The Free Motion Quilting Project: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Give-A-Way Winners Announced!

Are you ready to hear who won the
mega scrap stash give-a-way???

Here are the winners!

Jean Smith

Robert Camin

Quilted to a Tea

Congratulations to those who won and a super big thank you to everyone who participated in the Black Friday Sale and Mega Scrap Stash Give-A-Way!

I really appreciate everyone's support and have decided to do a little giving back of my own so
All orders over $25 placed in December will include a free gift!

I'm sure you're as ready as I am to kick off the holiday season. This is the perfect time of year to kick back, get cozy, and make loads of beautiful quilts.

If you're like me, you've got at least 3 quilt tops sitting in your closet. It's finally time to pull them out and get ready to quilt them! Take this month to revisit all those UFOs and decide what you want to finish this winter.

So let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Day 98 - Super Spiral

This design is also featured in the DVD Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers, as well as the ebook From Daisy to Paisley.

I guess I've been really in the mood for big, bold designs! We've had Jagged Cosmos, Flower Ball, Wobbly Cosmos and now Super Spiral!

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Today I'm really going to try to get my work done quickly and go quilt for awhile. I've really not been spending enough time in my quilting room lately and I'm feeling a bit rusty!

I'm also feeling a bit pressured that I have too many balls up in the air at once.

I like to keep my focus on one main project at a time. Right now I have two Winter Wonderland quilts ready to be quilted, a red Kimono Jacket that's cut but needing to be marked, more designs to get stitched, and a rag rug project I've started and have no clue when I'll finish!

It's easy to get too many projects going at once and when that happens, one or two just have to be placed in the closet for later. Prioritizing is really important with quilting, but it's so hard!

Speaking of hard, let's learn how to stitch this super easy Super Spiral!

Inspiration - I really like spirals. The symbol has been around for thousands of years and is associated with creation and fertility. I see it as a symbol of creativity and love to incorporate it somewhere in all of my quilts.

This super spiral was born out of a need for a bigger, more wave like shape. I really wanted this spiral to be big and dominating, as I plan to use it in yet another quilt I want to start soon.

I'm trying my best to be good and not start a big show quilt while working on this project, but my next goddess quilt - Emerging From Tradition - is clamoring in my head to get out!

Design Family - Edge to Center. It seems like all of these big, super sized designs are edge to center designs. This means that they work great when they have the room to stretch out and show off, but probably won't look as good if you try to squeeze them in a complicated space.

Difficulty Level - Beginner. Again, like Jagged and Wobbly Cosmos, this is a great learning design. One of the biggest things you need to learn as a beginner is how to constantly judge and estimate the distance between your quilting lines.

This design will help you learn this necessary skill and the good news is, it hides your mistakes! If you wobble off a bit, it's not going to look terrible.

Directional Texture - Center Focused. This design definitely attracts your eye to the center of the quilting space. Be careful about your thread play in the center of the spiral or it may get difficult to stitch!

Suggestions for Use - A great beginner quilting project is the Batik Beauty quilt which you can download for free here. Each block is 8" finished, which gives you a huge playing field for a design like super spiral.

I have actually been waiting to quilt this quilt for my oldest sister. It's been promised to her for 2 years now, so I guess I better get started on it! I'll probably end up using designs like Super Spiral and Jagged Cosmos because they will fill the blocks quickly, but with loads of beautiful texture.

Back of Super Spiral
free motion quilting | Leah Day
Feel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 97 - Wobbly Cosmos

This design is also featured in the DVD Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers, as well as the ebook From Daisy to Paisley.

Let's take it easy today with a nice beginner level design that's perfect for filling large portions of your quilt without a lot of fuss!

This is a variation of Jagged Cosmos, only with a wiggly line it becomes Wobbly Cosmos:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

Inspiration - I've been working on the new DVD just for beginner free motion quilters and am realizing the need for even more beginner level designs.

It's easy to forget what it's like to just be learning a new skill, but I'm really trying to keep all the things in mind that used to trouble me when I first started quilting and include them in the DVD.

Design Family - Edge to Center. This design is stitched from the edge into the center and back in order to create the design. This means that this design will work great in pretty open areas, but probably not as well in tight, complicated spaces. 

Difficulty Level - Beginner. This design is even easier than Jagged Cosmos because you can flow with the curving lines so much easier.

Directional Texture - Center Focused. This design definitely focuses your attention to the center of the quilting space. Just make sure not to build up your thread too much in the center or it will become difficult to stitch.

Suggestions for Use - I can definitely see using this design over 4" squares in a simple charm quilt or using it within a star shaped ornament for your holiday tree. Whatever you do with it, it's going to look great!

Back of Wobbly Cosmos
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 96 - Spaghetti and Meatballs

What is your favorite food to eat? What if you could stitch your favorite food onto your quilts?

My absolute, hands down, favorite meal is my husband's spaghetti and meatballs and today's design is inspired by this yummy dish!

free motion quilting | Leah DaySpeaking of food and favorite meals, last night Josh and I watched Food, Inc, a movie about the food industry in America.

