27 May 2014

Turtle Sherbet

Turtle Sherbet

A couple of weeks ago, I sent my friend Ruthie her first ever jelly rolls for her birthday. She watched a couple of tutorials on YouTube and got quite fired up about making a quilt in a weekend.

I've always wondered if it could be done, too.

So we challenged each other. Could we finish a quilt top in a weekend???

I haven't had a chance to connect with her yet, so I don't know how her project is moving along, but mine was a blast.

I stopped on the way home from work Friday to pick up a cheap jelly roll.

The next day, rain, lightning, hail and yet another tornado warning squelched our plans for big, long rides to prepare for upcoming charity cycling events. So after about 20 minutes of figuring out a color scheme, I sat down to the sewing machine.


The first thing I learned is cheap jelly rolls might not necessarily be worth the price. Mine were not cut entirely straight, and when I finished piecing all the strips, some bowed toward the end. I lost a little more length than planned trying to square up my project. And I didn't get it perfectly square the first time around.

back to the cutting board

I loved the striping pattern and the visual effect, but I wanted something more. I lopped off a triangle on the lower left corner, then cut a triangle of white to insert. I chopped off the tip of the white triangle and used it as a pattern to fussy cut another triangle from the portion I'd cut away.

This looked awesome!

It needed something else, and I had a plan before I even began cutting. Although the temptation to applique lizards always lurks, the fabric seemed tropical in flavor and was calling out sea turtle to me.

I drew various-sized turtles on scrap paper, then cut them from the colorful triangle remnant. I played around with placement and decided the quilt top still needed something more. I pulled out the white fabric again and cut two more turtles.

This project gave me the opportunity to try out the 505 spray about which I'd recently read. I'd never considered using a basting spray due to fear of it jamming up my sewing machine. The 505 supposedly didn't come with complications, and it would make piecing my Lizard Toes so much easier if it was indeed a good product. I ordered a can from Amazon and used it for the first time on the turtles.

I am very happy to report this stuff worked well for me!

successful test

I did not watch the clock while I was working on the quilt top, but I estimate it took about three hours to piece the strips. I pressed the seams as I went.

The triangles probably took an additional half hour or so.

Drawing and cutting the turtles took another hour. Stitching them on after spray basting went fairly quickly, and I'm anxious to try the spray on the applique lizards next time I get a chance to sit down at the sewing machine.

I finished this flimsy in a day, and it was nice because I was also able to make homemade almond milk, homemade sugarless brownies using the okara from the almond milk, weed my garden and pluck about 100 bachelor buttons because we don't want them to spread next year more than they already unintentionally spread last year.

The bachelor buttons are going in a dye pot as they reach full bloom, but I also snapped a fun photo of a small collection before I dunked them this time.

bachelor button love

Although the quilt top went quickly, I realize I would not have been able to devote so much time to it if not for the three-day weekend, if the sun had been shining or if we were doing Ride the Rockies this year.

Another thing I learned from this project is I prefer to cut my own strips rather than buying precut, particularly cheap precut. I like to make my own combinations rather than settle for what someone else picked and what hundreds of others are using in potentially identical manner. I realize this will add at least another day to any jelly roll quilt I do in the future, but the resulting quilt will be more unique if I cut my own strips.

Overall it was a fun and inspiring project. I was so tempted to make it into another dress instead of a quilt top when I finished piecing the strips! I plan to make at least two more strip quilts because it is fun and fast, and I've already got strips cut for one.

Until I decide what to use for the backing, this quilt top is hanging on the bedroom wall, and I just love looking at it! The bright colors and the swimming turtles make me happy!

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict here and Crazy Mom Quilts here.

Turtle Sherbet


  1. Very colorful indeed at your feed and just goes to show, when you apply yourself much can be done indeed

    1. Thanks, Pat! Given our discussion earlier this week regarding society's use of time, that's a huge compliment from you!

  2. I love the way you did the corner, it really makes the quilt something special!!!

    1. Thank you, Shauna! I feel like I'm getting braver about cutting into quilt tops to make them better than just plain!

  3. Lovely! It's fun to start something and not know quite what it's going to look like at the end!

    1. Thanks, Brenna! I agree. I sometimes fall in love with patterns, but I like when I can do my own thing without a plan!

  4. I love the way you think! Your sea turtles turned out great and even though it's cheap fabric (I've made that mistake too) they are still pretty colors and no one else would have thought to do the sea turtles the way you did.

    1. Thanks, Whimzy! Cheap fabric is really good for practicing free motion quilting, I think, and that was the original intent behind this project, other than seeing how fast I could do a strip quilt.

  5. Also, I LOVE 505 basting spray. Pin basting is nuts. But I don't like lizards. Aweful little buggers get in our house and I hate them.

    1. That's good to hear that someone else likes the 505, too. I dove into this with only one recommendation, and now I have two!

      I don't like to hold lizards, and I definitely would not like them in my house (other than stuffed softies or quilted), but my husband's nickname is Lizard, so I have a real attraction toward the symbol. :)

  6. Sooo pretty, I love it!

  7. Wow, NICE! I like the colour arrangement, and the triangles and turtles really give it some visual oomph. You have a great eye and a really creative sense of placement. And you can draw! :)


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