The Free Motion Quilting Project: A Few Changes to the Project

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Few Changes to the Project

Alright, get ready.

I've got some good news and of course I have some bad news.

Since I don't like beating around the bush, I'm going to get the bad news out of the way first.

Here goes:

I'm tired.

There! I said it! I've admitted publicly that this project is getting to be a bit too much.

It's taken a lot of thinking, arguments, tears, and finally a breaking point when my two year old asked "Why momma so sad?" to get me to actually admit that I'm totally exhausted.

Oftentimes being honest and admitting you've gotten in totally over your head is the hardest thing to do.

Whew! I feel a bit better already.

So I'm sure you're wondering what does this mean for the project?

Well, first off, I'm going to start taking some time off. My family has been encouraging me to take a huge chunk of days off all in a row.

But I know that totally won't work for me. I'll maybe take 3 days off, then I'll be back working my butt off on something else. I'll start a big quilt. I'll volunteer for something. I can't help it, I LIKE to work!

So instead of taking a huge chunk of days off, I'm instead going to start taking one or two days off a week.

Now when I say "off" what does that really mean?

It means that I won't post a new design that day.

I know this just sounds so horrible. No posts! How will all of the free motion quilting addicts survive???

Well, here's where the Good News comes in!

Instead of posting a design, I'm going to post instead about how to ACTUALLY USE these designs in your actual quilts.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about how to use fillers and what you can really do with them.

Readers have been sending me photos of their quilts for awhile now and those I've gotten permission from are going to allow me to take their photo and draw on it with what I think will make a beginner, intermediate, and advanced quilting design for the quilt.

So I'll still be posting daily! I just won't always be adding a new design to the project.

I really think this will be an awesome addition to the project because I truly believe that the reason why so many quilters have closets full of quilt tops rather than completed quilts is because they don't know how to quilt them.

And I don't mean just free motion quilting techniques.

I'm talking about the ability to look at a quilt and see a 3rd dimension of design. Where to add texture, quilting motifs, and fillers to make the quilting a real addition to the quilt itself. The quilting MAKES the quilt.

I see the first half of this free motion project as releasing us from the bond of the Usual Suspects: Stippling, McTavishing, Pebbling, and Paisley.

I'd like the second half of this project to take on an even bigger foe:

Stitching in the Ditch!

When I'm done with this project, I don't ever want to hear a quilter say "I just stitch it in the ditch cause I don't know how to quilt it."

Let's learn how to quilt those tops in an amazing variety of ways! There are literally MILLIONS of ways to quilt a quilt, we just have to learn how to look it in a different way.

So even though I won't be posting new designs daily, there will always be something to look forward to on this blog.

Now Let's Go Quilt!

Leah Day


  1. ABSOLUTELY!!!! completely.... you have my support!!

    ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS.....YOU first...then family... and somewhere down on the list is the blogger/patchworking/quilting world.

    I discovered your project at about day 40 or so, and wondered how you were ever going to manage 365 days of it.... I'm completely proud of you for managing as far as you did.

    Enjoy, relax a bit, and refresh.... patchworking and quilting is supposed to be fun ~ not exhausting!!

    bundles & bushels of smooches!!

  2. I so hear you! I love to work too, but sometimes get overwhelmed. Go at your own pace, and we'll all appreciate anything you have to offer! Thanks for all you do.

  3. What a great idea Leah to take some time off. Everyone needs to be refreshed now and then. You have done a super job so far. I have just received my workbook of designs and it has prompted me to begin to sharpen my free motion quilting skills. I want to take each design and work on it then progress to the next one. Thank you for your wonderful site and all you've done for us.

  4. Please take care of yourself Leah. We love getting new quilting patterns every day - but not at the risk of your damaging your health or upsetting your family, it's not worth that. Whatever you decide all your fans will continue to support you, just be kind to yourself eh? God bless, you'll be in my prayers, Lis x

  5. Good for you! I was wondering how you were "doing it all". I think we are all just so grateful for you and your blog that we will be just fine if you don't do a design a day, or even a post a day for that matter. I do love the idea of teaching us how to use these designs in our quilts. Thanks, Leah! I know I am not alone when I say, "you rock!"

