Navajo Code Talkers — Finished!

I am so happy with how this quilt turned out.  It has color, texture, and movement.   I must say that I am pleasantly  surprised.  When my friend suggested making this, I mainly did it just to be together.  I really like quilt alongs:)

We had so much fun working on each square and figuring out what to do.  The pattern wasn’t always the clearest.  But together we figured it out and made it work for us. It was fun to watch her choose colors that were different, and always better, than mine. (That’s how it always is you know. The other person always has the better colors, lol!)


I made two squares to every one of her squares because I am using this as a bedspread.  It is a king size quilt and is huge.   It barely fit on the quilting machine!


I went up to the mountain yesterday and took these photos.   This quilt just feels so woodsy and masculine, and that’s a hard thing to do in a quilt!  The colors match the pine needles and tree bark.  


It always feels so good to finish a project.  This one feels especially SWEET because of the memories with my friend.  

Thank you for dropping by,  –Tracy:)

My Favorite Way to Bind a Quilt

There are as many ways to bind a quilt as there are to sew a half square triangle. None of them are wrong.  It all boils down to what method works best for you.   I am sure I haven’t tried every method out there, but believe me, I have tried A LOT, A LOT of them!   Binding is a study in and of itself.


After all of the trials and many errors, this is my fail proof method of making a beautiful binding.  I like it because #1 it is all machine stitched.  #2 there is no apparent stitching on the front. #3 it finishes so pretty on the front and back.

So, without any more introduction, if you have a few minutes to read, here we go:

  • Trim backing and batting to match the top.

  • Sew or serge the edges together.  This is important because if you don’t, the backing will shift as you are sewing the binding down.  Make sure your corners are square.

  • Cut your binding material into 2 1/2″ inch strips and join together by placing right sides together, matching one short end to one long end in a backwards L shape. Sew diagonally from point to point as shown.  I sew these chain style and then trim and seperate them in one step.

  • Press the entire strip in half.  Be as exact as you can.  Press the joining seams open as you go.  This will help with bulk when you are folding the binding over.  Trim the little dog ears flush with the binding.

  • Leaving about a 12″ tail, begin sewing the binding to the FRONT of the quilt.  Start in the middle of one side.  Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Try to leave a slight peak of the backing as you go.

  • Sew to the corner leaving a close guessed 1/4″ inch unsewn.

  • Line the bottom quilt edge up to something that is straight like the edge of your machine, a table, or a quilt mat.  While holding the edge straight, pull the binding back and make it straight with the same  long edge.  Check the fold to see if it looks like a nice diagonal miter.

  • Fold the binding back onto the quilt making sure to hold the miter.  Turn the quilt and continue sewing 1/4″ down the next side.

  • I like to stop about 12″ down and check my corner.  If it doesn’t fold on itself the way I like it, then I only have to remove a few stitches and try it again.   I really suggest you do this.  It isn’t hard if you catch it right away.

  • Continue this way all around the 4 sides and four corners of the quilt.  Stop about 8-10″ from the end of the beginning binding.    (To join the binding together, I like the Perkins Dry Goods Method)
  • With the top facing up,  place the unfinished binding edges on a flat surface.  Fold binding back on itself to the left and to the right and flat against the quilt edge.  Leave about 1/4″ space between the folds

  • Cut the left binding on the fold

  • Open the cut piece and measure the right side binding with it.  Cut the top two layers of the right side binding to that measurement.

  • Fold the left side in on the diagonal and place the right side inside of it like a finished binding.

  • This next step feels a little awkward– Hold the fabric pieces together very tightly.  Open the fabric up, square the pieces together nicely and sew them together on the folded line of the left side.  The quilt will be to the side, pulling a little.  You might want to pin if this bothers you.

  • Open and check your accuracy in stitching, trim the excess fabric and finish sewing the binding down.   Yea!  It fits perfectly every time!

  • Now comes the all important step of ironing.  Your iron is your best friend when sewing anything, but especially when binding.  The iron  wants to help you get those perfect corners and well matched seams on the back.  It does most of the work. I can not stress enough–Use your iron!
  • On the right side, press the binding away from the quilt.  Do not worry about the corners yet.

  • Turn the quilt over, fold the binding down making sure to be covering the stitching  and press AGAIN.

  • When you get to the corner, take care to make the angles opposite on the back from the front.   I sometimes use a dot of glue under the folded fabric and then give it a press to hold it together.

do you see how the press is holding this binding in place? it is ready for sewing:)
Finally, time to sew down the binding!

  • Change to a stitch in the ditch foot or a blind hem foot on your sewing machine.  Most machines have one. It has a small piece of metal hanging down from the foot. The blind hem foot has a little screw on the side to adjust the plate to the needle.   Yours may look different than mine.   Mine is a white blind hemmer and did not come with my machine.  Here are some pictures of a few feet on Amazon.com
  • With the right side up, place a corner of the quilt under the foot and make the needle go directly into the corner.  Adjust the foot so the metal guide is directly in seam or ditch.
The needle is right in the corner
  • Begin sewing.  Watch the edge of the fabric on metal plate. Do not worry about the needle.   It will be in the right place if you get the plate right.   You can sew rather quickly now:).

  • Use your fingers to feel that the backing is folding nicely over the back stitching and every so often  look on the back to check the accuracy of the fold.  This is especially important at the beginning.  If it isn’t catching the back, adjust your needle or the plate to the needle with the screw.

