Last month on my blog I posted about the Protea Squares quilt made with the entire Protea Bundle. One of the questions asked by a customer about the larger version of the quilt was, what would happen if you put the dark squares in the center instead of the light. Well, we thought it would be fun to see as well.
Here are both versions without borders.
It is clear that they are quite different. As you saw last time, the border that is added to the quilt can also make a difference. With each of the Protea web special mini-bundles we also offer one or two border print coordinates. These look good with the individual mini-bundles as well as the complete grand bundle. We selected these two Rajasthan borders for this month’s bundle.
I opted for a different treatment of the borders this time and added my more typical border of the narrow and wider border print strips and another fabric in between the two. To determine the width of the middle black border, I once again went to my Golden Gauge Calipers. The wide border stripe is 5” so I put the calipers across the five-inch strip and that told me that the black fabric should be 3” wide. (5 x .618 = 3”).
You can see here the same border design and the same border treatment with only the color change in the border print. What a different impact the two present.
Last month, we introduced our latest grand bundle, Protea, named after an amazing flower found in South Africa. As I often do, the colors for this bundle we’re pulled from a photograph the Studio’s manager, Rebecca, took while on a trip there in 2017. If you are interested in this process of capturing colors from a photo, I wrote about it in a blog when we introduced the Irish Heather bundle. There are 40 fabrics in the Protea bundle and we have broken it up into five smaller bundles of eight fabrics each. Once a month we offer one of the smaller bundles as our web special.
Whenever we introduce a new bundle, we always discuss possible projects to give you all an idea of how you can use the fabrics. Both the Thousand Pyramid and Tumbling Blocks quilt were shown in the Irish Heather blogs and would be perfect for this bundle as well. Another suggestion is a quilt, Potomac Charm, designed in 2013 for the Quilters’ Quest shop hop.
Potomac Charm used 99 five-inch charm squares so, in order to have enough to play with, we cut two squares from each of the 40 Protea fabrics and staffer Nancy and I started arranging them on the design wall. We decided on a setting of 54 “blocks,” set six across and nine down. Swatches were added, moved around and taken down. Just when we thought we had it set we would change it again. Then we added border prints down the sides to audition them. What do you think?
After the positioning of the squares was set I created a digital image and played around with border options. Since the quilt was so small, I chose to start with the narrow border from the Casablanca fabric. The best outer border was just a wider black piece. To determine the best width for that last border I got out my trusty Golden Gauge Calipers. This gave me the perfect size for that last border. If you are not familiar with the Golden Ratio, check out my blog on this topic from a few years ago.
I tried another version using the border print from Miyako.
The finished quilts are approximately 59” x 67”. We always have people wanting to make our quilts larger. So I decided to play around with the digital image. I removed the top and bottom rows of squares then made two exactly alike and two that were the mirror image.
Since the quilt is larger, I used the wider stripe from the fabric and then used the calipers to determine how wide the black should be. Here is the quilt with the two different borders.
No longer a charm quilt (charm quilts do not duplicate fabrics), we decided to name this Protea Squares. The small quilt measures 34” x 50.5” without the borders and 59” x 67” with the borders. The large quilt is 67” x 78” without the border and 84” x 95” with the borders.
The finished width of our smaller quilt outer border is 3 7/8” (cut 4 3/8”). The finished width of the larger quilt outer border is 8½” (cut width 9”).
We are giving the Potomac Charms pattern here as a free download. You can use that as a guideline for creating your own 5” square quilt. We encourage you to play with fabric placement and settings, adding more squares or less, (depending on the size you want) or even adding fabrics from your stash. Once you get started, I’m sure you will have as much fun as we did.
This week’s web special offers the last of the Irish Heather bundles. In August, I introduced the grand bundle with colors extracted from a photograph of the Irish hillside taken by Nancy Fallone. Once a month for five months we have offered nine of those fabrics as a web special. My blog of August 22nd also showed a Thousand Pyramids quilt made with all 45 of the fabrics.
I love scrappy quilts and as we wind up the Irish Heather grand bundle web specials, I want to share another of my favorite “scrappy” patterns made with a 60 degree diamond. There are more than 20 different names for this design including Baby Blocks, Tumbling Blocks and Diamond Cube. My pattern, ”ScrappyBlocks,” illustrates yet another name for this design.
Just as in Thousand Pyramids, this quilt is also made in block units. Within the unit try to get a balance of all the colors, the darks, lights and accents. Here is a sampling of possible blocks.
The pattern, Scrappy Blocks, has instructions for a crib-sized quilt, but to make the quilt larger just make more blocks until you have the width and length that you like. You would still use the same edge pieces that are used in the crib sized quilt, just more of them, depending on how many blocks you make for your quilt.
Borders Can Make a Difference
I love using border print fabrics to finish off a quilt. My border print fabrics all have both a narrow and a wide border as shown below. Sometimes there is just a solid color in the seam allowance areas and sometimes a pattern as seen in the second example.
Typically, I add the narrow border, a “middle” border of a different fabric and then the wide border as I did in the two quilts shown above.
When making a smaller quilt, a border like the one shown above would be too wide and could overwhelm the interior design. Therefore it is necessary to try some other options. So in the next example, shown below, the Delhi border was used, but instead of using the narrow and wide stripe with a contrasting fabric in between, I used the portion of the border shown below, which has the wide stripe, plus the seam allowance area and a portion of the edge of the narrower stripe.
I found this border still a little overwhelming for the small quilt, but that same border used on the larger quilt has better proportions.
I tried another variation of the Delhi border on the smaller quilt this time using the portion of the border shown here.
Here is yet another border on the Scrappy Blocks quilt.
