. Very helpful!

  121. Di Barnden says:

    I too love to finish the binding by hand sewing it down, it gives me a chance to sit down for one thing and like you it also means that another project is out of the sewing studio.

  122. Anne Marie says:

    Thanks Heather for a great tutorial!! I love to bind my quilts by hand, it leaves a lovely finished look and gives me an opportunity to sit with the family while they watch a movie!! I will have to try your method on my next quilt, I certainly have all of the tools!

  123. Debra says:

    Thanks for all the tips on binding, I am going to try your technique on the next quilt that I need to bind.

  124. Amy Loar says:

    Uh oh, Heather. I’ve always used single strand sewing thread for binding. So much for my quilts lasting 100 years… well, at least binding is relatively easy to replace! Thank you for a great tutorial. I’m a convert!

  125. Linda in NC says:

    Happy New Year! Thanks for the great technique photos; I will give this a try – never would have thought about using quilting thread on the binding. In the last few years, I have started using a great machine binding on “nonheirloom” quilts, but this looks nearly as fast and sturdy.

  126. Julia says:

    Hi Heather,
    isn’t it funny – while I was reading your blog I made the last stitches on a little table topper ;o). I haven’t made many quilts (yet! I’m trying my best to change that!) I only tried once to stitch the binding down with my machine. I wasn’t pleased with the result. At all. It was too “wonky” but as I didn’t know at that time that I could hand sew {yes, nobody ever taught me to sew so I always was afraid of it}, it seemed the only possible way to me. Now I discovered that I CAN do some steps by hand {appliqué, quilting …well, have to learn that – and sewing down the binding!} there’s no alternative for me. It’s just cleaner, you don’t see any stitches and it’s a nice way to say “goodbye” to a project that probably occupied my thoughts for a long time. It’s kind of “welcoming” a new quilt…;o).
    Thank you for your tutorial on speeding things up. I realize that I probably do things “wrongly” (or different) – first, I don’t let the thread that long. I always fear it tangles. Second, I don’t take the thread double…I use silk thread as it glides through the fabric smoothly {I use it too for appliqué} – maybe I should rethink that part…
    Happy new year!!!

  127. Norma Evans says:

    Well this is one tip I will certainly try! I have been “finishing” the binding on a queen size wedding ring quilt for the last 3 months +! Hopefully this will make it go faster because I’m only half way done!

  128. Sandy says:

    I always enjoy finishing a quilt when it comes to putting the binding on, 🙂 another project completed. Would love to be the winner of your giveaway. I have enjoyed reading your blog this past year and look forward to another year filled with many more inspirations.

  129. Stephanie says:

    Yep, count me as another one who loves binding. It’s my favorite part!

  130. holtgallery says:

    I feel the same way, about the relaxation of hand sew to bind off the quilt. Last month, I had a hysterectomy. Prior my surgery, I quilt few quilts (sizes from pan holders to a twin sized quilt) then stacked it up by my bed with all necessary tools for binding. After I got discharged and I sat/lay in my bed binding. Nice way to rest and recover from surgery. Sometimes TV is boring (FYI, I am deaf so I depend only my eyes to watch TV or to do things) so I turned my attention to bind and dream! So far no mistakes made when I dream as I bind the quilts off. If I do make mistake, it is very easy to undo and redo. Its good to know there are a bunch out there who enjoy to bind the quilts.

  131. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. I am going to be making larger quilts this year. That’s the plan, anyway! I have mostly been making wallhangings and doll quilts, I usually do the ‘envelope’ method or pillowcase turning technique – because I don’t enjoy the end process. I’m trying to change my outlook this year. Your method sounds good.
    I love the quilt you’re offering too. I could use a kit!
    Thanks again for the tutorial.

  132. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like quilting needles. I’ve always used the thin beading needles. Sounds very very similar to a straw needle. 🙂

  133. Lee Anne says:

    Love….hand work!!! I’m a working Mom and Grandma….hand work is great for the lunch hour! Thanks for your timely hints…I have loved reading your blog and following your work. Your patterns are well written and WONDERFUL! Thanks and have a great New Year!

  134. treasa says:

    I enjoy hand sewing the binding on. I will definately have to try your technique. It would be so much faster. I need to find the needles you are talking about. The only thing I don’t like about binding is the making it. As a new quilter I find that to be my weakness.

