borders

Elaine's Quilt

This quilt was partially hand quilted, and then Elaine decided to try stitching the outer border on her sewing machine. After trying to tackle something so large on her home machine, she called me to ask if I could finish it for her. Only half of her blocks were cross-hatched, and none of the sashes or cornerstones were stitched. There were lots of basting threads holding everything together, and grey pencil marks in all of the backgrounds on the un-stitched blocks!

Elaine had drawn a cable pattern around the outer border of the quilt, and managed to complete machine stitching the entire area. The remaining sections to be finished were all of the sashes, the cornerstones, and half of the cross-hatched blocks. The beautiful applique needed to be held in place too.

 

Elaine has been doing hand-applique for a long time, and has really shown that she is ready (willing and able!) to tackle any pattern she wants to try. With numerous projects started, she really wanted to see this one finished. It was going to be a gift for a special family member.

 

I duplicated her cross-hatching and chose the designs for her sashes and blocks. After the quilt was finished, she was thrilled with the results. Enjoy the gallery below to see close-ups of the blocks in Elaine’s quilt.


Sketches of Spring

Truly a labor of love, this quilt was a combination of log cabin blocks and printed panels featuring butterflies and flowers that are so realistic!  Pieced by Lyn Christian of A Design by Lyn and quilted by Candy Apple Quilts, this quilt is a treasure.  It finishes at 90 inches square --- perfect for a queen sized bed.

The log cabin blocks in the center feature a beautiful quilted motif, and the blocks with the birds have a nice grid pattern to them. I just love all of the borders because it really gives an opportunity to play with lots of designs, such as these hearts:

PinkHeart Corner

Side

Be sure to see all of the pictures so you can examine the quilt in detail. Price is $1,000 plus shipping costs --- continental US only please.

Update: The Sketches of Spring Quilt has been sold.

Border pucker panic? Use steam!

Border panic? Quilting condition? Surprise hiccup?  Just what can you say when you approach a section of a wonderfully pieced quilt that has a tricky situation that you didn't notice before mounting the quilt top on the machine? This quilt has lots of gorgeous fabrics in it, and the blocks and borders were nice and flat when I looked at the quilt laying flat on a table. After I had done a row or two, something on the left side caught my eye. What's that?!?!?!  Oh my gosh, where did that come from? It was a pucker that appeared overnight when I wasn't looking! Uh-oh

After rolling back and forth a couple of times, I noticed that there were a few of the sneaky little devils in this border. Funny thing, though.... every other border was perfect.

Border excess

I decided to stabilize the entire area, because it was too late to take the quilt off of the machine and remove the borders. This is how it looked with a little stitch in the ditch to hold all of the layers in place:

Border puckers

Time to heat up the steam iron. It never ceases to amaze me how much excess I can remove with just a gentle shot of steam. (Hint ..... this works particularly well when the fabrics have not been steamed during the assembly process. I have been asking all of my customers if they used steam during piecing whenever I see an issue with their quilts.)After just two shots of steam, the fabric was already starting to behave better.

After steaming

Since this border was on the side of the quilt, I decided to wait until the entire quilt was finished before I turned it to deal with this problem. Traveling through the rest of the quilt was easy, and I made sure that everything remained nice and square. After finishing, I turned the quilt and remounted it to work on this border. One more shot of steam now. I kept both hands near the needle as the design stitched, enabling any excess to be evenly distributed. The finished border was perfectly flat in the trouble area:

Finished border

You can see that the problem did not migrate further down the border:

Excess gone

I would recommend this method for borders -- or blocks -- that are giving you trouble with puffiness!

Austin block layout

This quilt was made with blocks chosen from Quilter's Cache. You can see the Austin block here, and the layout for the quilt here.

Linda's Log Cabin Quilt

Linda's Log Cabin Quilt I recently received a quilt top from Linda at Putting You In Stitches. I love her sense of humor! She had been working on these log cabin blocks in her spare time (what's that? LOL!) and after making so many of them, she just wanted to be DONE ALREADY! Rather than face the idea that she would need to make twice as many as she already had finished for this large quilt, we decided to try an experiment.

