Finish: City Lights 26

Yay, happy day! I can share some secret sewing finally! I mentioned in my last post that I’d just gotten past the Season of the Deadlines. One of those deadlines was creating this quilt for the Modern Quilt Guild’s Quilt of the Month program (you need to be a member and logged in for the link to work), which just got released today!


If you are a member of the MQG, the link to the free pattern should have been emailed out to you. I included a couple of ideas on ways to change up the design as well as a coloring page for testing out your own versions.


This quilt started out life as a QDAD (Quilt Design a Day), but when I submitted it for the quilt of the month, I changed up the colors quite a bit to include some of my favorites.


Photo by Steven Pisano, used under Creative Commons. Photo has been cropped from original image.

The repetition of the lines reminded me of the way lightΒ reflections skip down the street after a good rain and I played with the colors around that idea.


I had planned to finish this quilt during my Christmas break, but due to weather and holidays, the fabric didn’t show up until I was already back to work. I am teaching a new class this semester which means loads of prep time, so finding the time was tough. I managed to finish the quilt by the deadline in late January, but I was practically in tears over how much I hated the quilting.


The photo really doesn’t capture it (that was originally on purpose) but it was not straight, lots of puckers and the fabric had moved all over the place, ruining all the straight lines I’d created. Fortunately, I chatted with a few friends who talked me down and convinced me that I could always go back to the quilting later.


After QuiltCon (which I still need to write up my notes about!) I came home really inspired. During the panel I moderated, the idea of doing something in small bits over a longer period of time had come up again which is the philosophy behind QDAD. So I took out City Lights and stared at it. While it really deserved to have all the quilting ripped out, I decided I just couldn’t face that. So instead I decided to make the quilting more dense which would help take attention away from the wobbles, and I pulled the stitching in the places that were puckered.


20 minutes a night for a little over a week (AND USING MY WALKING FOOT OMG) and I ended up with something I was MUCH happier with! And as a bonus, because the quilt hadn’t been mailed out to everyone yet, I was able to replace the photo with a new one that showed off the better quilting.



I used double lines for the vertical parts as a call out to the lines you see on sky scrapers, and denser straight line quilting for the horizontals to mimic ripples in pooled water. The patch of hot pink I used pink thread to pull the color across similar to the way light reflections get pulled across the water.

I still have a lot to learn about quilting as a design element, and making mistakes is part of the process. I definitely learned a ton from this quilt and I look forward to applying that to future quilts!



Name: City Lights
Dimensions: 54″ x 72″
Fabrics: Konas – Oasis, Capri, Storm, Pomegranate, Wasabi, Oyster
Binding: Kona Storm
Thread: There are at least 5 different colors in there and I didn’t note them sadly
Pro-tip: Use your walking foot even if its kind of a pain to put on and is also a bit loud because holy cow why did I ever think it wasn’t worth using?!


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26 thoughts on “Finish: City Lights

    • anne Post author

      Thank you for the kind comments and the link! I did catch it and was so surprised to see myself mentioned! I am so glad that this year at QuiltCon I skipped all the classes and focused on meeting and chatting with people. Meeting Melanie was definitely a highlight of my trip!

  • Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

    I am so glad you went back, used a walking foot (!!!), and made this something you like a lot more (if not love). I think it is fantastic and the story behind the quilt is so captivating and fun. I can’t help but thinking of bright yellow galoshes and rain coats. <3

    • anne Post author

      Thank you for talking me off the proverbial ledge with this one!! I still think I made a crucial mistake in the quilting design, but that’s learning for you. I’m definitely much happier with it now and won’t be ashamed for it to hang somewhere. Haha! I love the yellow galoshes and rain coat reference! I hadn’t even thought of that, but I love it. πŸ˜€

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! I’ve picked out quilting once and decided that I’d like to avoid that as much as possible in the future. πŸ˜‰

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much, Sharon! πŸ˜€ That makes my day! I’d love to see what you end up making when you’re finished. πŸ™‚

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much! <3 I have a really rocky relationship with quilting, but I am really trying to make it work. haha!

  • Pat S

    The quilt looks great. The walking foot is definitely your friend, but I agree with you about changing feet. I always find myself procrastinating when it is time to change out a foot, whether it be the walking foot or the quarter inch foot or something else. I just hate changing feet.

    • anne Post author

      Yessss, the walking foot. I had it drop grease on a quilt once and I think it scared me away. I don’t know what caused it but hopefully it won’t do it again. :/ Also I’m with you, I hate changing feet! Which is weird because it takes less than a minute!

    • anne Post author

      That’s awesome that you joined in! πŸ˜€ I spent a year making QDADs and I’ve taken a break because I needed some space to actually make some of the designs! haha Have you dipped your toes into the design waters yet? πŸ™‚

    • anne Post author

      Thank you!! This is “planned improv” which is basically all that my brain is comfortable with when it comes to improv. Hahaha improv is my goal for the year but it’s kinda kickin’ my butt. πŸ™‚

    • anne Post author

      Thank you Sue! It’s amazing what a difference the denser quilting made. It won’t fix some of the mistakes I made, but at least it does a better job of hiding them. πŸ™‚

  • Rejeanne

    What can I say that hasn’t been said? I totally agree with all the comments. Congratulations to you, Anne. Sadly for me, I’m not a member of the Modern Quilt Guild – yet, so the pattern is not available to me. Thanks for the quilt design PDFs. Very interesting. Also, I have some final pics to send you of my finished quilt when I get home late this weekend.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much Rejeanne, and I loved seeing the photos of your finish! πŸ˜€ So exciting although I’m actually a little sad that the journey has completed. Time for a new journey? ^_^

  • Jenn @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge

    I downloaded the pattern the moment it arrived in my mailbox. One of these days, I find time to make it. I love the bold stripes. And I love the honesty in this post. Who hasn’t finished a quilt and been disappointed that the final product didn’t line up with what we had envisioned? It takes bravery to put those feelings out there into the perfect-finish, rose coloured glasses blogosphere. So glad you were able to find a way to re-work the quilt into something you were pleased with (I probably would have stuck in the back of a closet and wished to forget about it! ☺)

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much!! I’d LOVE to see your version should you find time to make it! πŸ˜€
      Honestly I normally would have shoved it into the back of a closet (I have plenty of those) but the quilt of the month quilts are all displayed at QuiltCon every year. Knowing that it would be on display for everyone to see is part of what made me so upset about how poorly it had turned out but also made me HIGHLY motivated to fix it!! Hahaha it will probably never win awards, but at least I can be proud of it instead of ashamed. πŸ™‚

  • shecanquilt

    This is such a beautiful and striking design, I love it. And I cannot imagine quilting without a walking foot, you will find it makes a huge difference for all your straight line quilting.

    • anne Post author

      At one point, my walking foot dropped a spot of black grease on a white quilt I was working on which fortunately was not for show or anything. However, it has made me wary to use it ever since, even though I’ve been pretty good about cleaning it since then. I have no idea why the grease spot appeared, but it fortunately did not happen with this quilt. It really makes SUCH a huge [positive] difference, I will definitely use it in the future. And fingers crossed the grease thing doesn’t happen again!