Several weeks ago, I purchased a bolt of fabric from this line, BEE Creative by Deb Strain for Moda, that I thought would make a really pretty backing fabric.
It is kind of a cheddar color, which is out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I just like to challenge myself with something different. I had walked by the line of fabrics in our local little quilt shop and nothing was jumping out at me yelling for me to purchase it. Then I saw the jelly rolls. There is something about a jelly roll that just peaks the interest. It has the full line of fabrics and you get a better sense of where the designer was going with it all. They were on sale, so I purchased four to add to my stash. And promptly put them away as I didn't have an immediate project in mind.
Scrolling through pinterest one day, I noticed this quilt and knew immediately that this would be the one that would be perfect for this fabric. It would let you cut the fabric into bits which would play well with each other and actually set off and showcase the designs.
The quilt pattern is Briar Rose by England Street Quilts and the PDF pattern is available here: Briar Rose Quilt by England Street Quilts Be sure to visit Shontelle's website, she has lots of other quilts to share: England Street Quilts
Having decided on the quilt pattern, it was time to cut! This quilt uses 32 strips from 1 Jellyroll of your favorite fabric, 1.5 yards of background, 1 yard border fabric, a little over a 1/2 yard for binding, 4 yards for backing. My quilt finished at 72" x 56" just as the pattern describes.
When you have a pattern that gives you yardage in meters and centimeters all you have to do to change that is to go to google: Length Calculator put in the number of meters or centimeters, select from the little drop down menu below centimeters or meters and then in the next box it will show you the equivalent in the measure that you select from the drop down box below it...inches, feet, yards. You will instantly have your number...be smart round up!
I picked out the strips that I wanted to use and set aside the ones that were very light with white background as they would not show up in the blocks when placed next to my background fabric of Kona Cotton White. You want to have some contrast with this quilt. If you lay four strips at a time on top of each other on your rotary mat and another set of four carefully stacked directly above that, you can make your cut and have 8 done all at once. This will help you speed your process along. Her pattern is clever as it has you cut a 24" strip and then an 18" strip. If your cutting board is 24" long, well, just line your fabric up carefully to the 24" mark of your mat and make your cut at the 0" mark on the other end... and you are in business. Then slide your strips to the 18" mark and make your next cut. It really does go very fast this way.
As she advises, set aside your 18" strips and start sewing your 24" strips together in strip sets of four. Don't make them all the same...alternate lights, mediums and darks for variety. Think about what the finished quilt looks like. You don't want a strip set of all darks, etc. Press all your seams in one direction. This goes fast.
Once that is done...carefully lay your strip set out on your cutting mat, lay another right sides of fabric facing each other on top and line them up carefully. This is where a particular cutting device comes in really handy. The June Tailor Quarter Cut Ruler, you can find this at JoAnn Fabrics, Amazon, Walmart, they may even have it at your local LQS. Below is a video that will show you how amazing this tool is. It's one of the techniques I use to get my fabric for my quilts cut quickly.
Isn't that great? Somebody was thinking! Okay, so using that ruler and lining up my strip sets I have them cut in no time. And if you are wobbly with your rotary cutter, this will help you get those straight cuts you are after.
Aren't they pretty, all ready to just grab and sew. Now remember I told you to press them all in the same direction...Grab two that you want to put together and the goal is to nest your seams where they intersect so that you will get a crisp clean intersection. Well if your seams are going the same direction, that makes it kind of hard to do. Don't fret. You can do one of two things, flip one strip or take that strip to your ironing board and just simply press them in the other direction, it takes seconds. I had fun stitching this quilt on my vintage Singer "Rocketeer".
Nest your strips together and run a set of two through your machine I like to place a little pin in the seam allowance as shown above...now repeat that with another set. Clip off your first set and pick the next strip you want to attach to it...nest your seams and stitch...clip off the set behind it and repeat. Do this until you have four strips sets sewn together for your block and snip it from behind your machine.
Press all your seams in the same direction. Start another set of two strips and as you stitch that through your machine, snip the next finished block off the back and press. If you will do this, you will have 17 beautiful blocks finished in about 1 hour.