  135. Kristan says:

    I too am hooked on the straw needles for binding. I actually like binding because I’m an appliquer at heart. Right now though, I’m into your quick patterns. I just purchased Livin Large, and would love to win the kit. Thanks!

  136. Frances says:

    I love to do hand work and binding becomes so easy because you can just peacefully sit there and stitch away. I also feel it gives my quilts a much nicer finish than other methods and as this is the last step before the quilt moves on it is nice to anticipate who will use and treasure it.

    Would love to win and add some new projects to my planned “stash cleaning” for 2009.
    Enjoying your blog.

  137. Roseanna says:

    Thank you, I will try the straw needles. I too, have trouble with the short inflexible needles. Love your method of loading up stitches!

  138. Nancy E says:

    Thanks for the great binding tip. I have two quilts that are ready for me try your binding tip. I look forward to reading your blog, love your great tips. How is your redecorating coming?

  139. Cathy McMann says:

    I find binding relaxing too. I’ll be trying your technique of ‘loading the needle.” Thanks for the tutorial.

  140. Heather says:

    I am just starting on my first bound quilt ever–wish me luck! Your method for binding looks so quick and easy–I will definitely be trying it myself! The one thing that I’m a little concerned about for my January endeavor (I’m going to be starting a “quilting bee” of sorts with three novice sewers and one experienced quilter) is the corners of the binding–I’m so scared to miter the edges!!

  141. Nancy says:

    I love hand stitching the binding; the part I procrastinate on is sewing the binding onto the quilt top . . . I would like to try the straw needles if I can find them. I really like the Faith, Hope and Love quilt, I’ve been thinking about making it, so would love to win the kit!

  142. Kelli says:

    I’m one of those one-stitch-at-a-time binders. Taking multiple stitches at a time seems so simple, but I’m bashing my head against my screen wondering why I didn’t think of it myself! Thanks for saving me from further frustration!
    I love to hand-sew binding, but I absolutely can’t stand to do the corners. They never turn out as flat, smooth, and nicely mitered as I would like. If you have any tips on sewing the corners I would love to hear them.
    Happy New Year!

  143. Lyn Briggs says:

    I hand stitch my bindings in the same way that you do. I actually enjoy doing the binding because it’s the last stage in a finished quilt. I enjoy handling the quilt and admiring the fabric and pattern as I sew.

  144. Alexandra says:

    Excellent tutorial, clear instructions and the photos are very professional. More importantly it takes the fear and dread out of sewing a binding by hand. Thank you. I sew mine on by machine, press the binding to the back and then sew in the ditch from the front. I have been known to bring it to the front and use a decorative stitch which looks good too. However I am inspired to try hand sewing on a wall hanging to start with!!
    By the way I am also inspired by your new book. Beautiful use of large bright prints which I love.
    take care
    from Alexandra in Sydney Australia

  145. Judith says:

    It would be great to win this kit. I’m just working on the ‘Charisma’ fabric quilt in the new book and just love, love, love it!

  146. Kathy says:

    I agree – love to do the binding by hand and straw needles are the way to go. I don’t mind if it takes a few evenings though, so fast is not my goal. Thanks for a great tutorial!

  147. Linda says:

    Well, I have sewn since 7th grade, but not quilting until 1990 – I was a cross stitcher before that – sooooo I just love to sit and sew the bindings!! I get lost in time and dont care if it takes me into the night. I find it so relaxing. You did give some really good tips too. I will try the straw needles next time, and long also to be the long, thin girl – HA!!!!
    Happy New Year!!!

  148. Jennifer says:

    Hi Heather – Just found your blog in the last month and I loved your post on tools of the trade. This post is also very timely, as I spent two hours today on hand stitching binding, and only finished 1/4 of the quilt. I am anxious to try your method…just need to find the straw needles. I also love your idea about the super glue, as I just need one spot covered on my finger! Thanks…oh, and I would love either of the prizes!

  149. Emily says:

    I’ve made a few quilts growing up, but somehow never did the binding myself. (I have such a sweet mom!) I’m currently finishing up a crib quilt and plan to use your tips when it comes to the binding–either that or fly my mom from out west to the east coast to finish it for me! 😉 I enjoy your blog. Thanks!

