Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Confessional

Today I am sharing one of my dirty little secrets....
I don't measure my borders.  
Quilt books usually tell you to measure across the quilt (sometimes in three different places!) and then measure and cut your border strip to that length. I eliminate the measuring step by laying my border strip directly on the quilt top. I actually do the top and bottom or both the sides at once by pressing the strips together and then pinning at one end. Then I line up one end of the strips along one edge of the quilt top as above. This is a small quilt, so I can anchor the strips into my ironing board.   

Then I smooth the top and the strips being careful to just smooth and not stretch anything. I do this across the center of the quilt. Here I am working on the top and bottom borders--the sides are already sewn to the top. 
When I'm sure everything is smoothed out nicely, I slip a small cutting mat under the end of the strips that I will be trimming off to size, line up a ruler, making sure everything looks square, and trim off the excess border strip.
To me, measuring the top and then measuring the border pieces is just asking for trouble. Knowing how my brain works, I would transpose a number somehow and end up with strips that are too short. This method seems more accurate and pretty foolproof---unless you slip up and cut into your top--something I haven't done
After that, it's just a matter of finding the center of the top and the centers of the border strips (I just fold, pinch and pin), match up the ends and ease in any fullness. There usually isn't too much fullness, but I always sew "baggy bottom down" and the feed dogs on my machine take care of it.
I know I can't be the only one that doesn't measure borders, but some quilters are quite shocked when I tell them my "secret". 
Here's the top all ready to quilt! I changed the finishing instructions a bit by cutting 1.5" strips for sashing and 3.5" for the borders. It will be bound in the same black fabric I used for the sashing.
Thanks to Dawn Heese for the adorable Little Wooly Basket patterns!

I also have to confess that I couldn't resist picking up this bundle of Edyta Sitar's Blue Barn when I stopped in at the quilt shop yesterday. Do I need more blue fabrics? Probably not, but at least it's just a fat eighth bundle!

Okay--now my biggest confession:
Yes! I started a new project--ack! I just couldn't stop myself----because there are birds!!!
I know, I am hopeless...
These are the first two applique blocks of five from the Facebook group Quilts by Cheri Friendship Group. If you don't already belong to the group, ask to join. You can find the block patterns in the file tab on the site page.
I'm going to be doing some Slow Sunday Stitching on these blocks this evening. I may even finish my Fargo Season Two binge tonight--only one more episode to go!
Whew! I feel so much better now that I got all that off my conscience! I hope you find some time to do some stitching!
Linking with Slow Sunday Stitching HERE
Slow Sunday Stitching


  1. How brazen of you to confess such a thing as not measuring borders!! *LOL*
    I never used to measure borders, until I had a long arm quilter tell me I had really wavy borders on a quilt. Looks like you have found an effective method that works for you, so I won't call the quilt police. : )
    The little basket quilt is calling my name. I have been saving the patterns--and I do need some handwork for a camping trip this week and a road trip the next. Have I talked myself into it yet?
    Cheri's patterns are very cute--I can avoid succumbing to that one because I am not on Facebook, but I love your blocks!

  2. I am a long arm quilter and wavy borders can be a nightmare, your way is exactly how I do my borders! I saw this method on Bonnie Hunters website, fabric (the fabric you are using for your borders or sashing) is the best 'measuring tape')

  3. I use a similar technique on my borders too -
    Your finished top is so sweet! What a great basket pattern.
    nice blue fabrics and bird blocks too!

  4. Thanks for the tip!! Your Basket Quilt is wonderful!! Your borders are perfect!

  5. Ooo! Your confessionals are fun to read! Lots of fun projects and that Blue Barn fabric is gorgeous! I'm looking forward to seeing the quilt you produce from those bird blocks. Cute!

  6. Hearing your confessions have probably lightened a lot of others burdens. I confess, though, I measure, but your tip sounds logical too because your borders are perfect! Your little baskets are wonderful. I think if I found a nice packet of blue barn it would come home with me too.

  7. Your way makes so much sense! I've usually a measurer but I'm looking forward to trying your method now. Thanks for confessing.

  8. Seems a pretty accurate method to me! I do measure but then I check again in a similar way to you laying the fabric on top - but on the floor. I've made enough mistakes to know extra checks are so worthwhile!

  9. Your basket blocks with those pops of blue are excellent. (And I don't always measure either).

  10. I really cheat. I make sure my quilt is square, then I fold it in half lengthwise,measure and cut the side borders first and sew them on. Then I fold the top and bottom, measure and cut the top and bottom borders and sew them on. The biggest problem quilters might have with this process is if their quilt is not square! That is why they will advise to measure and cut the border the exact size to prevent squaring issues. Now I may not have the rationale correct, but this is how I do it. On my long arm, if I do not baste the sides before quiting I will have big wavy problems. Your way sounds accurate also. Have a great day. Nanette

    1. This how I do my borders as well and never have any complaints from longarm quilters.

  11. I have to laugh because I do exactly the same thing. It works!!
    The blocks are lovely and I like the new project. That one is on my radar, too.

  12. Wow that's a lot of confession right there! Well, it is Sunday, so....
    Shhhh I do my borders the same as you... don't tell anyone! LOL