Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Curio Jelly Roll Hexagon Quilt Tutorial

Figure 1: Curio Jelly Roll Hexagon Quilt top
I've had a few enquiries about my Curio Jelly Roll Hexagon quilt, so I've decided to post a tutorial on how I made the quilt. It took quite a lot of fiddling and calculations to work out the pattern pieces using jelly roll strips, so to save others time, here are the basic instructions and ingredients. The finished quilt is approximately 65" x 77". The quilt is inspired by the My Fair Lady quilt by Brandon Mably from Kaffe Fassett's book, "Quilt Road".

  • 60° triangle quilting ruler template (with a base width of at least 6”)
  • 1 Jelly Roll (40 strips of 2.5” x 42-44”)
  • 1.75 yards of various fabric prints for cutting 30 additional jelly roll size strips (Fat quarters ARE NOT suitable because you need to cut strips of at least 42" wide)
  • 2 yards of solid fabric for background
  • 1 yard printed fabric for border (optional)
  • 0.75 yards of fabric for binding
  • 4.5 yards of fabric for backing

Step 1 (assembling the strip sets)(Use 0.5” seams):
One needs to make 46 banded hexagons in total, so one has to cut extra jelly roll size strips from additional printed fabric yardage. If a typical jelly roll contains 40 strips, and one needs 3 strips to make 2 full hexagons, thus one can only make 26 hexagons from the strips supplied in one large jelly roll (40 divided by 3 = approx. 13 sets of 3). Thus, I had to cut another 30 jelly roll size strips (2.5" x 42") from extra fabric yardage, which means that I needed at least another 1.75 yards (60") of printed fabric in total (in different prints) to cut the extra strips. I also did not use some of the Moda Curio jelly roll strips because they were too dark (black, brown, dark orange) for my liking, so I replaced it with my own cut strips. Thus in total one needs 69 (2.5" x 42") jelly roll size strips. So you could buy 2 jelly rolls to make the quilt top, and throw out the strips that are too light or dark (or ugly).

Once you have enough jelly roll strips (69 strips), make bundles of 3 strips (as shown in Figure 2). Make sure that there is enough contrast between the strips in each bundle.
Figure 2: Bundles of 3 jelly roll strips
Because I wanted the striped bands in each hexagon to be the same width, I had to shorten the width of the Jelly Roll Strips. I did this by using a larger seam allowance of 0.5" (instead of the usual 0.25") rather than cutting the strips. Thus, I ended up with 23 sewn sets of 3 strips (Figure 3). The outer bands of each sewn set ended up being 2" wide and the middle band was 1.5" due to the 0.5" seam allowance used (See Figure 5 later).

Figure 3: Sewn 3 strip sets
Step 2 (cutting the banded triangles to make up the hexagons):
Each hexagon is made up of 6 identical 60° triangles. As shown in Figure 4 below, one gets two different hexagons from each 3 strip set; the middle band will be the same print, while the inner and outer bands will be opposite.
Figure 4: Contrasting hexagon blocks obtained from a single strip set
I bought a Perspex 60 ° quilting triangle ruler template, which helped me to cut the triangle pieces accurately (see Figure 4). I made the 60° triangles to have a base of 6", which meant that that the height of the triangles was 5.25". This ensured that I could cut 12 triangles (6 up and 6 down) from each sewn strip set (See Figure 5).
Figure 5: Cutting the 60 degree triangles from the sewn 3 strip sets
I made sure that the top point (apex) of each of the 60° triangles was placed on the top of each of the strip sets (Figure 5). Thus when one cuts a triangle, the top band is 2” wide, the middle band is 1.5” wide and the widest bottom band is 1.75”. Thus the height of each 60° triangle = 2” + 1.5” +1.75” = 5.25” and the base width = 6”. One must cut 6 triangles up and 6 triangles down from each strip set, using the up and down placement shown in Figure 5.

Thus the 23 sewn strip sets must be each cut into 12 triangles (6 up and 6 down) to produce 46 hexagons.

