The Gifts Our Staff are Making

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Here’s what I’m bad at: reading over quilt patterns thoroughly before starting my projects. Here’s what I’m good at: improvising to make up for what I’m bad at. It’s the same with recipes—I’m too impatient for the boring part, let’s get to the fun part! You’d think I would’ve learned by now, but no.

Remember National Sew a Jelly Roll Day? Well, having a nearly-3-year-old and a just-turned-one-year-old, I wasn’t able to set aside the necessary time to participate in the event. But, I’m making progress on my Jelly Roll quilts and I’m going to gift the finished quilts (I hope!) for Christmas (thanks to some late nights and very early mornings). Two quilts are in the queue and I’m so excited! So, without further ado…

Here are the Jelly Rolls I’m working with:

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Clearly, I’m a Kate Spain fan. I love the designs she created for Moda and the colorways work perfectly for my purposes. I decided to make the process a bit easier on myself by going with established quilt patterns rather than designing my own. I paired the Voyage fabrics with Color Bars by Diane Tomlinson and the Longitude fabrics with Classic Elements by Nancy Mahoney. Gorgeous quilt patterns designed specifically for Jelly Rolls and they’re FREE!

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I just downloaded the free Strip Quilt Patterns eBook from The Quilting Company website and I was ready to get started.

I start my projects by organizing the strips into the color families that work well for each quilt pattern (I do give the patterns a once over, after all).

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As I cut my fabrics, I group them according to their specific measurements. In the case of the Classic Elements quilt pattern, I organized them into groups A – E.

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Once all of the strips are cut to size, I assemble the quilt blocks on my design wall. I really like the Fons & Porter Design Wall, but laying your fabrics out on a large bed or the floor works well, too.

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I highly recommend taking a digital photo of your layout at any time during this process, but especially after your quilt top has been completely laid out. You’ll be amazed at how different it looks in your photo and you may catch some things that you didn’t see with your naked eye. I always do!

So, here’s where I would benefit from a thorough inspection of the quilt pattern prior to cutting my fabrics… I realized that, although I had cut enough of each specific measurement/group for the Classic Elements quilt, I had too much of one color (teal) and not enough of the other (chartreuse). No biggie! I’ll just swap some out and make it look like that’s what was called for in the pattern. Ugh.

The moral of this quilt gifting story is pre-cuts are a lifesaver when you find yourself in a quilting time crunch.

Before you set out on your own pre-cut journey, here are a few tips that will make your pre-cut projects go a bit more smoothly:

  • Use a lint roller on ALL the edges of your pre-cuts before starting. You’ll cut WAY down on the lint factor and thank yourself later. If you can do so before removing the packaging, all the better.
  • Take a photo of your layout, preferably throughout the process of laying out your fabrics, but definitely after your quilt top layout is complete. You might catch some changes you’d like to make that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.
  • Read your quilt patterns thoroughly before cutting your fabrics. You’ll save yourself the headache of having to come up with a solution when you should be feverishly quilting (remember: time crunch).

Now, go forth and make quick, easy, and fun projects! And, happy holidays to you and yours, dear quilter. Whatever you celebrate, and however you celebrate it, may quilting be the common thread that brings us all together.

Happy Quilting!

Carrie Sisk

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