  150. Callie Brady says:

    Happy New Year!
    And a big thank you for all your helpful posts. I am a new quilter (3 quilts) and was very glad to find your blog. I book marked your site and check every day. You have helped me a lot. I found that the best way for me to quilt is to hold the quilt on/over my lap, recline back in my computer chair (no shoulder pain that way,) hold what I’m sewing up close, relax, listen to a movie on my computer, use a long piece of thread, no hoop!, no thimble, use size 10 Milliners needle, quilting thread and just try for even stitches. I started with a pattern quilt and have moved on toward making up my own quilts. I really want to try the straw needle you mentioned. I enjoy the hand work on the binding and will try out leaving the 6″ loop… great tip. I just tried to “load” up the needle with as many stitches I could and then went for the big arm stretch. And thanks for talking about the bendy needles… I liked them that way but felt that I should be using straight needles or the quilt police would be after me. I have come to love hand piecing and quilting. There is something so wonderful about handing the fabric and slowly creating something. My sewing machine jammed/broke and I just started hand sewing blocks and kept on going and made a quilt. Wow… go figure! I did get a new machine and love it too, so now I have the best of both quilting worlds. Sorry for the long comment… I’m a blabber fingers… hee hee

  151. Kris M says:

    I love to hand sew binding…so much so, in fact, that I went to a friend’s house to show her how to do it and I ended up doing 3/4 of it for her as we sat and talked! I can’t wait to try your hand quilting thread suggestion, as I always have trouble with tangling. Thanks so much for the tips!

  152. scrappylady says:

    Happy New Year Heather! Thank you for the great tips on hand binding. I have always hand bound all of my quilts, but can do it much faster and with the right tools now! I just purchased your newest book and am anxious to purchase some fabrics to make something out of it! ( I just need to decide which project!) I would be thrilled if you entered me in your give away.

    P.S. My friend just informed me my email box with yahoo isn’t working, so just in case.

  153. Aimee says:

    I am a beginner and have only sewn one binding, all by machine (way to scared to hand sew it!!) After reading this though, I am so excited to finish another quilt so I can use your technique…thank you so much, very cool 🙂

  154. Cara says:

    Wow! Thanks for the tips- I think the hand stitching of the binding is my favorite part but now it will definately go faster which is great! I do not use a thimble per say either but I find those little leather round sticky things great instead of glue. Happy New Year and thanks for sharing such a great technique!

  155. Dee says:

    Awesome tip – I also enjoy the relaxing of sitting in front of theTV and doing mindless stitching by hand – also, give mean opportunity to share time with hubby as I can get lost in my sewing room for hours. Thank you for your tips and time. Happy New Year. Dee

  156. Brittany says:

    Great Tips–especially the glue one. I have a love/hate relationship with my thimble, I think I will have to trade that bad boy in for a tube of glue. Thanks!! I hand stitch binding because I love that I can sit with my feet up watching a movie and feel like I am still accomplishing something.

  157. Christine Thomas says:

    Happy New Year, Heather. Your blog is very enjoyable and FUN! When I first read the post, I thought, “I LOVE hand sewing.” And I see that almost everyone else does, too. Thank you for this very educational tute. Did you post something once before on bindings…like making the 2 ends come together evenly? I thought it was you but couldn’t find it.

    The fabric and pattern for the give-away is really pretty. Count me in!!!

  158. Cindy says:

    I used to hate binding too until you showed me at Lake Beauty how you do it. It really goes fast! I once tried using some poly wrapped cotton I had used with my longarm for binding. How frustrating!! It just kept getting tangled and stretching, but I hated to waste a single inch. How silly was that? Wasn’t my time worth more than a few feet of thread? Never again. Happy New Year and loved the pictures of your cruise. I can hardly wait til spring sessions at Lake Beauty. See you there!

  159. Debbie says:

    I am a “by-hand-binder”. Always. Always. Always. Looks too messy for me any other way. For me. By me. Plus+++, it’s just soooooo relaxing and soothing to sit quietly and stitch and stitch. It’s almost a letdown and disapointment when the binding is done. Almost like a wedding…you work soooo hard planning, have soooo much fun at it, but when it’s over ? Kinda sad….B-U-T there’s always that next quilt waiting to be done.

