Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Renewed Jelly Roll Race

I am entering the Renewed Jelly Roll Race into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. Amy’s Creative Side is putting on the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. My entry number is 430 (though on some screens, it seems to show up as 431. Very strange). If you haven’t entered, don’t, because *I* want to win!

Me, yes. You can win next time. 😉

OK, truly, I also would like people to be exposed to my blog. Do you have a friend you can refer?

Here is the schedule:

  • October 26 – 31 Linky open
  • November 1 – 4 Nominations are made (this is where you nominate me)
  • November 5 -8 Vote for your favorites
  • November 9 Winners announced
Renewed Jelly Roll Race
Renewed Jelly Roll Race

The Renewed Jelly Roll Race is my most recent finish. I have another quilt that is nearing completion, but I am pretty excited about the RJRR! It really is a  quilt that came out of something I was going to toss. I felt like the original Jelly Roll Race quilt was a huge, ugly failure. An ugly duckling into a swan.

I became intrigued by a discussion at my Modern Quilt Guild about Jelly Roll Race quilts. I had heard of them in passing, but during the discussion, finally understood the concept. People wanted to do the quilt top at a meeting. I sew slowly, so I didn’t want to race.

I bought a Jelly Roll and got to work sewing the strips together. For a person who doesn’t like really long seams (I prefer chunking!), this project was kind of a nightmare of long seams. It was kind of a tedious job and I soon realized I had no control over color placement, no control over fabric pattern placement. Basically, I had no control.

Jelly Roll Race - Finished Top
Jelly Roll Race – Finished Top

This was a problem for me. While I like serendipity and happy accidents, this quilt was not turning into the successful result of a happy accident. It was turning out very, very badly. My fears were confirmed when the top was done.

I liked the colors. I liked the fabrics. I sincerely disliked the top.

I put it away and left it for awhile hoping it would grow on me. Periodically, I took it out, hoping I would like the top and be willing to put some work into finishing it. My heart sank every time I saw the top and I began wondering what the designers of the Jelly Roll Race concept were thinking.

I began looking at other JRR tops and all of them looked cute or interesting. ARound this time, I heard a CraftyGardenMom podcast. Tanesha was also working on a Jelly Roll Race quilt. She said she cut 20″ off the first strip to make the quilt more irregular. If I had read any directions I might have known that. I wasn’t about to rip all those seams and start over, but I did feel a spark of hope that all was not completely lost.

Jelly Roll Diamonds
Jelly Roll Diamonds

Last year I finished a very successful quilt from my Fabric of the Year series called Fabric of the Year 2010. This quilt is made with diamonds and I still have the Creative Grids ruler. I came upon it and the spark of hope grew brighter. Since the top was languishing, I decided to be drastic. I decided that I would cut the top up into diamonds. What is the worst that could happen? The top could not be any uglier or anymore useless than it already was.

I tried sewing the diamonds together by themselves, but VERY quickly realized that the diamonds were busy and needed their space.

I sewed the diamonds together in chunks with Pure Elements Linen as the sashing. I go into quite a bit of detail about the construction in a post from February.  I sewed and sewed and sewed. The sewing seemed never ending. Diamonds are not hard to sew together, but you do have to pay attention and there were a lot of them. I ripped out a lot of seams to make lines match up. There are a few that don’t, but I can live with them.

Renewed Jelly Roll Race - back
Renewed Jelly Roll Race – back

DH helped me with the math, but I still had quite a few diamonds leftover. I decided to put the extras on the back. You could say that the quilt is two sided, but the quilting wasn’t design with the back in mind.

The back is my typical pieced back, but I haven’t done anything like the big off kilter diamond in a long time. I kind of like it.

This is an original design and there isn’t a pattern. If you want to make one of these quilts, make a Jelly Roll Race quilt that you dislike. 😉

The coup de grace may be that this quilt was chosen to be part of the New Quilts of Northern California exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival, which was held in Santa Clara, California October 10-14, 2012.

