Metro Top

The Metro Rings top came together so quickly! I was surprised, after all the trimming and pressing and sewing and more trimming when I looked around and realized that all my blocks were square and all that was left to do was to sew them together!

Metro Rings top

Tonight, I plan to pin baste and then I’ll start on quilting. I’ve been browsing Pinterest for DWR quilting inspiration and found some good ideas. I really like the original heavy quilting done by longarm by Jenny at Sew Kind of Wonderful but I’m not confident in my straight line quilting ability yet. This pin of the backside of a Metro Rings from Francesca Plancher is gorgeous – I love the negative space where the ring segments are. Anyone know if Francesca is the original source or if it comes from elsewhere? Google Image Search let me down.

Nearly matchy points!

Here’s another Metro Rings with great negative space use from Helen Robinson’s Instagram. I think I’m going to aim for something like this!

Metro Rings side view

Metro Rings Mockup

Here’s a little carpet design floor mockup of what the Metro Rings quilt I’m working on will look like. None of the pieces are completely sewn and ironed and the grey will only be on the very outside quilt blocks, but I think it is going to be really nice when finished!

Double Wedding Ring mockup

My grey blocks are a little bit wavy, even after a hearty pressing. When I saw on Instagram that Shanna (@fiberofallsorts) is also making a Metro Rings, I asked if her blocks were coming out wavy as well.  She provided some advice, and Jessica (@mugirl133) and Peggy (<a href="http://instagram.com/colourdujour” target=”_blank”>@colourdujour) weighed in as well.  It seems that I’ve been pulling the fabric too roughly, which warps the seams a bit.  My background fabric (Pat Bravo Pure Elements) has a lovely hand and drape, but it is a bit lighter weight than the ring segment fabric (Botanics).  I’ve been trying to sew more slowly and ease the curves into position instead of ladyhandling the fabric and the blocks are seeming to lie flatter.  Luckily I still had the majority of blocks to sew.  Thanks ladies for your advice!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Cutting for Metro Rings

After troubleshooting the Metro Rings pattern, I got right down to cutting the fabric needed for the quilt. I’m using Pure Elements solids in Linen White and Ash for the background, Honey and Burnt Orange for the triangles, and a Botanics jelly roll for the ring segments.

Cutting curved triangles

Then I cut more fabric.

More triangles

Then there was a brief interlude of sewing and ironing.

A bit of sewing

And then back to cutting.

Cutting curves

I still have four curve sections to cut and then I’ll get down to sewing. I’m really liking how this is coming together! And all this trimming is leading to some interesting possibilities for the leftover bits.

Interesting Possibilities

I may stitch them together as well and see what I can make!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Metro Practice

I knew, after reading NaNa’s helpful post and emailing with Jessica that I’d want to make a couple of practice Metro Rings blocks before diving in.

So I cut out the pieces, skimmed through the pattern, and dived in.

Metro Rings practice

The block on the right was my first block. Not too bad, I thought. I used Nana’s tips for ensuring that the center almond shape’s points don’t get cut off, and everything was going great until I sewed on the side triangles. And then the block was far too big – like, an inch of extra all around. And the trim line came far too close to the rings (look at the bottom right corner). I wish I took a picture before trimming.

And then I skimmed through the pattern again before making the second block, but I seemed to be doing everything correctly.

The second block, the one on the left, came out better, but it was still really big before trimming and had worryingly little space on the background fabric between the edge and the ring. But I thought I was OK and that was how the block should look.

So before I dived in with cutting my real fabric, I just looked at the pattern one more time.

Lo and behold, there was a little line in the cutting directions: “Align previous curved cut under the dashed curved reference
line on ruler.” Yeah, I was totally aligning the curved cut to the SOLID reference line on the ruler. Which was making my curved rings too big, which was making my blocks too big.

Moral of the story? Read the instructions carefully and follow them. Of course.

Summer Goals

It is that goal-setting time of year again for the Finish Along at Littlest Thistle! This quarter’s goals feel lofty. Last quarter, I had tops and backs and batting all set to be quilted, so finishing the quilts was No Big Deal.

