The Free Motion Quilting Project

Monday, August 20, 2018

Let's piece the first Leaf Peepers Quilt block!

It's time to begin piecing the Leaf Peepers Quilt and both Sherry and I have fantastic tutorials for you today to guide you through the quilt piecing process.

Click Here to find my tutorial on piecing two at a time half square triangles. This is my favorite method for piecing have square triangles because it's fast and easy and if you trim carefully, they are extremely accurate units to work with.

Once you get your half square triangles made, you'll want to check out Sherry's tutorial on how to piece block #1 step by step.

Click Here to find Sherry's blog post at

I'm already seeing many beautiful quilt blocks shared on Instagram. If you tag us @LeahDayQuilting and @WholeCircleStudio we will be able to see your beautiful images. You can also upload your images to Pinterest and send me a link to check it out as well.

Tomorrow is the first day of school for James so working on this Leaf Peepers Quilt feels perfect because back-to-school season always makes me think of the fall and changing colors in the trees. My heart a little sad today to see my baby heading off to middle school, but I think were going to have a great year.

Do you have any questions about the Leaf Peepers Quilt Along? Click Here to find the quilt pattern so you can join in the fun.

Quick links to all of the posts shared so far.

Insert links

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Sketchy Saturday: Art Challenge

Hello my quilting friends! Today I'm taking a working on three blank canvases I picked up from my local arts Council for this is a yearly mystery art competition. This helps to raise money for art programs throughout the year.

I signed up and committed to painting three 5 x 7 canvases back in July. But when I picked up my canvases I was immediately struck with blank canvas block. I couldn't figure out what to draw over these small shapes!

So today I set myself the challenge to ignore the blank page/canvas and just start with something. I'm on a kick with sunshines and wanting to draw and design this symbol everywhere. But the small canvases just feel so... small. I want to design something that will cover two or all three canvases to hopefully increase the odds of this artwork selling in the auction.

So I ran a quick Google search for inspiration and found a simple image of a sun and moon split between two canvases. This looks like it's a frequent inspiration for paint and sip studios and is perfect for my project.

I took it up a notch and added flowing texture and funky designs in both the moon and sun canvases.

I'm also planning to cover these with many mixed media materials like beads different kinds of paint and maybe even some fabric. To start I'm using Pebeo Cerne Relief to outline some of the drawn lines in black.

This paint goes on super thick to create "walls" for Pebeo Prisme fantasy paints. I also going to dig through my beads today and fill in the spaces I've scribbled with dark blue black silver and gray seed beads. While it's a simple enough idea and design, I'm really looking forward to filling this with many creative materials.

Don't look too close! I made a lot of mistakes here, but I have plenty of opportunity to throw more paint at it.

I have a funky idea for the last canvas to play with leather and some mini apothecary bottles I have saved. It might not necessarily look like art... more like a steampunk accessories tray! LOL! Once I had the idea I can't let it go so I'll have to play with some sketches for that this week.

What are you sketching this Saturday? Something fun and creative I hope!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, August 17, 2018

Echo Ditching with Longarm Quilting

Ever have an awesome plan to do something or make something and then have it go horribly wrong? Yeah, that was my day yesterday! I drove an hour to do something fun and quilty and found I'd misread the time and arrived too late. Argh!

But I'm pulling on my big girl underwear and resolving to read dates and times better. Or at least get them transferred to my calendar accurately. In this case, I experienced epic failed on both! LOL!

Today I have a new Frame Quilting Friday video for you on Echo Ditching. A few quilters asked about this technique and how it works so I shot an entire video just on quilting lines inside the seam lines of your quilts.

Click Here to find this Frame Quilting Friday video.

Grace Company has come out with a new smaller quilting frame this month called the Q-Zone. This frame is interesting because you can use either your home machine or a longarm and it takes up a lot less space - only 4 1/2 feet.

The one downside is you still need to baste your quilts before loading it onto this hoop style longarm. It doesn't have to be pin basted like for a home machine, but you do need space to spread out all the layers flat and pin the top and bottom edges of the batting and quilt top to the backing fabric.

