Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Suddenly... a quilt.

Well.  That was unexpected.

Emma and I went on our annual back-to-school thrift store jaunt to Tri-Cities this past weekend for school clothes, and (as always) found ourselves in the craft store as well.  I was just browsing around and for some reason ended up in the fabric section.  I had no particular plan in mind, but when I was confronted with a rack of packages of pre-cut quilt fabrics on a screaming deal sale, I was suddenly seized by a violent desire to make a quilt.  Immediately.

Emma picked out green and white.

precuts for Emma's jelly roll race quilt (2 of each)

These packages are a highly convenient, if somewhat pricey, way to start a quilt.  Each package contains 24 strips measuring 2.5" x ~40".  Precut and ready to sew!  Getting them on sale was perfect, because normally each package is about $25 and that's too spendy for me.

I've never worked with these before, so I decided to keep it simple and just do a basic jelly roll race pattern.  A "jelly roll" is what the precut strips are called when 40 strips are packaged in a round wheel, and the jelly roll race quilt is a popular easy pattern using these pre-cuts. For Emma's quilt, I used a total of 96 strips (48 green, 48 white).  This will give a quilt top that's approximately 80" x 96" (queen sized), oversized for Emma's full-size bed but nice and snuggly.

You start by sewing all the strips for each section together end to end, into a gigantic long strip.  I alternated green and white strips when I assembled the initial long strip for each section.

sewing the strips together for Emma's jelly roll race quilt

Once the strips for each section are attached, you whack off 18" from one end so that the seams don't line up when you fold it in half, then match up the two ends and sew a long seam down one edge, thereby halving the length and doubling the width.  This first seam is very, very, very, very long. You end up with a piece that is two strips wide.

first doubling of Emma's jelly roll race quilt

Then you fold and sew the long edge again four more times, until you have a piece that is 32 strips wide.  Because of geometry and the laws of doubling, Emma's quilt had to be made in two pieces, with the second one half the size of the first (16 strips wide).  So I made the two pieces, sewed them to each other, and hey presto- a quilt top!

Emma's jelly roll race quilt

How fun is that?! I actually like the randomness that happens with the folding and doubling, though that one spot where the green breaks is a little jarring to me.  Emma says she likes that spot best- it's the path through the hedge.  Go figure.  There's really no good way to predict or arrange the colors without making yourself crazy; you have to let go and embrace the serendipity.

This was a really easy project that only took an evening and a half.  I can't wait to finish it off with the backing and batting, so I can make MY quilt.  Because... ahem... of course I couldn't stop at just one when the fabric was on sale...


Anne said...

So what are you doing in your FREE time???? It's beautiful.

Rachel said...

This in no way surprises me...except for: when did you find the time?! So I'm pretty much in love with this and didn't realize that there were such pre-cut packages in JoAnns. That is dangerous information.

My question to you is: how's that curtain coming? ;) I know, I know...I bet you were wishing I was close enough to hit!