Line Dance SAL Week 2 - Cutting & Organizing Part 1

It's Week 2 of the Line Dance SAL and time to cut into those lovely fabrics - and get ourselves organized.

This pattern has chaos potential for the scrappy versions, so I want to introduce you to an easy method of keeping track of what goes where. 

This week, we're going to just cut the ribbon fabrics. There are a lot of cuts, so I don't want to wreck someone's wrists or elbows with a marathon cutting session. Plus, the ribbons are the part where we really need to be on the ball, so we'll cut those this week and then next week will be a nice and easy one just cutting the background.

The colouring page is your best friend

If you didn't print one out yet, I highly recommend doing it now. They're included in the pattern, so you can just print as many as you need, or photocopy the page of the pattern booklet.

This is the best tool for keeping your blocks and fabrics organized. Even if you didn't need it to pick your fabrics, colour it in anyways because that's how we're going to keep track of the blocks and which ribbons cross where. This applies mainly to versions B & C, but is a good idea for version A, too.

Paper plates are not just for picnics

Also, I recommend getting a stack of paper plates for this quilt. This is a trick for keeping your fabrics organized that I learned from Libs Elliott a while back. Each block gets its own paper plate, labeled so you know what block it is, and then all the fabrics, partial block units etc. go on that plate. They're easy to stack and move around, and sturdy enough that things stay put. And all the pieces stay together.

Unless you have a large table where you can leave the cut fabrics for each block undisturbed for the duration of the SAL, I highly recommend paper plates.

Label everything

I've included a label sheet in this week's email that you can download and cut out. There are enough labels for 3 blocks on the sheet, so print out as many as you need for your quilt. Each set of labels has all the labels needed for the block, plus a "block label" that you can fill in however you name your blocks (we'll cover that a bit further down), and then pin to your finished block.

Let's get organized

So, now that we have a colouring page, plates and labels, let's get ourselves set up.

These organizing tips mainly apply to making a scrappy or loopy version of the quilt, if you're making a two-colour version, things are much simpler (I'll go in more detail for that version a bit further down).

Step 1: Colour in your colouring page. You'll notice that the blocks are labeled A and B, for the two mirrored blocks. Also, some of them are labeled upside down. These are the blocks you need to rotate 180 degrees when piecing the quilt top.

So, the easiest way for me to keep myself organized is to go through the colouring page and label each ribbon in each block with a 1 or a 2 as described on page 5 of the pattern. Since some of the blocks are upside down, I just turn the whole colouring page upside down to label those block, so I'm looking at them the same way as they are shown in the pattern. Otherwise, I know I would get confused and end up mislabeling the ribbons.

I have a short video of that process that I'm going to pop into the Facebook group, since I can't embed videos here on the blog.

Step 2: Once the ribbons are labeled, decide on a "naming convention" for your blocks. I'm making the small throw, so I have 4 rows and 3 columns of blocks. I went with numbers 1-4 for the rows, and X, Y, and Z for the columns, and now have blocks 1X, 1Y, 1Z, 2X, 2Y, 2Z, and so forth. You'll want each block to have a unique name/label so that you know exactly which two ribbon fabrics belong to which block.

Step 3: Now that your blocks have names, label all the paper plates with the block names (one plate per block), and write down whether the block is a Block A or a Block B.

Step 4: Cut out the labels from the label sheet, and add one set to each plate.

Now you're ready to cut fabrics.

The cutting charts tell you how many pieces of each size to cut, and the chart on page 5 tells you how many pieces and which sizes you need per block. This chart also has the labels listed.

If you have a Stripology ruler, or have a friend who will lend you theirs, it'll make cutting all the strips for this quilt so much easier. I recently got the XL one (they are a bit spendy) and love how quick and easy it made these cuts.

Label all your pieces following the chart on page 5, then distribute them to their plates according to which block they go into.

As an example, my block 1X has a medium blue and a dark green ribbon, so I'm putting all the medium blue and dark green pieces needed for that block on that one plate.

I set my plates out on the table in the same layout as the quilt, four down and three across, so I also got the visual confirmation that I had the right colours in the right spot for my loops (green one top left, yellow one center right).


Organizing for version A

For the two-colour version, you don't need to go to quite such lengths for organizing. Label the pieces using the label sheet, and then sort them into a stack of all the Blocks A, and one of all the Blocks B. Since all the blocks use the exact same colours, you don't need to keep track of a block's location on the quilt while you're making it. All you need to know is whether you're making a Block A or a Block B. 

Plus, your ribbon colours will be the same ones throughout the quilt, so once you designate which one of your colour is 1 and which one is 2, they will stay the same for the whole quilt.

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