My Very Own Website

I have some very exciting news.  I have been working hard behind the scenes, and now I have my own website!  The name of the site is Snowy Days Quilting.

I am planning to add a lot of content, including recipes and tutorials.  I will also be posting there much more consistently.

I am starting by showing all of the projects I have completed in the past couple of years.  I showed in-progress pictures for many of them here, but never quite got around to showing the finished projects.  I will be remedying that on the new site.  You can already see pictures of my completed first quilt here!  Many more projects will be added in the coming weeks.

I truly appreciate all of you loyal readers.  I hope you will check out Snowy Days Quilting.  From here on out, I will be conducting all of my blogging on that site.  Here is a direct link to my new blog.

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350 Blocks Project – January Report

I got a crazy amount of blocks done in January.  I’m already past the goal of 350 blocks for the year.

First, I made 98 of each of the four types of blocks below.  These are for my version of the 2014 retreat quilt.  Every year at retreat, a few of us choose a quilt pattern to work on together.  I was busy working on the Christmas quilts, so I got very little done at retreat.  If you are interested, the pattern for this quilt is here.  If you decide to make the quilt, make sure you ignore steps 3B and 6.  Those steps involve un-sewing certain seams just so you can re-sew the same seams later.

The Ladie's Stitching Club Quilt

After that, I put together 42 of these blocks for a baby quilt for a co-worker:

baby quilt block

That puts me at 434 blocks in January!  The next couple of months will be spent turning those blocks into finished quilts.  I wonder if I can exceed 1,000 blocks this year?

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350 Blocks Project 2014

Shelly over at Prairie Moon Quilts hosted the 350 Blocks Project again this year.  The goal was to make 350 quilt blocks over the course of the year.  I didn’t post any updates since I was working on the super secret Christmas quilts, but I did play along.  I completed a total of 780 blocks this year!  Here is the breakdown:

The back of my husband’s St Patrick’s Day quilt – 1

St Patrick's Day

Jelly Roll Race quilt for Hosea – 1

Hosea Complete Quilt

Blocks for a sampler quilt for the local Modern Quilt Guild – 2

MQG charity 1   MQG charity 2

Baby quilt for a co-worker – 9

Winter's Baby Quilt

Quilt for my sister – 143

sister's quilt

Quilt for my brother-in-law – 80


Quilt for my mom – 353

   Mom's quilt   IMG_0168

Quilt for my dad – 111

IMG_0161   back of Dad's quilt

Retreat Quilt – 28

retreat quilt blocks

Table runner for my guild’s Christmas gift exchange – 24

Christamas exchange runner

Christmas cabinet topper – 6

Christmas cabinet topper

Christmas table runner – 18

Christmas table runner

Charity blocks for quilts the Gallatin Valley Quilt Guild is making – 4



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Operation: Christmas Quilts – Success

Family QuiltsI started planning this Christmas well in advance.  My Dad is retiring next summer, and my parents will be moving about 45 minutes away from me.  At that time, they are planning to sell their house, so this was their last Christmas in the house I grew up in.  We started planning in 2012 for everyone to be there this year.  It was so wonderful to have my parents, my sister, and our husbands all together for the holiday.

I wanted to make this Christmas as special as possible since it will likely be a long time before we can all be together at Christmas again.  I decided that I really wanted to make quilts for everyone, and to keep it a surprise.  I began designing and piecing the quilts in September 2013 in order to make that a reality.  My husband did the vast majority of the cooking and housework this past year so that I could focus on the quilts.  That plus the many nights I spent sewing into the wee hours allowed me to hand them off to FedEx just in time.

On Christmas morning, everyone was stunned, and many tears were shed.  I cannot express how glad I am that I was able to pull it off.  Every minute of work was completely worth it, several times over.  My heart is full.

Holding Their Christmas Quilts

Fighting for the Front

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Successfully Spinning Seams

I pulled out some mini charm squares today to work on a Christmas table runner just for the fun of it.  I’m done with deadlines for the time being, and I wanted to work on something little for the simple pleasure of seeing it come together.

