“What were you thinking?????” is what I hear being screamed at me and you have every right to scream. No rending of garments or tearing of hair, please.
In certain respects, quiltmaking is an intellectual challenge for me. I want to know what makes the techniques tick, why fabric behaves the way it does and, often, what happens if….. The intellectual challenge in this case is to figure out how to make a Jelly Roll Race quilt not look terrible, to have some sort of control over what seems, essentially, to be an uncontrollable technique in terms of design.
In the back of my mind the little quilt voice was telling me to try the Jelly Roll Race technique again. It is hard to face that reality, but I have to. I don’t like failing at something unless I understand why and this is a mystifying technique.
I bought one of the Hoffman Bali Pops at PIQF (or shortly after, perhaps). I think that the first thing that makes a Jelly Roll Race more successful is to buy one with batiks. Batiks blend together really nicely and they have a depth that is subtle. I really liked the calming colors of this particular combination. I am not much of a beige person, but I was ok with the beiges in this collection, because they tended towards yellow or gold and went with the other the fabrics very well. I would buy this collection again. In fact, working with these colors and fabrics made me ask myself why I don’t buy more batiks. I don’t know if I could find the stock numbers of this particular collection and buy them all, though I suppose it is possible. I need to just buy more batiks.
TFQ was here and she arranged all the strips for me. It was very helpful, because I didn’t think to do it before hand, but really needed to do so.
Why I say I lost my mind is that this type of quilt is a pain in the neck. I forgot how much thread this technique uses and how long the seams are. I went through at least 2 bobbins of Aurifil! Ironing the piece was stultifying! This technique is just plain tedious.
We did cut half of the strips in half, which made the process more tedious. I can’t say whether it made the top more interesting or not. I need more data to decide on that point.
I do think I had some success with this quilt top, though, so some tips:
- Use batiks or blendy fabrics.
- Arrange all the strips in the order you want to sew them. I suggest placing the same fabrics next to each other, so they don’t end up on top of each other.
- Add 2.5″x2.5″ square to the end of each strip. It adds interest to the quilt and helps move the eye around the design field.
- When you fold the first long strip in half to sew the halves together to start stacking the strips, don’t be afraid to adjust the strips so that the 2.5″ squares don’t butt up against each other right off the bat.
- Keep all the strips on the machine in one long chain until all the strips are sewn together. The way I did it was to sew the 2.5″ square to the strip, do the same for the next one. Continue. As soon as convenient, sew strip 1 to strip 2.
- Iron seams open, but fingerpress first. This method creates less bulk
Optional: cut the long strip into lengths of about 63″ and arrange them the way you want and then sew them together. TFQ’s idea was to sew a few strips together see how it was going and then rearrange them before sewing them all together. Good advice I didn’t take.
I may try this again despite the tedium of the long seams, because I made my husband do some math (will see about making it pretty and posting it sometime) to try and figure out how to keep like fabrics from butting up against each other as the rows are sewn together.
Last post on Jelly Roll Race quilts.