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Tip 10: Part 1 of a 3 part serieris on Borders. Fitting a pieced border to a quilt takes a little prior planning. Using Quilt-Pro, there are many ways to adjust the border.

3 Part Border Series by Frank Smith

click here Part 1: Fitting Pieced Borders
click here Part 2: Creating a Pieced Border
click here Part 3: Working with problem border blocks to make them symmetrical and other tricks

Expressive Quilters' Newsletter
Supporting The Expressive Quilter In Tradition, Innovation, Art & Computer Quilting

Editor: Sharla R. Hicks
The page will be updated when a new tip is added.
Newsletter index for all issues

14 Quilt-Pro Hints and Tips by Frank Smith
4 Block & Border Drafting Articles by Frank Smith
Additional Quilt-Pro Resource on this website and on the Internet

 


Hints and Tips for Quilt-Pro

Tip 10: Fitting Pieced Borders

Part 1 of a 3 part article.

With the large amount of information discovered using Quilt-Pro 3, I have found the need to split the information on pieced borders into two general topics. The first is fitting the border to the quilt which will be covered in Tip 10 and the second is how the border will look in your quilt to be covered in Tip 11.  This will cover the library borders and those you draft.  If you haven’t gone through the information in Chapter 9 and pages 70 through 74 of the version 3 manual it will help you understand the basics and I have tried to use the same terminology.

Fitting Pieced Borders

Fitting a pieced border to a quilt takes a little planning.  Using Quilt-Pro, there are many ways to adjust the size of the border to get your desired effect.  You can adjust the length or width of the border repeat.  You can adjust the number of repeats per side in both the horizontal and vertical direction.  You can also adjust the quilt to fit the border by inserting a plain border between the pieced border and the quilt. Lastly, if you really want to make the ultimate adjustment you can adjust the size of your blocks so that by placing them in the quilt, the quilt will fit the selected border perfectly.
1.      Adjust the length or width of the border repeat
Selecting the length or width of a border repeat is usually done in the design phase.  First the width of the pieced border is determined by the designer based on esthetic values, ie. You look at your quilt and say I think the border ought to be about yea wide.  Deciding the repeat is a little more scientific.  I am a firm believer that the repeat on blocks with all four side being identical should be the same as the width.  This will result in one square being one repeat in either the horizontal or vertical direction.  In blocks that do not have all four sides identical the repeat should be as short as possible to accommodate the design but generally not smaller than the width of the border.  We will discuss this later when fitting borders but generally the shorter the repeat the smaller the adjustment we must make to get a perfect fit with minimum distortion to the border pattern. 

Note: We have acknowledged that the pieced border will probably be distorted so this is a good time for the first warning:

ALWAYS PRINT PIECED BORDER TEMPLATES FROM THE QUILT.

 

2.      Inserting thin plain borders to adjust the quilt size.

In addition to separating the blocks of the quilt from the pieced border the thin plain border can be used to adjust the size of the quilt to ease fitting the pieced border.

3.      Designing quilt block sizes to fit selected border.

Designing the sizes of the quilt blocks and or sashes/inner borders so the quilt is perfectly matched to a multiple of the repeat.

4.      Adjustment of number of repeats.

This is what I call the final fitting and is used in conjunction with the first three adjustments to give the least distortion to the border pattern.  There are three ways to adjust the number of repeats.  You may enter the settings in the Border Tab of the Quilt layout settings dialogue box or in the Border Fitting dialogue box.  (See Figures 1 and 2.)


Figure 1
Quilt Layout Settings dialogue box Border Tab

Figure 2
Border Fitting dialogue box

One repeat per block

Uses the number entered in the blocks count of the Quilt Layout Setting dialogue box  Block Tab.  In the Sampler/Medallion quilt this function is inoperative.  Useful in a straight quilt when a series of complicated parameters are met.

As many as fit

This is a setting that provides no useful output except experimenting with distorting border designs.  Borders are normally distorted beyond recognition.

Specific Count

This is the setting that provides the most versatility.  This setting give complete control of the number of  repeats to you.  It works on all quilts and has the most usable output.  It can be used to distort the border as in the As many as fit setting, but allows you to maintain control vice the program.  Since you can duplicate the other two choices capabilities with this setting I do not use them.  I would recommend that you also concentrate on learning this setting.  I will not discuss the other two setting further in this article.

To determine the number of repeats:

  • Divide the length of the side of the quilt by the length of the repeat.
  • If the answer is not even, go to the next higher number if the remainder is more than ½  and go to the next lower number if the remainder is l/2 or less. 
  • Once you have determined the number of repeats you need, enter that figure into the Quilt Layout Settings dialogue box  Border Tab.  See Figure 1. 
  • Remember unless the quilt is square you need to accomplish these calculations and entries for both the vertical and horizontal sides of the quilt.  A Border Fitting dialogue box will automatically open to allow you to change entries when you change borders.  See Figure 2.

Examples of points discussed above.

