Tag Archives: pieced borders

SAHRR #2: Indecision

Wendy at Pieceful Thoughts posted the second prompt for the Stay At Home Round Robin yesterday. The prompt was “any star.” which appeals to me. I picked the Friendship Star–if it is still named that when the center is a four-patch. It seemed good to echo the center ov my center block. Choosing the star wasn’t the cause of indecision; layout was.

Ever since I’ve been doing medallion quilts I’ve wanted to do one with pieced triangles to set the center on point. I always consider it, but usually my center block doesn’t like being on point. This was no exception, although in my mind the design “standing” on one “leg” seemed it would add motion to the juggler motion already noted. But it didn’t.

Instead of increasing the motion it decreased it. The dark squares formed solid looking verticals and horizontals and way too much stability. So no on-point this quilt.

I’d also considered closing it in with the next border and starting ordinary borders but a suggestion from last week to continue the spiral effect caught my fancy. My first thought was to do so with a star on each side.

I wasn’t thrilled, but then further borders could make it work. I began to think measurements. The star row will be another 3-inch border, and my original plan had been a 40 x 40 quilt. That would leave only 6 inches for the next four borders. And making the stars smaller than a three-inch block wouldn’t seem to be good proportion. Even though Sally Collins in her Borders, Bindings, and Edges recommends the border pieces be smaller than pieces in the center block. I’d not started out with smaller. And in addition the 3-inch spool block looks larger than the 3-inch star block–very interesting what placement of lights and darks does. Of course I could also change the finished measurement goal. But if I were to go for a larger quilt I’d probably want a rectangle. So I considered two stars top and bottom.

It has potential, and I like it better than one on each side. But there’s one more thing to try: echoing the three squared that make the juggler effect with a placement of three.

I think I like it. But again a lot depends on what the next prompt brings. Oh I know I can skip a row or modify a row, or do my own thing. But for me part of the challenge is to take the prompt and make it work.

So, till next week . . .



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Border Practice Becomes a Finished Quilt

This quilt has a long history.

It started with my picking up the light and medium green fabrics in a charity quilt starter packet at my guild in Indiana (and I left Indiana in 2011). It continued when I did my first round robin and had never done pieced borders before, so I practiced each border before making it on someone else’s quilt. This was a year or more before I left Indiana. Not big enough, it needed more borders.  That was accomplished at a quilt retreat in 2013 (here), and then it rested till now.

Border Practice finished

55 x 65

What prompted the finish is the guild’s charity project, quilts for hospice patients, this quarter.The subdued tones seemed right for that. And I had time.

I ended up quilting in a meander except for the circle in the center. That I just outlined.

border practice center

In addition to practicing borders, I had been practicing inserting circles–yes, we were doing that then. This quilt is not a typical medallion quilt, since the center isn’t really a medallion, a special block. The 9-patch seemed the fastest way to get a center the size of the round robin piece awaiting my border.

In some ways the large squares (6 1/2 inches) are too large for the rest of the piecing. Seeking balance, I made the final border the same width. Luckily there was enough of the medium green print to make four cornerstones. I think the “imbalance” ends up working because the light green borders in a gestalt view read as one wide light border. (Perhaps I delude myself that it works–feel free to say so.)

Something else different from my usual is the color of the binding. Usually I bind darker than the final border. In fact I went to the store with “the right” brown or dark green in mind, though I was also considering pink.  No pinks were dusty enough. Moving on to the brown section, I paused at the gold. Actually in the store it looked closer to the peach of the raspberry and peach narrow borders, and it seemed good to repeat that peach. And gold appeared in three prints.

border practice corner

Actually that was just an excuse to show that mitered corner. While I don’t love the gold binding next to the medium green, I do like it next to the dark green and in the overall look at the whole quilt. I think the striped print with its green in between two light pink stripes set up to have dark with light on each side. So I think the lighter binding works here, though it may not work everywhere.

One more UFO loosed on the world.

Linking with TGIFF and Finished or Not.

And Finish it up Friday (when link available)


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Fading Charms, a Late Friday Finish

I was so close that I had to keep sewing. And it is only 11:30 pm.

Center and first couple bordrsI did daisies and echoed around them plus some meandering in the center.  (The daisies actually showed better in a previous post, here. )After doing the string of circles for one border, I decided I didn’t want to do it all the way on the others. I’d seen lines with occasional circles and thought that fewer circles echoed the fewer blocks.


