April 19, 2012

Modern Monday Sashing and Assembly

Design Wall #1 - not perfect, but functional. (It's the backside of a cheap picnic tablecloth.)
It's time to do something about my MM/TT blocks - they are taking over my design wall! I need the space for other projects, but I also need to see all the blocks as a group, so I know what colors to use on the next block. I guess that means it's time to start the sashing and sew them into rows. Once in rows, they will take up less space on the wall and I can put them away and get them out easier than the individual blocks.


Here's the layout diagram I envision for my quilt. I typically don't like putting on the sashing (which is partially why my Dear Jane blocks are still in the binders and not a finished quilt, but that's another story!). So to trick myself out of thinking this is sashing, I decided to frame each block in alternating light gray/dark gray. When the quilt is  done, it should not only unify all those disparate blocks, but I think it makes almost an optical illusion, which is appealing to me right now. It also eliminates that LONG, skinny sashing strip that typically needs to go in between the rows. This way, there will be just square blocks to sew together - much easier!

When I started this quilt, I was gong to add the frames after I made each block, but that didn't happen! (Who was I kidding?) But, now that we have a good variety to choose from and I need the space, it seems like a good time to start this.



To finish your quilt like mine, you'll need 1 1/3 yards EACH of a medium and dark gray. (I'm using Kona Medium Gray and Coal.)

Prewash, if you choose, press and cut into 1 1/2" x wof strips. You'll need about 27 strips total. (Because it will be a while before we use all these strips, be sure to keep the unused ones in a safe place that you'll be able to find later when you need them!)
To make the sewing less painful, I put the long strip down first, then I sewed the blocks to the strip, one after the other. This eliminates the need to sub-cut all the long strips into short strips before sewing and the need for pinning. You can get 6 blocks per long strip for this first round. I chose blocks that I thought would look good with each color strip, but I really didn't put too much thought into it - don't stress over this decision!
Another view of the sewing.
After sewing the blocks to the strips on one side, sew them to another strip on the other side without cutting them apart from the first strip.
You will have a long chain of 6 blocks held together by two strips on each side. Trim the sashing off flush with the edge of the block on each side. Press the strips open, to the strip. Repeat the whole process with two more strips on the remaining sides. For this second round, you will only be able to get 4 blocks on one strip, so save the excess strip for another block. (The excess will be just longer than 6 1/2" so you can recycle onto another round of blocks to save some fabric.)
The finished framed blocks - one medium and one dark.
You need 8 blocks per row, so I did enough for two rows - 8 blocks medium gray and 8 blocks dark gray. When all 16 blocks were ready, I sewed them together in pairs of 1 medium and 1 dark. Honestly, I didn't look at the blocks at all - I just grabbed the right frame color and sewed. That means the directional blocks (the ones that have a definite top and bottom) will maybe be on their side or upside down, but this doesn't matter because I envision this to be a throw quilt - it won't need a defined top or bottom!

Then I sewed the pairs together, making sure to alternate the medium and dark framed blocks. Eventually, you'll get 2 rows of 8 blocks each - each starting with a dark and ending with a light. Turn one upside down to get the illusion of alternating colors to work out.
I chose not to sew my rows together now. Although I'm leaving the block placement largely up to serendipity, I do want to have a small amount of say-so in placement so it will look balanced to my eye in the end. (This is Design Wall #2, btw!)
Once I got these two rows up on the wall, they seemed very gray to me! Duh, huh!? But, from here on out, I think I'll try to put more color in my blocks and down-play the gray. And I want more white and blue for the pop of brightness. I know not all of you are doing the orange/gray/white colorway, so I'll be really interested to see what you come up with for your framing colors!

Next week we'll have 16 more blocks done (we made a bonus block last week, so the numbers are off). I plan on doing the next two rows then. It's really invigorating to see the quilt coming along! Now what to do with the Traditional Tuesday blocks!?

3 comments:

  1. I've got all your tutorials saved on Pinterest and look forward to making some of these blocks one day. I love the colors you've picked. One thing I didn't notice when you posted it before is your mock-up seems to pulsate on my monitor! :)
    Have a good day.

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  2. I really like it Jenifer! And I like your idea of just going with the flow - serendipity quilting. It just feels right not to overthink placement.

    You've seen my colors on flickr.....any suggestions on what 2 colors I should go with?

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  3. I like your quick and easy method. Unfortunately, my blocks range from 6 1/4 to 6 3/4, and I'll have to do my sashing the traditional way in order to "even out" the block sizes. But thanks for giving the amount of fabric needed - I'll go get it in the next few days!

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