Jelly Roll Thoughts

Merry & Bright Jelly Roll
Merry & Bright Jelly Roll

I needed a fast project, some quilt sorbet for when the Sorbet quilt wasn’t working.

I have had a Sandy Gervais Merry and Bright Jelly Roll for a long time. This past weekend, I decided it was time to take the fabric strips and make the It’s a Wrap quilt. I had some other things to do, but I spent a lot of time just sewing and learning.

It was a somewhat strange experience. First, someone said they couldn’t believe I was using a Jelly Roll. I was hesitant to tell them about the pattern. I did tell her for shock value and I thought she would keel over. Sometimes, I think, by limiting choices, a quiltmaker can focus on other elements of the process. That is what I was doing, even though I didn’t start out with that intent.

Merry & Bright Jelly Roll
Merry & Bright Jelly Roll

One thing I learned is that there is value in trying things out: different fiber content, different construction techniques, different tools, etc. Having a pattern and the fabric choices taken care of gave me fewer decisions and I could focus on learning the pros and cons of the Jelly Roll.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Moda Bakeshop offerings are a brilliant marketing scheme. My biggest confusion with the one Jelly Roll I had was that many of the pieces were cut off grain. Nadine Ruggles mentioned this in one of her blog posts, but I got to experience it first hand. This means that my strips weren’t straight, but bowed – tending towards Cs and Ls rather than Is. This phenomenon was frustrating, but I also learned a lot about strip cutting and grain. I know that I need to line up the selvedges and trim the sides to make a straight cut. Seeing the bow in the the Jelly Roll strips made me understand (in an embedded in my mind sort of way) what cutting off grain does to strips.

I don’t have a Jelly Roll book, but I would like to know if they address that problem in the directions of the various projects. Nothing was said on my pattern.

Unrolled Jelly Roll
Unrolled Jelly Roll

The things I liked about the Jelly Roll:

  • I got a little taste of a number of different fabrics. I could do this by cutting a strip off of fabrics that I buy (on grain, of course)Β  and saving them for a future project.
  • I like working with full lines of fabric just to see how the designers patterns work together. A whole line of fabric is like a complete painting to me. I get a lot of joy out of working with a designer’s creation.
  • The strips were already cut, so I could take my small cutting mat down to the coffee table and cut and watch TV. If I cut a bunch of strips on ‘spec, I could do this as well.
  • I didn’t have to decide how many yards of each to buy.
  • I had a limited palette to work with.
  • I like the fabric and a Jelly Roll was just enough to satisfy me, especially since the only reason I buy Christmas fabrics is to make gift bags.

I saw this quilt on a blog called Sister’s Choice Quilts. She also used the Merry and Bright fabric line. I have always loved the Chinese Coins pattern and the combination of Chinese coins and 4patches make this a winner. I love seeing the same fabrics in different patterns and similar patterns in different fabrics. That concept is one of the things I really like about quiltmaking.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

11 thoughts on “Jelly Roll Thoughts”

  1. That was an interesting read about how off grain jelly rolls can be. I would never have thought about that aspect of the product. Of course I am not a careful quilter and probably would not have noticed that they even WERE off grain! I am glad I haven’t bought any jelly rolls. hehehe

    That merry and Bright fabric quilt “Scratch” I think it was? WAS a very pretty and cheerful quilt! It just gave me the warm fuzzies all over! lol

    I’ve taken a hiatus from quilting/sewing for a few weeks. I am about ready to get back into it though. Your blog always helps push me in that direction! Thanks dearie! πŸ™‚

  2. Perhaps it was the unsettled weather? At least we had unsettled weather the past few weeks: hot, rain, cold, rain, sun and cold. You name it we had a variety.

    I felt a little bit out of quilting sorts as well and am, hopefully, getting back into it.

    Glad you liked the post! How is that Unicorn quilt? I have some info about my process to post later.

  3. I’ll chime in here and note that the off-grain phenomenon is definitely not restricted to the one Jelly Roll that Jaye used. I recently used one for the first time and encountered the same problem. The strips are cut across the width of the fabric – selvedge to selvedge – which means they have a tendency to stretchiness, anyway, and that is exacerbated by the off-grain cuts.

    If I were to make a quilt uisng a pre-cut bundle again, I would choose a Layer Cake rather than a Jelly Roll. You get about the same amount of fabric, and you can control the grain better. Only works, of course, if you don’t a continuous strip longer than 10″.

  4. I had a lot of trouble shifting to DST this year. I am still not with it yet! So my sleep has been disturbed. Plus I have lacked motivation. I keep looking for a quilt pattern that I can use those froo-froo colors on and just am not seeing it.
    Then I thought I would just forgot quilting and try to tackle that tree artsy thing. I haven’t given up on it, but it hasn’t made it back into the studio since I bleach soaked it and left it out to dry in the sun.
    Our weather has gone all over the place too, but seems to be settling in on early summer patterns of heat, sun, thunderstorm, heat, sun, thunderstorm…heavy little thunder-boomer is going on right now in fact.

    And JUST CUZ YOU SAID SOMETHING, I went and did up ONE block on the Unicorn quilt. Gads you are SUCH a slave driver!!! Now I have to neaten it up, clip threads, press, photograph, photoshop it, and get it posted on my blog.

    PLUS there is that branch, nagging at me…..

    I love to blame YOU, so, IT IS YOUR FALUT….whatever the problem is, it is YOUR fault! lololololol

  5. QUOTE: (Jaye said) “TFQ and I talked about her various issues so I am glad she brought them up in our forum.”

    You know, I could take that comment personally! I do NOT have ISSUES! I am just speshul. πŸ˜€

  6. I forgive you. I was afraid my reputation got tarnished!
    Oh, and that magazine has the correction printed out and stapled on the page where it is needed for that pattern too. You’ll see it when it gets there.

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