Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quilt-along: Raven Stars - Step 5: Blocks -n- Borders

The final step

Layout all units and piece into rows. A good amount of chain-piecing occurred with this step once I stacked all the units together and zooooomed away.

Press the top/bottom rows towards the white squares and press the center unit away from the nine-patch center.

Piece the rows together to finish the block, pressing seams in the same direction.

Quilt center
Using all 42 blocks, piece into 7 rows of 6 blocks each.

Recall that I had not included fabric requirements for any border treatments. I elected to add three nested borders to finish off this quilt. I've included the fabric requirements now in the event you choose to finish off this quilt the same.
Black: 17.5" -- Cut (7) 2.5" strips.
White: 10.5" -- Cut (7) 1.5" strips.
Purple: 21" -- Cut (7) 3" strips.

When I piece borders, I no longer measure and cut to a specific length. For many of my first quilts, I did this....and since I hadn't perfected the 1/4" seam quilt centers and border strips RARELY matched up. I also no longer do the "just sew along without pinning and cut off the excess once I get to the end" method. I now realize the error I made for so many years which lead to the "wavy border syndrome." NOR do I do the "measure through the center/measure each end and find the average" method. BLAH! I'm all for math ((duh! Math teacher here)) but.....that's just a bit overkill for me.

NOW, I follow Bonnie Hunter's border tips-n-tricks completely! For those of you who have never questioned the importance of having square borders, here's one deelio to think about...
If your edges have ANY (or MANY depending on your quilt center) seams, those seams can and will stretch. The edges of your quilt are not a good guide to know how long to cut your borders because of this stretch.

Therefore, I now sew all of my border strips together in one continuous strip (much like sewing binding strips). I then use my quilt as my measuring tool----why mess with those blasted measuring tapes??? As Bonnie suggests.....
a) simply spread your quilt out and lay your border strip through the center of your quilt (I typically follow one of my center seams)
b) trim to match the length/width of your quilt
c) PIN PIN PIN your border strip at each end and middle and here-n-there along the length.

Trust me! I never used to pin! Anything that slowed me down was annoying, and pinning was one of them! Not to go too far off on a tangent here, but....I couldn't stand pressing when I first was starting out either! Gahhh.....I'm now a changed quilter forever because I understand that (in the long run), pressing and pinning saves time.

Anyway, since I have been attaching my borders with this method:
** I have not had a single "wavy border" problem. For those of you who don't have a quilting frame and use your DSM for quilting, this 'wavy border' problem probably isn't that much OF a problem. But, if you took a gander at Bonnie's border page, you'll see the disaster that some non-square borders create on a quilting frame.
** I no longer stress over finding a way to measure out 74.5" of border fabric like I did when I first began quilting using patterns

Raven Stars (70" x 81")

If you've followed along and participated, I would love to see your final product. Be sure to drop me a comment or email to share your progress!


Ann Marie @ 16 Muddy Feet said...

I am hoping to have my done probably next week or so. Going camping this weekend, so no super sewing marathons for me. Maybe a little Sunday night. It is coming along nicely though. Thanks for the quilt a long.

Dee said...

I didn't get to join you this time, but your quilt looks really great! The 3 colors are all very striking. I'm one of those that measures 3 times and averages when cutting borders. I then mark the 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 mark on each border and the quilt and match them up. I don't enjoy putting borders on but find it's worth the extra time in the long run.

Ellen said...

My quilt top is not finished yet but I do have all my blocks sewn up. I hope to have the blocks all sewn together and the borders added soon. Your top looks terrific - I hope mine turns out just as well!

Lori said...

haven't been to your blog before. one thing I noticed--all math people think the same! chuckling!! (I am not a math person--but my best friend is!)