  160. Tracey says:

    Thank you for the binding tips Heather! Is that the new quilt that will go on your bed? Beautiful! Happy New Year!

  161. Rosemarie says:

    Hi Heather! I enjoyed the binding information..I have never tried straw needles but will look for them now. Thank you for the tips! I love the quilt kit…wow, what a great gift that would make! Happy New Year! Rosemarie

  162. Debi says:

    I don’t like binding at all!! I have only completed 1 quilt, and am halfway done with another one. still have two more to bind. they have been sitting around awhile. I am going to try your tips. they look very helpful. You also make it sound fun by watching a movie while you bind! I think I am just approaching this the wrong way. Thanks for your help in making binding more fun!

  163. Jodi says:

    I LoVe hand sewing the finishing touches on my quilts! Your tutorial is awesome, I do it the same way and LOVE the straw needles. The fabric on the back of the quilt you’re working on is gorgeous! And one of these times I’m gonna win! LOL. ooxx`jodi Happy New Year Heather!

  164. Gayle Grier says:

    Beautiful fabric in your binding tips tutorial. A really neat trick and I will be sure to try it on my next binding. Thanks for the giveaway. All the best to you and your family in the new year!

    Gayle in Tennessee

  165. Cathy says:

    I like to do hand binding when I have time. When I’m pressed for time, I’ve been sewing the binding on the back, turning it to the front and machine stitching with a decorative stitch. I get lots of great comments. Love your blog!

  166. Patricia says:

    I didn’t like doing bindings at first, but I’m getting a bit better, so I’m enjoying it more. I look forward to trying your tips!

  167. Debbie says:

    That looks like a great technique. I haven’t done any quitling in years and just started up again, so I will be interested to get a project done and try your method of sewing the binding. I do know I enjoy doing hand stitching, so I’m sure I will enjoy doing it.

  168. Amy says:

    Hi Heather
    Happy new year!! Thanks for sharing your tips about binding. I happen to be one of those quilters who actually likes the hand sewing part of doing binding. I just don’t like having to man-handle my big quilt to get the binding sewn on by machine first. But I find that the fact that I like hand sewing to actually be an incentive to get it sewn on by machine – go figure!! Thanks for the awesome drawing as well – that quilt would be so great for my daughter (she just turned 11).

  169. A Betty says:

    I found some straw needles but the eye was so small even my needle threader wouldn’t work. I will watch for the ones you recommended. I like putting on the binding except for the sore finger. I have bought two thimbles that don’t work for me. I have tried bandaids. Next up is Super Glue.

  170. Jocey says:

    I love binding the quilt. I save it for when my TV shows are on and it gives me some rest time. The way I do it does not show any stitches. I wonder if that is the wrong way or right way though. Oh well, I like how my hand sewing looks.

  171. Mari says:

    Your binding trick is worth a try since I cannot bind a quilt well to save my soul. I have straw needles and thought that when I bent them I was too strong. I will try again!!! Thanks for the wonderful up-close photos… I need all the help I can get! 🙂

  172. Susan says:

    I have had a quilt done for almost 9 months without the binding done, I can’t to go try your binding ways. THANKS for the tips

  173. LisaB72 says:

    Happy New Year – may it be a prosperous and creative one.

    I’m new to quilting and haven’t tried any form of binding yet – I am still working on getting some blocks done. I may be silly but I’ve made my mind up that my first quilt will be one for my queen size bed (very tall order and goal, I admit)

    Your tutorial is very informative and I’m saving the page so I can refer to it at a later date when I’m ready. The fabric is beautiful and your book looks wonderful. The kit is lovely as Faith, Hope and Love are words that are the epitome of this world we live in.


  174. Lori says:

    Hi! I’m a new quilter living in the UK with roots in Minnesota. So far, I’ve made one Take 5 quilt (while visiting my family in beautiful Bemidji this summer), and two doll quilts for my nieces for Christmas. I can’t say I love the process of binding (I do first side w/machine and 2nd side by hand) but I *DO* love that once that task is over FINI, one completed quilt. I’ll keep this tute handy and try your way on my next one….which happens to be your LOVE BLOOMS! Can’t wait. All the best to you and your business in 2009.

