i friend at work is the go-to lady on anything patchwork related. it was she who explained to me the wonder that it the jelly roll. i didn't get at first why anyone would want to buy such thin strips of fabric, but then she explained - you sew them together, then cut up what you've sewn, often perpendicular to to the stitching, and then stitch it together again. really easy way to make chessboard-type patchworks! and that is precisely what i had in mind for my little spare pillow...only i forgot that all that cutting would require me to take into account seam allowance, which of course i forgot about. so it's a stripy pillow rather than a checked pillow, but it's still quite cute so i'm happy:
i didn't actually use jelly rolls, i just cut girly fabrics i already had into strips so i could have a bit of a play, and yeh, it worked out well enough (if you pretend that stripes was what i was going for) so i might have to have another shot at this, using the real thing, and not being scrimpy with my seams.