18 Apr

Aloha Pineapple Quilt Along: part 10


Project Introduction here

Part 1 (supplies) here.

Part 2 here.

Part 3 here.

Part 4 here.

Part 5 here.

Part 6 here.

Part 7 here.

Part 8 here.

Part 9 here.

Oops, I skipped ahead to the tying without covering borders as I had promised. After all your pineapple blocks are finished and sewn together, and the foundation paper is removed, give the whole thing a good press. Now you can add borders if you’d like. These pineapple blocks are pretty intense, and though I don’t always add a border to everything I sew, I think this really calls for something to finish it off.

Katie’s was pretty straightforward. The solid color in her pineapple blocks is black, and the background in her border print is black. All the colors coordinate, and the scale of her border fabric is a nice contrast to the scale of the pineapple blocks. So a nice wide border was all she needed.

The rest of us liked the look of a thin border of our solid fabric, followed by something that pulls it all together. I used the last scraps of my fabric to piece this piano key border. I made four strips of “keys,” each long enough to lap at the corners.

Almost done!

Remember Deb’s plan with the thin red and then a border of the fabric she’d been using within the blocks? She’s still looking for the right fabric, but I love the this idea of showing in the border what’s been hinted at in the blocks. I also think that this bold leaf design will compliment her bold colors.

Jason has really got the concept of borders down. He’s used a thin orange-ish border on his quilt front, followed by the turquoise fabric he used for the center of each block (ties it all together). The backing fabric he wanted to use wasn’t big enough, so what did he do? Added borders until it was large enough, of course! I like how the skinny inner borders mimic the borders on the front of the quilt.

Adding borders is relatively simple. There’s just a few tips to keep in mind. If the sides of your quilt are different lengths, then simply adding borders the same length as each side will only emphasize the wonkiness. The solution is to ease opposite sides to the same length.

If you are confident that your blocks are accurate, then you would know, for example, that a side with 9 blocks that finish at 7″ each, would mean your border strip would need to be 63″ long, plus 1/4″ seam allowance at each end, for a total of 63.5″ long.

If your blocks aren’t quite such an easy number, or you think your seams aren’t very consistent, then you need to measure the quilt top. I like to start with the long sides, so measure the longer dimension of your quilt on each side and down the middle. The measurements should be within an inch of each other — less if it’s a smallish quilt and if you are a consistent sewer. Take the average of those three measurements and cut two strips of your border fabric to that length and your desired width for that border (we chose 1.5″ for our skinny borders, and 3.5″ to 7.5″ for wider ones).

Pin each end of your borders to your quilt and then add more pins along the length, gently easing in any discrepancies. Sew, using a 1/4″ seam allowance, with the puffier fabric underneath (whether that’s the border fabric or the pineapple blocks). The feed dogs on your machine will help take up a little extra fabric, making it easier to sew a smooth seam.

Now measure, average, cut, pin, and sew the shorter sides. Voila, you have a border. If you want several borders, like Deb’s proposed thin and wide ones, sew the first (thin) border on all four sides, then repeat the process and sew on the second (wider) border. For my piano key border, I sewed four strips of piano keys longer than I needed them, then trimmed the length to size when I was ready to sew them on, as if they were one solid fabric. I made mitered corners, which I won’t explain here, but can write up separately if requested (a tutorial can probably be googled, and instructions are in many quilting books).

Lynn is working on half square triangles for a border. Because you don’t necessarily want to cut a triangle off willy-nilly (it will look markedly different than all the others in the row), a pieced border like that will require a little advance planning. I like to add a thin border first that will take the quilt to an easily divisible number, like two (which will be the finished size, in inches, of the half square triangles). Then divide the length of the sides by that number and you’ll know how many to make. plus four for the corners.

Happy bordering!