Monday, November 16, 2015

Binding.....What and How to?

First let me say thank you so much for your nice comments about my Jubilee Quilt.  It was very rewarding to hear such nice comments. Often in the modern quilt world, this kind of old fashioned hand quilted quilt goes a bit unnoticed, so I can't tell you how much it meant to hear from you.

Here is my new little dolly quilt:  Baby Bow Ties (I see the camera focussed on Mr. Starbuck)
It measures 17 inches square and I used this pretty fabric on the back.
It was made with the little bow ties I received from the bow tie angel in the civil war swap.  I only had to make a few of my own.
At the recent quilt show I was penalized points because I used 4 separate pieces of binding and made "straight corners" (it's not here to photograph).  Since when is the mitered binding THE ONLY binding that is considered good?.  I was also criticized for not using more and smaller stitches on my Jubilee binding.  what?  seriously?  seriously?

So on this new quilt I worked very hard to make good corners.  They are straight and square and secure.  I think on an old fashioned quilt it actually looks more right to me; more appropriate somehow.
The other thing the judges criticized was when the print on the binding was not fussy cut (this was on someone else's quilt).  Wow.  I don't think I've ever really considered it before.  I do pay attention when using a stripe on the bias for that barber poll look we all love, but on small prints?

So here I attempted to "fussy cut" my binding.   The left side turned out great.
The one below, not so much.  Sometimes the print was not printed straight, so how to cut it I wonder?
How do you handle and approach your bindings?  I'd love to hear about it.  Let me also say this is the first time I had heard these comments.  I also don't want it to discourage anyone from entering quilting into shows.  I like to share my quilts,  which is why I have this free sharing blog.

I'm working out my quilting plan for the Alice Payne quilt.  I definitely want to start quilting by January 1st.

The Constant Quilter hosted a scrap give away and I won!  Thank you, Wendy, for the wonderful package of scraps and also for your wonderful blog posts.
I've decided to pay it forward.  If you would like to win a box of scrap pieces just leave a message and I'll pick a winner on Friday.  Who knows maybe we can keep the sharing going.  Based on the weight and postage US shipping only this time.

I'm keeping Paris and all of France in my thoughts this week.


54 comments:

  1. Wow, those judges are tough! Your work is awesome and I see no fault with it. Is this a national show or just a local? I could see if it was a national, but local, come on, it's supposed to fun! I liked it and I give it a first place. Love scraps for small quilts. And hope to get my bow tie done soon. Still waiting for arm to heal a little more. Happy Turkey Day! Laura V.

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  2. Sounds like the "Quilt Police" had to fill in some preset forms to me. since when do corners HAVE to be mitered--my Grand-mere never mitered hers. And neither do I--I PREFER the squared off look...oh well, what is it they say"you can't please all the people all the time" I think your quilt is spectacular...this was so subjective--what, did they COUNT the stitches in your binding strips??? come on people, get REAL!! Ok I've had my say...I think it was more about proving their OWN worth than anything else...Just sayin' hugs, Julierose

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  3. Here you have a classic example of why I don't enter shows! I love your little bow tie quilt!
    I have watched my Mom enter the county fair year after year, and also enter a couple of local juried shows. Everything has been so subjective, based on who was judging. She has been critiqued repeatedly on her binding--she does hers the same way you do. That is how it was done when my Mom learned to quilt. She has never taken classes to learn "new" techniques. It is still a viable method and all of the books I bought when I first started quilting still gave it as a method of binding. Who decides it is no longer acceptable? I never mastered getting the corners nice and square when she taught me, so I latched onto the mitered method when I was introduced to it. : )
    Stitch count in the binding? Seriously?!? And fussy-cut binding? I have NEVER heard that critique before. Forget quilt police, we now have undercover agents who keep the rules undercover!

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  4. I love your sweet little Bow Tie quilt!