TIP: set your sewing area up for efficiency. I have a cutting mat on the right and left of my machine, I sit in a desk chair on wheels that rotates easily and I set my ironing board up so that it's right next to me at table height. I only need to rotate my chair to accomplish all of the tasks required, no jumping up and down to press or cut, it's all right within arms reach. This helps me get my quilts done quickly without a lot of effort.
The next block in this quilt requires that you take 27 of your 18" strips and cut them into 2.5" squares. Again, I use the June Tailor Quarter Cut Ruler to make this a snap. See the photos below. Stacking four strips at a time and two rows of four strips.
Make your cuts at the 2.5", 5", 7.5" and 10" marks and then move your mat.
Use a sharp blade in your cutter and make sure you have lined up your fabric strips carefully...it just takes a second to insure accuracy.
Effortless, quick and accurate. It's one of the most worthwhile investments you will make in a quilting tool. 184 pieces cut in just minutes!
Set those aside and cut your background fabric 4.5" squares the same way...first cut your strips of 4.5" background fabric, then lay them on your rotary mat and placing your June Tailor Quarter Cutter on top, make your cut at 4.5" and 9", then move your mat to continue making cuts. Done in just a few minutes. 120 pieces!
In her directions she tells you to mark the diagonal on your 2.5" squares...You can do that, I just take them to the ironing board and press them on the diagonal. Just as quick. Do what works for you.
You will stitch these on the diagonal line or crease, lining up one square on each corner. TIP: to make this go quickly, sew one corner on each block and just continue until you have made all 68 of your blocks. Clip them apart and stitch your square onto the opposite corner in the same manner. Take to your cutting mat and using your rotary cutter, cut off the corner leaving a 1/4" seam allowance beyond your stitching line as shown below.
Don't toss your corner clips...you can run those through your machine as leaders and enders and have enough to create something else fun. No Waste!
Press open your seams, pressing to the corners and lay them out to create your X block. Flipping the blocks on the right over and placing them on top of your blocks on the left, stitch the top two together and then the bottom two together. I stitch all of my sets together like this first and then I clip them apart by twos to keep my sets together. This helps it to go very fast.
Take one of your "sets" at clip it apart, place your pieces so they look like below and press your seams to lay to the left as shown on BOTH pieces. Now when you turn the bottom piece around to create your X block, they will nest.
You have turned your 1/2 block around to create your X block, now flip that block up, right sides facing to stitch the center, notice how your seams will nest in the center now. See Below.
I have off set these just a little so you can see the nesting effect. You will line your fabric edges up exactly. Again, Place a pin in your fabric, not in the seam, but right next to it, as shown below, and stitch along this edge to create your block.
I like to spin my seams, to do this you will lay your block on the ironing board with the seam side up, take your iron and press the right side of the seam to the bottom and the left side to the top. In the center where they intersect, you will clip a few threads, sometimes you can just wiggle them apart and finger press your pieces in opposite directions as shown below.
This creates a little windmill effect for the seams and a tiny four patch in your center if you have done it correctly. It will help your block lay nicely. See Below.
Follow the pattern instructions to create the 1/2 X blocks that will create the perimeter of your quilt.
Time to assemble! If you have a Quilt Wall, or a piece of batting hung on the wall it helps to lay out your quilt before you stitch it together, making sure everything is where you want it. The floor will always work too. Here is your opportunity to move thing around. This close up shows you how the blocks come together to create a secondary design.
Happy with the lay out, start stitching your quilt together, one row at a time. I like to stitch a row and then pin it back to my wall...get another and so on until I have all of them stitched, then I start working from the top down keeping them in order, stitching one to the next. Add your border fabric and you have your quilt top completed.
I hope these tips will help you with your quilting and let you BEE Creative! My favorite part of this fabric is the selvage! SWEET! Whether you go out and buy yourself a pretty Jelly Roll or you put together some scraps of left over fabrics, I hope you'll give this quilt a try.