Jelly Roll Race #2

Calm Top
Calm Top

I lost my mind again. I made another Jelly Roll Race despite the drama of the Renewed Jelly Roll Race.

“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.

Bali Pop Strip Set
Bali Pop Strip Set

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.

Sewing LOOOOONG Seams
Sewing LOOOOONG Seams

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:

  1. Use batiks or blendy fabrics.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Star Sampler Tests

Star Sampler Background Tests
Star Sampler Background Tests

I was still not quite ready to start this project, but I did need to decide on the background.

These two Sawtooth Stars are 4.5″ each. I used the Philip Jacobs print for the center and a couple of different background possibilities.

I really wanted the leaf print (right) from Simply Color by V&Co to work. I really like that print and wouldn’t mind having yards of it around. It would work with some of the solids I have chosen for the project, but, as you can see, with prints it would be a problem. I want the stars to be crisp and this print, sadly, makes the stars mushy.

I’ll put it on the back.

This conclusion meant that I needed to use the square dot print. I like it very much. It wasn’t what I expected to use, but I think I will like it. I wanted to do some more tests with some of the different fabrics, but the way manufacturers go through fabric lines, I had to get it quick before it was gone. The place I wanted to buy it was out, sadly ($4.20/yd!), but I found the amount I needed and am waiting for it to arrive.

The Garden Progresses

Garden front
Garden front

I said previously that I thought this piece was finished. I took it out on Friday in order to decide for sure and decided to put a facing on it and prepare the piece for finishing. The photo, left, shows the front with the facing applied by machine. I am sad that some of the edge detail was lost in the seam allowance. I’ll have to remember to plan better next time.

This piece didn’t need as much beading as the others I have done. I am not sure why. Laziness might be a factor, but the riot of color and fabric definitely draws attention to the elements of this piece. I don’t think it needs much detail to draw the viewer in.

I am a little sad about these small pieces. I really don’t have anywhere to display them, but would really like to have wally large enough to hang all of them.

Garden back
Garden back

I am particularly fond of the back. I used different colors to quilt and intended to cover up the back with a fake, but it looks so nice that I could barely stand to cover the edges with the facing.

Now I need to stitch down the facing and make the sleeve. I have a lot of cards to write for Christmas, so I don’t know if I will be able to finish this before the end of the year, but that is definitely my goal.

Now I feel like I can work on some of the other smaller pieces on the 26 Projects List. Perhaps I will do a blog post about each one as well?

Various & Sundry #16


Sadly, someone has somehow hacked into the Google search results for my site. I am working on it, the webhost is working on it and Deirdre is working on it. It appears to be different from the regular Pharma{}Hack, which is causing diagnostic problems. Here is how you are affected:

  • Live links are no longer allowed in comments. You can put the link in and it will be turned into text. Instead of clicking it and going to the site, you will need to cut and paste it into your browser.
  • HTML is no longer allowed in comments. We have found embedded code (damn you, clever hackers!) in spam comments which we think may be one of the culprits.
  • Spam is being deleted automatically. I booted Askismet off my site, because they wouldn’t do any of the above and have a new spam eradication service. If your comment looks like spam, it will be automatically deleted and I will never see it. If I don’t get back to you in comments or via email, your comment may have been marked as spam and deleted. You can reach me at jlapac {at} gmail {dot} com, if you want to contact me via email. I do prefer blog comments, though, so everyone can enjoy the conversation thread and your valuable comments.
  • If you click on a link to my blog from Google results, it might look fishy, but will take you to a spam free post.

So sorry about this nonsense. I hope it will end soon.

Doing Good
A month has passed since Hurricane/SuperStorm Sandy hit the Northeast. It is so easy for us here in the West to just go on with our lives and forget what others are going through, because we were not affected. The Red Cross needs donations. Use an official site or envelope to donate; don’t give to random people who ask you for money. If you want to contribute to Hurricane Sandy quilt efforts, the Vesuvius Mama blog (the blocks I made have already arrived.) and eQuilter are both coordinating efforts for quilts for Hurricane Sandy victims. You can see some of Vesuvius Mama’s quilts on a later post. Other types of crafters need supplies, too. Thanks to Deirdre for the link to CERF + Exchange Artists Relief effort.

