Pixel Chain

Pixel Chain, Jelly Roll Quilt Pattern

Thank you to everyone who left sweet comments on my last post and took advantage of my sale.  I’m so blessed to be able to create, and I have such gratitude to you for supporting me along the way and cheering me on.  Thank you!  

This Pixel Chain quilt/pattern has been on my mind for such a long time, ever since I saw a vintage quilt with a similar design made with tiny squares.  I knew I had to recreate it and make it a bit more Allison friendly  (i.e. EASY).    

Pixel Chain, Jelly Roll Quilt Pattern

This large throw/twin size is made with just one jelly roll (35 strips), and with only 30 blocks it’s pretty simple to put together. 

Pixel Chain, Jelly Roll Quilt Pattern

For this version I used a jelly roll of Zuma by Tula Pink.  I love this fabric, but this jelly roll was a nightmare!  The strips were cut between 2 1/4 – 2 3/8″ instead of 2 1/2″, so it was a huge pain to use and fudge the difference in the seam allowance when matching it up with the background strips.  I even emailed Free Spirit Fabrics (nicely) just to make them aware of it.  I never heard back from them, but since then I’ve heard from three other people that had the same problem with other Tula Pink jelly rolls.  

Moral of the story is…measure your jelly roll before you unwrap it and make sure the strips are 2 1/2″ from edge to edge! 

Luckily it’s gorgeous fabric so I can’t hold a grudge at it.  :)

Zuma Tula Pink Jelly Roll

Pixel Chain, Jelly Roll Quilt Pattern

I quilted this with simple straight-ish lines using the squares as guides.  

Pixel Chain, Jelly Roll Quilt Pattern

Pixel Chain, Jelly Roll Quilt Pattern

My current plan is to make a Christmas version of this quilt so I have something festive to sew in December, and maybe it will be done by next year.  Maybe. 

Pixel Chain Quilt in Christmas


Pixel Chain, Jelly Roll Quilt Pattern

Pixel Chain can be found here as  PDF pattern, or here as  a Paper pattern.  

Also…what on earth do you get an 11 year old boy for Christmas???!!!!   Older boys are so hard!!   Ben gave me no ideas (besides a cat) and cash.  Lame.  I don’t want to buy junk just to buy something you know?   Ugh.  So if you have a preteen boy…I need some ideas!  



64 Responses to Pixel Chain

  1. lswanekamp November 29, 2018 at 6:17 am #

    I bought Pixel chain. I hope to cut some strips for it. I just used a Kaffe jelly roll, also Free Spirit on Basket Case, and the strips were a nightmare. No more jelly rolls, I will just have to buy 1/4 yes and cut my own.

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 8:57 am #

      That’s so interesting…it must be Free Spirit pre-cuts then. You’d think they would realize it and cut them a little wider by now!

      • mysweetlittlestitches November 30, 2018 at 7:11 pm #

        I made a Patchwork Swoon quilt with a Pie Making Day jelly roll (RJR). I don’t use jelly rolls very often, but any that I had previously used were Moda or Riley Blake, and I had no problems with them. Well, when it got time to put all of my blocks together, NOTHING lined up. I wanted to cry my eyes out. I am just not a big fan of precuts, because too many errors! From now on I always just cut my own 2.5” strips.

      • Allison December 3, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

        Yes that is so frustrating!! I’ve been lucky until now. Hope you are doing well!!!

      • Heidi December 3, 2018 at 10:59 am #

        Hi there, love the pattern and I too have the same roll cut at 2 3/8” very frustrating. How did you compensate with regard to cutting the background fabric?

      • Allison December 3, 2018 at 1:37 pm #

        Honestly I just tried to center the strips on the background fabric, and the seam allowance on the print jelly roll was just smaller than 1/4″. Luckily the edges are sheared so they shouldn’t fray, so a smaller seam allowance works OK. It was a lot of guesstimating. Good luck!

  2. Patty erickson November 29, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    Hi! My kids are just getting out of the age range and it’s hard to say without knowing your son, but my kids were into sports, tennis shoes, and video games. So they would get one new game and also a pair of not really needed but cool pair of Nike shoes. Also it was a good time to buy them equipment they needed for their sports- a new bat, ball, or cleats. He is also getting to that age where gift cards are nice. Maybe to a movie theater and him and a friend can go. Or a fast food restaurant that he can chose to go to with a friend or they can get food but not their sublings! Hope this helps!

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 9:02 am #

      Oh that’s a great idea! A gift card for an outing without siblings (he’d love that!). Thank you!

