No Jelly Rolls!

  I can’t let the notion of using jelly rolls for making rugs go on any longer!  It’s absurd!  Look at this out of date yet still beautiful jelly roll – why would I waste it in a rug?  The cost of a 40 strip jelly roll is approximately $40.  It will take more than 40 strips to warp the rug frame before you even begin twining.  $40 that is never seen again.  I estimate 6-8 additional jelly rolls will be required to complete the rug which will come to several hundred dollars – for a throw rug!!!  It might even take more than 8 jelly rolls – I’ve never been foolish enough to want to find out.
The premise of Rugs From Rags is in the title.  Use old fabrics, ugly fabrics, old clothing, linens, household textiles – anything washable to make your rug.  You’re supposed to be making something out of nothing, not something out of a very overpriced roll of strips.  Who can afford that?  And the fabrics themselves never even show – why waste beautiful fabric on your rug?  Make a quilt with the good stuff and use the ugly stuff in your rug.

Have I made myself clear?

And the questions?  If you ask the questions, I try to answer them right away in the comments but if you never go back and read the comments, how do you know if I answered you or not?  If you have detailed questions please use my personal email and you will get an immediate personal answer and then I will know you’ve been answered.

I will have another post with snow pictures later today. Breathe…………

48 thoughts on “No Jelly Rolls!

  1. Carol

    Hi, have to share some great news …my niece and her husband witnessed the birth of a little boy yesterday, who is now their adopted son! God is good! Imagine the strength of the birth mother to ask them to be there and then give him to them? I cannot imagine…just had to share!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      I’ve been wondering, carol, but afraid to ask. Oh, how happy they must be! Have they gone home yet? Yes, that young woman has strength most of us will never have to live up to.

      1. Carol

        They are bringing home today,, already, last I heard. It was a married couple with a toddler, she had been in a terrible accident that has left her with a bad spinal injury, unable to care for the baby. She has a toddler already, and as a couple, no support system. I cannot imagine her pain and my niece’s joy, it is hard to wrap my head around giving up a child. But she gave him to the perfect people who will love him with every breath. Seven pounds, twenty inches and healthy! Who could ask for more.
        I believe your prayers have great power! You always come through…well, He does, but your intercession…thank you!

        1. Carol

          This is weird this just came up tonight and I thought it was a different person, now I see I’m responding to myself??? Crazy how this showed up tonight!

    2. Carol

      My niece and her husband were there for the birth of the little boy they adopted, it’s so wonderful when women can make that choice. Thirteen years of infertility made me realize our system for adoption is way too full of red tape, and that so many options for fertile women leave few for infertile women (avoiding religion and politics here, just shedding light on the pain of infertility). Congratulations!

  2. Rose Mikulski

    Boy, I clicked on your post right away because I thought it had something to do with paczkis or donuts, something that’s near and dear to my heart after fabric. You are right about using jelly rolls for the rag rugs. The strips are expensive plus I like my strips to be 2″. I think you may be tempted to use them if you don’t want to cut your strips but thankfully I have my trusty die-cutter to cut my strips. About using pretty fabrics, I’ve used some when then stash is well over ten years old and didn’t have any plans on using them for a current project. The jelly roll you have is timeless so I would never use it for a rag rug. Now I have a taste for a donut!

  3. Diane

    I totally agree Mary. A friend gave me 60 strips from jelly rolls that I am going to combine with strips from my stash to make one of those 1600 quilts or whatever they’re called for a Hospice quilt. I will coordinate some of hers with some of mine to make a pretty quilt. I am just using odds and ends in my rug and I love it! Love the info about the new baby. Giving a child a great start in life is so unselfish. Blessings to all of them.

  4. Lizzie in Sweden

    Hi Jo! Those jelly rolls are too nice to tramp underfoot 🙂 I’ve noticed in our Second Hand shop here, they have two containers. One is labeled “Thin linens (bedsheets) for rug strips” and the other is a whole bunch of strips rolled into balls, just like you do with yarn. I had been winding why I hardly ever happened upon vintage sheets– a bunch of them are made up into strips right away for hand-loomed rag rugs like yours.

  5. Launa

    Well said Mary! I haven’t bought a fabric jelly roll yet, but your Chelsea Boutique roll and the crochet piece look so wonderful together. When Rose mentioned donut I immediately had a deja vu moment of the years ago Spud Nut shop in my hometown.
    Very touching to read how unselfish the birth mother is and I hope she is kept in that little guy’s life; he’s one very fortunate baby.

