Finishing a Quilt

I don’t get nearly as many regular visitors to my blog as I used to. I suspect maybe there was too much golf talk and not enough quilt talk, plus it seems most/all of my cyberpals have switched to Facebook and Instagram. I think people’s attention spans nowadays are shorter, too. Facebook is faster, but I still blog because I like to. And it’s a good diary for when you can’t remember when you did this or that. Or you just want a trip down Memory Lane. I guess Facebook could be that too.

I finished this Little Grapes Quilt, I didn’t name it officially, it is a hostess gift for some dear friends who live on the central coast where we used to live. We are going to visit them in May and they are always generous with their wine, food, and accommodations. They are big into the wine scene there.


It’s a small piece, 19 x 23. I wish I had made the leaves more colorful. It lacks a punch of bright color, but I know the subtle colors will look nice in their house.

I thought I’d share some of my finishing techniques because they are a little unconventional. First, I hate to hand-sew. I hate it so much that I will find every way possible to avoid it.

I don’t bind art quilts. I bind lap quilts and such, but my art quilts get a facing. I don’t like the look of the strip around the edge. I sew the facing onto the front and then I turn it to the back. I don’t even do a proper turn-and-poke corner, I achieve a better, more square corner just sewing on four strips and folding. I fuse it down with Steam-a-Seam that comes in a thin roll like tape. It doesn’t need to be sewn. I do, however, stitch the facing where it meets the quilt edge, as seen in the upper right corner of the picture below. I always use a dark color for the facing because it disappears. Anything light you will see. 


When I gift a quilt, I make a little hanging apparatus for it. My own quilts, I often hammer very fine nails right through the quilt to the wall. Yep, true. If I decide to take it down for some reason, a spritz of water will make the tiny pin-holes disappear like magic. This has never been a problem in all my years of making quilts, but if I wanted to show the quilt I would have to make a hanging sleeve like below.

I do have to hand-sew the hanging sleeve to the back of the quilt, without the thread showing on the front. That’s a big oops and I have to start all over again. I am not good at hand sewing but I don’t trust the fusible tape to hold.

I buy long strips of lath from the hardware, in what—three or four foot lengths I think, and we (JJ and I) saw them off to size as needed. Then I screw tiny eye-hooks into the wood. I provide the little nails. You get out a level, hold the strip up to the wall, mark through the hooks, pound in the nails, then slide the quilt onto the “stick” (that’s what we call it) and slip the hooks onto the nails. You don’t see any of the wood behind the quilt when it’s on the wall, only a half-inch of stick shows beyond the sleeve.


I get good wood that has a light finish on it because bare pine might leach oils into the fabric over time. Not a chance I want to take.

I don’t make a proper label for the back, I sign my name to the front because it is a piece of art. I sign the piece before I quilt it, with permanent fabric pen. If this was a show or competition quilt, I would have to make a label with my name and address, etc. and the quilt would have to have a proper title. They tell you exactly what they want the label to say, how big the sleeve should be, etcetera. They are very specific and an infraction will disqualify the quilt.




  1. I enjoy your blog, please don't ever quit!

  2. Beautiful quilt. Your work is inspiring!! Thanks for the tutorial. i like the stick idea. I use a sleeve and curtain rod or a dowel for the ones I hang at home. I also have been known to stick a nail through the top of the quilt!

  3. Sis, I like the variety of your blog. Your quilt is pretty. I especially enjoyed seeing your signature on the quilt. Grapes are so vibrant. M.


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