I started by making four patches.  I always spin the seams on four patches, since I learned quite a while ago that it helps reduce bulk and make things lay flatter.  Today, I started to wonder if it would actually be possible to spin the rest of the seams as I sewed the blocks together.  It turns out that it works!  I was able to spin every seam in the table runner.  I’m tickled by how nice it looks on the back, and it lays very flat.  It’s definitely worth taking the extra time.

spinning seams

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Modern Table Runner

modern table runner

My modern guild did a Christmas gift exchange last year.  In November, everyone brought two quarter yards of fabric in an envelope.  We exchanged envelopes, and sewed something using that fabric.  The next month, we brought it back to give to whoever had brought in the fabric that we used.  I received two blue prints in the envelope.

I pulled a white and blue snowflake fabric from my stash, and I found a tutorial by Missouri Star Quilt Company to make these blocks:


I decided to make the blocks and put them in a chevron shape for a table runner.  Unfortunately, I didn’t consider that the seam allowance would cause the stripes not to line up.  After I sewed the blocks together, I decided that I didn’t like it.  I spent some quality time with my seam ripper and started brainstorming new ideas.

bad chevrons

I still wanted to make a table runner.  I decided to use sets of 4 blocks to make squares, some with the blue on the inside, and some with it on the outside.  I then floated the squares in a marbled grey fabric from my stash.

top view

To quilt it, I stitched in the ditch around the blue stripes.  I did a sort of straight line spiral in each of the white sections, and I did loops in the background.  I did all of the quilting with a blue variegated thread.  I really like how it turned out.


The quilting texture shows up nicely on the back of the runner.  I like the way the blocks stand out.

quilting texture

The runner was a little too long to use one piece of fabric for the back.  To make the back large enough, I added a diagonal stripe.  It didn’t end up quite as off center as I would have liked, but I think it still works well.


The person I made my gift for ended up having foot surgery in December, so I had to wait several months to give her the gift.  I was finally able to give it to her last month, and I’m so happy that she was delighted with it.

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Studio Tour 2014

Every year, the Gallatin Quilt Guild does a studio tour as a fund raiser.  5 local fiber artists open up their studios for the events.  Participants are split into groups, and the groups rotate among each of the studios.  We spend about 45 minutes at each location.  At the third location, lunch is provided.

This year’s tour was today.  My mom and I went together, and we had a great time.  It was so fun to go into the different homes and hear the people’s stories.  I took pictures of some of my favorite pieces.  After seeing all of the homes today, I think I may need to start making some quilts to spruce up my bare walls.

The pictures below are the pieced quilts that caught my eye.  The paper pieced stars on the blue background was made by Markie Nathan, and the other two were made by Colleen Brester.

2014 studio tour 1

2014 studio tour 2

2014 studio tour 3

We also got to see Marie Melton’s studio.  She does beautiful art quilting.  She lets the fabric speak to her and works until she is satisfied with a piece.  She doesn’t use any patterns.  Her work was amazing.  She said that the forest fire quilt was her masterpiece.  It was incredible.  She used many different materials to get the desired effects.

2014 studio tour 5

2014 studio tour 6

2014 studio tour 4

The most fascinating studio belonged to Helen Dovan.  She paints silk scarves.  Her work is gorgeous.  I think my favorite pieces were the ones that folded together to meet and complete a picture.  Helen is currently offering discounted classes, so my mom and I are signed up to meet with her the next two weekends.  I can’t wait!

2014 studio tour 7

2014 studio tour 8

2014 studio tour 9

2014 studio tour 11

2014 studio tour 11

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Tossed Coffee

tossed coffee 2

My Mom’s kitchen and dining room are coffee shop themed.  When I saw some maroon coffee cup fabric at Main Street Quilting, I just knew that it had to become a table runner for her.  I grabbed the fabric, along with some coordinating prints, and brought them home to sit for a few weeks while I pondered how best to use them.

