Friday, February 27, 2015

Dancing Butterfly Design #8 - Bamboo Forest

Time for a fun Edge to Edge design to make our Dancing Butterfly borders and wings really pop! Bamboo Forest is one of my favorite designs for adding beautiful texture without a lot of fuss.
It's hard to believe such a beautiful quilting design is created entirely with simple curving lines! Let's learn how to quilt this in a short video from the Dancing Butterfly Quilt Pattern:

When it came to using Bamboo Forest in my 4th butterfly, I marked long lines across the block to help with placement. It's definitely not required, but it may help keep the lines of the bamboo lined up across the edges of the block.
This definitely isn't required, but I found it easier to stretch the bamboo across the length of the block this way.

So what do you think? If you like the look of Bamboo Forest you might also like Hardware Floors, a similar design stitched with straight lines instead of curves. No matter which way you stitch it, these designs are simple to quilt, but really look great anywhere you use them!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Fabric Dyeing!

We have another round of snow days with around 4 inches of snow on the ground. After a round of sledding and snowman-making, I headed straight for my dyeing room to do some snow dyeing!

This is really simple if you're already into dyeing fabric. Just wash and soak your fabric in soda ash as normal (I do 1 cup of soda ash to 1 gallon of water), then spread it out in a bin like so:

Next, top with snow! I added a layer around an inch thick so I couldn't see the fabric below. It's was kinda tricky to place the snow on the fabric without grabbing a fistful and compacting it in my hand. I ended up with some big hard ice balls in there along with some more powdery, fluffy snow. I honestly don't know if this matters or not.
With the layer of snow in place, I sprinkled on power Procion MX dyes from Dharma Trading Co. This is my preferred dye, but it is a dangerous chemical so I always wear gloves, a respirator, and covered the bins immediately after adding the powder dye.

I have NO idea how this will turn out, but I'm excited to see the results! I'm going to leave the bins to batch for 24 hours and then rinse out the fabric to see what it looks like. Crossing my fingers it's going to be pretty!

Let's go dye,

Leah Day

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Two More Months to MQX!
Yes, MQX is just around the corner and I'm getting so excited about teaching at this big festival for the first time! Just in case you've never heard of MQX, it stands for Machine Quilting Exposition and is taking place in Manchester, New Hampshire from April 8th - 11th this year. Click Here to learn more about MQX.
All of my classes on free motion quilting are filled, but there's still lots of space available for my workshop Life Journey Through Goddess Quilts.

This 2 hour lecture / class will be all about exploring creativity, making and learning from mistakes, and the joy of self expression through quilt making. During this class I'm going to get you started on the first steps to making your own goddess quilt and how to instantly feel more creative every single day.

I want to teach this lecture and share this information because it's so close to my heart and is THE way I love to express myself and work through obstacles. I hope to inspire more quilters to let go of their fears and make quilts that reflect who you are, what you want, or what you are going through.
Does this sound scary?
I think there is plenty of space for self expression within quilting, and I want to open your eyes to those possibilities. I believe many quilters are craving this source of expression.

On every quilt show form I fill out the description is always limited to a certain number of words and reminders are added to not quote from lengthy poetry. Clearly many people are wishing to express themselves, far beyond what space can allow.

I know these days that "art" isn't nearly as popular as "modern" style quilts, but in a way these quilts are both ancient and modern - ancient symbols people have painted and drawn for centuries, but now stitched out in the most modern ways.

I promise if you come to this class, you will learn many things. But even better, I know you will leave inspired as all hell to go home and BE CREATIVE. Even if it's not perfect. Even if what you are expressing is hard or ugly, I hope to give you the tools you need, courage included, to express it.

So click here to read more about this class and I'll see you at MQX in April!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dancing Butterfly Design #7 - Sharp Stippling

A few weeks ago we learned how to free motion quilt Zippling, a cool variation of the super popular Stippling design, but with straight lines and sharp angles. Today let's learn another similar Independent Design, this time with curves and sharp points to create Sharp Stippling:

This is one of my all time favorite designs because it creates such a beautiful texture for your quilts. It's also super easy to machine quilt into any quilting space. I used it for the background of my butterfly block, but you could just as easily quilt this design in the blocks or sashing, whatever looks best to you!

Click Here to find the full length video in the Dancing Butterfly Quilt Pattern!

So what do you think of Sharp Stippling? If you like traditional Stippling you might want to give this fun, wiggly design a try.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, February 20, 2015

Try a Free Craftsy Class!
If you've never taken a Craftsy class, you don't know what you're missing. Craftsy is an online learning website with over 600 classes of streaming video on every craft you can imagine: quilting, sewing, knitting, crochet, weaving, and even cooking and home decoration.

