Wow! I’m looking at my collection of completed Batik Sampler blocks and I’m getting so excited to put it all together! Anthology Fabric’s Lava Solids Batiks are the perfect choice for this quilt. The mottling and color saturation provide so much richness and depth to the blocks. In fact, I was so pleased with the fabric selection for this quilt I decided to check out Anthology Fabric’s full line of Lava Solids Batiks for future quilts. I couldn’t believe how many colors there are to choose from! If you would like to imagine your next quilt made from Anthology Fabric you should check out Anthology’s website!
While the blocks are constructed completely from Anthology’s Lava Solids, I’m eagerly awaiting to receive the border fabric, which will be a batik print from Anthology. Borders are some of my favorite things to contemplate. Beyond the usual decisions of whether to have mitered corners, butted borders, or to add a corner square, there are a lot of ways to purpose borders in our quilts.
Pieced borders, like the hourglass block used on Batik Sampler’s inside border, are so much fun!
There are a lot of blocks that adapt well to pieced borders. A few of my favorites include Bow Tie, Flying Geese, Crossroads, and Rail Fence. Pieced borders can also be a great way to use up leftover fabric from the quilt center. While it’s true that pieced borders are a little more challenging because some extra math is needed, the results are well worth it! The Quilting Company offers a Pieced Borders e-book that shows some great ideas and provides diagrams that will help with the math!
Wider borders can provide a fantastic landscape for appliqué work. Plus, the design possibilities for appliqué seem endless!
For those who enjoy hand sewing, needle turn appliqué and wool appliqué await! One advantage of hand sewing and embroidery is having the option to use those delightful threads that don’t work well in high-powered sewing machines. Of course, hand appliqué takes longer, and those gorgeous silk threads and wools can be expensive. But if you’re looking for some calm hand stitching for cozy winter evenings consider a bit of hand appliqué and embroidery! Two artists who continually inspire with their mastery of handwork are Kim Diehl and Sue Spargo.
Appliqué That’s Quick and Fun
If quick and fun appliqué is your style, look no further than the AccuQuilt Die-cutter machines. In addition to the time-saving quilt block dies used for the Batik Sampler, AccuQuilt offers a multitude of dies that cut perfect silhouettes, flowers, animals, and seasonal shapes. There are so many to choose from, but here are a few of my favorites!
Simply apply your paper-backed fusible web to the wrong side of your fabric before running it through the Accuquilt Die-cutter. The staff at your favorite quilt shop can help you choose a fusible web weight that is appropriate for your fabric. Also, choose a fusible web that won’t leave a build up of adhesive on your sewing machine needle as you stitch through it later on. Don’t peel off the paper until after the shape is cut. Once you’ve placed and fused the cut pieces to your quilt, a simple blanket stitch around the edge is all that’s needed to secure your appliqué in place. The fusible web and blanket stitch keep the appliqué from unraveling.
To learn more about how to use appliqué on your quilt take a peek at this appliqué techniques book I found helpful.
Another option for wider borders is to create a scallop along the edge. I think scallops add a lot of character to a quilt. In fact, for the Batik Sampler, I’m contemplating making the outer border scalloped because I think the soft curves will offset the sharp angles and square corners found in the blocks.
If you are thinking of a scalloped border, make sure you wait until after the quilt is quilted before cutting the scallops. Similar to the pieced border, there will be a little extra math involved. You’ll want to have the size and shape of your side scallops to divide evenly along the edges of your quilt, and you’ll want the side scallops and corner scallops to naturally reconcile with each other.
While there are lots of rulers and tools to choose from to make scallops, don’t forget you can probably find something around the house that works too! My mom always traced the rim of a wide water glass to get perfectly rounded corners on her handmade blankets! It’s also nice to only cut scallops on the top and bottom edges of a quilt while leaving the sides straight. I first tried this several years ago when I made a quilt using Amanda Murphy’s design that was published in the September/October 2013 issue of Love of Quilting magazine.
Binding the Scallops
Remember that you will need to make a binding that is cut on the bias (at a 45-degree angle from the selvage) if using a scalloped border. Often this requires a little more fabric than a binding that is cut on the grain. Bias-cut binding will give the stretchiness that is needed to bend the fabric smoothly around the scalloped curves.
One of our favorite designers, Mark Lipinski, offers some great tips on scalloped borders and bias bindings in his video (found on The Quilting Company website).
In summary, borders can be simple or complex. With both types, using a walking foot to attach the border is always a good idea. They are used when joining long pieces of fabric and also for joining multiple layers. A walking foot is a great tool for keeping stitches even, which means less likelihood of getting the dreaded wavy border and less chance of needing to reach for that seam ripper!
Explore more sampler quilt patterns!
If you are enjoying the variety of blocks and techniques used in the Batik Sampler Block of the Month take a look at the nice variety of Sampler Quilt Patterns offered by The Quilting Company!