The Free Motion Quilting Project

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Messy Hair Kind of Day

Thank you so much for your comments yesterday on the little show hoop quilt. The votes ended up split and Josh liked it off centered and I liked it the other way better.

Ultimately I realized it's still a useful piece for teaching and folded it up and put it back in my teaching suitcase. I might never use it, but I'm happier knowing it's there if I need it.

And on the plus side, I have a spare hoop to make another hoop quilt! Win win! I'm thinking something bright and sunny to have a special decoration to pull out for spring and summer. I still have a few fall quilts on the wall that are looking pretty weird now so that needs a change up.

As for today, I put away the quilts I'm keeping, tacked up the quilts I need to photograph, and made another stack to sell.

Yes. Sell. I've never done this before and I'm still working through the details of how, where, and when, but I'll keep you posted.

I also spend a good chunk of the day editing and writing Mally the Maker. I always intend to film the introduction to the podcast on Sundays, but it never happens. Never.

Mostly because I think Sundays are for messy hair.

It's not that the podcast and messy hair aren't compatible, it's just that it's supposed to be a day off, a day to leave the flat iron in the cabinet and not have to put on eyeliner.

With my messy hair floating in a halo around my head I wrote, did some sewing, rearranged some quilts on the wall, and hung out with Josh and James and played some video games. All around it was a terrific messy hair sort of day.

I hope you had a great day too!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Great Quilt Sort

The Great Quilt Sort is in full swing and I've managed to organize, fold, and make decisions about most of the quilts in my closets.


I started by giving a lot of quilts away. My in-laws and Dad took a few quilts and I gave a baby quilt away to a friend that's expecting. It's a very pink quilt so we'll cross our fingers she's having a girl.

I continued organizing and sorting and found myself running into a problem. If a quilt could possibly be used for teaching, I felt a tendency to keep it. That pile grew and grew until it basically took up the whole couch. Do I really need this many quilts to teach a class?

I should add that I don't teach classes in person right now. Maybe one day, but for now I'm focusing all my attention on writing and teaching online.

So... maybe these quilts need to find a new home too?

Another issue I have run into is my Quilt Along quilts. I need to keep those, don't I? Well, many of these projects are 3 or 4 years old. They are done. It was fun to create them and we learned a lot, but it's over.

As you can see, there's a lot of emotional attachment here and it's a process to work through it. I have many quilts that I've spent months, if not years quilting and it's hard to let them go.

But I also need to make room for new quilts to be made. It's a catch-22 because I'm afraid if I release these quilts one day I will need them and they won't be there and worse, I'll have to make it all over again.

Argh! Obviously that's a bit illogical, but you get the idea. Now for another problem I could use your help on. I have a quilt that I probably put in over 200 hours of quilting very densely. It was for a mini quilt along back in 2010 and was supposed to be the show quilted version of an appliqued quilt.

I never finished it because at the time my definition for a show quilted / quality quilt was super densely quilted. I got in over my head on that project and never finished it.

So I've decided to turn it into a hoop quilt so I can at least enjoy it a little bit. But I found I can set up the hoop two different ways. Which way do you like best?

Option A - Off Centered. This captures a bit of the border area and more of the leaves of the heart flowers.


Option B - Centered. This showcases more of the quilting and the funky technique I was playing with at the time with travel stitching.


Let me know which version you like best in the comments below! I can only cut it once after all!

Overall I've really enjoyed this sorting process. It's been an adventure to pull out all of my quilts and go over the designs and fabric choices. I can see how my quilting style has evolved over the years and I can see the direction I'm moving into and that's fun too.

So that's what I'm doing today! What is on your machine or piled up on your couch? I think I'm going to take a break from sorting and folding and go stitch something while listening to a fun audiobook. It's time for a break!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, April 20, 2018

How to Quilt Concentric Circles

I have a new walking foot quilting design for you today! Concentric Circles is a design you use when you want to take a bit more time and energy to get a really special effect.

How to quilt concentric Squares

This feels really elegant to me and yes, it requires breaking thread with every single circle.

But, there is a way to cheat and I included that option in a second video in this tutorial. Click Here to find the videos and learn how to quilt Concentric Circles.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Got Quilts?

What a great day! I spent almost the entire day editing Mally the Maker, and then I finally found one of my sewing machines a new home and helped pack it off and send it away.