Even though Josh and I are natural health and diet advocates, this movie still opened our eyes to the very real health dangers and hidden costs associated with our current food industry.

Way back in high school and college, I ate terribly. Candy and sugar were my mainstays. I would eat two or three candy bars a day and meals were typically pizza or a hamburger.

I got really sick as a result of this diet, but the weirdest thing about it is I didn't KNOW I was sick. We associate sickness with sore throats, runny noses, and fever. Diet sick is very different.

I could burp louder than any guy, I would wake up at night with horrible stomach pain, and in the daytime I was tired and lethargic. I accomplished very little because I felt so terrible all the time.

It wasn't depression, acid reflux, or irritable bowel syndrome, as the doctor's I went to suggested and medicated me for. It was simply eating a bad diet.

So I changed my diet completely. I cut out all sugar, all processed foods, all dairy, and all for awhile all carbs and lived only on vegetables, some meat, seeds, and nuts. I was working near a fresh produce stand at the time and bought 90% of the food that we ate from a fresh, local vendor.

It wasn't more expensive. It actually cost less to buy local, but it did take more time to shop for and prepare fresh foods. But then again, nothing is faster than driving through a drive thru window!

The transformation to my body and health was tremendous. I felt better, lost the excessive gas and stomach pain, and began to get my normal energy back. The food we eat really does determine what we can do and how we feel on a daily basis.

But it's easy to forget this and it's REALLY easy to fall back on the old habits of convenience food. After watching the movie last night, Josh and I realized how far we'd moved away from the healthier diet we used to have.

But it doesn't take a lifetime of commitment or a zealot's flair of enthusiasm in order to eat healthier. It's simply a choice we make three times a day. Picking an apple over a candy bar. Picking water over soda pop. It's really that simple!

If this is something that interests you, please go to your local video store and rent Food, Inc. You can actually watch the other food movie, Supersize Me, in full length here. These two videos really explain the full relationship between food and health.

So now that I'm off my food soapbox, let's learn how to stitch Spaghetti and Meatballs!

Inspiration - McTavishing really is still my favorite quilting design of all time. It's easy, it's gorgeous, and it fills large amounts of your quilt quickly.

But I also love Pebbling and want to use it more often, but it takes so much time to pebble large areas of your quilt that it doesn't feel like it's worth it.

So by combining the two I think we get the best of both worlds: faster fill with gorgeous texture!

Design Family - Branching. McTavishing is a branching design and when you combine pebbling with it, things don't change much about how the design is formed. This should work just about anywhere on your quilt no matter how big or small.

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. Neither of these stitches are very difficult, but simply require a little bit of practice before you can memorize the shape and style of the design.

Directional Texture - All Directions. McTavishing has one of the most flowing, organic textures that looks a lot like water or wind.

Suggestions for Use - Definitely use this in the background of your quilts, around applique, or complex quilting motifs. You can fit both designs in just about any area and no matter where you put this design, it's going to look great!

Back of Spaghetti and Meatballs
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and send in a picture to show it off.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 95 - Jagged Cosmos

I hope everyone who was celebrating yesterday had a wonderful holiday and is taking it easy today.

What a better day to get started on all your Christmas projects than the day after Thanksgiving!

So let's learn a super quick, super easy design that will work great on holiday quilts:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

Inspiration - I really enjoyed stitching Stomach Lining and decided we needed more center focused designs that were easy to quilt.

Design Family - Edge to Center. This design is worked by stitching from the edge of your quilting space into the center and then back. This design will likely work in all areas of your quilt, but will look best in the more open, uncomplicated places.

Difficulty Level - Beginner. This is a terrific design to practice with because you not only get experience with lines and changing direction, but you can also work on echoing your previous line of stitching.

Directional Texture - Center Focused. You really can't ignore the center focus this design creates. Definitely use it where ever you want lots of attention on your quilt!

Suggestions for Use - I'm working on several short tutorials for holiday ornaments. This will definitely make for an easy, fun project that anyone can tackle no matter what your skill level!

Back of Jagged Cosmosfree motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Of course, we're going to have to take a brief break from our quilting rooms and sewing machines in order to cook massive amounts of food, but that doesn't mean we don't get a new quilting design today!

Here's Turkey Drumsticks!

Ha! I guess I'm mixing Thanksgiving with April Fools Day! No, this is not a real design and no, you're not getting a video of it!

But instead, you can enjoy a video of my most favorite holiday movie: The Family Stone.

Why do I like this movie so much?

Possibly because reminds me greatly of my own family. We're a strange bunch of slightly dysfunctional, overly honest, quick to temper people that can easily ignite a seemingly innocent occasion into all-out family warfare.

But regardless of our differences (and similarities), family is what it is. You can't pick em' and you can't change em' so you might as well enjoy em'!

I love this time of year because I love to cook, but with only half a kitchen, Josh and I are really taking it easy today. We're just doing a small turkey breast, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie and whipped cream.

