Quilt Filling Along the Edges



This post is part of a series about sewing NotQuilts. If you’re unfamiliar with this method, The NotQuilt series begins here. The link below takes you to the Cat Notquilt project.

I’ve been filling in the border. I started with the longest corridors reaching into the center of the finished quilt. Since I have limited solid green fabric left, it makes sense to do the largest areas first.

I worked my way around the four sides with the grass green as that is the largest, longest piece left. Each of the four sides now has several of these grass green rectangles, spaced out across the sides. I did not want the grass green, so dark and dramatic, to dominate one side or the other.

Once the grass green was down, I filled in the other long, empty corridors with other shades of green. There are no empty, long skinny corridors that reach into the fashion face of the NotQuilt.

quilt filling

We’re down to covering the pink notches around the edges. We know, however, that two inches in on all sides will be covered by the edging material.

Instead, I have wide, shallow, stubby areas of dull rose waiting to be covered with green rectangles. Many of these areas are really wide. That means a decision. Do I want to fill in a wide, shallow area with a single block of color? Or do I want to fill in a wide shallow area with many narrower rectangles of green?

I have always made my NotQuilt borders by filling them with a succession of rectangles from two to five inches wide. The length of them is dependent on the NotQuilt’s center medallion. These rectangles march all around the edges, sometimes randomly and other times rigorously lined up with their matching counterparts on the opposite side.

I like the series of rectangles; they remind me of building blocks. Following this procedure on this particular NotQuilt will lead to certain awkwardnesses however.

Planning After Starting

The design of the cat NotQuilt was never planned. I started by patching a dying comforter. Many of my fashion fabric cats are pretty darn close to the edge. There won’t be much space for a border between a cat fabric and the binding. When I resurrected this patched comforter, I did move some of the cat patches so they weren’t so close to the edges. I knew I didn’t want them covered by the binding fabric, with no border at all.

quilt filling

The white lines show where the binding will cover the existing edges of the old comforter. Everything to the right of the long white line needs to be covered.

If you look closely at the picture, you can see the demarcation line showing where the binding will cover the existing edges of the old comforter. It is the second line of stitching in from the edge; because of the vagaries of the comforter this shows as a puffy ridge in some places and in other spots, the second line of stitching overlays another line of stitching and you can’t see it at all. When I sewed this line of stitching, I used dark green thread so I could more easily see where to stop sewing on patches. There’s no need to sew patches past where the binding will cover them up along with the dull rose original cloth.

Sadly, I didn’t really think through how far inland I should have moved some of the existing cat patches to allow for a proper border space. The current space left for a border alongside some of the cat patches isn’t more than two inches wide in some spots. Ripping out those pieces is out of the question by now.

Do I want to cover up this 2-inch wide strip with many small squares of fabric? It would let me use up every last scrap of solid green. All those little squares would also be tedious to cut, iron, pin, and sew down.

I could cover the narrow border sections with a single long strip, or a few long, narrow strips, depending on how much fabric is left. I could also make the usual rectangles and just sew them over top of the cat fashion fabric patches, covering up those darling motifs of big eyed, staring kitties.

This is another reason why I started by filling the longest and biggest empty corridors and I am working my way down to the narrow edges. I can’t decide what to do. I don’t know how much solid green I have left and I’m not anxious to introduce still more new shades of solid green if I don’t have.

My hope is that the NotQuilt will tell me as I go along, slowly filling out the empty spaces into a border. After every pass of a set of patches being cut, ironed, pinned, and sewn, I throw the NotQuilt onto the floor and let it speak to me.

This has worked with all of my previous, less-planned efforts, so it should work again. There is always hope.