I’ve been busy sewing a gift over the last couple of weeks, as I’ve now given it, I can tell you about it. One of my closest friends is just at the beginning of a difficult 12 months, I decided to make her a quilt just to say we’ll be with her all the way. We do a long distance walk (LDW) every year together, it started with the Six Dales walk from Otley to Middleham (38 miles and commonly known as ‘Our Big Adventure’), then we walked the Dales Way from Ilkley to Bowness (65 miles – getting longer!) We then discovered a LDW in two halves from Grassington to Barrow in Furniss (West coast) and Grassington to Robin Hoods Bay (East Coast), 100 miles each way, so we have now walked across England, over two years, but we did it!
I had about a weeks notice of the possible news, so I started looking for fabric. I spotted a Bali Pop from Hoffmanns Fabrics called Sea Holly on ebay, it was perfect, it’s colours I know she loves and more importantly, it’s the colours of the moors we walk across during our walks, purples and greens. Bali Pops are the Hoffman batik version of Moda Jelly Rolls, so they have 42 different batik fabrics cut into 2 1/2″ x 44″ lengths. I have to say I have never been disappointed with the Hoffman precuts, they have always been gorgeous.
I decided to make a 1600 jelly roll race quilt, I’ve never made one before, I found instructions on the web and it really is as easy and quick as everyone says. The idea is to take one jelly roll, stitch the lengths end to end into one long length, 2 1/2″ by 1600″, cut 18″ off one end (very important!) and then put the two short ends together and stitch the long edge together….and it is VERY VERY long!!! It’s a 20m seam so it goes on forever!! Cut the fold at the end so you have a piece 4 1/2″ x 800″ and repeat…til you have a quilt! You can vary it for example by adding squares in between the lengths
I got the phone call at about 8.30 one evening and decided to start sewing straight away, the top was pieced by 11.30pm, it’s that quick! I took the darkest and the lightest strips out and cut them into squares, I didn’t quite have enough so I chose a nice rich raspberry pink length and cut a few of that one as well until I had enough for one between every length. I stitched the lengths in the order they came out of the packet. 40m is a very long length when you’re pressing every seam!! The first long seam did seem to go on for ever, I don’t think I’ve stitched a 20m seam before!! I was pleased that the seams halved each time and in no time at all the top was finished. The jelly roll race quilts are totally random, I don’t think you can plan it even if you wanted to, for someone like me who struggles with random, it’s great, I can do random without trying!
I went to B&M Fabrics in Leeds to find some batting and backing fabric,I fell for this pretty cotton, it’s perfect colourwise, with greens, purples, pinks in, it’s got the blossom trees and flowers on that we see on our walks and some of the wildlife, deer, rabbits, butterflies and owls. It’s slightly heavier than quilting cotton but it’s worked out fine.
I sandwiched the layers with 501 spray adhesive and decided to quilt with a variegated thread in a meandering stitch. It’s not perfect but I’m getting better! All that was left was the binding and a label, I think the whole quilt was made in less than a week, I gave it to her at the weekend and she loves it 🙂
When we go on our walks we like to take our time, lots of photo breaks, coffee break, banana break, sandwich break, sausage roll break. As the poet W H Davies said…
WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
We like to take our time and enjoy the walk, so I decided that the light squares represent the photo breaks, half of these are just a good excuse for a breather! The dark squares are our sustenance breaks, we do believe in small amounts regularly, one of these would be a custard tart break as somehow my friend manages to carry a custard tart in her rucksack for 12 miles or so without a crumb of damage!! The pink squares are the nature breaks!!
A walk in a quilt!
Linking up with ‘Can I get a Whoop Whoop‘ over on Confessions of a Fabric Addict, why not have a look what everyone else has been sewing?