  6. honestly I'm surprised you didn't burn out sooner! Take a well needed break, family comes first!

    I've enjoyed looking at your designs so far and look forward to seeing how you implement them

  7. I applaud you for your 79 days! of
    just fabulous free motion designs.
    That's a great achievement and something
    I know that I couldn't do.
    Thank You!
    How to use these stitches in our
    quilts is one fabulous idea - something
    that most of the time stumps me.
    (Rest time is good for the soul & family (-:)

  8. I thought this was a really ambitious project but I am glad to see that you know when to say when. I love your ideas and I look forward to seeing what comes next. I think the trick to life is balance, best wishes with your new balancing act!

  9. I've only recently discovered your blog and haven't yet had time to go back over previous quilting examples. But, Wow! I think that your upcoming explanations will be helpful as well. With just the little bit I've looked at one thing is clear to me: just give myself permission to doodle for awhile and see what comes up! Much thanks for your work and explanations.

    BTW, I couldn't get Blogger to show me the secret word that I'm supposed to type in to post a comment when I was on IE, so I had to change to Mozilla Firefox and click on some extra things to get my typing to show up. Plus, it won't show me the other comments you've received, or maybe you block those. In any case, if you aren't getting many comments, it is the fault of blogger.

  10. Your work has been so helpful. And the new idea of showing us how to use the fillers to quilt will be just what I have needed! I don't want to pay someone hundreds to do the quilting when that is what I wanted to learn to do. So thanks for additional help!

  11. I only recently found your blog and used it to refresh my stippling and loved all your hints but totally support your taking some time off for yourself and family. Sometimes in life we just have to say No or NO more and this is one of those times. We'll all be here when you post and we'll keep sewing when you are resting!

  12. Heck, I'm exhausted just from reading your blog everyday! We all think you are beyond amazing. But as someone who has always given, and given, and given...I know something has to always give in the end. And it's usually us. And our health. And then our family no longer has us as the heart of the home. Know we all love and appreciate every bit of this. We are amazed, we are transfixed, we are speechless, we are honored to be given so generously to. But......none of us can give to others, if we can't give to ourselves, with love, from our heart to our own heart, first. Rest dear beautiful, kind, generous Leah...every single day, rest first. You are already above, beyond, and past most of our abilities, anyway ;) Heck, we are mostly on day 1 and 2, right now and one or too of us have maybe made it a week ;)

  13. Sounds like great changes! Of course, since this is YOUR blog (and all the work that goes with it) you are free to do whatever you want! Can't wait to see what ideas you come up with next.

  14. Good for you. A little time "off" is always good for the soul. Besides, you have been working your fingers to the bone and you have earned it.
    Going to miss your posts, but, I am sure I will love the new posts just as much.
    Great job and love your blog.

  15. Oh Leah, even if you did decide to take a few days a week off, even if they were two in A ROW, I would still not know how you have so much energy! You should definitely take time to enjoy your little one.

  16. Hi Leah,
    I am so delighted you are taking a break from posting every day to enjoy your family and rest. Play with your son, take naps and watch chick flicks.

    Also I really hope you will come up with a quilting design for my Shannon quilt. I'm still piecing it now but having been losing sleep on how to quilt it. The pattern and progress photos are on my blog if you want to peak. I have been reading your blog for a while, it has given me ideas for designing my own free motion fillers. You are an inspiration. Thanks tons!

  17. That is a fantastic idea, because HOW to use the designs is a huge challenge for me. I have appreciated all that you have already done, so thank you!

