Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Half Way Point

Today is What's Leah Working on Wednesday so let's step into the studio and check out what's going on.

This weekend after a furious 3 days of hand stitching, I completed the Beginner Filler Quilt!

free motion quilting | Leah DayI'm really pleased with how well this quilt turned out. It's very dark because I have to use black fabrics in order to get a good contrast on video, but I used navy blue binding to bring some color and I really like the way it finished.

Yesterday this quilt was professionally photographed for the cover of the DVD so that means all I have to do is put everything together and the DVD will be complete!

I really think getting professional photos of all the quilts you make is very important. I used to think this would be horribly expensive, but it's actually not.

I found a photographer in town that will shoot 5 photos for $25, which is a bargain! Most photographers already have rooms set up for head shots and family photos that work perfectly for shooting artwork. All you have to do is pin your quilt to the black backdrop and make sure the colors come out true.

So for the rest of the day I'll be taking my new photos and turning them into the cover and then burning the master DVDs.

Hopefully I'll have time at the end of the day to get back upstairs and work some more on Shadow Self. She's back off the shelf and yesterday I muscled through 2 green rays.

This one had Cucumber Vine in the center of each pebbled section.

free motion quilting | Leah DayAnd this one has Bleeding Hearts:

free motion quilting | Leah DayAt this stage, the quilting is more than halfway done and I'm still madly in love with her.

I want to quilt on her 24/7! I want to turn off my computer, lock the door, turn up the music and quilt for the next 14 days without stopping. Of course, it's not possible to do that, but it's fun to fantasize about it!

I find it really interesting that this quilt is halfway finished right now.

Today actually marks the halfway point of 2010. There are 12 months in the year and we are on the very last day of the 6th month, so I call that halfway!

I like to look back around every 2 months and check back in with my resolutions and goals that I set for the beginning of the year.

I especially like to check in at this at the end of June because the year is halfway over. With only 6 months to go, are you on track for the goals you set back in January?

I've thought about that question a lot today. Back at the end of December I wrote this post summing up all of 2009 and set intentions for 2010.

Reading through it today was interesting, both for what has and what hasn't happened in the last 6 months.

One of my intentions was to start getting up in front of people, teaching, and lecturing. I used to think I was afraid of doing this, but after 6 months, it's no problem at all. In fact, I LOVE it!

Another intention was to be better to myself: do more yoga, get more sleep, eat healthier.

I've gotta be honest that this intention has totally flown out of the window! I haven't been to yoga in 3 months. It's the one part of my life that just feels like it's "too much" and I can't seem to make time for it right now.

I do eat fairly well and I have definitely started to deal with stress and my work-a-holic, type A personality a bit better.

But I've also had to deal with somethings I didn't expect. My parents splitting up and my mother's subsequent negative behavior has caused a rift in our relationship.

I've also changed more by creating Shadow Self than I ever though possible. The last two months have been very tectonic: huge shifts in emotional understanding and feeling. With this quilt I have taken a huge internal problem and literally "quilted it out" of my body and mind.

free motion quilting | Leah DayBut I've also dealt with one of my biggest quilt failures. My Cup Runneth Over is still hanging on my wall, half quilted, and will probably never be finished.

free motion quilting | Leah DayDon't get me wrong, I think this is a GOOD thing. My Cup Runneth Over was about feeling the abundance, of appreciating and accepting all the love within my life.

I realize now that where I am now, at my maturity level, with the issues and hangups and baggage I'm still working through, it was impossible to create this quilt.

That's not to say that she will never be made, but I've finally accepted the fact that she can't be made right now.

Instead I needed to take a trip to the darker side (kinda sounds like another Star Wars sequel), to deal with all my "stuff" first.

Shadow Self was the first step down that path. My next major quilt will be titled Sinkhole, and it will be even darker, this time dealing with the major issues of my family: alcoholism, abuse, dysfunction, and depression.

While it's not usual to deal with these types of issues so publicly, I feel the need to be open and honest, so that through writing as well as quilting, I can find a place of healing.

One day I will return to My Cup Runneth Over and to another quilt that's been designed for 2 years now titled Emergence, but in order to emerge I really have to get out of the dark first.

So that's it for this Half Way Point. Here's to another terrific 6 months of 2010!

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quilting Arts eMag

It's official! The Quilting Arts eMag has launched!

Way back in February, Pokey Bolton contacted me about being a contributor to this new digital magazine. Of course, knowing Quilting Arts for the awesome artistic quilting magazine that it is, I jumped at the chance to join in the fun!

In the eMag, I shared nine brand new designs. I've had to keep it all a secret since February, so I'm super excited to share it with you now.

Here are photos of the three best designs featured in the eMag:

Wind Stitch
free motion quilting | Leah DayPea Gravel Path
free motion quilting | Leah DayTopographic Map
free motion quilting | Leah DayThe eMag is an instant download so the moment you buy it, you can download it and then start reading.

