Borders - to border or not

borders word.jpg

I suppose it is safe to say that I don’t have strong feelings either way about borders.

The “modern quilt” movement - whatever that is exactly - seems to not use them. I suspect it goes along with their desire to keep things simple and clean looking.

Borders just add more work, and you have more of a chance of have wavy edges. To eliminate that chance, just get rid of borders!

It’s sort of like having a table that seems to catch all the junk in your house. Just get rid of the table - wa-la - no place to put all that junk that tends to collect! Thus no mess!

I’m just guessing, actually, but that is what I suspect. I also suspect, that, like fashion, people change things around just to make it different. So, if tradition says “borders are what’s expected to make a quilt look finished”, a new idea would be to just leave off the borders to not be traditional!

Actually, I don’t care.

Sometimes I put borders on my quilts and sometimes I just stop and quilt it. Obviously just stopping, is faster. Borders can be fantastic, but they can sometimes take a long time to make and put on!

If you look at my finished quilts, there are times I’ve used them and times when I’ve left them off.

Let me show you.

Le’s consider these quilts from my 2” series of quilts. All of these are patterns available on the free patterns page.

Here are a variety of borders -

And here are a few where I’ve left off borders! I do find it easier to leave off borders - but of course, you have to make more blocks in order to make a big quilt! I find writing a pattern without borders easier, for obvious reasons!

What I did notice here is that most of these without borders are on point. Hmm.

I also have several where I have the center “float” and don’t use a colorful or complicated border. What I mean by that is that the border and the background are similar in color and so it appears that the blocks are just ‘floating’ in the center of the quilt. Here are a few to show you what I mean:

I’m showing just three that float.

But these are tops that have an inside floating look. They have a floating border inside another border - so that the center is just sitting there. I like that look.

I know that there are some who say things l like “All quilts, like all pictures, need a frame”.

Some look “down” on borders as sort of “cheating” and they think you only do it to add size to your quilt without bothering to make more blocks! (Yes…I’ve seen that attitude on social media.)

I’ve also seen a places where there are some formulas given as to what make the “perfect size/proportions” for the borders.

While I find all things about borders fascinating - my unscientific method for choosing whether or not I need a border is simply how it looks! Sometimes it also depends on how much of the main fabric I have and what size of quilt I need or want to make.

Let me summarize my thoughts:

Border Positives:

  1. Frames the quilt, giving it a finished appearance, like a picture or a painting with a frame and mat.

  2. Adds to the size of the quilt so that you can make a more limited number of blocks and still end up with a big quilt

  3. A complicated border adds interest to the quilt

Border Negatives:

  1. There is the possibility of them being wavy or not fitting the center properly if it is a pieced border and you weren’t perfect in your piecing of the center blocks

  2. They can take a lot of time when you are psychologically finished with the quilt!

  3. You will make fewer blocks and so your center of the quilt can be less interesting because of having fewer blocks to complete the design.

“No border” Positives:

  1. Simplicity - when you are finished putting your blocks together, you are done.

  2. Clean look - no extra visual clutter to your quilt

  3. No extra time to worry or think about making a border - or extra fabric - thus mental relief - no decision making required.

“No Border” Negatives:

  1. Can look like you just “stopped” or grew tired of making the quilt.

  2. Your quilt could be ‘uninteresting’ if the center design is too simple.

  3. You will need to make a lot more blocks in order to get a bigger quilt.

I guess in the end, I’m not much help, am I?

It’s really up to you - because remember,

There are NO quilt police!”

Have a great day, wherever you are reading this!

Be sure to check out what my sis has for you in the store!