Project Commencement: Friendship Braid Quilt

Trapezoids cut out of a Moda Jelly Roll

First step: Cut 160 Trapezoids

Today I started cutting the pieces for the Friendship Braid quilt from the Jelly Roll Quilts book. I’m using a Moda jelly roll, which I pre-washed by throwing it in a normal wash in a delicates bag. I prefer to pre-wash all my fabrics rather than risking colour bleeding or shrinkage after the quilt has been pieced.

Based on the fact that everyone has their own recommended approach, I’m pretty sure there isn’t a right or wrong way to prepare quilting fabric. I routinely wash it but I don’t starch and I don’t use fabric softener. Quilting fabric goes in with the family laundry, with a colour catcher added if I feel there’s a risk of dye running.

I pre-wash batts, too. I put them in my front-loader on a wool cycle, with no laundry detergent and they hold together just fine. I prefer a smooth quilt over a puckered one and I don’t generally re-wash before gifting or using the quilt, so it’s good to have all the washing out of the way up front.

The clothes airer works brilliantly for drying the jelly roll strips. I wouldn’t dream of using the drier for them – way too much wear and tear. I suspect I wouldn’t have any fabric left to sew if I used the drier. The strips do get a bit hairy in the washing machine, but I can live with that.

Omnigrid 86L aligned to cut the jelly roll in to trapezoids

Cutting in Progress

The cutting for this quilt was a little tedious. The hard part was making sure to cut trapezoids for the lighter shades and reverse trapezoids for the darker shades. From time to time I got that part wrong and I’m going to argue it was deliberate, to break up the colours a bit and add visual interest. Other than that, you line up your Omnigrid 96L, using the 2 1/2 and the 5 inch lines as references and cut away. There’s not much room for error as you don’t get a whole lot of fabric left over at the end of each strip. If I really had to re-cut a trapezoid I could probably find a scrap long enough, but I’d have to audition a few off-cuts before I did.

More on this topic: Getting Started on the Friendship Braid Quilt

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