The Free Motion Quilting Project: Introduction: New Building Blocks Quilt Along

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Introduction: New Building Blocks Quilt Along

Happy New Year! It's officially 2014 and time to start a brand new quilt project: the Building Blocks Quilt Along!
free motion quilting | Leah Day

This year we're kicking online learning up a notch and focusing both on piecing AND free motion quilting. Starting this coming Monday we'll learn how to piece our first block, then each Monday after we will learn a different way to free motion quilt it.

By this time next year will have 42 pieced and quilted blocks ready to connect together into a throw size (48" x 56") quilt!

Along the way we're going to learn multiple piecing techniques and get LOADS of practice free motion quilting simple shapes and designs.

Are you as excited to get started as I am? Check out this short intro video for more details! to get going, you are going to need a copy of the Building Blocks Quilt Pattern:

Click here to check out the download pattern.

Click here to check out the printed pattern.

I have already received some questions about the videos / pattern and how this will all work, so here's a bit more nitty gritty:

How long will the videos be online?

Forever! The videos for the Building Blocks Quilt Along will be posted to YouTube, exactly the same as our over 400+ design videos.

You're welcome to join in now and follow along as the videos are posted, or work at your own pace. If this is a terrible time for you, and you can't even think of joining in this month, remember that the pattern and videos will always be available for you to get started whenever the time is right for you!

What does "download" mean?

The Building Blocks Quilt Pattern is a digital download, which means after placing your order, you will immediately be forwarded to a link on the screen (and sent an email with the link as well) to download your pattern. This means you don't have to pay shipping, and you can access the pattern immediately so you don't have to wait for it to arrive in the mail!

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Once the PDF file has downloaded onto your computer, click to open it and print it out. This pattern is 94 pages and you'll need to double check that your printer is printing Actual Size with no fitting or scaling, otherwise a few templates in the pattern will finish smaller than they should be.

If downloading and printing the pattern doesn't work for you, we also have a physical, printed pattern available right here.

How big is the finished quilt?

The finished quilt is 48" x 56" but you could easily make it bigger by piecing and quilting more blocks.

Is this designed to be a soft bed quilt or a wall hanging?

free motion quilting | Leah DaySoft bed quilt! I'd love to see pictures of you cuddled up with your quilt on a couch or bed. I've paid close attention to the quilting design to keep the lines open and less dense than my usual work.

However, that being said, the softness / cuddliness of your quilt has more to do with the batting you choose to use than the amount of quilting in the quilt!

For a super soft finish, make sure to select a 100% cotton batting with shrink, like Quilter's Dream Cotton, which will get soft and wrinkly after washing. The more you wash a quilt with a cotton batting, the softer it will become, no matter how dense the quilting.

I don't have time to piece and mark my blocks. Is there another alternative?

Yep! I've created a cheater cloth printed panel available right here at

free motion quilting | Leah DayIn order to get all 42 blocks, you will need to purchase 3 yards of fabric. It's best to select the 100% combed cotton or Kona cotton.

Warning: This option is expensive ($50+)! This is definitely not a money saving option, but a TIME saving option as these blocks come printed with all the piecing and quilting lines marked clearly on the blocks.

By the way, if you hate my color choice for the printed panel, leave a comment here or on Facebook and let me know what you'd like to see!

Click here for more information about using the Building Blocks Cheater Cloth Fabric.

If I get the printed quilt panel from Spoonflower, will I need the pattern too? What else will I need to finish the quilt?

No, you shouldn't need the pattern if you order the Spoonflower fabric because you will already have all the blocks and quilting designs printed on the fabric.

To baste, quilt, and connect the blocks, you will need the following extra materials:

- Batting at least 62" x 72" cut into 42 - 10 inch squares
- 3 1/4 yards backing fabric - OR - a layer cake pack of 42 - 10" squares
- 1 3/4 yard binding fabric for connecting the blocks together and binding the edges of the quilt

***Note*** - Josh will be quilting the printed Spoonflower quilt blocks for practice and we will shoot a special video focusing on this way of working the Building Blocks project with more info later in the year.

