Reading about quilting online is different from reading about knitting. That Dorky Homemade Look suggests that it is because every book on hand quilting eventually tells you how to get bloodstains out of your quilt, but I think it is more the fact that they use numbers like 5/16. That level of precision is bound to get to you. You start out with some cheerful directions and pretty pictures, and before you know it you are emphasizing the importance of folding exactly the right amount on your corners for perfect mitering.

I am halfway finished with the binding, and have mitered three corners. They may be, as the online tutorial said, “excessively pointy.” It is hard to know what exact degree of pointiness is required for perfect mitering. The tutorial made me so nervous that the fourth corner became a sort of origami arrangement and the final foot (excuse me, 18 and 15/16 inches) of the binding has been put onto the front in a moebius strip fashion. I will have to take that part out and re-do it when I come to it. If you are not a quilter, I should say here that you sew the binding strip to the front first, by machine, and then sew it to the back, mitering your corners, by hand. That it is the part I am currently working on.

Cutting the binding brought out the math anxiety, too. I just needed a bit of blue fabric. I went confidently through my stash, expecting lots of choices — after all, we’re just talking about blue cotton here. I found plenty of blue, too. Blue flowers (I was specifically warned that Son in Law did not like florals). Blue with spaceships. Sparkly blue. Blue rayon. Blue with hot air balloons. Blue fat quarters. Finally, I returned to the scraps from the quilt and found a reasonable piece of the clouds — really the perfect choice for the binding. But I always use bias binding, which requires a large piece of cloth. Here I was with a little piece. The formula for calculating straight binding is width + length of quilt x2 divided by 40 x the width of your binding. This tells you how many inches of fabric you need — in my case, just under 20. I had 35 inches. Plenty.

But there I am, looking at that big quilt and that teeny piece of fabric, and I begin wondering about that formula. Width and length, okay. But where the heck did they get the number 40? Is it a constant, like the speed of light? And why isn’t the width of the fabric figured in anywhere? Never mind. I blindly ripped my fabric into strips, and I do indeed have more binding than I can use.

I think I have to finish this quilt and mail it today in order for it to reach #1 daughter and Son in Law on their anniversay. So I suppose I had better quit typing and get back to my binding.