The Free Motion Quilting Project: Winter Wonderland Part 1

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter Wonderland Part 1

After two months of work, these blocks are starting to look like a quilt!

free motion quilting | Leah DayIn case you're just joining us, this is Winter Wonderland, a quilt I started working on in November.

This quilt was started for many different reasons. Firstly, I wanted to produce one more show quilt this year, but I knew I didn't have the time to start a really big, monster project.

I also wanted to test out my new technique, Reverse Shadow Trapunto, and see if it would work for another show quilt, Emerging from Tradition I plan to start in February or March.

While it might seem really silly to take a whole quilt to experiment with a technique, this is really the best way to know if it's something you like doing and want to do more of.

I also created this quilt because I suddenly fell in love with snowflakes and wanted a truly winter themed quilt to hang during the holidays.

After completing the quilting, I can definitely say that this is a quick, fun project! I don't think I've ever said that about a show quilt, but working block by block with this quilt has definitely kept it light and moving quickly.

As for the technique I was experimenting with, I'm not so sure that I will be using it on Emerging from Tradition.

Don't get me wrong, I really like Reverse Shadow Trapunto, but I don't like how the colors of the quilt are muted, even slightly by the silk organza.

Emerging will be another goddess quilt, and like Release Your Light, it's going to be bright, bold, and dramatic. I just can't see muting any of the colors I want to use, even slightly.

But even with this limitation, I was still considering it until I realized that silk organza is only made up to 55" wide. Emerging from Tradition has been designed to finish at 67" wide, so it's just not going to work.

I guess I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and get over my dislike for applique. Regardless, it's still a few months off, so I have plenty of time to think about it some more.

I know you've all been wanting to see these blocks up close and even I was surprised by how well some of them turned out! Here's the first 6 blocks up close:

free motion quilting | Leah DayWith this one I just did some very simple lines, like Bright Star, in the center, and then Pebbling in the background.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis background was filled with Basic Spiral.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThe center of this block was filled with a spiral like Peppermint Candy, then the background was filled with Escargot.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis block was filled with a pivot design I've been playing with, but haven't posted a video on yet. It's called Butterfly Wings.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI used the same Peppermint Candy spiral in the center of this block and then used Cucumber Vine to fill in the background.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis block was one of my absolute favorites, so I used my 2 favorite fillers: Pebbling in the center and McTavishing in the background.

Of course, I realize now that it's hard to tell Escargot, Basic Spiral, and Cucumber Vine apart when they're in blocks like this and the pictures aren't very good.

Hopefully you can tell the subtle differences between the designs. In any case, there's a big difference in how quickly they cover the block!

Escargot was the most time consuming and Cucumber Vine the easiest to noticeably mess up with. As far as all of the spiral designs go, Basic Spiral has my vote as the easiest to use and the fastest to fill.

Pebbling, of course, is the most time consuming of all of them, but it's also one of the most beautiful, so it was worth it.

We'll definitely see the next 6 blocks tomorrow with Part 2.

By the way, I'm still working out how I should put all these blocks together in the finished quilt.

I have 2 options for connecting the blocks: I could use this straight binding that will look like a 1/2" line or I can make 1" bais binding and do this wavy design.

free motion quilting | Leah DayWhat do you think? Of course the straight line binding will be easier, but the wavy line looks so pretty.

Also, should the center block be point up (style A) or point to the side (style B)? Pick the ones you like best and let me know in the comments below!

free motion quilting | Leah DayStyle A

free motion quilting | Leah DayStyle B

Share your opinions in the comments below!

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day


  1. Definitely Style A.
    With strasight binding to contrast with the snowflakes. But the wavy one does look pretty too!
    Whichever, it is looking great.

  2. I like style B. It looks more balanced to me.

  3. I like style A the best. The upright 6 pointed star looks more like a snowflake than the hexagon shape. And, I say to go for the wavy sashing.

  4. While I like the wavy lines, I actually think that in the entire quilt they will detract from the beautiful snowflakes and quilting. So, I would vote for the straight. As for the A or B orientation, there is a slight optical illusion going on, where the quilt looks longer in whichever direction the point is going. So A looks a little taller and B looks a little wider. Because it usually looks a little odd (I think, anyhow) for a quilt to be wider than it is long, I vote for A!

  5. I think Style B - though either would look great!

  6. Style b appeals to be more balanced :) Love your mctavishing.

  7. I like style B, too, but what you like the best is what matters.

  8. I would choose style B with straight binding. I love straight lines and it will save you a lot of time!

  9. I'd go for style B and the straight binding. Good luck on making your choice! Whatever it will be, it's amazing already, or is that just because I love Winter so much? ;o)

  10. It is a beauty!
    I go for style A too and like the wavy binding!

  11. It's going to be beautiful. It's nice to see the fillers used in a quilt.

  12. I like stype A better. I like the wavy lines, just because they are different than the usual straight lines. Have you considered using rick rack, 1/2 covered by the straight binding? The rick rack would peek out from the straight binding. That would give the wavy effect, but be a lot faster to finish. Karen

  13. I think style A, because then the center looks like a snowflake. In style B it looses the effect of a snowflake for me. Wavy gives more more motion, you could mix it up put wavy around the center and straight between the outer flakes....just an idea!

  14. I like Style A. Looking at your designs has given me a solution to a problem I was having with a snowflake quilting motif for a WIP. How cool is that!

  15. Leah, my vote is wavy binding because it reminds me of movement, and in this case, falling snow. Style B because A is the expected style and I like quilts that reflect the unexpected.
    Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing all your work with us.

  16. I like style B best too. Somehow it emphasizes the "hexagon" shape of the snowflake more than the other way does.
    I'm not sure about the binding though .... wait, I just realized you meant binding rather than sashing ... in that case go for the wavy look.

  17. I'm betting you are going to get half a dozen of choice A and six of choice B! 8^) I'm for A with straight binding! Lovely!

  18. Style B and straight binding would be my choice.

    They are all gorgeous!

  19. Oh I LOVE this! I'm so excited to have found your blog and can't wait to try some of your designs.

  20. I like Style A much better. For the binding, I think the wavy looks neat. Can't envision what it will look like with the whole quilt together though...maybe just wavy on the edges of the big block, then the straight lines to connect all the smaller blocks. Good luck and can't wait to see it finished!

  21. I think style A. Your blog continues to be an inspiration. I'm working on a small circular table topper right now and intend to use some pebbles in the stream around the outer border and something else from your list in other places. Can't wait!

  22. I think you already decided but here is my two cents. The wavy makes the snow flakes look like they are "falling" just the way snow flakes do.... what is a little more time? you seem to have put alot of time into this quick quilt already, no wait, it is the green quilt that is the quick one. Style A looks much more important than Style B with the other blocks. So there you have it. Let's go CLEAN, I mean quilt.

  23. I like Style B. It just keeps the eye from going up and down. Prefer the curvy border style too.
    I am loving the project and can't wait to it finished and hanging in a show.

  24. I like Style B. It looks more like a snowflake. Part A (although it is obviuosly a snowflake) it also reminds me of a star.
    -debby, Chester, NY

  25. I like the middle block from syle A . it looks like a snowflake. i love your quilting !

  26. style B with wavy lines, and will you please show us how you are connecting your blocks?


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