Work in Progress-Applique Borders

Lori Kennedy, Machine Quilting, Applique, Boxes and VinesGood Morning, Quilters!

I have been keeping my pledge to work on my Boxes and Vines quilt–though I admit to some quite a few detours on small projects!

I think I need the small distractions–big quilts are still hard work–not just physically.  I have trouble focusing on one project at a time–it’s really not my nature.

However….I don’t let myself work on any other projects each day until I’ve stitched on Boxes and Vines for 15 minutes.

One day, I worked for three hours…another day it was just fifteen minutes. Then I was off chasing down a new rabbit hole.

Overall, it’s a plan that is working.

(Perhaps I need to apply the same approach to exercise–but then again that’s what the New Year is for!)


Last week, I wanted the squares in the border to “pop” so I quilted around them and did not add any quilting to the colorful squares. Read more HERE.

I am using a similar approach on the borders with all the appliqué.

First I stitch as close as possible to one of the applique elements to outline it, then I begin stitching a background fill motif.

Lori Kennedy, Machine Quilting, Applique, Boxes and Vines

I like to add decorative elements within the quilted line-like more leaves or feathers or pebbling to create more interest within the quilted line and to add more details to the vine border.

Lori Kennedy, Machine Quilting, Applique, Boxes and VinesI begin stitching around one appliqué and keep adding the background motifs until I “bump into” another appliqué.  Then I outline it and start working around the new element.

I continue “bumping” my way through the border until it is complete–(or until my fifteen minutes are up LOL).

As you can see, the appliqué “pops”.  I like that, however, it looks unfinished right now. I will go back and add a few details to each leaf and flower later. 
Lori Kennedy, Machine Quilting, Applique, Boxes and Vines


For the Boxes and Vines quilt I am using Aurifil 28wt cotton thread on top and Aurifil 50 wt cotton thread in the bobbin with a size 90 Topstitch needle.

There is already a lot of color in this quilt, so I decided to stitch white on white for a subtle texture effect with the machine quilting.

I am stitching on my beautiful BERNINA 770QE-but there is exciting news on this front…

Coming soon…


What about YOU?

Did YOU make The Pledge to work on The Most Important Quilt in YOUR Collection before all other distractions?

If not, make YOUR pledge today–right here in the comment section–

There are more than 10,000 of us to hold YOU accountable!

If you did keep The Pledge, tell us!  We want to cheer along with YOU!

Your Favorite Quilting Cheerleader,

Rah! Rah, Shish cum bah!


If you like these motifs and tips, be sure to check out my book, Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 or any of my Craftsy Videos!

PPS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!





33 thoughts on “Work in Progress-Applique Borders

    • Stiffness is a function of the batting. I am using wool batting for this quilt and it is not stiff at all. The best way to loosen up a quilt is to use it–its like a pair of jeans-they get softer as soon as you put them on!

      • So true! I have clients that say they don’t want a stiff quilt and then I show them one of mine that I have densely quilted that has lightweight wool batting and they are really surprised that it isn’t stiff. On the other hand if I use cotton batting or layer cotton and wool it doesn’t drape as softly.

      • Thank you for helping me out on this. There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about dense quilting causing stiff quilts!!

  1. I have a quilt I need to finish for Christmas and have not been allowing myself to work on other projects until it’s done. I like your idea of giving myself permission to set it aside as long as some progress has been made. Even the most wonderful projects can feel like work and stifle creativity if we let them.

    • Lori your quilt is just beautiful. Is it your own design? What technique did you use for the appliqué? It looks great, but hard to determine how it was done (that’s the goal, though. LOL)
      Thanks for the time you spend on your readers. Just love the blog!

  2. I have a big quilt started in 2003.lots of appliquéd flowers etc.
    Over the years it has spent some long times in the cupboard.
    However this year I have been quilting it. I am hoping to have it finished by April 2018 though not much will be achieved over the holiday period and Australian summer.
    I continue working on quilts for charity but am NOT doing any personal ones till this big quilt is completed. I would love to quilt as well as Lori and this is giving me lots of practice. It will be loved. Also I finished my DEAR JANE this year and it was started before the above quilt but so long ago I don’t know when. I do not think I will make any more so large or detailed in the future. I do enjoy each step in quilt making even hand stitching the binding. Each step makes it look better.

