Perhaps it's more accurate to say that hand-binding is awesome and fun as long as you're not pregnant?
So I've had this hourglass wall hanging all quilted and such for about a week now. It was the first time I've used a walking foot to quilt (initial skepticism: Will it REALLY help my lines be straighter? Oh wow, YES, it will!) and I was pretty proud of my quilting job, especially when it helped hide most of my mismatched points. Then I had to bind. I'd chosen a nice deep maroon Kona solid color as the binding, then realized I only had white cotton thread and I didn't want white machine stitches showing up on the front, taking away from the beautiful binding color. So, hey, hand-binding's not supposed to be THAT bad, right?
You see, I have pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome, and it's especially bad in my right hand. It's a huge pain in the butt. I have to wear a wrist brace while sleeping, or I'll wake up in the middle of the night with my entire right arm numb. My right middle and ring fingers go numb when I drive. I've even switched to using my computer mouse with my left hand because my right hand falls asleep after about five minutes of use. Naturally, I thought of none of this when I whipped out a needle and sat down to hand-bind.
Of course my first few stitches sucked. After a bit, I got into the rhythm of things and it didn't look too bad...but my fingertips on my right hand started falling asleep. After a couple more stitches, my wrist began screaming in pain. Because I'm stubborn, I pressed on and started stabbing through the fabric into the fingers of my left hand. I stopped for the night.
|Mostly invisible stitch. What's really invisible is the pain that went into every stitch.|
The next day I got about five minutes into binding when my hand started to go numb in some parts, painful in others, once again. It took me three days of on-and-off hand binding to bind a 24"X24" quilt because my right hand would NOT cooperate. And yes, for three days I refused to drive to the fabric store just to pick up thread that matched my binding because if I started hand binding, I was going to FINISH hand binding even if my hand fell off in the process.
|On the plus side, this was the first quilt I got to use my walking foot on. Hey, my lines are a lot straighter than before and totally help camouflage my mismatched points! Who would have known?!|
The result is a sort of wonky-looking binding that, nevertheless, I like since you can't (well, ideally) see the stitching on the back. However, I am SO not hand binding anything for at least the rest of this pregnancy. Sewing machine, I love you.