Monday, May 27, 2013

More Welsh Pattern Marking - Zig-Zag Borders

It's been raining here in Western Washington and it's too cold and dreary to do much of anything outside.  It's good weather to quilt so I've been working on my Welsh wall quilt and it's getting close to completion.

This is where the red quilt is at today.  I have two outer borders and one short border to finish and then I'll be ready to do the folded edge finish.  The finish size will be about 20" x 31".  My favorite part of the design is the zig-zag pattern in the short border.   I first saw it about 15 years ago stitched on a red and white Welsh quilt owned by Jen Jones and I've used it a couple times.  It's a great border pattern to mix with other Welsh patterns.  (There is a basic diagram for marking the zig-zag border in my Handbook on page 47).

To start, I divided the border into sections which is marked with the vertical soap lines.  There were only four because the border is so short. The next step was to mark horizontal lines along each edge of the border (ignore the diagonal lines for a moment).   I used a 1" ruler to mark the horizontal lines, the lines can be marked along the whole length like the lower line, without any breaks in the line or the line can be marked where it crosses the section lines as the line on top shows. 

Now it's time to start dividing the border sections into triangles.  The last photo (above) shows the first diagonal lines which is drawn and the photo below shows the second set of lines. The lines of the diagonal zig-zag  should be parallel.

The zig-zag is now complete and the lines are outlined on the outside of the zig-zag, not the inside.  The outline was done on the outside because I didn't want to lose any of the design space inside the zig-zag due to the small size of the quilt. The outlining could be done on the inside but make sure it's done the same way on all the borders of the quilt.
So now, it's time to fill-in the zig-zag.  The vertical lines that fill the zig-zag can free-handed or measured. The good news is that imperfections in marking or stitching don't show up when the design is finished.  I always wash and dry my quilts when finished and the texture of the quilting hides imperfections.
The nice thing about marking with soap and hand quilting is that you aren't stitching fast as with machine quilting.  If a soap mark isn't quite where it looks right, just use it as a guide and quilt where it looks right.
I'll show the marking for the little patterns altogether in a later post.


  1. Thank you for explaining and showing the design. I love the hand quilting. Is it possible to buy your book?

    1. The Handbook may still be available through here in the States but I'm not sure because I no longer sell it myself. It is available through the Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Centre in Wales and comes up quite easily in a web search. The proceeds of the books sold in Wales go to support the Quilt Centre but the postage is more, depending on where you are. I'll do a short post on the Handbook to give you an idea of what it is.

  2. What a lovely border! Very effective, and I like the simple way of marking as you go. It looks like you section off the major areas with the double line quilting first then work out how to fill them?

    1. The way I've approached marking Welsh style quilts is to mark the surface area into borders and the center circle then I mark the double lines that echo the first set of dividing lines. I think the best word to use is 'echo', in the sense that the second line echoes the first. Now divide the spaces again. This might be triangles in the borders, large leaf patterns or more circles in the center medallion and then I mark the echo or double line again, depending on how I want to patterns to stand out in the design. The double lines make the patterns and dividing lines stand out. Taking the double lines away allows the quilt patterns to blend together into a more subtle design. I'll add more on this later.