Sunday, March 20, 2011


After a week of concentrated effort, I got my Kaleidoscope center finished and then let it ripen a bit on the design wall while I figured out just what to do for a border.  It seems that everyone in the family had a different opinion.  I even brought it to the quilt shop and got divided opinions there, too.

Finally, I decided on the first border, a black background with neon green and turquoise pattern.

That added a nice separator between the center and the outer border, but then what?

In the book there are a couple of examples of borders where the quilter took the leftover bits from cutting the wedges and created a crazy patch border.  I spent a fun evening playing with the scraps and created the beginnings of a crazy patch border:

Making the crazy patches was fun after all the precise piecing  of the center, but to me, it detracted from the orderly symmetry of the center.  So next, I tried a straight piano key border:

I like this one better, but I took it one step further, and added a black square to the corners:

Now I'm happy with the border idea, and the next step is to make it happen.

Here are a few notes I have made to myself while making this quilt:
  • Accuracy really is everything.
  • Use a dry iron. Steam and bias edges don’t mix.
  • This is the time to use “fine” pins. They pierce the fabric with much less effort so that there is less chance of stretching the bias when pinning.
  • I used a new, Microtex sharp needle #80 in my machine. I didn’t do an actual test, but I think the sharper needle helped avoid pieces being pushed down into the feed dogs when sewing, especially at the start and the end of a seam.
  • Take the time to examine each of the 12 wedges after you have them sewn, but before you start to piece them all together. Ricky Tims has you iron (?!) an unused wedge template onto the finished wedge to verify it’s size. (see photo page 29), but I did not think that was a good idea. Freezer paper adheres slightly to fabric, and I think it would put unnecessary stress on the bias edges when you removed the paper. I just used a ruler to check that the edges were all straight. A few times there was an unexpected “bump out” in what should have been a straight edge. In that case, I very judiciously trimmed a little bit here and there to make each wedge as accurate as possible.
  • Don’t rush. It’s exciting to see each pair, and each wedge come together, but it’s not worth having to rip out a seam later.

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  1. I like the orderly border much more than the scrap bits. I had the same idea in the beginning but it was too challenging and too messy looking. I love the inner border you chose. It's perfect. I need to get busy and finish mine :-)

  2. The Piano key border goes much better with the quilt than the other border. What a great accomplishment to have made this quilt. It is a bit more than I think I can do. You did a great job.


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