So, the bottom line is that this hideous mess was salvaged into something that I like. I want to make another Jelly Roll Race to see if I tame the technique even a little bit.


  • Pure Elements Linen by Art Gallery/Pat Bravo Designs
  • Terrain by Kate Spain Jelly Roll
  • Random purples for the back from my stash

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats

Finished quilt measures : 61?x 61?
Special techniques used : Jelly Roll Race Technique
Best Category : Favorite Throw Quilt, Favorite Professionally Quilted Quilt, Viewer’s Choice (of course!)

Quilted by Colleen Granger of Sew Little Time Quilting.

Sample of Links About this Quilt:

  • Renewed Jelly Roll Race at the show:
  • Finished Quilt:
  • Renewed Jelly Roll Race Update:
  • The Beginning and the End
  • Renewed Jelly Roll Race Progress:
  • Trying out backgrounds:
  • Jelly Roll Race Spark of Possibility:
  • Jelly Roll Race Beginning:

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

46 thoughts on “Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Renewed Jelly Roll Race”

  1. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade! Brilliant way to turn something you’re not happy with into something amazing. This looks so great – I love the way you sashed it. Wow. No fear = big results!

    1. After going from never wanting to see another Jelly Roll Race quilt again, I keep thinking of all of the possibilities. What if I cut out circles and did a Bullseye quilt? What about triangles? The possibilities are endless.

  2. Great job! I’ve heard so much about the jelly roll race top and I don’t understand why so many people are intrigued by it. I love love what you did. Make a pattern.

    1. I have seen a number of them as well and think the really good looking tops were made with a large dose of luck or some secret directions that I don’t know about.

  3. So very glad you didn’t just chuck the thing…this is amazingly beautiful and I enjoyed reading about how it came to be! So impressive!

    Good luck on your entry!

  4. Yay! I love that you made this out of your disaster! And putting in so much work with that sashing and diamonds made it amazing! Congrats on PIQF, I feel like I know someone famous! 🙂

  5. I love what you’ve done with your jelly roll quilt! I’ve never been crazy about the jelly roll race quilts, but yours turned out really great with the sashing added. Sometimes our best stuff is something we didn’t start out to do!

    1. Kathy, I am finding so many people who feel the same uncertainty about Jelly Roll Race quilts that I do. It is very comforting and makes me glad I posted this quilt.

  6. I really like the final result! I’ve seen those jelly roll quilts and just couldn’t bring myself to like them with all those strips. I think you’ve done a fantastic job of turning it into a masterpiece! Congratulations for it being in the Pacific Quilt Festival this year!

  7. Ha, I used what I thought was ugly fabrics for my quilt, “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend”, too!
    I didn’t know there was a ruler to make it go easier and more accurately, LOL!
    Love your and it’s colors. Very cool that you reused what you had!

  8. Wow! What a save! 🙂 Good for you for sticking with that ugly top and finding a way to make it work… and it does work now– beautifully! I’ve never heard of a JRR before… I’m definitely going to have to check out your links and learn a little more. You’ve got me curious! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  9. ? ? ? I agree, most of them are hideous. Your spin really made it a winner. I too, wanted to try this technique, but didn’t like the size of the strips and the no control. So, I took a bunch of my favorite B&W’s and a bunch of my beautiful reds and started slicing and dicing. When its finish, no one is going to believe how I put it together.

    And, I love your idea about cutting out circles. I think that is definitely going on my list. Good luck in the festival.

  10. • • • Sorry about the questions marks, those were suppose to be dots. I don’t know why they didn’t work. Hope this set shows up properly.

  11. I too, am intrigued with your completed quilt. Dare I ask HOW you sewed the white sashing to the diamonds? Are they strips or are the diamonds appliqued to the quilt top? Perhaps there are instructions to this I don’t know about? Would love to learn more….My fabric stash has taken over my sewing room and I need to use it up! I think this would make an awesome scrap quilt! Thanks!

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