The ancient peoples of the earth knew a lot about stars.
Egyptians watched for Sirius’ predawn appearance to signal the annual flooding of the Nile. Polynesian navigators traversed the vast Pacific Ocean with nothing but the stars to guide them. And the Maya used the movement of the heavens to create the most accurate calendar in the world.
I, on the other hand, struggle to spot the Big Dipper. (But I sure can stitch up a pretty star quilt!)
This week, Jenny has created a celestial wonder of her own with jelly roll strips and a bit of yardage. The Stargazer quilt comes together like a simple log cabin with snowballed corners. It’s quick, easy, and so fun to make!
Precut fabric revolutionized the quilting world. The quilting skill was historically passed down through teaching – one would learn the intricate and mathematical approach of measuring and cutting fabric by hand from the generation that came before. Anyone who has pieced a quilt knows it’s difficult work! Before you could even consider your project or layout, all the fabrics must be cut from bolts or repurposed from used materials. The margin for error was extraordinary, a single miscalculation could jeopardize an entire quilting project.
Quilting is now easier and more approachable thanks to precut fabrics. Precuts are perfect for beginners (that’s why Jenny uses them to teach!). If you don’t know what exactly a fat quarter is, or if you never heard of a honey bun, we hope this guide kicks off your quilting journey with confidence.
A Layer Cake is a curated bundle of 10″ squares of coordinating precut quilt fabric from a designer’s collection. These versatile packs can be used for a number of projects. Their larger size allows them to be to cut into strips or smaller squares if needed! A typical layer cake contains 42 squares of precut 10″ fabric, enough for a small quilt top. Depending on the distributor, layer cakes are also called ’10 stackers,’ ’10 squares,’ ’tiles,’ and ’10 karat crystals.’
With such a big cut of fabric, layer cakes can dazzle because the printed design catches the eye first. If you want to showcase a gorgeous fabric, consider Jenny’s spin on tradition and create the Irish Change quilt. The Layer Cakes in this project are left completely whole and highlighted with fabric strips to create a beautiful showcase of 10″ squares!
For an easy introduction to the world of Charm Packs, use the pack as it is and create the Charm Quilt on Point! This simple creation turns the Charm Pack fabrics on point before sewing them together to create a beautiful layout with little effort! Select your favorite Charm Pack (much like in the Irish Change quilt, your Charm Pack fabric will be the focal point), add a border and a back – you just created the easiest quilt you ever made!
Have you heard the saying “there’s always a bigger fish”? How about “there’s always a smaller square”? As you probably guessed, a Mini Charm Pack is exactly that – a smaller version of a Charm Pack! These fabric bundles contain forty-two 2.5″ squares of precut fabric, half the size of their larger counterpart! With a name as specific as Mini Charm Pack, it’s difficult find this precut under a different name (but let us know if you do!).
Think small when using this precut, it’s better used as a compliment than a feature! Mini Charm Packs create intricate and impressive designs, even though it’s really no different than sewing a larger square. The 2.5″ Mini Tumbler Quilt is a great option if you want to play with these mighty minis, but you can add creative flair to any quilt with a 2.5″ square as a cornerstone!
Let’s get away from squares and focus on strips! A Jelly Roll is a bundle of 2.5″ strips of precut quilt fabric, featuring an array of coordinating fabric from a designer’s collection. Jelly rolls make sewing up a cute strip quilt a snap. Not only are there countless patterns that use only a Jelly Roll, but you’ll find these strips so handy you may use them with other precuts. A standard Jelly Roll contains forty 2.5″ x 44″ strips of fabric and is also called a ‘rolie polie,’ ‘strip-pies,’ ‘roll ups’ or even just ‘2.5″ strips.’
One of the easiest quilts for beginners is the standard Jelly Roll Race quilt! Piece your Jelly Roll strip by strip, and you can stitch up 1,600 inches of fabric in less than an hour! This pattern can be wildly colorful, with constantly changing colors and designs – so be bold with your Jelly Roll choice!
The Honey Bun is the Jan to the Jelly Roll‘s Marcia. Have you ever heard of it? This slender roll is perfect for sashing and strip quilting. The Honey Bun is a bundle of forty 1.5″ strips of coordinated, precut fabric. When piecing a quilt top, it’s more common to use a Jelly Roll, but don’t count the Honey Bun out. Whether creating a small quilt top or an intricate design, the Honey Bun will serves up loads of versatility. If you can’t find a Honey Bun, try looking for it’s alter ego – Skinny Strips!
Jenny’s very first quilt was a Log Cabin quilt, so they’re near and dear to her heart. If you want to feature a Honey Bun in your next project (and not just for sashing), a simple log cabin block is the way to go. You can get 21 log cabin blocks from a single Honey Bun!
If you absolutely adore a line of fabric, the answer is the Fat Quarter! A fat quarter bundle is a stack of fat quarters (quarter yards of fabric, cut wide) of coordinating quilt fabric from a designer’s collection, and of all the precuts, it gives you the most fabric! Fat quarters measure 18″ x 21″ and make it easy to build a quilt with your fabric lines. With just a little extra cutting, the possibilities are endless for this precut bundle. Fat Quarters are sold in bundles called Fat Quarter Bundles, but sometimes they are also advertised as “rolls.”
Life on the American frontier was hard. There were prairies to tame, trees to fell, and fences to build. There was butter to churn, laundry to scrub, and water to fetch.
Despite such labor-filled days, those resourceful pioneer women found ways to whip up easy patterns like the Log Cabin block. These simple, pretty quilts were used not only as bed coverings, but as windows, room dividers, and doors, too!
This week Jenny is working on a Simple Log Cabin with a traditional red center square to represent the heart of the home—the hearth. Click HERE to learn how to make this classic 19th-century quilt!
It’s March, and we all know what that means, it’s National Quilting Month, an entire 31 days dedicated to cutting, sewing, basting, and all kinds of creativity in between! This month, we want to share with you some inspiring stories from our Missouri Star team, and the reasons why they sat down at a machine and started quilting! The first story up is from Jenny! Read on as she shares how her quilting career began.
When did you make your first quilt?
I was actually quilting before I knew I was quilting. As a girl, I often sewed quilt squares together for my grandmother, but I took my first honest-to-goodness quilting class in 1995 shortly after we moved to Missouri. It was a quilt in a day class about the Log Cabin pattern. It was held in Chillicothe at the Vo-tech school. And I haven’t stopped quilting ever since!
Why did you make it?
I made my first quilt because I have to sew! It is my creative outlet. I sew, and when sewing is your “thing” and you don’t need any more clothing, and your children won’t wear matching clothing, and no one needs a costumer, you jump at the chance to quilt!
Who did you make it for?
I made it for my son Alan. He still has it.
Is it the kind of quilt you would make today? Why or why not?
It IS the kind of quilt I make today! I gravitate toward quick and easy projects, so that was a great one for me to start on.
What has changed since that first quilt?
For me, the main change was the onset of precut fabrics. They make quilting so much easier for me. Also, the Internet has changed everything! You can learn all kinds of neat things from the Internet.
After reading Jenny’s story, are you ready to make a Log Cabin Quilt of your very own? Here are some of our favorite log cabin quilt tutorials to help you get started:
Log Cabin Quilt Snips
Curved Log Cabin Quilt
Summer Camp Quilt
Check back throughout National Quilting Month for more quilty stories! And be sure to share your creations and your first quilt stories with us on social media using #makesomethingtoday and #msqcshowandtell!