  175. TeresaL says:

    I, too, am one who loves to do bindings. I love to do handwork, just for the sense of accomplishment in having the stitches uniform and neat. I enjoyed reading your tips.

  176. Jessica says:

    I learned to handstitch binding very recently- and I absolutely hate doing it…. but the result is so amazing that I will never ever bind a quilt any other way!

    I really appreciate your tips on how to make it a little easier (my poor fingertips!!!) and will def try them next time!

    Oh- and in case I don’t win… WHERE CAN I GET YOUR BOOK??!!! There are at least three quilts in it that I absolutely NEED to make, like NOW!!!! I love it!!!

  177. Nancy Austin says:

    Thank you so much for the binding tips. I will try them out next quilt. I’ve been a fan of you for years and am happy I fell upon your blog.
    Nancy Austin

  178. Nancy Sooy says:

    Oops! Just wrote this under the wrong section of your blog – so I’ll just move it over here where it is relevant.

    I went to my favorite quilt shop today (The Little Shop in Haddonfield, NJ), where your quilt Pickety Sticks is hanging on the wall. I love it, so I bought a jelly roll and the fixin’s to make it. They were out of your book and waiting for it to come in. So, in the mean time, I found your blog and read your binding tips. What a great idea regarding the six inches of thread and taking as many stitches as possible. I love to do my binding by hand, and think of it as mindless, but very satisfying, work – definitely the icing on the cake for me. Don’t think I could get used to the straw needles, so I’ll stick to the stubby ones. Anyway, I tend to think of myself as a “speed sewer”, so I really do appreciate your blog. Thanks!

  179. Vivian says:

    I started quilting because I found out you could make quilts completely by machine — so clearly I am no fan of hand sewing! But there are times…

    I made a Christmas wallhanging recently and used a binding technique that called for applying the binding front to back. Normally I apply my binding back to front and machine blind hem or narrow zig zag it with invisible thread and find that works great. Of course, with the binding going the other way, this time the machine stitching was not at all pretty so a-hand stitching I did go!

    It took two hours to stitch a 47″ square hanging. I wish I had seen your tutorial beforehand and will defnintely try your technique when I need to hand stitch a binding again. I’ve heard of the straw needles — some people use them for quilting too — I think I will invest in some and try them because you are right sometimes the short needles just cramp up my hands so bad!

    I’m glad I found your blog!

  180. Karen C says:

    Hand stitching is live heavan in your hands, to sit and stich, snuggled up on the couch with your loved ones by your side beats sitting at the machine anytime.

  181. Karen C says:

    oops – just saw the spelling mistakes above, so sorry.

  182. Ashley Ann says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I have finished one quilt with a binding, and after 5 minutes of hand stitching I took it to the machine. Next time I’ll try your method (and maybe a good movie to go with it!). Thank you!

  183. Tara says:

    Beautiful quilt! I hate binding, so usually do it by machine… ahh, fast!

  184. Libby says:

    Just curious, but why do you use a double length of thread if you’re not using quilting thread?? I have always used a single length, usually of whatever kind of thread I have that matches the color and looks like it will sink into the quilt well to hide the stitches. I find hand quilting thread doesn’t sink in so well.

  185. Ann says:

    Thanks for another really useful posting… now to get a quilt to the point it need a binding!

  186. Kerry says:

    That looks much the same as I do. I think it looks so much neater to have it hand stitched like that. The extra time it takes is worth it and it is relaxing to do too. The quilt pattern is lovely!

  187. Jenn says:

    Oh, bindings? Do I want it to STAY on the quit? Then probably not so much handstiching… I’m not exactly, uh, good with a needle and thread! So I do ’em by machine. That way they stay where they are suppose to!

  188. Kate says:

    Happy New Year!

    I love sitting down to stitch the binding on to my quilts, it’s kind of therapeutic in a way. I do mine one stitch at a time, but I don’t mind it that way. My motivation is knowing that the quilt is almost finished and ready to used, and justifies me starting a couple more projects!

  189. Sheila says:

    Binding was my greatest fear when I started quilting. Now I love it, even though it’s the slowest part of the process for me; it usually takes me a week to finish a binding by hand. I usually do a stuffed binding by cutting 3/8 to 1/2″ farther than the quilt top. And I run my thread through the binding and pick up the stitches from the backing, which looks like the reverse of yours. Last night I did my first ever machine binding and was amazed how fast it was… even though I need to tweak it a bit. I think I’ll always use this for charity quilts now.