It's super exciting to finally start seeing the project featured in magazines! Keep a look out for more articles in the future!

Let's go Quilt,

Leah Day

Day 196 - Bubble Path Spiral

It's Totally Filler Tuesday and I'm playing with circles again today. Remember Bubble Path? Let's see what happens when you put Bubble Path into a spiral!

free motion quilting | Leah Day
I'm posting super early today because at 9 am I'm running across town to get photos taken of the finished beginner filler quilt. It's finally done after 3 days of frantic hand binding!

With the photos taken, the Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers DVD will just need a few tweaks and then it will be finished!

I can't tell you how relieved I am because I'm SO ready to get back to Shadow Self. I'm glad I was able to take this break, but she now officially has a deadline and must be finished by the end of July!

Now let's get back to Bubble Path Spiral and learn how to quilt this funky design:


Inspiration - With most designs, I always ask myself "Would this look good as a spiral? What if the straight lines became wiggly? What if the wiggly lines became straight?"

Coming up with these new designs really just comes from a willingness to ask questions AND actually answer the question by trying it out. So Bubble Path stitched into a circle became a Bubble Path Spiral!

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. This is a challenging design, but you can make it much easier for yourself by marking the spiral shape on your quilt before starting the circles.

Design Family - Foundational. This is a foundational design worked from the center of your quilting space to the outside.

I think this design will work best in the open, uncomplicated areas of your quilt where you have more than enough room to maneuver the design.

Directional Texture - Center focused. This design pulls you into the center spiral design. Definitely use it where you want to draw the viewer's eye!

Suggestions for Use - Designs like this look amazing when stitched on a very plain, boring area of your quilt. Sashing cornerstones and border corners come to mind!

Back of Bubble Path Spiral
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Monday, June 28, 2010

Is this a good idea?

This is an idea I've had for a raffle for a quilt show I'm vending in August. It's a fabric cake!

free motion quilting | Leah DayThe thing is, this is the smaller version. The real raffle version will have a 20 inch base and 9 layers, probably totaling over 200 fat quarters.

There's a lot of expense in putting this together though, so I wanted to run it by all you awesome quilters first!

Would you pay $1 for a chance to win an 9 layer fabric cake? Post your opinion in the comments below!

Day 195 - Pebble Maze

We're back for another More Fillers Monday! I don't know about you, but I'm craving a really complicated design with loads of circles.

And whenever I start thinking of circles, I start thinking of Pebbling! Here's a combo of pebbling and closed spirals to make a Pebble Maze:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

Whoa! What a wonderfully productive weekend! I got loads of work done, finished the Beginner Filler Quilt (yes, it still needs a name) and started working on a special area of the site that will accompany the DVD.

Today I'm working on the DVD covers and the intros to both discs. The hard thing about the intros is knowing what to say about anything extra I add to the end of the discs or the special area of the site, both of which are not yet complete.

One side of me wants all that stuff done first, but in truth, it really should be done today while James is in preschool. Grrr! In a perfect world this would not be so complicated!

So while I run off to plan and hopefully shoot these intro videos, you sit back and enjoy learning how to stitch Pebble Maze:


Inspiration - I've been wanting to capture this type of design for a long time, but every time I sketched it, I'd get stuck somewhere in the design and not be able to keep it continuous.

It's funny how designing like this works. You'll get stuck on a problem for a long time then suddenly an "Ah HA!" moment happens and everything clicks and the design suddenly works.

Difficulty Level - Advanced. This is a tricky design that is stitched in 2 parts. First you start with the pebbled area, then fill the open spaces with closed spirals or echos.

The tricky part really comes from the large amount of travel stitching and planning that goes into this design. If you have to, mark the initial pebbled pathway all around your space, then fill as you go. It's not too difficult if you take your time!

Design Family - Foundational. The foundation is the pebbled pathway that is then filled with the spiral shape. This design can go anywhere in your quilt so long as the pebbled area fits inside it.

Directional Texture - No Direction. This is a highly textured, extremely attention getting design, but pebbling really doesn't have a direction. It's very flat, but also graphic, so make sure to place it where you want it noticed!

Suggestions for Use - I'm starting to see Pebbling in more quilts and I think it's an absolutely lovely design.

But it's also very time consuming. Next time try Pebble Maze instead of Pebbling and see if this design moves a bit faster, but still provides a lovely, organic texture.

Back of Pebble Maze
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Friday, June 25, 2010

No Sewing Until You Quilt It

It's Feature Friday again and this whole week literally feels like it lasted about 12 hours to me. Where is the time going this summer!?

Well, today I'm going to share with you a video and new quilt I've created using the No Sewing Until You Quilt It method.


Just in case you can't watch the video, No Sewing Until You Quilt It is a method of putting your quilt top together with no sewing using French Fuse interfacing.