    Some judges feel "obligated" to find faults to improve upon.
    Just remember it is purely a subjective opinion. At another venue you may have gotten a totally different critique of your quilt.

    I'm an emotion driven quilter, it's all personal to me. I haven't been brave enough to submit a quilt into a juried event. I think it's wonderful that you did - AND you received 2 well deserved ribbons! Congratulations!!

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  5. Your little bow tie quilt is delightful! Fussy cut binding - oh my! I think that people who think there is only one way of doing things miss out a lot in life. Be you - make the quilts that make you happy the way you want to make them. Creativity is lost in cookie cutter sameness. I look forward to seeing what you create with that pile of lovely scraps :0)

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  6. Since I am currently the Keeper of the Quilts, every once in a while, I sneak a peek and marvel at Jubilee's incredible quilting (and everything else about it, of course.) Binding, shminding. We make the quilts WE want to make and if they please us, that's what matters! Barb's scraps? Yes, please!

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  7. Hello Barb !
    I have learnt something today about bindings !! Wow.....are they serious seriously ?? :) I think it must be difficult to choose a fussy cutting for the tiny binding !
    For me your jubilee quilt is p-e-r-f-e-c-t !!
    Your doll quilt too and as you saw on IG, you inspired me with these little angels bowties !!
    Thank you so much for your thoughts for us...
    xoxo
    PS : thank you for the giveaway !

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  8. The critique of your binding is shocking to me! The squared off binding matches the antique style of your quilt better than mitered IMHO...and stitch count..! I have seen some of your other quilts in person at shows and your work is flawless.

    I have never heard of fussy cutting binding. I would love to see that judges work.

    I entered a hand quilted quilt in a show a few years ago and got the comments that my thread should have been invisible. Invisible hand quilting thread doesn't exist as far as I know!

    Comments are helpful to learn if there are areas you can improve on, but in this case it sounds like they had to make things up..more to boost their own self worth or something? Your quilt is spectacular!

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  9. Hmm, where to begin? I don't like to make truly negative comments about judges and judging otherwise, why would I even enter quilt competitions? I enter to share my quilts and learn from the comments and from viewers. That being said, it is perplexing to get these kind of comments about bindings. I used to be marked down every time for using straight binding. That doesn't happen as much now and I'm wondering if they have finally figured out (in judge school) that bias binding is really a 20th century thing. 99% of the antique quilts we see here in NE have a straight binding and often with only 3 mitered corners - it starts on a straight edge like yours. So maybe they are learning. It is one area that I am not going to change so I guess I'll never win the big Kahuna award! I love your dolly quilt! And thank you so much for moving those scraps along. I'm sure the winner will appreciate them.

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  10. I had heard about a judge marking off for the binding corners being open instead of stitched closed. What I mean is that if you are doing a continuous binding, come to a corner, do the miter and go on, if you don't go back and stitch the folded corner part down, it was a mark down. Then I talked to another judge and she said she never heard of such a thing. And she was a certified judge. A friend of mine entered a quilt in a show and the judge said the colors were too strong. The next show she put it in, the judge loved her colors.

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  11. I have never heard about this kind of binding critique. Thanks for the giveaway possibility. Your items are BEAUTIFUL! Never mind what that judge said.

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  12. Your bow tie quilt is charming and I know dolly is very lucky to have such a nice warm quilt and pillow to keep her warm this winter. My mom taught me how to quilt and she was a fabulous hand piecer/hand quilter so I follow her example and hand piece and hand quilt everything. When it comes to binding, I read the instructions in American Patchwork and Quilting and hold my breath in hopes that the binding will be acceptable when finished. It would never occur to me to fussy cut the fabric or measure the stitches because getting to the binding stage means I've almost completed the marathon! Your quilts are amazing and I am always inspired when I read your blog. Hugs from Kentucky - kelley

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  13. I have to agree with many of the comments as I'm sure you do too. Judges tend to want to say something, as they are being paid for this job. That said, saying stupid criticisms makes them look like idiots rather than experts. Your work is Amazing, Creative and Expertly completed! I aspire to be at your level of quilter at sometime in my life!
    Do not dispair..they need to change NOT YOU!

