Friday, August 29, 2014

41. Piece a Basket Block

Earlier this week we finished up free motion quilting our last house block so I think it's time to jump ahead to piecing our basket blocks!
I absolutely love this block and the combination of half square triangles and the cute curving handle of the basket. We're getting our feet wet with a bit of applique with this block, and I'm excited to be able to teach you my favorite turned edge applique method.

Learn how to piece this block in this video:


http://www.leahday.com/shop/product/building-blocks-download-quilt-pattern/
Find the template for the basket handle as well as detailed cutting and piecing instructions in the Building Blocks Quilt Pattern.

This video ran a bit long, but there are a lot of steps to piecing this block. When turning the edges of your basket handles just remember that a wider amount of fabric is easier to turn. If you cut the fabric too close to the template it can feel really fiddly and once you add starch, the whole process can become a struggle.

One product I recently discovered is Floriani Stitch and Wash Fusible. This is a fusible stabilizer that is stable enough to turn against exactly as we learned in this technique, but it's water soluble, so you can leave it in the handle and the stiffness will wash out after you wash your quilt.

I played with this a bit and really liked the ability to turn my edges, but not have to remove the template, which always seems to wreck havoc with the fiddly places, like deep points and corners.

http://www.leahday.com/It might also be a good idea to place a piece of tearaway stabilizer under your block as you zigzag stitch over the basket handle. The more I learn about machine embroidery, the more I realize how much stabilizer is needed for regular machine applique as well.

Speaking of machine applique, I'm headed to the machine to start working on the blocks for our NEXT quilt along! Here's a little sneak peak to get you excited:

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Amazing Aquarium in NC

Oh man! Yesterday James had a half day at school and we decided that was the perfect day to go to Sea Life, a new aquarium that opened this year in Concord, NC.

What an amazing place! This aquarium was small, but extremely organized and basically built for small children. There were multiple places for James to crawl inside the tanks and look out through the water like this:

I really loved this aquarium's focus on education for conservation. They breed multiple species of rays and seahorses and explain why these fish are in danger. Simply put - we eat them too much, or we're destroying their habitat. Sea Life clearly wants to educate children to make good food, transportation, and buying decisions.

Josh and I even learned a lot and we all had a great time because this aquarium was so creative and interesting. The largest shark tank was the coolest because you get to walk through a tunnel and see all the fish swim around you. On the opposite side is another viewing window with this big guy right in the middle:
Clearly this aquarium was built by some very creative people! We really had a great time and I love supporting places like this. So just in case you're in Concord, NC, make sure to swing around the back of Concord Mills (the massive mall that's impossible to miss on the side of I-85) to find SeaLife.

Even better, We're Sew Creative, a super cool quilt shop is nearby, so you can make it a quilting excursion as well!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Josh's Circles & Echoes in a House Block

Josh here for my turn to quilt circles and echoes in our last house block.


I really liked the design effect on this one with the smoke echoes coming from the chimney.

 For the rocks at the base of the block, substituting the design "Underwater rocks" was a great help and also was good practice for circles.

I continue to mix things up by modifying and simplifying the designs. I particularly liked the necklace effect I made with the rocks at the bottom. I can get away with this due to the fact I'm using Spoonflower preprinted fabric, which is marked at the manufacturer and eliminates the entire piecing process.

And here is my completed block:


Until next time, let's go quilt!

Josh


Monday, August 25, 2014

New Hand Applique Class with Mimi!

I'm having a much better day, chilling on the couch with a creative project in my hands and a fun Craftsy class on my ipad. Today I'm enjoying Mimi Dietrich's newest Craftsy class Hand Applique Made Easy.
http://www.craftsy.com/ext/LeahDay_4721_CP
Mimi Dietrich is quickly becoming one of my favorite teachers. She's funny, extremely talented, and has a knack for making complicated things like needle turn applique very easy.

Sign up for this new Hand Applique Made Easy class and save 33%!
http://www.craftsy.com/ext/LeahDay_476_CP

Mimi's other Craftsy class is Finishing School, a class all about finishing your quilts with binding. If you're looking for creative ways to bind your quilts, this is also a class you'll enjoy. Click here to save on Finishing School too!

Let's go learn!