Step 3 (cutting the solid background triangles):
In total one must cut 130 solid background 60° triangles, with a base of 6” and a height of 5.25”. The easiest way to do this is to cut 5.25” strips of the solid background fabric (from the fabric width 42-44”), and then cut 6 triangles up and 6 triangles down using the triangle ruler template.

Step 4 (assembling the hexagons) (Use 0.25” seams):
From each set of 6 banded triangles, stitch 3 together along diagonal seams using usual 0.25” seam allowance and press seams to one side (Figure 6). Repeat for the remaining 3 triangles (Figure 6). Now stitch two halves of each hexagon (consisting of 3 joined triangles) together using usual 0.25” seam and press seam to one side. 
Figure 6: Assembling the hexagon blocks
Do this for all 46 hexagons and then arrange the hexagon blocks layout as desired (Figure 7). Make sure that there are alternating coloumns concisting of of 6 or 7 stacked hexagons (See Figure 1).

Figure 7: Planning the hexagons layout
Step 5 (assembling the quilt) (Use 0.25” seams):
Attach 2 solid background triangles to the opposite vertical edges of each hexagon to form a diamond shape block (Figure 8). The border rows of hexagons will only require the attachment of one solid background triangle (Figure 8).
Figure 8: Attaching background triangles
Join the diamond blocks diagonally to form long  diagonal strips (Figure 9). The join the diagonal strips to one another to build the quilt (Figure 9). In some cases you will need to assemble partial hexagons from the solid background triangles in order to fill gaps (See Figure 1). You will have to trim the upper and lower edges of the quilt using a rotary cutter to make it square.
Figure 9: Joining diamond blocks diagonally
Step 6 (add a border - optional):
Add a printed border using strips of any desired width, I used 2.5” strips to make the border (See Figure 1). Finished quilt size is approximately 65” x 77”.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Summer Star Quilt finished at last

I finished quilting and binding my Summer Star Quilt at long last. I finished piecing the quilt top almost 2 years ago. The pattern was based on the New Orleans Star Quilt by Liza Lucy Prior in Kaffe Fassett's "Kaleidoscope of Quilts" book. I added my own pieced border made up from leftovers from cutting the star blocks. The finished quilt measures around 62"x 74". 
I used the Philip Jacobs print, Japanese Chrysanthemums in yellow, for the backing. The binding is Roman Glass in Ochre.
My next big quilting project is going to be the Postcard Quilt from Kaffe Fassett's book "Quilt Road". Many of the fabrics used in the quilt are out of print, so I will have to make my own substitutions using modern Kaffe Fassett fabrics, but I will stick to the same palette of reds, pinks, blues, greens and grey. I found the original quilt (made in 1830-1840) that inspired the Postcard Quilt on the V&A's website recently. It is not shown in the Quilt Road book, so it was nice to see it. I love the Leopard print blocks, quite fun!

Thursday, 19 June 2014


I had all these leftover 2.5" blocks from the Tutti-Frutti Baby granny square Quilt. I divided the leftover blocks into warm and cool colours and started making 2-by-2 blocks with them. I particularly like how it looks when one turns the 2-by-2 blocks on-point. 
Oh no, please don't start another project... what about all the UFOs???
Sweety-Bird enjoying singing along
to my sewing machine this morning.
At long last I basted my Summer Star quilt this morning (which I finished piecing almost 2 years ago... shameful!). I hope to quilt it this weekend.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Tutti-Frutti Baby (Granny Square) Quilt finished

I finished piecing and machine-quilting my Tutti-Frutti baby granny square quilt. Quilting is very therapeutic when grieving. The finished quilt size is about 32 x 40 inches. The quilt is made from 2.5 inch fabric blocks only which are trimmed to fit into a square (8.5 inch) on-point blocks.
I chose red binding to bring it all together, and a pretty china-blue rose print for the backing.