Compare all the quilts shown here and notice how the overall colors of the quilt look different depending on which color border is used.
If you have collected at least quarter yard sets of each of the Irish Heather bundles you would have plenty of fabrics to make the crib or double size quilts shown here. Three yards of border print is a safe amount for a double size quilt. Two and a quarter yards would be enough for the small one.
My recent trip to Nepal this year and India last year was an eye-opening experience. I lived in that part of the world for nearly five years. At the time, I didn’t recognize the impact this region was having on me because I was not yet a quilter. Going back recently was like going home. I discovered how profoundly my time there has guided me throughout my quilting life.
Probably the most powerful influence was the borders you see everywhere, both simple and elaborate.
Simple can be seen as just a small edge to stop the pattern of a wall of bricks or a plain fabric in a different color to stop the eye around a shirt, sari, or pair of pants.
Elaborate borders abound as well whether it is one surrounding the window or doorway of a home or temple or borders around the outer edges of entire buildings.
Even the written language has a straight line across the top of the characters.
No wonder when I began quilting I wanted to add borders to everything. There was just a need to stop the design and give it a proper frame……sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate. It is like framing a picture. It looks so much better when the frame sets it off.
So at least from me, you will get borders on my quilt designs, sometimes elaborate, sometimes simple, but whatever is needed to stop the design and showcase it.
A comment on one of my recent blog posts asked a question about how to use the Golden Gauge Calipers and the Golden Ratio in choosing borders for quilts.
For those of you not familiar with the Golden Ratio or the Golden Gauge Calipers that I designed see these blog posts. Or just search “Golden Ratio” on the internet and be prepared for a wealth of information.
The Golden Ratio is thought to be the perfect proportion for all sorts of art and even in nature. The ratio is 1 to 1.618 or 1 to .618. The calipers open exactly to that measurement and save the math. I’ll show you here how I planned the border for Wings.
I wanted the first border to be the same size as the frame around the hexagons. That frame is ¾ inches wide. But how wide should the second border be?
I placed the calipers on the first border with the small opening across the ¾ inch. The wider opening gave me the size that would be a good proportion for the next border. That measurement was 1.21 inches. I just rounded up to 1 ¼ inches. Now, I had two choices for the last border. First I could put the smaller opening of the calipers on the red and the larger opening would give me the size for the final border. Or, if I wanted a wider border I could put the small opening of the calipers on both of the first two borders and the outer border would be wider.Here is the image of both variations of the border. I felt that the design was so bold that the wider one looked better. But in either case, there is a pleasing proportion between the widths of the borders, no matter which one you use.
Often on Facebook we show photos of people bringing show and tell to Jinny Beyer Club. I realized some of you may not know what “Club” is.
Jinny Beyer Club is a gathering of quilt enthusiasts at our shop on the second Saturday of each month (except for November when we are in the middle of our annual Shop Hop “Quilters’ Quest”).
There is a nominal fee for the year and a daily fee for visitors. We have Show and Tell, give out door prizes, talk about what is new at the Studio, and have a theme that we follow throughout the year.
This year the theme is all about border print fabrics and all the things you can do with them. Border prints are not just for going around the outside of quilts. So far this year we have shown how they can be used in stars (fussy cutting to get a kaleidoscopic effect). Each block of our Block of the Month quilt, Cosmos, has the border print “fussy cut” in some way.We have also shown how they can be cut up and used in triangles for a Thousand Pyramids quilt.
This month we talked about the book One-Derful 1 Fabric Quilts by Kay Nickols. She shows so many ways to cut a single fabric and achieve amazing results. Many of her examples use border prints. One of our favorites is featured on the cover of her book.Kay explains in detail lots of options and how to cut the fabric to the best advantage. In a nutshell:
Cut identical squares and divide them diagonally from corner to cornerSort the triangles into like piles and join them into squares
Alternate the squares for the quilt.
Here are just a few examples made by staff members that we shared at Club this past Saturday.
If you would like to try this technique, check out this week’s web special featuring “One-derful 1 Fabric” kits. If you are not subscribed to our newsletter, sign-up and be eligible for our subscriber bonus as well. To sign up, just go to www.jinnybeyer.com and click on “Newsletter Signup.”
Jinny is just back from vacation so while she’s unpacking and getting back into the swing of things the staff has decided to take over her blog just this once. (Well, we’ll probably do it again because this is kind of fun!)
We’re the ones you see every day when you stop by the Studio or talk to on the phone. While Jinny is busy designing beautiful quilts and fabrics and teaching fabulous classes, we get to answer your everyday questions and help you through problems you may be having with your projects.
There is one little thing we see every now and then, one of those things that when we explain an easier way to do it, the reaction we get is, “Duh…why didn’t I think of that!” You’ve finished quilting your quilt, ready to put on the binding. You’re in the home stretch and your beautiful quilt is almost done. You line up the cut edges of your binding to the front of your quilt and sew away. Then you turn the binding to the back and stitch it down. This is normally what you would do on any quilt but what about if you bordered your quilt with one of Jinny’s gorgeous border print fabrics?
People report of problems getting the binding to line up with the lines on the border print. They’ve ripped out stitches, resewn, become very frustrated. What’s the easy way to do this? Sew the binding on to the back then turn it to the front. Yes, this is the “duh” moment.
With the binding on the back, you sew from the front using one of the lines from the border print as a guide. In the image above, notice that the line of stitching is just outside of the outer black line in the border print.
When you turn the binding to the front, cover your stitches and just touch the line in the border print. Most of us here in the Studio like to do this step by hand with a small blind stitch. It comes out great every time!