This is the step where I get stuck. Actually, any kind of step that requires “thinking” and “design” makes me wallow. I’m not a quick decider, and need to steep and brainstorm any major changes before committing.
I laid out the pinwheel quilt a week? two weeks? ago on the floor in a spare bedroom, and just walked in daily with coffee and stared at it. Rearranged it any way I could think of. Randomly, by throwing similar blocks in opposite corners. In semi-colored stripes. In quadrants, arranging the blocks with the most saturated color at the center and radiating out. (You see where I start to overthink things?) And in the end, just went back to random. Sometimes with charm packs and multi colored layouts, there just isn’t any repetition that makes sense, and color distribution makes for a much more cohesive layout than anything too organized. I also made one additional block to sub in because I just couldn’t swap anything else around and needed more color in one corner.
I like to sew my sashing rows together before I do my layout, as I can then lay them in between the blocks. It helps my brain remember the other color that will be thrown in all the way around so I don’t end up color heavy one way or another. I chain piece as many sashing pieces as I need to cornerstones, press them all towards the sashing, cut them apart, and repeat. In this quilt, I wanted 7 strips with 6 sashings and 5 cornerstones across, alternating.
Then I sew the rows of blocks together. When I can’t immediately assemble it, I’ll put numbers down the side, indicating rows, and then pick them up across. It helps me keep track of them as I put them together, as I’ll inevitably throw them in a pile and forget which strip is next. Then I can just keep the stack of blocks and the stack of the remaining sashing pieces next to the machine, and go to town. I don’t chain piece these, as it would just confuse me personally, but I know plenty of people like to do so.
Then the magic happens. Rows of blocks get assembled with strips of sashing in groups of 2, then 4, then before you know it you’re sewing one gigantic seam smack down the middle of the quilt and it’s done. It’s always a pretty special moment when you unfold that last seam to press and see all your hard work in one giant piece.
Borders are always dreadful because you’re thisclose to done and still have to cut and pin and measure, but so rewarding when you’re done. Measure the finished quilt across in a few spots to get an average size to cut your borders; if you just lay them on the outside, the edges are likely to warp and stretch, and you’ll end up with a ripply mess. I actually was so
sleep deprived excited last week, I sewed one of the borders on between 1 and 3 am before going back to bed. (Yep. I’m crazy. I have a baby waking me up hourly, and I got up in the middle of the night to sew. You have permission to slap me next time you see me.)
But then I only had one border left to do, and BOOM. DONE. FOR REAL.