Sew and Tell Friday – 3 Jelly Roll Quilt Tops

For today’s show and tell we have a triple header! These three beautiful quilt tops come from Linda and Martha, a couple of friends who have been moving right along with my Jolly Jelly Roll do-it-yourself-quilt tutorial.

Linda & Martha's Jelly Roll QuiltsThese two gals love working with jelly rolls “sew” much! Martha sewed the two holiday quilts using Christmas Spirit and Trick or Treat, and Linda is making hers from the girl colorway of Meadow Friends. They will present their show and tell at their next “Strip Club!” Now they just have to quilt and bind their lovely quilts and they can move onto their next projects.

Speaking of finishing, I will present a machine binding tutorial to finish these quilts up next week and will then start another complete quilt project the week after.  I’m toying  around with switching up my blog software so that more of you can share your WIP’s! (Works in progress), so stay tuned for details. Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog if you haven’t done so already, so you can stay abreast of all the latest happenings.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions on what types of quilt projects you’d like me to demonstrate, please leave a comment. The next do-it-yourself-quilt tutorial will either use fat quarters or a layer cake (I’m designing it now). But I’d love to have more ideas, and I plan to offer these free tutorials on an ongoing basis. Eventually, I’ll offer patterns and kits to go along with them, too!

Christa’s Quilt Along 1.5 – Machine Quilting

This week’s post is the one I’ve been waiting for. I think machine quilting is the best part of making a quilt, so I couldn’t wait to get my Vintage Modern jelly roll quilt top finished and basted so I could start the fun! I quilted it using a serpentine stitch with my walking foot.

Machine Quilting 2" ApartBefore I started quilting, I tried out a few of my machine’s decorative stitches to see how they would look.  All of these can be done using a walking foot with the feed dogs engaged.

Stitch SamplesI used a 40 weight high-sheen polyester thread with a size 90 needle and used the same thread for both the top and bobbin.

This gives better results than using different colored threads.

Step 1 – Decorative Ditch Quilting

Quilting 4" ApartBe sure your needle plate has a wide enough opening to accommodate your decorative stitch and test it out first so you avoid broken needles.

Quilt along the seam lines in one direction in between your blocks, about 4 inches apart. The first pass took me 30 minutes.

This will secure the quilt and you can remove the pins as you go.

Next, make second pass in between each line of quilting. Now your quilting is about 2 inches apart and the quilt is starting to get some texture! I quilted parallel lines across the quilt. I did not mark any of these lines – I just used the seams as a guide and eyeballed it across the fabric where there was no seam to guide me. This is both liberating and fun!

Quilting Parallel Wavy LinesThis second pass took another 30 minutes so I’m just at 1 hour total quilting time. Not bad! At this point, this is enough quilting to hold your quilt together. However, I want more…

Step 2 – Adding More Quilting

Quilting 1 Inch ApartMy motto is that you can never add too much quilting to a quilt!

So I added another line of quilting in between each of the rows above. This was my 3rd pass and now the quilting lines are about 1 inch apart.

This took only another 30 minutes and I can’t believe how fast this is going!

There is still enough room to add another row of quilting and do a fourth pass, so I decided, what the heck?

The fourth pass took 1 1/2 hours because I had now doubled the amount of quilting on the quilt, but I loved every minute of it!

Half Inch Quilting Lines

I ended up with quilting lines about 1/2 inch apart over the surface of the quilt. Total quilting time was 3 hours and I used up a full 500 yard spool of Superior Highlights thread.

Textured QuiltingSuperior Threads Tri-Lobal Polyster

I love all the texture on the back!

Pieced Backing with Quilting

So next week, we will finish our quilts, can you believe it? We will trim them up and bind to finish. I really can’t wait to see how everyone’s quilting turns out. Be sure to email me pictures of your progress, no matter where you are,  so I can share with everyone else.

Here is the complete Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt-Along Schedule:

Week 1 – Supply ListJolly Jelly Roll Quilt

Week 2 – Sewing the Blocks

Week 3 – Completing the Top

Week 4 – Backing and Basting

Week 5 – Machine Quilting

Week 6 – Machine Binding to Finish

Sew and Tell – Dragonfly Batik Art Quilt

I am so excited to share with you Diane’s beautiful art quilt below. She used green batik fat quarters that she got from me, and quilted with metallic thread to add the textured water and pond ripples to her piece. The dragonfly was begun in a Susan Brubaker Knapp thread sketching class and finished at home. (Some people actually finish their class projects!!) She added glittery glue to give the dragonfly some sparkle and make its wings look iridescent.