Here you can see my two-borders-in-one design. I echo loops in the borders of four squares  and of 2 squares (someday the sun will shine and I might get a photo that shows that) and the circles echo the other three green border circles.

And I think these are the best corners I’ve ever done after learning a trick from Wendy Butler Burns on Craftsy. And I’d never pressed my binding before–that too probably helped.

It seemed to me that with all the brightness going on in the quilt, a subdued binding was called for; hence the dark brown binding. I think it works.

Linking with TGIFF and Finish it Up Friday.

ETA link to Wedding Dress Blue’s tutorial for Fading Charms.

ETA history of blogs on this quilt

Center finished (May 2012)

Top minus last two borders (June 2012)

Top finished (July 2012)

Quilting begun (Dec 2014)



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A Local Quilt Show

The town my daughter lives near, Viroqua, WI, invited members of the community to submit quilts, so she submitted two I made and one of my baby quilts.
vintage baby quiltThe show was interested in old as well as new. My baby quilt is pink embroidery on white and is almost an antique. I think the figures are nursery rhymes–it has been a long time since I’ve looked at it.

The larger quilt (queen full; king coverlet) is from a Block of the Month (BOM) sampler I started with a local store in 2006 or 2007 and finished around 2010 after I had done a round robin and learned to make pieced borders.

Sampler quilt

I am following Moira’s lead (The Quilted Snail): “multi-fabric” quilt seems a better category than “scrap quilt” for when one buys a variety of reds, of greens, of golds for a quilt, thus reserving “scrap” for quilts made of left overs.

Space was such that it had to be folded in quarters. I have a full photo on FlickR; I’ll try again to insert. (Yay, I figured it out!)

chikkendale sampler finished al last--border
You have seen Logan’s baby quilt before, but here it is again.

Toddler and his quilt

Wasn’t it nice that it was at his level? We’ll let him touch his quilt.

Baby--showing face-- and quilt

And one more shot showing face. He almost looks guilty.


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Oldies but Goodies

I have been enjoying a little reminiscing of my own and of others.

Val's Quilting Studio

This week’s themes are birthdays and borders. I have no birthday quilts, but I linked my Ohio Star Border. Check out others’ oldies; after clicking the above button, scroll down to Tuesday.

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Ta Dah!

I’ll bet you expected the announcement of my having finished quilting the Monkey Biz. Nope. I did finish the light color blocks, and since I had to change thread anyway, shifted to piecing the Improvi Robin that I’d been thinking about.

round 2 received

Starter and Two Additions

After taking the photo I rotated the piece, but forgot to take another photo. In the process I got different ideas for each direction.  But the bird in the lower right suggested I keep this orientation.

Ideas I considered:

Use the  aqua bird fabric of Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park line (because it was in the second addition and because I have some)

Do some slash and skinny curving inserts to echo the starter flower

Do more improve piecing like first addition in gold

Do something zig zaggy like the pink and white of the second addition

Follow addition 2’s lightening of value with pink and yellow

Make a cornerstone like the center of the big flower, aqua and cranberry –and maybe gold–square in a square

Use the peach of the starter flower (I didn’t have any, and though we are not forbidden from buying new fabric, using stash is encouraged)

With all those ideas floating around, I was in a muddle of indecision. Then serendipity–so many of my design decisions flow from serendipity that I wonder if I can even say they were design decisions.

Third addition

Robin with third addition

I had been piecing improv fabric as leaders and enders (thanks for the suggestion Susan!), and the colors were not exactly the background of the big flower, but mingled together, suggested it. From there on I knew most of my plan, made enough improv fabric for the chevrons and partial side border, made my half-square triangles and looked at it for a while. I abandoned the cornerstone idea as interrupting the lightening effect if placed in the upper corner, and unpleasing if placed lower. (I’d started out planning aqua birds to finish out the left border bottom, but didn’t like the look–don’t have a reason, just didn’t like it. I surprised myself by liking the dark gold and cranberry corner–after all I had started out to lighten the piece.

I went with my seemingly illogical hunch, but kept thinking about it.  I think the reason it works is that it gives the piece an overall structure that resembles a log-cabin light-dark arrangement.

