Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Learning Loads at AQS Charlotte

I've been looking forward to this week ALL summer! This week Josh, James and I have taken off for Charlotte, NC to visit AQS Charlotte show and I think this has been one of our best vacations ever!

 I'm taking classes and it's been loads of fun just focusing on being a student this week. Yes, even teachers need to learn and build new skills and this trip has been all about building new skills in arenas that I'm definitely interested in, but just haven't taken the time to learn.

My first class today was with Barb Vlack on designing with EQ7. Just in case you're not familiar - EQ7 stands for Electric Quilt and it's a program you can use to design quilts, print templates, and calculate yardage.

I've had this program for more than a year, but never clicked beyond the starting screen. Does that sound familiar? Most other students in class reported the same issue! Taking a class on using this software was a great investment because it forced me to take a whole day, focus on just the program, and be patient while I learned all the steps.

There's still loads I want to learn - like how to draw custom block sizes and applique shapes and quilting designs - but I got the basics down pat and even started laying out some old quilts that would be nice to have in pattern form.

It might not be much, and it certainly needs a bit of tweeking, but I feel like this is a huge accomplishment! I have to hand it to Barb Vlack for running such a great class.

She kept everyone on track and was infinitely patient with over 20 students and all our various computer skill levels. I wish I had more room in my schedule for more EQ7 classes, but for now I'm satisfied with understanding the basics and learning by trial and error from here.

It turns out Barb is the awesome creator of all the EQ7 challenges in Club EQ. If you really want to test your skills at the program you can design quilts or blocks for the monthly challenges and post them to the website here. It's a great way to build skill and make amazing block and quilt designs!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Josh's Wiggly Spirals in a Spinning Square Block

Josh here, and today we're stitching out some wiggly spirals in our fun spinning square block. Groovy!


And here's the finished block:


How are you doing with wiggly spirals? Did you stitch this design out freehand, or did you use traced lines?

Remember, this Quilt Along is very different from others you may have done in the past. You can join at any time and stitch the designs and blocks at your own leisure as the pattern and these posts and videos will always be available.

Click here for the download version of the pattern.

Click here for a PRINTED copy of the Building Blocks quilt pattern.

Until next time, let's go quilt.

Josh

Monday, July 28, 2014

35. Quilt Wiggly Spiral in a Spinning Square Block

It's time to finish our last Spinning Square block! This block has been so much fun and we've learned many creative ways to quilt it. Today we're covering the entire block with a big wiggly spiral:

This particular design works a bit differently from most other blocks we've quilted. We're starting in the center and wiggling and spiraling our way outward. This is a fun way to quilt a single block or an entire quilt, though you will have to rotate quite a bit to keep the spiral spinning evenly outward.

Of course starting in the center means you have to deal with two loose threads right in the middle of the block from the beginning. Watch the video to see how I tied and buried the threads with a cheater needle so they wouldn't be in my way while quilting.


It's never too late to join in this fun quilt along and start learning how to piece and quilt all these pretty blocks. All you need to get started is the Building Blocks Quilt Pattern.
http://www.leahday.com/shop/product/building-blocks-printed-quilt-pattern/
Click Here to check out the PRINT version
http://www.leahday.com/shop/product/building-blocks-download-quilt-pattern/
Click here to check out the DOWNLOAD version
Ultimately this wiggly spiral design should feel very easy to quilt from the center to the outside, so long as you rotate your block often so you feel most comfortable forming those wiggly "U" shapes as you go.

The really nice thing about this design is you can avoid all the seam allowances in this block that can hang up your foot and cause you to form irregular stitches on the quilt.

You still may run into spots like this where your foot just feels stuck. Remember to stop stitching, bring your hands closer to the needle, carefully stitch slowly out of that area to a place where your foot moves more freely.

So after paper piecing and free motion quilting all of these Spinning Squares, do you want to tackle more paper piecing? How have you liked this set of blocks?

