critical mass
February 23, 2013
quilt blitz
February 25, 2013
critical mass
February 23, 2013
quilt blitz
February 25, 2013
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jelly roll 1600 variations

Hello all, Mary Ellen again.

I’m going to be doing a demo on making a super quick quilt top soon (the jelly roll 1600) and have been looking around on Pinterest and other websites to see what quilters have done with the idea. (If you don’t know what the jelly roll 1600 is, go back to my blog entry called “odd bits again” on Feb. 19, 2013 for a quick explanation.) I’ve found some very intriguing ideas–I’ll definitely by making more of these. I think they will really help eat a chunk out of my stash. Here’s what I have found so far-and I’m still on the search. If you have any more ideas, please send them to me or add them in the comments. I think this could be a good resource for members looking for a fast charity, shower, or baby quilt. Here’s what I’ve found so far, in no particular order: (to save some typing, I’m going to abbreviate JR to mean 2.5″ wide by 40″ long strips of fabric)

  1. Attach the strips with diagonal seams (as done for binding) for an easy variation.
  2. Use 20 colored JR  alternating with 20 white/cream JR strips.
  3. Use 40 JR strips. After each one, insert a 2.5″ square spacer block for a pop of color. For example the quilt I first saw was made from 40 JR in shades of “denimy” blues. The spacer squares were bright red.
  4. Use 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles as your spacers between the strips.
  5. Use pieced block such as a black and white quarter square triangle as your spacer square.
  6. Cut your own strips, and change the width (they must all be the same new width.)
  7. For a variety in widths, make your own really long strip set using a variety of widths. Then use the JR 1600 technique on your strip set.
  8. Use 40 JR strips in a variety of soft pastels, and make the spacer squares fussy cut animals for an adorable baby quilt. (love that idea!)
  9. Use 40 JR strips in a variety of whites/creams to make your 1600 top. Then applique some large funky flowers over it.
  10. Use 40 JR strips in a variety of striped fabrics with the strips running the length of the strips. Make your spacers with the stripes going perpendicular to the others.
  11. For a scrappier look, cut 20 of the 40 JR strips in half, and the other 20 into thirds and mix them up really well. This quilter suggested tossing the lot of them in the dryer for a bit to mix them up-I wonder how much they would ravel.
  12. For a great masculine looking quilt, make your 40 JR strips in shades of brown and tan, and use a plaid or stripe for the spacer block.
  13. Make a regular JR 1600 quilt. Then cut it into 5 columns. (Equal or unequal widths, your choice) Reverse the top and bottom of every other column. Sew it back together. This gives an easy “Chinese coins” look.
  14. Use the Chinese coins idea and insert a sashing strip between the columns. Widths of 2.5″ or 3″ would probably work well.
  15. Use 40 bright JR strips, alternating with a black/white print spacer block.
  16. Use 40 black/white JR strips, alternating with bright spacer blocks.
  17. Use 40 floral JR strips, alternating with bright green blocks.
  18. Use 40 strips cut 2.5″ x approx. 21″ cut from fat quarters. Use the JR 1600 technique, resulting in a nicely sized bed runner.

As you can see, quilters all over are putting their own creative twists on this pattern. This could be a fun section for our quilt show next spring. How about it?


  1. Paula Foerder says:

    I can’t believe all the ideas you found. I really have to try some of them. Especially love the spacer squares.

  2. Mary Dixon says:
    This one I found through They have many references and finished projects shown

  3. Pat says:

    if I was making a baby/crib quilt how many jelly roll strips would I use?

    • Mary Ellen says:

      Hi Pat, If you use 29 jelly roll strips your quilt will be about 32″ x 36″, depending on your seam allowance. You could add a border around the pieced center to get it to a specific size if need be. Because of the way you keep folding your long 2.5″ strip in half as you go along, one of the dimensions will always be approximately one of these numbers: 4″,8″,16″,32″,64″,128″,… I just chose the 32″ width as closest to a baby quilt size. I based the rest of my math on 40 usable inches in the length of your jelly roll strips. If you have more usable length than that, your quilt will be longer than 36″. I hope this helps you out, let me know if you need more information. Mary Ellen

  4. Judy says:

    Thanks for all the jelly roll ideas. I am going to a class this week where we are all going to make jelly roll quilts. This gave me some new ideas.

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