The Free Motion Quilting Project: Just Chillin and Stitchin...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Just Chillin and Stitchin...

Ah, the joys of spring!We're still in the middle of a big renovation and right at the moment, not much progress is being seen. I'm still living with a giant washer / dryer in my living room, along with 9 doors, various cabinets, and an entire room full of tools.

The chaos isn't fun, especially because I haven't been feeling well. I'm not horribly sick, but I just haven't felt really GREAT lately. So I hopped down to Spartanburg, SC yesterday to visit my chiropractor / nutritionist and now feel a lot better, but I still want to take it easy. Today I'm sitting on the couch and hand stitching on my beaded version of Express Your Love:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

There's just something healing about hand work. It's meditative and calming and no matter how bad I feel, I can always hand stitch.

While in Spartanburg, I happened across a needlepoint store, The Needle and Canvas, which is a cute store dedicated solely to needlepoint. I find it fascinating just how diverse the fiber world is, but how isolated each craft considers itself.

Personally I can quilt, knit, crochet, weave, spin, dye, bead, embroider, and stitch needlepoint. I have always considered all of these skills one in the same: fiber craft. If I was to open a physical store, I might actually try to put a little of everything within it because I find mixing bits and pieces from all these crafts together so fascinating.

But not everyone feels this way. Calling myself a quilter in some stores will get blank looks, or worse. I've actually had multiple conversations with knitters and spinners who would never dream of quilting. Have you ever experienced this?

I find it funny because we're all pretty much doing the same thing. We're all just stitching thread, and yarn, and fabric baby!

What's so interesting is the cross over of tools from one craft to another. There was an entirely different selection of tools available for needlepoint, and being the gear-head I am, I had to ask what they were for. Luckily a needlepoint teacher was in the store that happily showed me how to use stretcher bars, a laying tool, and a few other gadgets.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI could easily see a lot of places where needlepoint and quilting could overlap nicely and I made sure to pick out some pretty thread to add to my beaded piece above.

After my retail therapy, I headed back home for some fun stitching in the sun. Josh put together a wonderful sandbox for James so I can sit on the deck and look down on my sweet boy playing in the sand. I'm feeling better already!

Let's go stitch,



  1. I think a lot of us are "cross overs" we entertain ourselves with all of the fiber arts and can see where some "leak" into each other. But some are not adventurous enough to try more than one .. too bad for them.

  2. I agree, Leah, they are all variations on a theme. And mixing them is not only fun but downright helpful at times. My main quilt project these days is a landscape that features a 16" long bird, whose tail-feather tips I knitted from 30+ different little lengths of boa eyelash yarn. It will give her a lot more texture than if I had just appliqued and quilted her along with the background. So yes, these different modes of manipulating fibers can work together to make something incredibly original. I'm lucky enough to have two best friends who understand this principle and I can't tell you how much fun we have when we get together every 2 or 3 months and do 'show and tell.' Each of us appreciates (I would say, almost REVERES) each other's various craft capabilities and projects, and takes away additional inspiration to use in our future endeavors.

  3. I quilt, knit, crochet, and sew (garments, etc.)! I think they're all great, but I must admit quilting is my favorite and I HATE crocheting!!!! More power to you though!

  4. Sorry you're not feeling 100%, Leah. I'm with you in regard to the fiber arts. I've just "crossed over" from a traditional quilter to a crazy quilter--though I do both. I love embroidery and beading and agree that all are different ways we use to express our art.

  5. hope you continue to feel better each day

  6. Hi, Leah-
    I agree that hand stitching can be both calming and meditative. I'm also very diverse with my interests in the fiber world, yet see my primary art form as quilting. However, I consider and call myself a fiber artist, since I dye, paint, embroider, weave, etc. and I don't get pigeon-holed into a preconceived notion of what quilts are by saying I'm a quilter. I love how you expressed our commonality within the fiber world. We are all drawn together by thread and it's role in the textile world. I love where you're going with your beaded goddess.

  7. When I lived in California there was a "quilting" store in my home town that really was a fabric arts store, and another near where I lived that was also a place where you could get multiple products for multiple crafts.

    One of the stores filled a wider group of crafts than the other, but both of them were wonderful places to visit because you never knew what you would find in the various corners. Loved both of them.

    On the other hand, my daughter went to a needlepoint store in New York City where they didn't want to sell her supplies for counted cross stitch because they were a needlepoint store. They had the DMC floss she needed, they just didn't want to sell anything that inexpensive, even for cash.

  8. The politics of crafters and fibre artists and the like is fascinating... I'm always quietly amused. I think we're all pretty much in the same boat as you said.

  9. I agree. My artistic interests are broad, but I think fabric is my favorite, at least at this time in my life! James looks like he's on a little beach.

  10. Ah someone else who cannot confine herself to a box. How wonderful. I have done virtuallyall the needle arts including rug hooking. As you learn in one you bring skills to another. They may not be obvious but using colour for example is certainly a crossover and inherent in all needle arts. I combine machine embroidery with quilting using it to do sketches of old houses or making a medallion square in the middle of a quilt. Take it easy. That too is part of life.


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