Don't forget to swing back by tomorrow for Josh's take on this cool design!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ultimate Free-Motion Quilting

Yay, it's finally here! My friend and fellow quilting teacher Patsy Thompson has a new class on Craftsy called Ultimate Free-Motion Quilting!

http://www.craftsy.com/ext/LeahDay_4270_CP
Ultimate Free-Motion Quilting is an amazing class filled with beautiful free motion quilting designs and new techniques for you to try. If you've been feeling bored with single color free motion designs, it might be time to try Patsy's amazing hyperquilted designs - quilting designs created with multiple colors of thread to create a totally unique effect:

http://www.craftsy.com/ext/LeahDay_4270_CP

In this class you will also learn two ways to add trapunto to your quilts. This is the process of making certain areas of your quilt puffy, then flattening the background area with dense stitching.

http://www.craftsy.com/ext/LeahDay_4270_CP
I know this type of quilting can look intimidating, but it's really not difficult to understand thanks to Patsy's calm, clear instructions. She demonstrates techniques on a stitched sample first, then draws it on paper, then quilts it for you, so you understand every step in the design process.

If you've been looking to stitch your quilts up a notch, definitely sign up for Patsy's Ultimate Free-Motion Quilting class today! Click here to save 25% on this class.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 25, 2014

Josh's Circles in a Spinning Square

Josh here for a try at circles in a Spinning Square. Just in case you missed it, Leah posted her video about this block yesterday right here. Now for my block...I think this has been my least favorite design yet:

These circles were tough and I was quilting on the Spoonflower cheater cloth. It's mostly the circle shapes, which get very tiny in places and can be tricky to stitch on the lines. See what I mean in this video:


One thing that's definitely improved after this video - I got rid of that $^*% knee lifter! That thing has been in my way since the beginning and I finally realized I could pull it out and get it out of my way. That would have been good to know back in January...but Leah didn't tell me I could take it out until this video.

Now if you'd like to join in this quilt along and learn how to free motion quilt from a beginner level like me, you can pick up some Spoonflower Cheater Cloth like I'm using right here.

If you'd rather learn how to piece these blocks, you'll need a copy of the Building Blocks Quilt Pattern, available right here.

Let's go quilt,

Josh

Thursday, July 24, 2014

34. Quilt Circles in a Spinning Square Block

It's quilting time! Earlier this week we learned how to cover a Spinning Square with Stippling and from what I've seen in the Facebook group, everyone found this relatively easy and quick to quilt.

So today let's stitch it up a notch as we learn to quilt circles within this block too:

I honestly will understand if you have a deep desire to punch me after quilting this block. I had a bit of that impulse myself!

Circles are tricky, and all the seam allowances from paper piecing this block don't make it easier. Notice how many spirals I stitched into the circles...those are hiding a whole slew of mistakes: stitching out of the circle shape, stitching off the ditch, stitching into the circle.

Yep, I made about every mistake in the book and hid most of the bad circles by filling them with spirals. See how it all worked in this video:


Wishing you could join in the fun of this quilt along? Jump into this project and get everything you need - both piecing AND free motion quilting designs in the Building Blocks Quilt Pattern.
http://www.leahday.com/shop/product/building-blocks-printed-quilt-pattern/
Click Here to check out the PRINT version
http://www.leahday.com/shop/product/building-blocks-download-quilt-pattern/
Click here to check out the DOWNLOAD version
So circles can be a real beast, particularly in blocks like this. Just take your time, stitch slowly and don't obsess about your mistakes. Just fill your wonky circles with spirals or use a sharpie marker to color your thread when you jump out of the ditch. It's far easier to cover it up than rip it out!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Summer Survey!

We're getting ready to film new videos over the next three months, but before I hit the record button, I'd like your opinion first!

Click Here to check out our short summer survey

This survey is just 16 questions long and it will help us gain an idea of what you like - what quilts you're wanting to make, where you want to watch videos, and how long our videos should be.

http://www.amazon.com/365-Free-Motion-Quilting-Designs/dp/147749054X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339175098&sr=1-3
Making videos is something I love because it's my favorite way to teach quilting, but lately our videos haven't been watched very much. So what's up? Are they too long? Too boring? Too complicated?

Share your opinion and experience in this summer survey!

Bonus - We're also giving away 5 copies of 1st edition 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs books. Enter your name and email address in the survey and you'll have a chance to win a free copy. Winners will be picked on August 1st!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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