From My Carolina Home

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Mitering Printed Borders

One of the comments on my tutorial on borders was a question on how to miter with prints.  Luckily, the question came at a good time when I had just had two of my friends over to help me do just that.  I still had some of the fabric, and I could take some close up pictures to illustrate the process.  Many thanks to my friends, Velma and Donna, the mitering experts!  I learned this process from them, and now can share it with all of you.


To begin, you need to measure the quilt in three places, just like we did for a plain, straight sewn border.  Then you need to figure out the total width of your border.  In this case, the quilt was 48 inches, and the border was 14 inches wide.  Add the quilt measurement plus three times the border width measurement for seam allowance and overlap.  48 + (3 x 14) = 90.  Cut your border pieces this length, joining pieces together where needed to get the total length.

Now, find the center of your border.  Measure out half the quilt top measurement minus 1/4 inch (23 3/4 inches in this case) from the center of the border and put pins in at that measurement on each side.  In other words, you are centering the quilt top on the border.   Mark the quilt top with a pin at ¼ inch in from each edge.  Match the pins on your border to the middle and end pins on the quilt, then pin the rest of the border in place.

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Sew right sides together, leaving ¼ inch free at each end.  Do the same on all four sides.

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Lay the quilt out and look at your first corner.  Overlap the border pieces, then fold one under creating a 45 degree angle.

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Work it to match up the print as best as you can.  Some things just will not be perfect, but don’t sweat the small stuff.  Pin the folded border in place.  In this example, I have matched the striped lines and not worried too much with the motif in the large area.


Take it to the ironing board and press in the seam line.


Carefully, lift an edge and pin the tails to stabilize the position of the borders in relation to each other.  Carefully, take out the pins on the top side, open it up and pin on both sides of the crease.

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Sew on the crease starting ¼ inch away from the corner.


Flip it back to check it, be sure you are satisfied before you trim it off.  Press seam open.  You may need to add a hand stitch at the top of the seam where those unstitched 1/4 inch allowances come together to make it lie flat and perfect, but most of the time it will lie beautifully and quilt flat.  Here is that corner bit, the beige is the quilt top, you cannot even tell where the unstitched 1/4 inch at the top of the border is as it lays flat under the border.


Here are a couple of corners from the finished quilt.  Note that not all the motifs are perfect, but at a distance it won’t make a difference.  The main thing here is that all those stripes line up.

miterfinishclose miterfinishcloser

If you were really trying to make a perfect miter with a print that didn’t have a strong stripe, you would do the same things but one corner at a time.  You wouldn’t cut all your borders at once, only the first one with the measurements as discussed.  The others will need a bit more fabric than the formula to pattern match.  In other words, sew one border, measure and figure out how much extra you would need to line up the motifs, then make your measurements for placing the pins from there.  Then sew the second border, and do the steps to line up the motifs and miter the corner.  Then move to the next corner, and figure your next border size and motif match.  Understand that the last corner will probably not match.

I hope this makes it easier to understand how to get those prints to line up nicely.  I welcome your comments!   Please feel free to share this wherever you like, just give credit back to my blog. You might also be interested in the lesson on borders, understanding the why of doing them in a measured way.  Borders, Understanding the Why.  And, now that you have perfect borders, see the four part tutorial on Binding, from making Bias strips to finishing with invisible joining seams.

Please feel free to point others to this post that need some help with border mitering.   Please do not copy any pictures or information.  You may share the link on Pinterest, just credit the blog From My Carolina Home.

If you are new to my blog, I hope you will stay a while and look around.  There is a lot here, sewing and quilting, crafting and gardening, mountain living and reading books, cooking and lots more.  Thanks for visiting and happy quilting!

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Val’s Tuesday Archive – Mitered Corners




A walk in the forest

I really enjoy hiking and  Saturday it was just too pretty a day to stay inside with temperature in the low 60s and clear skies.  Time to go to DuPont Forest for a nice walk.  We have hiked this area many times in the past, and the trails range from easy to very difficult.  It is so relaxing to me to be in nature, on these forested paths, especially when there are few others around.


We took a reasonably easy path to the covered bridge this time.


A lovely, serene setting with the stream going under the bridge.