This quarter, I have stacks of fabric and ideas.

First up, Metro Rings out of Botanics and Pure Elements with some custom quilting. This is the only project with a hard deadline, as it is for a friend getting married in October (or her shower, whenever that is). I’ve wanted to work with Botanics for a while, and B & G will be decorating their home in greens, blues, oranges, and yellows. The facing triangles will be orange and yellow, and I’m going to add a wide grey border similar to this quilt.  Finishing the top is my July Lovely Year of Finishes goal.

Botanics for a DWR

Next, I want to finally do something with these leftover blocks from LLamas in Log Cabins. My idea is to make some flying geese to sit between the blocks and then add a couple of borders, medallion-style to make the finished piece larger.

Leftover Llamas block

Leftover Llama planning

I’ve had this gorgeous Salt Water and coordinating solids stack on the top of the fabric pile for months, and I think it is time to sew them into a Honey quilt from Elizabeth Hartman’s second book, Modern Patchwork.

Salt Water and Solids

My last amorphous goal is to do something with this lovely Acacia and solids stack. I’m open to suggestions – maybe hexagons or a kaleidoscope?

Acacia and solids

This all seems a bit daunting, yes? Better start cutting fabric!

Foxy Finish

Fields of Foxes is done, squeaked in juuuust under the Lovely Year of Finishes deadline (original goal post here). As in today was the last day to post the project, and I stitched up the binding last night. Fields of Foxes was a Craftsy workshop (project page here) and I really enjoyed the format and discussion.

Fields of Foxes Finished!

A kind colleague at work helped me take these photos. She’s also a quilter, so she understands the need to document these things.

Fields of Foxes back

Fields of Foxes was also one of my goals for the Q2 Finish Along. Which means that I completed all of my goals this quarter! Frankly, I’m surprised I finished everything, because I feel like it was really busy! Next quarter will not be nearly as productive, but I am really excited about the projects I have planned!

Foxy Quilting

One of my favorite parts of a day is sitting down to this:

Quilting Fields of Foxes

Fields of Foxes is nearly quilted with spirals and I’m really loving this pattern and quilt and thread (Aurifil 50 wt in Butter, yes I indeed splurged) combination.

Quilting spirals on Fields of Foxes

I like piecing and ironing and figuring out a pattern, but there’s just something lovely and meditative for me about free motion quilting, when one’s hands and foot are moving in harmony.* There’s a freedom in fitting each individual spiral exactly where it needs to go in relation to every other spiral, and a joy in stitching a perfect center point. They remind me of ocean waves or of roses or pearls.

Of course, all this is Best Case Scenario business. There are skipped stitches, and weird zaggy lines, and non-air conditioned workspaces made stifling by being draped with quilt. Usually, I have the windows open while I sew, but last night, my neighbors were throwing a loud and epic beer pong party. I maintain that when you can clearly hear every conversation and are starting to learn the names of all in attendance through closed windows AND over a sewing machine and an episode of Amazing Race, it’s a loud party.

In any case, hopefully this one will be done after one more night of quilting! Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced – she’s giving away a FQ bundle this week!

Requilting Success!

Requilting Foxes Out My Window was a success!

Foxes Out My Window requilted!

Here’s the process I used:
1. Remove binding with seam ripper, trim off really long scraggly frayed threads, iron with gusto, and stick it in the closet for storage.
2. Pick out quilting from a 1.5′ x 1.5′ section, working from the center outwards.
3. Dampen quilt with water and iron.
4. Requilt with chosen pattern (In this case, stipple)
5. Realize that ironing the quilt doesn’t really do much and may in fact cause some puckers.
6. Repeat steps 2 and 4 until quilt is fully quilted.
7. Reattach binding.
8. Snuggle with newly requilted quilt.

Foxes Out My Window back

Picking out the quilting from only a small space at a time kept the layers together properly. It was a little time-consuming to have to keep pulling the quilt out of my machine to unpick stitches, but I’m happy with the overall product. There were also a lot of ends to tie and bury from all the stating and stopping.

