Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This is how I attached the border print and made the design flow uninterrupted around the ecge.  This works for patterns that are symmetrical, but would have to be modified for a border that didn't have mirror-image symmetry, like a floral vine or something.

I cut the printed border from both sides of the yardage, giving me two long strips.  I left a couple of repeats of the pattern and then formed the first corner, just pinning it at this stage.  ( Ideally there should be the same amount of fabric on either side, but I didn't have enough to do it that way.)

 I pinned the corner in place on the quilt, and measured the strip along the side of the quilt until I got to the next corner.  I made sure I had more fabric than I needed along the side , which meant going to the next repeat, and made the next  mitred corner.
I did this with both strips, so I had all the mitres pinned roughly. 

I didn't take proper pictures of the corners when I did the border, so I made a simple mitre from scraps to show how it's done.

To get a perfect mitre I marked a 45° line on the fabric, using an easily recognisable part of the pattern as my guide, so I could do all four corners the same.  In this case I used the centrre of the sunflower motif as an easy point of reference.
 I then marked a quarter inch line on the inner edge of the border, so I would know to stop my seam short of the seam allowance, which is the key to a successful mitre..
 I made sure the pattern on the underneath strip was lined up exactly with the one on top, and pinned in several places on the mitre line. I stitched all four mitres (backstitching at the inner edge to keep the stitching from coming undone later).  The extra fabric was trimmed off to give a quarter inch seam allowance.
That mitre looks pretty good to me..
To join it to the quilt, I made a dot a quarter inch in from both sides of the corner of the quilt.
I pinned the start of the mitre seam to this dot, and sewed the seam for a few inches.
 Then I sewed the other side, for a few inches only, again matching the start of the mitre seam to the dot.
 The reason I do this is because I want those corners joined correctly before I do anything else.  If I need to unpick and reposition, it's only a few inches that I have to rip out.

This is what it looks like on the back;
and from the front.
Once I had both corners joined, I pinned the first strip to the quilt working from each corner in towards the centre; as I got closer to the centre the excess fabric became apparent. 
Then I kept pinning carefully, until a pleat could be formed to take up the extra fabric.  I did this carefully to make sure the pattern was symmetrical either side of the pleat.
I unpinned it from the quilt, for about 10" either side of the pleat, and pressed the pleat to one side, so there was a  crease to follow as I stitched the seam.  The extra fabric is trimmed away and the seam pressed open.
 And there you have a border print that is perfect in the corners, and meets halfway forming a little joining pattern.
Add the other strip to the other long side, and then join the side borders in exactly the same way.  You'll be working with two strips on the side borders, instead of making a pleat you'll be forming a seam between the two strips, but the process is the same.

It's a simple thing to do, but awkward because you're working with all the quilt bundled in your lap or on the table, but the key is to take it slowly and carefully and the result is well worth it.


Monday, June 09, 2014

After a full night's work I finished the blue crosses quilt.  It would have been a whole lot easier if I hadn't chosen to use the border fabric, but I do love the effect of it.

Just lately I seem to be giving myself a lot of design challenges with my UFOs, and it must be because I enjoy it.  Otherwise why would I keep doing it?

The corners are wonderful, I love the way the pattern continues; I enjoyed making these mitre seams, they weren't hard at all.  The same can't be said for the rest of the border.  I had serious doubts if I could finish it without adding another fabric, there just wasn't enough to do it easily.  But I pieced in every last scrap, including the bits discarded from the mitred corners, and there was enough.
7 extra seams on that bottom piece to make it long enough.  The border was printed on both edges of the coverlet fabric, but they didn't match exactly, which made joining the pieces harder than it should have been.  There was fudging and a lot of fiddling, but I'm happy with the way it ended up.  Once it's quilted the extra seams in the border will be less noticeable.

My design wall is empty again!!  What a lovely feeling.  Now I'm going back to working on the Wild Goose Chase blocks, while I decide what to do next.  The UFO list is getting smaller, only 25 left to go, but all of them are not easy finishes.  Whatever I choose to work on will take a bit of effort but that's OK too.

These King's Crown blocks are one possiblilty, there are 30 of them and plenty more cut out; I'm absolutely determined to set them together simply, and just put a border or two on them.  Nothing complicated.
I can't believe that I'm still obsessed with finishing old projects instead of starting new ones.  I don't think this has ever happened to me before :)


Sunday, June 08, 2014

I've fiddled and fudged and tried everything I can think of, and I'm this much short of the border print.  

I do have a plan though, so I'm going to sew all these borders on, and scrimp and save every last piece, and hopefully it will work out just fine.  Matching the print in the corners takes up so much extra fabric, but it looks really good so the extra work will be worth it.  I hope.