Dragonfly QuiltDiane has also been following along making her version of the Jolly Jelly Roll quilt. She finished up her homework for the week and shares her lovely jewel-toned top with us:

Jeweled Jelly Roll QuiltNice job, Diane! For those of you quilting along with my tutorial, be sure to email me pictures of your in-progress diy quilts, too. It’s such fun to see the variety.

And for those of you that want to share your work using fabrics purchased from me, I’ll send you a little thank you if I feature your finished project on my blog. You can email pictures to Happy quilting!

Favorite Tools #5 – Batting

Later this week during my do it yourself quilt-along, we are going to be basting our Jolly Jelly Roll quilts so I thought it would be an appropriate time to talk a little bit about batting.

From my experience, the type of batting you choose can really make a difference in creating a well-done quilt. Since all of my quilts are machine quilted, I need to use battings that are easy to quilt through and are not so bulky that they won’t fit under my machine.

So far, my two favorite battings are Warm-N-Natural 100% cotton, and Pellon Legacy Wool. (Unfortunately I don’t carry these in my shop because they are too bulky to ship!)

I like Warm-N-Natural because it’s very flat and relatively inexpensive. I can actually buy it buy the bolt with a discount coupon from Joanne’s for about the same price that I can get it wholesale. It does shrink up a bit, but it gives that nice antique wrinkly look when washed. Here are some machine quilting closeups using Warm-N-Natural.

Little Rascals QuiltingQuilting Warm-N-Natural

These were both densely quilted with an allover free-motion quilting design.

If I want my quilting to really pop, or if I am doing intricate quilting like feathers, wreaths or focus designs, I will use Legacy Wool batting. It’s a little more expensive but it’s very clean and white so it’s a perfect choice for quilts with lots of white backgrounds like in my Bungle Jungle quilt below. It also allows me to achieve a “faux” trapunto look if I densely quilt the background areas. The pictures below show quilts using Legacy Wool.

Quilting Legacy Wool

Faux Trapunto QuiltingThe little hands really pop! Wool has a nice loft but the background squishes down nicely when you quilt the heck out of it!

As far as polyester battings go, I’m not too fond of them as they are usually too lofty for me. I haven’t tried any of the newer blends out there like bamboo or silk yet. One batting that is next on my list to try is Quilter’s Dream Cotton.

If any of you out there have favorite battings that you like, please add your comments!

Sew and Tell – Do it Yourself Quilts Update

Today’s Sew and Tell is a little different. Instead of featuring a finished project made by one of my customers, I’m excited to share with you some finished jelly roll blocks from one of my quilt- along followers. Scroll down to  the end of this post if you want to join the fun!

These pictures come from Diane in Canada and she finished up this week’s homework in a jiffy!  She had an older strip bundle lying around that she put to good use.

Jelly Roll StripsDiane’s fabric is Greenfield Hill by Denise Schmidt for Westminster. Instead of randomly sewing the strips together, she matched up the pretty jewel tones into coordinating pairs.

Jelly Roll Blocks“Sew” far, “sew” good, Diane! I think your use of color will be striking if you sew each row in a different color, “strippy” style, or if you have the colors cascade across the quilt in an orderly fashion (like green, red, blue, black, etc.)

For those of you eager beavers out there like Diane that are ready to move on, I’ll give a sneak peek of what we’ll be working on for next week’s lesson. If you select 100 of your blocks and sew them together into 50 pairs like this you’ll be one step ahead.

Jelly Roll Block Pairs

Next week’s post will include complete directions on how to finish the quilt top, so make sure you grab your one yard of tone on tone or solid coordinate to go with your jelly roll.  I’m going to use Ruby Red Kona Solid to go along with my Vintage Modern jelly roll shown above.

In case you are just joining us, you can click the links below to catch up and follow along with this tutorial in it’s entirety. My main reason for starting this tutorial is to teach you that  yes, you can, make a complete quilt from start to finish, all by yourself!

DIY Quilts #1.1 – The Jolly Jellyroll Quilt Supply List

DIY Quilts #1.2 – Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt Blocks

What Was I Thinking???!!

What was I thinking? I’m trying to have a zen experience with my quilting by breaking up the negative space in my Modern Quilt with lots of different quilting designs. But I think I went a little overboard with all the small scale background fillers!

Negative Space QuiltingI actually do like the texture the quilting is adding to the quilt, but when you see how little of the quilt I’ve actually finished compared to how much is left to quilt, you’ll start to pity me…

The picture below shows about 1/4 of the quilt finished. I’m adding larger scale textures in each of the charm squares and a smaller scale background around each of the hands. I’ve quilted 12 out of 42 charm blocks which represents about 5-6 hours of solid quilting so far.

1/4 of the QuiltI am having fun quilting different designs in the blocks though. I’ve outlined some elephants, practiced my pebbles and grids and even quilted the alphabet on the lined paper fabric! Here are a couple more closeups, just for fun!