Looking to the left, the flowing stream went over the side, creating a waterfall.


Beautiful, isn’t it?  Even in deep winter, the evergreens are gorgeous.  We didn’t hike to the waterfall this day, but here are two pictures of it from the last time we were there.

High Falls Covered Bridge High Falls wider view

There is beauty in winter’s architecture, like this mountain laurel’s branches –


Or the rocks next to the bridge –


As we continued walking, the path widened.


Moss grows on a tree stump with dappled sunlight –


A feathery pine tree gathers the sunlight


We continued on for a while, then circled back on another path to the car.  It was a great time to get some exercise and clear the mind at the same time.  There is no place like Western North Carolina.


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Casserole for a Crowd

I like to cook for a crowd almost as much as making a special meal for two.  Parties and pot-lucks are a great time to get together with friends and catch up with everyone’s news.  For a pot luck gathering last Saturday, I made this dish that was a crowd pleaser.  Very little was left to bring home!  You can vary it according to your taste too.  I think next time I make it, I will double the cheese, and add fresh mushrooms and chopped green onions.  So, here it is –

Turkey Noodle Casserole

I started by cutting a 2 pound turkey breast into four pieces so it would fit in the pot.  I cut a ½ slice of onion, broke it into rings and put it in the pot, along with 2 smashed garlic cloves.  Fill the pot with water, add a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil and add the turkey.  Boil for about 15 minutes until cooked through.  This gives you flavorful and moist turkey.  Remove the turkey with tongs to a plate to cool.  Then shred discarding bones.

baketurkey bakeingredients

Pull out the garlic cloves and onion with tongs. Add some water to the broth in the pot so you have enough water to cook the noodles.  Bring back to a soft boil and add the wide egg noodles.  Cook about  7-8 minutes.  Strain and pour into the baking dish.


Chop onion and garlic.  Using the same pot, sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until softened.  Add the lemon pepper and oregano and let the herb bloom.  Add the mushroom soup, one can of milk and ½ cup half and half.  Stir until combined and gently heated, add a handful of cheese and the shredded turkey, mix well.

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Pour over the noodles.

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Mix until noodles are coated.  Top with the rest of the cheese.


Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and golden.  Yum!  Enjoy!



Turkey Noodle Casserole for a crowd.

2 lb bone-in turkey breast

6 cups water

1 tsp salt

½ inch slice of onion

2 smashed garlic cloves

12 oz wide egg noodles

olive oil

¼ cup diced onion

2 chopped garlic cloves

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp lemon-pepper

1 can low-sodium reduced-fat mushroom soup

1 can-full milk (empty soup can)

½ cup half and half

8 oz Shredded Colby and Monterrey Jack cheese

Boil turkey with water, salt, ½ inch slice onion and 2 smashed garlic cloves about 15 minutes or until done.  Strain broth, and add water to come back to 6 cups, bring to a boil, add noodles and cook 7-8 minutes.  Drain and put into 13×9 baking dish.  Saute rest of onion, garlic until soft in olive oil.  Add oregano and lemon pepper, let simmer for a minute.  Add soup, milk, and half and half, stir until combined.  Add turkey and a handful of cheese.  Pour over noodles and stir to coat noodles with sauce.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


Serves 8 for a regular main course serving, or 24 at a pot luck gathering where everyone just takes a spoonful.



Best Food Writing Anthologies

Food Writing, or foodie books, is a relatively new genre compared to other genres in publishing.  Columnists have been regaling us with stories of food preparation foibles, family memories, and reflections on food related stories since the advent of food magazines in the 1940s, but didn’t gain prominence until the 1990s.

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My interest in food writers began with Julia Child.  In the 1970s, a weekly column appeared in the newspaper with words of wisdom from Julia and the recipe she would prepare on her PBS show The French Chef that week.  As a new wife, I looked forward to those columns and shows as Julia taught me how to cook.  Julia showed through her triumphs and mistakes that I too could put a wonderful meal on the table.

