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Finish: City Lights

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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