The quilt top center is done, and now you’re looking for something interesting to do with the borders. You’ve made a dozen quilts and the borders have been strips of fabric – sometimes wide, sometimes narrow, occasionally with cornerstones – but mostly just plain borders.
Now, it’s time to start looking beyond strips.
Several quilting resources talk about making more of the same blocks except using a different color scheme. As many times as I had read it, I have used it only once – when Stephanie and I made a quilt together.
One year we escaped on a quilting retreat way up north to Orange County (about 1 1/2 hours from our home in San Diego!).Anyway, we ended up taking the same workshop from Lynn Kough. The plan was to take a slightly irregular shape (in this case a small square), and add more irregular pieces around the outside to create a larger block.As you can see, this is a very brightly-colored quilt, made with some pretty unusual fabrics. When we shopped for the fabric, I was determined to make something “really unusual.”
With the borders separated from the center, you can see the color difference between the blocks in the center and the blocks on the outside.
As we were planning the quilt, one of Lynn’s suggestions was to create a border using the same block design, but with a different color scheme. “How many times have I heard that suggestion,” I asked myself.It was Stephanie who decided that was a great idea, and proceeded to complete the design and make sure we had the right number of blocks in the right colors.In the picture to the right, you can see the border blocks separated from the center blocks. (The black strips show the separations.)The center blocks have a red and orange color scheme – warm colors – while the “border” blocks use a blue and green color scheme – cool colors.
The center blocks use just the reverse color scheme as the border blocks.
Another equally interesting approach is to simply reverse the color placement in your border blocks. This is more obvious when you use only two colors. In the example below, this Crow’s Nest quilt uses only orange and black.The blocks in the center use black as the background while the blocks around the outside use orange as the background.
In this design, the outside border blocks are half the size of the other blocks.
Another way to vary this would be to make the border blocks a different size from the inside blocks.The only trick is to make the border blocks a size that is compatible with the center blocks. By that I mean, you want to end up with full blocks in the border.In the quilt to the right, the blocks in the center are all 8″ square, and the blocks in the outside border are each 4″ square. Since the border blocks are half the size of the inner blocks, they fit perfectly around the outside.Using five inch blocks around the outside border would result in you having to cut some of the outside blocks off, or fill the extra space with fabric. Here is a case where good planning pays off.
The current state of my Fat Quarter Quilt. I may make smaller versions of the blocks for the cornerstones.