I wrote about my second Jelly Roll Race quilt a few days ago. I don’t remember if I hadn’t made the back yet, or, for some other reason, I just didn’t post about it. Probably the former, but that seems like an eternity ago, so I really can’t say.
I had a number of pieces of Paris related fabric that I bought specifically for the back of this quilt. Lil Sissy loves Paris, so it seemed appropriate.
I am actually kind of eager to quilt this. I need a basting fairy.
“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.
Process, for me, can be a killer. I want everything to move smoothly along until I finish, then I want to hang the quilt up and move to the next project. When that happens, though, the project is often boring and uninteresting. The humps are the interesting part.
Earlier this week, I wanted you all to put me out of my misery on the Jelly Roll Race. I was struggling, I was ripping out a lot, I was not happy. Nobody stepped up to the plate to help out, so I powered through. I did something that I don’t normally do:I sewed a little bit in the evenings. I was able to fill in a major missing chunk and somehow that made the whole project come together in part.
Don’t get me wrong. I still have a long way to go on this quilt, but I am making progress. I don’t feel tortured anymore and have some home that I’ll make more progress this weekend.
It is at this point in the process where I just want someone to take me out of my misery.
Obviously, I am being dramatic, but really, I don’t want to do this project anymore and I wonder why I thought it would be a good idea. I have already made 2 diamond quilts (the Eye Spy is essentially a diamond quilt and how could I top FOTY 2010?) – aren’t two enough.
I feel like I barely accomplished anything on Sunday, though I did sew most of the right side into large chunks.
Still, I have it in process and I will finish it before I move on to the next project. I may need to intersperse a new project into the queue before I tackle another UFO just to keep my sanity. The Corner Store, however, is quite appealing.
This is the piece that I started with. As you might remember, I wasn’t very happy with it. It doesn’t have enough interest to continue with it as a quilt. Still, I suffered through all of those long seams, so I didn’t want to discard it. And the fabric is nice.
Not sure why, but I decided to cut the piece into diamonds. I worked on that over the weekend. I now have about 158 diamonds, which I intend to sash with something and then resew together.
I also was able to use my diamond ruler again. I got good use out of it for FOTY 2010, but since then it has been languishing.
Now that all of the diamonds are cut, my next task is to figure out a sashing color. I want something that will be different enough so that the diamonds don’t bleed into the sashing. I want them to be distinct.
I won’t be able to achieve that goal completely, but I was thinking white and the portable design wall does a good job showing how that will look. I did a FB poll on my page and on the Artquiltmaker.com FB page(are you a member??) and on Twitter. So far, people like the white, but chocolate and black have also been suggested. Not sure I have enough of a chocolate fabric to sew the whole piece together, but I definitely have enough for a test. I also have a nice piece of black from the Pure Elements line that I can try.
At the September BAMQG meeting, Claudia mentioned the Jelly Roll Race as an activity for the meeting. I liked the idea, but wasn’t that enthusiastic about doing it for an activity at a meeting. I like to sew slowly and my machine has been behaving badly lately, which sounded like a recipe for disaster. I am not one for Disasters with an Audience. Still, as I said, I liked the idea.
I know I said I was done with precuts, but, apparently, I can’t help myself. I bought a Terrain Jelly Roll and began the process on my own. Later, I saw an explanation of how the process should work and I was interested to see that the writer suggests mitering the strips together.
For a person who doesn’t like really long seams, this project was kind of a nightmare of long seams.
I finally finished the center of the quilt and kind of liked it. it is large enough to be the center of a large throw. I also like that I can see how much fabric a Jelly Roll really is. I want to put some borders on it, but am not sure what yet.