Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Jelly Roll Race! Part 1

..I am feeling like doing something a little bit sassy today....

..and since it incorporates using something I bought some time ago - it fits into the overall plan!

 In case you don't know what a jelly roll is.... it is fabric (so I am SEWING in my sassiness!)  It is a roll of 40 precut 44-inch long & 2-1/2-inch wide strips.  I bought 2 rolls almost a year ago when I first heard of a jelly roll race (which coincidentally is when I first heard of a jelly roll!)  Anyway - I found some on sale - neutrals... white to tan... and thought they might be fun to play with.

The jelly roll race is a technique to create a quilt top in an hour (okay - a little longer for me - but I'm not racing)  It started out as a fun activity using one jelly roll and a bunch of people literally racing to put the top together.

In essence.... you take these strips and sew them together end to end in random order.  Then you take the two ends and fold this strip together lengthwise - and sew THAT seam... cutting the ends when you reach the middle (now you have a strip of TWO).  Fold in half again and sew the lengthwise edge  (and now a strip of FOUR strips) and so on....

So - I decided since I have a couple of days at home AND it's the beginning of the month - that I would take the time to play.  I did some cutting and planning on other quilts this morning - so I have things to work on when I watch tv tonight.....  and now it's GO time!  I didn't time myself - but I did note that I started around 11 am

I took one roll, opened it up and laid out the strips.

First decision... how to attach the strips:  flat or mitered (straight or slanted joining seams).  I decided to go with the slant since I have solids in differing grades of creams.  I think it will probably give more of a feel of one color blending into the next.  Also - straight looks a bit more like patchwork - a fave for me... but I think that will work better with different fabrics.

That decision made.... now to make the mitered seams without twisting up the fabric!  This is harder than it seems because my solids do not have an obvious right or wrong side to them ... but I took it slow and didn't mess up too much.  I stopped at this point to trim off the mitered corners and make sure I didn't twist it!  And wondered.... what size quilt will this be?

I am glad I took the time to check!  According to one source..ONE jelly roll makes a lap quilt.. TWO make a bed size - depending on what I choose to do for borders.  So (without reading about actual measurements, mind you!) - two it is.... because I'd rather be safe than sorry... and I stop to hook the second roll together!  (and eat some lunch!)

okay - ready to go again!

I carefully cut 18 inches off one end (to make sure the seams don't run into each other) and matched right sides together for the LONG lengthwise journey from one end to the other.

I found that simply matching right side to right side and the first end of the seam left me with a twist at the en where I need to cut. 

That is a seam along the length of 40 X 44.... or  1760 inches (oh my goodness - by this time, I am into bobbin number 3.. have had to rethread the needle umpteen times and my rear end is NUMB)  It's about 3:15 and I NEED to get up and do something physical!

(Actually my math is OFF - TWO jelly rolls is 80X44!)

switched the laundry and took a walk!

As you can see - what to do with the fabric becomes a challenge!

Came back and started again!  The second row of stitching (2rows to 2 rows)  (took a little less time but still a while....  the toughest part here is the twisting at the end.  I imagine if I took the time to smooth things out - it wouldn't happen but I would lose the speed of just matching the ends and GOing :-)

Row 3 has me sewing 4 row sections to 4 row sections.  Another problem I am experiencing is which way to stitch over the miter joins.  I can't figure out how to make them all end up in the same direction except to open them.  Hmm....  looks like I will have to adjust something later.  NOT taking the time to iron is making this a little different than what I am used to.

Row 4 is getting a little heavy and harder to manipulate.

Seam 1 = 1 strip + 1 strip = a 2-strip section (approx 4-in wide)
Seam 2 = 2-strip + 2-strip = a 4-strip section (approx 8-in wide)
Seam 3 = 4-strip + 4-strip = an 8-strip section (approx 16-in wide)
Seam 4 = 8-strip + 8-strip = a 16-strip section (approx (32-in wide
Seam 5 = 16-strip + 16-strip = a 32-strip section (approx 64 in wide)

So I ended up with a 64-inch by 112-inch top - yikes!!  What to do... what to do.....   Another seam (6) would give me 128-inch by 56-inch... not any better!.  I figured that I needed 80-90-inch length and width to work with my queen sized bed.

I decided to remove 20 rows (40 inches) BEFORE doing seam # 6.

I planned to have then a 56 X 88 top - and also 20 112-inch rows to make side borders with!

(screwed up the math again!  After ripping out the 19 rows, I ended up with approx 64 X 54 - I am not sure what I did but I have plenty of joined strips to play with!  The final product will have to be another post!)

The BEST thing I did was choose to alter the size by removing whole rows.  That gave me strips with already mitered joining corners to make borders with.  My plan is to add approx 3 joined strips (6 inches) to each SIDE running top to bottom (opposite direction from the current strips) and then ONE strip (2-inches) all the way around as a unifying outer border.  I should still have enough for binding as well. - I will share all of that in a part 2 post when I get there and have photos!

If I were to do it again (and I probably will) - I would do ONE jelly roll into the top (64X56) and with a second roll I would attach strips together to create a border all around.  Just being careful that the individual strip joinings didn't match up.  Or maybe I will try the same process with 1.5 Jelly rolls and see how that works! (Does that give me an excuse to purchase another jelly roll?)

Thanks to Kimara and Michelle of Wee Folk Art for sharing their experience on the jelly roll quilt!

Making this top was fun!  And definitely quick :-)  It was nice seeing it take shape in a day - and I LOVED seeing how the fabrics are so random in the way they show up in the end product.

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