There are two common ways quilters bind the three layers (top, bottom and batting) of a quilt: free motion and 'stitch the ditch.' But there is a third way, and for lack of knowing if there's an actual quilting term for it, I am going to call it faux appliqué. It involves stitching around one or more of the shapes on one side of the cloth, essentially outlining it very carefully. Since people affix appliques by stitching around their edges, I like the term 'faux appliqué.' It can be a great way to bind what might otherwise be a tricky quilt because it is very forgiving of different tension that can exist between the top and bottom layers of a quilt.
This third way takes about the same amount of time to sew as the other two methods, and may actually be less time consuming because it totally eliminates any bunching and subsequent need to rip up and redo seams. This method is best suited for cloth that has a neat pattern you want to highlight. For my quilt I chose to outline the giraffes on the animal print on the other side.
There are two ways to make quilt bindings too, and now that I've tried both ways twice, I can say I definitely prefer one. The method I prefer is to fold over one side of the quilt that has been cut slightly larger than the other (about two inches) and then hand stitch it to the smaller side while being careful not to sew through both sides. If you want a different fabric for the trim, a variation of this method involves sewing that two inch strip of cloth to the edges first. The other method, which I think is inferior (perhaps because I can't make it look good) is to sew on pre-folded, using an iron to make the creases, strips of cloth to each edge which you then sew onto the top and bottom of the quilt at the same time. It is a much faster technique, even with the need to go back over your work and re-sew where the two sides don't match up, but it looks uglier because it is impossible to perfectly line up the two sets of stitches where they didn't line up correctly the first time.
Even though I used the inferior binding technique on this quilt, I think Baby Field Notes approves of it nonetheless.
Eventually I will get back to academic blogging but there just hasn't been anything really exciting to write about in that arena lately! I will entertain suggestions though =D