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  14. Amen to the binding/judging comments above. Some judging comments are so inane and/or unhelpful! Squared off corners are authentic to antique quilts; your bow ties would have looked silly with a bias, mitered binding for which you no doubt would have gotten comments about being true to the quilt's style....

    Scraps sound fun!

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  15. I feel like Phoebe in that one episode of Friends, "Now I've seen everything!" Honestly, your workmanship is excellent, I guess the judges had to split hairs to pick a winner? Personally I do not care for "negative" (subtracting points) type of judging. Oh well! On my quilts, I always try to do my best work - and for me, I do happen to miter my corners, but no offense to those who don't! I also seam the ending join, not an overlap. I try to make my stitches even and strong, but measured? Never. I also cut my binding on the cross grain, double layer/folded binding. I like the print/color to harmonize, but don't usually fuss with the cutting unless a stripe is involved, like you say. Live and let live, right? And if I win, I have plenty of scraps to share! Have a lovely day!

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  16. I agree with everyone that the judges just had to say something. I also think fussy cut binding on that quilt would have looked too contrived. I'm curious how close do they think the stitches should be on the binding? I sew mine about a quarter inch apart but i have wondered if that's right.
    The photo with Starbuck is so funny, it made me laugh out loud!! I love your bow tie mini. Seeing it on the bed shows how tiny those little bow ties are.

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  17. What a sweet little dolly quilt!! Love your kitty getting his face in the picture. They tend to be right in the middle of what you are working on!! Your Jubilee quilt is gorgeous. Every judge has a different outlook. At least you have considered the fussy cut approach, and how it could make a difference!! We continue to learn and evolve as quilters. It was kinda picky little things the judge saw, which means your quilt was pretty well put together. Keep the faith & quilt on.

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  18. Hmmm. There are so many right ways to do things. I think a quilter (especially one who makes quilts as beautiful as yours) knows what's right for her quilt. And reading the comments (and from entering pieces in art shows) we all know that the judges have personal preferences. Personally, I think you should continue what you're doing, just as you're doing it: making beautiful quilts.

    Thanks for offering the box of scraps. I would be delighted to win them.

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  19. I think all judges are different,(and who really knows what they are thinking on any given day) but some do seem to focus on binding, I do know they like to see a nice square corner, but it shouldn't matter whether it is mitred or not.

    I have seen fussy cut binding and it can look very nice, but making it would be a real PITA, and when the fabric has been printed off grain it would be near impossible to get straight. Love the photo of Mr Starbuck with the dolly quilt.

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  20. I guess this just solidifies all my reasons for not entering quilt competitions. Seems to be the judges in any show ought to be required to exhibit some of their own quilts in a designated area so all the entrants can see what 'perfect' is. That would likely put an end to these type of comments and judgments.
    Your mini-bow ties is a charming little quilt so perfect for that dolly's bed.
    Thanks for an opportunity to win some scraps. A quilter can never have too many scraps!

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  21. How interesting to read about your binding and everyone's comments. I love the fact your quilt was hand quilted - it looks so vintage and authentic. Am sure they were just scrambling to find anything to critique on such a wonderful quilt. Reading all this I am now even more unlikely than ever to enter my quilts in a judged Show. Inconsistency in judging must be due to personal taste but makes the standards hard to pin down (excuse the pun?)

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  22. The mini bowties are adorable! Ahhh judges...what one likes the other doesn't. I was told my polka dot binding was distracting! I thought it added character... I think make what you like and the heck with everything else.
    Lucky you winning some scraps!

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  23. I was told (many years ago) that the binding should be mitered, IF the border was mitered. If not, a straight binding was called for. Interesting, huh? Love scraps!!

