Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WIP: Nautical Borders, Backing, and Binding

WIP Wednesdays went on hiatus. The timing was great because it coincided with the week and a half my husband and I spent in Seattle with college friends. Before I'd left for vacation, I'd finish piecing the majority of the top of my nautical baby quilt. All that was left, was to add the narrow inner border and the wide outer border. My last post on this quilt was five weeks ago on July 16th. When I returned from Seattle, my daughter-in-law and four-month-old granddaughter were visiting for a week. Much as I love quilting, the presence of a granddaughter trumps being in my sewing room. Adding the borders to the nautical quilt waited a bit longer.

This week I ventured back into my forlorn and abandoned sewing room, which is more accustomed to nearly daily companionship. I added the two borders this week after mom and baby returned home. Here you can see the red and white candy striped inner border and the sailboat print outer border from the fabric line Seaworthy by Jack and Lulu for Dear Stella Fabrics. I was auditioning bindings in the far left side of this photo. At first I thought I wanted more of the candy stripe. I had a similar fabric but only in other stripe widths and they were a bit too graphic, even in the small dose of only a binding width. See the top-left and bottom-left fabrics. Perhaps something more subtle would fit better such as a binding of the zig-zag wave fabrics, also from the Seaworthy fabric line. I considered using one, the other, or possibly alternating both. Neither seemed right and seemed to distract from the feature boats, even though they were color matched and intended to coordinate. See two middle-left fabrics and the half-square-triangles of waves near mid-photo.

I then tried the same sailboat fabric from the wide outer border as the binding fabric. I usually contrast my binding but in this case I liked that it blended in and did not draw the eye outward. It is all the way on the right in the next photo. I made up my binding for the quilt, also, this week. I cut the binding strips from half widths of fabric rather than whole widths because that is what I had left. I actually think that approach will work out better because the pattern print changes more often within the binding itself. I am curious to see how it turns out when sewed on. I did not have enough fabric to cut each strip along the same horizontal line of sailboats and, even if I could have tailored the binding to the repeat of the fabric, it would have been very wasteful. Whoops! I just noticed in the photo a pucker by the lower rightmost wave and the candy stripe. Gotta fix that... Glad I spotted it before quilting...

I was determined not to buy backing material since I have  a lots of fabrics in my stash that I bought on sale for backing fabrics. I probably have more "backing fabrics" than I will ever make quilts in my lifetime! But let's not go there. That is true of my entire stash as well. I decided to piece this backing with an assortment of nautical prints I had from the Sail Away fabric line by Northcott Studio. I had one yard of each of these three prints, two with anchors and one with sailboats. None was long enough nor wide enough for the 58.6" wide x 61.5" tall quilt top.

The Sail Away red is a bit subdued and not as bright as the red in the Seaworthy line on the quilt top and the navy is a bit darker, but I felt it kept the theme alive and was fine as backing. I needed to make my three one yard cuts fit. All three prints were directional. I split the anchor ones in half crosswise and the sailboat one in half lengthwise and sewed them in somewhat of a checkerboard pattern for the back.

The block-like pattern remind me of nautical flags. Although there is no yellow, the back  is kind of bold with the same sort of rectangular elements. 

Alas, I am now at my pausing/stall point in my quilting process. I just need to forge ahead and layer that backing, batting, and top. But I can delay as I ponder my quilting pattern. The original pattern had swirls among the ships but I would like to deviate from that and use my feed dogs for control rather than free motion quilt.

At this point I am leaning toward parallel channel stitching the quilt on the diagonal to reinforce the slant direction of the sails and waves. I would like to just echo the stripes in the red and white candy stripe border, perhaps carrying the stitching out to the binding. This will work in the top and bottom borders. Since the sailboat heights may not be integral number of wave blocks, there might need to be some uneven spacing in the side borders. Here is my Power Point doodling as I figure this out.

I might wind up just straight stitching between the boats. Here are those options.

It has also been a long time since I have posted my project status list. Here it is updated from my post of July 2, 2014 without many changes. I've decided to post the status updates less often so that some ongoing projects – those I do not want to abandon yet am unwilling to tackle just yet – do not keep staring me in the face.

Completed projects (0):
  1. But I had a great vacation with college friends and a terrific visit with my granddaughter and daughter-in-law.
Ongoing projects (5):
  1. Nautical themed baby quilt ( July 9, 2014 post and July 16, 2014 post)
  2. Mask quilt (October 19, 2011 post) - hidden away awaiting inspiration for arranging hexagons
  3. Chicken quilt - spray basted, awaiting embellishment (April 24, 2014 post)
  4. Classic Cars strip quilt (August 3, 2013 post) - need to back, quilt, and bind
  5. Overlapping square wall hanging - awaiting FMQ
New projects (0):
  1. ... other than buying more fabric ...

Now that WIP Wednesdays are back, I am hooking up to today's Freshly Pieced post.


  1. I love your boat quilt - the border fabric is perfect!

    1. Thanks. The border fabric really tickles me too. It is a fun quilt.

  2. Cute quilt! I love those little anchors.

    1. Yes, those little anchors fit right in. I initially thought the fabric was a bit somber, but paired with the right stuff any fabric can shine. This was a case of making lemonade out of lemons. Though those anchors could not have been too sour or I wouldn't have bought them in the first place, right? Thank you for your visit and comment.

  3. Nice fabrics and pattern. Looking good!

    1. Thank you for your words of encouragement. It is a fun quilt.

  4. I love your backing, and I agree with Jennie that the border fabric is just about perfect. I caution that your final FMQ option for the border (lines that are parallel to the edges and dependent on the location of the boats) may end badly if the fabric wasn't printed straight, but I love the diagonal straight lines around the boats, and both the diagonal and the perpendicular-to-the-edge straight line quilting you've outlined.

    1. Thanks for the input. I think I am homing in on diagonals in the main center section and lines parallel to the candy stripe in the inner and outer border both – not as fussy and fewer directional changes. I layered it yesterday and I am about to spray baste it today.