Closeup 1

Closeup 2I’m linking this blog post to the Free-Motion Quilting Project and WIP Wednesdays so I can share the insanity!!! This will definitely be a long term project. But if I quilt 1 block a day, I can finish it in under a month!

I used a clean toothbrush dipped in water to erase the blue pen marks once I quilted them.

Toothbrush EraserFor those of you interested in what materials I used, I started with 1 charm pack of Moda’s Bungle Jungle by Tim and Beck, and 2 1/2 yards of White Kona Cotton Solid. I sewed together a layer cake for the backing.

I am doing all the quilting with 60 weight polyester thread  in a light gray.  I chose Superior Threads bottom line in both the top and bobbin. It breaks too easily in the top thread for my taste – but it is very fine and blends beautifully. My batting is wool which gives a nice faux trapunto look to the little hands.

I hope I get more done by next week! I think I’d better go work on my jelly roll quilt now…..

Christa’s Quilt Along 1.1 – The Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt Supply List

Join My Quilt AlonG

New to my blog? Be sure to sign up for my email newsletter to join my next quilt along where I show you how to make a complete quilt from start to finish!

Geo Pop Update!!

This design would look fabulous using one strip roll from any of my fabric lines. I’ve recolored it below using Geo Pop!

Jolly Jellyroll quilt in Geo Pop by Christa Watson

The Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt

Do you love precuts but have no idea what to do with them? Are you tired of quilting by check and want to make your own quilts from start to finish? Do basting and binding a quilt scare you? Then come join me for a quilting adventure and I’ll show you how to finish your own quilts yourself, and hopefully help you build the confidence to do so!

With my Quilt Along series I will post step-by-step tutorials showing you exactly how to make a quilt from beginning to end. My first project is this super simple Jolly Jelly Roll quilt.

Scroll to the end of this post for the schedule. You can also share it on Instagram with the tag #christaquiltsqal.

Sugar Sweet Jolly Jelly Roll QuiltI designed this quilt in EQ7 using fabric swatches Bonnie and Camille’s Vintage Modern collection. However, it will work great with any jelly roll!

Vintage Modern Fabric Swatch Vintage Modern Jelly RollLet’s get started! Below, I’ve posted a supply list as well as the quilt’s vital statistics and a few notes.

Suggested Supply List

  • 1 jelly roll, or 40 fabric strips measuring 2 1/2″ x WOF (width of fabric – usually 42″)
  • 1 yard of coordinating solid or tone-on-tone fabric for the inner border and binding
  • 3 1/2 yards of fabric for backing, or a pieced backing measuring approximately 60″ square
  • 60″ x 60″ piece of batting (Warm-N-Natural cotton and Legacy wool are my favorites.)
  • 100% Cotton neutral thread for piecing (I like Superior Threads Masterpiece)
  • 50 weight 100% Cotton or 30-60 wt soft polyester thread for quilting in a blending color
  • Quality sewing needles for piecing and quilting (I use Superior Titanium Needles)
  • General sewing supplies: sewing machine, rotary cutting equipment, pins, seam ripper, etc.
  • Optional: Machingers quilting gloves, basting pins, walking foot

Quilt Vital Statistics

  • Size: Approximately 51″ x 51″
  • Finished Block Size: 4″
  • Number of Blocks in Quilt: 100 (set 10 x 10)
  • Number of Blocks in Border: 45

Go gather up your supplies and follow the links below for some fun sewing!

Additional Notes About This Quilt

1. Fabric selection is easy: just choose a jelly roll that you like and pair it with a nice solid fabric, or a tone-on-tone print that “reads” as solid. This will help break up the busy-ness of the quilt design. The same fabric will also be used for the binding.

2. Do not be afraid to machine quilt this quilt yourself. For this pattern, I will be quilting using a walking foot only and leaving my feed dogs engaged as normal. I will not do any free-motion quilting on this quilt; instead I will show you how much lovely texture can be created with either straight stitching or using a decorative stitch on your sewing machine.

3. I am very generous when figuring out yardage for my quilts. For example, you can probably get away with only 3/4 yard of fabric for the inner border and binding. And, with extremely careful measuring or basting, you may be able to get by with just 3 yards for the backing. However, I always round up just in case of fabric shrinkage or mis-cuts. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Besides, anything leftover is like “free fabric” for your next quilt!

Week 1 – Supply ListJolly Jelly Roll Quilt

Week 2 – Sewing the Blocks

Week 3 – Completing the Top

Week 4 – Backing and Basting

Week 5 – Machine Quilting

Week 6 – Machine Binding to Finish

Sharing is Caring

I’d love to see your version! Please share your work in progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa . 🙂

Sew and Tell – Scraps Galore!