After tossing around a few ideas for a while, I eventually settled on fussy cutting the coffee cups and using them in a tossed nine patch block.  Hence the name Tossed Coffee.  I’m glad that’s what I decided on, because I really like how it turned out.

tossed coffee 1

I used three different colors of thread for the quilting, one to blend in with each of the fabrics.  I stitched in the ditch around the coffee cup squares, outlined the coffee cups, and then did very small stippling in the background.  This makes the coffee cups pop up a little bit.  I also stitched in the ditch around the brown squares, then stitched a heart in the middle of each square and echoed it.  All the hearts are oriented so that the tip of the heart goes to the corner of the coffee square next to it.  Lastly, I did a wishbone design in the cream sections.  You can’t really tell, but the cream fabric has different coffee words in a light tan text.

tossed coffee 3

I gave this to my mom for Christmas last year.  She loved it just as much as I hoped she would!  I always try to remember to include a label on my pieces, especially when it’s a gift for someone special.  I think that little personal touch of handwriting really adds to the sentimental value.

tossed coffee 4

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Quilted Star Christmas Bulbs

I realized yesterday morning that I have five finished projects that I haven’t shared here.  I’ve had pictures of all of them for a while; I just haven’t taken the time to sit down and write about them.  So, it seems high time that I put together the blog posts for all of those finished projects.  I’ll start today with the simplest project, and work my way up to the large quilts.

star bulbs 1

Every year, the Gallatin Quilt Guild does a Christmas gift exchange.  Everyone makes something small, and all the gifts go in the middle of the circle.  One person starts by opening a gift.  Whoever made that gift selects the next gift.  It goes on like that until everyone that brought a gift has received one.  It works well since you don’t have to worry about whether or not people are going to show up.

star bulbs 3

This year, I made fabric star Christmas bulbs with batik fabrics.  They took longer to make than I thought they would, but they were still a very fast project.  It was fun to work on them while watching Christmas movies.  And the recipient absolutely loved them.

star bulbs 2

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Texas Was Amazing

My trip down to Texas to visit Joy was absolutely amazing.  Three years was much too long to go without seeing such a good friend.  Our time together went oh-so-quickly, and we had a blast.

I flew down on Saturday, and I arrived in the early afternoon.  It was a gorgeous day, so we headed to the zoo.  I was thrilled at how quickly Hosea warmed up to me.  The picture below was when we were watching the spider monkeys.  They were the first animal that really caught his attention.  His other favorite was the elephants.

Hosea and Bobbi

In addition to animals, the zoo had Dippin’ Dots.  You can’t get Dippin’ Dots in Montana, so I was very excited about this development.  After we finished wandering the majority of the zoo, we stopped by the Dippin’ Dots stand for our treat.  Hosea doesn’t get very many sweets, and he’s never had Dippin’ Dots before.  This look of utter delight stuck with him the whole time we were enjoying the treat.

Hosea and Dippin Dots

Surprisingly, it was chilly the rest of the time I was down there.  We even got some sleet a couple of times.  The nearby fountain looked really pretty when it iced over.

icy fountain

Due to the weather, we spent most of the rest of our time hanging out inside.  It was awesome to have so much time to talk and enjoy each others company.  One of our favorite things to do together is to make soup, so we made sure to fit that in twice while I was there.  We did creamy tomato soup one night, and french onion soup another night.  They were both delicious!  Unfortunately, I failed to get a picture of Joy and I together, but I did snag one of her with Hosea.

Hosea and Joy

Hosea was so cute.  Every time I pulled out my camera, he wanted to take pictures, too.  Fortunately, he had his own camera that he could run around with.  Whoever invented cameras for toddlers is a genius.

Hosea's Camera

I also enjoyed hanging out with Iain when he was home.  Hosea loves his daddy.  One evening, Iain brought a new fire truck book home.  Fire trucks are Hosea’s favorite thing in the world right now, so he was pretty stoked.  This particular book was doubly awesome because it had wheels.

Hosea and Iain

Hosea really loved his quilt, too.  I pulled it out, and he got the biggest grin.  He immediately started playing peek-a-boo with it.  It wasn’t long before he was dragging it all over the house.  Later in the week, we used it to set up a little bed in his fire truck tent.  He really liked that.

Hosea's fire truck tent

I really did have the most wonderful time in Texas.  Naturally, it went by much too quickly.  I’m not sure when Joy and I will get to see each other again, but I already can’t wait.

