I know, I know. Why on earth am I starting something new when I have a sewing room full of UFOs? Well, I have my friend Char to blame — er, thank — for this one. Char, who blogs at The Quilted “Q,” wrote a post recently about a video tutorial she found online to create a quick but dramatic quilt made from 2½” strips of fabric. Fabric manufacturers have found a ready market for packages of these pre-cut strips that feature an entire line of fabric. The packages are popularly known as Jelly Rolls, although that name is trademarked by Moda Fabrics.
Intrigued, I clicked on the link Char provided. After watching the video I decided on the spot to make a quilt using a Jelly Roll that’s been in my stash for a few years. The quilt pattern, Tea Time, was designed by Larene Smith of the Quilted Button. The tutorial is by Donna Jordan of Jordan Fabrics and includes a pdf handout:
(Clicking here will take you to the video and the pdf handout.)
In doing a little research I found that Larene Smith’s design first appeared in 2009 as a free pattern called Tea Time in Bali and was offered to promote Bali Pops, the name Hoffman Fabrics gave to its packages of 2½” batik strips. You can see Larene Smith’s striking version here.
The fabrics in my version are very different. I’m using the one and only Jelly Roll in my stash, “High Street” by Lily Ashbury for Moda:
It was an impulse purchase. I really don’t use pre-cuts much (mainly because I like to wash and iron my fabrics before using them) but for some reason this one spoke to me. I do remember buying this while on a quilt shop hop with good friends; no doubt they influenced my decision to purchase it!
The pattern calls for 40 strips, from which you make eight strip sets of five fabrics. This Jelly Roll has five main colors — pink, orange, yellow, green, and grey . . .
. . . and with one exception each color is represented with eight strips. All I had to do was lay out the strips on my ironing board and combine them into eight piles of five strips each:
I tried not to think too much about choosing the piles, just making sure I had one of each color and looking for contrast in value and scale in the strips that will be next to each other. Because of the unique way the strip sets are cut and arranged, each fabric is going to wind up in different places in the blocks for a very scrappy look.
You see only seven piles above because I had already sewn one strip set together. Actually, you sew the strips into a tube and then cut the tube into triangles which open up to reveal blocks measuring 7″ square. Each tube yields seven blocks. Here are the blocks from my first strip set:
They went together really fast, and I’m eager to move on to the next set. Truth be told, I’m in a bit of a winter funk (and darn it, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday on Groundhog Day so we’re looking at six more weeks of winter). Being able to finish a quilt top quickly is sure to be a mood-lifter, and I will certainly enjoy working with these colorful and cheerful fabrics.