    I’ll have to try your way if you can do that in a day!

  190. Kathy says:

    Hi Heather,
    Wow, you do binding the same way as I do! My mother taught me this technique (loading stitches) years ago. We made draperies and hand stitched the hems. That meant yards and yards of hand stitching. this technique helped speed up the process. I too love to bind a quilt. Like you say, it means you have finished another quilt and can go on the the next! It’s also a chance to “watch” tv. Hugs to you and happy quilting.


  191. diane says:

    Heather: Thanks for the binding moment! I love doing bindings also! I have not done the loading stitches, so I can’t wait to do it! Do you usually use bias binding? What is your best method for making bias binding? I’ve used several, a different one every time…

  192. diane says:

    p.s. I’d love to win the kit!!!I have your book, so yeah, need to make Faith Hope and Love! Thanks for doing a giveaway, here’s hoping to win from Idaho.

  193. barb says:

    i like the idea of hand binding, but usually i use the machine. i get part way through and then switch over, bad of me i know but i’m still a beginner!

  194. Barbara says:

    I love to do the bindings on a quilt by hand, I spent some time with my husband while I’m doing it instead of being in my sewing room.

  195. Sandy F. says:

    I have 6 quilted quilts that need binding and that is one of my goals for this coming year. To actually finish some quilts! Please enter me in your giveaway. One can never have enough projects. lol.

  196. John says:

    I hope I haven’t missed the drawing! Happy New Year and thanks, as always, for your generosity! : )

  197. Danielle says:

    Amazingly I found the cutting tool … Easy Cut comes in a little plastic sleeve with a bright pink label. The ladies at the quilt shop didn’t know what I was talking about but persistance paid off.

  198. Gretchen says:

    I love hand stitching binding, especially while watching movies or catching up on Tivo’ed Martha episodes. Thanks for the tip about doing several stitches at one time.

  199. Carol Radcliffe says:

    Hi Heather!
    I have to say that I have NEVER, EVER, NEVER SEEN a STRAW NEEDLE in my life!!! I have done nothing but binding for the last week and my finger sometimes bleeds onto the fabric, so your advice on the glue for your finger will come in handy!!! I know what you mean about starting another project, but I still don’t like the binding because it hurts too much. I have always used quilting thread and sharp needles. I just guess you use what is taught to you until someone else shows you differently. The binding material on your project is wonderful. I wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! I would love to learn more…..can I be a guest for a weekend???
    Thanks for the new year give away!

  200. Bev C says:

    I could sit and hand sew all day. My friends laugh at sewing group when I volunteer to hand sew something. It is very relaxing. Happy days. Have a great 2009.

  201. Sharlene K says:

    I always encourage my high school quilting students to hand sew their bindings (vs. machine stitching)-it may take more time but the stitcher has more control over the outcome & it looks better! Personally, I like hand stitching.
    I love your patterns! Must be because you’re from Minnesota!

  202. nancy r. says:

    I enjoy doing hand sewn binding on my quilts. It is fun and soothing. Thanks for the tips and the giveway!

  203. Amy says:

    Hand sewing the binding is a great opportunity for me to spend more time with my family and a little less time at my sewing machine. 🙂

  204. Kelly O. says:

    This post was so helpful! I just came across your blog through Camille’s “Wish I” entry…She’s right! you’re great! I am just starting into quilting and am loving your tips! I feel like I already have a leg up after reading some of your blog.
    I can’t wait to read more!
    Happy New Year!

  205. Michelle Smith says:

    I like Binding. Granted I only took up quilting 3 months ago and all I have completed is 4 table runners and a wall hanging…but I do have 3 quilt tops done! I am going to look into those needles. Thanks for the help!

  206. Kari says:

    I always feel like I’m cheating when I machine stitch the binding, but I do end up doing that method more than I like. Hand binding always looks much nicer.

    Happy New Year!

