How do you keep your blocks organized when sewing together rows?
I’m working on a patchwork quilt of leftover fabric from Tula Does Up the Walls in Pah-ree—just a simple grid of 8″ squares and leftover kaleidoscope blocks. I can’t stand the idea of not chain piecing things like this… it’s so slow otherwise.
But, after going to all the work of organizing the blocks in a specific way, I don’t want them to get out of order.
I use colored pins to color-code the blocks. I start with a pin of one color at the top of every other block in a row (so I know which side is the top and that I should sew to the right of the pin). I use another color for the top of the rest of the row’s blocks. This second color tells me which block should be facing up when I run it through the sewing machine. I put an extra pin in the last one, just so that I can keep track of which set is the end of the row.
Now I can chain piece those pairs together without losing track. I can use different colors for another row, to piece even faster.
Once I’m done piecing those sets, I snip one off the chain, press the seam, remove the pins, and put a pin in for the new order (then repeat). Having the end of the row marked with an extra pin means I can make sure I’m always cutting off the set from the right end.
Then I chain piece the new sets. Snip, press, re-pin, piece.
And soon, I have a whole row!
I do the same thing with the rows as well, but put the ordering pins on the left side so that I can use pins along the new stitching line to make my seams match.
Eventually, I’ll have a whole quilt top pieced together, without having to unpick any pieces that were sewn in the wrong place. Hooray for saving time and headaches! And, though this is a large-scale, it can also work for piecing together blocks that have rows of pieces, too.
I don’t know if this is the best solution, but it works well enough. How do you do it?