The Uncertain Center

This was supposed to be the big reveal, where the 5×5 grid of blocks in the center all came together. It was supposed to go much more smoothly than it did. It was so exciting to complete the center block, and I figured the center 25 blocks would be much the same, but I’m far less certain about this larger middle of the quilt.

I had carefully planned the assembly so that I minimized the really long seams. In an earlier article, I had left a gap in the middle of this center section, and now I was going to fill that gap with the last few blocks, and show off my masterpiece.

Intellectually, I knew my August sashing goal was going to require about four times as much stitching as in a typical month, but I did not feel daunted by that. I was ready to tackle it all.

Unfortunately, this center section contained a lot of complicated blocks, many of which were hand-piecing challenges for me (So many inset seams! So much curved piecing! So many ridiculously tiny pieces!). The end result is that none of the blocks seemed to be exactly 5″ with seam allowances.

And I guess while I was assembling the different sub-sections of this 5×5 grid over the last several months, it never occurred to me to measure the blocks and make sure they were all going to line up.

Some of the blocks were too small; some were too big; disappointingly few were “just right” a la Goldilocks. I ripped out more than one seam and redid it, because nothing seemed to be fitting together properly.

It all came to a head as I sewed the blocks in Row F to the blocks in Row G in this section. F5 was for some reason way too big, and F6 was way too small. F7 was also too small, but not as too small as G7 below it. There seemed to be no end to the size mismatches.

I just kept measuring and re-measuring, and dreaded stitching anything together at all.

As the end of the month approached, I announced that I was going to finish it on Monday the 21st, which would be almost four weeks into the assembly process. I didn’t pick it up at all that night.

Then I announced it was going to be done on Tuesday, although with less conviction. I did stitch another 7″ (about a block and a half) over a couple of hours, but still had more than a foot to go.

Wednesday I got home from work late and didn’t even pick it up. Thursday I did get a couple of inches done (to wrap up that half block), but still had about 10″ to go.

Finally, on Friday I finished up the last 10″, which included the way too big F5 and the way too small F6. The center section was finally done, but I was so exasperated with the thing that I tossed it aside and didn’t even look at it for three days.

It is only today that I was finally willing to press it and take a photo for this article. Not really the triumphant finish I was hoping for, but it is done. I suspect with a little emotional distance and another good pressing, I will be far more pleased with it, but for now, it remains the Uncertain Center.

6 thoughts on “The Uncertain Center

  1. Once the top is done and quilted and you look at it in a new light you will be happier. And you are now aware of what happened so you can adjust your blocks going forward. Happy sewing!!! Dawne

    1. Exactly, Dawne! Being confronted with so many wrong-sized blocks all at once was very overwhelming. I think if I make sure to measure and adjust blocks as I stitch them going forward, I’ll be able to handle a few messed-up ones sprinkled in with all the just-right ones. :)

  2. The chickens come home to roost when sashing everything together, amirite?! Your perseverance is showing and it’s going great by all measures. Hang in there!!

    1. Oh, Becca, your comments always make me laugh! Especially because my kiddo went through an amirite-saying phase a few years ago and it never failed to make me smile. :)
      And you are right – I was so discouraged about this quilt after trying to sash all these pesky blocks together, but I am persevering and already getting excited to cut out my next block!

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