The Free Motion Quilting Project: Happy 3rd Anniversary!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy 3rd Anniversary!

It's hard to believe, but today marks the 3rd Anniversary of The Free Motion Quilting Project!

For three years, this has been the place to find loads of videos and photos for free motion quilting.  Along the way, I've shared bits of my life, my triumphs, but also my struggles, and of course, a whole lot of beautiful quilts!

So today let's go on a little tour of the past videos and projects and see what's changed in the last 3 years.

free motion quilting | Leah DayGetting started in 2009, the thing I remember most was wanting to quilt every single day.  I felt that I needed an excuse to be able to do this - some reason or task that would allow me to take this time for myself, to build skill and knowledge about free motion quilting.

When the idea for this project - creating 365 free motion quilting designs - popped into my head in the middle of quilting Release Your Light, I just couldn't get the idea out of my head.  Even though Josh wasn't too happy with the idea, I kept thinking about it through the summer of 2009.

I finally got started on August 14th with a set of 3 posts: Can I create 365 free motion quilting designs?  Rules of the project, and Day 1 - Shadow Waves, all published around 10 at night, when I just couldn't stand waiting around any longer.  I HAD to start this blog and begin this quest for designs!

free motion quilting | Leah Day

No, things weren't very well thought-out in the beginning.  At the time, I only had seven designs stitched, none of them filmed, and absolutely no idea if I could actually come up with 358 more.  Posting designs every single day on top of taking care of a two year old and running another business, it was a handful!

Eventually I had to slow things down and luckily no one seemed to mind.  It seemed what you guys were looking for was simple: more information and inspiration for free motion quilting, so that's what I set out to provide here.

Along the way, I started the process of compiling the designs into books.  From Daisy to Paisley was my first self published book featuring 50 beginner level designs from the project.  The next year it was followed by From Feathers to Flames, a book of 60 intermediate level designs.

But since the start of the project, almost everyone has asked for a book of ALL the designs.  Finally this spring I published 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs - a photo book that features all the designs from the project.

While there wasn't space to add instructions or how-to diagrams, it's still my favorite book of all three because you can flip through the pages and easily choose different designs to play with on your quilts.

Along with new designs, this blog is also the place I share my quilts.  Winter Wonderland, Shadow Self, My Cup Runneth Over, Hot Cast, and Emergence were all shared here in multiple unfinished stages so you can watch the transformation of these quilts from simple designs to beautiful finished quilts.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
And yes, along with the stories of these quilts, I've also shared my struggles with depression, childhood abuse, and low self esteem.  Overcoming these issues sometimes felt impossible, but ultimately I've learned that anything can be healed if you can quilt it out.

For more than two years, this project had a single goal: more new designs.  This January at the completion of the goal of 365 designs, we began the Free Motion Quilt Along - a new weekly video lesson that was designed for you to stitch along, interact, and ask questions about free motion quilting. 

I won't lie - it was a scary transition to change from posting new designs every couple of days to only sharing a weekly lesson.  I was really worried this change was too radical and would scare everyone away.

To my surprise, the Free Motion Quilt Along has been a great success!  Not only have I managed to demonstrate and teach more about free motion quilting, we've also created two fun projects together - the Heart and Feather Wholecloth and PoMo Angles Modern Quilt.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
free motion quilting | Leah Day
Seeing everyone's finished quilts was just amazing!  It almost feels like we're a weekly bee that meets up to chat and learn and practice quilting together.

We might not live in the same area, or even speak the same language, but we have learned loads together over the last 8 months.

Ultimately this has been my goal for this project - to find a way to quilt every day, to teach and share, and hopefully help other quilters master free motion quilting on their home machine.

So here's to the last 3 years!  Thank you all for reading, watching, commenting, posting, linking up to the quilt along, and sharing the project with your friends.

Without so many thousands of cheerleaders, advisers, mentors, and yes, even the critics, I probably wouldn't have finished that first set 365 designs or continue to teach in the Quilt Along today. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Let's go quilt,

Leah

33 comments:

  1. Happy Anniversary Leah.... I have been following you for about half that time when I first found you on the internet. You do inspire and encourage us!
    Godspeed,
    mary

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  2. And here's to the next 3 (and lots more) years! I have the quilt along bookmarked with the intention of going back and making a wall hanging. Unfortunately, I have had absolutely no time to do any crafty work lately. Maybe soon...I will certainly keep reading though.

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  3. Thanks for all the instructions and video's, you have done a lot of hard work for all of us to enjoy!

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  4. congratulations!!!! what a legacy you have given us...and here's to many more! can't wait for the craftsy class so 1000s of others will find you too!

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  5. Hi Leah, congratulations! You've earned the succes and I enjoy all the stories and lessons. Thank you for the learning curve I'm experiencing.

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  6. Congrats with this 3 year. I am the lucky one that I found you and can learn so much of you.

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  7. Thank you for all that you have done. You are quite an inspiration and one of the best teachers I have ever seen. You are responsible for me learning to free motion quilt, and I absolutely love quilting every day. I use my little Featherweight and my current project is a king bedspread size. No problem--you convinced me it could be done. And I have done it! Congratulations on your anniversary! I hope to share many more with you.

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  8. I was inspired by your blog from the beginning and was impressed that you actually completed the project. You have bravely shared your life struggles and I'm sure you have helped a lot of people. I like that you kept everything accessible from the start and demystified a technique that many find intimidating.

    Congratulations and hope you have many more years of success!

    Kris

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  9. Congratulations on your "three" year anniversary! What an accomplishment. Have a great week.