That means no piecing, no applique. Literally you put your quilt top together and there are no stitches in it until you baste the quilt top and start quilting it.

To prove how speedy this technique is, I designed this new landscape quilt yesterday morning and had it together by lunch time. Remember no stitches!

free motion quilting | Leah DayThe landscape was created using Sew Batik's Nuance gradation batiks. I think I used Blue Nights and Copenhagen Blue for the darker sky section, Turquoise for the lighter section and Teal for the whole land section.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI've also used the No Sewing Until You Quilt It method on this Sunflower Quilt.

This quilt pattern is available as a digital download accompanying the No Sewing Until You Quilt It DVD. It's a fun, cheerful quilt that's easy to make with this technique!

So that's it for this Feature Friday!

Let's go Quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Awesome Quilt Pictures

It's Anything Goes Thursday and I'm going to take a break today and brag on some really awesome quilters!

I love to get photos from quilters who are trying out the filler designs or have purchased a pattern. It's so wonderful to see what ya'll come up with!

This first photo is from Cherie from Australia. She's tried out a snowflake from the Winter Wonderland Quilt Pattern!

Honestly, I like this version better than mine! The glittery pebbling threads really make the snowflake stand out so much better.

I asked Cherie what threads she was using and she said it was a combination of Madeira Rayon, Gutterman cotton, and a holographic thread from Moldova. It definitely makes me want to start playing with more interesting threads!

This next photo is from Lorraine W. who filled this quilt with Swirling Feathers:

Swirling Feathers is turning into a very popular filler design! It adds so much beautiful movement to the surface of this quilt!

Finally, here's a show winning quilt shared by Terry W!

This is "Escape to the Surreal" which Terry entered in the Canadian Quilters' Association's National Juried Show in Calgary, Alberta this year. It won the Excellence for Abstract Wallquilt - 1st Place!

All of these quilts are so amazing! When I see what other quilters are doing with the fillers, I just start getting so excited at seeing the new textures and designs!

That's it for this Anything Goes Thursday. I'm finally finished editing and recording videos which means we're in the home stretch on the beginner DVD!

All that's left is to finish the quilt created from all the filler quilt squares so that's what I'm off to work on.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Crazy Wednesday

Today is What's Leah Working on Wednesday and I have a confession to make: I haven't quilted on Shadow Self in a whole week.

There's no point in posting photos cause she hasn't changed a bit. She's been rolled into this ball all week:

free motion quilting | Leah DayI've officially had to put her on hold (why not? she doesn't have a deadline!) while I've been quilting the squares for the beginner DVD.

Fortunately all the squares were finished on Sunday so I should be able to get back to her this weekend. All I want to do right now is go upstairs, lock the door, and quilt like a junkie getting her fix.

But it's times like these that a perfectly wonderful quilt becomes my bitterest enemy. I really start to go a bit crazy about finishing a project, so overwhelmed by the idea of the final goal, when I really should be enjoying the process, smelling the roses, yadda yadda.

So maybe it's a good thing that I haven't been able to quilt on her this week.

Instead I have spent every waking hour slamming through this DVD project. 10 blocks stitched on Saturday and 10 blocks on Sunday make for a total of 30 awesome quilt blocks ready to be photographed, edited, muted, dubbed, and finally produced into files.

free motion quilting | Leah DayYesterday I edited 7 videos, dubbed 20, which in retrospect was about 4 days worth of work rolled into one. This morning I got up again and have 10 more videos to record audio for, then figure out how they're all going to fit onto 2 DVDs.

In a perfect world, DVDs would have unlimited space. Not just a measly 4.7 G, which is really pathetic!

Yes, I sound crazy. What can I say? I'm a type A personality and a project taking even 2 weeks longer than I expect drives me totally nuts.

I find myself daydreaming about having a personal assistant, or heck, a whole team of personal assistants capable of graphic design, video editing, book writing, and publishing who would take this whole project and make it into...what? Something smaller and less insane? That would be nice.

When I started this thing I didn't know how big 365 was. I didn't even really realize how big 150 of something was!

So it's now huge and unwieldy and I apologize for the lack of ability to move around easily or find the designs by texture or design type. More organization is on my list of things to do, but that list is now like 1 million things long.

There is so much I want to do with this project, so much that I want to share and explore with these textures, but there's also only me working on this!

So be patient and I promise in two years this really will be a lot better organized, much easier to navigate, have loads more information, and many more ways of digesting the designs.

Sorry for the rant today. I love the suggestions ya'll send in so don't stop sending them in, even if it might take me a really long time to act on what you suggest.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 194 - Desert Sand


This design is also featured in the DVD Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers, as well as the ebook From Daisy to Paisley.

Rock out! It's Totally Filler Tuesday Dude and we've got a totally awesome design to learn!