And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'd like to say Thank you for reading! Thank you for checking out this blog, commenting, and supporting the project with your time and attention.

I'm off to start on the gravy and I hope everyone who is celebrating Thanksgiving today has a wonderfully safe, happy holiday!

Let's go Eat!

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sale and Fabric Give-a-Way

I'm very pleased to announce the start of the start of the:

Click Here if the Video Does Not Appear

So just in case the video doesn't load here's the deal:
  • Almost everything in the Day Style Designs Quilt Shop is on sale from Wednesday until Sunday.

  • The sale will close at 11:59 pm on Sunday night, so make sure to check it out now if you're wanting to treat yourself to something nice for the holidays.

  • For every $10 you spend in the quilt shop, your name will be placed in the drawing for the Mega Scrap Stash Give-a-Way!

  • There will be 3 winners who will each win a big box of fabric scraps mailed straight to their door on Monday morning.
I'd also like to officially announce the release of Free Motion Fillers Volume 2 DVD and Downloadable Workbook!

This set comes with another 20 designs from the project and is being offered at a very special price during the sale of only $24.99.

For everyone that purchased the Free Motion Fillers Volume 1 Set at the regular price, please email me for a special deal on this second DVD and workbook set!

Thank you all for your wonderful support of this blog! I really had a ton of fun putting this sale together and can't wait to see who wins the fabric give-a-way.

Let's go quilt (after you check out the sale!)

Leah Day

Day 94 - Flower Ball

It's not a fire ball, it's a Flower Ball!

free motion quilting | Leah DayGreat news on the kitchen remodel! Things are moving quickly, the dishwasher should be put in tomorrow and by next week, I'll hopefully have the new cabinets installed. YAY!

Josh and I are still cooking Thanksgiving, but a very trimmed down version. Who needs sweet potato casserole and green bean salad anyway?

Inspiration - I've said before that I'm not much for flowery type things. I wasn't the kind of kid that dressed in pink, no sirree.

But lately I've been looking at Chinese and Indonesian floral designs in a new light. I'm not going for a realistic flower design, but more of a sibilance of the design, almost like a cartoon version.

Design Family - Center Fill. You start from the center of your quilting space and work your way out with this design. It's pretty free form, so you can put it in the open, uncomplicated areas of your quilt and it will work just fine.

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. The shapes of this design are not terribly difficult, and the design really hides your mistakes well. That's always a nice bonus!

Directional Texture - Center Focused. This design is interesting in that the center is stitched quite densely, but the outer petals are not. If you wanted a more consistent look, you could also stitch the 2-3 lines within each petal.

This might be more time consuming, but it would also create a denser texture over your quilt.

Suggestions for Use - This design stands so well on its own, I really see using it over 4" squares or circles in a simple red and black quilt.

You could also use this as a special touch within the sashing cornerstones of a quilt. Really the possibilities are endless!

Back of Flower Ball
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.
Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 93 - Space Star

Let's move on with some more terrific combination designs. This design is a combo of Pointy Paisley and Pebbling which forms Space Star:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

Inspiration - I really like Pointy Paisley even though I normally don't like sharp angle designs. Pebbling is also one of my favorite quilting designs and together I think they make for a wonderful combination!

Design Family - Center Fill. Because these are two such different designs, when you combine them, the design takes on characteristics of both. This design will work great in open spaces, but probably not so well in tight, complicated areas.

I definitely wouldn't choose this design to put in the center of my snowflake block, but I could put it in the background.

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. The biggest challenge will be moving consistently from one star to another. Just keep the triangle shape of pointy paisley in your mind at all times and you'll do just fine.

Directional Texture - All Directions. Pointy Paisley is really an all-over design and still can't help be so when paired with other designs. Use this design in places where you want lots of eye poping texture.

Suggestions for Use - I believe I will use this Space Star in the background of my next snowflake block. The star shapes really remind me of snowflakes and I think they'll go nicely together.

Back of Space Star
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 92 - Leaf Veins

This design is also featured in the DVD Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers, as well as the ebook From Daisy to Paisley.

With the leaves now almost completely fallen and laying in wet, soggy piles all around the yard, I'm suddenly feeling rather sad that they're gone.

While flowers and leaves have not played a huge role in my designs so far, I have a feeling that that will chance as we move deeper into winter. So let's check out the latest nature inspired design with Leaf Veins:

free motion quilting | Leah DayA funny thing happened today to jog me out of my normal routine email checking and blogging.

A reader from Australia emailed me with the question "What is Black Friday?"

I found this funny because I know for a fact that people from all over the world are reading this blog, but I'd totally forgotten that, to an Australian, Canadian, or Swede, the term Black Friday is probably as foreign and weird as Bread Pudding, Kangaroos, and Boxing Day are to me.

And when I talk about the upcoming Black Friday Sale, I'm sure it doesn't make very much sense!

