July 11, 2017

How to Keep Track of Pieces When Making a Postcard From Sweden Quilt

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

This mishmash of Kona Cotton happiness is actually very organized.  Have you ever wondered how to keep track of all those pieces without a design wall?  The king with 6" finished HSTs is made with 646 triangles, so organization is essential.  Here's how I do it.  

Layout all of the cut triangles in numerical order in stacks as shown below.  There are 36 colors, so there will be 36 piles of triangles.  Refer to the POS numbered block chart found here.  Label the rows A B C and so on.  Label the columns 1 2 3 and so on.  Reading left to right, in row A, take the two triangles that make up the first block and stack them together with the second fabric on top.  Repeat for the remainder of the row, placing block 2 on top of block 1, offset a bit toward the right.  The block on the top of this staggered stack is the rightmost block in the row.  Label the row by its letter using a pin.  I wouldn't trust a sticker.

The picture above shows all the rows laid out.  I use flat cardboard boxes and overlap the rows on top of each other, usually four rows per box.  This picture has four boxes laid 2 x 2, completely buried by the triangles.  I complete this entire process at one time rather than doing it one row at a time and then sewing the row, because I want my tables to be clear to use and also so I don't feel the pressure of sewing the entire quilt top before I'm free to work on another project.

Remember that the triangles are on the boards with the top block being the rightmost block in the row.  Don't forget this! Nearly all of the time when I sew a stack of blocks, the one on the top is the leftmost block, but not in this case.

Place one of the boards next to your sewing table.  Since my sewing table isn't wide enough for the box, I set up my ironing board at table height and place the box on top of it.  Sew all of the blocks in one row together, not clipping threads between them.  When finished with a row, clip the threads between the blocks, and place them in a pile in the same order they were sewn in.  Turn the pile of blocks over and pin the row letter back on.  Column 1 is now on the top, which means that the leftmost block in the row is now on top.  Press seams open.  Trim HSTs to size if necessary.  Below are the HSTs sewn together with each row in order with a letter label pinned to the first block of each row.  The subsequent labels are hidden in the pile.

Then sew the rows together in the usual manner, noting the orientation of each block on the diagram.  Every other block in each row is turned clockwise, and every other row it's the even numbered blocks that rotate, and on the other rows it's the odd numbered blocks that rotate.  This will make more sense as you sit down to sew and refer to the chart.  Work out a system for keeping track of which block rotates, and the piecing goes quite quickly.  Press seams open.

Here's my 17 king sized rows, pieced and ready to join together!

Download the free Postcard From Sweden pattern today!

Quilty Pencils with sassy quilt sayings are back in stock!  These are the cutest quilt pencils that would make great little gifts for your quilty friends.  Get a set or two today!

Get a Free Quilt Pattern!

Get a free pattern when you sign up to receive the latest info on what's happening in my studio, new quilt patterns, subscriber-only sales and Giveaways, quilty window shopping, and other fun news!

Click here to sign up!

Follow Busy Hands Quilts!


Shannon said...

That's a really good way to do it if you don't have any helpers to lay out the quilt.

Kathy E. said...

So cool to see you making another Postcard From Sweden quilt, Myra! Mine is still in the "flimsy" stage, but it is complete! I set my triangles up in a very similar way, but used the floor instead of a table. I look forward to getting mine finished!

Kim said...

This looks so fun and cheery!

Lori R. said...

Thank you MYRA. I'm just beginning my PFS quilt and your organizational method seems simple and effective. Cant wait to jump in.

JennQuilts said...

Very helpful- thank you. I’ve been working on a PFS quilt, but didn’t want to copy it exactly - I wanted to figure out the dark/light bring/not so bright patterns and replicate them with the fabric I have.
Do you have any advice for me?

Jenny said...

I just found your blog!! I am in the middle of the postcards quilt. It is difficult to keep everyone straight. The pandemic came around soon after I started it and my mask making sort of took over. I have postcards back out. I wish I knew your way earlier. I have 36 file folders with a different color in each. It works, but it could sure be easier! I love this quilt! Jenny