Jelly Roll Quilt Along, Step 1

5 04 2017

In my previous post, I showed my “Jelly Roll Mosaic Tiles” plan for using a “Figures” Zen Chic Jelly Roll. Are you excited about the project? Are you quilting along with me?

Normally, I construct the inside units of a quilt block prior to constructing the outer units. However, in this case I am working from the outside toward the inside because I want to make sure there is enough fabric to strip-piece the rectangle units. It doesn’t matter to me if the interior Nine Patches are pieced from odds and ends of the leftovers. In addition to the jelly roll and (dark blue) yardage for an outer border, you will need about 1 1/2 yds. light background fabric.

I discovered my original count of 9 pairs of dark/light would only yield 9 blocks. I believe I can make a 12 block quilt with the number of strips in my jelly roll, so I need 12 pairs of dark/light strips. For the colors I have, that works out to 4 Navy, 4 Peach, and 4 Yellow. If your jelly roll does not have enough light strips, substitute from stash or use several strips of your light background fabric.

Measure and cut an 18 1/2″ strip from each of the 12 dark strips. Reserve the remainder to make Four Patches or Nine Patches. Cut two 18 1/2″ strips from each of the 12 light strips. Reserve the remainder to make Four Patches or Nine Patches. (The “remainder” from the strips is shown at the top of the picture.)

Sew a dark 18 1/2″ strip between two 18 1/2″ strips of the same light fabric. Press seams toward the dark fabric. You will make 12 strip-pieced units. (Sorry, only 9 units are shown in the picture below.)

Sliver-trim one end of each strip-pieced unit, and sub-cut at 4 1/2″ intervals. You will need 4 rectangle units from each fabric combination. These units measure 4 1/2″ x 6 1/2.”

Pin each set of four rectangle units together; you will have 12 sets of 4 identical rectangles units each. The next step is making Four Patches, so pair up (at least) 3 darks with 3 mediums and cut six  2 1/2″ wide strips from your light background fabric.

Second Quarter Challenge – Introduction

3 04 2017

This year I’m challenging myself and blog readers to use pre-cuts, one type per quarter. January through March we tackled Fat Quarters and/or Quilter’s Candy. The pre-cut challenge for April through June is Jelly Rolls. I hope you will join in the fun by creatively transforming your neatly rolled set of forty 2 1/2″ wide strips into a quilt. If you need design ideas, check out the many jelly roll pattern books as well as online images (Pinterest). Please send pictures of your projects to; this will inspire other blog readers to accept the challenge as well.

About a year and half ago, I visited a friend who lives near Indianapolis. Along with seeing the downtown sights, we stopped by Quilts Plus, a wonderful quilt shop. As a “souvenir,” I purchased about a yard of fabric and a jelly roll in the “Figures” Moda line. I had a great design in mind for using the jelly roll, but all I can remember now is a blue outer border. I should have drawn a sketch and stored it with the fabric. Ah, well, there is more than one way to use a jelly roll! (Click here to read about my visit to Quilts Plus.)

I have been experimenting with a new 14″ block idea that will utilize the scrappy Nine Patches I assembled this past summer as leaders and enders. I found most of the pieces needed for these blocks in my 2 1/2″ square bin and in my 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle bin. I decided to simplify the design (pictured below) a bit for my jelly roll challenge project.

First, I separated the strips by color and value. There are ten medium blue strips, more than any other color, so I will reserve them for sashing. Counting the remaining strips, I estimate that I will be able to make 9-12 blocks.

The next step was pairing 9 darks with 9 lights. These pairs are on the left in the photo below. They will be strip-pieced and cut to form the rectangle units. I also paired 4 darks with 4 mediums. These pairs are on the right in the photo below. I will strip-piece them with white solid fabric for Four Patches. I have a few strips left over to use in the Nine Patches or as cornerstones in the sashing.

Here’s my plan, subject to serendipitous changes, of course. (The light gray represents medium fabrics.)


I’ll detail my progress in the next couple of blog posts . . . perhaps you’d like to Quilt Along and make this super fun design, too! For now, unroll your jelly roll and analyze the colors and values you’ll be working with.


First Quarter Challenge – Yet More Inspiration

30 03 2017

This year I’m making a concerted effort to use some of my pre-cuts, and I’ve challenged blog readers to do the same. If you’ve been following along from January through March, you’ve seen creative ways to use Fat Quarters and/or Quilter’s Candy.

Ilse sent a picture of a modern mini quilt using Brigitte Heitland’s Zen Chic collection. She wrote, “At the 2015 Nürtingen (Germany quilt) exhibition, all helping hands received a Quilter’s Candy pack from one of Brigitte’s many quilt fabric series, with the request to transform them into something special to exhibit at the upcoming 2018 show.”

The simplicity of Ilse’s quilt spells sophistication, don’t you think? I love the wavy quilting lines–close together where the colored squares are densest and farther apart toward the edges of the quilt where the squares are farther apart.

It will be so interesting to see all the quilts made with Quilter’s Candy in next year’s exhibition. (Be sure to send pictures, Ilse!)


