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Thread: piano keys border

  1. #1
    Super Member Wonnie's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
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    piano keys border

    Need instructions for making a piano keys border, please. What do you use for a foundation? Is there a specific formula for size of "keys" or ratio of light to dark? Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Keene, New Hampshire
    I make mine the same width and length as a strip in the quilt
    e.g., if it's a rail fence with finished 1 1/2"X 5" strips - that's what I use in the border
    I don't use a foundation and I don't usually do light-dark.
    I use the same fabrics as are in the quilt top.

    I don't use a piano key border if there are no strips in the quilt itself.
    Except when I made a music quilt and then I did a black and white, alternating.
    Last edited by gollytwo; 06-12-2012 at 07:41 AM.

  3. #3
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern California
    I just measure my quilt (through the center) to get the border size then I just figure out how big to make my piano keys to fit that measurement - for instance if the quilt is 60" then I would figure that 30 - 2" keys would work - (of course they are cut at 2 1/2" for seam allowance) then I just pick random colors from the quilt - I have made all sizes of keys - just whatever fits the border - so far it works.

  4. #4
    Senior Member cmw0829's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Phoenix, AZ area
    You got some answers here. I've used piano key borders in quilts made from strips and tried to cut equal amounts of keys from the strips used. Then I laid out the keys before stitching to be sure I liked the balance of dark/light in the border.

    I love piano key borders!!

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    metro Portland, OR
    I use black and white since I am a musician and usually try to have the same amount of keys as are on the piano. But that's just me. One of these days I'll get adventuresome and make them other colors!
    I choose to give my life away for things that last forever

  6. #6
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Blog Entries
    Love piano key borders. I've never used a foundation. Made some where all the strips were the same width, others where the width varied. This is one border that when you are done, you need to do a line of stay stitching about 1/8" from the edge. This border has a tendancy to come apart as you manipulate it as you quilt, especially if you sew long strips and sub cut to border width.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  7. #7
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I've only made them with 1" finished strips, never used a foundation. I've seen wider strips that looked nice. Use what's appropriate for your quilt.

  8. #8
    Super Member Rosyhf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Longwood, Florida
    I have made them in all widths. The important thing to remember is this: cut all your strips on the lenght of grain, so that there is less stretch. If you only have strips that are cut on the width of the grain, then you should use a foundation to eliminate stretch (I use dryer sheeet). After you finish the borders, strarch them and press them. measure the middle of your quilt, lenghtwise and widthwise, and that is the measurement that you should cut the borders at and your quilt will be square and not lopsided.

  9. #9
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    I typically try to use a dimension within the quilt... If its a log cabin and I cut strips 1.5 wide then thats the width I use for the border. Or I use varied width... but try to keep the scale of the blocks . I have used all kinds of scrap strips cut lenghtwise and cross wise ... I just starch the daylights out of the fabric before cutting or sewing, and have not ever used a foundation. I do stop and stay stitch both sides of the border about every 2 feet or so ... working with long pieced sections .. the weight will start to pull on the stitches and the seams can seperate.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    As others have said - it depends on your quilt. I've made 2 quilts with piano key borders. One was uniform, and carefully patterned (5 colours, repeating around the quilt). I picked the strip size as someone else said - to fit the quilt size evenly (and in my case, to round out the colour pattern nicely). My other quilt was done from strings - so my piano keys are all different sizes, from leftover string sets. Worked well for that quilt.

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