  207. Christina says:

    Gosh, what a great way to bind a quilt! I’m definitely going to try that:) Over the holidays I was teaching my niece (8) and my wee sister (11) some tricks of the trade and it was amazing how quick they caught on. Although we didn’t make any quilts just then, we did handsew a “sock-dog” and Totoro, a Japanese cartoon character (all done freestyle by the girls). It was nice seeing them create; their idle hands, for once patient and concentrated:) Binding quilts has the same effect on me, I guess;)

    All the best,

  208. Darcy says:

    Love love that pattern!

    And I agree, I love doing binding, because that means the quilt is almost finished…what a feeling of accomplishment to get that done! 🙂

  209. Sara says:

    I hope I’m not too late for the drawing, love that pattern.

    Binding by hand is my favorite part of the quilting process. I’m definitely going to look for those straw needles.

  210. girlsmama says:

    I love that technique. My question/problem is how do you tie off your thread? I always end up with unsightly knots.

  211. Julie says:

    I’m with you…pop in a much loved movie and snuggle under the quilt you’re binding. I do appreciate the “tools tips”…I’ll have to try that!

  212. Sally says:

    I’ve only really gotten to the binding stage of a couple of quilts… yeah, I know. I really enjoyed doing by hand on those, though. It’s so nice to sit with the nearly finished quilt on my lap and stitch away.

  213. Pam A fr NY says:

    Wow! You make it look so easy to bind a quilt… I don’t think my technique would ever be that proficient. What a great pattern!! Can I still enter the contest. Thanks!

  214. Oh and I so want that new book, too…and a kit! My husband has been off of work due to an injury, so I have been waiting patiently to go looking for the book. What a very nice gift to someone! I enjoy hand stitching my binding. It is a nice way to get in some tv time and be productive at the same time. Thanks for the tool tips and the stitching tips! I will give it a try.

  215. Sally says:

    I hand sewed the binding on 2 full size quilts for Christmas gifts and now I am having pain in my left thumb-the one that just held the quilt. I only pick up a couple of stitches at a time. Hopefully, if I heal I will try your method. Also, I use a quilting needle to do most of my hand sewing and applique. The straw needles seem too “bendy” for me. Thanks for the tips.

  216. Kelly G. says:

    I have never tried sewing my binding on by hand. I do it by machine every time. I would be interested to try your method though! where do you buy the straw needles? Thanks for the tutorial!

  217. Jessy Roos says:

    Though I don’t always enjoy the binding process, for me there is something satisfying about looking back after your fingers are raw and the binding is done and knowing you did it by hand. So for me it’s worth it.

  218. Nicole says:

    I think I gave myself carpal tunnel thumb by sewing three bindings in two days just before Christmas! Why do I leave these things til the last minute? I procrastinate, but I don’t really hate sewing the bindings all that much. I will look for the straw needles to make the process go faster! Great post.

  219. Robin C says:

    well I hope it’s not too late to comment and get in the drawing. I too like to sew binding down because it is relaxing, mindless and a good time to just sit and ponder the fact that I got something finished.

  220. Rachel says:

    I just found your blog so I realize I am too late for your drawing, but I found your suggestions on binding great. I too, love binding, and I too, am a speed queen about everything regarding quilting. I was not however using the method of loading the needle; I was using longer more manageable needs and handquilting thread! I am going to set your blog up as one of my favorites on my own blog (

  221. dorothy says:

    i used to love binding by hand but lately has lost my mojo (i have 2-1/2 quilts to finish binding) –will have to get back on the wagon!

  222. Ann P. says:

    I love to do hand stitching so your technique of loading the needle is great. It will help alot. Love all of your patterns. I have quite a few.

  223. Angie says:

    OK, yeah, I love doing binding. Shopping and binding. These are my favorites!!

  224. Shelley Dionne says:

    Handing binding my quilt is my favorite part of the whole quilt process! I think it is because it means I am close to completing another quilt and I find binding so relaxing. Two rewards at the same time!

  225. Kris Bair says:

    I have always hated doing the binding – but I tried it this way last night – and oh how easy. I happened to have a large table topper, and the binding was sewn on in no time at all. Thanks for the great tip!

  226. Terri says:

    I love doing binding. It takes a long time, but I enjoy doing it. I’m going to try your method though and see if I can speed it up a little.

  227. Jody says:

    I love hand binging my quilts. It is the perfect time to plan my next project!
    It’s choosing the quilting design that usually hangs me up. After I have put all that work into a quilt top I am afraid to start quilting.

