The sewing machine and I aren’t really friends, although we are on speaking terms. I’m happy if I can sew a straight seam most of the time. But I do prefer machine sewing to a needle and thread any day.

I have sewn some things for my daughter, and a few cushion covers etc. but it was a huge leap from those to quilting. The occasion of a friend having twin daughters seemed a good time to start, especially when someone pointed me to a shop in Chennai that sold jelly rolls, which I’ve been drooling over for ages but found too expensive to buy from abroad… In fact, I was so impatient to begin that while waiting for my order to be delivered, I went ahead and chopped up and sewed some fabric I had on hand.


I know, it isn’t very appealing, but my hands were itching. I had my eye on the pattern known as the jelly roll race (by the way, a jelly roll in fabric is a set of about 40 2.5″ strips of coordinating fabric cut the whole width, around 40″ to 45″ long.) There’s a YouTube video that shows the pattern.

My hands were held by Aparna throughout, as I peppered her with questions and silly counts at all odd hours. I decided since I wanted two quilts rather than one, that I’d make the slightly different Jelly Roll Jam pattern instead. (YouTube video). So I divided my jelly roll into two, and tried to make sure there weren’t any strips that were too close in colour. Also, luckily for me, since I only needed 18 strips per quilt, I was able to take out the few strips that weren’t as long as they were supposed to be.

Having a rotary cutter, self-healing mat and a clear quilting ruler makes such a difference to my cutting. I was able to sew the tops together quickly, and crawled around on the floor pinning the layers together. I’ll have to find better ways to do this for any future projects, but I’m quite proud of my final products.



I wasn’t quite able to “stitch in the ditch” everywhere, and couldn’t quite bring myself to stitch across the strips, but I think it will hold together. The final size was about 44″ square.