I really finished this in December, but never got around to taking a photo. Here it is in all of its glory. It will be a gift. This is a pattern from Sandy Gervais called It’s a Wrap. Someone thought the packages looked like elephants.
The last post about this project talks about selecting the border.s
TFQ came to stay last weekend. She and I wedged a visit in even though we had a family event in the middle of her visit. One of the things *I* like to do when she is here is get her opinion about my various projects. Often I get stuck and need to move forward but seem to be unable to make any decisions. I can ask any quiltmaker I know, but TFQ knows me well enough not to suggest something completely stupid. She also often prevents me from doing something stupid because I am just tired of the project.
One of the things we worked on was the border of the It’s a Merry & Bright Wrap. I didn’t really work very hard at finding a border by myself, to be honest. I was glad, because what was in my head was not what I ultimately went with.
We auditioned a couple of color combos, including my idea, which included a white dotted inner border (no photo, sorry). I had a lot of that fabric and wanted to use it, but it was too stark as white often can be.
TFQ suggested yellow. We looked through a number of yellow fabrics until we found one that fit well with the yellow from the Merry & Bright Jelly Roll. I found the blues and yellows in this group to be off the beaten path. Interesting, but different than what I have in the fabric closet. The yellow we went with is an older commercial print and not part of that group.
I was pretty interested in using a blue/teal/turquoise color. I found the tone-on-tone in my fabric closet (left photo), but we both felt the quilt needed a bit more pattern. I liked the idea of bringing out the blues, but, since I didn’t have any large pieces of blue from the group and nothing I had was the right tone and I didn’t like the idea of having to buy and wash new fabric I used the green. I happened to see some half yards at Rainbow Resource at the EBHQ show, so I had enough.
Truthfully, we didn’t agonize too much over the colors. We did the Lorraine Torrence thing of making visual decisions visually, we picked and then I sewed them on the next night.
I used the new walking foot to sew the borders on and they are flat and I had not problems. The quilt is now ready for a back and to be quilted. My finishing seems to come in clusters!
I will probably use red for the back, since I have plenty. I don’t know if I will longarm this quilt or send it out. We’ll see.
As you probably remember, I tried out the Jelly Roll last week and got pretty far along making the blocks. I had a lot of events this weekend, but was still able to put the quilt together. It provided a bit of a quiet haven for me.
One thing I found was that some of the strips, such as the sashing strips were too long. I cut them all the same size, so I am not sure why that happened. As I sewed the blocks together, I was diligent about trimming the excess as well as pinning carefully. The quilt went together really well. I am happy about the matching of seams (most matched!).
I forgot to mention that I tried the Mary Ellen’s Best Press on this quilt. TFQ warned me that the strips were stretchy upfront, so I pressed all the strips with Mary Ellen’s Best Press (MEBP) before I did any cutting. I think it helped. The feel of the fabric strips after I pressed with the MEBP was firm, but not stiff or tacky feeling. I didn’t have any noticeable problems with stretching or bias. I bought my own bottle of it and will probably use it for half and quarter square triangles.
It is about the size of a large lap quilt. I went to sleep the other night thinking about borders. I found some half yards of some of the Merry & Bright prints that I might use for the border, but I am not sure about what configuration. I don’t have enough just to slap a couple of borders on it. The borders will have to be pieced in some way.
As I mentioned the other day, I enjoyed the Jelly Roll, because I was able to work with a wide variety of coordinating fabrics. I think my favorite in this set, though I do like them all, are the pieces with holly and ornaments. I also liked the diagonal striped fabrics as well.
Aside from the grain problems, the Jelly Rolls provide a quick start for a quilt. I am not saying that this quilt is quick since you haven’t seen the finished piece yet! I don’t really believe in the concept of quick quilts/Quilt in a Day for myself. I think process is important and I think that quilts take longer than a day. Why do you think I make receiving blankets as baby gifts?
I have worked with my child a lot on learning styles, and strategies for successful learning. I have learned a lot from his teachers and the other professionals that work with him about learning styles, which has made me examine my own style of learning. I know that I learn best by someone showing me what to do and then doing it myself. I also learn okay from looking at pictures/diagrams. I don’t learn well by reading instructions. This is probably one reason why I don’t use a lot of patterns. It takes me too long to decipher them.
First, I sorted the strips into sets of two. I decided which strips I wanted to be in the same block as package and bow.
I cut pieces, as designated by the pattern, from the Jelly Roll strips and then I needed a way to keep them together. I don’t have the clips that Fons & Porter use, so I used my machine quilting safety pins. They are pretty sharp so they went through 4 squares, 3 rectangles and two strips pretty well.
I had large pieces of leftover strips and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I went back to the directions and, finally, figured out that I needed to cut more bow and package pieces. From each strip needed to be cut enough pieces for a bow and a package.
I did that extra cutting (more TV watching!) and then rearranged the new strips so that they had different mates for the second round of strips.
One step in the process is to put the bow together. This step involves triangles, but uses the square-into-triangle method to create the triangles at the top of the package.
The directions show the following:
I think it is pretty hard to show this step in directions, especially for someone, like me, who doesn’t use a lot of patterns. I don’t know all the conventions that have been established.
First, I marked all the squares so I would know where to sew. This was part of the meditation of this quilt that I alluded to in the previous Jelly Roll post. This kind of step can really get on my nerves. I didn’t let it; I just sat there with my pencil and ruler and drew lines. I didn’t mark all of the squares at once, but did them in little batches as I needed them.
One thing the directions do not show is that the square will overlap the middle rectangle when you lay it out to make the bow. The directions above show that the square fits exactly over the outside package rectangle. I worry about this kind of thing, because I expect directions to be accurate. Now, I don’t know the limitations of creating drawings in a pattern (on my list to find out about!), but words can certainly be included to explain that layout information. This is not a criticism, just an observation based on my style of working with patterns.
In real life, above is how the directions say to add the triangles to the corners of the package part of the block to make the bottom of the bow. TFQ and I talked about this strategy when I first bought the pattern. I think this technique makes it less intimidating for those afraid of bias. I was a little lazy and just did it this way.
One problem I found with working with THIS pattern using a Jelly Roll is that I only had a certain amount of fabric. When I cut something wrong, I was short. This happened twice. Once with these triangle and I was able to use the Omnigrid triangle ruler to cut some triangles instead of squares, which gave me enough fabric to finish. The other time I just had to add a piece to another piece to make the strip long enough. Working through the process.
There is a lot going on in the photo above. First, even though I tried to mix up the fabrics for the second round of block making, I did keep some the same. The two above are an example of how the blocks looks when you just switch where you put the fabrics.
Second, I had to pick the quilt up off the floor earlier in the week where it was laid out while I pieced various bits. Since it is a scrappy quilt, I wanted to make sure that all the pieces stayed in their place. I drew a quick sketch of the block layout and then made numbers to pin to each block.
Third, not all of the sashing parts were sewed together so I sewed all the sashing squares (cornerstones) to the sashing strips and then pinned the larger pieces to the quilt blocks in such a way that I will know how to sew them when I get to that step.
Why, you ask, were these on the floor and NOT on the design wall? Because the Tarts are still on the design wall! Why didn’t I set up the portable design wall? I don’t know; I didn’t think of it. Yes, those are my toes in my orange wool slippers and, yes, I am standing precariously (joke!) on an IKEA stool (highly recommended for their stability) to not succeed in taking a photo of the whole quilt for you.
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.
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.
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) 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.