Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time working on the first part of the stitch along - cutting and fusing circles, taking pictures and making notes - and it actually took quite a bit longer than I expected! I guess you don't always realise how long something takes until you actually analyse it like that! I think it's going to take more than three posts, so I'm just going to stick to the first part today, preparing & fusing your circles.
It's probably not a bad idea to make a little sketch of a rough design idea - how many circles/rings you want and positioning etc. Don't worry about this too much - I often find it quite hard to visualise how something will look until I actually start putting it together so you may want to change things round a bit once we get to the point of fusing the circles to the background. (What I would say, though, is don't position your circles too closely together - you need some space inbetween in order to get the full "ripple" effect with the quilting.) First things first, though! We need to draw some circles!
Draw your chosen circle shapes onto the paper side of your fusible web. A little side note here - some brands have paper on both sides and you need to make sure that you draw your circles on the side that has the gluey web sticking to it. On more than one occasion I have drawn a design then separated the two pieces of paper only to discover that I have drawn on the wrong side and peeled my design away! You can use a compass if you have one to draw your circles but I just used a variety of household objects!
I've tried to be as efficient with my paper use as possible, but you do need to allow a bit of space between each shape. (The lines are just to stop me getting confused about which lines I need to cut on for the ring shapes. I probably didn't need to do that for the solid circles too though!!)
Using paper scissors, cut your shapes out allowing a few extra mm around the outside of your drawn lines. For the rings, I made a little starting off slit with my seamripper (yes, I know I shouldn't use it on paper!) then carefully snipped around the inner shape.
Prepare your fabric scraps by pressing them and laying them face down on your ironing board. Make sure there are no loose threads lying on the surface. If your fusible web does have the extra piece of paper on, now's the time to peel it off, and lay your shape (hopefully with your drawn circle still on the other paper side) glue side down onto your fabric and press with your hot iron to fuse into place. A few seconds should do it, but do refer to the instructions of your particular brand of web to be on the safe side.
Once all your circles are fused you can now cut out the shapes along your drawn lines. TAKE YOUR TIME. Circles can be very tricky to cut out accurately (at least, I find they are) so don't rush it. Again, for the rings, make a little slit inside the ring, then slip your scissors in to get to the inside edge. This is probably the most time consuming and tedious bit of the project - my hands were aching by the time I had finished cutting out all my shapes - but it's definitely worth doing properly.
Once all your shapes are cut out you can start arranging them on your background fabric. Press your background fabric and lay it, right side up, on your ironing board, again making sure there are no stray threads lying on the surface. Refer to your sketch if you did one, but play around with the arrangement until you are happy with it. I found that I wasn't happy with some of the fabrics I had used initially so had to go and make a bunch more circles! Don't forget to leave enough space around the edge to allow for trimming down, binding etc.
Once you are happy with the arrangement, taking one circle at a time, peel off the backing paper and place it back in it's position. I like to give a quick touch with the iron, just to adhere it enough to avoid any shifting around (in case someone walks into the ironing board, for example!) Once you've done that with every circle you can now fuse it properly. Again, refer to your manufacturer's instructions. I use a damp pressing cloth (eg. clean teatowel, spare piece of fabric) and place that carefully over the piece I'm fusing, then press with a hot iron for about 10-15 seconds.
I'll try and get back tomorrow for the next bit - stitching down your circles. In the meantime, if anything is unclear please do give me a shout.