    1. Carol

      I am sure she will be. My niece is a musician (concert harpist) but has a MSW (not sure if that’s right) masters in social work and now works in the field. So I think she will be very good at keeping the birth mother remembered.

      1. Holly in TH

        And birth father, too, I would imagine. How wonderful for your niece, but how heartbreaking for the couple who had to give him up.

  6. Rhonda D

    As a non quilter/seamstress I don’t have a big fabric stash and so if I had old unused jelly rolls I might use them for a rug (beatings with a wet noodle!)
    When I was planning my rugs I did scout around for flat sheets/curtains at discount stores and hit a few thrift stores. I got great bargains -like $3.50 for brand new queen size flat cotton sheets. Most were Plain Jane colors but that was fine by me. I did buy a few yards of inexpensive prints to mix in but most of my fabrics were solids- and now you know why 😉

  7. Helen Davalos

    I thought about using my jelly rolls, then quickly came back to reality. I have a Go fabric cutter, so I can cut out my strips faster!!! I also have “What was I Thinking” fabric I could use. I love reading your posts, but I’m still sad I wasn’t able to visit your store before you both retired 🙂 It had been on my bucket list for a long time. I know exactly how you both must have felt – I am six months retired and LOVE it!!

  8. Mary Says Sew!

    Use those Jelly Rolls in Mary E.’s 16-patch quilt(s) where they’ll be shown to their best advantage! See her Gardenvale and red & brown versions.

  9. Jane b.

    I’ve found several great patterns for jelly rolls. Being pretty cheap I cut my own 2 1/2 inch strips. Even “Lazer cut” precut vary in size.

  10. Barb

    We are visiting friends who made a placemat from rags. Is it feasible to make a 5×7 foot rag rug? If so, how many yards of fabric would be needed?

    1. Mary Etherington

      Barb – Not a feasible idea as a 5×7 because you have to handle the frame, turn it, work on it,etc. Where will you lean a 7′ frame? What you can do however is make multiple throw rugs and weave them together which I have done. A 5×7 rug would take approximately 90 yds. of fabric.

  11. Nancy Porter

    I tried to sign up before for your newsletter and have not received one. A close friend has shared her copy with me. Hopefully with this, I can get on your e-mail address. Thank you so much in advance.
    Nancy Porter, Rockton, IL e-mail:

  12. Debra Ann Keller

    I am so glad you said this…. I think all these people making jelly roll rugs are crazy. Or, maybe, have a lot more money than I do! I plan to weave some rugs with quilt fabric that is out of date and has sat in totes for too many years instead.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Debra Ann Keller – and you will be the smart one making a rug with fabric that is now going to waste! Good girl!

    2. CountryThreads Post author

      Debra Ann Keller – how is it that you’re reading a post from 3 years ago? I went to read it and ended up posting it again – kind of by mistake but still excellent advice.


    You can order an All-Weather braided rug from LLBean for $199.00 for a 4’by6′ oval rug. When their entire catalog goes on sale for 25% off, you can really save on those rugs!

  14. mary

    Mary, I am holding you responsible for me spending part of my afternoon cutting up scraps! I am also cutting scraps with the accuquilt for a quilt in your new book, I don’t have it in front of me but it’s the one with the triangles and teals/gray sashing. I will hardly have to buy a thing to make it. There is something very rewarding about creating order out of a bin of scraps. I use my scraps more than my folded fabric! The accuquilt triangle shape ha s a 2 1/2 square right beside it so I’m getting squares cut too. I also got a whole bunch of fleece linigs cut out with the accuquilt for next year’s sweater mittens.
    Baby Ada is coming this weekend and I can not wait to see her smiling face.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Mary H – hug sweet Baby Ada for me! Yes, there is something very satisfying about cleaning up, using scraps, leftovers, etc.!

  15. Jenifer Fairchild

    Love the rags to rugs concept. If I could live my life over, I wouldn’t be so fussy with the colors I decorate with.
    How much would you ask for that jelly roll used in the photo?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jenifer Fairchild – that post and jelly roll was from 3 years ago!

  16. Judy Linn


    Scrap ON!!! I just finished snipping some tiny (really tiny) pieces to make 4 inch birthday cakes on a couple birthday cards. Love me some scraps!

    Judy in Texas

    Only one ad today….