  228. Cheryl says:

    I am new to quilting and it is time to bind my first two quilts. These are great tips. I enjoy reading your blog.

  229. Susan Osborne says:

    Thanks for the information on binding. I’ve done several quilts and this is very useful info. I am going to give it a try. Thanks again. I enjoyed reading your blog,

  230. Jenna Z says:

    I am a machine-binder all the way! I don’t mind that my quilts will never win contests, I can get them done FAST! And they’re still warm and cozy. But if I have a cold evening with no chores to do (HA!) maybe I’ll sit down and sew a binding. Then I can enter a contest!

  231. Terry Clark says:

    I am SOOOO happy to have found your blog. You are an amazing quilter and designer. I can’t wait to try all your ideas and buy some patterns. I am trying to finish a table runner and wasn’t sure how to do the binding when it’s not a square so I was googling and found your tutorial. I hope when I “grow up” I will be as beautiful as you and the quilts you make. (I’m actually probably old enough to be your mother) 🙂 Happy New Year

  232. Elsa says:

    Have loved your work from your first book to your last – have never participated in a blog before – just found yours by mistake (a great one!). You are now in my favorites so I can find you again – love your new cottage charm fabric – especially to yellows and reds! Please keep them coming!

  233. Laura M says:

    I just came across your website and blogs! I ADORE everything I have read so far. Love your technique for hand stitching bindings. SOOOO much easier and really a lot less tiresome on the arms! Thanks for all of your tips and absolutely wonderful photos!!!

  234. Nancy says:

    Heather, your tutorial on binding was an eye opener for me and I am sending the link for your blog to my sister in law who does all her binding by hand. I have to do mine on the machine due to Scleroderma and also Neuropathy in my hands. I found I was giving up one beloved craft at a time, first counted cross stitch, then crocheting doilies, then knitting. Now I find I have trouble even hand stitching a label on my quilts. (I’m looking for alternate way to do that if you have any suggestions). But I have to say that quilting was a God send for me because I love needlecrafts and have done them since I was very young. When I learned about machine piecing quilts just last year, I was overwhelmed and immediately addicted.

  235. Pingback: How to Bind Inside Corners – Plus a Give-away to Practice Your Skills! « Trends and Traditions

  236. Judy Calderbank says:

    Heather……….totally awesome………followed it exactly and I got it done last night

    Thanks SO MUCH ……………….

  237. Barbara Hulsey says:

    I loved your info…I have never heard of a straw needle but I will find one and use it…It sounds like what I need…Thanks so much and have a great nite….

  238. Kathie Davis says:

    Thank you so much for the binding tips.
    We had out monthly quilt meeting last night and one of the girls showed us how to do your binding and also told us how wonderful the straw needles were.
    Love your web site!!!

  239. Lori says:

    I’m not sure how I found this old post of yours but thank you for it! I really detest the hand sewing that goes with binding a quilt. A few weeks ago I ordered straw needles. They came yesterday — LOVE THEM! other than the threading part — darn those eyes are tiny! They glide through the fabric so nicely so I tried your method for sewing the binding down. Oh my gosh – where have you been all of my life?!? I’ve never hand sewn like that! I don’t know if I’ve been under a rock or what. My hand sewing never looked very nice but with the way you’ve shown how to do it — no tangles and nice neat stitches! I will use this method from here on out. Thanks for the tip. Would you mind if I link to your post and share it on my blog?

  240. diana says:

    nice photos and helpful hints. I am going to give it a try! i am also trying the super glue on my finger tip.. thanks much~

  241. Susan says:

    Wish I had read this THREE years ago! I will definitely be loading my needle, with my next binding!

  242. Pingback: Favorite Notions | Trends and Traditions

  243. Winnie Bowling says:

    Wonderful advice! and I have been sewing over 50 yrs!

  244. Pingback: Pretty In Pink Quilt Along – Part 5 | Trends and Traditions

  245. Corina says:

    Well, it’s almost the end of 2019 & I’ve come across the most helpful tip I’ve ever found! And it’s from you in 2009! So, 10 year old post is still quite relevant & I just want to say, “THANK YOU!!!” I always dreaded sewing binding until I found you. I’m sure my Christmas quilt will be done in time to display Dec. 1st, woo hoo!!

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