Click here for more information about using the Building Blocks Cheater Cloth Fabric.

Will the quilting lines on the printed Spoonflower fabric come out after quilting?

No. The quilting lines are printed in black and will not wash out after quilting. However, if you quilt carefully on the line with a bright colored thread, chances are you won't be able to see those marked lines after quilting!

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Is this quilt quilted all in one big piece or separately?

Separately! Because we are working block by block we will piece and quilt the blocks in order. This also keeps the project super small and manageable on any size sewing machine.

The block size is 8 inches with a 1 inch border all around to hang onto while quilting (10" total).

Do you have more questions? Post them in the comments and I'll continue to update this page so we have a solid question / answer place for you to learn more about the quilt along.

What about binding fabric? What color fabric should I use for binding the blocks together after they are quilted?

You will need 1 3/4 yards total binding fabric, which will be used to connect the blocks together on the front, back, and also bind the edges of the quilt. Just in case you want to use different colors for each one, here's a break down of each amount needed:

 3/4 yard for front connecting binding
1/2 yard for back connecting binding
1/2 yard for binding the edges of the quilt

I'm planning to use the same Fabric A for my front, back, and side binding, but you can use whatever color you think is best!

Have there been any corrections to the Building Blocks Quilt Pattern since I downloaded it?

With a 94 page pattern, there's bound to be small issues, but so far only three mistakes have been found!

Page: 90, right hand side of the chart should read as follows:

9 - 1.5 inch width of fabric strips

35 - 1.5 inch x 9 inch rectangles

9 - 1 inch width of fabric strips

35 - 1 inch x 9 inch rectangles

Page:  5, orange box, I'm actually matching my piecing thread to Fabric A, not Fabric B.

Page: 90, Third heading should read "Connecting Binding for Back Side.

If we find any other issues, we will be sure to update this page with more information.

Don't forget - pick up a copy of the Building Blocks Quilt Pattern right here.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Can't wait to get started!! Looking forward to doing the quilt along with you!!

  2. My fabric is backordered but I choose a light gray back for your black and a bright burgundy!! Yours are stunning choices. I have talked about 9 other girls in my guild to do your project. So excited to start. Wonderful detail in the pattern, *pat on the back*!!!

  3. Your shop doesn't show the discount. Do you just issue a credit? Thanks for the information.

  4. You mentioned using a "100% cotton batting with shrink". I assume that means that the batting will shrink when washed. Does that mean that we should not pre-wash the batting?

  5. Jeanne in Ohio - I'm so sorry about the confusion with the price. For some reason the website auto-updated within the last 2 days and changed the way the sales prices are displayed, making it not clear.

    So to clarify - the regular price of the pattern is $24.00, and the sale price is $17.00. We've decided to extend the discount to Friday 1/3 because of this confusing circumstance.

    Thank you!

    Leah Day

  6. Doreen - If you want a super soft, wrinkly finish, then yes, don't pre-shrink your batting. After the quilt is entirely complete, when you go to wash it the extra shrinkage is going to soften the entire quilt, creating a crinkly, antique appearance.

    If you're worried about how much shrink this might create, you can always do a test run with a block, zigzag the edges, and throw it in the wash to see how the block changes after being washed.


    Leah Day

  7. What color fabric are you using for the QAYG joining strips? I have read through the instructions a few times, but may have missed this anyway. Thanks for your help.

  8. i'm very excited about this project. I'm a new quilter so I have a lot to learn. I want to make a comment about printing the project. Since there are templates included, you may want to warn everyone that when they print, they do not print "fit to size" or something similar. If they do, then everything will print slightly smaller. They need to print "actual size". I learned this from another project where a lot of the blocks were smaller than they were supposed to be because of how the templates were printed.

