Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tech Sunday – Borders Made with Block Designs

Earlier this month I used a block design called Fill 1 that comes with Quilt Path to create a border.  I shared the photo with the Quilt Path Users Group on Facebook.  Something became apparent, which I was not expecting.  There were people that had not thought about breaking up border spaces to quilt them.  This is something that I did all the time before getting Quilt Path.  It is a quick way to get a very intricate border treatment.  

To begin with I think it would be helpful to just talk about borders a little.  (I have even tried to draw picture with my mouse to demonstrate the borders.  Yes, they would have looked smoother if I had done them on one of my tablets, but I think you will get the idea and that is all I am aiming for right now.)  Here are some of the ways that I do my borders.    

                Borders with wrapped designs, like feathers that go completely around the quilt.  I am still doing these border treatments freehand.   I start quilting the border on the top left usually about six inches from the top border on the left side border, then I quilt up that border, across the top border and start down the right border.  As I am forwarding the quilt, I am quilting the inside of the quilt and the right border as I go.  I pin the left border to stabilize it until I get the bottom of the quilt.  Once I am at the bottom border, I quilt it and the work my way back up the left side to where I started.   I am waiting on the Border feature to be released for Quilt Path before I start trying to do this type of border with the computer. 

                Borders that have different designs in the corners.  Kind of like sashing with corner stones.  I draw a line that continues the piecing lines to make a virtual “block” out of the corner of the border.  Use a quilt block design in the corner and then use a pantograph on the long parts of the border.  When I do this with Quilt Path, I turn the quilt.   You could also use Virtual Longarm to break the side borders into “quilt-able” pieces and not turn the quilt.  I am just starting to play with this.  It has worked so far but it does increase your starts and stops, so that may be a consideration.  It also seems to take me longer than turning the quilts.    An example of when I would do this is if I am quilting a swag into a border, but don’t want something completely different like a star in the corners. 

                Divide the border into blocks.  (I would not quilt the green lines in the screenshot, I would mark them and use them to place the motif into the area.) This is how I did the quilt that I talked about earlier.  When I Quilt “fancy” border treatments, I leave a ½ inch unquilted at the edge of my quilts.  That way when the binding is attached you see the entire motif, or feather.  The measurement of the quilt is 66 inches.  So once I take ½ inch off for each side, I am dealing with 65 inches.  The border happened to measure 5.5 inches so I could use 5 inch blocks.   I used an air erasable marker and marked the outside corners of my blocks before loading the quilt.  And then set the 13 blocks across the top border individually.  As I worked down the quilt, I quilted the blocks in both side borders and the center of the quilt.  I did not quilt the Stars themselves or the two inner borders, so I pinned them to stabilize them.   I had decided to freehand the two inner borders and the start points so I wanted to get all the computer quilting done before I worked on them.  That way I could turn off Quilt Path and disengage the belts.   

I love the way the outer border turned out.  If you happen to be in Raleigh, the quilt is hanging in Wish Upon a Quilt.  It will be in their booth at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo, in Raleigh, next week.  

When you start thinking about custom quilting, you are not limited to border designs that have been created for you.  Start looking at block designs.  Many of them will create secondary designs when they are placed next to each other.  For example, when you place Fill 1 next to itself, you get a circle design.  You can also play with alternating designs to create a unique border.  Try alternating the size of you blocks.  I could have done something like alternating 2.5 inch blocks between 5 inch blocks.   The possibilities are endless! 

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