Thursday, November 5, 2020

Jelly Roll Stroll

You know how people make those quilts from pre-cut strips and call them Jelly Roll Race? Those quilts that they make in a day or maybe a few hours? Yeah, well this is a post about one of those quilts. Except that this was a Jelly Roll Stroll, not a race. I started this quilt by playing with strips on September 19, then picked away at it little by little, and finished it on Election night (November 3) around midnight or maybe a bit after while nervously watching the returns on TV. As of this writing I have no idea who won our presidential election, and that's okay, as I will probably be too emotional to write at all by then, either celebrating or crying in my soup, and either way still very concerned for my country.'s a nice little story in the meantime.

This quilt started with a blog hop honoring the late Paula Budinger. who passed away in February. She was a delightful quilter/blogger who loved bright colors, learning new quilting techniques/styles, and donating quilts. Quilter friends Janice of Color, Creating and Quilting and Kate from Smiles from Kate quickly organized a Blog Hop to honor Paula's quilting legacy. Quilters who participated made quilts for their favorite charities.The hop happened from May 6 (Paula's birthday) to May 8. (I don't have a link to the actual hop here, but you can check their websites if you would like to see the quilts and posts of the quilters who participated.) I was not able to participate in the hop, but one of the quilters who did was Louise from My Quilt Odyssey. She made a fun Jelly Roll Race Quilt, and as part of her participation, she had a Boundless Fabrics Ombre Sunset Jelly Roll to give away. I was the giftee!!
Beautiful sunshine, persistent breeze

I have to admit these are not colors I usually gravitate to. Also, I have not worked with ombres before, and I was really uncertain how they would look in strip form for a quilt. But, remembering that Paula liked to learn new things, I jumped in to see what would happen. 

First I searched the internet for quilts that others have made using pre-cut strips. One that caught my eye was a pattern designed by Doris Rice for Moda a few years ago. She called it Nines in the Middle. The pattern makes a twin sized quilt and is really detailed, showing how long to cut strips and place them. I did not want to make a quilt that large, so I decided to wing it, using the general idea of the pattern but cutting my strips randomly and placing them for maximum use of my strips. 

I especially liked the nine-patches to break up the strips, and because I was just a bit intimidated by the bright colors, I decided to find a color from the opposite side of the color wheel to calm things down just a bit. I masked up and purchased a bit of turquoise fabric at my little local fabric store. It had a mottled look to it that I thought fit nicely with the ombres. I also purchased the remaining Kona Snow on a bolt for the nine-patches and "borders." The sales associate told me that they had been having a really hard time getting some basic solids (specifically, black, navy and white) in stock because everyone was using them for masks, so I was fortunate to get that bolt remainder (plus the bolt-end discount).

I was so happy with my purchases that I made my nine-patches first. Here's where following the pattern might have helped. After randomly cutting lengths of the strips and fitting them around the nine-patches, I realized that by not sewing the nine-patches into the quilt as part of the strips, I had to do partial seams throughout the construction. I don't have photos of the process. I was too into sewing for that. It took a lot of planning as I went, making sections of strips, partially joining them and then completing the seam after adding more strips or joining to a nine-patch. The great thing about this is that I think I would have quickly grown bored just sewing long strips together over and over. This took a lot of thought, which was a fun challenge and kept me interested. 

After I finished the top, I had a lot of strips left over. I did not want to make another quilt and there were more than I could use in a scrappy binding, so I decided to make a pieced back to complement the front. I first made some strip sets with the turquoise and white leftovers, making just the middle row of nine-patches. Then I laid all the leftover strips around and made as big a section as I could to cover a portion of the quilt. When I was finished, I found that if I bought one length of fabric the same measurement of width of the quilt, I could split it to cover the top and bottom of the back. This time, masking up and going to the store took a little more courage, as by that time the number of Covid cases was beginning to rise again. I chose to go to a larger quilt store, ensuring a wide selection of fabric. I also had about 30 dollars on a rewards card that I had earned just before the lockdown that I wanted to use up. I am usually a very slow fabric shopper, but I challenged myself to find a fabric as quickly as possible. I wasn't seeing what I had envisioned, but did find this watery fabric. I wasn't convinced, but grabbed it along with some basics, a pack of needles, and a few fat quarters to use up my rewards and was out of there in about 15 or 20 minutes. My, how this virus has changed my shopping habits!! And you know what? That watery fabric grew on me, and now I think it is just right for the backing.

Long before the quilt was finished I had an idea for a quilting pattern. 

I quickly sketched it, and after basting the quilt, drew the main lines with a flexible curve. (That is a scary tool for me, because I think there is lead inside of it. It stinks!! I store it in a heavy plastic bag deep in a drawer so I don't need to be near it. Weird, I know, but it does come in handy occasionally.) Then I used my walking foot to quilt each of the four sections. The result was nothing like my sketch. I tried following each line 3/4 inch away, but instead of graceful curves flowing across each section I ended up with (wonky, but that's a given for me) lines that flattened as I went. Luckily, it happened pretty much the same in each quarter of the quilt, so it looks like maybe I planned it that way? I'm sure it has something to do with the geometry of using a pattern like this in a not quite square shape. Plus user inexactness. Who knows? Luckily, I don't mind. I am a weird mix of precision-ish piecer and lackadaisical quilter. And, yes, finished is better than perfect, and all that.
initials/date with washable marker guide

initials/date after washing

I am thrilled with how the top turned out. The ombre created a lot of movement, and the bright colors are, as my husband described the quilt, joyful. And one other thing I have to note: I have not worked with pinked fabric strips before, and I had heard that sometimes widths are varied and difficult to work with. I did not find that to be the case with these strips. They measured 2 1/2 inches wide at the points and as long as I aligned those with my seam guide, everything fit together well. 
This quilt has been a blast, and a very good occupation during a challenging year and stressful time in my country for so many reasons.This was me on election night. 

I'm not sure I've ever completed binding on a lap quilt in one evening before. I was hoping that it would relieve stress. I'm not sure it did, but the quilt finish did result in happiness and satisfaction. I think Paula would approve of the result. I sewed with bright colors, tried a new technique, and I intend to donate this quilt (to be determined after I have a small batch of quilts finished). There was some talk after the blog hop in May that there would be another on Paula's birthday next year. If so, I think I might link this post up as this is my quilt to honor her legacy. I could not have done it without all the people who I mentioned at the beginning of this post, so many thanks to all of you. 

Here are the stats: 
Pattern: Variation of Nines in the Middle by Doris Rice for Moda. (Interestingly, the pattern had pink in the nine-patches in the photo, but I have since found a version of it with turquoise, so my quilt is definitely not unique even though I did not strictly follow the pattern.
Fabrics:  Boundless Fabrics Ombre Sunset Jelly Roll (Gift from Louise); Shabby by Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet for Riley Blake Designs (not sure of the color name); Robert Kaufman Kona Snow. Backing is a digitally printed fabric, Horizon in Dawn by Grant Haffner for Windham Fabrics.
Batting: Hobbs Premium 80/20
Thread: Superior Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; Superior King Tut in Temple for quilting; Superior Treasure Hand Quilting thread in Little Prince (variegated blue) to sew down binding.
Binding: 2 1/2 inches cut, double layer, machine sewn to front and hand stitched on back. 
Size: 53 1/2 by 61 inches before quilting; 52 1/2 by 60 1/4 after quilting; 49 1/2 by 56 5/8 after washing on cold and machine drying on low.
Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer Treadle 115 for  quilting and the machine work on the binding.

Have a lovely weekend, and if you live in my country, take a deep breath, with patience and  hope for the future.

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.)