The Free Motion Quilting Project: 15. Quilting Cat Hairball Filler / Thread Painting

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

15. Quilting Cat Hairball Filler / Thread Painting

It's time for a new free motion quilting video! Today I'd like to push the boundary between free motion quilting and thread painting.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

What is the real difference here? Why is one considered one thing and the other distinctly different? Can they be combined together in one quilt?

I have to admit, I didn't think much about thread painting before Duchess Reigns or before taking Cindy Needham's Craftsy class: Design it, Quilt it. 

In class she shared these amazing samples of gorgeous wholecloth linen quilts and at times her stitching was so dense, it was nearly thread painting. The wall in my mind between free motion and thread art suddenly collapsed and I remember thinking "OOOO! I want to do THAT!"

I found Cindy's class so very inspiring and quickly began running samples of stitching Cat Hairball Filler very dense and overlapping to the point of thread painting. It is possibly one of the easiest designs to stitch in free motion, but it comes with a warning: once you start building up layers of thread on your quilt, it's hard to stop!

free motion quilting | Leah Day

So let's learn how to do this in the center breastplate of Duchess Reigns, where I wanted the thread so dark and dense, it became a white shield for my girl to wear:

As far as thread density / intensity goes, this is absolutely the most intense, darkest thread texture you can add to a quilt top. This weekend I had some time and worked through many feathers in the goddess so she's starting to take better and better shape on the surface.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

And yes, the more feathers I fill with this stitch, the bolder they become! At this point I might have to travel back into the original feathers to add more thread texture just to balance it out!

Now if you're interested in taking Cindy Needham's Craftsy Class (which I highly recommend!) you can click here to get a 25% discount off your class enrollment.

I promise you will learn amazing things and be inspired to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. If you're right now looking at Duchess Reigns and thinking "I can never do that." just remember that all this is just thread and fabric and batting and yes, you absolutely can do anything you want, so long as you're willing to try!

Let's go quilt,



  1. I'm a new follower. Your work is just amazing.

  2. Oh, how cool! I was looking at the photo's last week and thinking that you were using paint. I was confused on why you would paint small sections ata time. NNow it makes sense! It was thread lol

  3. Beautiful and intricate with amazing color. Keep up the good work, your pal OAH :-)

  4. Oh my gosh Leah, this is looking amazing. I'm totally swooning over your duchess! I think I'm going to use this method in the body of my Express Your Love

  5. Wow. Your latest piece is just amazing. To my simple eyes, it looks like a cross between Japanese and Celtic design. Odd, but I like it very much. Whatever you are doing is working!

  6. I really love how she is looking. Your design was beautiful, your quilting of her is so much more than I ever thought possible of a quilt. This Goddess is phenomenal.

  7. Leah, Your quilt is truly spectacular, amazing and any other words that I could think of which states how good I think you really are. I love the design of your fairy, gnome or whatever the heck she is. I LOVE IT. I hope you will be entering her into a quilt show one day. I know she will win! Sorry your shoulders are sore. Get your hubby to give them a massagage. Julie Beard

  8. I just love your work and this has to be my hands down favorite of all of your goddess quilts. FABULOUS!

  9. Love your video - great pattern you show us. Threadpainting looks like fun :-)
    Have an creative and great day.

  10. I just purchased your new class. Thanks for offering it at 50% off.

    I count it a blessing to be able to get so many of your quilting designs for free on your blog, and am looking forward to seeing the new designs you will be showing in the class.

    Love your new hair style BTW.


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