Okay, I'll stop being weird ;-)

I've been playing with foundational designs again and I must say, this design is probably going to rank in my top 10 favorites:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
I love this design so much, I've included it in the new Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers DVD! It's very simple to stitch but has such an awesome texture it really had to be included.

I finished filming the 30 designs for the DVD this weekend and today I'm busy editing and dubbing each video. It's going really well, but is a lot more time consuming than editing the You Tube videos because these videos are longer and more detailed.

As with all things, I'm finding that if I break the job up into small chunks it's much easier to handle. I've recorded 5 videos so far so now it's time for a break!


Inspiration - 3 years ago I was really into landscape quilts, but after getting into show quilting and making The Duchess I haven't made one in a really long time.

One of the biggest reasons why I moved away from landscapes is a total lack of understanding or inspiration for quilting them. Now with Desert Sand, we have the perfect filler for any landscape!

Difficulty Level - Beginner. This is one of those wonderful situations where a very easy design only LOOKS complex. Desert Sand is also a great way to practice echo stitching so definitely give it a try.

Design Family - Foundational. This design starts with a foundation of flowing, organic lines. You can fit this into almost any area of your quilts so long as you can stitch a foundation into the area first.

Directional Texture - All directions. Depending on how you stitch your flowing foundational line your texture will be either 2 directions or all directions.

Suggestions for Use - Landscape anyone? I'm headed into the studio to see what I can put together and quilt with this filler!

Back of Desert Sand
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and send in a picture to show it off.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 193 - Giant Dahlia

After a wonderful weekend we're back with More Fillers Monday!

I'm feeling the need for a new floral design so let's learn how to stitch Giant Dahlia:

free motion quilting | Leah DayIt's been a very good weekend! On Sunday I finished all of the filming for the beginner filler DVD. Whoo hoo!

Now the editing process is on and Josh is taking over today while I head back upstairs to spend some time with Shadow Self. She's been neglected as of late and I'm starting to feel the intense desire to get her DONE!

It's always funny when I get into production mode with a quilt. I start to hate the quilt because it's taking so long and hate myself because I designed the darn thing, but as soon as it's done I completely forget how awful I felt. Don't ya just love selective memory?!


Inspiration - I was eating some Hershey's kisses the other day and realized that the kiss shape would make a really interesting looking leaf. It's a bit tricky to maintain, however, so try drawing it a few times to get the hang of it.

Be careful not to confuse Giant Dahlia with Delilah. They might both be based off the same flower, but they're both stitched in very different ways!

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. There's a good big of traveling in this design, so take your time and your Dahlia flower will finish beautifully.

Design Family - Center Fill. This is worked from the center to the outside, so make sure to place this design in an open block where the flower has room to bloom!

Directional Texture - Center Focused. This type of design works like a bulls eye for your eyes! Definitely use it in places you really want to show off.

Suggestions for Use - Since it's so close to day 200, I've started going back through the designs and realizing just how many we have to choose from.

I noticed today that we've had quite a lot of center focused flower designs on the project. I think it's enough to create a very cute quilt with!

Try quilting a separate block of each of these designs, then put them together in a beautiful flower quilt: Giant Dahlia, Delilah, Flame Flower, Poinsettia, Sea Anemone, Feather Flower, Super Daisy, Flower Ball, and Graphic Flower. And that's not even all of them!

Back of Giant Dahlia
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Friday, June 18, 2010

Free Motion Quilting Basics for Beginners

Are the weeks of June flying by or what?! Here we are for another Feature Friday and today I'd like to share a short video about the Free Motion Quilting Basics for Beginners DVD:


It was around November 2009 that the idea for this DVD really dawned on me, mostly thanks to the many comments from quilters on the project!

free motion quilting | Leah DayEveryone seemed to be asking the same questions: what machine do I use, how to pick needles and thread, how to set up a sewing machine for quilting, and how to quilt big quilts on a small machine.

I realized that I just needed to create one DVD to answer all the questions at once. Unfortunately, this project had more problems than a leaky bucket from the very start.

For one thing, I wasn't able to start working on the project until January because of my kitchen remodel. When I was finally able to film the DVD, I shot the whole thing in 2 days, but then lost almost all of this footage when my hard drive crashed!

To add icing on the cake, once the DVD was finally finished, my manufacturer printed the second discs wrong, causing a massive problem for everyone who purchased the set first. Talk about awful! I almost swore off making new DVDs after that experience!

But once the dust settled and I had shipped out replacement discs to everyone who needed them, I found a new manufacturer and we haven't had a problem since.

And despite all the problems creating it, this Free Motion Quilting Basics for Beginners DVD has already helped many quilters learn how to get started free motion quilting. Here's a review from Suzanne C:

I just wanted to let you know I received my DVD's and I have watched them and they are great!

You did a great job with filming and the information was really helpful. In fact one of the first things I did after I watched your DVD was go out and buy myself a stool for my sewing machine. I have have had it now for 2 days and I don't know how I sewed without it. I love the fact that the stools actually lift higher than the standard chairs.

