Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Border Wars

There was a major "argh" moment in the studio today as I tackled the borders for my stack n whack quilt. You may recall that I'd decided to miter the borders even though I wasn't looking forward to the process, saying, "I think I would be unhappy if I just butted the borders. The miters should echo a bit the flow of the stripe around the stars." Sometimes you just have to suck it up and get on with it. So I got out the book I reference to double check on how to calculate the length of the borders. I measured and calculated and measured again before cutting my border strips. One of those extra long tape measures really helps.

I carefully marked where to start and stop the stitching to match 1/4 inch from each edge of the top and penciled in the 45 degree angle of the seam. I pinned the first border to the top, and had the foresight to flip it back, fold in the miter and position it over another border strip placed along the adjacent side. Just wanted to verify that the flow of the stripes around the corner really did add and not detract to the flow of the stripe around the stars. Yes, I think this is the look, although in some ways its a little busy. Better fold up a square of that green and position it like a cornerstone to be sure that isn't better. No, definitely not what I want. Also, unfold that miter and see what the butted version would look like.

That's when I saw it, when I flipped back and forth between miter and butted and realized once again I can't visualize worth a damn. Even so, my usual logical mind should have picked up on the fact that by mitering the corners, that center stripe would stand out like a sore thumb and throw off the balance of the quilt (maybe YOU can visualize the miters and how they isolate that center strip.). Really looking odd and making me lose the whole strippy quilt effect. As you can see above, the butted version gives three columns and a nice symmetry.

Well, switching to the butted border, at least, made my job easier. I recalculated border lengths, folded the already cut borders in half and lined them up on the cutting board on the line half the actual length. Wouldn't it be terrific to have the whole table a gridded cutting mat so these lengths longer than 35 inches would be easier to cut? With butted borders sewn in place, I was relieved to hang this back up on the design wall and think, yes - this was the right way to go. I really like this quilt and think I will use that leaf print that didn't work for the corner triangles for the backing. We'll work on that tomorrow. I want to get this layered and pin-basted this week, although I don't plan to quilt it right away.

By the way, if you haven't left a comment on my 1000th post, you still have a chance to win a little gift. The number of comments have not hit the "magic" favorite number yet.


Amo said...

It's great how something as inanimate as a quilt top can talk to you! Yes, I can see how the mitres would have thrown the centre off unless you had double mitred that too. Too much like trouble then though. Great fabrics too. Just been over to the 1000th so I can come out of the corner now. :-)

The Idaho Beauty said...

Eewww, a double miter, bite your tongue! ;-) Actually, I did wonder about cutting a corner square from the stripe on the bias which would have given that effect. With my luck, the stripes would not have lined up. I'm very happy with the butted borders.

Thanks for coming out of your corner - it has paid off for you over at the 1000th post...