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Ready for Binding

kitty nap time

The Saint Patrick’s Day quilt is ready to be bound.  I finished quilting it last weekend, and Angel has since laid claim to it.  I plan on taking it back just as soon as I finish making the binding.  I’m looking forward to a movie and some hand stitching tonight.

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Hosea’s Quilt

At the beginning of the month, I wrote that I really wanted to make a quilt for my best girlfriend’s son, and that I only had a month to do it.  I am pleased to report that I succeeded!  In fact, I managed to finish the quilt in 23 days.  I’m so very happy that I got it done in time to take it with me to Texas on Saturday.  I hope he loves it.

Hosea Quilt Label

I made the quilt jelly roll race style.  This is my second jelly roll race quilt.  I completed the race portion of my first one in 96 minutes.  This time, the race only took me 81 minutes.  I wonder if I make another some day, if I’ll be even faster?

Hosea Complete Quilt

I quilted it with all over loops with a 50wt medium grey thread (Aurifil 2610).  The loops were a lot of fun to quilt, and they went really fast.  I think it was even faster than stippling.  I also really like the look it gives.

Hosea Quilt Loops

The batting was Hobbs 80/20.  This is the first time I tried that batting.  Until now, I have only used Warm and Natural.  I like this batting a lot better.  The drape is nicer, and after I washed the quilt, it crinkled up much more.  I really love the feel the batting gives this quilt.  The bonus is that this batting also significantly less expensive, especially since Connecting Threads does batting sales fairly often.

Hosea Quilt Crinkles

I’m very happy with how this quilt turned out.  I can only hope that Hosea will love it and use it.  I can’t wait to meet him and give it to him.  And of course, I’m beyond excited to see his mother.  It’s been much too long since we’ve been together.

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday and Finish It Up Friday

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Complete Quilt in a Month?

One month from today, I’ll be flying to Texas to see my best girlfriend.  Of course, since February is a weird month, that’s also exactly 4 weeks away.  I’m super excited to see her.  It’s been about 3 years since we were last together, and she now has a 2 1/2 year old.  I can’t wait to meet the little guy.

I decided that I would love to have a quilt to give her son.  As soon as I booked the flight, I started looking for fabric.  Since I have so little time, a jelly roll race quilt is in order.  I’m using a Simple Marks Summer jelly roll by Malka Dubrawsky for Moda.  It’s a bright, fun line, and not too little-kid-ish.  Since he’s already 2 1/2, I wanted something that would be fun now and also work well as he gets a little older.

simple marks summer jelly roll

The big question is, can I sew, quilt, and bind a quilt within a month?  That’s much faster than I usually work.  The jelly roll race style will make for a fast top, and I’m thinking about doing all over loops for a quick quilting design.  I still want to hand stitch the binding, so that will take a while, as usual.  My modern guild is having a sewing day today, so I should be able to get some good work done.  Hopefully I will have a completed top before the day is through.

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350 Block Challenge – 2013 Total


It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2014!  Now that 2013 is complete, it’s time to see how I did on the 350 Blocks Project.  The goal was to make 350 quilt blocks last year.  While I didn’t reach that goal, I did complete quite a few blocks since my October update.

I finished 26 blocks for the Saint Patrick’s Day quilt.  With the previously completed 4 blocks, I was able to get that quilt top put together.

St Patricks Top

Next, I made a jelly roll race quilt.  I’m counting that as one block.

cherry christmas jelly roll race 5

Also in November, I made 4 tossed nine patch blocks for a table runner for my mom.


For the Christmas gift exchange for my modern guild, I made 24 of these little guys:

striped blocks

Then, over the week of Christmas, I played with a couple of Waterfront Park layer cakes.  That resulted in 39 wonky nine patch blocks.

wonky nine patches

I also finished 4 of the special blocks that will be needed for that quilt.  Those include a log cabin block, a courthouse steps block, and two improvisational blocks.

4 special blocks

All in all, I made 98 blocks in November and December.  That puts my total for the year at 228.  I’m so pleased that I was able to finish that many blocks last year!  It’s really fun to keep track of that and see how much I accomplished.  If Shelly decides to host another block challenge this year, I will definitely play along.  Either way, I plan on keeping track of how many blocks I finish.  It’s just so much fun to watch the number grow.

