Pin Your Borders, or Not All Shortcuts Work

This week, I'm off at Road to California Quilter's Conference and Showcase in Ontario, CA. I go to this annual event every year, taking several all-day long arm quilting classes. For me, this is my yearly continuing education. It's a great opportunity for me to meet and learn from some of the rock stars of the quilting world. I'll do a post about this event later in the week. Also, Road to California means long arm technicians are in the So Cal area, and that means a new piece of machinery for my own long arm which I can hardly wait to share with you later.

In the meantime, my friend Lisa Redmond is going to do a guest blog post. Take it away Lisa....

Hi everyone in blogland. Tanya has written about me before in her blog, most recently about the Harley Quilt we did together. I'm very flattered by the nice and wonderful things she says about me and my quilts, yet I recently made a big gigantic boo boo that I'd like to share.

I just took up sewing and quilting 23 months ago. I'm self taught, with most thanks going to the YouTube Channel tutorials of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. However, Tanya did teach me how to use a rotary cutter! While I was learning, I felt it was important to learn how to do sewing/quilting methods the proper way. As I've become more confident in my skills, I've learned where I can take shortcuts for time and labor savings. BUT, not all shortcuts work.

I recently agreed to help a friend visiting from Mexico finish sewing a quilt. My friend's quilt only needed the borders attached before we could take it to Tanya for long arm quilting. So I just grabbed the borders and quickly sewed them on, without measuring or pinning, just thinking that if I leave a little extra at the top and bottom, we can just trim to square up. My friend even mentioned, "I notice you're not pinning your borders." I confidently said it would be fine. Boy was I wrong!

When we brought the quilt top to Tanya for her to do her magic to it, she said to me, "It's all good? No floppy borders?" She had never said that to me before, so my natural response to her was "Huh?" She explained borders that are not measured to size and properly pinned have a tendency to get wavy or floppy as she quilts out to the edges of the quilt. I had to sheepishly admit that Yep, I did not measure or pin and that was a distinct possibility. OOPS. I had just been schooled.

A few hours later, she emailed me this picture with the subject "Floppy Borders":

She hadn't even started quilting yet and the floppy borders were very obvious. Lesson learned. This is one shortcut that cannot be made! I recently noticed that Tanya does have a Quilt Preparation page on her site with a nice list of ways to ensure your quilt top is ready for her to quilt. I know from experience the better the quilt top is made ready for her, the better job she can do.

So quilters of the world, MEASURE TO FIT AND PIN YOUR BORDERS!!!