I hope your July has been a good month. Summer has been slow to get underway here in Northern Indiana, but it has finally arrived with a few really hot, muggy days. I've been staying inside and sewing.
I was really excited to finally finish my Austin Bluebird quilt! I just began it back on National Quilt Day, March 21, so I think I made great progress on it. I was determined not to let it languish and become a UFO that sits around for years (sort of like Sarah's Revival.) I had the kit, but I ended up using lots of my other Minick and Simpson fabrics for a more "scrappy" look.
This is the quilt top finished as the directions state. I have known for awhile that I wanted to border it. I knew I wanted to "float" the center with more cream strips and then add some sort of sawtooth/dogtooth border around that.
I turned to one of my most favorite books ever:
I love this book--it is perfect for designing borders of all types and complexities. It's by Judy Martin and Marsha McCloskey, in case you can't see the small print.
I decided on an appropriate border and that the units would finish at 4". This means that my center needed to be divisible by 4. I measured the center carefully, decided about how large I wanted it to be (divisible by 4) and then figured how wide to cut my floating cream border. A little math, a little confidence, and it was easy enough.
I had already precut the units I would need for the border. In fact, I took it with me to retreat in June and had them already made.
The look would be a shaded saw tooth border. Once I attached the cream strips, I next began to assemble the sawtooth units. Big Problem! (I know--this seems to be the Summer of Mistakes for me, so I shouldn't have been surprised.) I carefully made sure that I sewed the units exactly like the photo, so I wouldn't have any mistakes, but the mistake was that each border strip needs to be made up of half like these, and half a mirror image.
Luckily, I had plenty of fabric left, so I made a bunch more units in the reverse. The next problem was that I now needed to relook my center with the cream strips. I had made sure that it was divisible by 4, but now it needed to be an even amount--that is the measurement of the center, say 88 inches, divided by 4 would by 22. That is an even number. This is important because the sawtooth border has to be divided in half. I had a 50% chance of it being right, but of course, this being the summer that it is, mine was an odd number. I was in luck, though, that both the side-to-side and the top-to-bottom were "odd." I needed another 4 inches all around the center.
At that frustrating point, I quit sewing. We needed to go somewhere, I can't remember where right now, but as we were driving in the car, I was telling my husband about the mess I was currently in. He asked if I could't just add more cream to the borders. I had already cut the cream borders and sewn them on. I had purchased 3 yards of extra cream fabric so I could cut the strips with the length of grain and not need to piece them, The leftover fabric, I had cut up to make the sawtooth units. I had some left, but only short pieces. I also didn't want the look of two long, cream strips sewn to each other--looking like a mistake. I thought I may have to get three more yards of cream and start all over, but I didn't want to have to do that.
In thinking that over, I did realize that I just needed to add 2 inches all the way around the quilt, and that would give me the extra 4 that I needed for the sawtooth borders. I finally got the idea to "frame" out the cream with a 1" finished navy stip, followed by a 1" finished cream strip. Being narrow, I wouldn't mind if the 1" cream strips were pieced together, rather than cut from one, long piece.
Here is how it came out. You can see the wider cream floater, then the navy 1" strip and the other cream 1" strip and then the sawtooth border.
When viewed with the entire quilt, I love how it looks. I think the navy "framing" strip really brings a lot to the party and makes more of a statement than if I just had the sawtooth border.
I really love the space that the wide cream border created, too. I'm so excited to be finished with this quilt! Now I just need to get it quilted.
If you are interested, the cream fabric from the kit is Moda Bella Snow.
Have a great weekend!