Tag Archives: Janet Kime

Lessons: Border Books Review

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The other day I presented book reviews of almost all the existing medallion quilt books. Of course, medallions are defined as quilts with a center block surrounded by a series of borders. I find border books quite useful in developing my designs. Unlike with medallion books, there are dozens available. I own five of them and give short reviews of just those five below. If you have favorite resources that aren’t on my list, please feel free to comment. Let us know the book and author, and what you love about it.

The Treasury of Patchwork Borders by Elizabeth F. Nyhan, 1991
I added this book to my library late last year. Aside from an introduction to explain how to use it, the book consists of black and white line-drawing charts to illustrate 40 different borders with variations. The charts include sizing for a variety of unit measurements, with border widths and section repeats. One of the features I like best is the demonstration of how corners meet, which isn’t always obvious on first consideration. The book is great for ideas — though its line-drawing configuration means you must use your imagination for color and value placement — as well as for construction guides. I expect to use this a lot over the years.

Sensational Sets & Borders by Rodale, 1998
I picked up this reference book at last year’s guild book sale. About half of the book is focused on setting layouts for quilts, such as straight or on-point setting, with or without sashings, and other formats. The other half is the meat I care more about, borders. The chapters explore types of borders including mitered, pieced, and appliquéd. Pages are formatted with three different insights for construction and design, with tips sprinkled in liberally. Each chapter also ends with a problem-solving page, such as the “Fudging to Fit” tips for pieced borders. Each time I thumb through this book I see new things, not necessarily new ideas to me but great ways to present them.

Borders, Bindings & Edges by Sally Collins, 2004
This book  presents the outer parts of the quilt as equal in importance to the center. Whether you’re making a medallion or other format quilt, Collins provides great ideas for finishing. Borders receive the majority of attention, but bindings, piping, prairie points, and other edge treatments all are discussed.

Collins includes design discussion (color, proportion, continuity, etc.) as well as detailed technical pointers for how to get different strategies work. Some quilters may find the math intimidating, but it is presented clearly for those of us who just need some brush-up. Overall, this borders book is the best medallion book I own.

Beautiful Borders, Backings & Bindings by Jill Reber and Margaret Sindelar, 2005
Again borders receive the majority of discussion here. There is a great gallery of ideas and a large section of projects. Though the treatment is much more simplistic than in Collin’s book, there are great tips and lots of large photos and helpful drawings throughout. I don’t use this book a lot anymore, but I’m glad I own it.

The Border Workbook by Janet Kime, 2006
Kime’s book gives specific instruction on more than two dozen borders. There’s a little bit of information on problem solving and some technique/math help. Mostly though, it’s just borders. I like the book though I haven’t used it to develop any particular project yet. There are basics such as sawteeth and checkerboards, as well as more unusual ones like kitty faces, interlocking friendship stars, and side-by-side hearts. One minor weakness is the border blocks and treatments are given as specific sizes, so it may be hard for some to translate those to their own needs.

What’s your favorite way to border a quilt? What’s the most unusual border you’ve created? Are borders fun for you, or just a last desperate gasp to finish a quilt?

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Border and Medallion Books

I love quilting books.

A couple of days ago I blogged about buying books. One of the things I mentioned was the idea of creating a written inventory of my personal library, seen in the photo. Done!

I used an Excel spreadsheet to record the title, author, and publication date for each. I also noted the category of the book. Categories include History, Patterns, Machine Quilting, etc. To preserve the list, I uploaded it using Google Docs.

The listing gives me a record for insurance purposes. Also I can easily check before buying something new! (Not that I would ever buy the same book twice…)

Some are pattern books, though I rarely buy those anymore. Others discuss techniques for piecing, applique, embellishment, and quilting. Still more provide research on quilt and fabric history.

I’m also on my local guild’s library committee, so I get to inventory more than 300 volumes each year, cull old ones, and order new! On top of that, my local public libraries carry an impressive selection, though not as large as my guild’s. Between the four collections, I have access to a lot of books, new and old.

Lately I’ve been immersed in medallion quilts and border treatments. There’s so much variation in how different authors present their take on the subjects! Some provide patterns with little discussion of process. Others get into the guts of technical piecing, sharing each sixteenth inch for accuracy. And some give us great eye candy and perhaps some historical context. My quilt history books are especially good at this.

For those interested in medallion quilts, whether made by yourself or in a round robin, I wanted to give short reviews of a few I use.

Borders, Bindings & Edges by Sally Collins
This book (from my public library) presents the outer parts of the quilt as equal in importance to the center. Whether you’re making a medallion or other format quilt, Collins provides great ideas for finishing. Borders receive the majority of attention, but bindings, piping, prairie points, and other edge treatments all are discussed.

I like this book because she provides technical discussion of how and why different strategies work. Some quilters may find the math intimidating, but it is presented clearly for those of us who just need some brush-up. I might purchase it in the near future to add to my own library.

Beautiful Borders, Backings & Bindings by Jill Reber and Margaret Sindelar
Again borders receive the majority of discussion here. There is a great gallery of ideas and a large section of projects. Though the treatment is much more simplistic than in Collin’s book, there are great tips and lots of photos and helpful drawings throughout. I own this one and use it as a resource regularly.

The Border Workbook by Janet Kime
This is new in my personal library. I bought it because it gives specific instruction on more than two dozen borders. There’s a little bit of information on problem solving and some technique/math help. Mostly though, it’s just borders. I like the book though I haven’t used it to develop any particular project yet. One minor weakness is the border blocks and treatments are given as specific sizes, so it may be hard for some to translate those to their own needs.

Round Robin Renaissance by M’liss Rae Hawley
As the title says, the focus here is on round robin (group) projects more generally, rather than on medallion quilts or their borders. The section on medallions is small and provides one pattern with very specific sizing for elements, though she does provide some variations. I own the book, as I have interest in round robins as well. But I won’t find it very useful for more general medallion designs.

Classic English Medallion Style Quilts by Bettina Havig
Published in 2003, this book shows traditional styling. The author asserts you can make an authentic English-style quilt using a center block and borders that alternately are pieced and wholecloth. There are ten types of border block units with instruction. In addition, Havig gives patterns to accomplish her own designs, and a section on designing your own variations based on them. I find the charts very confusing, though, and will use this book more for ideas than instruction.

Liberated Medallion Quilts by Gwen Marston
Marston is best known for her exuberant, “liberated” style. With its wonky, non-standard styling, liberated piecing gives plenty for the eye to enjoy. In this book she extends that styling to the traditional medallion format, and provides plenty of evidence for the notion that liberated IS traditional. The quilts in this book are playful and unique, a treat to look at.

In text Marston argues for design-as-you-go, but she doesn’t support that with strategies the reader might use to design their own quilts. In addition, though I love many of these quilts, the liberated style is not how I like to work. So I use this beautiful book for inspiration if not instruction.

Do you have any of these books? What do you think of them? What are your favorite border or medallion quilt books?