Jelly Roll Love and a Glimpse Inside a Quilting Sister’s Sewing Room

My friend Judy got me into quilting (I have her to blame for all this…smile).

Recently she shared a couple photos of her re-organized sewing room and gave me permission to share on my blog. However, I cannot share her photos without briefly mentioning her “Jelly Roll Love” (notice I am using the term “Love” and not “Addiction”, ha!) and that perhaps this is a love that I also share…

I met Judy years ago when she was a colleague at a job that seems like a lifetime ago. She is one of my “Quilting Sisters“. You know how I refer to my husband Terry as Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) – well Judy is my Number One Quilting Sister (after all she got me into quilting) and her new moniker is the “#1QS“!

You can read the story behind my group of Quilting Sisters in these 2017 posts: Quilting Sisters, Part I and Quilting Sisters, Part II.

But What the Heck are “Jelly Rolls”

I appreciate that non-quilters follow my blog and out of respect for those who’ve never heard of fabric “jelly rolls” (other than a delicious bakery delight) here is an image of a fabric jelly roll:

Image credit: Missouri Star Quilt Company

A jelly roll is a 42 piece collection of pre-cut 2.5 inch quilting fabric strips and are very popular among quilters (and quite addicting to collect). The appeal for quilters to use “pre-cuts” (pre-cut fabric collections) is that they are time saving and the fabrics are already coordinated.

In the late 2000s to early 2010s jelly rolls pre-cuts were gaining huge popularity with quilters. Numerous jelly roll fabric collections and books with patterns on creating quilts made with jelly rolls were flooding the market. I am guilty of buying several of these books myself as you can see in the image from my bookshelf below:

A small section of the obscene tierneycreates craft book library

Judy’s Sewing Space & Jelly Roll Love

Judy, aka the #1QS, used to sew in a corner of her family room.

A couple of years ago, she emptied out a spare bedroom and turned it into her “Sewing Retreat”. Recently re-organized her sewing space and below are a couple photos include one of her drawer of jelly rolls that she has been collecting for years.

Projects, so  many projects:


As you can tell, she will never grow bored with all those glorious sewing projects in queue!

Fabric Organized on “Mini-Bolts”

Is that calendar in order to organize when all those projects get started?!?!!

Judy uses cardboard bolts that fabric yardage comes on (like you see in fabric shops), cuts them in half and then used them to wrap her yardage and organize her fabric like a miniature quilt shop!

Another Quilting Sister Dana has done the same thing in her studio/sewing space:

I’ve been with Judy and Dana, during a quilt retreat, when they’ve asked a quilt shop owner for any empty fabric bolts they can spare. Many quilt shops just recycle the cardboard bolts so they are happy to give them to a quilter to use (at least the shops I’ve seen Judy and Dana ask for empty bolts from).

I think the effect of the mini bolts, besides nicely organizing yardage of fabric, is it makes your sewing room look like a mini Quilt Shop!

And Now For the Jelly Rolls

jelly rolls

Judy stated this is not her only drawer of jelly rolls but she did not share a photo of her other drawer (or drawers?!?!?).

Judy is not alone in her “Jelly Roll Love”, I’ve been guilty of it myself:

Tub-o-Jelly-Rolls patiently waiting to be loved in the tierneycreates Studio

I won’t tell you the container’s dimensions or just how filled with jelly rolls my “Tub-o-Jelly-Rolls” is:  a girl has to keep some things private….


17 thoughts on “Jelly Roll Love and a Glimpse Inside a Quilting Sister’s Sewing Room”

  1. Tearney, I loved this blog on Jelly roll love. Brilliant. We all have a love for those sweet rolls of joy. Especially when you call your quilting sisters in Washington and ask if one of them would buy you one of the deals of the day on Missouri star because you needed one more just in case. ❤️

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  2. Oh I’m having major jelly roll jealously 🍬🍬🍬
    It was fun looking at these photos of your quilting sister’s fabric and storage.
    I love the mini bolt idea, I never would have thought of it. I’m asking for some cardboard next time I’m fabric shopping. I have some built in shelves in our laundry room that I kinda just randomly put my fabric cuts on and this will be perfect! Thank you 😊

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    1. She does have quite the awesome collection and that is so cool that you’re thinking about trying out the Mini bolt idea – I love the idea but not the idea of starting over wrapping all my already folded fabric around the bolts 😀


  3. I couldn’t quite believe me eyes when I saw the photographs of Judy and Dana’s fabric stashes-cum-quilting-shops. This is what I imagine heaven looks like.
    Confession time — I have never bought a jelly roll, except to give as a gift. Stubborness and pride? I prefer to cut my own choice of fabrics. But that did not stop me from drooling when I saw that drawerfull of jelly rolls.

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    1. You’ve never bought a jelly roll? Well you are a role model of self control and good sense 🙂
      I love the concept of jelly rolls and they look pretty – but it turns out I like to make my own choices too – and that is why there are many unloved jelly rolls in my stash!

      I was tempted to take home some discarded cardboard bolts too when I was with them on a retreat at a quilt shop but I’ve worked so hard to organize my fabric, I do not think I could bear to wrap it in bolts. But it does look lovely in their studios and I bet it is easier to see what they have in their stash 🙂


      1. Can I stitch that on a badge — role model of self control!!! Ha ha. I wish.
        One advantage of having a messy stash is that you sometimes find buried fabric treasures.
        I am married to a woodworker and we once had a blazing argument about who had the bigger stash, and whose took up the most space. Then we agreed to disagree for the sake of the dog and staying married

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  4. Tierney, perhaps there should be a support group for those who experience the condition known as Jelly Roll Collectors Anonymous (JRCA). 😂 All kidding aside, I have been known to buy a roll or two over the years. I’ve hidden my former obsession by taking the rolls apart and adding them to my color-sorted fabric strip cases. At some point I decided I probably would not use them all in one project so why not make use of them in many. I say if jelly rolls are your thing then go for it. No need to hide them. They add character to your sewing space. Way to go for sharing your fondness for these rolls of wonder. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Cindy and I got a kick out of “JRCA”! The problem is jelly rolls are no longer my thing but I still have quite a collection. I like that you took them apart and integrated them with the rest of your stash. I might in the future just make myself make some baby quilts or lap quilts tops for future “quilt tops on hands for gifts” from the simple jelly roll patterns I have on my bookshelf 🙂

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      1. Great idea! I think I liked the idea of the precut strips better than the actual selection of fabrics. So often they included way too many of the ones I didn’t like and too few of the ones I did. I keep reminding myself of a phrase I heard from one of my mentors, “there is no such thing as ugly fabric.” I just have to find places to hide it. LOL!

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  5. Great tour, Tierney. 🙂 I admire how organized you and your pals are. I love the idea of a fabric ‘library’ – the mini-bolts make everything visible at a glance while keeping things tucked away and organized. You guys have craft-supply organization down to a science! Now, if I can do the same with my yarn/needle/pattern collection!

    Aside: I love the cute names for things in quilting. Between jelly rolls and fat quarters…. it all sounds quite delicious. 🙂

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