Friday, September 8, 2023

A Finally Finished Jelly Roll Quilt / Beauties Pageant 227

** The Still Pretty Simple Jelly Roll Quilt pattern is one of my Almost Free for Charity PDF patterns. One dollar from each $3 pattern is donated to a nonprofit that supports the Down syndrome community. **

Last fall, I broke into my black and white fabrics to make this project. I call it Big Star, but it’s really a version of my Still Pretty Simple Jelly Roll Quilt. The pattern makes 16 log cabin blocks, and one of its four possible layouts is this star configuration. 

The Fabrics

I went all-out super-scrappy for this project. If you look closely, you’ll spot selections from many different manufacturers. Perhaps most noteworthy is the OG Cotton and Steel fabrics (those little birds, pictured below, are my favorite!). I won the Cotton and Steel prints through a guild event, and they have been aging nicely in my stash, just waiting for the perfect project. 

I had never sewn a black and white quilt before, and it was fun—and satisfying—to cut up those fabrics and put them to good use.

The Quilting

Although I fell in love with Big Star early in the making process, the black and white palette seemed stark to me as I considered the finished flimsy. Sure, there are some subtle hints of color in the low-volume prints, but I thought the quilting could provide some much-needed pizzazz. Eschewing my usual off-white quilting thread, I opted for a mustardy yellow. It’s such a departure for me that the friend who longarmed the project double-checked whether that was really my selection before she got started. (What can I say? My people know me!)

The Binding 

Now that the quilt is done, I think the binding alone gives the project the necessary infusion of personality; I could have stuck with my usual off-white thread and been satisfied with the results. And the nice thing about matching the quilting thread to the lowest volume in a project—which for me is almost always white—is that it is visible in parts of the finished quilt and nearly invisible elsewhere. The yellow here stands out uniformly throughout this project. 

That’s not to say I regret the yellow thread—I just forgot the power of a fabulous binding fabric and the beauty of watching quilt lines advance and recede over the expanse of a quilt top!

The First Washing

This past June, I posted about an unfortunate quilt-washing experience. I made a project with many of the same fabrics I used in Big Star, did not prewash anything, and had to deal with subsequent bleeding. At this time, Big Star was just a flimsy, and I knew it would likely bleed in the wash, too. Some of you suggested I try to wash it before quilting it. Others thought I should finish it and wash it as usual or wash it with a product called Synthrapol. It was helpful to hear how everyone would handle the situation—thank you for chiming in!

In the end, I decided to wash it in the washing machine with plenty of cold water and mild detergent, and hope for the best. After all, the Still Really Simple Jelly Roll Quilt pattern is an easy one, and I can always make another. The most precious aspect of the quilt at hand is the OG Cotton and Steel stash used in it, and I still have a bit left.

When I took Big Star out of the washer, I noticed some color transfer. It was minor—so minor, in fact, that I couldn’t photograph the problematic spots clearly. I wasn’t sure whether to try to fix the issue (and run the risk of making it worse) or to throw the quilt in the dryer, so I can up with a third option: I hung it up outside, hoping the sun would lightened the spots in question. 

I am not sure whether that accomplished anything, but air-drying Big Star did not worsen the situation. I’ll take that as a win.

For kicks, I measured this project before and after the machine wash and air dry. It started out at 63.5 inches by 55.75 inches and ended up 62 inches by 54 inches. I was surprised by the amount it shrank, especially since I opted for the air dry.

The Happy Ending

The ending to this story? I am going to keep Big Star for myself. I don’t like the idea of gifting a quilt that could bleed further, and I am unwilling to invest any more time in it—there are more quilts to make! Plus, because it’s not a pristine quilt, it will likely get used more than others at my house. In other words, furry family members will be allowed to nap on Big Star unsupervised. Ha!

** The Still Pretty Simple Jelly Roll Quilt pattern is one of my Almost Free for Charity PDF patterns. One dollar from each $3 pattern is donated to a nonprofit that supports the Down syndrome community. **

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  1. I'm sorry to hear that you had bleeding issues in your previous quilt - I don't know if it is just me that thinks this or others but I have been quilting for many years (30+) and I find that fabric in the past 10 years seems to bleed more than in years past. This is an issue that I never used to have in my quilts - is it the change in how they die fabric or a change in the washing machines and laundry soap? The washing machines that use very little water are worse about this than others and about 5 years or so ago I had one that saved water so much you could barely get a quilt thoroughly wet much less actually have enough water to soak it, I actually got rid of that machine before a year was up and got an older model with an agitator again and it fills the machine up.

  2. Yellow thread + yellow binding = perfection!

  3. I love the scrappy-ness of the quilt and just imagine spending time with a toddler or young child searching for the various animals. <3

  4. The yellow thread and yellow binding is such a beautiful detail for the quilt. I really like how it pulls the yellows in the white prints out and makes them pop a bit more, too. I'm glad that hanging the quilt to dry seems to have been a good enough solution and hopefully any future washes don't release any more dye!

  5. Love the yellow quilting thread plus the pop of color from the binding. Congrats on your finish! xo

  6. Hi Michelle, I'm sure that it will be greatly used by everyone. We all need some not-precious quilts in our houses!

  7. Bold choice of the mustard colored thread but it was a brilliant choice! Nice touch with the binding too. I hope everyone in your house hold enjoys the new quilt.


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