  18. I am here to tell you that your break / slowing down will give me a chance to catch up! I've been out of town/no sewing machine for a month..when I get home next week I have to start with #1 and work my way thru all of what you have given us. I think it will be good for all of us to digest and practice what you have taught us so far & I love the idea of seeing how they can be applied to various quilts. See this is going to work out well for you and your fan club! AND, I am still giving out your site to anyone I come across who quilts!! Rest well, but keep your creative juices flowing!! Marybeth

  19. Leah you are absolutely right to have a break and a change. Your generosity in posting all these quilting patterns is phenomenal but you should definitely not be doing it at the cost of your health and your family's wellbeing. I am really excited that you are prepared to share ideas for ways of using your designs but again, don't exhaust yourself with that too. I am new to quilting being more of an art quilter so I am so grateful to have found your blog and am hoping to get some practice started this week. Take care and thank you, I shall be following with interest.

  20. Good for you. Far be it from me to put so much pressure on you that you feel stressed to put out. I enjoy your blog and enjoy your talent, but I think your family is most important. I'm looking forward the new direction, and I think you are very wise.

  21. We're with you. I just read your next blog before I saw this one, and your log cabin quilt idea is fabulous. You did take on a pretty big challenge because you not only blog every day, you have to come up with the idea AND make a video. That would make anyone tired. Relax, enjoy your family and we'll be here whenever you feel like posting. Karen

  22. I am so glad you posted your feelings so honestly. It is a relief to see that other ambitious women also have to take a break once in a while. You were so strong, posting all the newfound patterns for every single day. So everybody wants you to get refreshed and feel not only better but good.
    Take all the time you need, I admire a young woman (you're about the age of my daughter)following so straightly her goals. But one of the goals is also being in balance with all parts of life, nurturing your soul and mind, health and familylife.
    Thank you for all your inspirations so far, and for all you have to give to the world.

  23. Leah, you have already been so generous with your skills. Be gentle with yourself and your creativity will flourish. Thank you for all you have given us.

  24. I am *loving* that now you'll be helping us to figure out where/how to use fillers. I have a quilt I'm working on, and I think it needs something "nice" in the sashing, but I don't know what would look good... I can't simply "see" it, and it's not "talking" to me.

    You're young Leah.
    You have much of life in front of you still.
    Live it!
    Live it the way *you* want and need to.
    Family (including self) is THE most important gift you have.
    DO NOT feel guilty! We do not need any apologies.

    No Worries Mate!

  25. Leah, I've been so enjoying your quilting designs and your witty, informative posts. But I totally support the new direction (ok, the slight variation on your current direction - lol) you've decided to take here. You are a blessing to the quilting community and nobody wants you to burn yourself out. Every day I look forward to visiting your site and that will continue as I follow you through your quilty journey.
    Thanks for all you do - you are appreciated!!

  26. Leah,
    If it takes two or three years to get 365 fillers it will still be a BIG, make that HUGE, achievement, and the new direction will be another wonderful resource for all quilters, hand and machine.

    I think I have you summed up as an over-achiever, but glad to be on the receiving end of those achievements. Share some achiements with your family too, and I am petty sure they don't need a filler design a day!
    Judy B

  27. This is such a fabulous idea because all the know hows wil not help us to actually analyze a quilt and decide what will work. This idea will really help.

    Relax and enjoy your family.

  28. Definitely take some time off! I posted daily for almost a year and a half on my website, and just recently came to the conclusion that my life could not continue to revolve around it. Everything else was suffering. So now things are more balanced and I feel much better about all of it. Do what you have to do, and always put your family first! That is something you'll never regret!


  29. Leah -- you're such a generous soul for sharing all your time and talents with the cyberworld! I've enjoyed everything you've posted. Please take all the time you need, recharge yourself, and we'll be waiting on the other side!

  30. Leah - I am so glad you are going to slow down - I for one cannot keep up with you and the great work you do and I think your family and your sanity is way more important than a blog. I want to use the fills but I look at my quilt and I have a hard time picturing them so I love what you are doing with the "big picture" Thank you.

  31. Lea, me parece muy bien que tome un descanso, fundamentalmente Disfrute su tiempo con la familia, es usted tan generosa! Pero no olvide que esta empieza por casa, cuidese.
    Le agradezco de todo corazon El Esfuerzo que hace cada dia para un diseño nuevo, que ya tenemos Creame Bastantes para comenzar un acolchar, Relájese y buen descanso. Un abrazo y Gracias otra vez

  32. You've GOT to put your family before the blog!! A two year old? Oh my, that two year old will be 20 before you know it (my two year old does turn 20 this month!!) it happens when you aren't paying attentiong (okay, it happens even if you ARE paying attention). I do like your idea of showing us HOW TO USE all of these great designs. That will be exciting and very helpful.