Foxes out my Window back detail

All the quilting and unpicking and requilting left this quilt with a really soft, crinkly texture. I haven’t yet washed it, but I’m hoping the holes left from the stitch unpicking will fade. In the meantime, my husband told me that “the light through the old quilting holes looks like constellations.”

FAL-2014-Button

Also, I don’t think I ever took a picture of the completed quilt, way back two summers ago. And I’m certain I never had a shot of the back. I’m thankful for my nice husband for helping me document this one!

Finishing this was on of my Q2 Finish Along goals at The Littlest Thistle! Hooray!

Adventures with Seam Ripper

After spreading out all my fabric across the floor and reorganizing a lot of it, I managed to select fabric for the back of Fields of Foxes from my stash. The teal and white print is Put a Lid On It from Michael Miller, the grey chevrons and bird vine print is from Cloud 9′s collection for Joann, and the blue and green chevrons are from Joann several years ago. Yay for using up fabric that was languishing in my stash!

Fields of Foxes back

Then I got to quilting. Because the fabric is so bold, I was thinking of doing some straight lines along the diagonal diamonds with a bit of FMQ in the diamond centers. Note the operative word ‘was’ in the sentence above. I was thinking of doing that. I spray basted as usual, and then got down to quilting the FMQ bits.

Pretty quilting on Fields of Foxes

Sadly, the back turned into a puckering mess. I didn’t take any pictures because truly, it was disheartening. I have a few theories why:
1. Usually, I FMQ from the center out, but this was quilted from the edges across. I thought that if everything was quilted down that it wouldn’t shift, but I guess that wasn’t the case.
2. The backing green chevron fabric is a little lighter weight than the others and may have gotten a bit stretched.
3. Aliens. Small, pucker-causing aliens.

Also, my quilting thread didn’t get along with my machine and kept snapping.

I talked all this through with my sensible husband and tried to convince him that I’d be okay with tucks. He responded by looking me in the eye and reminding me that I would be much more pleased with the finished product if it had no puckers. So, to the seam ripper I went.

Unquilted

Three nights of unquilting and two thirds of a season of New Girl later, the layers are separate again. This time, I’ll pin baste the sucker and quilt it with some all-over spirals. Boom.

Quilty mail!

Oh hello, fun quilty mail! The jelly roll is for my next (secretish? I haven’t decided) project and I can’t wait to start cutting and piecing.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Two Foxy WIPs

Last Friday, I got the rest of the top and bottom edge triangles pieced from leftover strips and scraps. Mostly, the joins are a bit obvious in the busy patterns of Fox Field but look!

Accidental pattern matching!

A completely accidental pattern match! I’m rather tickled with it.

Husband helped me lay out the quilt and make sure that the colors were balanced and then I got to sewing the top together.

Fields of Foxes top

It is probably going to be around queen sized, especially if I add a nice border of the leftover cream geo print that I didn’t use to make the top and bottom triangles. Husband really likes this quilt too and might insist we keep it.

Fields of Foxes is my June Lovely Year of Finishes goal. Go big or go home, right? I need to work out backing; part of me wants to splurge for a great whack of the Fox Trot print and another part of me insists on using what is in the stash, which is probably wiser and more thrifty.

While I’m pondering backing, I started on another WIP project. You may remember that I wanted to requilt my first quilt ever, Foxes Out My Window, which I got started on this week as well. I removed the binding and ironed it, and then started pulling out the quilting. I’m starting from the middle and working about a block of space at a time. Luckily, it’s pretty easy, because my old machine had such terrible tension! The quilt still a little crinkly from the first time I washed it, but I like the crinkle and it doesn’t seem to be hindering anything.

Requilting Foxes Out my Window

After these Foxy WIPs done, I have a whole bunch of ideas of what to cut next: a plus quilt, Ring Toss, Metro Rings, something using Tula Pink’s Salt Water or Acacia lines, experimenting with the Quick Curve ruler… I think the planning and drafting stage may be one of my favorite parts of all this!

I’m linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Oh and hey! Lee also started hosting #WIPWednesday on Instagram too – I’m lucymade over there as well!