“I Love This Quilt.”
A professor I had for one of my instructional design courses once told me, “You aren’t going to reinvent the wheel. It’s been done. Freewheeling is OK.” He was referring to leveraging an existing element or design to generate new ideas or ways to do something. At the McCall’s office we see many new quilt designs every day. And, most of these glorious quilts have an element of something that’s been done before, expanding upon tradition, or incorporating an element to create a contemporary design.
I took this approach to heart when I decided to change the second border in my reproduction of Twinkling Star, a pattern originally printed in the 2004 vintage issue of McCall’s Quilting. The quilt is the I Love This Quilt feature in the January/February 2017 issue of McCall’s Quilting. You can download the Twinkling Star quilt pattern from the Quilt and Sew Shop.
The second border in the original quilt pattern was made of colorful scrappy triangles, repeating the triangles used in the blocks. I really like triangle-squares, and I like making them with the Triangulations method I used to make the Twinkling Star blocks. (See my blog posted on November 9th to learn more about Triangulations.)
I thought changing out the pieced border might give the quilt a more contemporary look so I switched out the 2nd border’s scrappy triangles for an assorted blue print and cream triangle-square border. I thought this change would enhance the transition between the borders. The pieced border in the original design gives a distinct separation between the center of the quilt and borders, a traditional design. By adding the cream fabric into the 2nd border all three borders become part of the overall design of the quilt.
I know many quilters hesitate to switch out part of an established pattern. Don’t be afraid to change out quilt elements. As you know, changing accessories can give you a whole new look and feel.
Like a puzzle, incorporating a new treatment won’t fit unless it is the same size as the one you are taking out. It’s important to carefully plan ahead. Do the math before you cut and sew. Here’s one example of how to change out a border, the approach I took to calculate the second border using 2″ (finished) triangle-squares:
- Measure one side and the top of my quilt, after adding the first border.
- Divide the side measurement by the finished size by 2 to identify the number of triangle-squares needed for each side. (Example: 80″ divided by 2″ = 40. 40 x 2 sides = 80 triangle-squares.
- Use the same calculation to find out how many triangle-squares are needed for the top and bottom of the 2nd border. (Example: 90″ divided by 2″ = 45. 45 x 2 = 90 triangle squares.)
- Add 4 triangle-squares to accommodate the overlap you’ll have from the triangle-squares added to each side. (90 + 4 = a total of 94 triangle-squares.)
- Notes: 1) Depending upon the size of the treatment you add to replace the 2nd border, you may need to adjust the size of any additional borders, or amount of binding required for the quilt. 2) If you are using the Half-Square Triangles from Squares technique found in McCall’s Quilting Quilt Basics, don’t forget to add 7/8″ to the desired finished block size.
Here are a few other possibilities of a 2nd border design for the Twinkling Star quilt pattern. Isn’t it fascinating how the change of just one element in a quilt can make it look so different?
Look for my blog next week to find out how I incorporated a different binding into my version of Twinkling Star. Download the pattern to make your reproduction of the original 1930s quilt made by Alice Melum Moss.