Greetings! I’ve been working on designing a border for the winter quilt as I sew the blocks together. It hasn’t been easy and I’m not sure I’m “there” yet! First, I have decided to call this quilt “Winter Solstice.” The icy blues and deep indigoes say “winter” to me and the main, center, portion of the quilt is all about the contrast between light and dark, day and night.
So many things to consider regarding the border! Does it even need one? A “modern” quilter might not add a border, but that’s not me. I love borders and feel this quilt would benefit from one. It’s just a bit too stark and plain for me without one and I need to express my own artistry here! Expressing myself is a big element in every decision!!
How wide/narrow? The proportion has to be right. The blocks are 6 inches so a border in the 5-7 inch range would be about right if there is going to be a design on it, e.g. a vine. Wider than that and it overwhelms the quilt and detracts from the center. It could be narrower if is just a plain piece of fabric with no added design but that option is probably too boring for me!
Pieced or appliqued or plain? What color, what value? Again, here’s where I hope the artist in me can do the right thing? I like to experiment on my design wall with actual fabrics. I do not use a computer program. I sometimes draw on paper; this time I am not. If appliqué – what? A vine (have I said I love vine borders and try to use them whenever I can :)? Snowflakes? The latter would be hard for me to appliqué and I don’t like fusing.
I looked at the borders on some of Shizuko Kurohara’s quilts – she specializes in 2 color indigo quilts and often has borders with several rows of different shades of strips. Hope you can see this in the pics below (click on to enlarge):
But I don’t think this is what I want to do. I saw this picture and liked the straight vine border and wondered if something like this would work:
I tried this:
Didn’t like it much so I jazzed it up a bit:
And didn’t like this at all! Seeing this helped me realize that I want the center of the quilt to be the FOCUS. I want the border to be more subtle – I don’t want the designs to compete and I want the center to be what viewers see first. I also realized that a light background with a darker design on it would directly compete with the center. So next I tried a medium value background:
The background is not bad, but the leaves get lost on it. If I go with much darker leaves, they will compete with the center. So next I tried a darker background:
Then I started to realize that I didn’t really like the straight vine. I tried seeing what a curved vine would look like:
Better! But is the background maybe a bit too dark? And maybe the vine stands out a bit too strongly on the dark background and competes with the central design? At this point, I had to go fabric shopping because I only had a half yard of the dark fabric in the picture. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to find a match. I struck out in the first, closest, shop. The next day I went to Quilted Threads in Henniker, NH, probably my favorite shop in the area. The folks there were wonderful helping me look at all my options and I came home with a fabric that I think will work – though am still studying it on the design wall.
It’s unfortunate that my camera doesn’t seem to capture the richness of the shade of teal and you, dear reader, can’t really make a great judgement about this choice without seeing the true color! But, here goes anyway!
I have added a mock up of a simple vine border (without and then with a sawtooth border on the outside):
The vine border in these colors is subtle – a “shadow” vine border, if you will. I like the idea. It doesn’t compete with the center of the quilt – the eye still goes there first – but – at least to my mind! – adds interesting detail. I like to think the “shadow” vine is, in a sense, dormant, like many plants in winter, and waiting for its turn to come out in the spring.
The only thing I’m still not sure about is the “splotchiness” of the background border batik. It actually is not as prominent in reality as it looks in these pictures. I can’t yet make a final decision about whether that feature is OK. Stay tuned! And please feel free to comment if you have any thoughts about the border!!!! I’d love to hear from you!!!
More quilts from Houston!!! Both last year and this year, one of my favorite special exhibits was
“In The American Tradition” in which traditional quilts are exhibited. These are not necessarily new quilts but excellently done traditional quilts. It was great to see Rachel Daisy’s fabulous “Whizz Bang” and be able to see all the details! I’d seen pictures of this award winning quilt on line but it’s so much better in person! Apparantly Rachel was at the show from Australia but, unfortunately, I didn’t see her.
Love the graphic power of this design and the colors, too:
I love everything about this next quilt – just a wonderful quilt in every way:
A great red, black and white quilt
I like the diamond shapes and the border; great fabric choices, too!
The next one is one of those “Wow” quilts:
This Cynthia Collier et. al. quilt was just gorgeous!!!!! She is the queen of Broderie Perse!
Beautiful hand appliqué and machine quilting on this one:
I’m closing today with an ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL “Bird of Paradise” quilt. I have thought about making this quilt many times, but always have that inner debate on whether to make something of my own design vs. using a pattern that already exists to make a version of something that many others have already made. This one is worthy, though! Haven’t done it yet, but still may some day…
Here’s what awaits me later today and tomorrow:
Decorating our Christmas tree!!! The only part I don’t truly enjoy (but don’t mind) is getting the lights on. Adding the ornaments is pure joy. Hope you are enjoying the holiday season.
Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi