Nellie"s Needles

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Creating Layered Borders

For this Smoky Mountain series I decided to keep the composition small (9"x 9"). To give the pieces substance as well as to emphasize the distance of the furthermost mountains they are framed with 2" wide borders.

Sugarlands Overlook (14"x 14")
These borders are created by laying and couching yarns as well as adding decorative machine stitches to a foundation of fabric. All four borders are constructed in one piece. The surface foundation fabric is layered with batting and a backing fabric. I use a spray adhesive to adhere those three layers so they don't shift while doing all the machine work that lies ahead.
Also apply a spritz of spray adhesive to the top surface of the foundation fabric. Make a selection of decorative yarns that complement the composition. I chose two variegated chenille yarns plus one that is twisted with a finer thread and a decorative rayon one. Cut lengths and arrange them on top of the foundation.
Select a tulle netting that complements your choices and the composition for which the border is being created. I used black. Spritz a layer of adhesive to the underside of the tulle before carefully laying it in place. Pin baste all the layers together.
Machine stitch around the outside edges to secure the yarn ends. Run straight rows of stitching parallel to and between the rows of yarns.
I had used a metalic copper thread for that first set of stitches.
And then I couched rows of this twisted fiber yarn across the piece.
To read the tutorial about the method I use for couching yarn go here. Scroll to the middle of that post for the instructions to couch yarn on a surface. The first part is about couching yarn to raw edges.
This is the result of couching that variegated twisted linen type yarn.
My last step was to fill in any spaces with rows of a narrow zig-zag pattern using a #40 quilting thread.
When you are satisfied with the amount of stitching trim one ragged edge from the layered border fabric. Measuring from this clean edge cut the fabric into four borders. For this small composition each of the borders are the same width. On some of my larger quilts the bottom border has been cut wider than the other three.
Do not cut any length away from the borders. Align the edge of a border with the edge of the quilt. Apply scotch tape to keep the pieces together. Turn it right side up and stitch the two together with a wide zig-zag stitch.
Apply the border on the opposite side of the quilt. Then zig-zag stitch the other two borders just to the sides of the quilt. All the corners will be overlapped and hanging loose.
My preference is to miter the corners of these borders. Although, they certainly could be finished otherwise. Use an acrylic ruler to draw the angle between the corner of the quilt and where the edge of two borders meet. For equal width borders this will be 45 degree line. It will be a different angle for two borders that are different widths. Cut along this line through both layers. It's easier to cut one layer and then draw on and cut the other. Tape and zig-zag stitch the miter closed.
To finish the raw seam between the borders and the quilt I cover it with a flat decorative yarn. It is zig-zag stitched in place by machine. Do this before applying decorative yarns to those same seams on the front of the quilt.
Here's a close-up photo of the decorative yarns that finish the front side of the quilt. Use the first method described in my tutorial for couching yarns to apply it to the outside edge. Sometimes I cover the mitered corner seams with yarn. Doing so will draw attention to that detail. Omit that step if doesn't work for your quilt.
Here are links to other quilts that feature my layered fabric borders:


Amy said...

Nellis, the border you created is fantastic, I am going to have to use it in one of my upcoming quilts. Thanks for sharing. Amy

Anonymous said...

Thanks for showing us how to make this - i really like these borders - they remind me of rustic timber frames - and frame the scene wonderfully well.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Oh wow...if you hadn't done this tutorial on how you made the borders I would still be thinking it was striped fabric you used. I loved the quilt before, but now I'm doubly in like with it!!

Karen said...

these borders perfectly compliment your quilts! I had wondered how you put them together, such work! Beautiful results Nellie!

Kay said...

Thanks you for taking the time to put together this tutorial. These borders are beautiful, and I'm delighted to know how to make one.

self taught artist said...

nellie, I don't know how you do it, I think you should leave your brain to science. This looks so complex and detailed, yet you manage to put creativity in something that is obviously controlled as well. I like the earthiness if this piece, it's also just like looking out of a window from a secluded cabin!

jay670120 said...

WoW you have put alot of work into this piece its amazing x Bumped into your blog link on Fiskarettes x

Waltraud said...

Thanks for this wonderful tutorial,

Anne Wigfull said...

Brilliant idea, Nellie, and so in keeping with the central part of the quilt.

Micki said...

Wonderful tutorial. Thank you so much sharing with us. Love these Mountain quilts.

teodo said...

Nellie finally I come back,
thanks for this tutorial and thanks for your new collection of little quilts about Smoky Mountains.
ciao ciao

arlee said...

WOW, what a gorgeous completion to the art! A truly stunning look---gotta try that :}