Thursday, July 29, 2010

For some reason I was a bit resistant to the idea of jelly rolls, and didn't succumb to their temptation until a few months ago, when Keryn and I bought three or four in rapid succession. Then mine sat on the shelf while I pondered what pattern to use and they became more and more precious and unable to be touched. I discovered I was making 'rules' in my mind about what I could and couldn't do- I must use ALL the strips in one quilt, I musn't add any other fabric that wasn't the same range, the pattern had to showcase all the strips, dark-light-medium and I would have to buy yardage from the same range if I wanted a border.

Needless to say I started to get a bit miffed with all these restrictions and all the patterns I found that could use the entire jelly roll seemed too simplistic or there weren't enough lights for the backgrounds of the blocks or some darned thing.

I realised that it was likely the jellyrolls would sit on the shelf, forever precious, untouchable and covered in dust if I didn't change my attitude towards them. So I examined how I like to sew my projects and decided I don't like to work within a single pattern range, I like to add material as the top develops and speaks to me, and I like to use unexpected fabric combinations and colours that don't necessarily 'go'.

With that in mind, and ignoring the 'rules' I went looking through my photo file of antique quilts and found this beauty. I added a cream fabric for the background triangles, and the rest of the block could be cut fron the 2 1/2" strips. So far so good, I had a pattern I liked and was finally ready to start sewing.
Then I found another thing that didn't suit my way of working... the measurements of the strips. Where do you regard the edge to be? From the points on one side of the strip to the points on the other was much more than 2 1/2". How do you sew an accurate 1/4" seam when you can't use the edge as a guide? What about sewing a straight cut edge to the pinked edge- which edge do you line up? Grrr, this is definitely not how I like to sew.
By trial and error I found I had to leave a little of the points showing as I lined the pieces up, but this really goes against the grain. I've worked on my piecing skills for decades, and now I had to fudge and disregard my own working methods. I'm not happy with this level of inaccuracy at all.

But I'm making the blocks and they are turning out nice and the fabric combinations are giving me a lot of happiness.(The range is Garden Party by Blackbird Designs and I truly love all the fabrics and the lovely colours)I'm finally enjoying sewing these, but I don't think I'll become a jellyroll convert.I know everyone else just loves pre-cuts and I'll probably get told there are lots of lovely pattern books out there for jellyrolls and I'm the odd one out... but I really think I'm happier playing with all my scraps and strips and making my own decisions about everything. At least I can say I've tried them now, and I'll know not to buy any more!


pdudgeon July 29, 2010  

kudos to you for daring to go outside your comfort zone. my own challenge is applique. i love to look at it and think about doing it, (and probably will someday)but like you i'm hesitant to dive in.

Vicki W July 29, 2010  

I have never been able to figure out why they cut the JRs with that pinked edge. It's the primary reason I won't buy them. Besides, fat quarters are so much more versatile!

Anonymous,  July 29, 2010  

I'm with you on jelly rolls - cute idea, but not for me. Your blocks are looking good! I love your antique inspiration piece.

Linda in NC

sewprimitive karen July 30, 2010  

That is exactly why I do not get the pre-cuts. They are not accurate enough and I can't stand the varying pinked edges.

Laura July 30, 2010  

The pinked edges and the lack of value variety in many fabric lines are the main reasons that I generally don't buy pre-cuts, but I have been enamored with Layer Cakes lately. I have bought way more of those than I should have in recent months, but also bought coordinating yardage for most of them, so I at least have enough fabric for a decent size quilt, even after cutting off those darn edges!

Like you, I'm happiest when I'm playing with my scraps and strips and worrying only about whether a fabric looks ok with the one next to it.

Jan July 30, 2010  

I've yet to experiment with the jelly rolls. They seem like a merchandising ploy to me - which they are! I do however have a layer cake that has been maturing on my shelves for a couple of years now! Love your blocks, as I always do anything that you make!

Tazzie July 30, 2010  

Hey there Mereth
I'm with you, I'm not crazy about jelly rolls - I have three of them, and I'm leery of using them. Firstly because of the accuracy issue with the pinked edges, and secondly (like you) I and hunting for the perfect pattern, and I don't think it's out there yet! I love what you've made, perhaps I too need to free myself from my notions about what to do with these little rolls of fabric.
Be sure to have a great weekend.

Kathi July 30, 2010  

I completely agree about the pre-cuts- how can you piece accurately with inaccurately cut fabric? Then there are usually several pieces that you can't use at all, or that look so much like the other 6 in slightly different colorways. Lovely marketing ploy, but not for me, thanks.
Making a whole quilt from one coordinated line of fabric is just a bit toooo coordinated. (imho)
Interesting border on the antique that inspired you.

ssauser July 30, 2010  

It sounds like you aren't alone after all. I don't like jelly rolls because of the pinked edges either. Originally, they made them with straight edges, but they frayed too much, so they started pinking them. If I ever had a jelly roll, I think I would cut off the pinked edges before starting to piece. Your blocks are beautiful.

floribunda... aka Julie July 31, 2010  

I think the pinked edges would be hard to work with -- but I'll mention that when I bought a "bali-pop", which comes with straight edges, I found that they had done a terrible job of cutting accurate 2.5" strips! They're very inconsistent and some parts are as much as 1/4" off. Luckily I'm making blocks that will adapt to a little trimming at the end.

Nines August 02, 2010  

But at least your end result is going to be so lovely! As usual.

Lori August 06, 2010  

my jelly rolls are laying there, I will have to use them like you did! The baby picture--it makes them "real" before they're born.

Meggie August 06, 2010  

The fabrics look yummy! I know what you mean about the pinked edges... how irritating!

julieQ August 13, 2010  

Hmm, I know just what you mean about the pinked edges...when I cut them off, I lose some of the fabric. I guess they do it so the pieces won't ravel? Love your blocks!

Isobel August 16, 2010  

I guess I have been lucky in that all the jelly rolls I have purchased were not cut with pinking little points to contend with. Sorry your experience was so unhappy. I have never had any problem with the pieces unraveling. If I see a jelly roll with pinked edges I will be sure to leave it in the store.

Finn August 21, 2010  

So glad to hear I'm NOT the only one who ISN'T on board with the jelly roll craze. I've received a couple as gifts, and having used them, have NO desire to buy one on purpose. You definitely aren't an army of one, give me my scraps anyday! Great job on using up stash, you inspire me! Hugs, Finn

Anonymous,  August 28, 2010  

I'm not fond of the pre-cuts either -- although occasionally I will give in and buy one -- but then they sit there.

Anwar Fazil June 04, 2014  

Very good idea of jelly role comfort. keep it up.

Anwar Fazil June 04, 2014  

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