Tag Archives: pieced borders

Quilt Finished and Delivered

Reviving this post for Val’s Tuesday Archives, theme Stars and  Stripes.

Here comes the whole process instead of stages. Starting with the finished quilt.

whole quilt

About 36 x 40

I started it back in July to try out a new ruler.  While I was pondering details, it got a specific destination as a shower gift–the shower being over, I can post details now. My first thought was to keep the equal blue/pink for gender neutrality and shift to the colors of the stars for the border. Here is the audition of that idea:

Auditioning border fabric

Not working

The tactic of using colors from a major print wasn’t working here; it was much too abrupt. I diddled quite a while with options, adding the pink and blue, thinking to use star blocks as corner stones, and pondering colors of stars.  I was really attached to the idea of the narrow red and orange inner border, and it took a long time to drop that idea and move on to another option. But I finally shifted the two colors to the stars and moved the stars. At that point the name of the quilt changed from “Gender Neutral” to “Staying out of the Corner.”

One of the first decisions had been the orange star fabric for the backing, and that didn’t change.

Backing fabric

Backing fabric

What did change was the binding method.  I’d planned on the gold-orange of the star block, but I had enough of the backing to bring it to the front, and I liked the look better than plain. (Note to self: it is also easier to miter corners this way.)

binding detail

Back to front binding

Because  a friend thought the top reminded her of a circus and cotton candy, the name was temporarily “Circus,” but that changed.  All those stars registered along with the baby shower destination, and the quilt got its final name, “A Star Is Born.”






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Quilt Retreat Results

The joy of finishing–at least when I get a top together it feels finished even though one more step remains, the quilting. Make that two more, also the binding. But there is something about seeing pieces sewn together that beats looking at them side by side on the design wall.

Mitered border added

The daunting miter

Two things were needed to finish this one: a plan and the courage to do the mitered corners. I finally had the plan,a lap quilt, that reduced the number of borders, hence design decisions. It turns out that the mitered corners were relatively easy. On two sides I did the small tuck trick that I had read would make the design come out perfect on rectangles. On two I didn’t.  With this border fabric, it didn’t seem to matter. I even have a beginning plan for the quilting. The center 9-patch will be done in a big flower.

I had cut pieces to make pieced borders around the Noah’s Ark panels–I had two panels.

Noah's Ark 1

An infant quilt–about 36 x 36

Noah's Ark 2

To become a crib quilt, about 36 x 46

Okay, so one top isn’t completely finished.  I think I’ll turn this last one into a rectangle before I stop. As is, it is an infant quilt. I had to try miters again to reinforce the learning. Looking at this design and stretching my imagination, I can see rain in the striped print and waves in the triangle border. What drew me to these panels was that they allowed my “old lady” prints to become more child friendly.

All three will go to the charity quilts given away by my local quilt guild.  Last year they gave away over two thousand to firemen, to hospice, to women’s shelters, and other groups. Although some of the fabric came from my stash, most was from the packets made up for charity projects, so the projects were committed before I started. I did shift charities, though.  The packets came from my guild in Indiana; the finished products will go to groups in Oregon.  I offered to mail the ones I made from fabric in Indiana back, but they suggested keeping it local.

1/13/15 Linking with Val’s Tuesday Archives. Check out other people’s medallions.



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Fall Quilt Retreat Time

I’m happily planning and less happily cutting fabric for projects to take the the guild’s fall quilt retreat. It is so much easier to work (plus less to carry) if the cutting is done at home. When I first attended a retreat I didn’t know that, and I took a shopping bag of fabric for each project! I spent quite a bit of my time waiting for a turn at the cutting table.

While opening boxes to search my fabric, I came across a top I’d started long, long ago.

Practice quilt, unfinished

The top so far

Eons ago, when this UFO (UnFinished Object) was started, I was participating in a round-robin group and had never made pieced borders.  I felt the need to practice before working on someone else’s quilt. I also wanted to practice inset, pieced circles, and did on the center square. I had picked up some fabric at guild for a charity project and decided that would work well for practice. (Luckily there was no time limit on when the gifted fabric had to be used.)

It was tucked away unfinished because I couldn’t see how to get from the size it is (34 x 40) to twin-bed size. But now I am in another guild with other charity projects, and new sizes are an option.  So the quilt is two borders from finished.

