23 March 2017

Jelly Shelly

By the Reservoir, by the Reservoir, by the beautiful Reservoir-y
You and me, you and me, oh, how happy we'll be!

I began collecting sea shell prints about four years ago, and sometime after that, probably at the height of the race quilt craze, I began cutting a few jelly roll strips off each piece, fully intending at the time to make a ocean-themed race quilt of my own.

With two dear friends named Shelly, inspiration hit me, and I decided to make a quilt called Jelly Shelly because it would be made of jelly roll strips and would feature sea shells and... this was a later addition to the original idea... jelly fish.

After seeing one too many jelly roll quilts in various shows and competitions, I decided I really didn't want to make a race quilt after all. I sort of forgot about Jelly Shelly until I finished Orphan Gemtones. I started out the year with a goal of finishing two WIP quilts every month, and I got behind in February, thanks to a relentless head cold. I thought I could make up at least one of the two quilts I didn't finish in February if I did a fast project. And what could be faster than a race quilt when the strips have already been cut and are just waiting to be sewn together?

The quilt top was finished in two nights. The back was pieced in one more night. Enough strips remain to make a sequel later on, after I finish quite a few more WIPs (works in progress). One of my goals this year, besides finishing 24 quilts, if at all possible, is to bring my WIP list down from last January's 37 to under 20, and to keep it down beneath 20 from now on, and even lower if I can. Which means no more new quilt projects for a while. Except for scrap quilts, of course. Because I still have way too many scraps, and they sometimes make adorable quilts.

I have wanted to try quilting with an embroidery stitch on my machine for at least a couple of years now, and a jelly roll quilt seemed like the perfect opportunity. I do not have very many embroidery stitches on my machine, so I picked the one that looked closest to ocean waves. Quilting was finished in five or six nights. I went through more than an entire spool of thread doing this.

The thread broke only once the entire time. I ran out of bobbin thread in the middle of a row three times. Tension was off about six or seven times when I pulled a little too hard while quilting middle rows, trying to get the rolled-up quilt through the neck of my 35-year-old Viking Husqvarna, built long before free-motion quilting became a thing.

Overall, I'm not disappointed with the way Jelly Shelly looks. I might not try using a machine embroidery stitch again until the day I am forced to buy a new sewing machine, at which time I'll take a step up and get one of those fancy machines that has tons of different stitches. There was a model with quite a few more stitches when I bought this one, but at the time, I thought, "Why in the world would I need to spend $300 more for extra stitches when I'm perfectly capable of hand embroidery?"

Funny how your perspective changes after you adopt and raise older special-needs children, and then your adopted children start having children, making you a grandparent...

I still LOVE to hand embroider, and may even do an entire scrap crazy quilt completely by hand at some point. AFTER I finish making quilts for each of the adopted grandkids and their siblings.

Binding took one more night, and once again, I really cut it too close for comfort with the fabric I chose as binding. All that remains is a small triangle and 3-inch strip about 30 inches long.

After washing, this quilt became even more lovable.

Actually, the quilt did look a tiny bit different after washing... I ran out of the 505 Temporary Fabric Adhesive I've been using to baste my layers for about two years now, and I didn't want to wait for a mail order. So I tried another new method I'd been curious about ever since I first read about another quilter's success in using it.

I mixed Elmer's School Glue with water and sprayed it to the batting, ironing the top and then the bottom to the batting to quickly dry the layers. I already knew from experience the glue would wash out without a trace, and good thing, because I could see glue puddle stains on the lighter fabrics and the solid borders. Before I dried it, I checked pretty thoroughly to make sure no stains were visible, knowing from experience heat would set them. Not a single stain. Jelly Shelly may be the closest-to-perfect quilt I've finished to date.

It would have been the second of 15 quilts I'm trying to finish this year for the grandkid crew, but Orphan Gemtones found an unexpected new home last week when one of my friends from New Mexico asked if she could buy it. Her dad was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in December, and she lost him less than a month later. I couldn't think of a better home for that colorful, bright and cheery quilt. I told her I hope she can feel the love that went into making it every time she wraps up in it.

So now, with the completion of Jelly Shelly, I have 14 more quilts to finish by about the end of November.

Don't forget, voting begins today on Spoonflower's hexagon challenge!

My challenge fabric arrived Monday, and the pattern got here Tuesday. I'm going to have to invest in some swimsuit lining because the Spoonflower fabric is just a tad thin, but it turned out awesome! I just wish I could look that good in the swimsuit when it's done!

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. Gotta love the plastic models lol I like all the blues in it. Yeah, sometimes we think why spend the extra dough, but then having the extra perk can come in handy, whether sewing machine, car, fridge, stove, etc.

    1. One of my sewing teachers way back in middle school taught us not to select clothing patterns based on how they look on the models, Pat, because every pattern has models who are proportionately at least one head too tall in the legs, which makes everything they wear look good on them. That's a pretty stinky way to sell a pattern, in my opinion, but since I've been sewing for about 45 years now, I know no pattern is going to look on me the way it does on the envelope. :)


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