Victoria Findlay Wolfe has also started collecting quilts and store bought blankets for her neighborhood, Rockaway. You can read her blog post for details.

My local guilds are working on quilts, etc, too, so…

Go out and do some good!

Quilts Around the Web

The Blogger’s Quilt Festival has been a treasure trove of quilts. I have been particularly interested in the various Jelly Roll quilts or Jelly Roll looking quilts that I have seen. The Something for Nothing blog had a Jelly Roll quilt that is one of the most successful I have seen. I like the way she has added a solid Jelly Roll to the print Jelly Roll.

I like this Spiderweb as well. I like the way she used one print for each pointy piece.

If you are not reading the Sweet Dreams by Sarah blog, you should. She has a great voice. Not funny so much as it makes me smile.

Quilt World News

City Quilter in NYC was closed for several days due to Superstorm Sandy. They are back in business after their water and power was restored. No damage and their employees are all fine. Hooray!

Sad news that has nothing to do with Superstorm Sandy. Kindred Quilts in New Jersey is closing. Toby wants to spend time with her family, so the store will be closing before Christmas. They will be having a massive sale, so go visit, if you live in the area.

SherriD is writing letters. Did you see her post? Will you write letters, too? I have 4 letters, yes real letters with handwriting and stamps, that need responses. I spend too much time sewing!

GenQ magazine is doing a survey. It isn’t a terrible survey. I think they ask some good questions, but they don’t give opportunities for essays. I always like to give people my opinion. I just like to do it in my own words. When you create a survey, make sure they is space for essays and ideas.

I thought about putting this story about Idaho inmates making quilts into the Doing Good section, because they are doing good, but there is a different tone in that section today. I like the recycling and making do aspect of this project. I am also thrilled that the project is doing the inmates some good.

Amy Butler has launched Blossom, her “visual journal, which is all about loving your life and living it fully and authentically.” The first issue is free.

Patterns, Ideas and Inspiration

Here is a hand sewn hexagon sewing caddy/pincushion tutorial. Pam of Hip to be a Square podcast fame made one from the Sew Mama Sew line.

I found a great use for Pinterest: shared boards! TFQ and I are planning a project. I think we will each work on our own, but do the same pattern. We were emailing links and photos back and forth and I was creating a Notability notebook, but then I thought I would create a board on Pinterest when I started to bump up against my limited Notability skills.  TFQ saw that I created a board and wondered if she could add to it as well. I checked around and found that we could both contribute! Now we are both adding ideas for quilts to the board. We are having so much fun PLANNING and talking. It is just what I was imagining when we started talking about it.

The project above started when I started hearing the podcasters, such as Pam, Sandy, Daisy, Nonni, and Katie, talk about Bonnie Hunter’s Easy Street Mystery quilt. They and a number of listeners are working along with Bonnie Hunter on this latest mystery quilt pattern. Apparently she does one every year. This one has been going on since 11/23. The podcasters started a Flickr group to show photos and encourage each other. Despite all this support, I am not much into mystery quilts, so I decided to download the patterns and see what I need to do before I commit. It isn’t like I have a shortage of projects to work on, you know. Have you seen the 26 Projects list? 😉 You can still get started and play along.

Along the Easy Street lines, Daisy of Lazy Daisy Quilts has a Flying Geese tutorial for the second part of Easy Street. This is similar to Deb Tucker’s Wing clipper method, but you don’t need the ruler. The method works with a regular ruler as well.

Pat Sloan has a machine binding tutorial. I haven’t had a chance to review it, but I want to after my attempt at binding a quilt by machine.

A week or so ago, I posted about a pattern I called Stars & Stripes. I couldn’t find it in EQ7, but I also didn’t look very hard. One of my fabulous readers, Mrs. K wanted the pattern and I got some others who were interested as well. I drew it out quickly and am posting the Stars & Stripes Foundation Pattern and a rendition of the Stars & Stripes Foundation Sample Quilt for your sewing pleasure. Note that you need 4 of the foundation patterns to make one entire star.

