It’s been 2 years since I made my first quilt, and I have finally made my second quilt. It’s from a jelly roll of fabric, and there are a dozen tutorials online for how to do a “jelly roll race quilt.” The internet promised this particular project would be done in about 45 minutes– specifically meaning the quilt top would take 45 minutes. The internet lied.
First, the 45-minute time frame doesn’t include ironing. Also skipped over is the inevitable trip back to the store because your jelly roll only had half the fabric you needed. And lastly, the internet sorely overestimated your sewing skills.
On my first attempt, I sewed my diagonal the wrong way so that when I opened my seams, I had little loose flags of fabric flying around. When I finally got my second roll of fabric, I forgot to cut off some fabric from the first strip (see photo below), so all my angled piecing was at the end of the quilt top. Then, I ran out of bobbin along the way.
But, I did eventually get it completed– in one day– even with all the interruptions. While on my second trip to the fabric store, I also picked up the batting and backing for my quilt, so there’s a reasonable chance it could be finished in time to give it to the person I made it for.
I waited for the following weekend to finish my second quilt. I used fleece for the backing, and after several washings, the binding came undone in a couple places. The quilt’s new owner does not seem to mind, though.
My third quilt was a jelly roll race for my husband’s grandmother. This quilt went much more smoothly. For starters, I used much higher quality fabric from a fancy fabric store. If you had asked me before, I would have told you that there was no real difference between fabric that’s $5/yard and fabric that’s $15/yard. Well, after sewing on fabric that was $15/yard, I must say that there absolutely is a difference. The fabric doesn’t fray very easily, and it just glides through my machine. It presses easily and stayed pressed. It doesn’t stretch like the cheap fabric does. Also, this more expensive fabric held up much better to repeated washings.
This jelly roll race went faster because I had all the material I needed from the start. I also knew better what I was doing. I did take my time on this one though. I ironed the seams since I ran into issues with the seams sticking up on the last quilt. Both of these quilt tops took about a day to sew the top, and then I spent the better part of another weekend to finish. The only thing I didn’t like about this quilt was the embroidery thread I used for the quilting– it’s a little shiny which I thought was pretty, but it did not hold up to repeated washings.
My fourth quilt was a Cowboys quilt for my best friend. My better half, an avid Seahawks fan, could not wait for me to be done with this Cowboys quilt so I could get “that trash” out of his house. LOL This was the biggest quilt I’ve ever made with more pieces than I’ve ever sewed together.
I learned that the reason a lot of quilters use blocks of four squares is because it’s very difficult to get the intersections just right when you are sewing rows upon rows of squares. Some of my intersections were off by as much as a quarter-inch. I discovered this issue after I had sewed together all 20 rows of 16 squares. I really thought I was going to have to start over. Fortunately, my best friend is not nearly as picky as I am and promised not to even notice. Also, as I finished the last hand-tied quilting knot for this quilt, I noticed that the quilt top didn’t get caught up under the quilt binding. I “stiched a lot” over this area to try to get it all under the binding. It took me a lot of time to make this quilt– I worked on it over 6 weeks and devoted nearly all of a four-day weekend to it.
So four quilts down– three of them made without supervision. Quilt 5 is in progress, and I must admit the hubris got the better of me on quilt 5… stay tuned for the embarrassing details!