We’re very lucky to have such incredibly talented friends for whom we’re able to give honestly positive reviews of the books they write. Julie Herman, one of our besties, falls right into this group with her first–and hot off the presses–book, Skip the Borders (Martingale, 2012). Julie, of Jaybird Quilts, was one of the very first bloggers we started following, and man, did she set the bar for first-class quilt blogging with her incredible photos, in-depth tutorials and charming glimpses into her behind-the-scenes life. We love Julie, and are so proud of what she’s done.
So that said, let’s talk about Skip the Borders. If a quilt were to “go commando,” it would be made without borders. And that’s what Julie’s done here — made 15 original quilt projects (with 14 of them quilted by the equally incredible Angela Walters — hey Angela, do you ever sleep, Girlfriend?!?) — all deliciously stripped down.
Julie starts off explaining that a borderless quilt requires a strong pattern or structure. This is Design Process 101 and it’s very helpful to start us all on our borderless-venture.
Julie’s not just talking. She holds a degree in design from Drexel University and really does know the rules she’s laying out.
Sometimes her approach uses a traditional block and enlarges it to take over the top, like White Stars or In Formation. Other times she’s combining two blocks to create perfection, as in Raspberry Dessert. But for each quilt, she emphasizes the importance of the binding in the design.
So yes, we recommend this book. It’s a great reference tome for your collection and we predict you’ll be racing to make a few of these freedom-loving beauties.
Now, as part of her book tour, Julie wanted to start a little border discussion with a few well-chosen questions for the GenQ team. Here’s the back-and-forth:
Julie: All of the quilts in Skip the Borders are…borderless! Do you skip borders on most of your quilts?
Scott: Yeah, I’d say I skip the borders most of the time. I tend to veer away from that traditional concept. It’s because I like to design all the way out to the edge. Sometimes I will have a border, but part of the middle will break out into it. Sometimes I have a pieced border. And sometimes I just don’t want to mess with all the measuring and adjusting that borders require.
Julie: In the intro to my book I give you Permission to Break the Rules. Do you break some quilting rules? What is the number one rule you break and why?
Jake: Oh, the Quilt Police are going to howl in pain about this one, but I NEVER have measured out from my quilts’ centers and ends to determine what size my borders should be. I taught myself to quilt and figured that the best way to determine what size the borders should be was by first completely squaring a quilt with a couple of long and big rulers and carefully trimming until I made it straight. (I often oversize my quilts’ inside pieces to give myself enough fabric to trim down.) Then I just sew the darned strips of borders onto the edges and voila. My quilts lay flat. Might be luck, but there you have it.
Julie: It’s no secret that I love binding! In Skip the Borders, I’ve included an entire chapter on binding. So the million-dollar question is do you use bias or straight of grain most of the time?
Vicki: Binding, to use bias or not…hmmm. First, there are only two criteria I use for using bias binding:
1) Is the edge scalloped or irregular?
2) Is the fabric I am using for the binding going to look better if I cut it on the bias?
Otherwise, I ONLY use the width of fabric (WOF) grain line bias. (I admit, a couple of times I have actually used the length of grain for my binding, but that was because it was perfect for the binding and leftover from a border on the quilt, and I only had a lengthwise piece.) I find there’s just enough give in the WOF strips for my binding and it helps the quilt edge lay nice and flat. It’s easy to stretch a bias binding out of whack when you sew it on; it takes concentration and patience–traits I sometimes lack by the time I get to the binding because I am probably approaching a deadline.
But having more staff than questions (and not wanting to leave anyone out), we added a few of our own:
Us: Do you prefer hand-stitched or machine stitched borders, and why?
Melissa: Oh, hand-stitched, no question! I not only prefer the look, but I also enjoy the doing. It’s actually meditative for me to work those bindings by hand, hiding my stitches and tightening up the mitered corners. Plus, every time I’ve tried to machine-stitch the final step of a binding, it wasn’t a pretty sight. Why compound my gloriously horrible quilting with equally crummy binding?
Us: Do you miter your corners or do the squared-off edge thingy?
Tracy: I miter, but only because I know how to do it and I love the results. When I first started quilting, I did the squared edge thingy. It was easy and I could get it done quickly. As my quilting progressed, I wanted a more polished look so now I miter. Want me to show you how?
Us: What’s the greatest number of borders you’ve ever added to a quilt and why?
Megan: I have two quilts that have two borders. One (which is still just a lonely quilt top) because that’s what the pattern called for, and the other because the blocks I made– even with sashing–were too small for a good lap quilt, so I needed to add some square inches to fill it out. I made two borders purely as a lark, thinking, I guess, that considering how much I needed to add, one solid border at that size would have looked overwhelming. It turned out to be a great decision, because the borders set off the blocks quite nicely, if I do say so myself. But I will say that my favorite of all my quilts (and, frankly, I haven’t made all that many) has no borders at all!
The Fun’s Just Beginning!
Check out the other stops along Julie’s Skip the Borders blog tour. At each one you’ll find some fun & freebies to enjoy. As for us, we’re giving away two e-books ( PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE EBOOKS THAT YOU WILL DOWNLOAD!!) of Skip the Borders for you to enjoy. All we ask is that you tell us if you’ve “gone commando” with one of your quilts and if you enjoyed the experience? Answer below in our comments section and then make sure you check in at the other stops along Julie’s tour.
Sept. 12: P.S. I Quilt http://www.psiquilt.com/
Sept. 14: Beyond the Reef http://beyondthereefpatterns.blogspot.com/
Sept. 17: Pink Chalk Studio http://www.pinkchalkstudio.com/blog/
Sept. 19: Fat Quarter Shop http://www.fatquartershop.blogspot.com/
Sept. 21: Bijou Lovely Designs http://www.bijoulovelydesigns.com/
Sept. 24: Red Pepper Quilts http://www.redpepperquilts.com/
Sept. 26: Swatch and Stitch http://www.swatchandstitch.com/
Sept. 28: Juicy Bits http://juicy-bits.typepad.com/
Oct. 1: V. and Co. http://www.vanessachristenson.com/
Oct. 2: Martingale Publishing http://blog.shopmartingale.com/
Oct. 5: Carolina Patchworks http://carolinapatchworks.com/blog/
Oct. 8: I Am a Ginger Monkey http://imagingermonkey.blogspot.com/
Oct. 10: Blue is Bleu http://blueisbleu.blogspot.com/
Oct. 12: Quilting is My Therapy http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com/