Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What do you do....

...when you realize too late that you should have added a border? I may have been second guessing many things on my February Take It Further Challenge, but whether or not to border it was not one of them. The question was whether or not to add a binding, or just face it so the whole thing floated in space as it was doing in my head. I should know by now not to trust the visions in my head. Here is where it started yesterday:

I'd found a solid Kona cotton for the binding that I felt would help eliminate the washed out feeling I was getting when looking at the quilt. As it turned out, as soon as I squared up the piece, removing that lighter backing that had been turned to the front, it immediately looked more saturated. I had also worked out that I'd been comparing the reality to my original vision of a night sky. No wonder this medium valued blue was striking me as washed out. With the addition of the quilting lines, I'd moved from night sky more to flowing water. At any rate, I knew I had to retrain my thinking and assess the piece as it had evolved. I felt it needed a little sparking up still, and thought adding a piping in red between the top and the binding would help pull the piece together. This addition of piping in the binding is becoming a sort of signature look for me, I realized.

I cut my piping the width of the seam allowance plus 1/8 inch (what will be exposed beyond the seam) times two (since I will be folding it in half). I don't add any filler to my piping, although you certainly could. I cut it to the exact length I need for each side, press it in half, pin it in place and sew it on with a slightly narrower seam allowance. Then I sew on the binding.

In this case, I'm doing a 1/2 wide single fold binding (the Kona cotton is a bit heavier than most and for anything other than a bed quilt that would get a lot of wear and washing, a single layer of fabric for the binding works fine). It is cut 2-1/4 inches wide and sewn on with a half inch seam. When the piping was in place, my initial reaction was that I might have been just fine adding a red binding as the red seemed to enclose the design and accentuate the batik showing through the cutouts. But the addition of the navy seemed an even better ending. It was when I laid those wide strips over the piping that I first got the sinking feeling that I should have added a border to this design. Here is what it looked like before turning the excess binding to the back:

And here it what it looked like once the binding was turned and pinned to the back:

While I think both work, I think the wider surround of blue makes a tremendous difference to how the piece works. But I don't have the time or patience to fiddle with it right now. I've committed it to a quilt show back in Wisconsin (really just for fun, not for competition), and it needs to be mailed off next week. With company coming in between, I really don't have time for the fix: prepare an extension of batting/top/back to be butted and zigzagged to the quilt edge, apply something to the border fabric to both stabilize it so it doesn't need quilting and to keep the join from shadowing through, and then probably apply a facing. So I am going ahead with stitching down the binding to the back and putting on a sleeve. If when it returns, I am equally bothered by the way it looks and motivated to put in the extra time on it, I will undo the binding and add the border. Oh, my, just looking at these pictures confirms my suspicions of what I really should do.

1 comment:

Nikki said...

Oh darn. Do you have time to take the blue binding off and just do a tiny red binding? That might not be as good as a wider blue border, but I think it might be better than the blue binding. The center is so cool! This is a great example of the importance of balance in any kind of border you add.