A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.
I think I am a really good pattern tester but no one ever asked me to test their patterns anymore. Anyway, back in July I made a couple of the Metro Rings quilts designed by Jenny Pedigo over at Sew Kind of Wonderful. I had quite a bit of trouble using the template in the way that is described in the pattern. Not that anything is wrong with the template. I like it alot and will definitely use it again. I was not about to be outdone by a piece of plastic! I love a good challenge. So I adapted the template and the directions to be a little more senior friendly.
I’ve had a couple of people email me since I made mine back in July to ask if I had trouble using the template. The latest one to email me was Sara over at Growing Stitches. I told her I wouldn’t get around to making another metro rings quilt until after Christmas but things changed. I found myself waiting for a batting order over the weekend. Can’t move forward without it so I worked on this quilt top.
I can’t put a copy of the pattern or any part of the instructions here because that would be against copyright rules. Instead I’ll simply show what I did and explain it in a way that I hope won’t infringe. I’ll email Jenny about this post and remove any parts she wants me to.
Anyone who has already bought the template and the Metro Rings pattern will know what I’m talking about. Anyone who hasn’t bought the pattern yet will find this post confusing. One change I did was to mark a couple of lines on the template. I marked them with red marker so my senior eyes can see them better among all those tiny black lines. The first red line is at the 4 3/4 inch line. Then I marked another red line at the 1/4 inch along the side. See how much better they show up?
I realized the line on the right should have been at the 1/8 inch instead of at 1/4 inch so I erased it and marked it over again at the correct place. Now that’s better. These old eyes find this easier to use.
When cutting the triangles and the arcs I folded my fabric in half, making sure I folded on the correct side. I was cutting two at a time. This was before I made the new red lines.
Line up the fold at the 5 inch line, and whacked off the corners. Like this….
I then moved the arc cut out into place and cut those.
I was doing great until the very last two and this happened. DUH! I knew better. Geeze that was all the fabric I had like that except some scraps.
Ok, a bit of creative piecing and I have a piece large enough to cut out two more. Isn’t that what piecing quilts is all about? Sewing scraps into usable pieces? Anyway, I got the last two pieces cut too.
When pressing the rings it’s important that the seams go out instead of in. Pressing in creates tiny puckers but pressing out eliminated them. Very lightly press the ring from the back then turn over and press again.
Why? Because pressing from the back creates tucks like this. You want to press those out. Use plenty of steam or spray starch to get it pressed really well. If the piece appears distorted don’t worry you’ll get it straight later.
So now the reason for the red line at 4 3/4 inch line. The instructions show you squaring up the block by estimating the point is at the 4 3/4 mark. I wasn’t happy with that. I wanted to know for SURE I was cutting at the right place so I folded the piece in half….. like this….. so I could see the point is right. It is only finger pressed, no ironing because an iron might put a permanent fold line. I don’t want that. Be sure that the seam lines of the rings are right on top of each other and the fold is correct before you cut.
These are supposed to be squared up to 9 1/2 inches. One half of 9 1/2 inches is 4 3/4 so that’s the red line I drew. I placed that red line along the folded edge. Then trimmed off the excess. The part by the arrow. It’s better to trim off the end BEFORE trimming the melons.
Now for trimming the melon section. I opened the piece back up. I found it easier to do this cutting with the piece unfolded. I got less distortion this way. I placed the other red line at the points of the arcs… like this…. (Dang! This is the wrong photo but I don’t know what happened to the right photo. This is close enough you get the idea. Right?)
The red line should be right at the point of the arc at both top and bottom. This leaves you 1/8 inch for your seam line. It should look like this after it’s cut. See how close it is?
That 1/8 inch translated to a really good 1/4 inch for the next seam where you add the corner stones. Where the arrow is pointing. A good 1/4 inch seam space there. Getting this right is the secret to NO cut off points. Cut off points are not good. A really straight center line inside the melons will be important for squaring up the finished blocks after you sew on the corner stones.
That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far. I have to finish trimming these and sew all the melons together. Then decide on what fabric to use for the corner stones. I hope these hints are helpful for those who struggled using the template or found it difficult to follow the instructions correctly like I did. I love the design and plan to definitely do more. My goal is to finish enough of the squares that I can post a couple more helpful hints this week. I want this top finished so it can be someone’s Christmas gift.