Pat Bravo has her own blog now. I would have thought she had one for a long time, but I guess not. Her first post is filled with luscious inspiration from her trip to Paris. I want to go and buy some of those cups.

Do you EQ? Here is a blog post that gives some tips and trips about importing doodles. You know you want to machine applique‘.

In the same area, there is also a BlockBase sew-along, which gets you sewing and gives lessons on using BlockBase (and by association, EQ). If you want to stretch, this is your project!

If you haven’t been following Sandy’s Total Color Tuesday posts, she just posted a new and fun one this week. These are a good group of posts to read in order to learn about color.

And…in other News

Bali Cracker Macaron (test photo)
Bali Cracker Macaron (test photo)

My camera seems to be working again. I bought a new, smaller SD card and the camera is now saving photos to the SD card again. If only I had known (remembered? this is ringing a bell) to not try and cram 4GB of memory into my poor 10 year old camera, I probably would have been fine.

What do you think? I took the picture of the Bali Cracker (crazy name, BTW!) and only cropped. I didn’t adjust the color or anything.

Yes, retail therapy was my prescription on Monday after work and this Cracker came today with sister, Pop. I think I will make another Stepping Stones quilt from these. I just have to find some yardage, though I think I could find some turquoise in my fabric closet that would work just fine.

I don’t want to get into a fight with people about the right and wrong of Boy Scouts, especially after the latest scandal to follow the most recent scandal. Sigh. The Young Man is a scout, as you might have guessed. I find it to be a good program for boys who are not sports oriented. The national organizational leadership, IMO, needs some attitude adjusting, shall we say.

Moving on.

This group has come out with the new merit badges for the year. They are:

  • Welding
  • Search & Rescue

Take a look at the merit badge requirements at:

Both are useful skills, but I think that sewing would be much more useful than welding. The BSA needs to, SERIOUSLY, consider a sewing merit badge. Sewing on a button is a useful skill, don’t you think? Running a sewing machine? Reading a pattern to make a fanny pack or a sleeping bag?  Dealing with denim, Gortex and ripstop nylon fabric? I know that many artists weld and it is a sign of power, but really, welding over sewing? Sheesh.

Also, I painted my toenails purple. Now I keep getting startled every time I see them.

Have a great weekend!

Various & Sundry #14

Quilt World News

International Quilt Festival in Houston starts on November 1. If you are going, you’d better get organized. 😉

I think I mentioned that I signed up for Threadbias when SeamedUp went out of business. I only signed up. I tried to add a project, but I couldn’t upload the photos for some mysterious computer reason and I haven’t been back. I have nothing against Threadbias, I just feel like a jilted lover. I spent all that time with SeamedUp and now have nothing to show for it. I know it is a risk with free sites, but I will need some time.

All that being said, I don’t dislike Threadbias or anything. I am sure they are a fine crew and doing a fine job. Thus, I wanted to let you know about their Kickstarter campaign to design an online quilt design tool, which is described fully in their blog post. I have not decided whether or not I will contribute, because I am disappointed that they say nothing about EQ7. Why didn’t they call up EQ7 and say “dudes, let’s collaborate on a webtool”? Perhaps they did and were blown off?

I did watch part of the video and the features they have developed so far look pretty cool.  Still, I have invested a lot in EQ, so I have to think hard before switching. GenQ Interviews the ThreadBias team on their blog in a Q&A type format. Good info.

Speaking of EQ, follow along with Barbara Brackman’s new Grandmother’s Choice blog starting now. She has started a new blog about blocks. A free block each week. Find the block in BlockBase then build the quilt right in EQ7. The topical topic is: The Fight for Women’s Rights.

Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr of FunQuilts, now Modern Quilt Studio, have a lot of fun news to share with you: classes, books, fabric. Go take a look at their blog post.

Tutorials and Help

Here is another way to make bias binding, if you are looking to try a new way or you have never done bias binding.

