Polka Dots and SNOWBOUND!

Friendship is like a bank. You can’t continue to draw on it without making deposits.-unknown

 Went a little crazy at the Container Store. Blame it on the polka dots..red no less. I was toast! Obsessed. Here they are in their glory in my sewing room. Hello my lovely red polka dot happiness.

Exhibit “A” I already went bonkers over the red stripe baskets some time (years Wally world) ago. Then came the Container Store and I got a hit to the heart, where polka dots live, and I love my bakers rack. But when you add the polka dots! sigh

Exhibit “B” A graduated stack of red polka dots at the end of my work table. bliss

Exhibit “C” Two on each side of my sewing table. Hey! I may need to replace that basket with another Large red polka box/trunk!

I have a confession to make here. Please don’t tell anyone. There are two things in life I absolutely can’t stand. Get ready!

I dislike with a passion all forms of anything PLASTIC. If I can avoid it, I will. Sometimes it is not possible. Plastic cuttlery is at the top of the list. 

I dislike visible electric cords. They make me itch and twitch. Yup! They are stinkers. See that large basket above? There is nothing in it. It is covering the cords running down the back of the table for all the electrical stuff on my sewing table. There is a small bit of cord to my foot pedal showing. I keep it scootched over most of the time. 

There I have said it my worst hang ups are out in the open. I feel so much better now. 

For those waiting for my SNOWBOUND POST. HERE WE GO! For those leaving right now. Don’t bother to go to the Container Store for red polka dot trunk/boxes, I wiped them out. I have a polka dot phone cover too!

SNOWBOUND the final episode (kinda) I will move this post to our Snowbound page on Wednesday where the button is on the right side of the blog posts.

We are going to get a little technical” here. Let’s talk about adding borders and binding to a quilt.  A subject that tons of quilters have questions about. Here is my take on things. 

Which way do I press seams? Well this has become a “deep” subject. When I first started quilting (when dinosaurs roamed the earth). The rule of thumb was to press seams to one side, usually to the darkest fabric. More and more we see quilters pressing seams open. Both methods are valid and appropriate so let’s not get ourselves all wounded up and worried here. My answer is to use both methods when they feel appropriate and when they get you to the finish line with the best look. At the end of the day the important stuff is on the front of the quilt and in the precision of the matching of seams and sharpness of points…right? So, I press to one side a lot! And more often than not I press the  final seam of block construction open. I also press block to block and row to row seams open a lot too. 

Lookie! We see Kristie press some seams to one side and then at the final joining of two blocks she pressed the seam open. She combines both methods as well. 

Below you see the center of the Snowbound quilt. The center snowflake will be appliqued on the front. She pressed that final seam open!

 Many times I will “spin”, “pop” or “splay” the center seam…but that is a separtate tutorial from what we are discussing here.

Tip***If I decide to press the seam open I will lower my stitch length a bit, this will give some added strength to the pressed and opened seam.

Let’s look at some fun things going on with Snowbound! Look at that snazzy scarf on that snowman…not so primitive HUH? cute!

 Border Construction

This is the method I use when I add borders to a quilt, and YES! I do it all the time. Seriously I do not skip this step. 

I take 3 measurements of the base quilt. 

The FIRST measurement is taken approximately 3 inches from the outside edge of the quilt. Write the EXTACT NUMBER DOWN. no cheating.

The SECOND measurement is taken through the middle of the quilt. Write the EXTACT NUMBER DOWN. no cheating

The SECOND measurement is taken again approximately 3 inches from the opposite outside edge of the quilt.Write the EXTACT NUMBER DOWN no cheating.

Add the three numbers and divide the final number by 3, which gives you the average number. Cut two border strips the width of the border and to the EXACT averaged number for the length. 

In the case of the Snowmen you may have cut a strip to the width of the border and a couple of inches longer, done your applique, and now you are ready to cut the strip to your border measurement. This is easy. 
1. Just locate and mark what will be the center of the applique design. 
2. Divide your measurement for the border in half and cut each side to the left and right sides of your applique. Now you have a perfectly centered design and perfectly measured border too!

1.Fold the base of the quilt in half and pin at the fold.
2.Open the left and right sides of the base of the quilt and match them to your pin and put another pin at each quarter fold. 
3.Follow the same folding and pinning method for the the 2 strips you have cut for the top and bottom borders. 
4.Match the pins of the borders to the half and quarter pins of the quilt. If there is any “easin and squeezing” of the quilt to match the borders let it be evenly done HERE AND NOW. It will be gently eased.  
5.Sew the top and bottom borders on to the quilt.   

See those pins all matched on Kristies quilt!


Press the seams well (I would press them open in this case)

Congratulations! You have added borders to opposite sides of the quilt. Guess what? Now you go back to the beginning and measure cut, pin and sew the other 2 sides. This time the averaged number will include the borders you just added.Then…..YOU ARE DONE!  

Well not really. It is a real good idea to stay stitch slightly less than 1/4″ around the quilt. It stabilizes the fabric and will help if you are sending your quilt to a long arm quilter. 

Tip***When I have a pieced border quilt (Snowbound is not in this category) I ALWAYS stay stitch the edges of the quilt. (Always, I’m not kidding.)

Now that the work is done let’s look at some fun photos!.

Kristie loves this Snow Guy..she says he is her “fav”.

This bird cracks me up…he looks like he is saying…“If you touch my worm it will be trouble in River City!” so cute.

Can you see the use of varigated thread??? It is such a great thing!

All finished and done, but where are the snowflakes… After the quilt is quilted. She will add buttons for the flakes. I even have flake buttons. You can find them at quilt stores and big box stores as well.
Please my friends support your local quilt shop. We need them!

While we are technically done with our Quilt Along lessons I do want to share with you how I fold and make binding. I’m going to do a tutorial on this subject on Thursday April 11th  on my blog. This tutorial is done so that I can share the technique with all who read my blog not just the Snowbound participants.  Also, a new look will be coming soon to my blog. I am working on lots of tutorials for the new blog. I hope you will check with me often. At the heart of it all I love to share! Hopefully you will enjoy my “Primer” which will be a virtual classroom for YOU!


  1. 1

    Love those red polka dots!! They are so cheery!

  2. 2

    I share your distaste for plastic cutlery. UGH! I keep a real stainless spoon and fork at work to avoid using the plastic takeout ones. If I were a woman, I would probably keep a set in my purse!

  3. 3

    Gee I wish we had a container store. I would wipe them out of all polka dots too :0)


  4. 4

    I will certainly be on the front row for the tutorials 🙂 We just got a container store in our town. I’ve got to get over there before everything is sold out ;-O

  5. 5

    Hi pat,

    Finally a chance to say hi from down under! We visited a wonderful shop in Hobart, Tasmania called the Quilted Crow. You may know them! Lovely ladies and cool designs! TTFN

  6. 6

    Looks great.

  7. 7

    Love the polka dots!!

  8. 8

    Great work Buddy,Just want to say keep it up..
    Bargain Flights

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