Friday, June 5, 2020

Custom Quilting Creative Borders

AKA When Things Don't Go As Planned

I never start a long arm quilting job without having a planning session with the maker, client, or client who is also a friend. Sometimes we talk on the phone, and other times in person. But this quilt and another were dropped off ahead of our meeting, and I had time to live with them. In the very beginning, this maker/client/friend thought this quilt should be custom or semi-custom quilted. I was on board with something a little more special. It had grown on me.

Here it laid on the floor, and I walked by it for weeks.  It was traditional yet had a modern feel to me. How could we make this quilt shine?

Then we met for a discussion, and the maker/client/friend, Donna, admitted perhaps she wasn't in love with this quilt. We aren't always, are we? Sometimes by the end of a quilt we're just at the point we want to slap on the borders, and be done with it. I got it. She just wanted it quilted. Nothing notably heroic. Edge-to-edge was fine with her. She chose a new design I hadn't worked with before, and I was cautious about it. Sometimes you don't know things about a design until you actually stitch it out. But I was game, and on we went.

Except the design scared me when the first row was stitching. You can see the buckeyes above. Typically we crop the first row off the top to make it more pleasing to the eye as the next rows are added. I started with the second row, and couldn't go on. It was too much for this quilt. I called and pleaded the case for the quilt. Then back I went to fix the border. I ripped the second row, and added cross-hatching. I was hoping this would work. My motto: Every quilt is a new adventure!

I kept the block designs very traditional with more cross-hatching, and quilting that covered the blocks without being heavy. 

The inner border reminded me of a stenciled garland during Colonial times.

Vintage tufts for the trees, and swirling stars for the larger stars.

I worked on filling blocks, and prayed I could replicate the bottom border to match the top when it came time.

Bottom border...

And with a little planning, there it went! There's just about an equal amount of the row showing on bottom as in the top shown below. Then cross-hatching to fill. A flip of the quilt to quilt the remaining borders, and it all came together.

For those of you that don't know, the buckeye is Ohio's state tree. The Ohio Buckeyes are Ohio State University's football team, and Brutus Buckeye the mascot. This design makes this a very patriotic, traditional Ohio quilt with twist.

Donna's happy. I'm happy. The quilt is happy.
Go Bucks!

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.


  1. Good morning - your decision making for custom quilting this beautiful quilt was spot on. Love how it turned out - and totally understand that love/hate relationship by the end of making a quilt top!

  2. I always say, Quilting Makes the Quilt. This turned the quilt into a stunner. Does your computer guiding sew the cross hatches or do you it with rulers? I can't master a good crosshatch. I am a complete flub with rulers. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow....I am so impressed...great creativity...xo

  4. So fun to follow along on your quilting journey. The quilt turned out so very, very well! Good for you trusting your instincts. So much more special this way, especially the borders. So fantastic!

  5. Here is yet another example of bringing a quilt to life. Your vision for this quilt, which was beautiful before you started, reinforces how to let the quilt speak to you. And you listened! It’s gorgeous! I’ll bet the maker is in love with it all over again.

  6. I'm happy for you! Love the cross hatching and border design. That really makes the quilt! (You are light years ahead of me, btw. Love your work!)

  7. Hi, the quilting is amazing!! I love how you decided on the different designs for the blocks and borders. The quilt looks beautiful! Hugs,


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Pink Doxie Mama