First I’ll finish the last row of the checkerboard, and then it needs some pink and some dark green. I’d run out of the light fabric I’d been using in the larger checkerboard.  What I have to substitute doesn’t look as bed to me now as it did back then, so I’ll get into the old tradition of making do!  I have a pink striped fabric to use in a border with mitered corners–still practicing. Then I’ll repeat the dark of the center.

After the top is finished, I’ll practice machine quilting…a practice project all the way from start to finish.


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The Lost Is Found

The round robin project started in May. Four of us sent center blocks to the next person on the list, but only  three arrived.  The lost package could not be traced or found, so the maker created another one that we all added to.

Then in September, the lost arrived in the second quilter’s mail. We decided to send it around and surprise the quilter. She has seen it now, so no more secrecy.

This is what I received:

Starter block plus two additions

I immediately knew I wanted to add blue and green in the next border. My first thought was to match the medium value of the center, but I didn’t have any such fabric. I also wanted the blue and green to read almost the same value. I found some darker that actually ended up working better than my original idea would have.

Center with added border

My first thought had been checkerboard of one inch squares, but it was too small a scale. Second thought was alternating 2-inch squares, but that was too plain. Luckily the measurements allowed alternating 4-patch and plain, then alternating the plain blue and green.  The border seemed skimpy, but I knew there was another addition coming.

I do not have a photo of the finished piece, but the next border is a black background with a small print that includes red and blue. It takes care of the skimpiness of my border quite nicely and complements the colors. And the maker of the center was excited to receive two tops!

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Round Robin

Round three completed

First I should say that you should never believe me when I say, “I’ll finish it today.” Something always comes up to distract me. But nevertheless, my part is now finished.

The serendipity was twofold.  First I had some green fabric like the fabric in the left mountain.  Plan A was to mix it with other greens and add other lavenders in the bottom checkerboard. The second was having bought just the right fabric without even planning it.  The sampler of Fair Trade cotton from Uganda  mentioned a couple posts ago turned out to supply the perfect tones.  Since many of the dyes were natural, the colors were muted. They echoed the colors in the camouflage and distracted less than Plan A would have from what was already in the piece when I received it.

Meanwhile, remember the piece I sent out?

Variable Star Block

Center block

Round Robin come home

Awaiting border and quilting


It has made the round of three quilters and has come home.  It is large enough as is, but I think the corner stars will look better if I add a small dark blue border, so that is my next plan.






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Round Robin and Design Wall

Each turn presents a  different challenge on a round robin, even at the end.  The goal is to add something that fits well but doesn’t finish.  Even the “last” addition, which is my challenge here, will go to the original owner to make the final decisions and get the piece to size. This round-robin project had minimal rules: do something when you get it. Here is what I received.

Round Robin--three rounds

Round Robin–three rounds

Don’t you love the idea to use camouflage fabric to convey snow on a mountain? And the striped fabric in the upper left, and the bear? This one called for the design wall.  I’d ordered the wall after a quilt show but not opened it because I was moving. (Ironically it traveled from OR to IN only to be moved back to OR.) Since my “studio” is my whole apartment, it sits in my living room.  That may prompt me to do a bunch of projects while it is up.

First design idea on design wall

Design wall (54 x 54) taking over the apartment

The great thing about this design wall is that it folds up into a carrying case about the size of a shoe box. And it is relatively east to assemble and dismantle. If you are interested, the design wall can be found at Cheryl Ann’s
After looking at the project for a while, I realized everything was pointing up or off to the left, so I reversed the geese. I do like it better now.

Reversing geese direction

A small but useful revision

I still have areas to fill in and the bottom to do something with. This round robin was planned by Sunshine (link to the right) and the products were intended for the group’s charities. The goal is to finish with it today and soon send it on its merry way.

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Samples boxes got me this far…

Fading Charms minus two pieced borders

Fading Charms minus two pieced borders

I am almost at the end of the six boxes (three year’s supply) of samples from Keepsake. I have about 80 pieces left and need about 240, so I guess the rotary cutter and I will be friends for a while.