I am looking forward to applying all that I have learned from your DVD to my next free motion quilting project.
When I set out to create this DVD, I really had one mission: to create a video that would answer all the questions about free motion quilting and simplify the process for quilters just getting started.

One of the most common things I get asked about is basting. I can remember being totally confused by how basting was supposed to work, how tight I should secure the backing fabric, or how close the safety pins should be. It really is a tricky process to get it right!

In the Free Motion Quilting Basics for Beginners DVD I really explain this process step by step and share a new technique for securing the backing fabric using only 4 pieces of masking tape!

So that's it for this feature Friday!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, June 17, 2010

DVD Questions Answered

Hi Everyone and welcome to another Anything Goes Thursday!

Today I want to answer all the questions I've been getting about the new Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers DVD.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what this DVD will contain. For this new project, I'm taking 30 Beginner and Beginner / Intermediate designs from the blog and stitching new 6.5 inch black squares.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThe designs I'm choosing will not be designs that were featured in Free Motion Fillers Volume 1 or Volume 2.

So far I've stitched: Elodea, Pointy Paisley, Basic Chevron, Broken Glass, Flame Key, Stomach Lining, Oil Slick, Pumpkin Patch, Lollipop Chain, and Frog Eggs.

Why these designs? These are all beginner designs, but they also have a very nice texture and can easily be expanded on most quilts.

If there is a beginner design that MUST be in this DVD, please post your opinion in the comments below! I still need to pick 5 more designs, and I'd love some feedback on which to pick.

These are going to be totally new designs (never in a DVD), stitched on a larger scale and with a longer video than what has been shared on this project.

I've also been playing with camera angles and trying to stitch these fillers without turning the fabric squares at all, much like quilting a real quilt.

The squares I'm quilting for video will be put together in a quilt which will be used on the cover of the new DVD and I may also enter it into quilt competitions if it finishes nicely.

I'm not sure if all 30 videos will fit on one single disc, so this will probably end up being a 2 disc set. If I have extra space, I'm also going to piece up a real quilt and show how to use 3 to 5 fillers on blocks, around a quilting motif, in the sashing, and filling a border.

I'm getting pretty excited about this project! Josh is going to start editing the 10 designs I stitched earlier this week while I run upstairs and start quilting the next 10.

Hopefully by Saturday we will have everything stitched and the editing process underway by Monday morning.

In other news, I seem to have skirts on the brain lately. There are so many cute skirt patterns available now, but recently I picked up this Hip Skirts pattern by Favorite Things.

While I absolutely love to sew and make quilts, making clothing for myself is always tricky. Getting the measurements right, knowing what size to cut out, and getting the garment to fit correctly is a really annoying process. Why can't clothing be as easy as quilting a flat quilt?!

But so far this pattern seems very simple. My circle skirt is cut out of only 3 pieces and there is no zipper or drawstring.

Instead the skirt waist band is cut on the bias, which allows it just enough give to get over my head or hips, but not so much that it ends up around my ankles by the end of the day.

I don't have a photo of my first attempt yet because, like a very good seamstress, I have cut out a test sample from muslin and it looks, well, like a skirt cut out of muslin. Pretty fugly!

If the muslin skirt fits well I'm planning to dye it or paint it to see if I can turn that ugly duckling into a beautiful masterpiece.

In other news, I wanted to send out a huge THANK YOU! to Sonja, a wonderful blog reader who sent me a present!!!

She mailed me this book: The Designers Guide to Japanese Patterns for inspiration. I've kept this book in my reading window for the last month, thoroughly enjoying paging through the designs while James eats lunch or snack.

I'm always a sucker for Yin Yangs! Here's one of my favorites on page 97:

Whoa! These designs looks familiar!

free motion quilting | Leah DayThese are very similar to Echo Shell and Echo Rainbow, designs I based off of French quilting designs, but this is also similar to a traditional Baptist Fan design.

It just goes to show that good designs are super addictive, no matter where you live in the world!

Let's Go Quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Working Wednesday

Today is What's Leah Working on Wednesday and I'm headed back in my studio to work on several projects today.

The first project is the new design squares stitched for the Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers DVD.

free motion quilting | Leah DayWhen I was shooting this photo, James decided he wanted to help so here he is grinning like crazy after laying all the blocks out for me. So cute!

free motion quilting | Leah DayI've chosen to use only black fabric and white thread for this DVD and I've also cut my squares at 8.5" and marked a 6.5" square in the center. This is working a big bigger than my typical 4" squares, but I really like it!

The bigger squares have given me a chance to upscale the design a bit so the lines of stitching aren't quite so close together. The scale is closer to 1/4" rather than 1/8" between the lines.

I've also moved my camera a bit and played around with the angle until I've found the best possible vantage point to see the stitching.