Jill F. from Iowa shares her fun and scrappy geometric quilt with us this week:

Jill's Scrappy QuiltJill made this beauty by collecting assorted fat quarters and 1/2 yard cuts she got from me,  plus scraps from her stash. The strips are all 2 1/2 inches wide so it could be assembled from a jelly roll, too!

Here are some quilt vital statistics you may be interested in: the pattern is called Hugs and Kisses by Julie Herman for Jaybird Quilts, and the wonderful brown that pulls all of the scraps together is Moda Bella Solid in Hershey brown.

Jill used her Lazy Angle Ruler from Lazy Girl Designs to cut the wedges of assembled strips. Hey, I have that ruler but haven’t made anything from it yet; I guess I’ll give it a try!

Quilting CloseupJill  made this  quilt to go in her four-year old son’s room and is using extra blocks for a coordinating quilt for his little brother. It’s always amazing how many blocks you can get when you start pulling scraps from your stash – they seem to multiply!

She did a great job of making the quilt seam super scrappy, yet pulled-together.

Way to go Jill! How did you know my favorite colors are brown and green? That’s probably what attracted me to your quilt!

Of course I had to include a closeup picture of the gorgeous quilting, done by a friend of Jill’s that’s just getting started with her long-arm business. If this quilt is any indication, Jill’s friend is on the right track!

Share Your Project

If you would like to share a project you’ve made with at least one piece of fabric purchased from me, please email with your high quality photos and what makes your project interesting or special to you. If you are selected as my show and tell star of the week, you’ll get a $5 gift certificate as my way of saying thanks!

Sew and Tell – The Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt

The Very Hungry Caterpillar QuiltThis week, Anita A. from Florida shares her adorable Hungry Caterpillar Quilt with us. Isn’t it great? She made it for her first grandchild and it’s only her second quilt!

I love how she mixed in lots of novelty prints and picture book fabrics! Some of them she got from me including Dr. Seuss and Peanuts fabrics. The Hungry Caterpillar fabric is from Andover. Hmm, I better see if I can get that one!

Anita said she found the pattern called “Stars through the Window” on

She likes the mix of large and small fussy cuts and she tweaked the design a bit, plus added additional  borders.

Berenstain Bears BackingIt looks like such an easy and fun quilt to make with fussy cut 3 1/2″ smaller squares for the square blocks and 6 1/2″ squares for the snowball blocks.

I absolutely love the pieced quilt backing she made with solid green fabric surrounding a length of Berenstain Bears fabric.

Anita included a lot of green fabric so that the quilt would be perfect for either a little boy or girl. Her daughter’s favorite color is spring green and she wants to be surprised when her baby is born.

I think Anita’s daughter will be pleased both with her new baby and with the adorable quilt.

Nice job, Anita!

Share Your Project

If you would like to share a project you’ve made with at least one piece of fabric purchased from me, please email with your high quality photos and what makes your project interesting or special to you. If you are selected as my show and tell star of the week, you’ll get a $5 gift certificate as my way of saying thanks!

Sew and Tell – Big Stars Quilt

Ellie W from Oklahoma made this beautiful star quilt.  She is definitely my sew and tell “Star” of the week! I love the brown paisley Michael Miller print that ties it all together.

Ellie's Star QuiltEllie's Star QuiltEllie loved the pattern and teal tonal fabric so much she made a total of 3 bed sized quilts! She sewed them with different fabric placements to show off the teal Gingko Tonals fabric which she got from me.

Alternate Fabric PlacementAt right is  one of the other quilt tops she’s working on with the teal fabric in the sashing. I love how the brown pieces on this quilt form a square. That would be a perfect spot for some really jazzy quilting!

Ellie made 16 blocks, set 4×4 for a queen sized quilt. For a king sized quilt she made 25 blocks, set 5×5 plus an added border. Hey, I could whip up 16-25 blocks in a few days…

Ellie says she loves to make herself one big bed quilt every once in awhile, and she likes to give the others away as gifts so she can get started on the next one!

Star BlockHere’s a general idea of how to make one of these big block beauties:

Start with a 6 1/2″ center square for your star. For the star points, cut four 6 1/2″ squares of the fabric that will show as sashing (the paisley fabric in the picture at left). Sew two 3 1/2″ squares of the cream star fabric onto one side of the paisley for the points.  Line these squares up in the corners “snowball-style” and trim off the ends. Then add four 6 1/2″ squares of the teal fabric to complete one 18 1/2″  block.

Share Your Project

If you would like to share a project you’ve made with at least one piece of fabric purchased from me, please email with your high quality photos and what makes your project interesting or special to you. If you are selected as my show and tell star of the week, you’ll get a $5 gift certificate as my way of saying thanks!