Friday, 6 June 2014

My dear mom

Its with great sadness that I write this post. My dearest mom passed away 2 days ago, after a long fight with cancer. I will miss her so much; she was so creative and deeply caring, very kind and loving, and above all a woman of great faith in the Lord.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Granny squares and cute knitted animals

I've made 12 granny square blocks thus far (Very slow quilting progress, I know *embarrassed*). Still have a long way to go. 

My mom has been knitting the cutest stuffed animals from the book "Knitted Toy Tales" by Laura Long. Below is the frog prince, little piggy and a mousey. 
Here is the complete menagerie, including the rabbit, teddy bears, birdy, owl, piggy, frog and mice. My mom says they are relatively quick and easy to knit, although one must concentrate, especially when knitting different colours. Aren't they adorable!

Monday, 7 April 2014

I love roses

Camille Pissaro (DELstricol) - no scent
I have quite recently discovered (since buying our first house 18 months ago) that I love gardening and growing roses. We have a very small garden (less than 60 m sq), but I've managed to squeeze in 33 rose bushes. We are fortunate in the Western Cape, South Africa, to be able to grow any type of rose, but European-bred roses tend to grow excessively vigorously (huge!) in our warm Mediterranean climate.
Soeur Emmanuelle climbing up our front fence
Our backyard filled with hybrid teas
Currently, my favourite roses are the romantic French roses bred by Delbard, which are all available from Ludwig's Roses South Africa. These include: Camille Pissaro (a.k.a. Rainbow Nation); Soeur Emmanuelle (a.k.a. Towering Rose Magic); French Panarosa; Souvenir de Louis Amade (a.k.a. Threads and Crafts); Comtesse de Segur (a.k.a. Comtesse Panarosa); and Candice. They are extremely vigorous, have excellent disease resistance and most of them are highly perfumed not to mention stunning!
Soeur Emmanuelle (DELamo) - Strong anise-rose scent
French Panarosa (DELcien) - Strong grape-fruit fragrance
Souvenir de Louis Amade (DELalac) - Spicey-rose scent
Souvenir de Louis Amade (DELalac) - fully opened bloom
Comtess de Segur (DELtendre) - slight apple scent
Candice (DELudice) - moderate honey scent
I also have many old garden favourite hybrid teas: Avon; Bewitched; Blue Moon; Buxom Beauty (a.k.a. Parole or Garden Queen); Cleopatra (a.k.a. Peace of Vereeniging); Fragrant Cloud (a.k.a Duftwolke); Fragrant Hour; Harmonie; Marijke Koopman; Miss All American Beauty (a.k.a. Maria Callas); Mister Lincoln; Paul Shirville (a.k.a Heart Throb); and shrub roses: Regensburg (a.k.a. Buffalo Bill); My Granny (a.k.a. Bossa Nova); and Granny's Delight; and climber Pink Cloud.
Avon - Strong damask rose scent
Bewitched - Moderate damask rose scent
Blue Moon - Intense turkish delight scent
Buxom Beauty (Parole) - Moderate rose scent
Harmonie - Strong tea rose scent
Cleopatra - slight tea rose scent
Fragrant Hour - slight tea rose scent
Fragrant Cloud - Intense fruity scent
Paul Shirville - Strong rose scent
Marjike Koopman - Slight tea rose scent
Miss All American Beauty - Tea rose scent
Mister Lincoln - Strong damask rose scent
Regensburg - no scent
My Granny - no scent
Granny's Delight - no scent
Pink Cloud - Slight rose scent
I also have a few modern roses (released after 2010) which were bred to look old fashioned but which flower continuously and have excellent disease-resistance: Annique; SA Garden; Sympa de Bellvue; and Tuis. 
Annique (KORquanni) - no scent
SA Garden (LUDsheitan) -  Strong lemon scent
I've got four English roses bred by David Austen: Abraham Darby; LD Braithwaite; The Prince; and Getrude Jekyll. Thus far, they have not produced many flowers, but they have shown very good disease resistance and have amazing fragrances. The blooms don't last very long in the vase, but they are all relatively young rose bushes.
The Prince - Intense damask rose scent
Abraham Darby - Intense fruity scent