Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jelly Roll Race

I heard about the Jelly Roll Race quilts quite some time ago. The idea is that you take a Jelly Roll (forty 2.5" strips) and sew the strips end to end. Then, you fold the strip in half and sew a seam. Fold the new double width strip in half and sew a seam. Do this again, I think for 5 total seams. You have a quilt top. It is called a race, because you can do it FAST. The whole thing took under 3 hours (including prep time). Most guilds or groups only race on the assembly once you have the big long strip- I've heard women who have done it in like 30-45 minutes!

Now Jelly Roll's aren't cheap, and I am. So I did mine a little differently. I bought 11 different fabrics, and cut 4 strips from each one (44 strips, so my quilt top is wider it finished about 60" square). I got them on sale at so it was $1.49 for each half yard cut, and I have a good amount left over to use for other things. Nice and cost effective!

One of the things I've read on most of the Jelly Roll Race tips pages will tell you to make sure your strip (the long one that is 1600-1800 inches long!) is not twisted. Maybe this helps with speed, but I found there is no reason at all to take the time to care about this. I just deposited my gigantic strip in a big pile on the floor and didn't worry about it. It was MAJORLY twisted. The thing is, as long as you make sure the fabric approaching the needle is oriented correctly, you are fine. At the end of each strip, you have to cut it open anyway- just cut open the twist, and it will untwist itself.

I also did not do any pressing as I went along. On the gigantic first strip, I sewed all seams down, and then on the next strips I just paid attention to make sure they were sewn either facing up or down- it really didn't take much thought. When I pressed the entire quilt after I finished I found I had only done 2 in the wrong direction, which is actually better than my rate for when I DO try to press them correctly!

Any ideas on how to quilt it? I'm thinking a spiral from the middle all the way out to the edges- that will be hard, but might look cool on such a linear quilt.

The only problem with this quilt- it distracted me from homework I really needed to get done, and also from the other quilt I'm working on right now...