Mitered Corners for Piano Key Borders – Hack

A dear friend admired my “Pine Tree Point” quilt and commissioned me to make one for her queen size bed. (“Pine Tree Point” was designed by Bonnie K. Hunter and features string-pieced elements. Click here to see/purchase the pattern from Bonnie.) The task, enlarging the throw size quilt to queen size, was accomplished by enlarging the background frames around the trees and widening borders. The 4″ tan border plus the 8″ wide Piano Key border yields the 12″ drop my friend desires.

What would look best in the corners of the Piano Key border? I contemplated making Sixteen Patches of 2″ finished green squares, but decided mitered corners would be perfect. However, experienced quilters know that it’s tricky to obtain the perfect 45 degree angle join. If you’re a smidgeon off, the corner can be either too point-y or too tight.

Here’s the hack — make and join strip-pieced half square triangles and add them like corner squares for the border.

I cut a 9 1/4″ square from freezer paper and sliced it in half diagonally. Then I drew some lines on the paper triangles to remind me of the direction the strips should run. As shown in the lower right corner, I pieced strips of graduated lengths together and pressed the freezer paper triangle on top. Using the paper as a guide, I rotary trimmed around the triangle with a straight edge. I peeled off and re-used the paper guides for all the triangles needed.

I pinned and sewed each half square triangle to its mate using a 3/8″ seam allowance. I pressed the seam open and trimmed the half square triangle to 8 1/2,” square. I made sure the diagonal line of the ruler followed the diagonal line of the half square triangle.

With the side borders already sewn onto the quilt top, I added the half square triangles as corner squares to the strip-pieced top and bottom borders.

Ahh, doesn’t that look nice?! Easy-peasy! I stay-stitched all around the edge of the border so the stitches would not pop loose during quilting. I’ll be sure to show you the quilt once it is quilted and bound.

“Lori’s Legacy” Published

If you have recently sorted your scraps and have discovered that you have a lot of strips and strings, this is the project for you! I designed “Lori’s Legacy” as a signature quilt to honor long time McCall’s editor, Lori Baker, upon her retirement. Lori’s favorite color is purple, so that was the obvious color choice for her quilt, but you could make your quilt with your most plentiful color of scraps.

The editors at Quilting Daily emailed instructions for a simple signature block to Lori’s colleagues and contacts in the quilting industry, asking them to send signed blocks to me this past summer. Once I received the blocks, I set about designing a quilt that would showcase them along with with various purple, periwinkle, lavender, and magenta strips and strings.

Lori unboxed her quilt gift during a Quilt & Tell podcast. Click here to listen. You can tell that she is super pleased with her retirement gift.

“Lori’s Legacy” is patterned in the March/April 2022 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine, beginning on page 44. As a spin off idea, you could modify the design for a baby or wall quilt by making the central Churn Dash block and surrounding it with a coordinating print border.

The editors have sent me an extra copy of the magazine that I will use as a prize in a drawing here on my blog. If you would like to be entered in the drawing, leave a comment below stating the color you would use to make “Lori’s Legacy.” The drawing will be on Valentine’s Day.