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Irish Heather Grand Bundle

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, ”Scrappy Blocks,” 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.


Border print pictured is Miyako, 3208-004


Border print pictured is Bordering on Brillance, 1283-01



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.


Border print pictured is Delhi, 2448-03




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.


Border print pictured is Casablanca, 2795-02




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.

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Borders – The Finishing Touch

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.


Bricks with borders.



Nepali Dress
Nepali dress with simple but colorful borders.



Treadle Machine
Notice the band around the ankles of the pants as this woman treadles.



Nepali dresses and fabrics with borders.
Nepali dresses and fabrics with borders.


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.


Doors and Windows
Doors and windows, all with borders.



The Palace of the Winds in Jaipur, India.
The Palace of the Winds in Jaipur, India.



Red Fort
Red Fort in Agra



Red Fort Agra
Columns at Red Fort



Detail at Red Fort
Detail at Red Fort


Even the written language has a straight line across the top of the characters.


Written language
Written language even has borders.


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.


Simple borders on Labyrinth.
Simple borders on Labyrinth.



A pieced border on Windows.
A pieced border on Windows.


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Golden Ratio and Proportions for Borders

2. calipers open and closedA 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.

wings quilt smI 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. Calipers on Wings1Now, 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.Reworked placement of calipersHere 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.

Give it a try!

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Jinny Beyer Club

Jinny in clubOften 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.

Borders 1This 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.Cosmos with bordersWe have also shown how they can be cut up and used in triangles for a Thousand Pyramids quilt.

Thousand PyramidsBP1This 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.One-derful BookKay 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 cornerone fabric 1Sort the triangles into like piles and join them into squares

one fabric 2Alternate the squares for the quilt.

one fabric 3Here are just a few examples made by staff members that we shared at Club this past Saturday.

Borders 5If 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 and click on “Newsletter Signup.”

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Binding with Border Prints

StaffJinny 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!” SGS from SuYou’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.

Binding in machineWith 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.

Binding hand stitchingWhen 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!

Binding a cornerCheck out “Adding Binding to Quilted Projects” under our Tips & Lessons tab for easy-to-follow instructions and videos.