A pieced border will require some calculation and maybe require you to draw out your ideas on graph paper.
Don't worry, quilting templates will help with the cutting. Cutting will be easy once you learn a few tips about this quilting technique!
Again, It helps to plot out your design because you will need to determine how many patchwork units it will take to make a border that fits your top. In other words, you will know before you start cutting how many patchwork units will be needed to go around the quilt top evenly.
You can take the heart burn out of a pieced border by simply adding a plain border that will function as an equalizer to expand the quilt top to a size that is divisible evenly by another number.
This strip border will act as a spacer between the quilt top and the first border or between the first border and the second border.
The checkerboard design is really easy in a pieced border when using the strip quilting technique. You cut long strips of fabric, sew the edges together to create strip sets which are then cut one final time into shapes for quilt blocks.
Checkerboard designs form when blocks of alternating light and dark squares are placed next to each other in a pieced border. The checkerboard design occur automatically with blocks made of four patch, a five patch or a nine patch.
Strip quilting makes this design easy to construct. Try using a variety of fat quarters for quilting when doing a border. Several fat quarter pieces of fabric for quilting are often just enough fabrics to achieve the right effect.
Nine patch or five patch blocks are made in the same way. You only need to make two different blocks and place them side by side.
This shortcut actually improves accuracy and speeds up the pieced border process considerably. Strip quilting is another phenominal break through in quilting. It is as powerful to the quilting world as the introduction of the rotary cutter was back in the 80's.
The term 'flying geese' stretches my quilting imagination. I often see the sky full of geese flying in a triangle formation over the creek that splits our property.
You know when they arrive as they are very noisy. What a beautiful sight to watch as the mallards land for a drink and quickly disappear from sight.
A flying geese triangle is the backbone of a pieced quilt border. They also are used extensively and I might say very attractively in applique borders.
These triangles are easy to mass produce with a sharp rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler. They even have triangle rulers to assist in this area. The other benefit is that your triangles will be very accurate which is a quality necessary for perfect piecing.
Before cutting triangles make sure you have the straight of grain on the outside edges of blocks whenever possible. That means the diagonal angle will be on the bias and will stretch so be careful when handling.
To calculate the size of a square needed to cut a half triangle always add 7/8 inch to the square. For example, if your pattern requires 3-inch finished triangle square, start with 3 7/8-inch square. Next cut the 3 7/8-inch square in half on the diagonal to make two triangles.
To keep the ruler from moving when cutting, use the index finger and press down firmly directly above the outer corner of the fabric. The object is to keep the corner of the square from moving as the cutter passes. Try not to allow the ruler to move, as the angle will be distorted.
To calculate the size of a square needed to cut a quarter-square triangle add 1 1/4-inches to the square. For example, if your pattern requires 3-inch finished square start with a 4 1/4-inch square. Next cut the 4 1/4-inch square in half diagonally then carefully lift your ruler and rotate the cutting mat so you can cut diagonally in the opposite direction to make four pieces.
The rule to remember here is if you cut the square once, add 7/8-inch; if you cut the square twice, add 1 1/4-inches to your pattern. Another tip to know is the ratio of length to width of a flying geese is 2 to 1. It is twice as long as it is high.
The flying geese quilt border presents several ways to turn a corner. In our image we choose a plain corner square which is one of the easiest ways.
When you butt the corners, the geese will fill the corner. This one requires a perfect fit and it gives a rather abrupt ending.
Try turning the corner with another pieced block different than flying geese. For example use a four patch or a square with a square on point.
Flying geese are directional and may change direction at the corners or in the center of each side.
If in the end the border is more than 2-inches longer than the quilt try adding a narrow 1-inch border before adding your flying geese border. This will increase the size of the quilt and the border will fit perfectly.
Suppose the border is too short for the quilt! This is a little harder to correct as you will need to tear out the seams between repeats and restitch.
One more thing that could go wrong...the border is too long for the side of the quilt. You can take slightly deeper seems between repeats if you only have 2-inches to contend with.
If you like the scrappy look and a quick border, try using all of the fabrics that you used in your quilt top to make your next pieced border.
Sew several fabric strips together either in uniform widths or random widths using the strip piecing method as explained above.
Once the strips have been sewn, cross-cut the strip sets using the desired width of the border plus 1/2-inch for seam allowance.
You can even position the scrappy border perpendicular to the quilt or at an angle to the quilt. Plan for a border that is at least the width of one of the internal blocks.
If you are using a pieced border, the pattern may affect the proportion of border to quilt so you may have to use two or more layers in your pieced border. You will never go wrong by using a solid strip before adding your pieced border. By doing so you make the quilt fit the border rather than the border fit the quilt.
Another good tip...don't press your border until you have sewn it to the quilt. While this may seem strange, the border remains elastic and can be eased or fudged to fit the quilt, if necessary. Pressing removes the elasticity and leaves you with a ridged border. Either way, be sure you pin very carefully making sure that the seam allowances are running in the right direction.
Another good tip...to provide an accent at the edge of the quilt use a dark or bright color to match that which was used in the quilt. This will be your first inner border. This provides an accent at the edge of the quilt, leading your eye into the outer border. If you add two borders use a lighter color first and a darker second to create an illusion of depth in the borders.
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Afghanistan War Veteran
Thanks for Your Sacrifice
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48pc Classic Puzzle
You may feel that you are on a Drunkard's Path after working this one...