Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January/June/July 2013 - Jelly Roll Race Quilt

 Towards the end of 2012 I had quite a few friends making Jelly Roll Race quilts. You take a jelly roll, sew the strips into one very long ribbon, fold in half and stitch the long side, cut, fold in half and sew the long side again, and keep doing that until you have a quilt top. Plenty of quilt groups have done races to see who can be the fastest to produce a quilt top using just the jelly roll.

I wasn't particularly fussed on them. But then, a few days after Christmas (big family get together) the women in the house got a bit of cabin fever and needed some crafty retail therapy. We headed to the local craft store and there, hanging behind the counter was the nicest Jelly Roll Race quilt top I had ever seen. It was a rainbow of batik fabrics finished with two co-ordinating borders.
I was sold. I picked a batik roll from the remaining stash and then we spent some time picking border fabric. The lady in the shop helpfully wrote down the border measurements for me and I was determined to go back home and make it that very night.

It didn't quite happen that night, but the following afternoon I dug out Mum's old sewing machine and set it up on the deck where everyone else was playing cards and scrabble or crashing remote controlled helicopters. There was a bit of eye-rolling from the men folk. I got stuck in expecting it to be a quick easy project. Some of those races on the internet managed to produce a top in just 45 minutes.
Took me much longer, and sewing with an empty bobbin doesn't really speed things up. The whole process kept the non-sewers amused (and almost converted one or two).
I got the strips all together sometime after dinner and laid it out to see how the borders would look. I wasn't in love but it was bright and cheerful and was planned as a serviceable couch throw so I was happy enough.
I used a 2" inner border and a 6" outer border. 

We packed up and headed home the next day, so it was another day before I got the borders on. Had I bought the backing and batting at the same time I probably would have finished the whole quilt that week, but instead it got folded up and put aside and it was more than six months before I got to it again.
I finally found time to buy the backing and get it basted, and it was under the machine by the end of June. I quilted with a diagonal grid pattern in the centre of the quilt and straight lines in the borders using a multi-coloured embroidery thread.
The binding took forever but seeing as it was July it was quite nice to curl up in front of the fire, under the quilt and stitch away.

The whole thing was finally finished at the end of July and it has been on the couch ever since.
It really is a bit big for a couch throw. It ended up at 216cm x 176cm (85"x70") so it is plenty big enough for a double bed.
I don't think I'll make another one using this method.
If I did I would cut the strips in half before making the long ribbon, to break up the colours a bit more. It was an easy way to make a quick top, so never say never.

And most importantly - the dog approves.

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