Leah

40. Quilt Circles & Echoes in a House Block

Today we're quilting along on the Building Blocks Quilt and finishing up our last house block of the month. This is my all time favorite quilting design for this quilt and it's just a simple combination of circles and echoes:
 For this design, I marked every line except the Pebbling in the bottom of the block. That section was far easier to quilt free hand with no marking. Everything else needed to be marked in order to fit together properly. Check out this video to see what I mean:


I love this design so much, it's been turned into a quilting stencil! Click Here to find a 10 inch stencil for this house block design.

This stencil marks a 10 inch house block, which won't fit our 8 inch square for the Building Blocks Quilt. But if you wanted to play with more houses over plain fabric blocks, this would certainly be an easy way to mark it!

I've been playing with other stencils and created this funky wholecloth by combining one of the Cheater Drunkard Path designs four times. It's amazing what you can do with the stencils because it's so much easier to mark the fabric from the surface.

Feeling inspired? Click here to see all the stencils you can play with from Quilting Creations International.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Goddess Sketches

This year I haven't had a main goddess quilt to work on, unless you count Duchess Reigns who is folded up in the corner until I can find the thousand hours it will take to finish her. I made some major design mistakes on that quilt...but I will get back to it sometime.

Still, I even though I haven't started a new quilt, that doesn't mean I haven't been working on several designs. Here's a few sketches I'm playing with right now:

http://www.leahday.com/quilt0gallery/
This quilt came to me after reading a story in a Workaholics Anonymous newsletter. The author wrote something like "I needed to find something more powerful than all my fears."  Those words - more powerful than all your fears - really resonated with me.

I've really struggled with fear and anxiety in the past, even made a quilt on what it looks like to be totally stuck in fear, and the idea of capturing that force of strength and compassion was really compelling. So this quilt is about seeking peace and feeling comforted and safe.

The next design is not really a goddess, but may be incorporated into one eventually. At the beginning of the summer I kept drawing empty spaces with lines running through them.

http://www.leahday.com/quilt0gallery/
What was coming to mind is the feeling of having your heart torn out - like a broken heart - and what it takes to mend. There are times I feel like the scars of my past are so faded and old they're hardly worth noticing.

Other times, and it seems especially in the summer, I find these scars raw and painful once again. I have a scar on my ankle from when I caught myself on fire in 1999. It might just be my imagination, but in the summer it seems to stand out much more clearly than other times of the year.

So that was the more depressing of the designs I've been working on, but I find it compelling because I want to play with Sharon Schamber's corded lattice techniques. It might showcase something painful, but if done beautifully, it will be an amazing quilt.

Later in the summer I began dreaming a lot more and came up with this design:
http://www.leahday.com/quilt0gallery/

I was thinking about the days before I had James when I was full of curiosity about this child I hadn't seen before. Also around that time I began actively pursing my dream of starting a business so I did a lot of day dreaming about what our lives would be like if everything worked out.

This goddess is dreaming, planning, seeking, wishing, and creating a landscape out of her own head. I love this image because I believe it's such a powerful, positive message: what you wish for can come true.

Right in line with this goddess is one more about creativity and unleashed potential:

http://www.leahday.com/quilt0gallery/
This one is really a recreation of Release Your Light, but this time I'm going to use the original name of that quilt - Light In Me.

This design jumped into my head after AQS Charlotte when I began asking What does I Am Enough look like? and What does Creativity look like?

My answer is this design - creativity is an open channel. Her heart is open to share, and her hands are open to receive. The sun isn't sketched in yet, but like Release Your Light, she will be exploding with light.

So maybe you can see why I haven't made a true start at any one of these designs - this is a lot to choose from! The one lesson I've learned over the years is not to rush it.

I've decided to work on all of them, solidifying the piecing / applique design first, then the quilting design, then the construction plan. You never know, one of these may even show up as a quilt along project for next year!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cheering up with Pie

Not every day is a great day...(today has been pretty rotten)...

But most days are better with apple pie!

My dad has been blessing us with more than just awesome help cutting fabric and packing orders. He also bakes pies about every two weeks and brings one down for us to enjoy. How's that for a multi- talented employee?

Here's to bad days being made a bit better with good food.

Leah
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