Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Liberating those piano keys (quilt border strips)

I tend to have far too many piano key borders because I find them an easy way to use up scraps. Well my husband challenged me to do some thing completely different..... So I used "piano keys as the main feature of this quilt. They are appliqued in place over the previously pieced background. The inspiration was the bamboo scaffolding we saw in Taiwan which held together at amazing heights while looking very flimsy.

Questions: Does this quilt need an appliqued focus point in the centre? (suggested by a visiting teenager)
                 What kind of pattern would you use to quilt it? This is what I was thinking but struggling to choose the design and so began seeking advice....

The quilt is for an 8 year old boy who specifically wanted something red blue and black. Certainly this validated the way i often work... the Paino key boarders were assembled with out the red previously but this meant that he was able to express his desire for specific colors at 5pm yesterday i had it pinned out in place by 12 noon for his birthday party - and I only had to say it would be a couple of week before it was quilted. Totally worth it with the look of joy in his face when he said "She made it for me"


  1. Those piano keys have taken on a whole new look with the way you used them-very imaginative. And wonderful that the 8 year old is so happy.
    Since I'm a hand quilter, I don't know that I have ideas about the quilting. You might keep it simple with quilting lines in each black section, echoing the shape of the black sections. Like concentric "squares" or concentric rectangles.
    A focal point in the center? Do you have a novelty fabric with some figures that you could cut out and applique in the center?

  2. Oh my goodness, Deborah!! That is awesome and so perfect for an 8 year old boy! I can imagine games all over those crisscross tracks!!!! They are roads, over and underpasses, hiking trails, bridges, worm holes through name it and I love it! OH wait...even giant tic tac toe ;) Make him bean bags in a couple of different colors to go with it..they can toss them into the wonky 'squares';)

  3. Love. My grand would love. I would probably just crosshatch parallel to tracks.

  4. Oh! my dear....I love this quilt. Please may I put this in my pile of 'I must make'. You have opened my eyes to the neatest most inventive use of piano keys I have ever seen.As for quilting...I love to big stipple all over on my kids quilts. Mine are made to be used on the bed, on the floor, to make cubby house with and also the odd outside play. Nothing beats taking a quilt outside at night to lay on and count the stars with the kids. So stippling suits my quilts.

  5. Hello Deborah, what a great idea!!! It is a wonderful quilt. I don't think it need an applique.

  6. The applique is a maybe - plop a few motifs down in the center and see if it makes it better or not!

  7. I am contemplating putting a piano key border on my quilt. The quilt pattern is scrappy stars made out of the older traditional fabric. (I am having a brain freeze and can't remember what you call my fabric). It doesn't really matter, my question is this. Is it best to have the strips in a piano key border all the same width, or should I vary the widths? Janet

  8. I usually use variable widths - depending on what I can cut from the left over bits I have.

    I do however limit the widths to half the length. i.e. If the piano keys are going to be 7 1/2" long the widest strip I would use is 3 1/2". Also i do not put those wider strips next to each other.

    The other thing I consider carefully is the color arrangement.

    Depending on the project I have used alternating dark and light strips

    or strips that tonally blend together


I really enjoy the encouragement I get from feedback. As I am part of the process pledge I love to know if I am giving useful information... looking forward to hearing from you