Racing Lane

Thanks, Kate for the name of the Jelly Roll Race pattern.  That certainly simplified the process.  It was much more organized than I originally suspected.  But, I had a couple of hidden agenda items that meant I couldn't follow it exactly. 

My top priority was to move out some scraps, starting with a drawer full of 1.5" strings. 

This is my 1.5" string bin.  After I made the quilt.  So, you can see I failed miserably and imagine how jam packed it was with strings.  And, this isn't all the leftovers.  There are plenty that got tossed into a pile because they needed further trimming.  I guess at some point, I started tossing in everything that was less than 2" without trimming it down to1.5.  Eh, honestly, I'm not sure I'll ever sew up all my saved scraps, so a little laziness is okay.

Using what I learned from the pattern, and knowing I wanted a finished size of 48x72, and knowing my strips were going to finish at 1" wide, I needed 3,456" of 1.5" strips.  So, I started sewing strips and I sewed strips and I sewed strips.  3456" is 98 yards and I know the distance from the tip of my nose to the end of my extended fingers is about a yard, so that was as exact as my measurements got.  I decided I didn't want to mix lights and darks, but rather to make light strips and dark strips.  And, I wanted the light ones evenly spaced, every other row at first, but as I saw burned through light strips quickly, I started to hope for every 4 or 5 rows.  I pieced all the light strips out of the bin and measured and got about 33 yards.  I only had to cut one piece off yardage to add to the end to make it that long.  Later, as I dug, I found enough light strips I could have actually gotten the extra length out of the drawer, but you never know the end until you get past the beginning, right? 

Anyway, then I pieced two dark strips of about 33 yards long.  And, I sewed all those together into one triple strip set.  It was obvious as I pieced strings into strips that not all strings were created equal, and I needed some way to handle that, so I made sure one edge was straight and lined up and let the other edge do whatever it needed to.  Then, I matched the good edges and instead of measuring my seam allowance from the right, I measured it as the finished width of the strips, 1.25" including the second seam allowance.  I taped a ruler to my machine 1.25" to the left of the needle and used that as a fence to sew strips together.  This worked for sewing two rows together, but to add the third row, I did have to trim the wonky edge.  It is what it is.  And, I'm pretty sure it was easier to do as one long strip than it would have been to trim each scrap individually. 

I couldn't just fold it in half and maintain the pattern of a light strip every third row, so I'd fold it in half and cut it, then take match the ends up so the pattern would be right and sew that long seam.  And, I did that until I had 48 rows sewn together.  I did not end up with 72x48.  I ended with 74x46.5  That's absolutely close enough for me!

This morning, I pin basted it.

And, because I couldn't help myself, I delayed scrubbing the kitchen to start quilting it. 

In the ditch.  Down every line. 

The highest praise I can give a quilt is when I want to keep it.  And, this is one I want to keep.  So, it's going to make a great Linus quilt. 

Would I make it again?  NO!  But, I will definitely make one from wider strips.  I might even make one that's made of strips of different widths, like 1", 2" and 3" finished.  But, working with 48 1" wide strips was just tooooooooooooo fiddly.  Good thing was that I burned through a whole lot of stress from last week, just patiently working things out...and succeeding.  That was the most satisfying part; following a simple plan, executing it well, and having it work out right.  Last week at work, I did the first two several times.  But, that third thing in the list was very elusive. 

Oddly, the more I've worked on this, the more inspired I've been to work on the star quilt.  I knew it would be that way.



lw said...

I like this one, too!

Anonymous said...

that is a lovely quilt. Too bad you can't combine your job and your love of quilts into one occupation. You would be a star!!

The Joyful Quilter said...

After reading your tale, I now want to go find that box of strings in my studio and start sewing!!! Your quilt turned out well and will make some child VERY happy.

kathysews said...

I just did one with different size strips in blues and greens. I put all the 2 inch ones together, then 3, then 4. I could have used your math skills to make them mostly the same size panels, but instead I used the chopped off ends in the back. Mine was too busy to suit me, so I added a solid strip offset on the side and did some applique. Good way to use up scraps.

Gisela Suski said...

The quilt looks so beautiful in the garden - great colors. I enlarged your photo and it just bloomed.