What is a Jelly Roll and why use them?
Jelly Rolls were first brought to the market by Moda about 5-6 years ago and have since taken over the quilting world! In a Jelly Roll you have 40 x 2½" strips (each cut the width of the fabric). They are individual strips (not joined together) and you have just over 2½ metres of fabric in one roll. Jelly Rolls are great for many reasons. They are all accurately cut at 2½" so no need to cut lots of strips from fabric as it has been done for you! Jelly Rolls are co-ordinating fabric - whether from a range or from a colourway. If you find it difficult choosing fabric then you know a Jelly Roll will look lovely together. It is a great way of obtaining a large variety of fabric from a particular range without having to buy a fat or long quarter of 40 different fabrics! There are many patterns and books available to show you exactly what you can make with a Jelly Roll (and trust us - it's not just a log cabin you can make!). Our first book Jelly Roll Quilts continues to be a best seller. There are now many Jelly Rolls or Strip Rolls on the market and most are standardised to 40 strips but some nowadays do contain a few less so just be aware when you buy. All our Jelly Rolls at The Quilt Room contain 40 strips. There is one word of warning though - Jelly Rolls look so delightfully gorgeous all rolled up that there have been many customers that just can't bring themselves to unravel them!
What is a Layer Cake and a Charm Pack?
Layer Cakes and Charm Packs are both pre-cut squares. Layer Cakes contain 42 x 10" squares of either a range or a colourway. A Charm Pack contains 5" squares - usually packs contain 42 squares but some do vary. Again, these are great pre-cuts that allow you to have a huge selection of a range and there are many patterns and books on the market that can show you exactly what to do with them. If you are a begininer then just by buying a few charm packs and sewing them in rows and then joining the rows makes an excellent starting point to making a quilt.
What is a fat quarter?
Unless we state otherwise all our fabric comes on bolts that are approximately 44" (110cm) width. A fat quarter is a half metre cut from the bolt - then cut again along the fold leaving a fat quarter of 22" x 20" (55cm x 50cm). A long quarter is cut straight from the bolt so would be 44"x 10" (110cm x 25cm). A lot of quilters prefer a fat quarter as you can then cut larger sizes than you would be able to with a long quarter. If however you are working with strips a long quarter is preferable.
Why do we mix imperial and metric measurements?
By law in the UK we have to sell in metres (metric) but in the States, for example, they work with yards and inches (imperial). Patchwork and quilting is such a culmination of cultures that it is inevitable that you will come across both imperial and metric. It may seem confusing to start with but it's easy to learn and soon it'll be second nature. They are a few tips and equations that if you have them written down will make it easy to convert. To convert inches to centimetres you simply multiply by 2.54 e.g. 39 inches x 2.54 = 100cm To convert inches to metres you simply divide by 39 e.g. 39 inches divided by 39 = 1m To convert centimetres to inches you simply divide by 2.54 e.g 100cms / 2.54 = 39 inches
To pre-wash or not to pre-wash?
First of all, if you are working with any pre-cut fabric (Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes or Charm Packs) then DO NOT pre-wash as these fabrics are all accurately cut and if you pre-wash them then they will not be the correct size. Other than pre-cuts, to pre-wash is a personal choice. Reasons for pre-washing: can help remove any residual chemicals that have gone into the making of the fabric. Pre-washing also softens and relaxes the fabric which also might make it easier for the needle to penetrate. It also helps eliminate any shrinkage before you start sewing as cotton fabrics usually shrink about 3-5%. If any fabrics (sometimes reds and blues) have a tendency to 'bleed' then by pre-washing you hopefully reduced that risk. Some quilters choose not to pre-wash. Pre-washed fabrics have a fresh crispness to them and once your quilt is finished and quilted, if then washed the shrinkage can cause a lovely antique look to your quilt often emphasising your quilting. If you do decide to pre-wash then it is suggested that you separate your lights and darks. A good tip is to put small pieces in a pillow case or clip them to help keep them together. Wash on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. You can tumble dry and we advise that once your fabric is washed and dried then iron them so that they are all ready for sewing. A colour catcher is also a good idea to use when washing as will 'catch' any colours that bleed.