American Patchwork and Quilting Magazine has a great website called All People Quilt. I regularly receive their e-newsletter. One of today's little articles was a mini-tutorial on how to use jelly roll strips to make nine-patch blocks. This is one of the easiest ways to get started sewing, especially if you use precut strips, aka jelly rolls. Jelly rolls come in all sorts of colors from just about every fabric company and designer that exist. My favorites lately come from Connecting Threads. I used them to make these blocks:
(Fabrics: Connecting Threads Scrap Basket Brights - #4719 Strips and yardage for black and white strips and also backing; JoAnn Fabrics - yardage and 1 fat quarter)
Jelly roll strips are all 2 1/2" wide by the width of the fabric (generally 42 - 44"). They are perfect for any quilt that calls for strips or small (as in 2 1/2") squares. They are easy to stitch onto the sides of quilts for simple borders, or use them to make elaborate pieced borders. The jelly roll also takes the brainwork out of deciding what fabrics go together if you are not "color-confident". Since the fabrics are all taken from one collection, they all go together. Always. Every time. The only decision you'd have to make is which colors you like the best. Start there, and you can't go wrong. Usually, a jelly roll will contain at least 25 different fabric strips - sometimes it is 2 of each of a collection, sometimes it's 1 strip of a whole bunch of fabrics. When I make a quilt with strips, I generally buy 2 jelly rolls. This way, I'm assured to get 2 of each color that I need. The other strips can be used for borders or for bindings.
Other great uses for the jelly roll? Any block that uses strips or small (as in 2 1/2") squares. You can also crochet or braid them into a rug if you are feeling uber-adventurous.