Linda took very accurate measurements of her quilt top along the four sides, and most importantly, through the centers in each direction. She cut five inch wide borders in the same colors that she had used for the log cabin blocks, and added those wide borders to her pieced center area. The extra time that she took to do her measuring made this quilt top lay perfectly flat -- and made it a joy to quilt!

Borders

The design in the center is a pattern from Anne Bright called Playful Paisley. This design has appeal to any age, and any gender. The four designs in the outer borders are also from various Anne Bright collections. Border number 1 (the blue border) has the coordinating Playful Paisley design, border 2 is called Swirling Double, border 3 is from the collection Bending In The Wind, and the white outer border is also from the Playful Paisley collection.

Enjoy the pictures! Note --- if you click on a picture to open it, and then click on it again, you will be able to see all of the details!

Don't throw it away -- SEW it away!

Don't give up on that project! Reading the book "That Dorky Homemade Look" by Lisa Boyer has really energized me to finish my UFO's. How could I resist buying her book when her first "Principle of Dorky Quiltmaking" is to buy fabric that you "feel sorry for"! That is soooo ----- ME! Many times I've bought something that I thought would make an adorable project, and my husband and kids would look at me like I had finally gone over the edge. I would dive head-first into my idea, get half-way through the project, and then run out of steam. Whether it was my own creation, or whether I was following a pattern, sometimes things just didn't look quite right.

Quoting Lisa Boyer, "Enjoy the process. Don't worry about judgements, and realize that the rules are something you can embrace or reject at will, whatever suits you. Quilting styles, fabric colors, opinions and rules change with time. The only truly lasting thing in a quilt is the love you sew into it."

How many times have you gotten half way through a project, and then gave up? It just wasn't turning out the way you expected that it would. The disappointment was strong, and it was easier to toss the project aside than it was to think about wasting any more time finishing. it. After all, you thought.... how could it possibly get any better if it looks this bad now? Of course, then the guilt sets in --- and you think of not just the time that has been wasted, but also the money for all of the materials that are in your project. Occasionally, you question your own skill set, thinking that your project doesn't even resemble the picture on the front of the pattern!

If this ever happens to you, try to find a box to store this project, and consider finishing it someday. Why store it in a box? Because throwing everything into a bag just leads to having the contents become wrinkled and messy. If everything is in a box, ready to begin work again, chances are that you will want to "play" with this project. Store the fabric, any pieces that have been cut, embellishments, the patterns, etc. in your box. A clean pizza box can be wonderful for this. Next time you are in the pizza shop, get a few boxes for yourself. You can label the top or front with the project name, and stack the boxes neatly on a shelf. Almost every project is worth finishing, even if you use the item for a different plan than the original idea. Taking a break from the frustration can give you a fresh outlook, and you can return to finish the project sooner if you actually "can't see it" for a few days.

Consider the project below. Susan bought a pattern for a beautiful Asian wall-hanging. She carefully chose a printed panel and all of the coordinating fabrics, trims, medallions, border fabric, backing, batting, and metallic thread. Following the directions closely, she executed every step with careful consideration. The piecing was perfect. All of the ribbons were inserted in the correct places. Even a soft satin binding was added to the outer edge.

But for some reason, Susan wasn't pleased with all of the work she had done on her project. The directions called for stitch in the ditch between blocks, and stitching around the graceful flying cranes with metallic thread. All of the steps were done perfectly, yet Susan felt something "just wasn't right" with her finished project, and it had been tossed aside for many months. Last week, she brought the wall-hanging to my studio for my opinion.

After one glance, I decided that the thick fluffy polyester batting was the culprit. While it served the intended purpose of making the detail stand out on the flying cranes, it also made the entire background puffy. The outer borders were five inches wide, and without any quilting inside to hold the layers together, each one looked slightly lumpy. The weight of the metal medallions pulled on the fabric, and without any support, the fabrics in those two squares hung there limply. Each of the squares looked pretty.... but again, puffy. We had to plan a way to save this project. In it's current condition, Susan didn't want to hang it up on her wall.

We looked through lots of designs for the various areas, and chose patterns and borders to add to her project. Two of the medallions that were on the quilt were glued on, and could not be removed, so we had to plan around those. Also, there were ribbons and braid to avoid. I love a challenge!

