Thursday, March 15, 2012

on the 5-yard line

Back in July 2010, I finished a French Braid top.  I think I fell in love with *every* *single* variation I saw and every single colorway.  I don't think there is such a thing as an ugly French Braid quilt. :-)

As I remember, at that time, I was really, *really*, REALLY into piecing.  I had this bug in my ear urging me to piece! piece! piece! .. and so I did.  I have a LOT of tops ready to be quilted.  :-)

So, let's fast forward to current times .... after finishing the Robot quilt (see previous post), I was now on a roll for quilting.   From experience, I know that I need a Quilting Plan before I ever load a quilt on my longarm.  I can do the sit-and-stare thing while the top is up on my design wall, but I come to a complete standstill with respect to inspiration if it's on the frame.

I Googled French Braid quilts to see what other quilters were doing.  My original thought was to put feathers in each column .. but .. oh dear, it's True Confession time ... I'm kinda feathered-out right now.  I've been doing quite a bit of feathers on various things and didn't feel that feathers was doing anything "new".  There are still many, *many*, MANY styles of feathers I want to stitch ... but not right now.

Interestingly, there weren't too many close-up pictures of quilted French Braids.  Lots of tops, though.  Finally, my patience was rewarded .. I saw a lovely example of a linear design that was done in each segment.  The line of quilting angled down each segment and met in the middle, where the center diamond was.  And that is the idea that I used.

The borders got a scallop-and-beadboard treatment.  I just love it, although I probably ought to move on to another variation.  :-) 

The narrow fabric between the French Braid columns got Carla Barrett's "curly swirly" design.  Again, I use this motif waaaaay too much in sashings, but, *by golly*, it's just the perfect thing if you want a round design!  It's another motif that I just love, love, love.

Over a weekend, the French Braid was quilted.  It's approximately 72"x94", which makes it an over-sized twin or an under-sized full/double. :-)  

It's been squared and is ready to be bound.   I considered using the burgundy color (from the narrow border around the French Braid columns).  This repetition would give a visual tie-in to the interior while providing a "hard" stop at the edge.  Ummm ... I wasn't sure.

Then I considered using the border fabric.  Being the same as the border, would give a seamless finish and not be distracting.

Ultimately, I decided on the border fabric.   I knew it was the correct choice because I just felt "right" about it. 

But .. umm .. uh oh.  Now we have a problem.  I figured I had leftover border fabric .. but where???  This top was finished in 2010 ... the leftover amount might be in my scrap bins (someplace), it might be in my stash bins (someplace) or  .. ::gasp::  I might have even already used it elsewhere!

A cursory search resulted in nothing.  Hmmm.  OK, Plan B ... look online.  Fortunately, even though the Stonehenge Cool Stone line is from 2010, it's still be stocked online!  (Local quilt stores don't keep fabric around that long.)  But, I held off ordering it.  Call it a premonition but .. as I was looking for a completely different piece of fabric for a completely different project, I *found* the leftover piece!  Woo hoo!  Go me!  :-)

I did the math and figured out I need at least 322 linear inches of binding.  I think I can eke out that much from the leftover piece.

Oh yeah .. and I still need to make the label for it.  :-)


  1. Hey Pirate - love your 'braid', been wanting to do one for a long time and you've given me the impetus for my next pieced quilt...can hardly wait to see this one finished!

    BTW - your sashing border looks awesome (especially from the back ;-) did you use templates and if so, which/what kind?...Thanks!

  2. Hiya, Deb. thanks much!

    The outer border was done with a swag template from Constantine Quilts. The link to her site for the template is

    She also has a distributor in the US, if you need that.

    They are very easy to use and she has LOTS of ideas how to creatively use them, other than the basic version that I did.

  3. Thanks Pirate - that is Awesome because I just happen to have this set from Constantine Quilts(from KM supply, I think? and your right, her videos or amazing w/great ideas, I've watched hours of them) - anyway, that's what I was hoping and why I was askin' - wanted to make sure my suspicions were right and obviously they work great, as your quilt testifies. I haven't had a chance (or the guts) to try them yet, still workin' out the kinks on my set-up, hopefully soon...

    Thanks again,

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