The upside is this little frame takes up a lot less space and it has adjustable height legs so it can be set up so you can sit down or stand up and move your machine. I also like the idea of being able to move a home machine to a frame for a lot lower cost just to try it out and see if it's something that you like.

As with all machines and frames, this new style of frame will take practice to master. I think the biggest key with any new quilting equipment purchase is to do your research and make sure the new frame or machine will help you make the quilts you're wanting to create.

Do you have suggestions for the next Frame Quilting Friday? I'm going to film a new batch of videos today and I'm always open to suggestions!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, August 16, 2018

How to Machine Quilt Neverland, Design #493

I have a fun new design variation for you today! Last year I shared a design called Twisted Squares that quickly became one of my favorites. I wonder what will happen if we stitch all of the straight lines in that design curvy instead? I tried it out and created a new design and calling Neverland.

Check out the different tools and supplies I'm using in this video:

Did you know this week is the ninth anniversary of the Free Motion Quilting Project blog?

I love looking back at the different designs and beautiful quilt I've made over the years. I'm so happy that I'm still working on this blog and sharing new designs and quilting tutorials every week!

I absolutely couldn't do this without your support, kind comments, and wonderful questions. If you're struggling with free motion quilting please let me know, and share the hardest thing about this technique in the comments below. I love helping beginners master this craft!

Now let's learn more about Neverland:

Design Family - Edge to Center. This design is quilted from the edge of your quilting space - this could be the seam lines of a quilt block, a marked square or rectangle shape, or the inside of an appliqu├ęd shape. When you quilt from the outside to the inside of a shape you just need to watch out for excess fabric wiggling out of position.

When quilting Neverland, you'll be stitching progressively smaller and shorter lines as you near the middle of your quilting space. The one downside is you have to break thread with every Neverland square you fill. Keep this in mind if you decide to use this design over a large quilt. That could be a lots of thread breaks!

I designed fabric using the sister design to Neverland to make the Twisted Squares/Rainbow Road quilt. I love creating fabric for the backs of my quilt to make them easier to quilt and just as beautiful on both sides. Click here to find this tutorial and free quilt pattern.

Difficulty level - Super Beginner. If you can quilt wiggly lines, you can stitch this design! The hardest part is keeping the lines in the center of the square consistence as they become shorter and closer together. Make sure to watch the video to see how I handled the center of this Neverland design.

Suggestions for use - I think Neverland is going to work great in any square or rectangular shape that's open so you can quilt the design easily without having to hop or skip over other motifs or designs.

It will work great on both a small and large scale, but I think it will really look best on a larger scale and quilted with lots of space between the lines of quilting. This will be a great choice for quilt where you just want to insert a little extra texture into a few blocks.

Where do you think Neverland will work best? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Make sure to check out the quilt shop to help support the Free Motion Quilting Project so I can continue sharing new free motion quilting tutorials every week!

Let's go quilt

Leah Day

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Why did this quilt take four years to finish?

Hello my quilting friends! Today I am stitching the faced binding onto my Dream Goddess quilt after four years in progress. I still have a lots of hand stitching to go, but it feels great to be nearing the end of this multiyear project.

I shot the podcast for this week while preparing the fabric for the facing. It was an adventure trying to talk through my thoughts about this quilt and cut and press fabric at the same time, but I think it worked out well.

It was nice to take the time to really think through all the different reasons why this quilt stagnated and sat bundled in a chair, the closet, or on a table for so many months on end.

Click Here to find Episode 70 of the Hello My Quilting Friends Podcast.

I'm looking forward to hand stitching the facing fabric down in the evening when James and I watch a Doctor Who episode. I hope it doesn't take me another four years to finish up this bit of stitching actually get this quilt on the wall!

What is your longest-running unfinished project? Do you know what is holding it back and stopping you from finishing it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

How to Machine Quilt Popcorn, Design #492

I promised more quilting designs and I'm ready to deliver! I have an awesome new design for you today called Popcorn. This funky echoing design looks pretty complex, but I promise it's easy to quilt if you memorize all the rules of the design.

