The Free Motion Quilting Project: Cleaning and Reorganizing

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cleaning and Reorganizing

I realized yesterday after writing my post that I really love this "in between" time of the year. It's the perfect time to rest and relax and it's also the perfect time to clean and reorganize and prepare for the coming year.

Yesterday I did a bit of both and finished quilting the for the Winter Wonderland quilt! Yahoo!

After quilting, I took a few hours off for some awesome, mindless video game playing and then started cleaning up my downstairs studio so I could block the Winter Wonderland blocks.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI don't think my studio has been in this bad of shape since I moved everything down there. It looks like a train ran through it, and then a plane crash landed!

I didn't even have space to take the my design wall (styrofoam insulation) off the wall for blocking. I managed to find some space eventually and here's all 13 blocks stretched out to dry.

It's even messier than usual because we've been using the sewing room for a kitchen for the past 6 weeks.

The good news is, I'm finally able to put all my dishes and food back into the cabinets upstairs (yay!), but the bad news is we still don't have a sink or stove top upstairs (ugh).

Josh and I are really getting sick of fast food and I'm getting really sick of having so much non-sewing stuff in my sewing room.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to share my space (for maybe 5 minutes!), but I really need my big tables clear so I can be free to baste all the quilt tops I'm going to work on in the beginner DVD.

I've decided that the best way to make this DVD is to think like a beginner and to work on simple quilting designs for a few days or weeks before I start filming.

And gosh, the number of quilt tops and projects I've unearthed during cleaning is staggering!

free motion quilting | Leah DayI thought I was pretty good about finishing projects once I started them, but oh no, I've got a closet chock full of quilt top monsters that I really need to quilt and finish.

Here's a top I started, basted, but never quilted. I had trouble with the enormous amount of empty space at the top of this quilt.

I always felt like there should be something (maybe flowers?) coming out of the vases.

I also hated the purple border, so maybe some seam ripping is in order with this quilt.

One of my few unfinished landscapes:

free motion quilting | Leah DayThe sun didn't work out the way I was planning and it stopped the whole project in its tracks.

Maybe if I paint the white sky I will like this top better. I definitely need to get the pins out of it, they're starting to rust!

Here are some fun, cheerful quilts I pieced awhile back and forgot about (there are 3 more, but I got lazy with photographing them all):

free motion quilting | Leah DayHere's the little quilt I made this fall with the new Moda Eva fabric:

free motion quilting | Leah DayWith all these quilt tops to quilt, it makes me wonder if I really should ever buy fabric again!

I'm already starting to realize that one of my New Year's intentions will be to finish my UFOs (unfinished objects) and purge a lot of the quilting / crafting junk I've accumulated over the years.

I'm still holding onto crafting junk I bought when I was 12, which is a bit ridiculous. I keep it because I tell myself that "I will use this SOMEDAY!" but I never do, so it probably just needs to be given to a new home.

You know something cool? I found this on one of my dusty shelves:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
This was one of my very first pieced quilts. I made it way back when I believed that the only way to piece accurate triangles was to paper piece.

I know the photo washed it out completely, but the fabric is actually a very light pink and white. It's also super thin, which means it would have never made a very good quilt. Like I said, I didn't know what I was doing at the time!

Here's a quilt top I didn't piece. I believe my dad bought it from a local quilter, but I'm not really sure on the story. It's huge and definitely in need of some TLC.

free motion quilting | Leah DayAnd we can't forget the Super Quick Quilt which was just recently pieced up in a day!

free motion quilting | Leah DayThe sad thing about this whole list of quilts is that this isn't even all of them! I think I have at least 10 more tops, but I WAS trying to clean, not dig all my skeletons out of the closets!

But it was super fun to look back at these old quilt tops. My style has definitely changed and I can see how my quilting and ability has transformed as well.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI think the biggest issue with many of these quilts is that one thing, one tiny little thing, made me go from excited about the project to ready to hang it up and forget about it.

Sometimes it was a bad fabric choice, color, or even simply an inability to "see" the quilting design.

Looking back at everything was really nice and the photos give me a perspective over the overall look of the quilt top that I can sometimes miss when I just sit and look at it.

So if you're anything like me and have a closet full of quilt junk you will never use and a truck load of quilt tops that MUST be quilted before you die, pull em' all out and start making a plan to finish them ALL in 2010.

Yes, we will have more than enough time! After all, we have 4 more days of 2009 to get started!

Let's go quilt (or clean)!

Leah Day


  1. My way of dealing with quilt tops is to stash them in a drawer with their binding and when the drawer is full, I have to quilt them all. I don't get to start something else until the drawer is empty. Some would say it takes all the joy out of it, but finishing quilts is also encouraging.

  2. LOL, I've only just taken stock of all of my unfinished quilts, I'm up to 14!!! I worked on one last night so hopefully it will be 13 before 2010.

  3. I hear ya! I can't quite see you as I have my own pile of ufo's to look over but I'm definitely going to be doing something about the next 365 + 4 days that I have ahead of me. Thanks for the inspiration and the techniques to get these done!

  4. Hey, Leah. You're too young to have so many UFOs, LOL! But, I can say that my needlework and crafting stash was huge by your age. I love your videos and am learning so much from them. Thanks for sharing them.

  5. Hi, Leah, first time I'm commenting, but I've got your blog as my home page so I read everyday. I wanted to tell you my ideas for a couple of the quilt tops you have photographed. The vases, to me, look like Christmas Candles. You could stencil or free hand an angel in the empty space above, stitching it with metallic thread, and the vases could be turned into flames with a little bit of thread painting. Your first quilt top reminds me of leaded window panes and would look very nice with a thin batting and simple backing as a curtain with one of those curtain rods that swing open so that you can leave the quilt fairly straight, not gathered like a normal curtain. The sun shining through it would look very nice.


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