Click here to sign up and try out a free quilting class today!

Since 2012, I've taught three classes for Craftsy, which you can learn about here. My goal as a teacher has always been to read as many students as I possibly can, and by designing and teaching these classes with Craftsy, I've been able to reach over 40,000 students from all over the world.

Every class is a streaming video which is always available any time of the day or night. Even better, you can watch classes over and over, from your phone or computer or iPad, and interact with the instructor and other students. Once you purchase a class, you'll never lose access because the class never expires. So even if you sign up for a class today and don't get around to watching it until next year, it will still be available in your account.

Here are a few of my most recent favorite classes on Craftsy:

Help, How Do I Quilt It? - How many times have you asked yourself this question? Angela Walters breaks down many quilting techniques and demonstrates how to quilt a variety of quilts with many different designs. Quilting with Your Walking Foot - I used to be a major anti walking foot snob until I watched Jackie Gerring's awesome and eye-opening class on walking foot style quilting. Jackie walks you through many different designs and gives you a realistic idea of how long it will take to quilt your own quilts.

Click here to find these classes in the quilting category on Craftsy!

Taking a Craftsy class is a totally different experience than taking a traditional quilting class put on by your guild or local quilt shop. Check out the site and sign up today for any of these free classes. You'll learn a lot about quilting and have a blast mastering new techniques on your own time.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dancing Butterfly Design #6 - Zigzag Path

New design time! Today let's learn how to quilt Zigzag Path, a new foundational quilting design that will fill any quilt with beautiful zigzag texture:

I divided my square in half diagonally and free motion quilted Zigzag Path into both triangles. This design will also work great in sashing and borders and I used it to stitch the border of butterfly block #3:

The neat thing about this design is you can quilt it both with free motion quilting and walking foot machine quilting. First let's watch the video on free motion quilting this design from the Dancing Butterfly Quilt Pattern:

Now for the walking foot version! I shot this video a few weeks ago and just wanted to see if everyone was interested in more info about walking foot quilting. We're already working on a new project to play with this quilting style!

The Zigzag Path stitched with my walking foot was a bit slower because I had to change directions for every angle. Also walking foot quilting is WALKING - you really can't go very fast with this style of quilting.

However, the stitch length throughout the block was absolutely consistent, which is much harder to achieve when free motion quilting. Looking at my lines though...they weren't any straighter! It looks like I'm going to have to practice straight line walking foot quilting a bit to get back in the practice of this style.

I'd love to see how you stitch Zigzag Path! Share your photos in the Dancing Butterfly Facebook Group so we can see your progress!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Day!

I know many places in the US have had tons of snow this year, and we finally saw a little piece of the action last night!

This is a major event for my neck of the woods. In NC, even the threat of snow will close schools and send everyone to the grocery store in a mad dash for milk, bread, and eggs. Personally I prefer to stock up on beer, wine, and something good to cook for dinner!

Today we're taking a little snow day break and chilling on the couch, playing video games, and might go out to sled a bit later. Josh and I have been turning fan pulls and Christmas ornaments in the barn and still have a project in the works on the lathe that needs a lot of sanding.

Yes, Josh and I have gotten into turning together! My grandfather was a wood turner and I remember watching him turn bowls when I was little. A few years ago I picked up a lathe, and recently Josh has joined me in the shop as we turn small projects together.

Also on the agenda today is a lot of time on the couch playing GameBoy with James. Josh picked up a copy of the new Majora's Mask for Valentine's Day and I haven't done much besides play it like a total gaming addict since Saturday.

This is most definitely my absolute favorite Zelda game of all time! It's hours and hours of game play packed over 3 days when the world is about to end. Last night I beat a dungeon with only 13 seconds to spare, despite James telling me over and over "Mama, you're going to lose. You don't have enough time." Thanks for the vote of confidence kid!

In other news, I'm working on several BIG projects! The monster king sized quilt Salsa Verde is finally on my table and getting quilted for a new DVD we will be releasing this spring!

I'm planning on quilting this on the Juki Exceed F400, which is one solid little workhorse. I was a bit skeptical at first, but I've really fallen for this little machine and most especially the awesomely designed darning foot.

The one issue I'm having is trying to film with this massive quilt taking up all the room around my machine. We shot two videos last week but will unfortunately have to reshoot them because both the quilt and my wrist were in the way the whole time. Grrr!

I have a bit of ripping to do to get the quilt back to square one and we will try again. This is definitely a learning process for us, but we will figure it out and knock out the remaining videos quickly. This new DVD will be available first as a digital download collection, then as a physical DVD disc a bit later this year.

So that's what I'm up to today! I'm off to make some hot chocolate and find my boots so we can go sledding!

Let's go have fun!

Leah Day
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