Thanks to June's comments in this post, I'm also making a big point not to flip or turn the fabric squares drastically while stitching this DVD. I know it's difficult to turn a huge quilt, so I'm finally showing you how to stitch backward, forward, left and right without turning the square at all.

These first 10 squares are looking pretty good! With the videos and photos now shot, I'm turning them over to Josh to edit and produce the videos. I will then take over and mute and record my voice explaining the designs and how to stitch them.

So when I'm not stitching new designs, I'm working hard on Shadow Self. Even with the huge amounts of trapunto, this quilt is still going to take awhile to finish.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel! Here's the back of the quilt and you can see the entire shadow section has been quilted! Yay!

free motion quilting | Leah DaySo far I've almost finished the two biggest rays. You can really start to see the puff from the trapunto coming through:

free motion quilting | Leah Day I'm pretty much sticking with Paisley and dense Microstippling on the ray. Yes, I still stipple my quilts! I believe stippling is still an extremely useful, versatile stitch so long as it's not over used.

I can always switch out microstippling for Tree Roots because the designs read almost identically. They're both flat, directionless background fillers that can work anywhere on a quilt.

Now the green rays are really fun. I've been using Brain Coral on the outside and Pebbling on the inside, but only 1" thick.

I realized that the inside sections of these twisting lines are a bit big and I didn't want to get bored stitching the same filler in each section. Instead I'm doing a ring of Pebbling, then filling the insides with a different filler.

With this ray I did simple echo stitching inside each section:

free motion quilting | Leah DayOn another note, I'd like to share with all of you some of the weird, wonderful, and amazing things that have happened since starting this quilt.

First off, if you haven't yet, you'll need to go back and read Shadow Self - Part 1.

Since starting this quilt, my life has changed. My mental dialog is no longer a hateful negative voice and I've actually found the space inside my head that is not only compassionate, but gentle.

One of the biggest breakthroughs happened this weekend while out with my best friend for her last hurrah before she has her second daughter at the end of the month.

I had been wanting to find a book specifically on my issues: terrible inner negative voice, low self esteem and self worth, and inability to feel compassion or love for myself.

I was walking through a huge bookstore and happened by a shelf of self-help books. I've read a ton of them and a few have helped, so I always page through them a bit to see if they're actually something new or just the same old stuff.

The second book I picked up ended up being perfect. It's called I Know I'm in There Somewhere by Helene Brenner.

This book is not a "self help" book but a "self acceptance" book, which means that the book is not out to change who you are or what you're going through, but simply give you the means and understanding to accept it instead.

So far this book has helped me to finally look at every piece of my life without the veil of "How do I get over this right NOW!?" Sometimes it's not about getting over something, covering the feelings up and blocking them out.

I realize now that it's more important to feel the real feelings, let the pain happen, and then let it pass.

I knew this before when I started Shadow Self. No amount of yelling at myself to stop yelling at myself ever worked.

It was only when I started designing the quilt and visualizing my issues in fabric and thread that I finally started to accept myself, with all my faults, issues, and hangups combined.

I can safely say now that yes, I will be making more quilts that deal with personal issues. The next quilt design I'm working on deals with the abuse, alcoholism, and depression I grew up around in my childhood. Needless to say it will be a very dark quilt indeed!

It's not always easy and it probably will get me a few weird looks a quilting shows, but I would rather share and be open with issues that I know many women deal with than sweep it all under the rug.

So that's it for this working Wednesday! I hope I haven't made anyone uncomfortable, but as I said to a quilter in my guild recently: I'd rather share too much and potentially help someone than share too little and miss the chance.

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 192 - Tongue of Flames

It's Totally Filler Tuesday and - DUDE! we've got a totally awesome design!

Check out Tongue of Flames:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
I couldn't resist sounding like Ted Logan from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. For some reason Totally Filler Tuesday always makes me want to call everyone DUDE all day.

So Dude, sit back and watch how to stitch this design:


Inspiration - Swirling Feathers worked out so well, I figured it needed a variation. Instead of stitching the nice smooth feather shapes, instead stitch flames!

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. This design is not super difficult, but just like with feathers it pays to play with the design awhile and find an angle to stitch it at that works well for you.

Design Family - Stem Centered. These designs are fun because you first layout your stem, then stitch your flames in whatever size and shape you want.

If you wanted a quilt to be free form, but still slightly structured and symmetrical, you could mark the stems out first, then fill the stems however you want.

Directional Texture - All directions. Tongue of Flames has a very interesting swirling texture that should work in any area of your quilt. It's pretty attention getting, so make sure place it where you really want to show off!

Suggestions for Use - This would be a great design to stitch really big to cover the whole surface of a quilt. Imagine a red baby quilt with Tongue of Flames stitched all over it!

You could also stitch this small on a wall hanging to add a bit of drama to a boring space in the quilt.

