Monday, March 31, 2014

Blocks in a Border

The next steps in this Lifetime quilt were so much fun.  The idea behind the quilt was to catalog the things that have been important in the lives of my husband and myself.  I have a book which has blocks that are associated with every state in the union, "Create Your Family Quilt Using State Blocks and Symbols" by Barbara Brackman.  From this book I used blocks from the states in which we have lived and other blocks that represent things we remember and love.  There are no patterns in the book so I drafted them on the computer.  I also picked some blocks from other books and designed the columbine block.

The first set of blocks each have a 1/2 inch dark blue border and they are set on point and finish to 5 inches.  For newbees, this means that they are placed on the quilt with the points along the quilt's vertical and horizontal lines.  You can see what I mean in the following photos.  This means that the space around them must be filled in with something.  The filler I chose was pineapple log cabin triangle, which I paper pieced.  You sew a strip to each side of the triangle and put a cap on them, then do the next layer, etc.  They echo the inner log cabin border and provide and interesting background for the blocks.

Pineapple Log Cabin in Illustrator
In the Illustrator design some of the blocks are rotated the wrong direction.  This really doesn't matter because the drawing is always an approximation, no matter how precise, of the final result in fabric.  Once the blocks were made I laid them out on my bed and spent time running around arranging and rearranging until I had the blocks so that they pleased my aesthetic.
Side blocks in Illustrator
To assemble this border you sew one edge of the triangle block to one edge of the square block.  Then you do the same with the opposite edge of the square block.  This gives you a strip on a 45º angle.  Once you have all the triangles sewn onto all the blocks you sew the angled strips together.  No Y-seams to mess with.  This may be on a 45º angle (like bias), but all your edges to be seamed are on the straight grain of the fabric.
Assembing the squares and triangles.
In the fabric version you will see that I added a 1/2 dark blue border on the inside edge.  Eventually I will put the same on the outside edge, but that will wait until I get the top and bottom borders done.  The original design had a rectangular pink strip on the top and bottom of each side border, but the collection of 5 inch blocks came out slightly taller than Illustrator determined so I added the pink border all the way across to finish the top and bottom edges.    No, the finished quilt will not have a horizontal ratio!

Fabric side borders added.
TIP:  If you get into self-design, be flexible.  Sometimes things don't work out as you had envisioned. You have to be the kind of person who can adjust and come up with solutions to problems as they pop up.  Borders and/or blocks of fabric can equalize a design that goes sideways.  Take your time deciding what to do.

10 comments:

  1. That's a yummy quilt. Love your colour choices.

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  2. That border? Gorgeous! Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

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  3. This is beautiful--way too complicated for me, but just beautiful!

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  4. What an awesome idea with blocks in the border. It looks terrific. The colors are so good together.

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  5. I love your colors. What a fun quilt and creative, detailed border!

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  6. wowsa. Its looking amazing so far! I am truly awed by this undertaking and combination of skills - approaching master status on the coomputer AND the quilter!

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  7. This is going to be amazing! I am so happy to find someone who uses Illustrator!

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    1. I love Illustrator. It is an extremely valuable part of my quilting.

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  8. Found you through Nina-Marie. It's always interesting to me to be able to see the process of design. When seeing the picture of the pineapple triangles, I didn't realize that it would look like the on-point blocks are hung on a pink ribbon. Nice effect!
    I often look at medallion quilts and think it would be fun to design-as-I-go, but can't stick to one palette for the necessary time! You have me mulling it again.

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    1. I can't confess to "design-as-I-go" in general because I did have it all planned out in Illustrator before I started. However, I did some designing along the way when my plans didn't gel. I think the key is to have a plan, but be willing to be flexible. Fabric, pencil and computer are very different entities and sometimes they go off on varying tracks.

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