  33. Hi Leah,
    You got it right when you said there are a few quilts hanging on design walls that haven't spoken to us on how they should be quilted. I have two that are mysteries. Just today I was wondering what you would suggest if you were in my quilting room checking them out. I think you are right to step back and take a break. I love your videos but have to watch several at once because I can't get to your site daily.

  34. Leah - A huge thank you for all your inspiration and had work. I've been loving coming to your blog and seeing all the ideas for quilting. Please take a break, rest, recover, we'll all be here waiting for you when you're ready to start again.

    I broke out of my usual stippling mould last week, and flower quilted on a quilt (now finished), and it was really good to try something different.

    Love the new post about using the designs.

  35. Please, take the time you need! We don't run away!
    Thx for all you share, I love it!

  36. Hi Leah
    Good call, respect to you.
    Think of your life as a quilt, your work is the backing, your health is the batting and your family the top and quilting.
    Without the backing ( work ) we still have a quilt, beautiful to look at.
    Without the batting ( health ) we still have a quilt, very flimsy and frail but still beautiful to look at.
    BUT without the beauty of the top and quilting ( family )the whole thing falls apart and we have NO quilt!


  37. Leah, I think your ideas to help us with quilting designs for quilts is going to be an excellent addition to this fantastic blog....and the start for a fantastic book!
    Be kind to yourself, and give your babies hugs for me!

  38. LOL if I may be so bold as to speak on behalf of your fanbase... TAKE A WELL DESERVED BREAK WOMAN! We will miss you but we will COPE!

    And here's a secret... even I take a day off once in a while, and I miss your daily entry, and read two or three at a time. So there. ;)

    As for the "Death to SITD" I'm totally on board with that. I can't wait to see what you've got in store for us!!!

  39. Leah,
    It's so important to be true to yourself and family! Take your time we will be here. I love following your blog and posts. I'm with one of the other commenters that I need time to catch up and practice the free motion quilting and love your idea of seeing quilts with free motion quilting ideas. Thanks for sharing such honest feelings!
    Laura T

  40. I agree with everyone - you need to take some time for yourself and family. Having to do something every day can be tiresome - coming up with something NEW everyday can be paralyzing to your creativity.

    I am sure that you will get to your goals of 365 new designs, so what if it takes a bit longer than a year.

    And I like the idea of showing how to use the designs on actual quilts.


  41. Looking forward to the pics of how to use the quiltdesigns on a quilt. Take time to rest! Make sure you take care of yourself so the work won't burn you down

  42. Hi Leah

    We are all so lucky to have access to what you have done so far. Who said the 365 days had to be consecutive?? Lets make it last a little longer :-) I had to laugh at your comment that you LIKE to work. It isn't a comment I hear very often from the teenagers I see everyday in my Maths classes :-)

    Just be careful to not make another rod for you back in doing the 'how to quilt it' part. I don't want you to feel you have to come up with a design for every quilt top someone sends in to you. Personally, I think you should be charging for this consulting design service :-)

    It is awesome to think you have had 40 comments on this post in just 2 days. Your fame is spreading far and wide and I often see references to your blog on other quilt lists and blogs. I ams sure your list of subscribers is way larger than the 6 it was when I put you into my bloglines list. I fully expect to see you featured in the quilting magazines before too long. You desreve wide recognition for the time and effort your are freely putting in to raise the standard of quilting.

  43. LOVE getting info on how to USE these, since I am one of those "stitch in the ditch" people. Thanks for all you have done- and will do!!! And good on you for recognizing your own limitations!!!

  44. Take a rest! You - and your family - deserve it. We'll be here, waiting for your posts.

  45. Good for you!! I think this is an excellent idea and will be a terrific addition to your blog!!


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