As I mentioned in my last post, I’m making a quilt for my boyfriend Z for our anniversary. I’ve begun quilting the borders of the quilt, and this post will cover the two outer borders. I still have to do the inner borders and quilt the center of the quilt (the Storms at Sea patches); hopefully this coming weekend I’ll make some progress on that.
I started with the middle border, comprised of the red print at the corners with the blue and white nautical squares in the center on each side. I considered all of my thread options:
For this border, my ultimate debate was whether to go with blue or red and I chose red. The other thread options may appear later in the quilt.
The pattern I picked looked like two waves reflecting each other, although when I quilted it, the ultimate result reminded me more of a (slightly sloppy) double helix. I used a design from “501 Quilting Motifs: Designs for Hand or Machine Quilting,” by Quiltmaker Magazine. I got it for my birthday and I’ve been using it a lot.
First I traced the pattern in silver pencil. I traced it to overlap at the corners, as the quilting design book suggested. Then I machine quilted.
The finished design is, as I said, more uneven than I’d like. I think I didn’t trace very well, to be honest. The red shows up nicely against the blue and white squares, but it blends into the red print. Maybe I should have used blue, although that would have blended into the blue squares.
I started from each corner and sewed to the left first. When I got to the end of a side, I finished the stitching by back-stitching and then went back to the corner and sewed to the right. Then I did the next side of the quilt, and the next, and finally the last side of the quilt.
The biggest issue I had, which isn’t visible in these pictures, was that the sides of my quilt were’t completely even. I worked from the corners inward, and on a couple of the sides of the quilt the pattern didn’t meet properly in the middle, so it ends up looking extra messy.
For the outer border I picked a far more complicated pattern, but I like how it turned out much better. Certainly I think I traced more carefully; I probably also sewed more carefully because it was so complex. Here are several pictures of the pattern after I had traced it onto the outer border and pinned accordingly. (I cut out the pink thread that I’d used to baste the quilt together before I machine quilted, for both borders, because sometimes when you machine quilt over the basting thread it’s difficult to extricate the basting thread, and I didn’t want to have that problem.) The design is also from the 501 motifs book.
I used a pale blue thread for the quilting. In this case, I purposely traced the pattern so that it went around the corner but it didn’t meet in the middle of each side. On each edge of the quilt there’s approximately a six-inch gap in the quilting right at the center. As before, I started with one end of the traced pattern and sewed to the left first. This pattern required two continues lines sewn to the left and two continuous lines sewn to the right. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but if you tried it you would see what I mean. There are four lines of stitching that intertwine, but they meet at the beginning and the end of each traced pattern. I don’t have a picture of that right now; I only took a picture of a corner.
As you can see, it looks much nicer than the middle border. I doubt Z will mind, though. I’m really pleased with how this quilting pattern came out, so I’ll probably use it again.
Next time: more quilting!