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  10. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I can't begin to tell you how much inspiration, validation, and just pure entertainment your posts have given me. You are incredibly talented, and to be honest, I struggle a little with being somewhat envious that you've already found your path, both physically and spiritually (at least in a healing/energetic sense, if not more), at such a young age. Oh, to have known what you know at your age! But everything comes in its own time, and I need to just be grateful that I finally discovered the joy and healing that are available through quilting--even if it did take me nearly 60 years! Goddess bless you, your family, and all of your endeavors, Leah~~

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  11. Happy Anniversary! You have been a tremendous help with my journey to learn free-motion quilting! I am so thankful that you began the Free Motion Quilt Along. I enjoy looking and now, trying, the different designs. Thank you, Leah! ~Jeanne

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  12. Well, I just found your site this year and have loved it ever since.

    You have even inspired me to start my own quilt along tutorial and to take the necessary steps to start publishing my designs.

    Keep up the great work!

    --Christa

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  13. There are only a very special few who have the gifts and creativity to "pull off" what you have achieved in the past months with such grace and charm! We all (I am sure I can speak for others who have become part of your 'blog bff') have been drawn in by your sweet smile and patience, to say nothing of your incredible knowledge of FMQ, and pushed beyond what we thought were our own "limits". We are here for ya and will be with ya in the exciting days to come.....hugs, Doreen

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  14. Congratulations on such a massive achievement! Your blog is truly inspirational!

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  15. Congratulations on three wonderful years!! Wishing you continued success.
    Have a great day.
    Always, Queenie

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  16. Happy anniversary! Thank you for three years of amazing creativity and inspiration!

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  17. Leah, you have been an inspiration. After years of failing at FMQ I have just finished a lovely quilt that has beautiful squiggles and stipples! Am so enjoying the process of learning with you...
    Phil (The Guilty Quilter)

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  18. Hmmmm, maybe we should all link up our stories of quilting. And let me tell you, You'd be a BIG part of mine and my progress..HUGE, actually:) So, Thank you, thank you, thank you !

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  19. OH, and I forgot to say....HAPPY 3RD ANNIVERSARY! I only wish I'd found you sooner. It's only been less than a year for me:)

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  20. Happy Anniversary Leah! You're great inspiration for us.

    Thank you for all the tutorials. You got me into free motion quilting and I absolutely love it.

    Love,
    Malini

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  21. Happy Anniversary!
    I'm celebrating with you today! My copy of 365 Free Motion Quilting Design book arrived today! I can remember watching some of these videos week by week '09 - '11
    What an accomplishment! Congrats.
    Jan G.

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  22. Thank you so much for your dedication to quilting and quilters. Your creations, your thoughtfulness and frankness are a pleasure that I look forward to several times a week. You inspire me though I don't quilt as much as I would like. I have given myself permission to experiment and not worry about perfection. In doing so, I have had the opportunity to make things better through the process. Happy Anniversary!

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  23. A Very Happy 3rd Year Anniversary! I've learned so much and have really enjoyed your posts and following along. I'm looking forward to another 3 years!
    LauraT

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  24. A standing ovation and hats off to all that you have achieved and the skills you have shared. I only hope for your sake and that if your family that your businesses have also prospered with the same enthusiasm as your blog following. xx

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  25. Happy Anniversary! I'm hoping you will share many more with us. You needn't have worried that people would not care for the change in format. You have a following!! :)

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  26. Your 365 Design Project is where I turn to time and time again when I need to come up with a quilting pattern for my latest quilt. There is always something that is just right. Not only can I see the pattern, but I can watch you execute it. Love it!

    Although I've been MQ for years I knew I had lots of room for improvement. Your weekly assignments give me the impetus to practice and from week one I could see positive progress.

    Thank you, Leah. What you have accomplished in three years is awesome!

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  27. Happy Anniversary.. I have only found you about 4 months ago but I tell everyone I can about you because I love your inspiration. You are teaching me something I didn't even understand existed 4 months ago. I just thought the quilting part of my blankets was what finished them, I never thought of them as an integral part to the design. You have truly opened my eyes to great possibilities. THANK YOU!

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  28. Congratulations. You have done a marvelous job teaching us. Thank you for sharing so much with us on your wonderful blog.

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  29. Congratulations Leah. I pop in from time to time. I use your first book and the slider mat and gloves, and free motion quilting has lost the fear element. If I want a swirly pattern on a quilt I just do it!
    Howevr, what I really want to thank you for is the series on running a business. It appeared at just the right time for me. I was at the 'I wish I could' phase of a major project, and your tutorial helped to turn it into the 'I know I can' phase. And I sold my first pattern last night! Thank you for all the positive vibes, hope they reflect back to you and yours. Sharon in Australia

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  30. Dear Leah: I found your blog in 2010, when I finally fulfilled a 30+ year dream of wanting to learn to quilt. I have been blown away by your generosity, skills and ability to somehow manage a child, a marriage, your own inner demons, and still grow your business. I credit you with giving me the courage and inspiration to begin my own free motion quilting journey from the very beginning, and while I've found other wonderful quilters I admire since, my roots are planted deep in your many gifts. Congratulations. I wish you many happy, prosperous, fruitful years ahead.

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  31. Thank you so much for all your information and your wonderful videos..I found you on the internet when I started quilting last year, with no lessons, and have been hooked on quilting ever since.Youa re a very inspirational teacher!

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  32. You have been great inspiration! 3 Years of wonderful shares! Thank you for being an inspiration. I linked you in my recent blogpost, hop on over if you have time! I did some quilting on my little machine...inspired by YOU!

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