Tuesday, February 25, 2014

More Template Tips for Borders!

Last Tuesday, I shared how I used some Marti Michell templates to create a border of scrappy squares set on point.  Since the border went together so well, it got me thinking about all the size options available with Marti's other template sets.  This little charity quilt was laying on my cutting table waiting for the borders and was a perfect opportunity to experiment with that idea.
I pulled out all the basic sets -- A, B, Q, N, and T -- and between them, I discovered I can make ten different sizes of the same border design using squares from 1" up to 5".  If you'd like the chart I created for easy reference in the future, click HERE for a PDF to print out.  (If that link doesn't work, send me an e-mail, maryhueyquilts@hotmail.com, and I send it to you!)
I hesitate to share my math with you -- I can see your eyes glazing over already, but here goes.  I measured the length and the width of the top (several times to be certain) and then began the search for a "common denominator".  I don't know if that's what they still call it, but it's the number that would divide into the length and the width evenly.  That number is used to determine how many squares set on point I needed.  The first number was 7 -- too big.  So I took half of that and got 3 1/2 -- still a bit big.  One more time and 1 3/4 was my final choice. 
So what is 1 3/4?  It's the diagonal (corner to corner) measurement of the square that would fit around my piece evenly and turn the corners nicely.  The square template closest to that measurement was #5 in Set A and it has a half-square, #6, and a quarter-square, #7, to match it for cutting all the pieces needed for the border units. 
I reversed the grainline on #6 and #7 to cut the triangles.  To keep straight grain on the outside edge of the pieced border, I laid the long diagonal side of #6 on the edge of my strip and the short legs of #7 on the edge of the strip.  Once everything was cut, it was time to stitch. 
I lost my focus at one point and reversed several of the black triangles.  No matter which way I turned them, they would not work -- thank goodness, they were short seams. 
  No matter what size one is making, you will always need eight squares for the corner units, eight half-square triangles, and sixteen quarter square triangles, so I set all of those aside to prevent more "unsewing".
Since I was using only four fabrics for the squares, I decided to repeat them in the same order -- that slowed me down.  A scrappy approach would have eliminated that step.  Once the diagonal units were pieced, I assembled one border strip at a time making the corner units as I needed them so I could lay them out correctly.
Time to audition for a spacer border -- I liked the yellow best.  The two spacer borders enabled me to fit the pieced borders (almost) perfectly.  My draft plan required 1" finished for the yellow but I cut them 2" just in case -- very good idea, because the actual quilt needed 1 1/4" finished yellow strips.
I squared up the quilt top as I added the first yellow borders strips.  Then I left my studio for a bit and came back -- my head needed to be clear as I trimmed the quilt top so the borders would fit exactly. 
When I came back, I measured three times and cut once -- right on the money!!  Yea!!!  The short borders went on first and then the long borders.  Then more narrow yellow borders and the last 1/3 yard of the black dot print was divided equally into enough strips to make the outer borders.
TA-DA!!!  Here it is next to the piece I did last week to show you the difference in scale.
If you live in Northeast Ohio, this weekend, (Friday 2/28 through Sunday 3/2) during the Vendor Days at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark Quilt Show, I'll be presenting a FREE 30 minute talk about this and other ways to apply Marti Michell's templates Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 in the theatre. 
And I'll have both of these pieces with me for you to see in person.  My booth is down past the diary demonstration area and I'll have all Marti's templates plus my DVD workshop, Set-In Piecing Simplified, for your shopping pleasure!!
Linking up to Freshly Pieced again today -- love all the links there though it might give me too many ideas!?!
Mary Huey


  1. Mary I really appreciate "seeing" the process of how you create borders. You made it all a little less intimidating for me and showed me how borders really can accent a quilt too. I found myself studying the effects of the spacer border with the scrappy....I so like this!! THANK YOU for sharing and teaching us in this post! :) With appreciation and smiles! Val:)

  2. Thank you for walking me through the entire process.