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One of the my favorite food writers is someone likely few people outside the foodie world know.  His name was William J. Garry, and he was the editor of Bon Appetit magazine from 1985 until his untimely death in 2000.  His Letters From the Editor column wasn’t the usual ‘rah rah, here’s what’s in this issue’ stuff.  Quite the opposite, his columns were full of humor and stories about food with goofy illustrations.   He wrote about his experiences and observations on our culture as it relates to food.  This was a man that was rarely serious, often doing outrageous things.  Once at a fancy banquet dinner at the Waldorf Astoria, he thought the food was so terrible that he and a colleague ordered room service to be delivered to the table, and then shared the pizza and shrimp with others at the table.  He wrote columns dedicated to doing the opposite of the mainstream, like declaring a day in April as Give Asparagus a Rest Day, to protest the seemingly endless articles on the vegetable every spring. These columns are hilarious, covering everything from Y2K to apples, seasonal eccentricities to the ritual of the backyard barbeque, meat loaf to picnics, dining with a Elvis impersonator on a park bench and much more.  He poked fun at everything.  If you find an old issue from those years, get it and read his column.  When he died, I took all my old Bon Appetit magazines, cut out his columns and put them in a binder so I could enjoy them for years to come.

Food05  Food06  Food07

I found those columns, and many more to be so entertaining that I looked for more.  Food writers were becoming more prominent in the 1990s, but it was still difficult to find them unless you subscribed to every food magazine and most major newspapers with food sections.  Remember, this was before food bloggers, Food Network, and competition cooking shows.  In 2000, that changed with the publication of a new series called Best Food Writing.  Editor Holly Hughes brought together in one volume the best columns about food.   Words of wisdom, family memories, interviews, observations and humor from the premier writers of the day covered diverse topics all relating to food organized into five sections.  The anthologies have been published yearly since then.

Food09  Food08

I found another favorite food writer, David Leite, in the pages of Bon Appetit, and was delighted to see some of his columns reprinted in Best Food Writing.  Guys will enjoy David’s humorous column dedicated to his new stove named Thor –  His column The Goose of Christmas Past is particularly good –  His website has even more of his columns and lots of recipes, just to get you started.

Food10  Food11

Ruth Reichl, famed editor of Gourmet magazine, former New York Times restaurant critic, former Los Angeles Times restaurant critic and food editor, and book author is a frequent contributor in these anthologies.  Her books including Comfort Me With Apples, Tender at the Bone, and Garlic and Sapphires are staples on most foodie book lists.  Try her Sour Cream Apple Pie at

Food13 Food12

The columns and articles in these books are short reads, usually 3-5 pages in length, and perfect for what my friend Patty calls ‘snack reading’.   Snack reading is just a little something to get you through to the next big block of reading time.  The articles cover such topics as the search for the perfect ingredient, finding the right kitchen tool, restaurants behind the scenes, family memories, memorable holidays and so much more.  If you enjoy reading food related short stories, look for these anthologies, and have a little snack read.


Binding Color – Match or Contrast?

Since I now have three quilts mostly the same, I decided to continue the experiment in color with the binding.  If you missed the beginning of this series, click on this link to see the thread color experiment.  I think most of the time I tend to put a contrasting binding on a quilt because it adds yet another frame to the quilt.  It also will pull the same color in the quilt forward and make it seem more prominent.  Often that contrasting binding is made from the backing fabric so the back has a uniform look.  However sometimes I will match the outer border.  So, what would look best on my table toppers?  I choose three fabrics all contained within the quilts to make the bindings.  One got a matching green, one got a high contrast toile, and one got a medium contrast brown.

The green matching border doesn’t add anything to the quilt design, and the green in the blocks seems to be the most prominent.



The toile border with its white background creates another border to the quilt, like adding a frame.  It is interesting how the whites tend to come forward in the quilt with the white border.



I think I like this one best.  The light brown binding creates an outer frame, and it accents the brown triangles.



So, how do you like to bind your quilts?  All the same as the last border, or do you like a contrast for another design dimension?  Again, like thread color, there is no one correct answer, but maybe this will give you an idea of how you can make those choices for different results.

So here are the completed toppers on my pie safe…


and the library table …


and in the dining room.


Happy Quilting!!

