Back on a Roll...Jelly Roll, That Is...

I got another block in the Jelly Roll Sampler project done (using the book by the Lintott Gals) today. This is the one I started last fall and worked on during my October guild retreat. Got two blocks done then; just got block #3 done this afternoon. They're not hard--just pokey. The project has been sitting in a bin on my shelf since shortly after I got home from the retreat. It's not a high priority project so it kept getting shuffled down the line behind other stuff. I'm going to try to keep poking away at the remaining 9 blocks over the next few weeks as I'm finishing up other projects.

The Mariner's Compass? Deep-sixed. (Going back to the jelly roll project was a bit of therapy for me--Quilt Trauma Recovery.) I'm working on another concept for the guild challenge now. One thing I've learned in years of quilting: When to cut my losses and move on. My theory is that when I used my copier to expand the block it didn't expand both units equally. There is often a slight variation in a copy. Well, what can be just a hair's breadth off for one unit, multiplied by 8, can create real issues by the time you're done. I had the same issue with matching certain points with each unit, very consistent, even though I was dead on that line every time. That says to me there's something wrong with the unit itself as it came off my copier. Too bad--I liked the color combinations. I'm using basically the same color combination with some slight variation in my new attempt, so hopefully I'll be as happy with it. And hopefully it'll actually work this time. Still paper-piecing, just using a Carol Doak book this time and a slightly different approach to a mariner's compass. I think I'll call it "compass-esque." I've got the fabrics figured out, so after I run some errands this afternoon I'll probably start working on that one.

I'm now in week four of my sabbatical and just now feel like I'm getting into a groove. Illness, travel, and the hectic first couple of weeks of taking care of stuff that had gotten put off for months before meant I didn't accomplish as much quilty-wise as I wanted. So I'm struggling not to let myself "feel behind," because I'm really trying to take seriously my goal to accept what I'm able to do as I'm able to do it and not get into mind games with myself over what I feel like I have to get done. But if I don't get called up for jury duty this week (I have to call every afternoon to find out whether I need to show up the next day) I'll have lots of time to make some progress on current projects and play with some new ideas.

Here's to playing with fabric. Yay.

Happy birthday to me--a mini-quilt-retreat

I took this afternoon as a half day vacation for my birthday, and am celebrating in my sewing room. My first task of the afternoon: Finish getting the Jelly Roll Sampler strips sorted for blocks.

If you buy this book, do pay attention when the authors say to sort all your strips first, before you start cutting the strips for blocks. I did fine for the first 6 or 7 blocks; the last 5 got a little trickier and I had to start doing some swapping off with earlier blocks to get better contrast. Although my jelly roll had the same number of overall strips as the one in the pattern I'm using, it has a different proportion of darks, mediums, and lights. And although I was quite freely recategorizing strips based on how they related to other strips in the set, there are some combos that just don't work as well. So by the time I got down to the last two blocks, I was digging into my 2 1/2" strip stash to find some alternatives.

Let me just say--if you're a jelly roll fan, be sure you buy the Moda Marbles jelly rolls. The link happens to go to the one I used today; but there are a couple other colorways available. I also own the Brights roll. These help support your other jelly rolls by providing a wide selection of solids or marbles to fill in gaps of whatever jelly roll you're using. At a quilt show recently, I also picked up a couple of rolls of 20 strips each of lights (made up by the quilt shop); I've found that often jelly rolls don't have enough lights or darks--they're heavy on the mediums. Makes sense, since they're strips from a collection of fabric and most collections produce mostly mediums with just a few darks and lights tossed in. Anyway, in today's case, I could've used a few more darks but was able to fill in with one strip from my Moda Marbles roll, plus a strip from my stash, and then just went with a more muted look on the final block than I would've normally. I think it could actually be kind of pretty. It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out.

Enjoying my quiet afternoon catching up on some other quilty podcasts, finishing up cataloguing my quilt books on GoodReads, and moving forward on another quilt project. My son, nephew, niece, and nephew-in-law (said niece's husband), are taking me out for a birthday dinner tonight as my husband's out of town today--that'll be fun, but I've got about 3 hours left of mini-quilt-retreat before that happens!

Another project completed--yippee!

My MIL's quilt is done! Just as a reminder, it's a pattern named "Floral Bouquet" from the book Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott. (This time DH is playing quilt hanger. He didn't complain as much as my usual DD quilt hanger does!)

It wasn't a hard pattern to put together, although I discovered this time how very stretchy jelly roll strips can be. You don't expect it because they're not on the bias, but they're on the width-wise grain which can be a bit bouncy. I had a little more problem keeping my blocks square with this pattern than I expected, but at the same time it was a very forgiving pattern because it had all that nice white space to give me room for squaring things up every step along the way.

Here's a close-up of one of the blocks. I tried to stay as random as possible without repeating a fabric in a block. I then mostly stayed random with placing the blocks in rows but I did switch out one or two that had too much repetition right next to each other.

Here's my label. (Yes, although I said in my podcast episode today I was considering not doing one, that was mostly due to time. But I ended up with time I didn't expect to have. It looks out of line because I blurred out part of it in the photo.) This is the first time I've made a label using the embroidery stitches on my sewing machine. It's not an embroidery machine so I don't have a ton of options, but it does have lettering. I had to practice on several scraps because I couldn't quite figure out how the embroidery would line itself up but finally got it. I drew some guide lines to keep each line relatively straight and each line evenly spaced from the other. The label doesn't have as much information on it as I usually do but it's never going in a show and I'm documenting all the additional information in my own records.

I left the lighting unbalanced in this one so you could see the quilting better (I hope). It was done by Andrea of Olde Glory Quilting. She doesn't have a website or I'd link it--sorry! She's a local long-arm quilter that only does pantograph--all over--quilting, but does a really nice job and was amazingly fast! I had it in a week. All I had told her was that I wanted something that would pick up on the floral but would stay "open and airy." She showed me this pattern and I knew she was right. It was perfect.

So that's it! My MIL will love it, I know. I also know I probably should have ripped the binding out and redone it because it really didn't work the way I wanted it to, but in the "real world," it's fine. And it's done, and now I can move on to the next project!