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Thread: piano keys border

  1. #1
    Super Member Wonnie's Avatar
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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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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!
    http://www.oregonquilting.net
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  6. #6
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    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."
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  7. #7
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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.

  11. #11
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    ive made them scrappy- themed- color coordinated- all the same widths- an assortment of widths (like anything from 1" up to 3" and all widths in between) you can make them any way you want-
    that works for your project-
    i generally cut strips & sew long strips together- then cut them to the width of the border i desire. no foundation needed.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  12. #12
    Super Member Wonnie's Avatar
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    Wow...such quick responses and I thank you all so much... All very well explained with so many options!

  13. #13
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    When I can't think of a border to do on a quilt, I default to piano keys. Great way to use up extra fab from the quilt. Sometimes they are the same width and sometimes dif widths. Just depends on my mood. No foundation fabric. I think this is a no stress border. Have fun w/it!
    If you don't work on it you'll never finish it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Quiltlady330's Avatar
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    I love the piano keys border. Usually I make them in fabrics from within the quilt in uniform size...about 1 1/2" x 4" or so. I vary the placement of colors just to enhance the look...too many darks side by side wouldn't be as attractive as some mediums and lights sprinkled in randomly, in my opinion. It's a great way to use your left-over fabric and enrich a quilt. I've never used a foundation fabric for this but I do for the chevron border.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for asking the question, I'll be watching the answers as I want to this border, too.

  16. #16
    Super Member catmcclure's Avatar
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    I take leftovers from the quilt, coordinating colors, and/or anything that's lying around. I usually strip piece long 2-1/2" WOF strips into strip sets, cut them in half, sew the two halves together, cut them down, etc. until I get the width I want. I know that I can get nine 4-1/2" or eight 5" widths from a WOF strip, so if my quilt is 100" square I need about 25 strips for the border.

  17. #17
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    I have also done two piano key borders. The first was on a Bali Love Song where all strips were uniform size and random colors side by side. The other had random sizes and colors. I, too, used only the colors that were in the quilt and just varied them so that the colors weren't repeated too closely together. I really like the piano keys border. It adds a little whimsy, I think.
    Bobbi
    Quilting happily in Tennessee!


  18. #18
    Junior Member IraJane's Avatar
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    I've made the keys equal and unequal. I do like using unequal because it it easier to come out with appropriate size strips. (For example, if they were all to finish at 2" and you just have the need for 1 1/2" at the end, it shows up). I do them various widths and then miter the corners, knowing that the seams don't have to match. It is still quite effective. I'll try to insert a picture. This is a Double Disappearing Nine Patch.




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  19. #19
    Junior Member IraJane's Avatar
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    And the rest of the binding still needs the hand work.

  20. #20
    Junior Member IraJane's Avatar
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    I agree with ckcowl and have never had a problem. I do stay stitch the outside edge before putting it on the qulting machine.

    QUOTE=ckcowl;5284293]ive made them scrappy- themed- color coordinated- all the same widths- an assortment of widths (like anything from 1" up to 3" and all widths in between) you can make them any way you want-
    that works for your project-
    i generally cut strips & sew long strips together- then cut them to the width of the border i desire. no foundation needed.[/QUOTE]

  21. #21
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    how would you make this border? Name:  musicquilt.jpg
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  22. #22
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    wish I was proficient at posting photos... NOT. But, I just finished a "Gimme Diamonds" quilt in batiks for my son with a piano border. The widths of the piano keys were different sizes 2 1/2 inch to 3 1/4... scraps left over from the quilt top. I did not use a foundation... also had to add a key or tuck a 1/4 inch seam in here or there until I got the border to the correct size. I was very pleased how it finished.

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