Quilts and Borders
The border is one of the last design elements that you add to your quilt. It is a chance to add more personality to your quilt and use fabrics that are too large in scale for piecing.
The colors in the border can pull all the rest of the colors of the quilt together. You can also make your quilt more interesting by adding design touches and unique blocks to the border.
Many years ago, when yardage was scarce, and quilters were using everything from feedsack to old cloth, borders were not even added to quilts.
One thing you do not want to do with a border is to add it just to make the quilt larger.
The border should accent and emphasize the character and personality of the quilt. Some quilts scream for multiple borders. Stripes, turned horizontally, can be used very effectively as small inside borders and some people collect them just for that reason.
You can use the corners of your quilts as a place to put small, very decorative quilt blocks. I like to paper piece small 4x4 blocks and use them on the corners of my quilt.
You can use long strips in different patterns running the direction of the quilt for a border, or small strips placed horizontally on the side, and vertically on the top - known as a piano key border.
You can also piece them so that they run diagonally.
Some people like to appliqué vines and flowers on the border around their quilt.
In the little bit of border that you can see on the quilt at the top of this page, you will see that the quilter has used multiple borders, including a stripe. This quilt is a very simple design- a 9 patch in a square with lattice strips and corner stones. It is very scrappy, and would be a frugal quilt to make.
Whatever you decide to do, you must put your borders on even so that your quilt will lay flat.
When measuring for a border, measure down the middle of the quilt. Or measure down each side, add the 2 measurements together, and then divide them in half.
If the sides measure differently, which they probably will, you can stretch or ease the fabric a little so that the border fits.
Always cut your border strips first if they are from fabric you are also using in the body of the quilt. You want the longest strips possible, although you will probably end up having to piece your border strips. Piece the border strip in the same way you piece the binding.
If you don't want to put a seam in your border, all you have to do it add some squares to the border. They can be plain, or you can make them small quilt blocks.
Remember that borders are important to a quilt. Too often we are so tired of our quilt by the time we finish piecing it, that we neglect the border and do nothing put attach a strip of fabric.
If this happens to you, set the quilt aside and come back to it. The nicer the frame, the prettier the picture looks. Take the time to give thought and consideration to this great design element.