Monday, June 25, 2012

My Great Jelly Roll Race Experiment

Last Thursday the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild hosted a Sewing Day at Seminole Sampler Quilt Shop (Thanks Linda for letting us use your shop to sew, and thank you to the Seminole Staff who were so nice to us while we were there!)  I decided to make a Jelly Roll Quilt ~ Have you heard of the Jelly Roll Race Quilt Craze?  Well the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild and the DC Modern Guild are getting together on July 7th to have a Jelly Roll Quilt Race, but alas I will be out of town that day, so I used our Sewing Day to try one out for myself.  You can check out the BMQG Blog for more info on the Great Jelly Roll Quilt Race and see pictures of other examples of Jelly Roll Race Quilts too! 

Basically the quilt is made using one Jelly Roll (If you aren't familiar with fabric Jelly Rolls, they are rolls of approx. forty 2 1/2" strips of coordinating fabrics.)  I started with a package of Timeless Treasures "Green Tea" colorway Tonga Treats batiks that I purchased at Seminole Sampler.  First I randomly sewed them together end to end along the short ends of the strips to create one very long strip.  This can be done easily and pretty quickly by chain piecing them.  Just make sure that you are always stitching them right sides of the strips together so all the seams come out on the back side (and if your jelly roll strips have selvages on the ends you might want to cut them off before you begin).

The one long strip is quite long (about 1600"), so it forms quite a pile.  Cut off approx. 18 - 20" from one end of the long strip (this is what makes the seams stagger ~ thanks for that little tip Heather!).  Then fold the whole long strip in half, matching up the two short ends of the strip right sides together, and sew using a 1/4" seam allowance all along one long side.  As you approach the end of the long side seam, cut the fold with scissors and continue to stitch to the end (back stitch to lock your stitches in place at the ends).  Open them up and at this point you'll have two long strips side by side (roughly  800" long). 

Fold the strip set in half again (right sides together) and repeat the process of sewing down one long seam.  Each time you do this your long seam will get shorter, so it sews up pretty fast.  Again, when you approach the end, flatten and finger press the fold then cut it with scissors, and continue stitching to the end. 

To make this top, you just continue the same process.  The 2-strip set becomes a 4-strip set, then an 8-strip set, then 16-strip set, and finally finishes at 32-strips tall.  I'm told that in Jelly Roll Quilt Races, this quilt top can be pieced in 30 - 40 minutes.  I wasn't racing (and I'm not a particularly fast stitcher), but I got mine finished in about 2 hours, and was pretty happy with that.  These make nice size throw quilts and will make great gift quilts so I'll definitely make another one...or four...or five... ;)

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn


Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

It looks great Dawn! I have a Tonga Treats that may just become a Jelly Roll quilt.

teachpany said...

I've done 2 so far, and added a4 or 6" border of coordinating fabric. It's fun and fast! I've taught a few students to make them, too, and they love it! Yours is very pretty.

Unknown said...

What a great way to use those jely rolls and have a fun afternoon with some quilter friends! Thanks for posting!

tfinnell said...

I love making these. So fast and easy. As an Intraguild co-chair we did a strip exchange and then gave out directions for this quilt. I have directions on how many strips to use for different size quilts.

DC Modern Quilt Guild said...

this looks like a lot of fun! Great job.

Kathleen said...

A couple of ladies at the Faithful Circle retreat earlier this month made up one of these - and I've already got my jelly roll to try it myself!

Debbie said...

I heard of the jelly roll race but didnt know how to go about it. Thank you for the directions.
(DebiDesigns at Etsy)