Everything You Need To Know About Jelly Roll Racing.
And probably a few things you don't need to know but are fun to know.
What is a Jelly Roll Race?
A jelly roll race (JRR) is a quilt making method that produces a quilt top that is approximately 50" x 64" from one 40-strip jelly roll fabric collection sewn into a single, super long strip. Once that strip is made, the race begins. Participants are timed on how long it takes to convert that 1600" strip into a quilt top. You can't really tell what it will look like until it's done ... and then it's a special kind of magic!
What Do You Need for a JRR?
You will need:
Jelly roll (40 strips, 2-1/2" x width of fabric, ~ 40")
Rotary cutter or scissors
1/4" foot (optional)
Stamina (not optional!)
How Do You Prepare for a JRR?
Unroll your jelly roll. If you wish, sort the fabrics into your desired order (useful if your JRR has fabric duplicates, but you'll probably wind up with similar fabrics next to each other somewhere, regardless ... don't stress over this). Join your strips together end to end. You can either:
Join your strips straight after trimming the selvedge ends away
Join your strips at a 45-degree angle, in which case the selvedges will be trimmed away when you trim the sewn angle seam
Press your seams to one side or open as you prefer. There are no quilt police that will tell you one way is better than the other for a JRR quilt.
At this point you are ready to race!
What Do I Do In the Race?
Fold the 1600" strip in half, right sides together (RST). Sew the strip together along one edge with a 1/4" seam, sewing from the loose end towards the folded end.
When you reach the folded end, sew off the edge. Use your scissors to cut along the fold so that you can open the strip. Your strip is now two strips (4") wide and only 800" long.
Fold the 800" strip in half, RST. Repeat the sewing and cutting open at the fold. Your strip is now four strips (8") wide and only 400" long.
Repeat. This repeat results in 8 strips (16") wide and 200" long.
Repeat. This repeat results in 16 strips (32") wide and 100" long.
Repeat. This repeat results in 32 strips (64") wide and 50" long.
That's it! Open up your JRR quilt top and see your design surprise. How long did it take you? Did you finish first?
What Kind of JRR Variations Can I Do?
You can vary the width of your strips from standard 2-1/2", but they still all have to be the same width for the quilt.
You can insert accent blocks or strips in between your strips.
You can alternate the direction of your 45-degree angles when joining your strips.
You can sew after a glass of wine (or two!) and see what happens. Maybe you will discover a new variation? :)
Acacia Quilt Guild of Orange County P. O. Box 6853 Buena Park, CA 90622