Back of Tongue of Flames
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 191 - Spiral Flowers

Today is More Fillers Monday and I have to ask: Is this month flying by for anyone else? I swear I blinked and it's already the middle of June!

So let's think back to the middle of April to a Paisley design called Spiral Petals. This was a really fun design and of course, if you put the petals together, you instantly get - a Spiral Flower!

free motion quilting | Leah DayToday is the first day of James's summer camp so Josh and I woke up early to get him dressed, fed, and to preschool on time. I really like having James in some kind of program, even if it's just two days a week because it keeps all of us on a steady schedule.

While he's in class, I'm taking the day to clean my sewing room, quilt a bit, and probably take a nap before picking him up. I love having my Monday mornings back in style!


Inspiration - I really love paisley designs because they work in so many areas and are so versatile. They also cluster together to make awesome center fill flower designs! 

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. This design is stitched from the center, which actually makes it a little easier to stitch. Simply travel around your center circle, adding more petals around the flower until your whole quilting space is filled. 

Design Family - Center Fill. Place this design in an open block or a particularly large area of your quilt. 

Directional Texture - Center Focused. This flower is a real show off no matter where you put it!

Suggestions for Use - One of these days I'll get around to designing a quilt that mixes applique flowers with quilted flowers for a very interesting combination of fabric and thread. I already have a few blocks in mind and Spiral Flowers would definitely get a block all to itself.

Back of Spiral Flowers
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Upcoming Events

I've been horribly lax with posting my upcoming events so you all know where I'll be in the coming months.

I absolutely love meeting quilters in person, and it's great fun to see workshops fill up with people who know me from this project.

So here's what's happening for the rest of the year:

free motion quilting | Leah DayJuly 10th - Fantastic Filler Stitches Workshop in Greensboro, NC - Ye Olde Forest Quilt Shoppe is hosting this fun workshop from 10 - 6pm.

This workshop is currently filled, but you can still be placed on a waiting list or a newsletter list so you'll be the first to know if I'm headed to Greensboro again. Click Here to contact Kelly and Joanne at the quilt Shoppe.

July 19th - 3 Dimensions of Design Lecture in York, SC - York County Quilters are hosting this lecture starting at 7 pm.

August 5th - 8th - Asheville Quilt Show - Come and see Release Your Light and Winter Wonderland in the show and meet me as well! I'm going to be a vendor at this show so I'll be in Asheville, NC all weekend!

September 13th - Trunk Show for the Rutherfordton Quilter's Guild. The meeting starts at 7 pm and we'll be focusing on all the fun things you can do with free motion quilting.

September 26th - October 5th - Vacation to New Orleans, LA and Pensacola, FL. Josh and I are going to drive down south and if your guild is on our way, we'd love to stop by!

November 11th - 13th - One Stop Shop Hop at the Western NC Fairgrounds. I back in Asheville with a booth at this show! We'll have a good stock of items from the DSD Quilt Shop, plus Release Your Light and Shadow Self to see as well.

November 19th - Trunk Show for the Foothills Quilters Guild - This is my local guild in Shelby, NC so if you live around town and have not come to visit yet, make sure to attend this fun lecture!

And that's it for now.

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Friday, June 11, 2010

Supreme Slider

Today is Feature Friday and it's time to feature one of my absolute favorite tools for free motion quilting:


free motion quilting | Leah DayThe Supreme Slider is a Teflon sheet designed to reduce the friction between the back of your quilt and the surface of your machine and table.

One side of the slider is smooth and slick. This is the side your quilt slides against and honestly, this makes it SO much easier to move your quilt in free motion.

There's a little hole in the center that you line up with the hole on your machine. A lot of people ask me about the size so the slider itself measures - 11.5" L x 8" W.

One other side of the slider is pink and grippy and designed to grip the table and machine bed so it doesn't shift.

It's not sticky like a sticker, so it doesn't leave any nasty sticky stuff on your machine. Instead it just grips much like a suction cup on a steamy window.

Occasionally you will need to take your slider off and give it a bath. The lint from our quilts and fabric can build up on the back and cause the grippy side to lose it's gripiness (I love the words I start inventing when talking about this thing!)

In the video I was playing with a slider that really needed to be rinsed off, which is why it slid around so much. I shot the video right before a rinse so I wouldn't be fiddling with getting it off the machine while filming.

Towards the end of the video I mentioned the need to tape down the slider.

When you're working on a big quilt, the bulk of the quilt can catch the edges of the slider and cause it to pull up or roll over and you can accidentally stitch through it if you're not careful.

Trust me, the last thing you want to do is stitch through this thing! Use a little masking tape to secure the front edge and this shouldn't be a problem.

Lastly, I know a lot of quilters are skeptical about this tool. One of the most common questions I hear is "Does it really help THAT much?"

My answer: "Yes!"

When I take my slider off the machine to rinse it, usually I forget to put it on and suddenly I'm fighting the weight and bulk of my quilt and wondering what the heck is going on. I simply cannot quilt as well without it.

