Jumping Jacks Quilt

Once upon a time there were five happy little blocks with happy red centers and happy red diamonds at their corners. They stood out from their neighbors, and were nicknamed “jumping jacks.”

Finished size is 59.5 x 59.5″ Fabrics used are Happy-Go-Lucky by Bonnie & Camille

  • One jelly roll (Forty 2.5″ x WOF strips)
  • 1-3/4 yd neutral fabric (penny gray)
  • 3/4 yds red fabric (penny red)
  • 3/4 yds border fabric (mum red)
  • 2/3 yds binding fabric (garden navy)
  • 64 x 64″ cotton batting 
  • 4 yds back fabric (bella solid in scarlet)

You will need 36 of the 40 jelly roll strips. Sub-cut each strip into two 2.5 x 5″ strips, and two 2.5 x 9″ strips.

From the [penny gray] neutral fabric, you will need to cut the following:

  • Four strips 5″ x WOF. Sub-cut each strip into 5 x 5″ squares, eight per strip until you have 31 total. 
  • Six strips 2.5″ x WOF. Sub-cut each strip into 2.5 x 9″ strips, four per strip until you have 24 total.
  • Eight strips 2.5″ x WOF. Sub-cut each strip into 2.5 x 2.5″ squares, sixteen per strip until you have 128.

From the red fabric, you will need to cut the following: 

  • One strip 5″ x WOF. Sub-cut the strip into 5 x 5″ squares until you have 5.
  • Five strips 2.5″ x WOF. Sub-cut each strip into 2.5 x 2.5″ squares, sixteen per strip until you have 80. 

Referring to the picture below, organize all fabric into two piles:

  • Pile one: 31 jelly roll strips with the [penny gray] neutral blocks/strips.
  • Pile two: 5 remaining jelly roll strips with the red blocks. 

Next, use a pen and ruler to mark a diagonal line on the back of all 2.5 x 2.5″ neutral and red squares.

*Use 1/4″ seam allowance for all sewing unless otherwise stated. “Jumping Jacks” Blocks: From “pile two,” you will need one red 5″ block and one sub-cut jelly roll strip (two 2.5 x 5″ strips and two 2.5 x 9.5″ strips). Attach the 2.5 x 5″ strips to the top and bottom-sides as indicated below. Press the seams.


Sew the 2.5 x 9″ strips to the sides and press the seams. Repeat to make five red-centered (“jumping jacks”) blocks.

Repeat with the neutral 5″ blocks and their (31) sub-cut jelly roll strips from “pile one.”  Arrange ALL blocks into six rows with six blocks per row. Once the arrangement is to your liking, retrieve the marked 2.5 x 2.5″ RED squares only.  Snowball Blocks:  Place one red 2.5 x 2.5″ square in each corner of the red-centered (“jumping jacks”) blocks. Place more in the corners of neighboring blocks that touch a “jumping jacks” block; the marked lines will form a diamond shape in each corner. Pin each red block firmly in place.


Before you begin stitching these blocks in place, you may also want to take a picture (or otherwise notate) your block arrangement so you won’t forget where anything goes. I usually just snap a picture with my phone’s camera.

Pin [penny gray] neutral 2.5 x 2.5″ squares in any corners that do not have a red one. Make sure the marked lines are oriented as indicated below (to form diamonds at the corners with neighboring blocks) and pin in place.

Stitch along the marked lines pinned in each corner.

Trim 1/4″ seam allowance at each corner. Open and press to form the finished snowball block.

Arrange all snowball blocks back into their designated places.

Sew the quilt-top in place by sewing the blocks into rows, then the rows together–lining up the seams and pinning in place beforehand. Press the quilt-top.

Retrieve the 2.5 x 9″ [penny gray] neutral strips and four 2.5 x 2.5″ squares. “Frame” the quilt with one neutral border strip next to each outside block with a 2.5 x 2.5″ square in each corners.  NOTE: The border is broken up into strips to accommodate the completion of any red diamonds in the corners of “jumping jacks” blocks that may be on the outside of the quilt-top arrangement.

Finish any incomplete red diamonds by pinning red 2.5 x 2.5″ squares (right sides together) onto the neutral border strips where necessary.

Stitch along the marked lines.

Trim 1/4″ seam allowance; open and press.

Sew the border strips together in order (omitting the 2.5 x 2.5″ corner blocks of the border) and add to the top and bottom of the quilt-top first.

Repeat to add the borders to the sides, this time including the 2.5 x 2.5″ border blocks at the beginning and end of each strip.  Now we are going to add a second border. You will need the border fabric cut into six strips 4″ x WOF. Piece together 1-1/2 strips per side.

Add the top and bottom border pieces first; add the sides and square up before basting onto your batting and back fabric.

Be sure to insert safety pins to prevent the layers from shifting during the quilting process.

Quilt as desired. I did some freemotion squiggles.

After the quilting is completed, trim away the batting and back fabric. Square up the quilt.

Vanessa's Jumping Jacks quilt tutorial

Bind as desired. I cut seven strips 2.5″ x WOF and pieced on the bias.

 One very happy 59.5 x 59.5″ lap quilt.

Vanessa's Jumping Jacks quilt tutorial
Vanessa's Jumping Jacks quilt tutorial

Vanessa's Jumping Jacks quilt tutorial

Vanessa Goertzen

UPDATED: 1/29/2014

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