It's finished. I don't really know what else to say about it after I spent what I estimate to be eighty hours making it, all by hand. (I even did my hair for photos - that's the level of respect it gets!) I was right about the binding - it just brings everything to where I want it to sit.
It might sit better across my back if I wasn't trying to quickly get into position before the timer went off on the camera!
The binding is sewn on with rosebud stitch. I spent a very frustrating time with google trying to find an explanation of rosebud stitch after seeing many examples on the Alabama Chanin Flikr group. So many people referred to it that I figured it had to come from one of the books and was probably also known as something else. An hour or so of fruitless searching later I gave up and sat down with a needle and thread in front of a photo on the computer and had figured it out in approximately 30 seconds.
I didn't want to bind the hem, but I worried that the areas of unstitched red would curl up too much once washed, so I did the same stitch around the hem to finish it off.
My fear now is that the knots will come undone in the wash. I was a bit nervous anyway because my thread (Molnlycke Goliath) is 100% polyester, not the cotton cored, polyester wrapped thread used by Natalie Chanin. (If I ever find that I'm buying in bulk!) A discussion thread on the flikr group covered this topic - someone using the same type of thread had had half her knots untie in the wash. As I told Keely, there are not enough swear words in the world to express how I'd feel if that happened, so I quickly did a few lines of stitching onto the sample I'd made of the rosebud stitched binding so I had several knots and tossed it in the washing machine. To my intense relief none of them came undone, so I'm hoping for the best.