What would you have done if it was your turn?  Or what would you do next?  I can’t wait to see the next two additions.


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Charity top finished

Sampler quiltThe center portion had been stitched together a LONG time ago and was waiting to grow into a child-size 40 x 60 quilt top. The triangle border was pieced as leaders and enders while I was working on the architecture quilt, but preparing for the week at Sisters interrupted progress. I got it out this week and did the math for making the spacer border. As soon as I find backing fabric, it is ready for practice machine quilting. After that it will go to Wrap Them in Love, a charity that sends quilts to various locations where cheer and warmth are needed.


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Ohio Star Border Finished

Ohio Star Bordered quilt top

It took only a week longer to finish the top than I expected.  Partly because it was tedious, and partly because I read two novels instead of sewing. That is the hazard of having more than one hobby.

I reported on the start of the quilt here and here.  I tried various ways to get the aqua/green into the border, but each of them lost more in the effect of the border than they gained overall.  I was so busy taking down and putting up that I forgot to photograph any of them. I did replace half of the squares in the first row with the darker green, one of the colors I’d have used if I’d have done the Court House block of an earlier plan.

As I said earlier, the border was rather tedious to do. But yes, I would do it again if I had a quilt that it seemed right for. I would think twice about how many colors and values I’d use, and most likely restrict myself to two.  I also think it would look better on a larger quilt  with a center that is put on point so that there are large triangles to rest the eyes on.

2/17/15 Linking with Tues Archives


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Ohio Star Border

I have abandoned the plan for four lotto blocks mentioned in the previous post. Although I had a nice big piece for backing, I didn’t have enough other fabrics to extend the five blocks to 40 x 60. So I started to think square.

Ohio Star quilt plan

I extended the saw tooth star to “partner” with the Ohio Star. I was thinking of doing “something” with the hourglass block, but browsed Sally Collins’ Borders, Bindings & Edges and found this Ohio Star border.

I didn’t have enough light for background, so shifted to dark. That was getting too dark so I added the red center square.  From this trial, I can see that using only two fabrics on this border would really simplify the construction.

Normally I make up my QSTs and then lay out the quilt. However, this time I needed to be sure I’d calculated the number of all-red and the number of red-plus-blue QSTs correctly before stitching.  My first thought had been to alternate blocks with light and medium stars. But duh! The star blocks share one QST strip.  Maybe making a QST with one of each would work. It did till the lower left when in order to get the reds in the correct position, I had to ignore which light fabric was paired with it. Note to self: QSTs are directional.

So now I have to play before stitching. I don’t want all the irregularity in one spot, so I have to make it look like irregularity is what I had in mind all along. And a second issue. I do have some aqua (now looking quite green) shades that I had intended to use, but abandoned.  Their absence makes the “green” in the center look abandoned. I’ll have to think on that. Whatever I end up doing will be fine because the kids don’t care.  Charity quilts are a good way to experiment in design as well as to practice free-motion quilting.  It will go to Sunshine for WAS when finished. (Link to Sunshine blog on the right)


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Orphan blocks

I recently “rescued” an orphan block. (Non quilters: an orphan block is one that is either left over from a previous quilt or one that was a trial and proved the project had flaws so was abandoned.) Recently the Dresden Lady was offered, and I couldn’t resist.

dresden lady quilt block

The block is about 21 inches square–another one to add  borders to in order to make it wheel chair lap quilt size. The fabric is very pastel (all my yellows are too bright) and the print very small. So the project is in the brainstorming phase.

In the past I have had fabric that matches or closely resembles fabric in the block, and that gives a nice unity.

orphan block 30's fabric

This orphan ended with the big green triangles, and I had some matching green fabric to unite with the start and to break the two different shades of lavender. It became a preemie quilt.

another orphan block

This one ends before the narrow black border. A quilt with such small pieces couldn’t take heavy borders, so I planned the one-inch square checkerboard rows. For them I had a fabric that was a close match to the rectangles in the orphan: the backgrounds were the same, the figure was a slightly different shade. This orphan block also became a preemie quilt, 30 x 30.

I don’t have the luxury of matching fabric for the Dresden Lady, so I will have to find another way to create unity and the illusion that the whole was planned from the start.

I’m linking with others who are planning on their design walls at Design Wall Monday.

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