When last we met the Jelly Roll quilt, she was still a jumble of fabric pieces, thrown together in a shoebox and stirred to maximum randomness. For a re-cap, please see my earlier post about quilting. Now she's done (and has been since late April), and I finally have time to give a thorough account of her creation.
|The Jelly Roll in the Wild|
|All the Quilt Pieces, Ready to Go|
|Assembled Strips of Five|
Each 5-piece strip was then capped off with a 10" strip. The same strategies outlined above were used here. I tried to never have the same print of fabric across the top as I had in the pieces. Amazingly, I think I rarely failed in this, if at all. Notice the small pieced section in the bottom right. Despite my best efforts, I was short two 2"x3" pieces after all my cutting, so I pieced together a couple. I am actually pretty happy with the way it looks. The idea of hiding little Easter eggs like this inside my quilt appeals to me.
|Half of a Completed Block|
|A Completed Block|
|One Long Strip of 10" Blocks|
|Pairs of Super-Blocks|
By this point, I was storing the assembled blocks inside my closet on a pants hanger. In the picture above you can see pairs of super blocks (which contain 8 standard blocks). These were paired off again to create mega blocks. The pairing proceeded until I had just one giant 8-block x 8-block square, to which I added the 8-block strip to yield an 8-block x 9-block top! Please enjoy the diagram below:
|Figure 1: Quilt Assembly Procedure and Order of Operations|
|An Intimate Look at my Piecing|
Then I added the two borders. Don't look too closely at my outer-border. I wasn't very careful with the bias and it was pretty much impossible to measure it properly against the quilt top (with space at a premium, where was I going to lay this down to measure?). I'm not sure if it was too long or too short, but the result is a lot of puckering.
|Basted Using Safety Pins|
Then I quilted, and it was so much fun! This quilt is machine quilted, but I didn't follow any pattern. For one thing, that would have meant either designing a pattern or buying a stencil and then marking the quilt top and then having enough control to keep my stitches on the pattern I'd marked. Also, at my dad's suggestion, I decided not to have a pattern that was too close, so that the fabrics and their juxtaposition could still be the main attraction.
Instead of a pattern, I just free-stitched along every seam, but I didn't worry at all about straight lines. I just did swirls and waves and spirals, following a road map that allowed me to do minimal back-tracking (however, topologists who have studied the arrangement of the pieces will understand why backtracking was utterly unavoidable).
The preceding pictures are just an example of what the entire quilt looks like. I got better and better as I learned control. In free-quilting a darning needle is used and the feed-dogs are down, so the sewer is in complete control (or not!) of stitch length and speed. My patterns got to be more interesting-looking towards the end, but there were some weird false-starts and ugly angles at the beginning.
Around the border (which I did last!) I figured out how to do a motif of vines and leaves. At this point, I would have felt comfortable following a pattern, but I didn't feel like going out and buying a stencil.
Last but not least came the binding. This is bias-cut, double fold binding (the strongest way to bind a quilt). One side is sewn by machine, then it's folded over and blind-stitched to the back. At this point, I began using the quilt as my actual bedspread, since attaching the binding secures the entire quilt (even though I didn't complete the blind stitching until another couple of months later).
A few miscellaneous facts:
I started this just after Christmas. The piecing took about a month working a couple of hours every night (my back and eyes wouldn't allow for more). The quilting took another couple of weeks. Sewing down the binding took about a month and a half with only intermittent work (since there was no hurry at that point).
The quilt is for a queen size bed but it has a generous drop on both sides since I have a thick mattress and I don't use a dust ruffle. There's also extra length for a "pillow tuck." All told, it's about 100" on each side, though I never did do final measurements, and I have since washed it and it shrank slightly.
|Quilt Easter Egg!|
Earlier I mentioned Easter eggs in my quilt. Here's one! The red rectangle is actually a fabric from my first quilt (the sampler). Luckily, the colors match nicely, but even if they didn't I would have done this. From now on, I'm going to try to use one piece of fabric from the previous quilt in the next. Perhaps I'll be able to use fabric from several previous quilts! In anticipation of this, I've already saved the piece that would have gone where this red rectangle is. It's waiting its chance to be in my next quilt...
Anna Bender (neè Farrow) was my great-great grandmother, whom I alluded to in my first quilting post. Thanks to my aunt Heidi, I am now in possession of some fabric pieces and a partially-sewn quilt top that were once hers (we think). Her project was originally a Double Wedding Ring pattern using a complete mish-mash of fabrics. I estimate there are several dozen different kinds of fabric being used in this quilt.
|Double Wedding Ring|
|Some Completed Piecing Found Among the Scraps|
|A Wide Array of Fabrics, Ready to be Sewn|