It was wonderful to open up a corner of the living room that had been very full for months. I rearranged the couches for our summer setup (in winter one couch faces the fireplace, in summer, they both line the walls), swept the floor, dusted off the window and was feeling really good about my productivity.

Then I saw the stack of quilts. I had this pile of quilts loaded up on that table with that machine and now they needed a new home. Go find them a new flat surface to occupy, or actually deal with the mess, Leah?

I decided to deal with it by making a bigger mess:


I've been having a bit of a quilt problem lately. I've been finishing a lot more quilts lately. I made a lot of new quilts last year for the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting and then I've made second versions of three of them for the Machine Quilting Party.

So between workshops and classes, yearly quilt alongs, and all the quilts I made as a beginner, this is really starting to add up!

I'm not sure why I decided it was the perfect time to pull out EVERY quilt and dump them all in the living room.

Well, not every quilt. I left my heirloom quilts I inherited from my grandmothers and great grandmothers in the closet. I also haven't pulled out the goddess quilts yet. They're coming though.

I'm going to take a good, hard look at every quilt I own. Some I want to keep for sentimental reasons. Some I'll keep because they're a great teaching tool.

But some of these quilts need to go. I'll have to think on this to figure out the best method, but I'm thinking about offering a few for sale on my website.

It's not that I don't love these quilts, don't get me wrong. I do love them, I loved creating them. But now I need to let go of the old to make room for the new.

And there are a lot more quilts to come!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Take Better Photos with Brenda LaFleur

I've made an awesome new quilting friend with Brenda LaFleur! She is a photographer and teacher from Louisiana and she came on the podcast to chat about photography.


I was digging in the dirt during the introduction so I apologize for the less-than-perfect sound. Josh and I had just picked up several herbs and tomato plants and I knew if I didn't get them into the ground immediately, I'd kill them with neglect.

I also had some bulbs to plant too and I'm not sure...they were looking pretty rough as I plopped them into the ground. I might have managed to kill them before they were even planted!

Let's cross our fingers they will magically come back to life and give us gorgeous blooms I can photograph! Pretty flowers and quilts - what is better than that?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Straddling Two Worlds

Ack! I missed another post yesterday. So far I've had to double up on one other day this month. This time my excuse was I thought I'd posted this!

I had the blog editor open, I had half written some rambly stuff and was just going to set in the photo when life interrupted me. I had to go play with James's cute hamster for a few minutes, and when I came back into the room I completely forgot what I was doing.

Then at 4 am, I woke up suddenly from deep sleep and thought, "I didn't finish that blog post!"

Nuts. Blogging can make you go completely nuts.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying it, but lately feeling like I've bitten off way more than I can chew. I'm munching on two big tutorials a week, plus the podcast every Wednesday (don't worry, I'll double post today with a link to that), and also trying to edit Mally the Maker at the same time.

Editing is really interesting. In one way it's easier than writing the book. The words are on the page. Now I just need to make them pretty. And make sense. And be consistent.

I had Mally turning into a violent rage monster in Chapter 2 and that's just not fitting with her crybaby personality in this book. Part of her journey is to learn how to take care of herself and stand up for herself so that really didn't fit.

So I shifted the scene so she burst into tears instead. It took around 3 minutes to rewrite and double check it flowed well with everything else, but that required 100% focused attention. When I'm writing or editing it feels like I'm IN that world with Mally.

It's hard to pull away. I don't WANT to leave. Can I just pause time so I can dig into this world and not come out for three weeks?

No, sorry, it doesn't work that way.

So if I appear a bit crazy with one foot a little less planted on this plane of existence it's because that's exactly what's going on right now. I'm straddling two worlds. I love it. I hate it. Give me more of it!

Let's go quilt (or write, whatever your passion),

Leah Day

Monday, April 16, 2018

Piece the Prism Path Quilt Top

Last Monday we pieced the rainbow Bargello strip sets so this week we're piecing them together with the background fabric to create the finished Prism Path Quilt Top!


Click Here to find this quilting tutorial.

As of today, we're halfway through this baby quilt along! Next week will be a bit of a catch up week as we mark the quilting design on the surface.

So if you find yourself very busy and don't get around to finishing the piecing don't worry. You can always catch up next week.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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