So to explain, Black Friday refers to the day after Thanksgiving in America. After we've filled our bellies full of turkey, stuffing, and enough pie to re-sink the Titanic, we work off our calorie surplus by shopping.

And it's not just any type of shopping - it's insane, over-the-top, mega shopping. The best deals, product releases, and sales always happen on Black Friday.

While it sounds amusing, the frenzy over cheap computers and TV sets is actually quite dangerous. A man was killed last year in a Walmart after a mob of crazy shoppers stampeded into the store.

I've shopped a couple times on Black Friday, but always found that the crowds and stress were just not worth it. The good news is you can now find even better deals all year around on the internet without the danger of getting trampled by an angry mob!

So with that American culture lesson out of the way, let's learn how to quilt Leaf Veins!

Inspiration - I love the big, thick leaves of Elephant ear plants and Calla lily bulbs. Amazingly enough, I still have some Calla lilies left since the weather has been so warm.

I love the large, open spaces of these leaves and how easily the simple the vein texture looks over dark green fabric.

Design Family - Stem Centered. This is a design where you first create the center vein, then you stitch the lines radiating off to form the texture. Because of the way it's created, this design will work best in the large, open areas of your quilts.

Difficulty Level - Beginner. These are just long, slightly curving lines that are very easy to quilt. If you're working to the edges of your quilting space, you won't even have to do much traveling to get back to the center leaf vein as you work.

Directional Texture - All Directions. Your eyes will definitely pick up the the center, stem shape, but because the lines are all radiating out in all directions, it really gives your quilt an all over texture.

Suggestions for Use - I like the idea of using this design over leaf appliques. I just recently checked out: Hop To It! Appliqued Blocks and Projects by Edyta Sitar from my local quilt guild library.

This is an awesome book, full of beautiful appliques that are slightly different from your typical applique style. If I could get a hold of one of her quilts, I would definitely use Leaf Veins in each of the leaf shapes. Just a little texture added to an already gorgeous block is an easy way to take a quilt from pretty to spectacular!

Back of Leaf Veins
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 91 - Fossil Bed

So we were able to combine tree roots and circles for Sprouting Seeds yesterday. Now let's combine Slinkie texture and Peppermint Candy to create Fossil Bed!

free motion quilting | Leah Day
This design combination takes two simple, graphic designs, and combines them together for one outstanding texture!

Now let's learn how to stitch Fossil Bed:

Inspiration - I've really just been playing with a lot of combination designs lately. I figure, if 2 designs can stand on their own, they can probably work together nicely too.

It actually reminds me of a Kirby's Dream Land Video game where the character can gain different skills by swallowing different enemies. When you swallow two enemies, you get a combo of their skills. Pretty cool, huh?

Difficulty Level - Advanced. This is a tricky design, but I honestly think it's easier to quilt when you place it in a circle like this. Just keep your shapes consistent and have fun with it! 

Design Family - Stacking. This is definitely a unique design because the way you create the shapes is a bit different from all the other designs. I think this will work nice in big, open areas of your quilt, but probably not as well in tight areas. 

Directional Texture - All Directions. The fossil beds are really attention getting! Be careful to fill the weird areas around the circular shapes with spirals so that the design keeps a nice consistent look.

Suggestions for Use - Again, I think this would be a neat sashing design, especially in cornerstones. If you really wanted to show off, you could also stitch it as your quilt background, but keep in mind that it's fairly time consuming!

Back of Fossil Bed
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 90 - Sprouting Seeds

I must be on a combination design kick cause I've just made several designs combining two earlier designs.

This one is a combo of circles (technically single pebbles) and Tree Roots. Of course since roots were involved, I ended up naming it Sprouting Seeds:

free motion quilting | Leah DayToday I'm working on the final details of our first
Mega Scrap Stash Give-a-Way
and Super Black Friday Sale!

From all the comments from my post about fabric organization video, I know most of you ladies can't wait to get your hands on my scrap stash.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI was going through it all yesterday and couldn't believe just how much there was. 4 years quilting really does produce a ton of scraps!

I've been debating and decided to also include the yardage that I'm purging from my stash. I couldn't even get it all into one photo!

What do you think: should I split this
into three different stashes or combine it all into one?

Let me know what you think! I would never have thought of getting rid of all this stuff and I'm sure it will all be going to a good home.

I'll be announcing the details of the give-a-way and the super sale on Wednesday, so make sure to stop by and check it out!

Let's get back to learning how to quilt Sprouting Seeds:

Inspiration - Tree Roots has got to be in my top 10 favorite quilting designs invented during the project. I'm starting to use it just as much as stippling!

But I don't want to over use it either, so I've started looking for ways to combine it with other designs for a new look.

I think this design has some nice potential. You could do spirals in the circles, fill them with stippling, or leave them open like they are in my photos. 

Difficulty Level - Advanced. Tree roots are fairly easy. Quilting circles is fairly easy. Combine the two together and practice enough, and you'll nail this design to the wall! 

Design Family - Stacking. Each of the sprouting seeds is formed, then you branch off with your tree root line to form your next seed.

