Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Jelly Roll Confessions

Back in September, the folks at Moda celebrated their wildly successful little brainchild knows as the Jelly Roll. The event was called National Sew a Jelly Roll Day. I think there might have been some international activities, too.

Anyway, Sharon and I were not able to join any official events on that particular day, but we did want to devote a day to Jelly Roll sewing, and did that in a few days after the official day. You can read my post to get more details. It wasn't until November of last year that I could finally bring myself to mention the total disaster my Jelly Roll effort had been, and I did it in a post about Sharon's beautiful blue work - her JR quilt was made with the blues and greens of Kaffe Fassett.

We had both made the basic jelly roll quilt several times, so we went searching Pinterest to find a jelly roll quilt that would offer something different. We decided on one, and if you use Sharon's quilt, above, as a guide, you see a very simple quilt made from a single jelly roll. We liked the way a border is established with the vertical rows. Even the most beginning level novice could make this quilt with little trouble. I, however, managed to make such a giant mess of this that I stuffed it away for almost 6 months in shame and disgust.

The obvious thing to do would be to sewing the center section first, and trim it when finished before adding the vertical portions. Sharon did that. I did not. I began sewing from the outer border and worked my way in. Duh. I mean DUH! How dumb an idea was that? What was I thinking?

I should have taken better before pics, but this one will adequately demonstrate what happened. I was in the process of fixing it when I took the photo above. The pink arrow in the upper left corner is showing that the border is hanging over the edge of the table. It is nice and straight - even with the table's edge. That blue arrow is pointing to a seam that is slicing vertically on the opposite side. I think this might be a lesson in knowing what will happen if one sews in one direction, cross-grain. After 40 or so are added on, the strips are stretched and stretched and stretched. Every quilter knows to turn those around and sew the other direction to prevent this from happening. I did it anyway. Geesh.

Here's how I dealt with the problem, as best as I can describe it. From the edge with the order (pink arrow), I measured over a certain number of inches top to bottom and marked a cutting line. I removed the uneven part, which sounds funny because what remained was uneven, too.

Then I set that aside while I unwrapped a brand new jelly roll. Yes, I bought a new jelly roll in order to fix the mistake. Thank goodness for Etsy shops! This is French General's Madame Rouge. I carefully cut 12 inches off each strip to add to my center section. Then I sewed them together in matching order.

You better believe that I sewed one direction and then the opposite on every one of these replacement strips. That strip was perfectly straight and even, thankfully.

So then I pinned each intersection and stitched the new with the old. Then I added the vertical strips and the outer border. Whew! It is a far cry from perfect, but it's acceptable, and once it is quilted I dare anyone to find fault with it.

So ends the saga of the ridiculously easy quilt that I made into a nightmare. This is what happens when we get just a bit too big for our britches and think we can just sew without thinking and planning. Maybe some sewists can do it; this humbling effort proves that I cannot.

All's well that ends well, though, right??

Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. Thank you for putting your hands up and sharing your mistake! It gets a bit scary the level of perfection presented to us here in the on-line world! It's good to know that other sewists make mistakes too and that with a bit of ingenuity solutions can be found! :-)

  2. Been there, done that. You would think after all these years we wouldn't make such silly beginner mistakes but we do! That's why I spent hours and hours at my retreat taking apart a wrongly sewn border. Very humbling.


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