We're off for lunch with the family, if we get back early enough I may be able to finish this tonight!


I've been sewing HSTs for my Flying Geese units for the last week;

 I could have finished this little border in a day, but the bagged roses came in to  the shops, so I've been working madly in the garden.  The weather is glorious, warm and dry and perfect for gardening.  I added 14 roses to the ones I already have;  it sounds extravagant, but I lost 10, so I'm just replacing those.  I can justify it to myself.   Nearly all the new ones are pink or white; most of my current roses are red or yellow, so I Needed some pink.....

Of course I had to juggle the units to get the Flying Geese border to fit.  In one direction the length of the small pink border was 72", so I needed 24 Flying Geese.  In the other direction, the border measured 52.5", which was 17.5 units.  I wanted the corners to be the same, so I needed to have 18, or 17, not a half unit.  I know I could have altered the pink border to make the overall measurement correct, but I didn't want to do that either.  So I made the seams on the Flying Geese smaller, and the overall length of the pieced strip grew the extra 1.5" I needed.  There were over 30 seams in that one border, so I didn't need to make a drastic change in the seam width, just a tad narrower did the trick.

There will be a narrow indigo border next, and then the coverlet print.  I'll have to work out a whole lot of problems on that as I go along.

There's a border print along the edge of the fabric, so I'm going to try and use that along the outer edge. 
 To do that I need to cut the strips along the length of the fabric.  I'll need to use all the fabric I've got in that case, but I'm willing to do that because this border print also cuts down what I can use if I cut the strips widthways.  I'd have to use three strips for the longer side, and that's a lot of joining and fudging to make it look good.

I'd like to use the light motif as a corner; it has good symmetry and I'll be able to make it meet in a pleasing way.
These are the strips I've already cut, not the strips I'll be using, but I'll be able to get the same effect.  Now that I've decided what I want, I have to cut the four strips I need and mitre those corners.  That's my mission for this morning

 My vintage rosettes are now in rows, and I need to make two extra rosettes to finish the last row.  Then I can cut out a lot of blue diamonds and triangles, and package each row into a ziplock bag with the right number of joining pieces.  I'll work on them as I get time; I'll be able to take them with me to family dinners and get-togethers, and if I just keep at it then it will get done, one inch-long seam at a time.


Sunday, June 01, 2014

These blocks first appeared on the blog here,  in 2008; then I lost enthusiasm for them and they languished in a basket.  I had another go at finishing them in 2011, but that didn't take either.  It took another 3 years of 'maturing', packed away on the shelf, before I decided what to do with them.  I love making this block, it's so easy and effective, and great for scraps.  I must love it, as I have a set of multi-coloured ones as well.

I sewed all the pieces together quite happily, but now the border is being difficult.  I know I want it done quickly, but something in me just loves to fuss with options and details and maybes.  Nothing is ever simple once I get in this mood, but instead of fighting it I should just power through it, choose one thing and then get it DONE!

It's a long narrow quilt, 50 x 70", which I don't like, but I want it to actually fit a single bed, so I'm not going to make it too wide.  It needs a border to finish it off and bring it to a useable size, but the question is whether to make it a dark border, or a light border, or something in between.  Pieced?  A single fabric?  Long scraps of different blues?

I remembered a zigzag border I made for another quilt;

being me, I cut out a whole border, sewed most of it together and then decided it was too dark for the quilt.  Then I bought a more suitable blue, and used that to make a whole other border. 
The rejected bits are still waiting for the right quilt, and I thought this one might be it.  However, I think it's a bit heavy, and a bit too spiky. 
All those zigzags seem to fight with the centre blocks.  I love the border, just not on this set of blocks; I think it will look good on another indigo quilt I've started, so I'll put those two together and see if it's a match made in heaven.

I tried various  blue and white prints, but they didn't appeal.
 There is an equal amount of dark blue and light neutral fabrics in the blocks, so I started thinking about fabrics that have the same mix of light and dark.  This coverlet print seems to work;
it's not blue and it's not neutral, and I like the large scale of the print.

Hmmmm, what to do with the dozens of triangles left over from the blocks?
Maybe turn them into scrappy Flying Geese and make a little border?
I like this, even though I'll have to make a lot more of them to go all the way round the quilt.  But whatever happened to my quick-fix UFO finish?  I'll be making HSTs for the rest of the weekend, and puzzling over how I'll get that border print to go round the corner nicely.    I must love a challenge, because I keep setting them for myself.  I might learn a lot from solving these puzzles, but I haven't yet learned how to slap something together and call it done.  I need lessons in that.....

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