It's very free form and flowing and could likely be placed anywhere on a quilt. 

Directional Texture - No Direction. Your eyes aren't really being pulled in any single direction, but the circles for the seeds are very noticeable. You could make them more like pebbling or fill them with spirals so they look a bit less like polka dots amid the tree roots.

Suggestions for Use - I personally keep seeing sprouting seeds being used in your sashing cornerstones. It will provide that nice little touch of texture in a place pretty much always ignored.

Back of Sprouting Seeds
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 89 - Oil Slick

This design is also featured in the DVD Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers, as well as the ebook From Daisy to Paisley.

Everybody ready for some more free motion designs? I hear you!

Let's fuel our free motion addictions with Oil Slick:

free motion quilting | Leah DayI know when I need to get back behind my machine when my head starts buzzing with new designs that I can't stop thinking about.

I'm not an insomniac usually, but I go through phases where I can't sleep at all because my head is busy busy busy.

I've been working through such a phase lately due to working on the new ebook and video series Quilting Beyond the Ditch which will be my beginner guide to everything you could ever want to know about free motion quilting.

I start writing and then I realize I've left something out of the beginning. I go back and fix that and then think of three more things I MUST cover get the idea.

It's fun and challenging and I'm loving every minute of it. I just wish there were more minutes in the day!

Let's get back to learning how to stitch Oil Slick:

Click Here if the Video Does Not Appear

In this video, I mention the gloves I wear in all of my videos.
You can check them out here.

Inspiration - After the success of the wiggly spiral in Stomach Lining, I wanted to see if this could be turned into more of an allover pattern rather than a center fill.

After playing around a bit, this design was born and I'm happy to say that it's a much more versatile design that can be used even in the tight spaces of your quilt unlike Stomach Lining. 

Difficulty Level - Beginner. Yes, there is some traveling in this design, but overall the design itself is easy to maneuver and stitch on your quilts.

If you find yourself struggling with your threads when you travel, try using a thinner thread. Thick threads will often look terrible if you travel over them even once. 

Design Family - Stacking. This design works a lot like Basic Spiral in that the spiral shapes interlock together to fill the space. It will work in just about every area of your quilt, just work on keeping your lines consistent!

Directional Texture - All Directions. This is an awesome design for background. It fills fairly fast so you'll cover a lot of distance with no problem.

Suggestions for Use - I see oil slick working as a water fill over a landscape quilt. It could just as easily work around traditional applique blocks, so play with it and see where you like it best!

Back of Oil Slick
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quilting a Sampler Quilt Part 4

I think we're going to finish up this quilt today with the remaining blocks and sashing and get back to some free motion filler designs!

To read the other posts about this sampler quilt,
click on Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

4th Row, Right Block - This is the good ole dresden plate block that I've been playing designs off of through this whole quilt.

If you had told me a year ago that I'd like dresden plate block in the future, I would have told you you were crazy.

I was never much of a fan until I quilted my guild's donation quilt last spring. In this quilt I quilted the dresdens with this internal petal design that was heavily stippled, then the outside of the dresden fan was made puffy with trapunto.

Because we were on a pretty tight time schedule, I also had the quilt top be made with 4 open spaces where the dresden plates could be quilted in, rather than pieced. You can see this illustrated in this photo:

This just proves that you can take ANY block: dresden plate, 9 patch, wedding ring, and quilt it on your quilt rather than piece it.

I'm actually planning to create a double wedding ring in this fashion to celebrate my 5th wedding anniversary this spring. Instead of piecing all those curved seams, I'm instead going to quilt the shapes onto off white or red fabric.

I think it will definitely make for an easier double wedding ring!

Last row, Left block - This block reminds me of an icecream cone for some reason! I again softened the curves with more petal shapes that build on the dresden design.

This is one block where you have a lot of room around the central quilting motif that you could do some showy quilting in. You could surround the central motif with freeform feathers or a thin line of chain of pearls. You've got more than enought room to play, so use it!

Last row, Middle Block - I didn't design this block as well as I would have liked. The pink leaf was kind of a trial run and it came out looking more like a jack o' lantern than I was hoping.

Check out the blue leaf for the design that would work better. It looks a bit less like a jagged mouth!

Last row, right block - This block is very beautifully appliqued. I don't think you need to do more than emphasize the applique so that it stands out a bit more.

I did add a little swirl through the center of the flowers that you might want to stitch with invisible thread just to add a little more stitching within the flower shapes.

Quarter Circle Blocks - These mariner's compass style blocks fit into the on-point design of this quilt beautifully.

Personally, I felt that trying to quilt over these blocks or distract from them would be a crime, so I simply stitched in the ditch around the points, then filled in the white background with fillers.

The circle shape could be filled in with a variety of fillers, straight, or curving lines depending on what you like to quilt.

Sashing - I asked Randi and she said the sashing was 1 1/4" wide. With sashing this skinny, there's really not much you can do quilting wise.

