Next month I'm teaching a Jelly Roll Race class at my local community college. Jelly roll quilts are great for beginners, and are a bit like a blank canvas. I love how many variations there are of this quilt. I'm hoping that this class will appeal to both novice and more experienced quilters so I wanted to make a class sample that will appeal to some of the more experienced quilters. I've seen quite a few quilts with applique on them that are very beautiful. I had planned on using this blue jelly roll as a background for some dresden plate flowers. After procrastinating all summer I realized that there were two problems with my plan. I don't have a template for a dresden plate (and don't know how to make one) and I hate applique. (I should clarify that I've seen several applique quilts that are beautiful, but I don't like doing applique myself.)
When September hit I realized I needed to get working on this quilt if I was going to have it done for the class. I also realized I'd been putting off working on it because I didn't want to make dresden plate applique. I decided to cut pieces from my jelly roll and make some stars to insert into the quilt. After a weekend of sewing I had finished my top which I'm naming "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." I've instructed students to bring extra fabric if they want, but I love that this pattern just uses the jelly roll strips. If someone sees this the day of the class they can easily choose to make this quilt even if they didn't bring any extra fabric.
In order to get the HSTs to stay 2.5" I sewed down the center of my squares. It only creates one usable square for the quilt, but it keeps my squares the same size as the jelly roll strips. I also added 6.5" strips to the bottom of my Friendship Stars so that they were four strips wide. I sewed the jelly roll strips together like a normal JRR, and when my strips were 4 wide I cut them at random intervals and added the stars. After my stars had been sewn in I finished sewing everything together like you do for a traditional JRR. It's a lot more improvisational than I've ever done, but I think the placement of the stars came out rather well.
*Fabric is Symphony of Blues by Connecting Threads. Since their 2.5" strip sets only have 20 strips I used two sets. (It looks like they're out of the strips, but you can get 5" squares or fat quarter bundles.) The fabric is thinner than what I've seen from companies like Moda and Kona, but at half the price I figured it would be a little lower in quality. So far I've been rather pleased with the fabric, and can see ordering from them again. Connecting Threads has not sponsored this post. I like to do lots of research before ordering from a new-to-me company so I'm passing my experiences to help you if you're doing the same kind of research.