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Thread: how to quilt piano keys in fabric

  1. #1
    Senior Member quiltingnd's Avatar
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    how to quilt piano keys in fabric

    What is the easiest way to quilt piano keys or like 1 inch straight lines into a border. It has to be an easier way than what I'm doing?! I hope.

  2. #2
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    I have puzzled on how to do them also. I usually end up SITD up one line, SITD along the quilt and SITD down the next line to the quilt edge and then stitch along the edge where it will be under the binding and repeat. The other option is to quilt a motif in each key and do your traveling along the outside of the quilt.

  3. #3
    Senior Member quiltingnd's Avatar
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    I don't actually have a piano key border. I wanted to quilt piano key type design in a border.

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    If it just a design, you might want to try ribbon candy or rail road track quilting designs. They are both designs that loop back and forth across a space.

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    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    My technique is even uglier. I go along the outside edge, across the border, then right back down the same stitch line then up the edge to the next key. I always use 60 or 70 wt thread for these. I HATE stitching them, but if you have a slightly full border, it's the easiest way to get it under control. I also like the way they look on an unpieced border, like you are doing, with uneven key widths. Like a 3", then two one inch ones, then another 3". Have to plan this so they come out even.
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    My internet is so slow today that I can't grab a link for you but if you Google tutorial piano key quilting I think you will find some good videos. Jamie Whalen I believe was one of them. I plan to use them on a quilt that I'm working on but haven't got that far yet so please share if you find a great solution.

  7. #7
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
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    I have never attempted the piano key border design (straight lines) because it would take forever - I am so glad you asked that question - I love the look but afraid I would stop long before I finished. Hope you find a good solution.

  8. #8
    Super Member bjchad's Avatar
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    Painters tape is good for that sort of thing. Lay down parallel rows of tape in the width you want the keys to be and then remove every other one. Do about 6 to 8 inches worth at once and then walk the pieces along the border as you add the quilting. Quilt along the edge of the tape. See below
    Quilt along edges of the tape then move strip 1 to space 6, strip 2 to space 7 and so on.

    [] [] [] [] []

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7

  9. #9
    Senior Member quiltingnd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    If it just a design, you might want to try ribbon candy or rail road track quilting designs. They are both designs that loop back and forth across a space.
    Gonna have to look up rail road tracks. I used the ribbon candy (for the first time) in another border on this quilt.

  10. #10
    Senior Member quiltingnd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjchad View Post
    Painters tape is good for that sort of thing. Lay down parallel rows of tape in the width you want the keys to be and then remove every other one. Do about 6 to 8 inches worth at once and then walk the pieces along the border as you add the quilting. Quilt along the edge of the tape. See below
    Quilt along edges of the tape then move strip 1 to space 6, strip 2 to space 7 and so on.

    [] [] [] [] []

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7
    Do you quilt one line then cut the thread and then do the next and cut the thread?

    I ended up marking my border and then doing a line and then quilting in the ditch to the next line and doing that they whole way around. Kept me from stopping and starting which is what I was trying to avoid.

  11. #11
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingnd View Post
    Gonna have to look up rail road tracks. I used the ribbon candy (for the first time) in another border on this quilt.
    Can somebody please tell me what ribbon candy and railroad tracks are? TIA

  12. #12
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecozy View Post
    My internet is so slow today that I can't grab a link for you but if you Google tutorial piano key quilting I think you will find some good videos. Jamie Whalen I believe was one of them. I plan to use them on a quilt that I'm working on but haven't got that far yet so please share if you find a great solution.
    I just watched his video - it was great - he made it look so easy - thanks for the suggestion.

  13. #13
    Senior Member quiltingnd's Avatar
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    The quilt (well the back of the quilt) in question that I'm working on. Doing it all on my DSM. I'm new to fmq'ing..or anything that isn't plain straight line quilting.

    If you look close I have some piano keys quilting done and then some diagonal lines. Please be gentle.

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    You are doing a beautiful joband I certainly wouldn't have guessed that you were new to fmq. How did you keep you ribbon candy so nice and even? Mine always looks like it melted in spots, lol.
    GEMRM, the ribbon candy is the first curvy lined boarder from the outside. I am not sure what railroad tracks are though

  15. #15
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    I don't know of an easy way... but it looks so good, it's worth the trouble! I didn't want to cut the stitching with each line, so instead I did a LOT of turning the quilt.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member quiltingnd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecozy View Post
    You are doing a beautiful joband I certainly wouldn't have guessed that you were new to fmq. How did you keep you ribbon candy so nice and even? Mine always looks like it melted in spots, lol.
    Thank you. There are a few spots in the ribbon candy where I lost my rhythm and goofed. So it's not perfect by a long shot.

  17. #17
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    Sure looks good to me!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GEMRM View Post
    Can somebody please tell me what ribbon candy and railroad tracks are? TIA
    I am not familiar with railroad tracks but I can tell you the ribbon candy design is so fun and easy to do. Just run a line going back and forth with gentle curves. Then go back up crossing the curves. Wherever the line is crossed, it looks like a ribbon. Once I was quilting inside a diamond block, I widened the curves as needed, and it really did look good. Try it.

  19. #19
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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  20. #20
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Mark lines to look like piano key border. I make piano key borders alot and either straight stitch every three or four inches apart or just FMQ across them. Depends on my mood at the time.
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  21. #21
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I don't think the quilting will show up on the border.
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  22. #22
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    I did a diagonal stitching across the piano keys at about 45 angle. My strips were pretty narrow so stitching in the ditch would have been difficult and likley not looked good.

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