I drew some lines over the quarter circle shapes and I think this could also look good over the sashing of the whole quilt. Space your lines around 1/4" apart and make sure to mark this before you quilt it.

You could ruin the whole quilt by having wiggly lines in the sashing, distracting from the blocks and setting.

You could also mark zig zaggy lines through the sashing as well, but honestly, I think this quilt is busy enough as it is.

In the future whenever you piece a quilt, consider cutting your sashing wider than you usually do. Instead of 2" or 2.5" sashing, cut it 3.5" or 4" wide so you have a nice open area to play with with some edge to edge filler designs.

Tomorrow we'll get back to more filler designs and hopefully next week I'll have the new videos finished showing you how to apply trapunto to your quilt tops and how to mark designs.

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quilting a Sampler Quilt Part 3

Let's move on with the next three blocks of Randi's sampler quilt designed by Annie Smith.

Center Block - In my opinion, this is absolutely the most important block of this quilt. It's smack in the center of the quilt and the first thing your eyes see when you look at the quilt.

Because it's such a bold block and because the triangles extend all the way to the edges of the block, I'd probably just follow the piecing lines entirely.

In some situations, the best thing to do is stitch in the ditch because to add anything more would be jumping into the realm of "too much."

3rd Row, Right Block - With this block I felt like there was room to fit a new design in over the existing piecing.

Rather than follow the piecing lines of the pink diamonds, I instead sketched a curving petal shape, again playing off the dresden plate design.

By covering over the other piecing with dense fillers, you choose what areas you want to be dominant.

4th Row, Left Block - This is the butterfly block, and you could easily just stitch in the ditch around the block and fill in the background as is.

But there are details added in the applique that should be enhanced if possible. Randi bothered to stitch them on so we may as well quilt them nicely!

The leaf shapes, darker lines, and circles could all be filled densely, making them flatter in comparison to the butterfly wings.

You could even fill in the circles with spirals, or add more circles to the wings. The possibilities really are limitless!

So how do you add quilting motifs to a pieced or appliqued block?

Here's how I take an existing block and create a custom design for it:

1. Place the block in question over a light box.

2. Take a large sheet of graph paper and lay it over the quilt top.

3. Sketch the block onto the graph paper using the light box to illuminate through the quilt top.

4. Once you have 1/4 of the design drawn you can remove the quilt top. You really only need a quarter of the design if your piecing is symmetrical.

5. Fold your graph paper into half lengthwise and copy the drawn lines over to the opposite side.

6. Fold your paper in half width wise and now transfer the whole design to this other half of the paper.

When you open your paper, you should have a full sized design now.

7. Now start playing with the design. You only have to make changes to one quarter area because you can always fold the paper to transfer those marks to all the other areas of the block.

A light box really comes in handy for this type of design work. While I know most quilters don't have them, you can always use a window or glass door to get the same effect.

I'll try to add illustrating photos soon!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quilting a Sampler Quilt Part 2

Okay, we're ready to cover the next 3 blocks of this Quilter's Pallet sampler quilt and some more tips for show quilting.

To recap, here's the original quilt top:

And here's the drawn over show version:

2nd Row Left Block - I really liked the sets of 3 appliqued leaves with this block and choose to emphasize them and the dark squares of the 9 patch as well.

The rest of the block should be filled with dense fillers and stitched in the ditch all around the block and motifs.

A quilter named "The Scott" asked in the comments of Part 1 how to stitch in the ditch.

Quite basically, when you stitch in the ditch with free motion, you just run around the ditch of your blocks with a line of quilting stitches.

If done correctly, your stitching should rest within the seam, making it nearly invisible, unless you look really hard.

Now, when you're filling your whole block with free motion fillers, you can get away with a much less perfect stitching in the ditch because people are going to be drooling so much over your filler stitches that they won't bother to nit pick your ditchwork.

Of course, sometimes you don't have a real "ditch" to stitch in. Most quilters press their seams to one side rather than open (naughty girls!) and this creates a noticeably ridge to one side of the seam.

When you try to stitch in the ditch with this ridge, your stitching isn't going to go fully in the ditch, but to one side or the other of that ridge.

This is one reason why I always press my seams open. I know it's annoying and time consuming, but it also reduces the bulk of those seams in the seam allowance, making it easier to quilt over those seams.

You also won't have a "ditch" around applique. In this situation, just stitch as close to the edge of the applique as you can, without stitching on it.

I'll try to get a video up soon showing how to do this. It's on my list of things to do!

2nd Row, Right Block - This is a very simple block and I choose to leave it that way. I liked the shapes of the triangle pinwheel, so I stitched in the ditch around those pieces to bring them out, then filled in the dark triangles with dense fillers.

This is one situation where I would probably use a super dense, flat filler for the dark triangles, like stippling, then another, more flowing filler for the background of the block.

I think that would add to the dimension and movement of the block, plus be fun to quilt that way!

3rd Row, Left Block - With this block, I really liked the interlocking squares, so I'd definitely make that a central motif.

