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What's the best way to quilt a border?

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Hi Girls,

I've got a top here that has a large center block that is surrounded by borders...all in Laurel Birch fabrics.

I could quilt the whole top with a panto but think I should quilt something in each of these borders...but don't have a clue how to quilt a border. I don't have any border patterns so I'd have to freehand them. that could be scary in it's self. :>)

What is the general way to quilt a border without having to stop and start all the time...just keep advancing the quilt?

What do you think...should I stick to a panto? I'll take a picture and see if I can figure out how to load it.



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Hi Rita---

There are several ways to do what you want. Float the top and stabilize that big inner block with SID. Then quilt the block and work your way through the borders starting from the inside out. Quilt the horizontal borders and as far down each side border as you can before rolling, and then quilt the rest of vertical border (you may need to roll to do this but you can carefully do this with the needle down and you don't need to start and stop.) Stabilize each border seam as you finish it, using SID. Freehand the borders if you want--the separation of the quilting will look great even if you use the same freehand design on each border. Or pick a motif from the fabrics and use that in the freehand. For example a hearts meander in one border and leaves in the next.

Or------ load the top and work your way down from the top border. Still a good idea to stabilize at those seam lines with SID. The hard part is to remember what design you used on the first border when you get to the last!! I draw a mock-up and label which border and also do it to size because I find as I get going I tend to quilt bigger and faster! With this technique you can do the sides as you go or you can leave them and turn the quilt. I only turn for real precision work like freehand feathers. If you do a meander, you won't need to turn, I bet. (Do a search here for turning a quilt for invaluable info. I love this forum!)

Be fearless and impress yourself---and your customer!!!

Linda Rech

Oly Wa

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Another way to remember what a hidden border looks like is to take a picture with a digital camera, if you have one. Or, don't be afraid to roll the quilt back to take another look at that completed border.

I have had no problems with turning a quilt in order to be able to freehand all the borders working left to right, as I prefer.


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