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  24. Judges are too subjective! If you know it, then no problem putting quilts in shows. My quilts are way too humble.

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  25. Thanks anonymous commentors - sorry I can't respond to your comments. I'll put you all in the drawing - good luck!

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  26. Sounds very picky to me. The bow tie is so cute. I like to round my corners whenever I can. I have never, ever fussy cut a binding especially since I always use a bias binding. Would love to win some scraps. As always thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and your blog.
    mudd4chewee@gmail.com

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  27. I agree with other comments that it seems like they were looking for something to pick on. They each have their own ideas of what's "right" Your little doll bowtie is darling!

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  28. I am right there with so many other commenters that this is the reason I have not and will not enter a quilt in a competition. Don't feel bad, this decision was made long before I discovered your blog! I quilt for my enjoyment and the fun I get from sewing, then the joy from seeing another receiving one if I choose to gift the quilt. I won't set myself up for being knocked down when I've spent the hours and hours and money to make the quilt. Ridiculous and 2 different sets of judges could totally contradict each other. I make what I like or what I think someone else would like if I am going to give it away. I don't want anyone going to such detail to scrutinize my work and I know my family and friends won't. I know I am not perfect, but I have been sewing for 50-plus years and do know a bit about sewing. I can live without those "rules." And those scraps would love to become hexes in my scrap hexie project!

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  29. Wendy in NH
    Congrats on your Jubilee applique quilt ribbons, it's a lovely quilt, you should be proud of it. I've fussy cut a few bindings when I used a fabric in which the print was an added design element, (a scallop print, and an ombre). In the past I had judges who'd criticize the width of the binding on the back being slightly wider than on the front--- I happen to like a little wider binding on the back side since the backing is so expansive to my eye it looks better, plus it seems easier to sew down. One thing I don't get with show bindings is the glue method--- I don't use any glue. It can be a little frustrating to get comments that seem clueless.....I remember being marked down for different shades of background fabric in a scrappy quilt with different shirting backgrounds- the judge didn't like some backgrounds being white & some off white. I recently showed a vertical bar quilt in which the side border fabric was different than the top & bottom border fabric.....one judge said the quilt would be better with mitred border. I don't get why anybody would want to mitre 2 different large scale prints in a vertical bar quilt intended to have butted seams. Duh, lol! You just gotta keep showing, & when you get great judges comments & they get your quilt & appreciate it, it feels wonderful! (Stdpoodle@aol.com)

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  30. Your quilts are always lovely and inspiring. Thank you for sharing them with us. It doesn't matter if you are judging quilts or cows, it is all subjective. This is something I have to remind my 4-H'ers of every year during show season.

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  31. Having judged quilts on a local level at the county fair, I've seen how easy it is to let a "judge's opinions and biases" cloud their vision. The overall judging objective at our fair was to be positive and encouraging with maybe a helpful hint occasionally thrown in. I'm so glad that there is a multitude of ways to express ourselves through our quilts, be it the design, colors, fabric choices, piecing techniques, etc...and binding too. Keep showing and sharing your quilts and I hope others do too.

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  32. Great post and last one was too....I really had thought that the quilt police had been fired or at least off to be retrained. In one show, I was told that straight was straight...but it was a funky not straight quilt. So I was awarded 4th place. It was the only award. No one got first, second or third...Really??? Really judges. Oh, well. It is still fun to share our stuff.

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  33. I am surprised to hear that you were penalized for not mitering your binding. Mitered bindings are a pretty recent innovation in quilting, and the type you used is very traditional. So I don't see how they could find fault.
    I only entered a quilt to be judged once. The judges' remarks were spot-on, and they were helpful to me in the quilts I have made since then.

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  34. Good post about quilt judging. I've never entered a quilt but hope to in the future and learned a lot from your experience as well as from all of the comments listed here.
    Love your Baby Bow Ties quilt! That cradle full of minis looks fantastic--would love to sit right down and pull those out one by one!

