Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Time keeps running away from me, and I just can't keep up! I have actually had some things to blog about lately, but simply no time to edit photos and post them. I seem to have caught up today though, and I'm going to get busy on some personal projects in amongst the work stuff. That's the plan anyway.

I had to do a demonstration lecture on borders at the local quilt shop, and decided I needed to throw some blocks together so I could demo a mitred corner. Mereth could come up with 20 sets of blocks to put together at a moment's notice, but I don't tend to make completed sets like she does. If I complete all the blocks I put them into a quilt straight away, but I rarely do finish all of them. I usually lose interest after 4 or 5....

I had 22 blocks of a Many Trips Around The World that I was making for our bed, and made the executive decision to make a smaller quilt instead. (Pattern by Bonnie, over at Quiltville...) One UFO finished, a small quilt completed, more time to move onto the next project; it made perfect sense. Still does. The colours are way off in the photo of the whole quilt, they are like the smaller photo. It's nice and rich and intense, and quite big enough for the spare bed thank you!

And just to make this instructive, photos of how I do a mitred corner. I use a folded mitre, not a seamed one. I don't bother to measure 45 degrees on the border strips, because if the pieced centre isn't a perfect 90 degree angle then the 45 degree mitre won't fit it anyway. Often if you square the piecing up to 90 degrees you chop off points of triangles and lose seam allowances. None of which is necessary because all you need is a diagonal join, not a perfect 45 degree angle.

(Somebody please tell me the shortcut key for a degree symbol! Please!)

I sew my border strips on as usual, stopping the seam 1/4" away from the edge of the pieced top, so that I don't obstruct the seam allowance of the adjacent side. I back stitch for two or three stitches to secure the ends so that it won't come apart when I manipulate the strips in the next step. Then I lay the top on a large surface, like a table, padded with a towel, so I can iron on it. The surface needs to be large so you can lay out the top, one corner at a time, and make sure the corner is flat and the borders are laying right.
I make sure the pieced area is perfectly flat on the table, then fold one strip back at an angle roughly how I want it. Then I make sure that both borders are not stretched out or bent in or anything. Once it's lying nicely I fine tune that fold, matching seam lines between the pieced section and the very edge of the border. A pin through all the important points will hold it in place while you gently give it a press with the iron. No moving the iron back and forth, or you will disturb the placement.Next I pin the layers together, with the pin heads facing towards the outer border.And then I run a tacking stitch along the folded edge using the machine set on a long stitch.
The final step is to slip-stitch the fold to the fabric underneath, keeping the stitches small and unobtrusive. I tend to use a normal applique stitch for this, and if I'm being fastidious I may even change thread colour for the different fabrics, but it would have to be a special quilt to make me do that. I usually choose a thread that will match most colours, and be extra careful to hide the stitches if the thread wants to show up.

I trim the seam to about 3/8", remove the tacking thread and it's finished.
Folding the mitre made short work of this heavily pieced border on my Roman Stripe quilt from last year. This would have been nasty to do as a seam, with all those seam allowances going the same way. The whole quilt is in the post for September 23, 2006, if you want to see it again.
I can't be bothered going to the extra effort of sewing this seam on the machine, getting it wrong, unpicking it, trying again etc. I do folded mitres on all my quilts, and if I didn't tell people, they'd mostly never pick it.


Anonymous,  8:12 PM  

What an ingenious mitre idea - never heard of that one before. I avoid mitres like the plague, done two and not very well. I think I might give this method a go. Also love the TAW!

Tracey in CT 8:51 PM  

OMG! You are brilliant! I've only done a mitered border once, and vowed never to do it again because it was such a nightmare. But now... well, maybe I'll try again.
This is such a simple way to do it, and I've never EVER heard anyone suggest this before. It seems so simple and straightforward. Wow. I definitely need to give this a try.
Thank you.

Betty 6:23 AM  

That's a great idea. I've tried a similar method where I pressed it, but didn't do the tacking down part, then tried to sew the folded line on the machine. NOT very successfully.

Since I always do my bindings by hand, I can just stitch that down at the same time.

Thanks for the idea.

Shadywood Quilts

QuiltingFitzy 8:53 AM  

Brilliant!!! I may even attempt one myself some day!

Rose Marie 2:22 PM  

I do mitre corners all the time and struggle all the time too! This is a great tip and one that I will definitely try.

meggie 2:46 PM  

What a great tip Kerryn. Thanks for the pics too, lovely quilt.

Anonymous,  7:34 PM  

I've never done a mitered corner on a quilt, but your method seems easier to me than any other I've heard explained. Thank you for sharing.

Marlublu 11:50 AM  

What a perfect mitred corner. Will you share your secret as to how you get it so perfect.

Anonymous,  9:15 AM  

Type ALT 0176 (hold down ALT key and use the numbers to the side of your keyboard) This makes the ° mark:-)
Mary P.

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