It's Tool Time! I was so excited to see this challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors. What a fun idea! We're to use any tool (not shared in previous months) that hopefully isn't one previously sponsored. We're to use it to make a project lap size or larger. Oops, I forgot about that part, but my project does work for someone's lap. lol. Since I'm a lover of tools, I wanted to try something I hadn't before.
Hazel, my 10 year old rescue Chocolate Lab mix, seems to like her new lap quilt.
But it's also a rug. A Jelly Roll rug, to be specific, except that Moda has trademarked the words "Jelly roll" for their precut strips, and Island Batik calls it a strip pack. My rug used one whole package of strips, plus a roll of Bosal Katahdin batting, precut at 2 1/2" wide and 50 yards long, and almost a whole spool of Aurifil 40wt thread, which was used to make about 7 bobbins, which are now empty. Yup, lots of thread. And a Schmetz Jeans needle or 2. I have seen tons of these rugs on Pinterest and Instagram, and wanted to make one. I've seen quite a few videos on Youtube, as well. And lots of "tools" to help make the rug. I saw Jerry's Jellyroll Jig by Hip Stitch on The Fat Quarter Shop and it was available in colors, so I ordered the Mulberry one. It was a better price than some of the other similar tools, and in a fun color. (It's currently sold out on the Fat Quarter Shop's store, but you can contact them to see if they're getting more).
I picked the Victoria and Albert collection, because this was the only strip pack I had that has purple in it. I'll be moving upstairs in this house, since Mom's now in a facility, and I need to rent the basement apartment to help cover the property taxes, etc. We need to put some of her stuff in storage and get rid of some of her hoarded stuff, and get rid of the carpet (probably from the 1970s) in that room (my allergies would not tolerate it!) And I think it's hardwood floors, so I wanted a small rug for next to my bed, that would go with my Jewel Box quilt. This is okay, but I did order other purple strip packs for the next rug. I think Hazel will enjoy having this to sleep on.
I do think I'll order the pattern, because I'm sure it has some information I didn't think about. I thought I could figure it out. I did, mostly, and learned a bit about the process.
1. If the video says "5 bobbins) make 7. I actually almost did an 8th, but had a 50wt one in the same color, so I used that to finish the last 20".
2. You need quite a bit of time for this. Allow about 8 hours or more. It's not quick.
3. Your shoulders will get a workout.
5. Get a good clean bucket or basket. I used my trash can. It's the one under my sewing desk, for trimmings and some paper garbage, so it's not really dirty, but it was so helpful.
8. Get a wooden dowel wide enough to go across the basket.
9. Starch or Best Press will help.
10. Remember to stretch out your shoulders, and clean off your desk next to your machine (or work on a larger clean surface for this project). You're welcome.
So, Here's what I did. After opening the strip pack, and petting it, I put the matching strips together (Island Batik's packs have 2 of 20 different colors/tjaps). I then put them in the order I thought would look the best. I chose to have a light center for the rug, and darkest green for the outer. I sorted the strips into the order I wanted to sew. Join all of these into one loooooonnnnnnngggg strip. Over 1720", Or over 143'. Or over 47 yards, almost half of a football field. In fabric strips that are 2 1/2" wide. That's why you'll want about 50 yards of batting. I sewed this with a bias seam, trimmed off the triangles, and pressed this seam open, just like I do on my binding. Except that is usually less than 500". Yes, it's loooonnnngggg. Find the end with the color you want on the OUTSIDE of the rug. And use the Jelly Roll Jig to make the first fold. Put your fabric strip, right side down (check when pressing that your strips are all sewn correctly, you'll want to fix it before this step). Set up your roll of batting so that it will unroll without twisting. I used my tube turner dowel and tube for this. I just taped them to the top of my trashcan (which was emptied) with shipping tape. One video said to fold the strip so it was easier, but I just put it in the bottom of the can next to the batting. Put the batting on the wrong side of the strip. I liked the Katahdin, because it kind of stuck to the fabric. Keep them centered.
I used the plastic pieces to help feed the fabric and batting into the jig. So easy. It started folding right away, so I pulled out enough that I could fold over the edge of the fabric, so the batting was fully encased, and I would have a good end for the finish of the rug.
You can see a video on how to use the Jelly Roll Jig here. Once you get it started, you can just fold it again, and stitch it so the edges and batting are encased. It's a long line of stitching, but fairly fast and SOOOOO much easier with the Jig. Some of the other videos said to use Clover clips to do the fold, clip as much as you can, and then stitch, and take out the clips as you stitch. Then you'll need to stop and clip (because you'll run out) and stitch. And stop and clip. The Jig means you can just get your fabric and batting smooth, slide the jig, and sew. Smooth, slide and sew. I know it saved me lots of time.
About the Jig. It's actually made in the USA with a 3-D printer. I had never used something made with a 3-D printer before, and found this really interesting. It looks like lines of plastic, not a smooth finish you'll find on molded plastic, but that doesn't make it rough, just different. So unusual.
Make sure you feed the fabric so the fold goes the right direction, and then you'll be having fun. I did start this into a ball, but realized I was not keeping the rope from twisting and that became a problem later. I think this is where the pattern would be helpful. But just keep sewing.
Once the Jig is up (I mean done) lol and your strip is now a rope ball, put it back into the basket. Form your center part of the rug, and make sure it will rotate so the outer part of the rug will be to the left of the machine.
And keep sewing. One thing I figured out at this stage was that you needed to keep the fabric just touching, even to the point of pushing the outer edge a little bit more, as it is being stitched to the previous row around the curve, so the rug will stay flat. I did NOT realize this with the first few rounds, so my rug is not flat before the coral fabric strips, but after that it's not too bad. When I did the fabric wrapped clothesline baskets, you needed to keep the outer rope taut, so the basket stands up. NOT in this case, make it looser. They need to just touch, and even push it, almost as if you were easing a gathered sleeve.
When I was done, I sprayed it liberally with Best Press and used a steam iron. It came out better, but it's not flat. I'm wondering if Hazel will mind, and I do know it's washable, so maybe I'll wash it and lay it flat, and steam it again. I do need the pattern, lol.
I need to take more photos in daylight. The fabric is much prettier than this shows. I just wanted to get this post up.
The next thing to share is that I finished the Table Topper snowflake runner from last month. I used a Variegated blue Forty-3 thread from Aurifil, and a quilting design of snowflakes I purchased from My Creative Stitches. I used the Basic Bluebird to bind the edges. Vanna, my Handi-quilter Amara with Prostitcher, did a really nice job.
And I was accepted for a juried Arts show. The Long Island Arts Council is having a Fair on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Small Business Saturday) at the Samanea (formerly Source Mall at Fortunoff's) in Westbury, Long Island NY. I'm honored to be in a juried arts show, and so excited about the weekend, hoping that many customers support my small business. If you can't get there, I do sell on Etsy. There's a link on the right side. If you see something you need, please consider purchasing it from me. I do put my heart into everything I sell.
I wanted to make some embroidered ornaments for this show. I have 3 done so far, and hope to finish the set from Embroidery Library. They are cute! They are about 5" tall. Gingerbread cookies that never go stale! It's felt and Aurifil thread.
Thanks so much for reading this long post.
I do hope you decide to make something fun from Island Batik, and share the photos.
This also means I completed my One Monthly Goal! Yay, me!