Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and Charms

jelly roll 1

I seem to attract Jelly Rolls…

Not the confection – the roll of cake with the sweet filling – but the fabric jelly rolls.  If you’re not familiar with that quilty vocabulary, let me explain.  A few years ago, fabric manufacturers decided to make pre-cuts of some of their most popular lines.  These are called layer cakes (10-inch squares), charm squares (5-inch squares), and jelly rolls.  Jelly rolls are 2 ½-inch x 42-inch strips.  There are usually 40 to 42 strips of these in a roll, two of each of the fabrics in a family.  They are cut in the factory-setting (hence, they are pre-cut before purchase).  Sometimes they are cut accurately, and sometimes not so much.

Jelly roll 2

The thought was, that because these sizes were some of the most frequently used in quilting, quilters would purchase them in large numbers, especially since the cutting was already done and the variety of fabrics was excellent.

Yup.  Pretty much right on all those accounts.  I have an entire bin of jelly rolls – over a dozen.  Of all those, I have purchased three.  The others I have won either as guild door prizes, as a contest winner, or were given as gifts.  They are all beautiful and I have immensely enjoyed looking at them on a shelf in my quilt studio…because frankly I had no idea what to do with them.

Until recently.

A friend of mine who was at the 2017 Drop Everything and Just Quilt! Retreat suggested that since so many of us had such a variety of pre-cuts, we should form a group and sew through as many as we could which always frees up space to buy more.   I was all for that, except the only pattern I had ever seen using a jelly roll was that strippy one from those Jelly Roll Races, and to be honest, that pattern did nothing for me.

So, I Amazoned jelly roll patterns and within 2.5 seconds, this book, written by Pam and Nicky Lintott appeared on my feed.

Jelly Roll Book

I purchased it and a couple of their other jelly roll books.  These ladies have been working with those 2 ½-inch x 40-inch strips for a while and they’ve come up with some great ideas.  They have also discovered that you can use this ruler:



And cut 2 ½-inch triangles to make half-square triangle units.  I love Creative Grid Rulers.  They have the non-skid patches on them that really help you keep your cutting accurate.

I am currently making the Lintott’s Circle of Friends Quilt from Jelly Roll Quilts in a Weekend.  The squares are large – 18 ½-inches unfinished – and there are nine of them in this quilt.  I’ve finished four, nearly through with the fifth, and will hopefully have the top put together before our jelly roll group meets again in March.

My blocks for Circle of Friends.  The safety pin at the top indicates that this is the top of the block and that I’ve oriented it correctly when I lay my quilt top out.  Since these blocks are symmetrical, it really doesn’t matter, but putting that pin in is a habit I’ve had for almost 30 years.

The meteorologists are predicting snow and ice for here on Sunday.  I’ve got a mini-quilt I need to finish as Halo and I need to have some serious “us” time.  I’ve filled the bird feeders to the brim and purchased three bottles of wine.  Let it snow!


Until next week, Quilt with Excellence!


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


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