I wonder if it will be obvious  where the batches of scraps change.  Just in case it shows, I’ll mix the oldies up with the leftovers of the Keepsake samples, at least for the next border. I was making it “fade” in two ways…the arrangement and the value of the colors. I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep the value shift up with getting into my own scraps. I’ve always thought I didn’t have enough variety for a scrap quilt. We’ll see.

I don’t think I saved any time by using the samples instead of cutting my own–not only because now I have to do some cutting (though less than had I cut them all), but also because of all the more sewing I have had to do. But I’ve used up something that I though had a use, but couldn’t figure out what till I saw the Fading Charms idea. Once I let go all ideas of perfection, it was a great way to use up the pieces whose measurements were slightly off. (No way was I going to redo the cutting!) Of course the last pieced border will allow no excuses…

You can see I opted for lime green instead of sunshine yellow. And I’m happy with that decision.

Resurrecting this post for Tuesday Archives because it has a zig zag. Button in sidebar. The quilt has been finished, but why not go for the oldest post on it?


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Frugal Finish and Fading Charms Lagging Behind

I planned more than I accomplished this weekend. But I did get the Frugal Blocks (directions here ) for the raffle finished.

Frugal Block Layout

Five finished blocks

The quilt is designed to use 20 blocks; I do not know how many will be in a set that is raffled. It will depend on how many are turned in.  I think five is enough to make, though if I get my scraps out again for another project, I may change my mind.  However, it takes only one to win.

I think I will start cutting 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch pieces for the border, just in case. And of course have a back up plan.

Doing the Fading Charms quilt from the boxes of Keepsake samples showed me how much more fun it is to do a scrappy project from pieces already cut.  I sat down to sew and got into a zone and just kept sewing. And if my calculations and count are correct, I have enough sewn for the border that is four deep.  So now it is time to decide between sunshine yellow and lime green for the plain borders between the patches.

Progress--or lack thereof

The Iron gets the next dance

The plan was to have it assembled today. I’m flexible. Maybe by the end of the week. It is nice not to have a deadline. They do prod me along to a finish, but relaxed progress is better.

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Crayon challenge design decision

I had to abandon Plan A when I moved from abstract to the real world of fabric at hand.  And I had added the challenge to make the quilt from my stash to the already limiting details (previous post) of the crayon challenge.

Crayon challenge design

Yes, I still design by hand on graph paper with pencil.  I have tried EQ but getting caught up in the details of how to use the program distracted me from designing.  I kept thinking I needed to play just to play and not be really designing at the time, but that time never came. There is no guarantee that I will follow this design to the letter, but it is a place to start. The fabric is pressed and ready for the rotary cutter tomorrow. I have been careful to think size of block, size of piece finished and with seam allowance.  There are some colors where I do not have enough fabric to make a mistake cutting.  Maybe tomorrow I will have the center finished.


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99 x 105

99 x 105

UFO, for the uninitiated, means UnFinished Object to quilters. Some of my friends stew a lot about these and one of my guilds has a challenge to make a numbered list of 12. Each month a number will be drawn and that one on the list is the challenge to finish that month. Or at least work on. I signed up, but ended up not taking it seriously. I have always joked that I have an infinite capacity for unfinished. Still it is fun to finish a project. This time the guild quilt show provided the deadline. (It had provided a deadline two years ago also, but I let that one pass.)

Since it was longer than the height of the hanging poles, the bottom border had to be pinned up. It shows better here where the quilt is modeled on a queen sized bed.

99 x 105

Next to model it on a king sized mattress. The bump at the foot is the foot of the bed–probably I would tuck it in, but wanted to show border again. On this older mattress, the quilt falls one inch below the mattress, over the box springs. On a newer deeper mattress, it would require some fiddling to fit on one side or some creative mattress covering.

This quilt was started in 2004. I had never before done pieced borders and needed to practice the square-on-point border on smaller projects before proceeding with this one. Of course that doesn’t explain all six years! After I finished all the piecing, Judy Clare of Mulberry Patch Quilts did the free motion custom quilting. (I will link to her web site when she creates it.) I have comments about the design decisions and other details of the quilt’s creation on my website www.knitnkwilt.com

Reviving this post for Val’s Tuesday Archives where Samplers are the monthly topic. Button in the sidebar.


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