  3. Hilary November 29, 2018 at 7:18 am #

    This is so pretty! I have a couple jelly rolls in my stash that would be perfect for this pattern. :) Does your 11 year old like LEGOs? That’s what my 7 yeah old boy has asked for and I’m glad because I like building them too!

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 9:01 am #

      My 8 year old LOVES them so that’s what we’ll get him. I like those Lego Boost/Engineering sets but they are so crazy expensive! I’ll have to look into more grown up Legos for him!

  4. Material Girl Quilts November 29, 2018 at 7:21 am #

    Such a pretty quilt design!! I also love that you used strips and figured out how to make it “easier” for us ;-) I also have a pre-teen son (mine is 12) and have struggled with the same issues. He is a sweet boy who really asks for nothing and can’t think of anything to put on his Christmas list. We talked about maybe “experiences” instead of things because I (like you) don’t want to buy stuff just to buy it. He chose an NBA game because he’s a huge Pacers fan. He’s also into music and plays percussion, so I’m thinking maybe for his birthday we may look into concert or show tickets. Hope this helps give you some ideas :)

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 2:12 pm #

      I have the same problem…Ben is so sweet he doesn’t really ask for anything! Except a cat…which isn’t happening. ;) Concert or sport tickets are a good idea I might just steal!

  5. Laura Haywood November 29, 2018 at 7:28 am #

    Maybe I should email you my 11-year-old nephew’s Christmas list. He had no trouble coming up with 20 or so ideas!

  6. happyquiltingmelissa November 29, 2018 at 7:37 am #

    I love this design!!! So fun :) And sorry you had the cutting issue, that sounds like a super pain. Glad it all worked out. And I totally agree, my 11 year old will be 12 next week and it was hard to shop for him this year. Luckily, he still loves Legos, so that is always a win. And he is becoming a big fan of the Seahawks (he was born in WA) so I got him a throw blanket (which is super hard for me to buy a blanket, but it is what he really wanted, he loves the fuzzy ones) and a hoodie with Seahawks on them. If your little guy gets into sports, there are endless options there ;)

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 2:18 pm #

      Thanks Melissa! Yes Seahawks stuff is always a win around here…I think I might try a new hoodie or something!

  7. Marjorie November 29, 2018 at 7:45 am #

    Experiences are perfect–a game with great seats, a concert, a night at a cool hotel–just based on what your kid likes. My son is tough and isn’t really into toys anymore, but he likes board games and gift cards–not super interesting but it is what he wants

  8. Rachel November 29, 2018 at 9:24 am #

    I like the idea of making a Christmas colored quilt. I am already thinking about what I will make for my parents next year!

    At that age I bought my nephew the star wars lego sets, and then the lego robotics sets. He always got a lot of use out of those. Good luck!

  9. Robby H. November 29, 2018 at 9:34 am #

    So interesting to know that Free Spirit is having some issues, but you certainly overcame them in this pretty quilt.

    When our nieces and nephew were in the pre-early teen years, we did get them modest sized gift cards for movies, a fast casual restaurant, a coffee shop. It lets them start managing money and have some resources to hang out with their friends. It’s more autonomy with training wheels is how my SIL put it.

    • Allison November 30, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

      That’s a great idea and I think I’ll for sure do that too!

  10. Nancy Nielsen November 29, 2018 at 9:44 am #

    I don’t think it’s Tula Pink fabric that’s a problem, but Free Spirit. I’ve had major problems with Kaffe Fasssett fabric bought from Free Spirit too. Frayed so badly that there was hardly any fabric left in the seam. Just awful. In fact I’ve decided to never buy Free Spirit again, which is a shame as they carry some really nice designers.

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 2:19 pm #

      Oh I’m sure it’s not just the Tula Pink jelly rolls…I’ve heard from other people it’s other Free Spirit rolls too, that’s just the only ones I’ve used! They do have beautiful fabrics!

  11. Betty C Ringelspaugh November 29, 2018 at 9:52 am #

    My son, who is 33 now, loved 3-D jigsaw puzzles at that age. He also had great fun with his K-NEX sets. I just checked and they are both still available (on Amazon on this case, but I am sure they would be elsewhere, too). These are both great for teaching spatial concepts and fine motor skills–my husband always advocated toys and activities that taught those skills.

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 6:04 pm #

      3D puzzle is a great idea! I’m looking at them now!

  12. Rosemaryflower November 29, 2018 at 10:01 am #

    This quilt is beautiful and happy
    I have had poorly cut precuts as well. I do check, but sometimes I get going, sewing along and then I have measurement problems and that is when I make the gruesome discovery. It is annoying. Then fudging the seams is always worrisome.