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  35. All of your quilts at the show were beautiful!And the ribbons were well deserved!

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  36. Hilarious!! I ususally make a mitered binding with bias strip because that is what I was taught, by a person who learned to sew in France. (Not by a mother or grandmother, they were, in their own words, hopeless as sewing). Considering I was 7 when I made my first quilt (with the bias mitered binding) it has sorta become my rut but I love the look of a straight lapped binding and have used them, yours are beautiful and I wish I was able to get mine that smooth. I really don't pay much attention to the subjective comments on my quilts I enter in shows. The only people my quilts have to please are me and the recipient. I haven't had any complaints there! LOL
    Bridget

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  37. I always enjoy the quilts you make--thank you for sharing what you do.
    The judge's negative comments are disappointing to say the least; your workmanship is wonderful.
    When I taught myself how to quilt from books, I was afraid to try mitered bindings so I did bindings with 4 straight strips. Gwen Marston wrote that she only does this kind of binding because the antique quilts she studied do not have mitered corners. But I learned the mitered method and now I hold my breath to see if they come out square. I think I'll go back to the 4 straight strips and you will be my inspiration for using that method! I enjoy making scrap quilts in the liberated style and any kind of hand applique; your scraps would be fun to use. Thanks!

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  38. I tend to love the imperfections in quilts. As for fussy cutting bindings, REALLY! I don't enter quilt shows for this very reason.

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  39. Love your dolly quilt and the mini bowties! I've received both types of comments from judges--positive reinforcement and constructive criticism. I must admit there have been times when their comments ruffled my feathers, too! Ultimately, if I'm happy with my quilt that's all that counts. You should be very proud of your Jubilee Quilt, it's a winner! As for binding, I usually miter my corners unless I'm making a doll quilt. I must admit I haven't fussy cut a binding yet. Would love more scraps for my Tumbler or next Hexie quilt :)

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  40. Seriously indeed. As long as things are neat and tidy, I don't care how they're done. I just cut my bindings -- I never check to see that they're placed properly or whatever. Life is too short and I'm thinking no one cares when they're wrapped up in the quilt! ;-D

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  41. I love that sweet little bowtie quilt! Adorable! And I think putting straight bindings on your Jubilee quilt was brilliant! It suited it perfectly! Too bad the judges couldn't understand that! Congrats on your ribbons.....truly deserved! And congrats on Wendy's scraps....I LOVE the idea of paying it forward....if I win, I will! :o)

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  42. Your bowtie quilt is marvelous, wonderful.My bindings are to my own standard and blissfully happy non-judgememtal recepients of my quilts. I quilt for my pleasure and not the local quilt police!Quilt on!!

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  43. Your little bowtie quilt is precious. I'm feeling really flabbergasted by the judges' comments on your quilt because you are one amazing quilter, and I always love how you finish projects and make them your own. Fussy cutting a binding? Please...Quilt on, Barb - full speed ahead!

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  44. I love the little minis. Just haven't had time to figure out the size yet. When you enter a quilt and have it judged you have to expect comments. Never heard the fussy cut binding though. But thinking about it, on a miniature it would be more obvious than on a larger quilt. The experience was a learning process, now we know! Will it change the way I do my quilts? Probably not. I am just grateful to get the quilt done. Would love the scraps, would use them for more bow ties.
    Dotti,CT

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  45. loving the doll quilt. The bow ties look great! I'm working on my mini also.
    Joyce

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  46. I guess I've been lucky with the quilts I have entered in shows. Not that I won ribbons all the time, but the judges weren't too knit picky. In fact, I was surprised that in one show they didn't even write any comments down! I guess in a way that is pretty nice. I'm sure they could have found some negative things to say, especially since I quilted it myself. Once I did get a comment about not stitching down the mitered binding - I didn't know you were supposed to do that at the time. And of course I never have fussy cut a binding - never heard of such a thing. Love your doll quilt and your doll bed is wonderful!

