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Simple and Complex [Sep. 3rd, 2012|08:39 am]
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Holly Berries pieced and ready for borders.

Sample borders with helpful catbutt.

Last weekend, I laid the blocks out with the units for the nine ‘leaf’ blocks to make sure that none of the same red squares would be side by side when it was all sewn together. And for once it was easy; I got to the end of the layout without having to swap units around at all! That usually doesn’t happen, but it’s awfully nice when it does.

I spent the first half of this week sewing the leaf squares together and then sewing the top together, both of which went really fast. There were some seams that had to be clipped and re-pressed in the opposite direction when the blocks were ready to piece together, but I think I’ve figured out how to handle those going forward. It’s frustrating, realizing that things aren’t going to mesh (in every single border block – grr...) but that’s life sometimes. (And now I know those border blocks will need to be carefully – and differently – assembled in the pattern.)

By midweek I was ready to start pondering the borders. Looking at the quilt, it was clear that it needed a dark frame to set off all those dark reds and greens. I tried really simple: a green from stash with glints of red and gold. That would have worked if the base color had just been a little less olive. Tried just using the focus fabric, which would cut up into a border pretty neatly. Ugh; that was just nasty. But I really wanted to feature the focus fabric, so came up with the idea of using Seminole piecing (complex) with center diamonds of focus fabric. That looked good, but using all different reds and greens to make the border was going to drive me nuts (too complex). So I auditioned a bunch of the colors in the quilt and settled on one of the darker reds (which I’ve got plenty of) and the medium green. Two colors and the focus fabric (yay, simple!) There wasn’t enough of any of the greens left to piece the whole border, but I’d purchased most of them last month at the local quilt shop, so a quick trip downtown netted me enough of the medium green to finish out and make the binding, plus a little left over for another quilt lurking in my back-brain. All systems go!

Now for the part where you say, but Catlinye, that’s crazy. See, I like complex. Hence Seminole piecing for the border. And the focus fabric I am using is angels and fancy scrollwork in golds against bright red. And in the body of the quilt the focus fabric is carefully cut to feature these angels, all of which are oriented in the same direction (upright, that is – they’re facing different ways)… so the border should be the same, right?

Well, it turns out if you cut the focus fabric on the diagonal, being careful with how you cut the strips, you can get the angels centered in about 40 percent of the blocks, and the rest are nice looking scrollwork blocks. And then, if you sew half the focus fabric strips with the angels’ heads next to the green strip, and half with the angels’ heads toward the red strip, and when you piece the strips together do it so that half of them are on a 45 degree angle and the other half are on a 135 degree angle (opposite 45), you can get four borders in which every so often there’s an angel in the block and all of the angels are upright. And if I sew the borders onto the quilt correctly, they’ll match the angels in the quilt. Which makes me happy. Even though it’s insane, and fussy, and no one but me (and y’all, now, since you’ve read this far) will ever know. So I will have made a square, symmetrical quilt – that isn’t symmetrical.

But then we whip back down to simple, because after doing all that work to figure those squares and all, I also calculate it’ll take 22.98 squares on a side to make the borders. So it’ll be 23 squares per border side, but I’m not making one of those suckers 1.96 inches across. Now, if that number fudges slightly, I can scootch a corner square in there, and that would be great. But if, as I suspect, there’s some overlap, it’s not gonna fit. So instead of making myself even more crazy (too late, my friends) if the space in the corner doesn’t work out to be one square wide, I’m just going to piece a red and green corner unit to line up nice with the focus fabric. That’ll work, and it looks neat and tidy in the mock-up. And I’ll worry about how to piece that jobber when we get there.

See? Simple! And complex. Both. Fun, anyway! Check out what other fun stuff quilters are getting into on Judy Laquidara’s Design Wall Monday.


From: Kajsa Anderson
2012-09-17 04:36 pm (UTC)
More complex than I tend to do for borders, but I can sympathise. :) I haven't been doing much quilting (well, any) this summer, but will be starting work again on my double wedding ring in a week or so.
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[User Picture]From: catlinye_maker
2012-09-17 05:44 pm (UTC)
I love double wedding ring quilts; would love to see photos!

And yeah, I'm finding that for me borders are either complex or don't bother. *grin* Lots of times I don't want any border at all, though the current set of quilts all need them.
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