A Simple Border Idea – Repeat the Blocks in a Different Color Scheme

You’ve finished the center of the quilt top, and now you’re looking for some interesting way to embellish the borders of the quilt. You’ve made a dozen quilts, and the borders on each of them are strips of fabric. Sometimes the strips are wide, sometimes they’re narrow, and sometimes they even have cornerstones, but most of the time they’re just plain borders.

The time has come to expand our search beyond comic strips.

There are a number of quilting resources that recommend making additional blocks of the same design but utilizing a different color palette. In spite of the numerous times I had read it, the only time I had actually used it was when Stephanie and I had made a quilt together.

One year, my mother and I took a trip to Orange County, which is located quite a ways north of San Diego, for the purpose of attending a quilting retreat. In any case, we both ended up attending the workshop that was given by Lynn Kough. The idea was to start with a form that was only moderately regular (in this case, a small square), and then to construct a larger block by adhering additional irregular pieces to its perimeter. As can be seen, this quilt features a very vivid color palette, and it was pieced together using a variety of fabrics that are not very common. When we went shopping for the fabric, one of my goals was to find something “really unusual” to use in the project.

The borders have been moved away from the center, which reveals the distinct color difference between the blocks that make up the center and the blocks that make up the borders.
During the process of planning the quilt, one of the ideas that came from Lynn was to make a border using the same block design, but with a different color palette than the rest of the quilt. I questioned my sanity by asking how many times I had been exposed to that recommendation. Stephanie was the one who came to the conclusion that this was an excellent plan, and she went on to finish the design while also ensuring that we had the appropriate quantity of blocks in the appropriate colors. It is possible to differentiate the border blocks from the center blocks in the picture that is located to the right. (The separations are indicated by the black strips.) The “center” blocks use a color scheme based on red and orange, which are considered warm colors, while the “border” blocks use a color scheme based on blue and green, which are considered cool colors.

The color scheme used for the border blocks is simply inverted for use in the center blocks.
Simply switching the order of the colors in your border blocks is yet another method that can produce equally interesting results. When you restrict yourself to just two colors, this becomes much more apparent. This Crow’s Nest quilt only makes use of the colors orange and black, as shown in the example down below. The background color of the blocks that are in the center is black, while the background color of the blocks that are around the outside is orange.

The blocks that make up the outside border of this design are scaled down to be one-half the size of the other blocks.
Alternately, you could make the border blocks a different size from the inside blocks, and that would be yet another way to vary this.
The only challenging aspect is ensuring that the size of the border blocks is compatible with that of the center blocks. This indicates that you should strive to finish with complete blocks along the border. The quilt on the right has blocks in the center that are all 8 inches square, and the blocks in the border are all 4 inches square each. Because the border blocks are only half as large as the blocks used in the center, they are the perfect size to fit around the perimeter. If you choose to use blocks measuring five inches square around the perimeter of the quilt, you will have to remove some of the border blocks or use additional fabric to fill in the extra space. This is a situation in which careful preparation paid off.
The current status of my quilt made from fat quarters It’s possible that I’ll make miniature versions of the blocks to use as cornerstones.

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