Welcome to the project! My name is Leah Day and this year I've challenged myself to come up with a new free motion filler design every day for a whole year.
Why am I doing this?
I had been quilting for 4 years and in July 2009, right in the middle of working on the giant quilt "Release Your Light" I realized I was filling up almost the whole quilt with only 2 free motion filler designs: Stippling and McTavishing.
Worried that someone would notice that this huge quilt was filled with only 2 designs, I scoured the quilting world for more.
There had to be more designs! There just had to be!
And I did discover 2 more: Pebbling, and Paisley. But still that seemed very limiting.
A quilt is a piece of art and the free motion filler designs add an element of texture and thread to the surface of the quilt that nothing else can. A quilt is simply not a quilt without the quilting stitches.
Think of the filler designs as texture created by a painter with a paintbrush.
Only instead of paint, quilters are creating that texture with thread.
Look at any beautifully quilted quilt: your eye is not drawn to the applique stitches, your hands do not reach out to touch the places where pieces match. It's the quilting that draws us in, takes our breath away, and separates a nice quilt from a spectacular quilt.
I searched for a book to teach me creative free motion filler designs. I didn't find one.
Maybe I wasn't searching hard enough because when the idea of this project came to me, I couldn't get it out of my head.
To give myself the freedom to sit at my machine and play...it's the most amazing feeling in the whole world.
It's so easy to get bogged down during the final weeks or months of finishing a quilt. Big projects can take years to complete, and the desire to start fresh is a constant temptation.
What do I hope to get out of this project?
Honestly, I want to become a better quilter. I'm young enough to know that I'm pretty good, but old enough to know that pretty good isn't good enough, if you know what I mean.
I want to start planning my quilts with 5-10 different free motion designs and I'm definitely planning to use all 365 designs when creating my quilts (though maybe not all in the same quilt!)
This project is going to give me a reason to sit down at my sewing machine each day and play. It's also going to give me a reason to carry a camera and snap photos of things that make me think in thread.
Of course, every project or challenge must have rules and guidelines to follow.
But let's not get too bogged down with rules or regulations. Let's go quilt!