    7 year old boys,… Do they like drones? Oh you can get in trouble with those…. hmmm, kids are tricky these days. My girls are grown and both have 2 baby daughters each. I think I will give my girls and their families MONEY, to use for classes, swimming etc

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 6:04 pm #

      Yes money is all I really ask for from our families, and then we go do something fun together instead of having more stuff!

  13. Terrie Ruiz November 29, 2018 at 10:18 am #

    Love the new pattern and have several jelly rolls that would work. Am thinking of a valentines day version.
    11 year old boys are tricky, I have four that are just above that age now but continue to not be easy. Mine always welcome new clothes and they all love basketball and video games so I usually go with basketballs and video game gift cards so they can do their own game shopping. gift bags filled with their favorite snacks works as well. survival kits if you will :)

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 6:05 pm #

      That’s a great idea…both the gift ideas and the valentines day quilt idea!

  14. Sabrina November 29, 2018 at 10:25 am #

    Does your son have a favorite book or movie? You could get him some artsy posters for his room to help him transition to a teen room. My son is super into Harry Potter, so last year I got him some cool posters (called retro travel posters) from an Etsy seller called Dream Machine Prints. My son thought it was great to have artwork that represented him, and they are cool enough that I like them too.

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 6:19 pm #

      Posters are a great idea, and he’ll feel like a big kid!

  15. Sharon November 29, 2018 at 10:34 am #

    Extreme dot-to-dot books, Color Quest extreme color by number books, Querkles coloring books, and a good set of colored pencils to go with. Metal earth models – these are _AMAZING_. Super cool, they have all sorts of models (star wars, tractors, bugs, dragons, musical instruments, Dr. Who tardis, buildings, airplanes, boats, space vehicles, etc). They’re tiny, detailed … and my nephews are nuts for them and love building them. Some you can find at Hobby Lobby (bring a coupon!) and others I find on: https://www.metalearth.com/.

  16. pennyguglie November 29, 2018 at 10:51 am #

    Eleven year old boys are all very different. Sports for boys that love sports but electronics for boys that love electronics and then there are readers, the fans of all sorts of things. Good luck and look over his shoulder and see what he likes if there is an opportunity.

  17. Jamie November 29, 2018 at 12:07 pm #

    Fishing stuff? Yeti makes a really cool bait bucket that’s around $140 fully loaded. He’d have that forever. A nice set of binoculars. A bow and arrow set? Air rifle and some spinning targets? Those are all things our tomboy daughter has gotten (she’s 13).

  18. suzanprincess November 29, 2018 at 12:16 pm #

    Why not a cat, since that’s what he asked for? From a shelter, not a pet store, and let him go with you to adopt his own. A bag of cat food, or a pan and some litter for under the tree, and a “magic kit” (pic of a cat, with some magic dust to sprinkle on it) say some magic words and wait for the real thing to appear when it’s ready, i.e., at the shelter. The rewards of becoming a cat servant can be amazing! (I accidently became one many years ago, and now wouldn’t be without some fascinating, lovable, indoor-only kitties.)

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 9:25 pm #

      We actually have a cat we love…but Ben is allergic to him! We didn’t know he was allergic to cats when we got one, so he has to stay out of the bedrooms/family room. I do love the cat we have but I don’t think I can handle another one…or Ben’s allergies!

  19. Sharon M November 29, 2018 at 1:30 pm #

    Love this quilt. Thank you so much for the sale – I bought it then. Can’t wait to make one!!
    Currently 3/4 of the way through a Fat Quarter Friday quilt and it’s been such a fun, quick make :)

  20. Linda MB November 29, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

    Mindware – a catalog and online educational store – has lots of cool stuff for kids. With the online website, you can search by age. They have craft kits, outdoor activities, board games, puzzles, and (my nephew’s favorite) science experiments. There is something for everyone and they have various price ranges. Hope this helps.

    I love all of your quilts and have made four of them. I find the patterns very easy to follow.

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 9:25 pm #

      Oooh I take a look!

  21. Nettie November 29, 2018 at 1:54 pm #

    My 11 year old asked for a phone and when I told him no, he asked for rollerblades. (I’m not going to confirm that or he might change his mind. I love when they ask for active/outside stuff!)

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 9:26 pm #

      Me too…I’m all about outside/fun/active stuff!!

  22. JEAN November 29, 2018 at 2:27 pm #

    I love your quilt and pattern. My “kids” are 50ish. I’ve not a clue. Sorry.