Several other blog followers were inspired by recent posts. Darla sent a picture of a “Holly Hobby” placemat made by her sister, Anna. My post on the vintage “Little Dutch Girls” quilt reminded her of the placemat made years ago. I love the sweet embroidered flowers on the bonnet and sleeve cuff.

Helga contributed a picture of her “Sternen und Herzen” I Spy quilt in response to my question on the “Eye Spy” post. The quilt is about ten years old and remains at Helga’s house. All the grandchildren and young visitors can enjoy looking at it when they visit her.

Stephanie, inspired by the Polka Tot post, shared a picture of a patriotic quilt she made for Army Chaplain Sam Boone. She increased the block size to 9″ and used scraps and fat quarters from stash. Bowties are Chaplain Boone’s trademark, so this Quilt of Valor design suits him to a T.

With the first quarter of 2017 behind us, it’s time to look ahead to the second quarter’s challenge. Your role is to roll up your sleeves, unroll your jelly roll, and get the ball rolling on a new quilt!



“Eye Spy” Finish

27 03 2017

“Eye Spy with my little eye . . .”

I raided my box of 3″ squares and cut more from conversation prints for the centers of the patchwork blocks. Frames of primary colors were cut 2″ wide, and I cut 2″ corner squares of black and white polka dot fabric. I decided to extend the Nine Patch secondary design in the borders. (The math actually works out for 3″ finished squares in the outer border, but I forgot and cut 3″ squares as I did for the interior blocks. Extra points if you can figure out how I coped with my “Ooops.”)

While looking in JoAnn’s for sashing, I ran into a quilting friend from my guild. She propelled me toward a white with colorful triangles print instead of the white and gray print I was considering. I am pleased with the fun-loving results. Most of the squares in the interior of the quilt have a “twin” in the outer border so the recipient of this quilt has had fun matching the monkey, cat, cowboy boots, construction equipment, etc.

I quilted the quilt with white thread in a meander and loop, freehand design. And I bound the quilt with black Kona cotton.

Have you made an “Eye Spy” quilt? What was the most interesting conversation print you included?

“Little Dutch Girls” Vintage Project

24 03 2017

My friend, Jenn, procured 30 “Little Dutch Girls” blocks hand stitched by her paternal grandmother, Leoma. We estimate that the blocks were made in the 40s or 50s. Look closely and you will see several distinctive design elements. Note that the blanket stitches are a long stitch alternating with a short stitch. Also note that the girls have two arms (or an arm and a hand); most Dutch Girl patterns that I’ve seen show only one arm. In addition, Grandma Leoma positioned the arm shoulder height toward the edge of the dress rather than in the center of the dress as most patterns of the era do.


Jenn gently washed the blocks by hand using “Retro Clean” whose motto is “safely brings age-stained textiles back to life!”  The dolls were appliqued onto thin muslin rectangles that had been ripped rather than cut with scissors. The “fraying” resulting from ripping the blocks actually helped preserve their shape through the years. After pressing and measuring them all, I trimmed them the size of the smallest block, 7″ x 9.”

To “share the wealth” among family members, Jenn decided to split the blocks into three projects. Her mother sewed pillows of one Dutch Girl each for Jenn’s siblings, I made a wall quilt with four of the blocks for Jenn’s mother and father, and Jenn designed a quilt using the remaining 20 blocks. Although Jenn likes to decorate with muted, earthy tones, we had to choose sashing fabric that would coordinate with the primary tones of the Dutch Girl bonnets and dresses. Most Dutch Girl quilts of the 40s and 50s were sashed with solid colored fabrics; we followed suit with a turquoise/teal and rich brown. Here’s a photo showing the steps used to make the sashing pieces.

For the outer border and star centers, we found a dainty print in Edita Sytar’s “Color Daze” line that paired the turquoise with the brown.

Since hubby set up my long arm machine last weekend, I’ll soon be quilting “Little Dutch Girls.”  I plan to use tan thread and an edge to edge clamshell design. Jenn is excited to see the project begun so many years ago completed. The quilt is doubly precious because Grandma Leoma passed away at the age of thirty when Jenn’s father was eight. I feel blessed to have a hand in making an heirloom quilt for Jenn’s family.

Save the Date!

22 03 2017

Tarheel Quilters Guild is hosting a quilt show on April 7 and 8, 2017. Come one, come all! “Symphony of Quilts” is the theme; the quilts will be displayed in the gymnasium of Methodist University on Ramsey Street in Fayetteville, NC. In addition to viewing beautiful, intricate quilts, you can shop with 15 vendors, buy tickets for our raffle quilt, meet up with quilting friends, and purchase wall quilts in a silent auction.

My quilt, “Vintage Farm Girl,” will be in the show because I finished the binding just in time for turn-in.

#QF17, #Quilt Fest 2017, #Tarheel Quilters Guild

Guest Blogger for McCall’s

17 03 2017

I promised to let you know when I would be blogging about “Travel Plans” on the McCall’s Quilting magazine site. Yesterday was my day, but I was too busy unpacking, cleaning, and visiting with friends to sit down at the computer. Not to worry, you can still travel to the blog and read about my inspiration for the table runner. If you have a minute, leave a comment on the McCall’s blog; the editors want to know which published designs appeal to you.

Click here to travel to McCall’s Quilting blog for March 16, 2017.