The best way to test it: get a slider and try it out while free motion quilting for a whole day.

Then towards the end of the day, take it off and see if you can stitch as well without it. I promise you'll see a difference! Click here to read more about the Supreme Slider online.

So that's it for this Feature Friday! I'm headed upstairs to get back to quilting Shadow Self. At this point I can safely say I'm totally addicted and absolutely in love with this quilt. I can't wait to finish it!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 190 - Flame Spiral

Today is Anything Goes Thursday and I'm hankering for a new free motion quilting design.

Feather Universe had such a cool texture, I wanted to stitch it again, only this time I used flames instead of feathers to create Flame Spiral:

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. Watch your speed as you create this design. If you need to, mark the starting spiral and that can make it much easier to stitch.

Design Family - Foundational. This design is created by first stitching the foundational spiral, then filled with the flame shapes.

Directional Texture - Center Focused. You really can't miss the giant bulls-eye of this design!

Suggestions for Use - This design could easily be used to quilt a whole quilt! Start in the center and stitch down your spiral, then fill it with flames for an awesome

Back of Flame Spiral
free motion quilting | Leah Day
Feel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A New Project

Today is What's Leah Working on Wednesday and let's catch up with what is going on in the studio!

Of course, Shadow Self is still very much in the quilting process, but she's chugging along at a nice pace and I expect to finish her by the end of the month.

free motion quilting | Leah DayLast night I got into a very nice groove and finished the whole body section, heart, head, and started on a blue flame ray. I didn't realize how late it got until I started getting hungry and realized it was 2 am.

With quilting I always quilt from the center, so for at least the next couple of days I'll be "eating my vegetables" and quilting the hardest part of the quilt so it gets finished quickly and I can move on to the edges which are easier to stitch.

free motion quilting | Leah DayFor fillers, I really haven't used hundreds on this quilt, even though I easily could. I like to use filler designs simplistically so you can tell one texture from another. They define the space they take up, much like the colors of fabric.

And speaking of colors, I'm thinking about adding some paint to her head, heart, and body. Maybe just some touches of iridescent paint here and there so she glows a bit...hmmm....the idea is certainly bouncing around...

Today I plan to stitch at least 2 or 3 more blue rays and maybe 2 green rays. These are quilting very quickly because so much space is taken up by the trapunto motifs.

free motion quilting | Leah DayBefore I head upstairs, I'm going to cut out the squares for a new project. I've decided to start working on a new DVD series now that Volume 1 and Volume 2 will be discontinued at the end of this month.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis new series will feature the designs by difficulty, so the first DVD will feature 20 to 30 beginner filler designs. Honestly this is the way I should have organized the DVDs from the beginning, so I'm happy to be going through and shooting this project the right way.

This time I will also exclusively work on black fabric with black wool felt as the batting and white thread.

Looking back at the videos I think the different colored fabrics can be distracting, so from now on I want to focus on getting the best contrast so you can see the stitching very clearly.

Today I'll get the squares cut, then tomorrow I'll start quilting and filming. Josh is going to really help me out by taking over all the editing work on this DVD project so while he is editing, I'll be able to quilt Shadow Self.

If we work together and stay focused, I'm hoping this new DVD will be ready by the end of the month!

So that's it for this Working Wednesday. I'm off to eat lunch and then get back into the studio!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 189 - Square Spiral


This design is also featured in the DVD Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers, as well as the ebook From Daisy to Paisley.

Today is Totally Filler Tuesday and I'm feeling like playing with another spiral design today!

This design is really similar to Angle Spiral, only this time we're only using squares:

free motion quilting | Leah DayYesterday I managed to finish all the outline stitching on Shadow Self. This means that all that's left is fillers!

The rest of this quilt should finish very quickly as the filler areas are generally very small. Unfortunately this means my stitching has to be pretty small in order for the textures to be visible, but so far it's going really well.

When I'm not quilting today I'll be unpacking and cleaning up the studios. It's amazing how messy everything can get even when I'm not at home!


Difficulty Level - Beginner. This design looks a lot more difficult than it really is. In fact, I think the squares really help you to gauge your distance and be able to spiral into and out of the square shape easier than a circle.

Design Family - Independent. This design is a big less random than Basic Spiral or Angle Spiral because it's worked from one edge of your quilting space to the other.

This is a design that will work great in a big, boxy area, but probably not the best in a really tight, complex area.

Directional Texture - All Directions. Yes, when you work this in rows you do end up with a pretty clear horizontal or vertical texture, but because they're spirals, the texture seems to be coming from all different directions.

Suggestions for Use - This is a great design for big quilts or small quilts! The squares re-size really easily so you can stitch this with huge squares and cover loads of space with each pass, or you can stitch it really tiny for a bit of detail stitching.

Back of Square Spiral
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day
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