I also liked the center star, but wanted to again soften some of the angles of this quilt with dresden curves. This tiny dresden plate motif would then be surrounded with a dense filler so it stands out over the piecing.

You can quilt whatever you like in the background of this block. You've got enough space for an edge to edge design like Cartoon Tree, or even an edge to center design like flowing glass.

Yesterday, a quilter named Ethne also asked in the comments of part 1 where I come up with so many designs and inspiration on a daily basis.

To be honest, I don't think of it that way. It's not a matter of volume or quantity. I simply live and breath quilting!

I've been working on my new ebook that will cover everything I know about quilting. It's going to be geared to beginners, but with the intent to move beyond the beginner phase and into advanced quilting.

I didn't even realize how MUCH I have to say about things like machines, thread, needles, and tension, until I started actually writing it all down.

I'm already on page 30 and we haven't even started quilting yet!

But I'm so extremely thankful to have this to work on and to share it with all of you! Keep the comments coming and let me know where your major confusion areas are on a quilt.

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to Quilt a Sampler Quilt

Last week, Randi L emailed me with this gorgeous sampler quilt designed and taught by Annie Smith.

It may be exhibiting my quilting ignorance, but before Randi's email, I'd never heard of Annie Smith or her wonderful quilting podcasts.

I immediately hopped, skipped and jumped over to her website and found an amazing quilting kindred spirit! Annie's been publishing podcasts for years (she's on #178) and is just starting to get into video casts.

Annie also teaches her quilting designs, including this quilt which is called the Quilter's Pallet because it teaches a wide range of techniques over the 10 weeks of the class.

When I saw this quilt, I started getting super excited. This is a SHOW QUILT if ever I've seen one!

Randi professed to not knowing how to quilt it and was even considering doing an all over meandering.

That would have been a disastrous mistake as this quilt, with a little extra time and attention, is sure to become a show winner.

So first off, why do I think so? What makes me so sure this quilt could ribbon in a show?

Well, part of it is a gut feeling. I see quilts every day and all of them are beautiful, but some stand out from the crowd.

Randi's piecing is obviously top notch. Look at all those perfect points!

Another reason I think this is a potential show winner is the color choices. The quilt simply goes together.

The arrangement is very pleasing to the eye, but it's not overly busy or distracting. You have the space to see and appreciate each block by itself, but together they look like they were meant for each other, even though there's a nice mix of sharp angles and curves.

I've seen a lot of sampler style quilts, but most of them are busy, overly complicated, and full of blocks that don't look like they should ever be placed together in a quilt.

I have to admit that the Quilter's Pallet is the first sampler quilt I've seen that I will actually consider making. It's beautiful!

But samplers are tricky to quilt aren't they?

I think we can all agree that an all-over meander would have ruined this quilt, but what in the world would work instead?

Looking at the quilts in the background of Annie's videos, it looks to me like she stitches in the ditch around the blocks and then fills the background with medium density stippling.

That's a perfectly fine way to quilt this quilt and like Guilitta's complex patchwork quilt, one of the few times I'd say stitching in the ditch is warranted.

But what if Randi wanted to enter and ribbon in a show with this quilt?

I know this may not be a focus for most quilters. Show quilting may seem impractical and overly complicated, but it's my love and passion, so you're all going to have to bear with me!

I printed out Randi's quilt rather than try to illustrate my quilting lines in paint and instead hand drew my quilting ideas over her quilt.

For comparison, here is the original, unmarked quilt:

And here is my show quilting design drawn over it:

I had to use a black pen for my drawing and I'm sorry if this isn't very clear. Please click on the image to see the full sized version that you can print out to see clearer.

As you can tell, the background is completely filled with very dense stitching (I just used squiggles to represent the fillers). Yes, if you quilt this densely, your quilt will be stiff, but it will also be gorgeous!

Now, I'm going to go block by block and how and why I've made the decisions I have on this quilt. Once you read through each block and compare the pieced, unmarked version to the marked version, I thing you will be able to "see" beyond the piecing and into a new world of quilting design.

This is a quilt that could definitely benefit from trapunto. This is where you make some areas and motifs puffier so they stand out more in comparison to the background.

Randi said she'd already based and stitched in the ditch around most of the sashing, so she can't apply trapunto to the quilt now unless she's willing to do a lot of seam ripping. The quilt will look just fine without it, but when you can plan ahead and utilize this technique, it really can add a whole new dimension to the design.

Because each block is fairly complex, I'm going to cover 3 blocks each with part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and then finish up with the mariner's compass blocks and sashing in part 5.

To actually quilt this quilt on a domestic machine, I would start in the center block, quilt the 4 blocks surrounding it, then the 8 remaining blocks, always working from the center to the outside of your top.

Now let's look at each block in turn and I'll explain why I choose these particular quilting designs:

1st row, Upper Left block - In this block, the larger blue triangles immediately jumped out at me.

I wanted them to really stand out over the rest of the pieces and colors in this block, so if possible, I'd make sure to trapunto them and the sawtooth star in the center.