Here's a picture of the five inch wide puffy border without any quilting:

Puffy

And this is how it looks with quilting to hold the layers together:

New Border

I've had many projects come through the door that just need a little bit more work to make them truly finished. When Susan came to pick up her wall-hanging, she was jumping for joy. Her Asian wall-hanging had been set aside for months, and now it's ready to hang. A few days later, she wrote to me saying "You inspired me to try another quilt!  Thank you from my heart! " It's a great feeling of accomplishment to finish a project. Having my partially completed projects neatly organized has helped me to finish some that I had thought would never be finished. Some of my UFO's have become gifts, and other's have been donated to charity upon completion. I will always remember Lisa Boyer's words of wisdom: "The only truly lasting thing in a quilt is the love you sew into it."

And for another great book by Lisa Boyer, check out "Stash Envy and other Quilting Confessions and Adventures"!

Ribbons and Bows

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Sue Jackson of Sue's Sew EZ Designs created a pattern "Ribbons and Bows" that is just perfect for the cause. It can be used as a remembrance -- or -- made in different colors for a totally different look! Ribbons and Bows

Marie made this adorable quilt for Taylor with so much love. She started with the Ribbons and Bows pattern, and took it a step further by changing the color scheme to beautiful shades of blue and teal. This quilt will be hanging in Taylor's bedroom, and it's a perfect gift for a wonderful young lady! I asked Marie to tell me a little bit about Taylor, and she said "Taylor will be turning 11 on her birthday in early January. She is in 6th grade and her cheerleading squad is going to regional competition. She is a very classy young lady and I think this quilt just suits her." I agree! The pretty fabrics that Marie used to make this quilt are very classy, and embroidering her name on it is just the perfect finishing touch!

Most of the patterns used in this quilt are from One Song Needle Arts, including the background section around the bow. I added two layers of polyester batting behind the bow, stitching along the edges, and then trimmed away the excess.

Polyester batting

This was done on my regular sewing machine, but I could have just as easily done it on the longarm machine. When this stage is complete, the results can be a bit puffy, as shown in the picture below:

Puffy bow

The quilting that happens afterward tames everything down in the surrounding area.

Finished trapunto

After all of the extra batting was trimmed, I mounted the quilt in the usual manner. All of the borders have special treatments to them, including modifying designs to fit in between the "ribbon" sections. Marie wanted to tell Taylor how much she loves her, so we chose to quilt "I love you" all the way around one of the borders.

ILY border

I think Taylor will be very happy to receive this quilt!

Click twice on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

Summer at Mom's Quilt

Romantic pinwheels and hand applique The quilt was made possible with a lot of help from my friends on my Candy Apple Quilts Yahoo group. I asked for everyone to send a 6-inch strip of floral fabric to me so I could have lots of variety. The response was overwhelming! Here are just some of the fabrics that I received:

Lots of florals!

Shades of green for the leaves

I was intrigued with finding a faster way to create all of the half-square triangles that would be needed for the center section, and for the border. Using a Gammill machine with a Statler Stitcher enabled me to do most of the work with the computer! I put a solid white fabric on the machine first. Then, I placed a strip of floral fabric right side down on the white fabric with a pin at each end to hold it in place. Using the computer, I set up all of the sewing for the half square triangles.I then cut the strips apart and ironed the pieces open to create all of the pieces I needed for the pinwheels.

When all of the pinwheels were complete, it didn't take long to sew them together into the center portion of the quilt.

Each of the fabric strips right sides together

From the various green fabrics, I cut all of the leaves for the appliqued border. All of the applique was done by hand.

Back to the quilting machine with more white fabric, and a pretty lime green. All of the half square triangles were laid out in advance, and sewn row after row, non-stop.

After cutting the rows and blocks apart, I had all of the half square triangles that I needed for the outer border of the quilt!

The only job left was to measure the applique borders and the outer borders, and apply them. I added the binding, sprinkled a few yo-yos on for fun, and it's done! Click on the images below to see the full-sized pictures.

This pattern for the quilt is available from McCall's Magazine. For the half square triangle Statler pattern, please email Gary and Linda Schmitz at ewok335@centurytel.net, or check their web site for patterns.