  9. I'm also exited to start with this project. Fabrics and all other stuff are ready for countdown :-)
    I do this project with other girls in our patchwork-forum in germany.
    Thanks for this opportunity.
    Best regards

  10. Looking forward to this 2014 Building Blocks project experience.

    In a dream world, other than the pattern what should we have ready? Or should we have the fabric already cut in the strips and in the bags? Having the master list of what to cut is very, very nice.

    I googled the name of the batting you recommend, doesn't seem you are going to be selling it, but luckily there is a new-to-me LQS that in on the list as a source.


  11. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful inspiration! I'm really excited to follow along this year with this terrific pattern. Can't wait to begin. Thanks again! ~Happy Quilting!

  12. June D - a dream world, yes, I would aim to cut all the strips and bag each with the instructions for that month's blocks and quilting guides. That way you won't have a big mess of work to do each month pulling out fabric and trying to remember what you've cut before.

    The nice thing about this project is the repeating blocks so even if one is a bit confusing, you have 3-4 tries to get more acquainted with the techniques.



  13. Great project! Looking forward to learning quilt as you go! Thanks for your classes!

  14. I'm considering using the Spoonflower cheater cloth. If I use the cloth, will I need the pattern, too? Will I be cutting out each block pattern and doing the quilting as a quilt-as-you-go? What additional supplies do I need to complete the quilt using the cheater cloth?

  15. LJ - That is a great question about what you need to complete the quilt using the Spoonflower Cheater Cloth.

    Technically you shouldn't need the pattern because the blocks will already be printed with the quilting designs so all you need to do is baste the blocks and quilt on the marked lines.

    However, you MIGHT want the pattern for the step-by-step connection info included on how to put the blocks together. I do plan to make some videos on this which will include the info you need, so no, I don't think you need to purchase the pattern.

    Just get the 3 yard panel, cut the blocks apart leaving 1 inch all around, then baste with 10" batting and backing squares.


    Leah Day

  16. I'm intersted in to lern with You but my English is not to good

  17. oK I am new at this free motion quilting and also new to your site, I understand that with the pattern, ( which I have got to get downloaded as yet) comes the design sheets for the free motion quilting. How do you get the designs onto the fabric? and you show this pattern in a blue and white, can I use any other colours that I like and also can I change the colours for each block...hope I do not sound too stupid here!

  18. Hi Barbara - Welcome to the fun world of quilting, and no, there are no stupid questions here!

    To get the designs on your pieced quilt blocks, you'll want to first tape the page onto a bright window or door (or a lightbox if you happen to have one), then tape the block on top. Even dark fabrics should be see-through enough to be able to transfer the marks on the page onto the fabric.

    As far as color goes, do whatever you want! I wrote the pattern for 2 colors, but you can most definitely add more colors if you want to. I'm trying to keep things as simple as possible, which is often much easier when it comes to piecing and cutting so many blocks.


    Leah Day

  19. Looking forward to learning FMQ.

  20. Which fabric is used for the joining strips for the free motion quilting project. Want to make sure I purchase the same fabric A or B if that is what is required. I don't see it listed what to use in supply list. I saw this question asked but no response. Thanks for this project and all your hard work getting it together for all us quilters.

  21. Hi Sherry - I've updated this intro page with this information. On Page 90, the binding amounts are clearly broken down and you can pick whatever colors you like for the front, back, and side binding. I will be simply using Fabric A for all of this binding.

  22. Is it possible to get a hard copy of the FMQ book? I do not have a printer.

    Judy J

  23. quilter1173 - No, I'm sorry, but we don't have a physical book available of this pattern at this time. I will be looking into it in the coming week as many quilters have indicated issues with not having printers.


    Leah Day

  24. A question about another possible correction: On p. 91, it has "Connecting Binding for the Front Side" and under that, another "Connecting Binding for the Front Side" but with different measurements. Should one of these paragraphs refer to the back side?

  25. C Loff - That was actually Page 90, and yes, that should read "back" binding. Good catch!




Related Posts with Thumbnails