To quilt it, you would first stitch in the ditch the center sawtooth star and blue triangles then fill in the background with any filler stitch. The inner background around the sawtooth needs a dense, independent filler, like Tree Roots or Wandering Clover.

The outer background is not as tight a space and can be quilted with most of the fillers from this project.

I hope you can see in the photo that I drew over some of the colored pieces. This was intentional.

I would have the fillers cover those pieces just as completely as the background, making them recede so that the blue triangles are more visible. In essence, I'm ignoring the piecing in favor of drawing out a slightly different design with the quilting.

For thread, I would be quilting in the ditch and the background areas with white thread to match the white background, so the thread will contrast over these colored portions.

If you didn't want your thread to show off as much, you could us an invisible nylon thread.

1st row, Middle Block - I didn't like this block as much as the others (sorry Annie and Randi!) It just seemed a bit complex in color in comparison to the other blocks, and I was looking for a way to tone it down a bit.

Rather than follow any of the piecing lines, I instead drew a modified dresden plate quilting motif over the block. It's slightly different from a regular dresden plate because the petals fit into a square shape rather than a circle.

I choose this quilting motif because the quilt also contains a dresden block and I wanted to ease some of the sharp angles within the quilt.

So how would you mark this motif of the quilt top? Well, personally I would draw 1/4 of the design on paper first, then fold the paper in quarters to create the full sized design. It's an easy way to make sure your design is 100% symmetrical.

I use a lightbox to transfer the design to the quilt top. Since most people don't have lightboxes, you could try holding it up in a window or stitching along the lines of the design with no thread in your machine and then marking the holes left in the paper.

Once the dresden was marked, I then saw the placement of the blue triangles. These kind of looked like butterflies to me, and since this quilt also contains one butterfly block, I choose to play off that design as well.

The triangles would be stitched in the ditch, then you can create a little antanea to make them butterflies.

The whole background would then be filled in with a dense background fill. Because this is more complex shapes, your filler needs to be a relatively easy independent or branching design. McTavishing, Lightning bolt, Tree Roots, and Wandering clover would all be good choices.

Notice that I make the same suggestions on fillers for both blocks. With a quilt like this, because every block is different, it might be a good idea to choose 1-2 filler designs to use in a small way on every block so that the quilt is more unified.

Since McTavishing is one of my favorite designs, I'd probably choose it to fit in the larger portions of the background and then use other fillers here and there almost as accents.

There's no right or wrong way to do this though. Choose the fillers you like and which flow well for you so that the quilting goes quickly.

1st Row, Right Block - This is a flower block with 3 big flower shapes. Again, I'm choosing to soften the sharp points of the flowers with a rounded quitling motif, very similar to the ends of the dresden plate blocks.

The flowers are made to stand out even more with small "petals" of dense stitching within the new quilted flower petals.

For the basket, definitely stitch in the ditch around the shape, then go inside with a slightly larger filler design, where the lines of stitching are 1/2" apart and fill it with something funky like Basic Spiral or even Stomach Lining, our most recent design!

When show quilting, you will want to stitch in the ditch around everything, unless of course you're choosing to ignore that piecing shape and fill over it with a background fill.

Stay tuned for the next part of this design where we check out 3 more blocks and get more tips on quilting for show!

Let's Go Quilt!

Leah Day

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 88 - Stomach Lining

This design is also featured in the DVD Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers, as well as the ebook From Daisy to Paisley.

Yeah, yeah, I know the name of this one is absolutely disgusting, but the Biology major in me just has to have some fun sometimes!

free motion quilting | Leah DayI'm still searching for easier ways to use Stippling so that it won't be such a trial for beginners to learn. I think spiraling with it in this way has a very neat effect, plus it's fast to stitch which helps to cover large surface areas very quickly.

Inspiration - I've been playing with more center fill designs and I like how this one works quite a bit. It was inspired by a wooden coaster that had wood rings radiating out from the center.

Whenever I look at objects or pictures these days I try to imagine what it would look like if the lines were wiggly, straight, or jagged. This imagining leads to more quilting designs every time!

Design Family - Center Fill. You're going to break thread, then start from the center with this design. Because of the way it's created, this design will work well in open areas like quilt blocks and circles.

It probably wouldn't be the best choice for complicated areas because of the amount of traveling required to keep the spiral consistent.

Difficulty Level - Beginner. This wiggly spiral is so much easier than stippling! Play with having the lines interlock for a more stipple type of look or separate them for a definite stomach lining effect.

Directional Texture - Center Focused. If you interlock the wiggly lines, you won't have quite as much center focused attention, but if they're separate you're definitely going to see the spiral and your eyes will be drawn within it.

Suggestions for Use - Need a cool way to practice this design? Sandwich some 6" squares and quilt 4" squares within them. Cut it out and pillowcase line the back with another piece of fabric to finish the ends.

The end result? Quilted coasters perfect for gift giving this holiday season!

Back of Stomach Lining
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

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