Around the Web

Little Bluebell also wrote about the Whole Cloth Quilt Challenge at BAMQG on her blog.

I liked this blog and the pieces shown on the blog. One of the blog posts has a great Swoon block. The blog post is good in general.

Check out Quilter in the Gap (Rhonda)’s giveaway: Dots and Chevrons!!! Don’t enter, just take a look. I want to win. You know I love dots. I have to make a project with all dots, I think.

Corner Store Again

Corner Store with Red Border
Corner Store with Red Border

As you might remember there were good comments on the next to the last post I wrote about the border of this quilt. Rhonda was right, not that I doubted her, of course. This quilt looks a lot better with a red border on it.

I did a trial run of the border in another post and, then, sewed it on last weekend. Do you ever have times in your quilt work where you have a lot of little things to do – make a binding, sew on a border, fix a hole, print foundation templates – that all seem to stack up before you can move on with projects? I had a weekend like that last weekend. I never feel like I get a lot done when I have those lists of things to do, but the weeks that follow are full of amazing productivity.

I really am so much happier with this quilt now that it has a red border. One thing I completely forgot about was the binding. I had made a white binding, which was no longer appropriate for this quilt, so I also made a red binding for the quilt.

As I have mentioned, I may quilt this myself. My quilter has so many of my quilts and they are languishing a bit. My machine is so much easier to use and no longer frustrating since it was serviced and I have a spool of thread that would work. I think I could quilt this quilt – simply and get it out of the house.

Quilting a quilt does take up space on my machine and does hamper my piecing productivity. I guess I have to become OK with the entire quiltmaking process. I have been avoiding quilting for the last couple of years. Perhaps it is time to get back in the saddle.


Lil Sissy Prezzies


My little sister (taller than me, BTW) is back from France. With her came some presents. I have a nice sister. 😉

The black Eiffel Tower print is the one I picked out when I bought my Kindle cover off of Etsy. I like it.

I have an idea for a quilt that I want to make for Lil Sissy, but haven’t found the right fabric. I don’t think Eiffel Tower fabric would work, but we will see. I almost used Hello Luscious, but she is not much of a pink girl and that line has a lot of pink.

Creative Prompt #78: Burst

Burst of flame

Definition: To come open or fly apart suddenly or violently, especially from internal pressure. b. To explode. 2. To be or seem to be full to the point of breaking

Burst video

Burst software


Noisy surprise

energy burst

Burst mode: a mode of operation where events occur in rapid succession.

dam burst

plasma ray burst

gamma ray burst

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

New Fabrics. Again.

I couldn’t manage to finish entire blocks over the weekend (remember? I was staring at the screen all day Sunday hoping a blog post would magically appear?). I did get part way through these, though, and it will be a good start for next weekend.

Lamenting my lack of background dots, I was pleased to find that eQuilter had these dots on her site. When I wanted to get Quilter’s Home badly enough, I bought them to make the shipping worthwhile. Unfortunately, QH was not included in my order! What a disappointment! Not sure if it was a shipping error or user error eQuilter is very good and I have never had a problem, so I am betting user error, but I will check in with them. Regardless, I need to find a copy somewhere as I understand there is a SUBSCRIPTION now available YAY!

St. JCN received her fabric, so I can tell you all about Superbuzzy! It is an online fabric ‘store’ (DUH! What else would it be???) that carries Japanese fabrics. St. JCN and I were drooling over the red in basket blocks Jan showed in one of her posts on Be*Mused blog. I left a comment and Jan was kind enough to e-mail me about Superbuzzy. I had never heard of it, but I went there and found that they have cool fabric! It is mostly, if not all, Japanese fabric, yet not all quilting fabric (buyer beware). I managed to find, as you can see, some wonderful dots. I got pieces of the bottom three for St. JCN as well as I knew she was having a tough week and could use a pick me up. One of the reasons that I like the site is that, although it has a small footprint, you can see everything on the screen you are on: your cart, the search box and items. Much less clicking. Check out Superbuzzy!