Laying out the quilt top was by far the hardest part of the process thus far. I know I made it a much bigger deal than I needed to, but I really wanted a layout that I would love for years to come. It took four hours of effort, and by the end I was feeling mildly ill from the stress, but I’m pleased with the result.
My main concern was keeping things fairly balanced. I wanted the fussy cuts, the darks, lights, and brights to all be spread well over the entire quilt top. I also wanted to sprinkle my favorites fairly evenly throughout. I didn’t want to get in the cycle of putting things up and taking them down and rearranging everything multiple times. I knew that if I started that, I would never be able to quit fiddling with it.
Since I was stuck on all of those ideas and since successfully organizing 81 blocks is easier said than done, my inner mathematician came out and I decided to sort. 1/4 of the blocks in this quilt have fussy cutting, so I started by separating all of the fussy cut blocks into three piles – light, dark, and bright. Then I separated the rest of the blocks into five piles – very light, medium light, medium dark, very dark, and bright. Next, I counted the blocks in each pile to figure out how many of each type should go in each row. I tackled the quilt one row at a time, pulling blocks from each pile, and making sure I was selecting a nice range of colors. I would tinker with the row until I was pleased with it, and then I would move on to the next row. I think it worked pretty well, because when I was finally done, I only needed to switch two blocks. For a perfectionist, that’s not too shabby.
As I type this, I’m looking over the laptop at my design wall and I am falling more and more in love with the quilt. I’m very pleased with the layout. While I really wanted to quit when I was about halfway through laying out the rows, I’m glad I stuck it out and got it all done in one session. Now that the part I was dreading the most is behind me, I am incredibly excited about getting this put together. It’s time to stop typing and start sewing. Finished quilt top, here I come.