Lavender and Lace

Done in many shades of lavender, burgundy, green, and cream.... this quilt by Maureen was perfectly pieced, and so much fun to work with! Maureen chose feathered blocks by Kathy Olson, and a wonderful feathered border to compliment her squares and triangles!

Click on the images, and then click again for a full-sized image.

April Blossoms Quilt

This pattern was featured in the March/April issue of Quiltmaker Magazine. When I saw it, I knew that it would be the perfect stash-buster! It's so much fun to use up old fabric, so I can go shopping for more!

This quilt is made by hand-appliqueing a central square that measures 24 inches. Then, seven different borders are added that consist of half-square triangles, piano keys, standard borders, and four rectangular areas with more hand-applique. Having lots of large sections made the quilt top go together very quickly, and it was lots of fun!

To complete the quilt, I used a very small stipple in the areas surrounding the appliques, and patterns from Anne Bright's Merrily Blooming collection for all of the other areas.

To finish everything and add a little more pizzazz, I made yo-yos from fabric, attched them to the flowers, and then added buttons on top! If you click on these images below, and then click again, you will be able to see the full size pictures.

Wavy borders, and how to prevent them

Have you ever seen quilts with wavy borders? The border pieces that you cut according to the charts included with these directions (and other patterns that you have purchased) could be a little bit too longto be attached to the quilt center that you have completed. Everyone uses a slightly different size seam allowance --- and when you multiply the effects of the difference across an entire quilt top, the differences can be significant. If you already have some long border pieces cut and ready to apply to a quilt top, that's OK for now.  We want them to be a little bit too long to make it easier to use the following process.

You're probably thinking "Why can't I just sew a border along one side, and then cut off the excess when I get to the end?" The answer is that you will be stretching your border fabric as you attach it to the quilt top. All of the excess fabric will then end up being a wavy border, which makes it very hard for the person doing the actual quilting to get your borders to lie flat.

Here is a picture of the very bottom of a quilt that is almost finished:

end-row
end-row

You can see that the majority of this quilt is complete. As the excess fabric has accumulated down the sides of the quilt, it "has to go somewhere". In other words, it all ends up at the bottom. In this case, pleats were needed to remove the excess fabric --- and that's never the best approach.

Please resist the urge to sit down and sew your borders onto your quilt top without taking a few simple measurements first! You will stretch the edges of your quilt top, and you will end up with wavy borders , guaranteed! When you have wavy borders, your quilt is much harder to quilt, it won't lay flat on a bed or table, and it won't look right hanging on a wall. Just a little bit of extra measuring at this stage will save you a lot of frustration later.

We will be following that old advice "Measure twice, and cut once". You don't want to make any mistakes here. First, make sure your quilt center has been neatly pressed, and that all seam allowances are flat on the back. Lay your quilt on a large flat surface (a floor comes in handy here, but a large table is even better!) and use a metal tape measure. Lay the tape measure on the quilt in the center, measuring from top to bottom. Make a note of this measurement. This is the number you will use to cut two of your side strips to the proper length.

Use your tape measure to see how this center measurement differs from the measurement along the edge. You may be surprised to see the amount of difference between the two numbers!

Pin the two side strips to each side of the quilt, making sure the fabric is distributed evenly. Place a pin in the center, and one at each end. Then keep adding pins until you feel that all ease is distributed evenly. Sew the border strips in place. Press flat.

Now lay the tape measure in the opposite direction (going from side to side), but make sure it's in the center of the quilt, not along the edge. Make a note of this measurement. You might want to check again to see how different this center measurement is than one taken at the edge!

Cut your two remaining borders to the proper measurement, and pin as directed above, easing in any fullness.

Repeat this process for the rest of your borders, if your quilt has additional pieces.The more borders you have on your quilt, the more you will love using this method after your project is complete! I've received countless phone calls after teaching this method, and everyone of them is from someone who is now confident when it comes to this final step.  Too often we are in a hurry by the time we get to the end of the piecing process, and just want to get it done. It's worth a few extra minutes when it comes to the long life of your quilt!

No more wavy borders!