  17. jan VanDeWalle

    I hit rummage sales for sheets to strip for rugs and once in awhile find bed skirts or curtains that will add darker colors. I see all kinds of patterns for jelly roll rugs, but don’t think I could make one of those rugs. think they are sewn around a cord first and then coiled into a rug that is stitched down. Not my thing I guess. My grandma used to make rugs out of old nylon stockings, nighties and slips. she crocheted them. I like your twined ones. have too many projects that I would like to try.
    loved the hen in the bike basket. wish I had your energy and ambition .
    love the blog , look forward to it everyday. Warm and sunny in Oregon today.

  18. Becky Turner

    Amen Sister….Jelly rolls for a “rag rug” is as counter intuitive as it gets

  19. Diane Bauer

    I have looked often at Jelly Rolls but have never purchased one. Have only once purchased and used an 8″ pre-cut stack. I understand many people love making quilts that way, but I have enough of a stash to think it’s not right for me.

    I am back from Bataan and ready to sew again. I bought some ground walnut shells to stuff my “Spokes” pincushion, so that’s the next thing to finish. I made another pincushion out of selvage edges too, which was fun. I still have work to do on my Caring Hands from Beyond the Battlefield. And then there are the Friendship Wreath blocks to gather together into a quilt. I’m feeling so much better about my stack of UFOs. I don’t mind having a few projects around that need finishing, but they had gotten way out of control for a number of years!!

  20. Sue in Oregon

    I love the look of jelly rolls and the idea of jelly rolls, but the thing that stops me is that you can’t wash them. Or….can you? Does anyone? Seems like they would be a mess if washed.
    I love sewing with washed fabrics because they kind of grip together almost like they have been pinned. And, I do a lot of quilt blocks with very little pinning.
    I recently won a beautiful Moda jelly roll and I will sew something because it was Free-e-e.
    Congratulations to the new parents.

  21. Kathy Schwartz in SW MN

    That jelly roll is beautiful—-rather vintage looking. I love everything vintage.
    Sorry about the Walmart mess. I never use the self checkout because I don’t know what to do if I have a coupon. (I usually have a coupon for something.)
    How happy the new parents must be. God Bless all.
    Today there was progress on our “rebuild” of the barn. The trusses arrived and the carpenter has everything ready to go. He came at 11:15am, so I ordered a Godfather’s pizza and sent out some chocolate cake. Tomarrow I will make turkey noodle hot dish.
    The rendering truck came 3 times to get the cows. Each time it was a load for him. Not a real big truck–medium size. With warmer weather they would really stink.

  22. Linda Barnhart

    My mother passed almost 2 years ago now. I fortunately got her stash of fabric as she was an avid seamstress and quilter. She saved any fabric that could be reused. In there I found a flowered shower curtain. In the spirit of my mom’s thriftiness I cut up the shower curtain into poolside bags. I have made 2 so far and have 3 more cut out. Keeping one, one the aerobics instructor at our winter condo in Florida bought from me (fitting!) and the others will go to family. ❤️

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Linda Barnhart – what a wonderful story about the shower curtain!

  23. Joy

    I agree about the jelly rolls! My grandma made braided rugs out of strips from worn jeans, etc. the back of the legs are still good!

  24. Jan from TN

    A great rug to use a jelly roll to make is the Jelly Roll Rug. I made the rectangular JRRug earlier this year! Love it. Uses one JR & you can use your own batting much cheaper than buying the precut batting. Plus while the patterns say to cut the batting strips 2 1/2” & the precuts are cut as such, it works best when the batting strips are cut 2 1/4”.

  25. Sue in Marion, Indiana

    One of our guild members brought a jelly roll rug from the currently popular pattern. It’s pretty, but why? In addition to the jelly roll, she bought the precut 2 1/2” batting strip roll to make it. That is truly nuts in my opinion. That said, I would like to try a twined rag rug. One of these days!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sue in Marion – I agree 100% – too expensive for my inner thrifty self. A twined rug can and should be made with castoffs of whatever is available.

  26. SusanfromKentucky

    Glad to hear someone else feels the same way about wasting nice jellyroll fabric on a rug. I would never!

  27. Janice

    I think it’s great if you have a stash of unused, ugly fabric to use it in a rag rug BUT sometimes a person might want a rug (or placemat) that is going to go in a particular place and that fits a certain color scheme. Sometimes you can find jelly rolls in discount fabric stores from past seasons for much less than current patterns/colorways. I don’t think that’s any more foolish to use than it is to buy wool at a shop to use in a hooked rug and then put it on the floor to walk on. Just my humble opinion! Jan from MA where it’s colder today than it has been in a few days. We got lots of raking done this weekend, daffodils are up!

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