The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 236 - Josh's Ladders

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 236 - Josh's Ladders

Before I started the project, I spent a bit of time talking about the idea with friends and family. Some people thought it was a great idea, some thought I was crazy, and a few thought I was doomed to eternal failure and misery (note: this is a good reason NOT to talk about new ideas with everyone you know!)

As strange as it seems now, my husband Josh was one of the doom and gloomers at the beginning. He just couldn't wrap his head around the idea of the project or how I could turn it into a business. Frankly, I don't blame him because I didn't even know what would happen, but I still like to pick on him about it occasionally!

Since the beginning, however, Josh has certainly come around and last week asked if he could contribute his own design. This is Josh's Ladders:

free motion quilting | Leah DayI guess I'm in a rather reminiscent mood today because all weekend I've been looking back at the earliest designs from the project.

Unfortunately at the beginning of this challenge, I really didn't know how to film my quilting clearly and certainly didn't realize that fabric and thread choice was essential for having the stitches show up clearly.

Here's a selection of early designs all stitched on light fabrics with dark threads. They show up, but I don't think they look as good as they could:

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis weekend I've been going back through and re-quilting many of them onto darker fabrics with white thread so they show up better.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI must say, it was fun stitching back through those early designs! A lot has changed between then and now and it was really interesting to see how much my quilting has improved in the last 14 months.

One design in particular is giving me fits. Sea Anemone is one challenging little bugger. Finally I broke out pencil and paper to find a better way to quilt it and hopefully I'll be able to get that one finished this afternoon.

Now let's get back to learning this new design!

Difficulty Level - Advanced. This design can be fairly challenging because of how the ladders fit together. There is a lot of travel stitching involved and space estimation.

Fitting the ladders together so randomly might be what made it tricky for me to stitch a few times. If you like, fit the ladders together in a more grid-like arrangement and that might be easier to stitch.

Design Family - Stacking. I didn't realize just how many stacking designs we had until I created the pages organizing everything! These are the designs that can fit into most areas of your quilt. You can easily expand this design to fit into large areas, or shrink it to fill in small spaces.

Directional Texture - No Direction. Straight lines and sharp angles usually make for a very flat, directionless design. While this might not seem very useful, flat designs make for terrific background filler designs because they recede into the background when stitched densely on your quilts.

Suggestions for Use - Since Josh designed this design, I'm thinking about using it in a quilt for James. Right now James loves everything about robots, space, and cars, which would make for a really interesting quilt when combined all together! Maybe if I connect everything with Josh's Ladders it will make sense? It'll be fun to try at least!

Back of Josh's Ladders
free motion quilting | Leah Day
Feel free to use this free motion quilting design in your quilts

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day


  1. Oh that Josh is such a doll! To be honest, I love seeing the old squares with less contrast because, for some reason, I can "see" them in a quilt better. Does that make sense? I love the high contrast too, don't get me wrong, but I think even with your old method we could still see all the texture it gives to a quilt. Both ways are nice! :)

    I got my first free motion quilting foot the other day and will be sitting on your blog trying to find just the right pattern for a quilt I'm making. SOOOO excited!!!!

    Merry Christmas to the Days!

  2. I love those photos of the stacks of your little squares! You sure have come a long way!!

  3. Also looks like strips of photo negatives or old movies. I guess old movies would want to curl around like ribbons though.

    I just love your piles of little quilted squares.


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