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Halloween Quilt-Top Finished & Christmas Jelly Roll Piecing

I didn’t quite finish the Halloween quilt top by October 31st, but it was pretty close!  Here it is hanging over the lighting rail on the quilting frame:

And here’s a final “in progress” shot of the layout that spilled off the design wall and onto nearby surfaces, including the floor…

I’m satisfied!  Just need to get around to quilting it (and another autumn quilt-top that’s still lurking in the closet) before next autumn!  (Easy, right?)

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Immediately after finishing this quilt top, I dove into some crumb strip piecing, because there were crumbs accumulating and I was in the mood for something spontaneous and carefree.  I already have enough crumb strips saved for the planned quilt, so I guess these will be saved for the next one…

They’re nothing special, but they were fun to make!

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Since I didn’t finish the Halloween quilt before October 31st, I thought I’d better start the planned Christmas quilt a little earlier!  I still may not finish the whole quilt before Christmas, but at least I can get the piecing done by then.  

So what is this Christmas quilt project?  I received the gift of several jelly rolls of holiday-themed fabric, a year or two (or is it even more?) ago.  At that time, Mom mentioned that my great-aunt (who is an accomplished quilter) had said that these jelly rolls would work well in a pattern she’d used.  (Or maybe Mom just remembered her talking about that pattern another time and thought these would be good for that… I can’t quite recall; it’s been a while since that conversation!) 

The pattern in question was named “Apple Crisp”, and it’s in Log Cabin Fever, by Evelyn Sloppy.  I found a couple of helpful blog entries that gave me a sneak peek at the pattern, which apparently is a courthouse steps variation.  (I only just learned that… The blog entry I originally found only had a photo of the blogger’s finished quilt, the name of the pattern, and the book it was from. This info could have saved me some work!)  

The “Apple Crisp” pattern uses 1.5″-wide strips, and jelly rolls are 2.5″ strips… Trimming down the strips?  Not what I had in mind.  Surely such a simple pattern would have a free version available online– perhaps even one that was written specifically for jelly roll strips?  Having a name for the block would’ve helped– a lot– but even stabbing in the dark I did find a couple of free quilt patterns that were almost-but-not-quite right for what I wanted. 

“Around the Meadow”, by Jill Finley, uses larger squares in the center, and I wanted to use the jelly rolls for the whole block. (The pattern my great-aunt mentioned uses larger center squares, too, from what I can see in photos online.  It looks great, but I wanted to stick with these jelly rolls, as far as possible.)  These blocks are larger than I’d planned on making, so I’d have needed to alter it, anyway.

Another almost-right pattern was “Sweet Treat” from Patchwork Times.  In this case, I would’ve just used the main block to get the look I wanted.  However, this pattern uses 2″ strips, and I wanted to use the full 2.5″ strips.  I did like that it used three colors/prints per block.  That was what I had envisioned.

Okay, enough rambling!  
Let’s get to the point.  😅

I took the layout from the “Sweet Treat” pattern linked above, then did a little basic math (to use 2.5″ strips instead of 2″ strips) and came up with something that worked for me.  I’m a bit resistant to doing math (so glad I’m done with math class and never need to go back again!), nor am I the most accurate quilt-piecer, but it’s coming together pretty well, so far.  It’s definitely good enough!

Of course, now that I’ve learned the “name” of this quilt block (“courthouse steps variation”), a quick search has brought up a video tutorial with everything already figured out and demonstrated, step by step.  😖  Oh well!  I guess it didn’t hurt the old brain to do a (very) little math.  In case someone else sees this and is interested, here’s Teresa Down Under’s video tutorial for the “Courthouse Steps Variation” quilt block!  

These blocks do come together very quickly, even when you’re a slow-poke piecer like me.  If life doesn’t throw too many wrenches my way this holiday season, I may even have the finished quilt on the couch before Christmas Eve!  

Stacks of pieces ready for piecing:

And what I had done by earlier this afternoon:

This isn’t even everything, because I kept going for a while after taking this photo, and also cut, pressed, and stacked pieces for 10 additional blocks, ready for next time.  They really do work up very quickly!

Though the pattern is simple, piecing fabric with pinked edges is a little bit annoying, especially for someone who’s not a perfect piecer even with straight, non-pinked edges!  I didn’t want to trim off all the pinked edges, so I’m just doing my best.  I think it’s coming along well enough.  A little busy, with the more boldly patterned “lights”, but better from a distance.  
This is far from a final layout, obviously.  I’m just putting them up on the wall as I make them, to keep them out of my way and to maintain a current count.  You may notice that there are no pinked edges up there.  While I’m not trimming the individual jelly roll strips, I am trimming down the finished blocks, to make them more uniform, for easier joining when the time comes.  I’m not being very precise about centering the “rounds”– just trying to get them all to the same size.  

I suspect there will be fabric left over after I reach my planned target.  Not sure what I’ll do with that… 


I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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