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Design Wall

My sewing room has been a disaster area since we moved over the summer.  I am ever so slowly getting everything organized and arranged into a pleasant space.  My most recent step in that process was putting up a design wall.  That finally happened last night.

My design wall is nothing fancy; it’s just a large piece of cotton batting stapled to the wall.  But it makes me so very happy.  In fact, I haven’t sewn a stitch today because I can’t stop looking at it.  It makes me so happy to look over and see pieces of my project on the wall.

Now I’m excited to finish up the blocks and lay them all out.  It’s so much nicer to figure out a layout when you can step back and look at it straight on.  And I won’t be hindered by cats tearing through the house and messing everything up every few minutes like they do when I use the floor.

design wall

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Playing with Fabric


Yesterday I broke out a layer cake of Waterfront Park by Michael Miller Fabrics.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with it; I just wanted to play.  I was in the mood to let my creativity go rather than working on one of the carefully planned projects on my ‘need to do’ list.  And since it was Christmas, why not set those aside and have a little fun?

I laid out all of the fabrics, chose 10 squares, and turned them into 10 wonky nine patch blocks.  This morning, I started laying them out different ways and thinking what I could do with them.  I’ve come up with a general idea, but I still don’t know exactly where I’m headed.  It will involve 39 wonky nine patches, 45 solid squares, a checkerboard layout, and something creative for the remaining 6 blocks needed to fill in the top.  Of course, that ‘something’ has yet to be determined.

It is really liberating to sew this way.  I usually spend hours planning and know exactly what I’m going to do before I cut into any fabric.  I’m finding it to be incredibly fun to create as I go.  I should sew like this more often.

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Operation: Salvage

For my modern guild’s Christmas gift exchange, each person brought an envelope with two pieces of fabric to the November meeting.  We drew envelopes, and were instructed to make something with the fabric in the envelope.  At our next meeting, we will receive whatever was made with our own fabrics.

I spent the last couple of weeks trying to decide what to do, and I finally settled on the tube quilting method to make a chevron table runner.  The linked video demonstrates a double hourglass block, but at the end, it shows various layouts, including chevrons.  I took their word for it, and didn’t consider whether that layout would actually work.

As it turns out, the seams only line up nicely when the stripes are going different directions.  When the stripes go the same direction, they end up very staggered, which is not at all what I was going for.

bad chevrons

Now, I get to rip the seams and try to figure out how to salvage this project.  I’m out of fabric, so I need to find a way to use these blocks.  Since the theme was minimalist and modern, I’m not sure that simply rotating them into double hourglass blocks quite fits.

Due to the amount of fabric I had available in the envelope, these blocks ended up pretty small.  So, I’m thinking that I may float them in another fabric to create a broken chevron look.  That may solve my problem while also making the runner a bit wider.  We’ll see if I like that look.  This project is due in 9 days, and I’m really slow at hand stitching the binding, so I’d better come up with something quickly!

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Quilt Retreat

2013 retreat 1

Last month, my local guild hosted a quilt retreat.  The weekend was absolutely incredible.  I’m already planning to be there again next year.  It was great fun spending the whole weekend quilting, and I learned so much from all of the more experienced people there.

I spent most of the weekend working on Ben’s St. Patrick’s Day quilt.  I did take some time out to work on my blocks for the guild’s charity quilt, though.  This year’s quilt is being donated to Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter for them to auction, so the committee decided that paper pieced hearts would be appropriate.

charity hearts

It was my first experience with foundation piecing, so it was really nice to have so many experienced people there to learn from.  I was given plenty of tips, and I got to borrow an Add-A-Quarter Ruler.  That ruler made foundation piecing so easy!  It has a quarter-inch lip to give a nice seam allowance.  You simply fold back the foundation along your next sewing line, slide the lip up to the fold, and cut your seam allowance.  This is really useful, because it gives you a nice edge to line up your next piece of fabric with.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend with great food, amazing company, much sewing, and many laughs.  I can’t wait to go back again next year.