  3. I’ve kept the pledge. I’m working on just one quilt that I have to finish by Christmas. Boredom is a big problem, however. I have an overall plan, quilting a motif in each appliquéd circle, then around each appliqué. But I get tired of the motif designs so I change them up, adding a word, a musical symbol, peace sign, Christmas tree, or image from the life’s of the couple I’m giving this to. It’s keeping me entertained. I hope they will enjoy it as well.

  4. First of all, Lori thank you so much for your blog and your very generous sharing of your designs. I really appreciate you and have used your quilting designs in my quilts. What I would like to see is some designs that I can use in traditional quilt blocks. My mind boggles when I’m looking at Providence or Duck and Ducklings for example where there really isn’t much open space to work in. I’d appreciate any help you can give me. Sandy

  5. I recently read this piece of advice that I think applies to allowing ourselves to Take the Pledge with a few detours along the way: “If you never take the time to do anything for yourself, you will quickly become burned-out from always giving and never receiving…Take time to do the things that you enjoy, along with doing things for other people.” You are exactly right, Lori; that fifteen minutes you spend on your quilt each day is like exercising for fifteen minutes each day. It gives us a boost, and a feeling of accomplishment! I can return to making Christmas presents (this is the year of the mug rugs – 20 so far, with FMQ.) with renewed energy and excitement after having done some sewing on a quilt for myself.

  6. Your quilt is looking more beautiful with each update! Thanks for taking the close up pictures so we can see the different motifs.

  7. I took your challenge and finished my Christmas quilt! It gives me pleasure every time I pass it draped over the sofa. Love your classes, blog, books,website….

  8. Awesome. Quilting looks terrific. I started using an alarm on my phone so I would get off the computer and sew at least 15. I am way behind for the holiday sewing. I feel like a Magpie looking at shiny things and easily distracted to the next shiny thing!

  9. I do love your quilt. It’s a happy one. A nice reminder of a summer day – we are due snow/sleet at the weekend- so that is a welcome sight.
    With regard to the challenge – my UFO needs binding. I’m ready to play then. Very difficult not to get bored (and I did) and realised that sometimes an all over design is a jolly good idea! Next one gets your poppies!

  10. Yes, I pledged to work on my challenge quilt hanging above all this past week becuse it was due yesterday. Now that it is done I have the second in line I will need to pledge my time on.

  11. I have 2 Mystery Quilts and two BOM wall hangings I am so behind on! I pledge to spend at least one hour a day for the next two weeks on the Mystery Quilt I have yet to start. Progress will be made!!

  12. So very pretty! I really love your ghosting elements – the extra leaves and feathers add so much interest without getting gaudy at all. I hadn’t heard of The Pledge before, but the last 18 months or so, that’s how I’ve reorganized my approach to my projects. (I’m like you – I have to have more than one thing going, because almost everything I make is a huge and/or super-intense project.) So I have my Priority Project that has to be worked on every day M-F (which now means whatever is most urgent on the new longarm). On Saturdays I’m allowed to do whatever I want, while Sundays are BOM work. And I do have a priority side project to piece downstairs when my longarm would wake others who need to sleep longer than my brain lets me. 🙂

  13. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do within the stems, leaves & flowers. My mind sees a simple decorative stitch running down the centers of the stems & leaves, like a crow’s foot pattern, but I’ve been “hankering” for a crazy quilt thing lately!

  14. My mom passed away a yr ago November. I kept alot of her clothing to make a quilt. I’ve never made a quilt . So this will be my first. It’s scaring me to death just to get started. I don’t have a quilting machine but I still want it to look special and something mom would love . Thanks for listening ! ( or reading) .. Wish me luck !!

  15. My grandmother gives me greif, because I usually have several projects going at any given time. It drives her nuts that I don’t finish one project at a time. I read this article to her with great delight!!!! I am not the only one!!!!!

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