Monday, May 11, 2015

It's Border Time, or Right Brain and Left Brain Duke It Out with the Pythagorean Theorem

I've got a border.  Much math was invoked.  There were even square roots.

Here's the mockup:


And another view from a bit further back:


And an attempted closeup of the perfect border fabric I found (on sale, no less!)  (It's greener than it looks, but the dark factor is about right.)


That's where the math came in.  I'm running a 1" light border around the patchwork center, then a dark border of width-to-be-determined-through-math, then the on-point nine-patches set with orange triangles, then dark border again (easy math this time), then binding in orange.
The fun started with that inside dark border.  Pythagoras told me that my nine-patches on point measure  4.2526406871192851 inches tall and wide.  (I'm rounding it down to 4.25" just for fun.)  Figuring the size of the completed center plus the 1" light borders, and calculating how many diagonal nine-patches I'd need to cover that distance plus enough for a dark border wasn't all that hard - 15 nine patches across for the top and the bottom, and 18 on the sides (not counting corners) would work just fine.
Except for one thing.  The calculations showed that the vertical inner borders would have to be 3/8" narrower than the horizontal ones.
This is where my right brain and my left brain declared war on each other.
Left Brain was all "Okay, the dark border will be 3/8" wider on the top and the bottom than on the sides.  Two and 3/8" here and two and 3/4" there.  No problem."
And Right Brain was all "NOOOOO!!!  It'll be lopsided.  It'll show and every part of it will look wrong.  It'll be out of balance.  It'll look like robots did it.  No.  Just no."
So then Left Brain was "Oh, stop whining.  We'll just  make the light borders on the top and bottom 3/8" wider - that won't be so obvious.  We were going to use those leftover 1.5" strips, but we can cut some extra strips to finish at 3/8", so that means starting with 7/8" strips.  One border of 1.5" and one at 7/8" will finish to 1 3/8".  Easy peasy."
So then Right Brain comes back with "Red.  The 3/8" borders in red.  So it looks like it's on purpose.  That'll be great.  Yep, red.  Or purple.  No, definitely red."
And Left Brain was "Nope nope nope, that's ridiculous.  Your ideas are stupid."  and Right Brain would have bopped Left Brain right on the nose at that point if I hadn't intervened.
"Look, both of you just back down and chill out.  First of all, I'm using 4.25" for my calculations but the actual measurement is 4.2526406871192851 - do you think that .0026406871192851 times 18 might not come back to bite my ass?  And besides, do you honestly think I can sew 18 nine-patches, on point, set with at least 36 bias-y triangles, and actually be so accurate that I'm only going to be off by 3/8 of an inch?"
That shut them up.
So the plan (because I often pretend I have a plan) is to piece all my nine-patches for the borders, and THEN calculate what widths I'll need for the dark borders.
Because I'm an empiricist, not a theoretician.  That whole "If my calculations are correct, this might work" doesn't hold a candle to "Let's just do it and then measure it afterward."



(Whoopee!  There's another fantastic scrap gathering!  Go visit Scraptastic Tuesday at Mrs Sew and Sow's for all kinds of gorgeousness!)


15 comments:

Missouristar said...

After all that, may I recommend Donna Thomas' on point ruler? It does all the math for you! I do love that orange fabric. It really makes the four patched pop!

Janine said...

I love the centre design of this and I'm sure the borders are going to look great and that no one will even notice if there are slight variations in widths :)

Flickenstichlerin said...

Wow,
beautiful quilt, the border is stunning.
Greetings,
Sylvia

Nicky said...

Great conversation in your head - I'm definitely a 'let's make it and fudge the maths' type of person !

Thanks for linking up to #scraptastictuesday

Judy said...

That is going to be one sharp looking border! A little fudging here or there won't be that noticeable.

Chantal said...

Ha! That is so funny because it's EXACTLY the conversation MY brain would have!! Serious! Yes red, definitively red. I am sure you won't have that much "fudge" to make lol. Great work.

Karen in Breezy Point said...

Yikes, my head hurts! I hope you get it all figured out--it looks fantastic!!

Ann said...

Such a funny post. I love the borders you're planning and look forward to reading more of your progress.

Melissa said...

What a wonderful border. Good luck with the right brain, left brain and the sewing together.

sisterview.com said...

pretty quilt!

kmkat said...

Right Brain and Left Brain crack me up!

Vic in NH said...

Eeek! I fainted from trying to follow all that math, LOL! I am definitely a "just do it and measure it later" kind of gal. Very funny writing and the quilt mock up is dramatic. The quilt will be awesome. I know, I hate that word, too, but who can spell stupendous?

audrey said...

Lol It all sounds exactly like a conversation I could have had with myself. And I never do all the measurements before the sewing. Much safer to wait and see how things actually turn out.:)

Cathy said...

Well, at least you are well balanced using both sides of that brain! I use left brain at work, right brain at home and don't usually make borders on my quilts because that's too much thinking for my right brain!

Lovely quilt, by the way, no matter what the borders.

Enny said...

That conversation is so funny but no matter who won, it's gorgeous!