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  47. Dear Barb,
    I am reading your blog since a good time, and I love our quilts !
    All my congatulations for you blue ribbon !
    About juges, what to say ?
    They should be given magic glasses, as mine :
    when I (I am a long armer) receive a quilt which is a bit "ugly" whith four sides whith different sizes etc ... I just put on my magic glasses and quilt !
    Thank you so much for thinking to us, (I am french) that 's very kind and heartwarming from all of you ...
    Chantal, France ...

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  48. I almost always make squared off bindings. Mitered bindings are overrated!
    About judging, I have assisted many quilt show judges and have found them to be
    very subjective. I would never take any one of them too seriously.

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  49. So did these comments make you enjoy the process any less? I just can't wrap my head around quilting being competitive, I do it for my relaxation and really don't want the stress of being judged.
    Quilting is part of my well being, when I am away from it too long I really miss it and yearn to get back to it.
    Thanks for the chance to win your scraps...fun to play in others scraps :0). I like the idea of having a play /pay it forward scrap giveaway :0).

    Happy Sewing

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  50. Don't worry about what the judges say about your quilt. It's beautiful and if you're happy with it, that's all that matters.

    I've had some comments on my quilts that I entered in the county fair over the years that upset me at first. Then I realized that, if that was the only criticism they had about the quilt, I did pretty good! I know I have good workmanship. They also made comments about the binding - not being stitched down along the fold of the corner. What?? Never heard of that, and my old quilts have never come undone on the corners. So I got over it. I hope you do too. It's just one person's opinion and it's subjective.

    I used to use that type of binding because that's what I learned, and there's nothing wrong with it, in my opinion. I do a mitered binding now because I find it easier. But I think the way you're doing it sounds appropriate for the style of quilt you're doing. I've never heard of fussy cutting binding! That's crazy!

    Love your little bow ties quilt....and Mr. Starbuck! What a sweet kitty face!

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  51. When I was first a manager, I thought I needed to provide negative as well as positive feedback, so the employee would know what she could work on next and why she wasn't getting the promotion now. In your case, since you have already mastered the front of the quilt - sharp corners, invisible applique, etc., the next thing to go after are your bindings.

    When I was remodeling a house, we prioritized what needed to be done, and did most of it. We found out, though, that things that didn't bother you at first, bothered us later, because it wound up being the sore thumb in an otherwise perfect room. So, your binding would be perfectly acceptable in a somewhat flawed quilt, it would stand out in a perfect quilt.

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  52. LOVE the baby bow tie quilt! It's funny your bringing up binding,,,MC offered to bind a quilt for me recently. Turns out our techniques could not be more different! It doesn't surprise me that judges were sticklers on this point.

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  53. Oh my! I so love your little quilt as I hand piece and hand quilt little Civil War quilts. I also use four separate pieces of binding on mine. As for judging quilts, I really can't be bothered with all the does and don'ts. Afterall, quilts were originally made from any scraps of fabric they could find and pieced together any way possible. I think that the origins of patchwork and quilting are overlooked in the name of art these days.Fussy cutting binding? Really? I can't imagine people willing to waste fabric by fussy cutting back in the old days. I always have issues about quilts being judged as it really comes down to individuals personal opinions and we all have our preferences. Keep doing what you do the way you like to do it. Your work is beautiful. Don't allow anyone to dictate how you should or should not make your quilts. They will stifle your individual creativity. Thankyou for sharing.

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  54. Well maybe the quilt judge wanted to start a fad. Fussy cut bindings. LOL. They can get a now write a book on how to fussy cut bindings. A post on how to enter quilt shows ought to be fun. Than they will have all kinds of people entering! To me everything handmade is better. If I wanted perfection I wouldn't be trying to create a quilt from hand.

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Thank you for asking questions and making comments - I love to hear from you.