Learn how to free motion quilt Popcorn in this new quilting tutorial:

Quick links to tools and supplies used in this quilting tutorial:

Eversewn Sparrow 20 Sewing Machine - I'm really enjoying this little machine! It really has a wonderful stitch quality and the most basic features I need in a machine. I do miss having a knee lifter and a little bird told me there's a new Eversewn machine coming out with this feature... it might be enough for me to switch!

Low Shank Darning Foot - In order to free motion quilt, you need a foot that's designed to hover over your quilt. Make sure to watch the tutorial here to learn how to break your foot so it works better for machine quilting.

Isacord Polyester Thread - This is my favorite thread for machine quilting. Yep, it's embroidery thread. Yep, it's polyester! It's also super strong, very thin, and virtually lint free. As far as I'm concerned, that's win, win, win!

I have a new way for you to enjoy quilting designs and be inspired as you stitch! Check out the 365 Quilting Designs Perpetual Calendar. Every day you can see a new quilting design and challenge yourself to quilt a small square every day. I promise of you make this a habit, you will see amazing improvement in your skills in a short space of time.

How to machine quilt popcorn on a home machine

Now let's learn more about this new Popcorn quilting design.

Design Family - Echoing. Popcorn is quilted by first stitching a flower shape on the end of a wiggly line. To expand the design cover more space on your quilt simply travel stitch and echo around the design. Echoing designs cover your quilts in large clusters. Simply travel stitch and branch out with a new wiggly line and flower shape to continue the design.

Difficulty Level - Beginner. This design does have a lots of different steps: stitch it wiggly line, stitch a flower, echo back to your starting line, and travel and echo quilt around the shape several times. Even though it has lots of steps, popcorn is an easy design to memorize and quilt anywhere on your quilts.

Popcorn is a great skill builder for echo quilting and the best part is even if you stitching isn't perfect, you can get away with the lines being closer together or further apart. The complexity of this quilting design hides many mistakes, so if echoing is a skill you been needing to build definitely give Popcorn a try.

Suggestions for Use - I think Popcorn will work great in any area of your quilt, except tight, tiny areas around motifs where the design doesn't have space to expand. Every cluster of Popcorn can take up a lot of space so it will work best when you have a nice open area to quilt it in.

It will also look great on a larger scale! I experimented by drawing popcorn around a rectangle to see how the design would look in the border of a quilt. I think this would look great stitched on a large scale with Straight Lines or Pinstripes filling in the rest of the border.

how to free motion quilt Popcorn

Do you have any questions about quilting Popcorn? Please ask in the comments below!

I love it when you share my quilting videos and photos online with your friends. Please feel free to pin this post to Pinterest, share on Facebook, and Instagram. That really helps me out a lot!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, August 13, 2018

Leaf Peepers Week #1

Are you ready to go Leaf Peeping with me? The Leaf Peepers Quilt Along begins today and both Sheri and I have shared quilting tutorials to help you get started on the right foot!

Click Here to find Sheri's tutorial on cutting and organizing your fabrics.

Click Here to find my post with 5 piecing tips for beginners.

What do you need to join the Leaf Peepers Quilt Along? You just need to pick up the quilt pattern available here!

It might not look like it from a distance, but there are a LOT of little pieces in the Leaf Peepers Quilt. Make sure to watch Sheri's video to find lots of tips on keeping your colors straight and all the pieces organized.

Trust me, once we actually start piecing, the labels for each unit come in really handy so I highly recommend following Sheri's tips.

I also shared a video on preparing your fabric which can also come in really handy. If you want your seams to match and to feel in control over the fabric, I strongly advise following these steps to prewash, starch and press your fabrics.

So you have one more week to prepare your fabric, cut out the pieces, get them organized, and practice some piecing!

Next week we begin piecing Block #1 and I can't wait to teach you how to piece half square triangles.

Find all of the posts for the Leaf Peepers Quilt Along shared so far:

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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