Freemotion At the River Linky Tuesday




Thread color experiment

Standing in my French inspired kitchen, I was thinking about the toile quilt I was in the process of making.  The pie safe in the middle of the kitchen is green, and it occurred to me that the toile would make a perfect addition to the décor.  After all, toile is a French word meaning ‘linen cloth’, so it fit the theme.  Toile has been traced back to the middle ages in Europe, and since the 1700s has been used to describe a fabric with some kind of scene repeated over the fabric in a single color most often black, red or blue.

Thinking about it further, I decided that I would use the blocks I had to create not one lap quilt, but three table toppers to use in the kitchen and dining room.  This gave me an opportunity to look at the difference a choice of thread color could make in the finished design.  I added dark green borders to all of the toppers.

I divided the blocks into the three toppers depending on the size I needed for the space and constructed the tops.  I loaded a single backing to quilt all of them, along with the two candle mats from the borders tutorial.  All three toppers got the exact same pantograph leaf pattern.



I tend to use dark threads for quilting as I like the quilting to show most in the background spaces and disappear in the block design.  Most of the time this works well, but I wanted to see what might happen with other values.   On one I used a dark green thread, one got a neutral light brown, and one got a variegated green, all King Tut by Superior Threads.


The dark green shows the quilting well on the background, but it tended to obscure the delicate print of the toile.  I like it on the dark green flying geese, but overall wasn’t the best choice for this quilt.



Next, I tried the light brown, matching the triangles in the quilt.  This faded back and lets the toile show better.  It shows up more on the border and in the dark green flying geese, but this is a bit more pleasing because of the toile prints.



Lastly, I tried the medium to light green variegated, with a solid neutral in the bobbin.  This was a good choice too, as it didn’t overpower the toile, yet it is subtle in the border and blocks.



So, think about what you want the quilting to do, where you want it to show and where you want it to fade back when selecting your quilting thread color.  There is not one correct answer, the choice is always up to you and what you like.  For delicate prints, matching the background color will recede to the background better than a strong color.  Darker colors will show nicely on light backgrounds and disappear in darker block fabrics.  Either way, have fun.  Click on Binding Color – Match or Contrast  for part 3!



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Snow Day! Time to quilt

It snowed here all day yesterday, and kept on going overnight.  This morning the skies were dull and gray, and it was still lightly snowing.  I had to see how much, the total was 7-1/2 inches and still falling.


From My Carolina Home –


From My Carolina Home –


That scene on the right should be a small hill sloping down to the driveway, but the snow covered it up to where everything is level.  Surreal.

Well, not going to work today, that’s for sure!  So, snow day quilting.  I spent some time yesterday perusing the older magazines I have stored for the “I’d like to make a quilt like that” someday pile.  Maybe today would be the day.  As it turned out, I found an issue of Quiltmaker November/December issue of 2007 that had a wonderful toile quilt on the cover.  I liked the reds, and I think that is why I kept it.  I happened to have two toile prints in green, so I pulled them out to look at what I might need.


From My Carolina Home –



From My Carolina Home –


While my ace assistant snoozed in the sun, I got busy.  The pattern is called Anna’s Hands, made by Anna Dean and designed by Darlene Christopherson.  I decided to make it smaller than the magazine called for.  These blocks are rated as intermediate, but I would call them advanced due to the bias edges and the amount of stretch.

While cutting, I thought I would share a tip on cutting odd sizes.  While it is easy to cut 2 1/2 inch strips on the 2.5 -5 -7.5 -10 lines, it is not so easy when the size is 2 5/8.  I used a bit of painter’s tape to mark the line on my cutting ruler so I would get it right every time.


From My Carolina Home –


Then, with squares cut, I made 72 flying geese units using the no-waste method.


From My Carolina Home –

Flying Geese 2

From My Carolina Home –


Then I put the two flying geese units on each toile square, added the corner units and the final beige triangles.


From My Carolina Home –


Assembly is a simple checkerboard setting alternating the stars and toille blocks.  I got as far as getting all the blocks made – 18 pieced ones and 17 fussy cut toile ones.


From My Carolina Home –


Tomorrow, I will press all these blocks, trim them up and assemble the top.   Not bad for a snow day, huh?  Plus, I’ll have some yardage out for my friend Donna of the Stashbusters group on MQR, she said I had to have something out this week.  See, Donna, I did it!!  Click on Thread Color Experiment for part 2!