  • The example quilt we will use is a 50 inch square with 5 ten inch blocks per side.  We will use a library border, Mitered Box, in which all sides of the border are identical. 
  • The width of the border and the length of the repeat are both 4 inches. 
  • If we divide 50 inches, the length of the side, by 4 inches, the length of the repeat, the result is 12 with a remainder of ½ .  
  • Using the rule that if the remainder is ½ or less to use the lower number or 12 repeats in this case. 
  • We should now have enough information to layout the quilt and fit the pieced border.

Instructions:

1. In the Layout  menu select Quilt.

2. In the Sashes Tab of the Quilt Settings dialogue box select .

3. In the Borders Tab of the Quilt Settings dialogue box select .

4. In the Borders Tab of the Quilt Settings dialogue box select items as shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3
Settings for Quilt Layout Settings dialogue box for basic quilt.

Figure 4
Settings for Quilt Layout Setting dialogue box for border 1.


5.
In the Borders Tab of the Quilt Layout Settings dialogue box click then make entries as shown in Figure 4.

6. Click .

In the Quilt Layout, note the 12 blocks on each side, corners do not count, where the repeats will fit.  They look square but are not. 

Remember always print border templates from the QUILT


Figure 5
Blank quilt layout showing the repeats in Border 1


It is now time to place the border into the quilt.

1. Go to the Quilt Layout outline:

  • PC users: Right click any repeat space in the border.
  • Mac users: hold down the Ctrl Key and click any repeat space in the border.

2. In the pop-up menu select Browse Borders.


3.
In the File Browser scroll down to the Mitered Box Border.

4. Select, and drag and drop the Mitered Box Border into any repeat space in the pieced border.

5. The Border 1 Fitting dialogue box as shown in Figure 6 opens.

6. Verify settings and click . The quilt will layout.

7. Close File Browser using the X in the top right corner.

Figure 7 will show the fitting with a slight distortion.


Figure 6
Border 1 Fitting dialogue box.

Figure 7.  Fitting showing a slight distortion.

Border showing the slight distortion caused by fitting the border to the quilt.

  • If you do not see the distortion
    • Use the ruler on Figure 7 and compare the corner block which is exactly 4 inches with the Border block next to it which is slightly larger.
    • If you print a four inch pattern template from the border pattern you will be 2 inches short when you get through sewing. 
    • Each side and top could be different if the quilt is not square and remember the corners are not distorted as they are not part of the adjustment. 
    • Only the 12 border blocks along the edges of the quilt are part of the adjustment and the vertical and horizontal can be different. 
    • So to be absolutely sure the border fits when sewn print templates from the quilt and print one repeat in each direction and the corner square.

Note: When the distortion is excessive, adjust the border by changing the length or width of the repeat.  The rule for determining the number of repeats, hence the length, usually results in the least distortion.  Adjusting the width of the border to that of the repeat length will bring the repeat back to square reducing distortion. 

Instructions:

1. In the Quilt Layout Settings dialogue box enter 4.17 in both the Horizontal and Vertical Fitting Width boxes of the Quilt Layout Settings Borders Tab as shown in Figure 8.

2. Click .

Note: I did not pluck the number for repeat length out of the air. If you divide the total length of the side of the quilt, in this case 50 inches, by the number of repeats, in this case 12, you get 4.166 which was entered as 4.17

 

Look closely at the border, there is no discernable distortion after the width was adjusted.

Figure 8.
Quilt Layout Settings dialogue box Borders Tab for width adjustment.

 

The next case is adjusting the border by using a small border to make the quilt fit the border.

This is accomplished by inserting a border with the right width to make a perfect fit and eliminate all distortion.

1. In order to make the adjustment we must find the difference between the quilt size and the next repeat.

2. This figure must be divided by 2 since the border must be placed on both sides of the quilt. Remember the quilt size is 50 inches and the next repeat will be number 13. 4 inches times 13 is 52 inches.

3. 52 inches less 50 inches is 2 inches divided by 2 equals 1 inch.

  • A 1 inch border is required for a perfect fit. Quilt Pro will insert a 1 inch border between the quilt and the pieced border using the following instructions.

4. In the Layout menu select Quilt. In the Quilt Layout Settings dialogue box Border Tab change both the horizontal and vertical fitting settings back to 4.0 inches.

  • Verify that the dialogue box matches Figure 4.

5. In the Quilt Layout Settings dialogue box Border Tab select .

  • Note that a 4 inch wide border appears in the preview window and the active border is number 1. In the Horizontal and Vertical fittings settings change the width to 1.0 inch and both Counts to 1. (See Figure 10.)


Figure 10.
Quilt Layout Settings dialogue box Borders Tab for 1 inch wide fitting border. Border 1.

Figure 11.
Quilt Layout Settings dialogue box Borders Tab for a 4 inch wide pieced border. Border 2.


6.
In the Current Border window select 2 as the current Border and Change both the Horizontal and Vertical fittings to 13. (See Figure 11.)

7. Click .


3 Part Border Series by Frank Smith

click here Part 1: Fitting Pieced Borders
click here Part 2: Creating a Pieced Border
click here Part 3: Working with problem border blocks to make them symmetrical and other tricks

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To e-mail Frank with a thank you, click here
About the author of the Quilt-Pro Series, Frank Smith

Drafting Complex Blocks in Quilt-Pro, a series of articles by Frank Smith.

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