I finished piecing a 90″ x 90″ scrap quilt last week, and soon it will head off to the quilter. This quilt and I had a love-hate relationship from the get-go. I blogged about its birth in a post called “Running Smack Dab into Ugly.”
While the patches looked great in a pile, they were less enticing when sewn together.
Things improved as I added blocks.
Nevertheless, it went into the UFO pile for quite some time.
It ended up being 17 units across and 17 up and down. I still wasn’t loving it, but then I had an idea.
How about using a great big multi-colored print for the border? I pulled this Jane Sassaman floral from my stash and auditioned. The narrow yellow border seemed necessary to first bring everything to a halt. Once I put up the wide border, I turned a corner. Now I really liked the quilt!
I had only enough fabric for the sides of the quilt, so I’d have to use border cornerstones. But there was another issue. The black floral border fabric is directional. The flowers definitely all grow in one direction.
When you have plenty of fabric, you can cut two borders lengthwise and two borders crosswise, like they are in this quilt:
Again it’s the flowers growing up that make this directional. I bought enough fabric in this case to cut the borders accordingly. The sides are cut lengthwise. The top and bottom borders are cut across-grain and pieced for length.
Here’s a closer shot. The borders are cut so that all the flowers grow upward as they should. The white arrows indicate the lengthwise grain. I’ve labeled the seam, too. It’s good to be aware that this is an option whenever you’re using directional fabric for borders.
I didn’t have much to work with for the scrappy quilt, so I had only two options. I could have the flowers growing upwards in both side borders, and have them growing sideways on the top and bottom (photo above). I liked the sides but I did not like the top border in the photo above. I decided against it.
• Scrap quilts are usually ugly at first. Just keep sewing.
• A border can pull the whole mess together.
• Be aware of directional fabrics and how you can use them.
If you’d like to make an Attic Stairs quilt and get many more ideas for how this block unit can be used, check out Karen Griska’s Stairsteps Quilts book on etsy for $9.95. Lots of other great patterns by Karen there, too!