  23. Patty November 29, 2018 at 3:10 pm #

    I agree with others who suggested experiences for your son’s presents. Movies, sporting events, skiing or swimming excursions, roller skating, or rock climbing (some places have indoor), bowling, Just him and a parent or parent plus friend. Let him choose from a menu/ list of activity options.

  24. farmhousequiltsblog November 29, 2018 at 3:40 pm #

    Love that quilt..and I love how it’s ” Allison friendly”…that must mean it’s Monique friendly too,right?! As for presents…we have an 11 year old and ours loves video games and games on his ipad ( much as I hate them, there is just no fighting it in this house :( ). He does enjoy jigsaw puzzles and maps and books so I got him a write on world map that he can hang on his wall, as well as a Ripley’s Believe it Or Not book ( you know, with lots of gross facts). I don’t know if you want to go for pets, but we have found that rats make absolutely amazing pets (yes, I thought they were ” ewww” at first too, but they are such lovable, sweet things and we adore ours!). Good luck.

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 9:26 pm #

      That’s a good idea! Ben would love that gross book. ;)

  25. Carol November 29, 2018 at 4:10 pm #

    I have been looking for a pattern for a jelly roll of wildflower fabrics. I had thought of using a solid for the background–in a springy color way, like yellow or aqua. This might just be the pattern that has been alluding me. As for the gifts category, I have an 11 yr old grandson. This year his list includes tv for his room (he will not get that!), new robe and slippers, model airplane to construct, larger electric scooter, gift card to play paint ball with friends.

    • Allison November 29, 2018 at 9:27 pm #

      Ha ha he sounds like my Ben…he wants a cat, or a tv (not happening), a phone (not happening), slippers, or cash. A model airplane would be fun though!

  26. Rebecca S. November 30, 2018 at 5:36 am #

    This is on the pricey side, but my 11 year old wants a kindle—especially since he figured out he can check out library books on it without leaving the house.

  27. Carol November 30, 2018 at 7:28 am #

    Beautiful quilt! I want to make the Christmas version right now. 😁. I also have an 11 year old boy — When I asked him what he wants for Christmas he said “a big bag of trail mix and a big can of cashews.” Ha. At least I can just get his presents on my next trip to the grocery store. 😆

    • Allison November 30, 2018 at 1:25 pm #

      LOL! Mine wants “chocolate almonds” from Costco…the kind that I won’t ever buy unless it’s Christmas! ;)

  28. Louise Davenport November 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm #

    11 year old boys adore Guinness World Records 2019 and Ripleys Believe It or Not

    • Allison December 3, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

      I just bought this at Costco!! Great idea!

  29. Laurie December 1, 2018 at 5:17 am #

    video game gift cards for pre teens is big right now.

  30. Sharon Hughson December 1, 2018 at 1:11 pm #

    The gift of gold is always appropriate. If they ask for $$$ that’s what I give my Grandkids and even my grown kids. Easy Peasy.

    • Allison December 3, 2018 at 1:38 pm #

      Yep that is usually a crowd pleaser! We’ll probably give him that every year now that he’s getting older!

  31. Helen Rowlands December 1, 2018 at 7:52 pm #


  32. Alicia Lovens December 7, 2018 at 10:01 pm #

    I’m have a Tula Pink jelly roll that is 2 5/8”. Have had to trim every piece. Free Spirit didn’t care and neither did Fat Quarter Shop. It is a pain.

  33. Joy Flora December 13, 2018 at 3:30 am #

    Hi Allison! My son in 14 and we have been struggling for the past couple of year. We have really gotten into gifting experiences and not stuff. Gift cards to sky zone and pizza places for a friends night out, laser tag, go- cart racing, Great America passes, movies with friends. Sometime I have to make “chauffeur” gift cards that he can redeem for parent to drive him and his friends around to where they want to go! I know this age is a challenge. We focus on 3 gift only, because its really Jesus’s birthday and 3 kings came to see baby Jesus.

    • Allison December 14, 2018 at 11:10 am #

      Thanks for the great ideas!

  34. Diane Allyn December 13, 2018 at 12:36 pm #

    I am looking for the pattern that is shone on Fave Quilts called Easy Double Hourglass Blocks.

  35. Michelle M December 26, 2018 at 9:34 am #

    Looking for a black mat…what brand is the mat you use (in the pic with the jelly roll)?

    • Allison December 31, 2018 at 10:12 pm #

      Sorry it took me so long to see this comment! It’s a mat by Riley Blake Designs. I purchased it at fatquartershop.com and it’s white on the other side.

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