I had to hold off on publishing this picture until after our family celebration on Christmas Eve, as I gave it to my sister-in-law as a Christmas gift. The design is from Pam & Nicky Lintott’s Jelly Roll Quilts book, the long arm quilting by Pam Hammer.
The Finished Friendship Braid Quilt
For the first time ever, I washed the quilt before gifting it. I know many quilters do this routinely, but I don’t. It does change the appearance of the quilt a little but as I wash both my fabric and batting before starting a quilt I don’t get much of the pillowing that many quilters love.
I chose a chocolatey brown for the binding and it is hand-sewn on the reverse. It seemed a long way round and I had to really persevere to get the hand-sewing done, doing a little before work in the morning and a little more after work in the evening. It’s good to be reminded that perseverance and doing a little bit every day will get the job done.
My next task is to apply that principle to cleaning up my sewing/guest room in preparation for my houseguest’s arrival next month.
I have three more quilts to complete before she arrives, the cot quilt, the garden trellis and the coin quilt, which I’m not liking any more than I did when I first completed the top.
Lined Up and Ready to Sew
The braids have been coming along nicely and I’ve been enjoying sewing them by the window, keeping an eye on the garden. It’s that time of year when you can just about watch the garden grow. We’ve had warm sunny days interspersed with rain, which is about as good as it gets. Of course weeding and planting does compete with sewing time, but when we eat a meal of home-grown asparagus, it’s all worth it.
Sewing the braids together was easy enough once I’d worked out the order – you have to alternate the trapezoid/reverse trapezoids and that had me confused for a while, just as it did when I started the braids. I cut the ‘tails’ off after I had the seams sewn. It just seemed to make sense to do it then.
Next step is to add the borders. I’ve cut the fabric so I’m hoping the top will be done within the next day or two.
I know from the search terms that bring readers to this blog that I’m not the only one working on the Friendship Braid quilt from the Jelly Roll Quilts book.
The braids are, as they say in the book, quite quick to string piece once you get started. I found that to be the case and was able to complete a braid within a few hours on a day when I didn’t have to go to the office.
Getting started is a whole other story though. That made my head hurt and there was some unpicking in the mix, too. The illustrations in the book aren’t quite to scale and the use of colour in those illustrations didn’t help, because it wasn’t clear to me which they were treating as a light trapezoid and which as a dark.
So I thought I’d share my photos, in the hope it might help someone else.
The outside edges should be parallel when you’re done sewing as shown by the hand drawn lines on the second photo. I eventually learned to check for that before sewing.
Pinned and ready to check
Opened up, but not sewn yet
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.
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