Thursday, August 30, 2018

Borders on...Perfection

A few weeks ago I was
a quilt judge at our local county fair.

The quilts were stacked high and between
myself and 2 other judges we critiqued 140 quilts,
looking at the design, the workmanship,
and overall visual impact.
Eventually we narrowed down the piles to
choose the Grand Champion. 

It was not an easy task.
Each participant loved their quilt
and was confident enough to enter.
We certainly enjoyed looking at each and every stitched creation.

Overall, the quilts were lovely, but
I did notice one issue in many. 
That was with the application of the borders.

I know when I get to the borders, at least in my mind, 
I'm thinking, Yay!!! I'm almost finished!
Sewing on a couple of borders, isn't that the easy part?

I'd like to think so.
But the application of the borders 
 can make the difference between a good quilt and 
a great quilt.

I guess the reason I'm bringing this up is
because I've been sewing on a lot of borders lately.

**Accurate measurements are key.**

"Summer Log Cabin Quilt"

I know, I can get sloppy, careless
and sew in a hurry.
That's when I'm always sorry.

Going around and around,
wrestling with yards of fabrics
is a challenge.

There are lots of tutorials online
to help with the right techniques, but
I think it mostly boils down to
accurate measuring, did I say accurate measuring,
 and taking your time.

This is the second quilt that I've added borders to.
"Christmas or Not Applique Quilt"

Borders don't have to be fancy, or pieced or
even have mitered corners,
but sewing them on carefully
so the quilt lays flat withougt ripples and waves
takes careful measuring, concentration and time.

I'll share more about the quilts I've shown today,
but I wanted to encourage all of us
to take care with the finishing touches.

Let's all border on perfection.


Until Next Time-


  1. I pulled a quilt out of the waiting to be quilted pile and discovered a border problem when I measured to see how big to make the backing. And I am having a time of it figuring out where the problem started. Will require some time with Mr. Ripper once I do find the starting point.

  2. Oh how I agree with you! It's something I've been trying to teach our newer quilters, but their favorite method is still cut a strip, slap it on and trim off the excess. Then they ask why they're having such a difficult time quilting the result. Sigh. Mine sure aren't perfect, but I always try to measure, every single side before cutting my borders. I don't envy you being a quilt judge!

  3. Borders can mean the finish line but in the case of quilting, it matters not that you just finish but HOW you finish. I agree, measure, measure, measure and do it again before cutting.

    You have two very lovely quilts there. I look forward to learning more about them.

  4. Borders are very important !
    It's another difficult point to teach to beginners but how much important !
    Measure once or twice and have time !!

  5. Yes, dading a border is something that needs attention. It was a progress of learning for me, just as piecing and applique. But once you are satisfied with the result it is so rewarding.
    It must have been so much fun judging all those pretty quilts! Hope you can show us more pictures later.

  6. Excellent point! And the area that gives me the most grief often...

  7. What a great experience for you! And I so agree with you that attention to detail in borderwork is so necessary. I am always amazed at the wavy edged quilts in the quilt shows I attend. Seriously gorgeous quilts spoiled by rippled edges! Doesn't have to be so.:)

  8. LOL yes I am guilty of being in a hurry to do the borders, but I do always measure and cut to size. Yet sometimes there is a little ripple when I hang them. BUT I never measure the binding, just make plenty and sew it you recommend measuring and pinning it on first?

  9. Such wise words! It's easy to succumb to the temptation to 'get it done' but borders do need to be respected. I have judged local quilt shows and it is HARD. I wanted to give them all a ribbon, but there's always a couple that really shine. Can't wait to see more from you adventure.

  10. Wonderful advice when adding borders and how true it is to measure accurately. I'm guilty of ripping out more than I care to admit because of a slight ripple. Looking forward to seeing the award-winning quilts at the county fair. Must have been a fun day!

  11. I so agree! How fun to judge a quilt show!

  12. Great advice! If there is one thing I hate it is a rippling border! This from someone who hates to measure! And, good for you for judging at the fair. I did it once and cannot bring myself to do it again. I just wanted to give a ribbon to everyone. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the entries.

  13. I think the problems with borders, particularly the simple ones, is that they seem self explanatory. How hard can it be to just add four rectangles to the top, the same size as the top itself? No need to read any directions. But then it is only through trial and error, mostly error, that we figure out, wait there has to be some things to keep in mind when sewing on borders.

  14. That would have been an interesting time as a judge. And it is interesting that you specifically noticed borders.
    I do agree that you have to be so careful with them. Too easy to spoil a great quilt with a wavy border.

  15. Borders and bindings are the finishing touches on a quilt that often are not given the proper attention to finish strong!
    The borders on your two quilts appear precise and give a crisp look to the quilts.

  16. How fun to see all the quilts up close and study their details. Somewhat less fun perhaps when you add in the pressure of having to choose winners. I look forward to seeing more :0)

  17. Kyle que gran tarea seleccionar un ganador.
    tienes mucha razón en el tema fronteras
    buen domingo

  18. Judging would be stressful! A tough job someone has to do.
    I'm sure the advice will come in handy.

  19. Such a great post and point about borders. I used to be a bit sap dash but have learned to be very careful.
    I hope you'll share your tips about this.
    What a big judging job but how nice to get see these quilts up close.

  20. Oh my gosh--that is a lot of quilts to go through. I'm sure that was a tough job but lots of fun too. I agree, adding borders is always kind of a drag after the enjoyment of making the quilt, but so important to get right!

  21. That's a great turnout for a fair! Thanks for the reminder about not rushing through that step, even though it's my least favourite part!