  • Sew all around the quilt making sure to stop in the corners with your needle in the down position and turn.
  • Hand sew the corners closed for a PERFECT corner:). Yea!!  This is optional, but I like how it really matches up the fabrics.


Binding takes patience, but it can really make or break your quilt.  This method takes time, but it is so worth it.   I quilted this king sized quilt in a few hours from beginning to end.

Thank you for stopping by!   Let me know if you have any binding tips.

–Tracy:)

Piano Key Border Tutorial- Navajo Code Talkers Quilt

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This quilt just screamed for a beautiful piano key border.  All of the extra strips looked so pretty and seemed like they wanted to be a part of this quilt as well.  The thing about a piano key border is that it definitely looks best with a pretty mitered corner.  It isnt hard, but there are a few tricks to it.  Here is the way that I made this beautiful Piano Key Border:

  1.  Decide on the width of the border.   You can choose this based upon some of your shorter strip scraps so you waste less fabric.   I decided to cut all of my fabric strips to 5″ in length.
  2. Cut all of the left over or newly cut strips to your desired size.
  3. Once all of the fabrics are cut, then sew them together.  You can chain them 2×2, then 4×4, then 8×8 cutting them apart each time and starting the chaining process again.  Your piano keys will get longer and longer as you go.  Sew 4 lengths that are about 16″ longer than the side you are going to attach it to

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    Here is my handy “Cutting Gizmo” that I use for cutting my chain piecing. It works great! 
  4. Press your strips nice and flat as you go.
  5. Sew a stay stitch seam a little less than a 1/4″ from each side to keep the seams from openingimage
  6.  Leaving about an 8″ tail above  and below the quilt, sew the piano border to the quilt.  Start sewing about 3″ down and leave about 3″ at the end.
  7. Turn the quilt over so you can see where you are sewing, and sew the 3″ gap closed. Begin and end at 1/4″ from the quilt edge.
  8. Repeat  for the other sides. Be sure to move the previous border strip out of the way so you do not catch it in your stitching.  It is important to be quite exact on that 1/4″ start and stop at the beginning and ending  of your stitching.
  9. Press the border flat.  With the seams toward the border.
  10. While at the ironing board, straighten the border tails on top of each otherimage
  11. Fold the top strip back on itself at a 45 degree angle.  The edge will match the bottom strip and it will look like a pretty mitered angle.image
  12. Heavily press this fold.  You want a very strong fold mark.  CAREFULLY open the fabric back and pin in place so that it does not move at all.
  13. Gently take your quilt back to the sewing machine and  sew on the fold mark.  Start from the outer edge and end EXACTLY on the 1/4″ stitching line of the quilt.
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    Stitch on fold line
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    End at 1/4″ seam line

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    It should look like this
  14. Open and check to make sure that there are no puckers and it looks the way you like it. Then trim the seam and press it openimage
  15. Repeat this for all of the corners.

There you go!  Now you have a SWEET mitered border:). Yea!

–Tracy

Navajo Code Talkers- Almost Done!

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What I thought was just going to take a quick afternoon to finish up has taken me all week!  My soft, rich fabric came in on Monday and I could hardly wait to cut it into strips and add it to my patiently waiting squares.image

I sewed, pressed and then sewed some more.  Each of these squares ended up being  15 1/4″ square.  Odd sized I know, but that was it.  image

I made 36 of them.  This quilt will be a king size cover that is going to look great in my sons old room that will now be a guest room.  Should I make a sign to place on it that says, “Please don’t sit on this amazing yet fragile quilt”?  There are so many people out there that just don’t know quilt etiquette:)

Here they are all lined up and ready for sewing togetherimage

I moved a few around to get the colors the way I liked them and even replaced a strip or two with different colored fabric to get it just the way I liked it, but this is roughly how it looks.   Isn’t it great?!  I tell you what, finding a piece of floor large enough to preview a quilt this size is no easy task! Lol:)

I like to work row by row, block by block when assembling my quilts.  I don’t chain assemble or even work one half and then the other.   I find it too easy to get lost. I carefully lay one row of blocks on top of each other and mark the edge of the first block  with a clover  clip that I leave there until all of the rows have been sashed and sewn together.

I am so excited to see this come together:)   Now all I have left is a piano key border that I will finish tomorrow.  Yea!!

I hope you have a SWEET day!  –Tracy

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Navajo Code Talkers

A friend and I have been working on this unique quilt for a few months.   She saw it made up in a quilt store in Utah and just had to have it.  She called me and asked me to make one with her, so of course I did:). I love quilting along with friends.  I guess that is why I like Internet quilt alongs so well, but a real life QAL is the BEST!

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We have pieced all of the fun center strip sections,  I would like to say that the instructions were clear and easy, but quite a few of the blocks were incorrect, and many were difficult to understand. Luckily, I am not a beginning quilter so I just used the piecing technique that I like best and went on ahead.  It is frustrating though when the pattern is confusing.

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I am really enjoying adding the strips and watching these blocks grow bigger, but  bummer, I don’t  have enough fabric!  It’s my own fault though.  I decided that making two of each block  was easier to do now instead of later when I might want it bigger. (Ugh, I do that quite often with quilts I like).  I added extra fabric from my stash, but now  that I am at the end, I realize I need more.   So this quilt will have to wait until my order of new fabric comes in. Lol!

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I just love how these ironed Code Talker strips are turning out!

 

Oh well. Life is SWEET and I will finish this quilt when the fabric comes in next week:)

–Tracy