With some calculations about what it would take (I was surprised it was more than 3 yards), I realized I didn't have enough of any one fabric for all of the sashing. So, first good chance I had, I was off to the fabric store! :)
I pulled out fabrics I thought would work and then spread them out on a table in the classroom to audition blocks on them.
After multiple comparisons, I narrowed it to two finalists: the busy brown and the darker blue with medium polka dots in white:
I couldn't start cutting or sewing right away because I had to determine a layout and I had to decide how I was going to do the sashing. I like to add a strip to one side and the bottom of each block but this wouldn't help me hide the fact that my blocks vary in size by 1/2". Instead, I planned to sew a narrower strip on all four sides of each block, which would then form the right width sashing when I sewed two blocks together. (Got all that? Don't worry if you don't!)
First step is the layout:
Once I had the layout, I did all of the calculations for how many strips I would need and what sizes they would need to be. I ended up having to cut 176 strips with 5 different dimensions.
|A few of my many, many cut strips!|
Instead of the most common way to border a block (sewing strips on opposite sides and then sewing strips on the remaining two sides), I decided to sew on the strips rotating around the block. This way the sashing didn't dictate a vertical or horizontal vibe to the quilt and all the blocks would be the same.
Here's how I did it in this quilt:
But now that the fourth strip is in place, we can flip the first strip so it is right-sides-together with the block and sew the remainder of the seam.
So far, I have finished all four corners, the four 12" blocks (which needed yet another size of sashing strips), and all of the outside pieces. (Hmm...it almost sounds like I'm putting together a puzzle!) All of the blocks on the outer edge needed thicker strips on one or two sides. By only working on blocks that were oriented in the same way and by adding the wide strips first, I was able to keep track of what I was doing.
Now I have only 14 interior blocks to go and they have the same four pieces on all four sides. I'll just have to continue to make sure that I rotate the sashing in the same way and that they get back into the layout right-side-up (as in not up-side-down).
After that they will all get a good pressing and then be cut to size. I made sure the sashing was sized for the smallest square and that means I'll have to cut most of the blocks down--the price to pay for being able to assembly-line sew this step. It also means I'll be able to make sure each block is centered in its section no matter what size it is.
Also, I have one more surprise in the setting of this quilt that this method of sashing allows for! :)