Friday, 1 July 2011

When I get to the border...

The golden brown toned sampler quilt is having it's border made and added today. After much deliberation, I added sashing, using part sewn seams to give a woven illusion and fussy cutting each stripe strip to make the sashing look (I hope) slightly 3 -D.

The sampler arrangement was included in 'Japanese Taupe Quilt Blocks' as one of the computer-generated mix and match ideas and the arrangement worked out onscreen is more or less what I made.

Originally, I wasn't going to use any sashing, but assemble the blocks like the sashiko Kasuri sampler from 'Japanese Quilt Blocks'. The photo below shows that quilt at Malvern in 2007, when it was awarded a Judges' Merit - pretty good for a quilt which (still) has only the absolute minimum amount of quilting, just enough to keep all the layers together, time being of the essence!

'Sashiko Kamon' works without sashing because the same plain blue tsumugi cotton (from Euro Japan Links Limited) is used for all the dark blues, both in the sashiko blocks and the patchwork ones. It is woven with a deep indigo blue weft and a black warp, and under certain lighting states looks black. The golden brown sampler doesn't have this unity - all the appliques are on woven taupe fabrics, while the blocks, especially those with very small pieces, mainly use prints. I played around with assembling the blocks on screen, and decided to go with the sashing. It ended up a bit narrower in proportion than shown in the drawing below, as the width of the stripe and therefore the pattern repeat dictated the sashing width.

Striped tsumugi cotton is a favourite of mine for borders and would seem the natural choice for this. I used a brown tsumugi for the border on the 'Hakone Yosegi Sampler' from 'Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match' -

It worked very well here IMHO (and in the opinion of the judges at Quilts UK 2009 too), but I hadn't used striped tsumugi for the sashing - instead, the sashing alternates between a plain tan cotton and another Japanese woven fabric which is rather like a tsumugi but not quite, having a two tone weave but none of the hige (slubs). Yes, the block borders and setting do drop 1in between each column, to accommodated the slightly longer isometric blocks at the top and bottom of alternate columns. The outer border fabric also pops up in some of the blocks.

I thought the latest quilt needs something a little more. Like this - yabane (arrow feather) pattern, which is one of the blocks in 'Japanese Taupe...'

I am using a slightly warmer brown tsumugi stripe, without the blueish tones in the block above (which will be going into another sampler with the cooler dark blocks). To get the most out of the bias cut strips from a bolt just 14 1/2in wide, the length of the strips has been reduced to 9in cut, so I could get two from each diagonal strip, otherwise there would have been a lot of wastage.

BTW, I've added a narrow 1in border in a faux patchwork print to lift the quilt centre a little and stop the sashing attempting to merge with the outer border.

This morning's big descision will be for the arrow shafts. The finished width is only 1/2in. Do I use a subtle print (like above) or do I attempt to use another stripe, and go for that optical illusion of roundness again? Can it be achieved on such a narrow strip without wobbling off the stripe? I'll sew from the shaft side, not the flight, so I'll be able to see what's going on with the stripes all the time, but can I pull this one off 96 times? That's the number of arrows in the border - no great significance to the number, it just worked out that way! I'll post later and let you know how I get on. Wish me luck!

(The post title references Richard Thompson's song 'When I get to the border' - that's Richard Thompson OBE now! :-))

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