The Free Motion Quilting Project: Work in Progress...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Work in Progress...

I took the day off to shoot and edit more of the beginner DVD. I'm already shocked by how much I have to say about such simple things like basting, tools, thread, and tension.

I'm surprised because for the last 2 months I've worried that I wouldn't have ENOUGH to say to fill up one DVD.

Now it's looking like this will definitely have to be a 2 disc set. There's just no way around it!

Here's what I've filmed so far:

Machine setup / Tools - This covers what tools to use specifically for free motion quilting and how to set up your machine so that you're not fighting your quilt. 11 minutes.

Adjusting Tension - I really talked a lot in this video about where most tension issue really exist (in the top of the machine) and how to feel confident about adjusting your tension dial. 9 minutes.

Choosing Needles and Thread - I don't claim to be an expert on needles or thread, so I really didn't do a full dissertation on them. I spent a lot of time encouraging beginners to try different threads and needles to see what works best for you. I don't think I've ever heard better advice than that! 10 minutes.

Mark your quilt using stencils - I've thought a lot about it and I really think stencils are the best, beginner level source for quilting designs. I also plan to shoot a video tomorrow on upscaling fillers for bed quilts so that marking isn't necessary. After marking 2 quilts this weekend, I'd rather never mark another one again! 4.5 minutes.

Basting - I got the most request for this video so it is going to be the longest. It's topping out at almost 18 minutes, which is quite a lecture on basting!

Unfortunately I'm not able to share ALL the many ways to baste. I think I could do a single DVD just on this alone. Instead I share my method for basting with bent safety pins. Of course, there are many other methods and I really encourage you to try them if you like them better. The only way to know what you like is to try it!

Staying focused, stretching, and building confidence - This is a short video that I hope will fit on the end of the first DVD. I think it rounds out the beginning section nicely, then we can start the beginning of the second DVD with actual quilting footage and information. 3 minutes.

I admit I'm getting worried that I'm talking too much in this DVD. So far there has been very little actual hands-on stitching.

The thing is, most of the topics requested REQUIRE a lot of talking. I can't really show adjusting your tension by stitching on camera. I have to talk about it.

But so far I'm feeling really good about it. I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to address EVERY little thing I wanted to address, but I'm definitely trying my best. Whatever I miss, I'll do more videos and post them on You Tube.

On the lighter side, James has been "helping" me baste quilts when I'm not filming.

Here he is happy as can be in the middle of the Super Quick Quilt refusing to get down cause it's just so funny to see mom run around the table trying to catch hold of him in the middle!

free motion quilting | Leah DayBy the way, I realized this weekend that this fabric is WAY to complicated to try to mark. The blue markings show up great in the lighter areas, but nothing is showing up over the green.

Looks like it's going to need a filler design upscaled and stitched over the surface with no marking.

I realized also while trying to mark it that marking really is time consuming and if the goal is to quilt it in a day, it better be a non-marked method. There's always something new to learn!

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day


  1. Too cute!! Did you plan to dress James in coordinating colours before putting him on the quilt?!

  2. Lee - No, I really didn't! I didn't plan it at all, but he just happened to be wearing his favorite shirt - the dinosaur shirt - that once on, doesn't get removed until it's so filthy I have to peel it off of him.

    Ha ha! Boys!


  3. This sounds like a wonderful DVD! I can't wait until it comes out.

  4. He is as cute as a button! I just want to say I am a big fan of your blog and website. Thank you.

  5. Leah, speaking of basting, I read somewhere on the 'net that there's "spray basting", and went to my favorite quilting place... and it was almost THIRTY DOLLARS for a small can!!!
    Then I read somewhere else that AquaNet Hair spray has almost the exact same ingredients. I went to BigLots and got a huge can of it for $2.80.
    Tried it on a small baby quilt and loved it!
    Just thought you might like to know!

  6. Hi Leah

    I thoroughly recommend Sharon Schamber's method of basting using two pieces of timber to wind the quilt backing and quilt top around and then unrolling an arm's length while you pin. She has a free video on her website which shows you exactly what to do. I

    In the video she is thread basting, which is what I did for a competition quilt but you can just as easily pin baste. The biggest advantage for me is that with a trestle table I do not have to get down on the floor and I can baste a large bed quilt all by myself. I don't have to wait for my monthly club meeting to use the basting tables.

  7. re marking, I agree and try to NOT mark whenever possible.. I prefer free motion patterns that i can just eyeball and go for it. Its lots more fun that way! Love your blog. Claire


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