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Laying Out the St. Patrick’s Day Quilt

I finished putting the blocks together for my husband’s St. Patrick’s Day quilt last week.  I was surprised at how long it took to make all of the blocks until I realized that each of them has 45 pieces.  I got all of the blocks laid out yesterday, so I’m hoping to get the top put together this week.

St Patricks layout

Ben had a hard time visualizing what the quilt was going to look like, so he got very excited when he saw it all laid out on the floor.  I’m glad that he likes it so much.  When I was sewing the blocks, I got really tired of green.  But now that I’m seeing the quilt come together, it’s growing on me.  Of course, it helps that Ben lit up every time he looked at it while it was laid out.

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Jelly Roll Race Day

I have always liked jelly roll race quilts, so I was thrilled when my local guild announced that they would be doing jelly roll races at this month’s sew-in.  If you have never seen a jelly roll race quilt, this video shows the entire process, as well as several completed tops.

We didn’t have much advance notice about the jelly roll race, so as soon as I found out, I hurried to find the perfect jelly roll.  I really want a Christmas quilt, so that’s the direction I decided to go.  I searched around quite a bit, and I discovered that Missouri Star Quilt Company has an incredibly large selection of jelly rolls, and their prices are better than any others I found.  I will definitely be ordering from them again.  The only downside was that it took them three days to process and ship my order.  It was my first time ordering from them, so I don’t know if that lag is normal, but it is something I will keep in mind the next time I need something fast.  In my experience, Fat Quarter Shop and Connecting Threads both ship the next day.

Between the short notice for the race, the time it took for my jelly roll to ship, and the fact that everything takes longer to get to Montana, I was pretty nervous that I wouldn’t get it on time.  The race was on Saturday, so I was very relieved when I got my jelly roll on Friday.

cherry christmas jelly roll race 1

Isn’t it pretty?  I love how all the colors swirl together.  I used Cherry Christmas by Aneela Hoey.  This was my first time using any precuts, and I think I’m hooked.  There was something magical about unwinding the jelly roll and instantly having 40 beautiful strips of fabric ready to play with.

The first step to make a jelly roll race is to mix up the fabrics and sew all of the strips end-to-end.  I laid out my strips in piles by color, and semi-randomly sewed them together.  I never sewed the same color to itself, and I only sewed the same print together once.  The construction method mixes everything up, so you don’t have much control over how the fabrics fall in the finished quilt.  So, I just tried to go for a fairly even mix.

cherry christmas jelly roll race 2

I personally think jelly roll race quilts are more interesting when the strips are joined at an angle rather than a straight seam, so that’s how I joined mine.  At first I tried to eyeball it, but that didn’t work out so well.  When I opened the strips, they didn’t line up with each other at all.  So I went the slow way and carefully pinned the fabrics and drew the sewing lines.

cherry christmas jelly roll race 3

This method worked wonderfully.  It was really slow going, but my strips opened up perfectly when I was done.  The result was well worth the extra time that it took to make it precise.  Here is what the join looks like after it has been pressed.

cherry christmas jelly roll race 4

Once all of my strips were sewn and pressed, I was left with one giant strip.  I carefully got all of the twists out of the strip, folded it in half right sides together, and went to the sew-in.  This is the point where the actual race starts.  Everyone already has their long strip folded in half and ready to go, and you all start sewing the strip together along the long side.  When you get to the fold at the end, you snip it, then bring your two new ends together and start again.  I didn’t take any pictures, because I was busy racing!  Check out the video if you’re curious about how this works.

I had barely started my second seam when the first person finished her top.  It only took her 46 minutes!  We had several more ladies come in under an hour.  It took me 96 minutes to get my top together.  I was one of the last few to finish.

cherry christmas jelly roll race 5

I really love how it turned out!  The randomness is so much fun.  The finished top is about 50X64.  I want it to be bigger than that, so I’m trying to decide what to do for borders.  I can’t wait to curl up under this one.  Maybe it will be ready for binding by Christmas.

I really enjoyed the process of putting this together.  And the fact that we did it as a group made it even more fun.  It’s crazy how loud it is with 15-20 people all sewing at full speed!  And the silence was astounding the couple of times that all of the machines happened to be stopped at the same time.  This is definitely something I would like to do again.  I may suggest that the guild make this an annual tradition.

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