With or without the sashing?

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I’m working on my Japanese quilt (well, when my left rotator cuff lets me), and I’ve got most of the blocks made. Next question — should I piece the blocks together directly, or sash them? And if I sash, what colour?

So here’s the blocks set as the pattern specifies. Well, mostly. The guy with the axe and the tiger are the specified orientation — the flowery blocks are rotated 90 degrees, which creates a kind of spiral at the intersection of the four blocks. I liked the idea that the indigo rectangles are all staggered.

I thought of using a cream coloured sashing, since the blocks have lighter centres, but then I thought it would be too light — that the sash would dominate over the blocks. So then I considered red, and I tried two different ones: a brighter red (to catch the red in some of the rectangles, like the red kimono in the bottom right block) and a slightly browner red (to catch the browner red of the fish in that same block).


The pic on the left is the brighter red, and the one on the righter is the rustier red. Does red sashing add pop? Or is it just distracting?

Looking at these pics I’m thinking, if the centre of the blocks featured more red, then it might work better. But even though there’s some pinks and reds in the flower blocks, it’s not enough to work with the red sashing. Not to mention, you don’t get that spiral feeling at the block intersections when the blocks are separated by the sashing.

So I’m thinking maybe no sash. What do you think?

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