Tag Archives: octagon

Still going…

I cannot get this quilt top out of my mind – I thought I would just finish it off with a narrow yellow/orange batik border and be done with it. But I am still not happy – I have yet to reach the “ah ha – that’s it” point. I keep thinking something is missing – it just doesn’t feel finished yet.

Sooooo… I have decided to add a piano keys border of the above yellow oche/orange fabrics – many of them are in the center of the top. No blues or blacks.

This is just an experiment at this stage. I am going to cut enough strips for one side. Then I will photograph them and make a mock up in Photoshop.

The quilt as it is measures 62×62. If I add 14″ that’s 76 x 76. Not even queen size – and I thought it was going to be so big!

I have pulled 52 yellow ochre/muted orange fabrics and I am going to start cutting. The math is mercifully pretty easy. I am going to make the narrow orange inner border 2″ instead of 1.5″. then that will make the width of the top 66″.

66 divided by 24 strips  = 2.75 – a nice round number. Adding 1/2″ for seams I have to cut the strips 3 1/4″ wide. I will cut them  2″ longer than I need – because I like a lot of extra wiggle room for squaring up and trimming after it is quilted. I also like a wide binding. I tell Jackie (my longarm quilter) to stop the quilting design two inches from the edge.

Here goes – can’t wait to see if I like it!!

144 octagons – done!

And it’s pretty much squared up – just a tad more tweaking. The picture makes it look skewed – but it really is square. I hang a plumb bob with a black thread on the edges and every few rows of blocks – it’s lining up pretty well – thank goodness.

I don’t have a lot of yellow/orange batik left over so the outer border cannot be too wide.  I am thinking of a narrow one and a half-inch border – the same width as the little squares. I don’t want anything to overwhelm the blue border blocks.

Octagon update

88 little orange squares sewn on! Joining the strips is going to take awhile.

Blue border

I am joining the rows top to bottom right hand side first. I am dedicating all of my sewing time to this project – so there probably won’t be any more posts until I have made some progress.


Another mockup in Photoshop

Since my last post I have discovered that the blue print fabric I had planned on using for all the blue border blocks is discontinued. AND so is the yellow ochre print.

So… here is plan #2 – which actually I like even better. It is quite subtle – but you can see that it is a blue frame. Not really a border since it is using the same block as the rest of the quilt.

Obviously this is not the final placement of the blocks – I just flipped and repeated two sides to save time – I just wanted to see the effect the scrappy blues would have.

I have just enough of the yellow/orange batik I used for the joining squares to make a border. This Photoshop mockup just has the yellow oche color as a fill – the batik will look better – it has a nice subtle dotty texture.

Binding?  I will think about that when the time comes. I may make a scrappy strip using all the ochre prints – we’ll see. Maybe I can find a Kaffe print that has the same tones of ochre as the batik.

This is a MAJOR job – I will be making almost another half a quilt. I need 44 more blocks. PLUS I have to take out all the trimmed orange batik squares on the edges and replace them with whole ones. Boy I wish I’d thought about this BEFORE I trimmed those squares!


I just ordered the fabric for the binding. Kaffe Roman Glass Gold from Glorious Color. It almost matches the gold batik I will be using for the border. I think it will add a nice finishing touch to the quilt – a bit more interesting than the plain batik. I will be using the purple and black dot for the backing.Whew! I have been losing sleep over this – I am glad I have finally made a decision. Now to get to work making the 44 new blocks!


#1 idea in my last post doesn’t work – it looks like I just threw something together to be done with it. I am leaning towards a pieced border – now to decide what kind of pieced border.

Borders are quilt frames and – in my opinion – can make or break a quilt. But we often don’t pay enough attention to them. We have spent so much time making the quilt top (especially if we piece them by hand) we just want to finish it and move on to the next project.

My Dad used to own a frame shop so I know that you can take a cheap poster or reproduction and frame it very well and it will look fantastic. But an expensive work of art badly framed will never look it’s best.

I agonize over every border I have ever made. But I am always glad that I took the extra time to get it right. I am in no hurry – I don’t know what “right” is at this point – but I will know it when I see it.


I HATE it!!

I ripped the length of the fabric and it turned out to be a great big horrible repeat pattern.  I had assumed that it would be all over – but of COURSE if it isn’t a dot or an allover pattern it WILL be a repeat – DUH!! I knew that!

So…. what to do??

I am still thinking:

1) I could use the purple/black dot I was going to use for the backing. It’s in the quilt – the octagon third row from the bottom – fourth from the right.

2) I could piece 40 octagons in the border fabric – with red batik centers and use that as a border – with another narrow black outer border to finish it off. But.. what do I do with the corners?

What could solve the corner problem is to remove the black border and sew the border fabric octagons directly to the quilt. That would mean that I would have to remove all of the trimmed orange batik squares and replace the with whole red ones.

3 I could cut the fabric up into strips and sew them together – that would jumble up the pattern.

4) I could make a pieced border – something with squares and or triangles.

5) I could order another fabric. There are lots of all over patterns in the blocks I could use.

6) I could cut it from selvage to selvage – but I HATE joins in the border – always looks like you didn’t have enough fabric. So I am not going to do that.

7) I could do a piano keys with all the fabrics – but I did that on my batik hexagons – not that there is any quilt law against having two quilts with the same borders.

Still thinking.

I think I am going to make up a few octagons with red batik centers and put them up on the wall to see how that goes.

I am – as always – open to suggestions.

Octagon inner border

It looks a bit wonky in this photo. I am going to draw a square on the flannel the same size as the top – so that I can block it before adding the wider outer border.

I measured the width across the middle and cut the strips accordingly. I had a lot of easing to do – because all of the blocks on the edges are on the bias. I handled the blocks as gently as possible when joining and pressing them – but there is no way you can avoid a bit of stretching. If I can be sure that the top is square at this stage it should be square after the outer border is added.

Octagon progress

I finally got it ironed – took untold hours which I spread out over several days because it was so boring. I am pleased to report it turned out nice and smooth and flat. Trimmed the edges and now I am attaching the fourth strip of the inner border. The sun is shining through the top hanging off the ironing board and it looks like a stained glass window – but unfortunately it didn’t show up in the picture.

Octagon update

I have to trim the edges, add the inner and outer borders and piece the backing and then it is off to my long arm quilter in Connecticut.

But first I have to press it. That is the stumbling block – the reason I have put off finishing this quilt. I pressed all the blocks exactly the same way as I was making them. But when I started joining the rows I forgot to pay attention to how the seams were pressed – I just picked them up at random. Now the seams are going every which way and it will be very difficult to sort out. I’ll just have to do the best I can – even if each one isn’t perfect – I am sure it will lie flat.