TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Friday, September 26, 2008

Interlacing Designs for Quilt Borders by Donna Hussain

Most beginning quilters focus their creative energies on the patchwork or appliqué centers of their quilts. By the time their quilt blocks are stitched and sewn together they are tired of sewing the quilt top, eager to start the quilting phase. However one last quilt-top task remains: the addition of borders. A common border solution is to frame the quilt top with four border strips of matching fabric. But does this border add visual interest and enhance the beauty of the quilt? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If not, what other options are there?

Traveling Star of the East By Donna Quartier

I am always looking for innovative ideas for borders. At quilt shows I walk down the aisles focusing on the borders of displayed quilts to collect border ideas. My scrapbooks of quilt pictures are a helpful resource when deciding on borders for a new project. A number of years ago I started a collection of interlacing patterns that I found in Islamic and Celtic art books, planning to sew these designs with bias tubes onto the borders of my quilts. Once my interest in interlacing designs was piqued I began to notice the patterns on jewelry, fabric trims, engravings, picture frames, fine china, greeting cards, and kitchen tiles.

However, I had to be able to draw interlacing patterns before I could sew them. The drawing was challenging until I realized that each pattern is a single motif repeated over and over again. Since I could not reproduce the symmetry of the patterns with accuracy when drawing freehand, I developed a grid structure for drawing the designs.

Sample drawings of patterns.

Click on the images to see the type more clearly.

Interlacing designs drawn on paper can also be drawn on fabric. By sewing bias tubes over the design lines the patterns can be sewn to border fabric. In 1998 I published a book on this subject, Interlacing Borders: More Than 100 Intricate Designs Made Easy published by Martingale Company. Included are directions for making bias tubes and for sewing the patterns, including how to start and stop as well as tips for sewing angles, curves, crossovers, and corners. Unfortunately this book is now out of print but can still be purchased either new or second-hand on the Internet.

Interlacing Borders by Donna Hussain

Here are some quilts that illustrate how interlacing border designs can enhance the borders of quilts. Some of the quilts are mine. Others are quilts made by Sacramento friends who allowed me to add interlacing borders to their quilt tops for publication in the book. Fortunately, I own the book’s copyright so can legally reproduce these photos.

Photos of Quilts

Starburst Fun By Joyce Reece

Forest Light By Donna Hussain

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Hearts By Candy Kraft

Leaves in the Wind By Cynthia Moseby

Rainbow Weaving By Elizabeth Lonnquist

Fourpatch Plus By Donna Hussain

Quintessential Quilter's Round Robin
Ouida Braithwaite, Nancy Barrow, Donna Hussain, Kit La Due, and Sandy Ross

California quilter, Donna Hussain, has exhibited in major quilt shows around the country, authored books, and is a regular contributor to Fiber Focus. Click on her name to see all of her past articles.

The photo shows Donna with her husband, Pascha.


1 comment:

“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth.”

“Whatever you say, say it with conviction.”

(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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