The Free Motion Quilting Project: A New Project

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A New Project

Today is What's Leah Working on Wednesday and let's catch up with what is going on in the studio!

Of course, Shadow Self is still very much in the quilting process, but she's chugging along at a nice pace and I expect to finish her by the end of the month.

free motion quilting | Leah DayLast night I got into a very nice groove and finished the whole body section, heart, head, and started on a blue flame ray. I didn't realize how late it got until I started getting hungry and realized it was 2 am.

With quilting I always quilt from the center, so for at least the next couple of days I'll be "eating my vegetables" and quilting the hardest part of the quilt so it gets finished quickly and I can move on to the edges which are easier to stitch.

free motion quilting | Leah DayFor fillers, I really haven't used hundreds on this quilt, even though I easily could. I like to use filler designs simplistically so you can tell one texture from another. They define the space they take up, much like the colors of fabric.

And speaking of colors, I'm thinking about adding some paint to her head, heart, and body. Maybe just some touches of iridescent paint here and there so she glows a bit...hmmm....the idea is certainly bouncing around...

Today I plan to stitch at least 2 or 3 more blue rays and maybe 2 green rays. These are quilting very quickly because so much space is taken up by the trapunto motifs.

free motion quilting | Leah DayBefore I head upstairs, I'm going to cut out the squares for a new project. I've decided to start working on a new DVD series now that Volume 1 and Volume 2 will be discontinued at the end of this month.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis new series will feature the designs by difficulty, so the first DVD will feature 20 to 30 beginner filler designs. Honestly this is the way I should have organized the DVDs from the beginning, so I'm happy to be going through and shooting this project the right way.

This time I will also exclusively work on black fabric with black wool felt as the batting and white thread.

Looking back at the videos I think the different colored fabrics can be distracting, so from now on I want to focus on getting the best contrast so you can see the stitching very clearly.

Today I'll get the squares cut, then tomorrow I'll start quilting and filming. Josh is going to really help me out by taking over all the editing work on this DVD project so while he is editing, I'll be able to quilt Shadow Self.

If we work together and stay focused, I'm hoping this new DVD will be ready by the end of the month!

So that's it for this Working Wednesday. I'm off to eat lunch and then get back into the studio!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. I'm excited about your plans for your new DVD.


  2. Quick question. I have Vol. 1 & 2. Will you be putting the same designs in your new series or will you be redistributing designs. I'm curious if vol. 3 will actually be the next one I need?

  3. I like the idea of a focussed beginner filler DVD. Will the DVD be playable both on DVD players (i.e. on the TV monitor) and on the computer?

  4. Hi SewLindAnn - I'm actually discontinuing Vol 1 and 2 so there will never be a Vol 3.

    I've just decided that the better way to organize this will be by difficulty level.

    The new DVD will not contain any designs from the previously published DVDs.

    Janet - Yes! This new DVD should work on both computers and DVD players.

    Let's go quilt,

    Leah Day

  5. Thank you for posting pictures of the various choices you have made for fillers. It's so helpful to see them on a real quilt!
    Have you ever considered selling bundles of 25, 50 or more squares that are ready to practice the free motion fillers on? I'd be the first in line to purchase a bundle. It's that step where I stall in actually getting down to practicing. I love the practice but not the prep work. If I had a quilt sandwich ready to go each time, I'd gladly pay for someone to provide those.
    Will there be an option on the website to see the fillers organized by skill level as well as their place in the whole project? Thanks for sharing with us!

  6. Hi Judy - That's a terrific suggestion! I'll see what I can put together this week as far as a practice kit goes.

    I'm also working on making a more organized system for all the filler designs.

    The blog is getting unwieldy, not to mention blogger is having trouble loading the older designs.

    It may take some time, but I'm definitely making changes that will start being seen soon!

    Thank you for your great suggestions!

    Leah Day

  7. I like your plans for the new DVD's! Sounds like you have learned a lot from creating the first set. Love the trapunto.

  8. Leah,

    I like the idea of just having the beginner patterns in one DVD.

    Glad you will be using fabric and thread with more contrast.

    Since you are redoing these please consider putting patterns that do not require flipping the fabric as the beginner patterns - some of the patterns you have coded as beginning are easy to do on a 6 inch square but when you are doing them in a real quilt it's much harder to do when you have to flip.

    Also, it's much easier for beginners if we can see you do the entire square - Flowing Glass is the only one I have seen so far where you do this. If your thread breaks it would be good for us to see what you do - so don't edit that part out!

    When you do the filming and stills please try to have the orientation of the still so it matches the orientation of the video - so we can watch the video and look at the still and follow along without having to turn our head or the workbook page.

    I've been doing just the beginning patterns in the order you presented and have been taking notes - for myself but they might perhaps be helpful to you.

    On one of the yahoo groups I'm on someone asked us all to say what our favorite part of quilting was and even though I'm just a beginner - I have 6 blocklotto liberated patterns, about twelve flimsies, one tied quilt, and two finished machines quilts under my belt (because of your wonderful site) - I answered that my favorite part was free motion quilting.

    My two finished quilts are charity lap quilts - it was very liberating to know that my projects would be appreciated - that they didn't have to be perfect - I don't think I could have experimented with a full sized quilt I was giving my family - but I'm ready to work on one for them now...!

    Thank you for starting this challenge to yourself to do 365 designs - I'm having fun following along just doing the beginner designs now - later I plan to do the other ones!


  9. Hi June - Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions about the new DVD.

    I have a couple questions myself:

    When you say flipping, do you mean turning the whole square around?

    I can definitely quilt without doing that, I'll just have to remind myself not to.

    Stitching the whole square can get really time consuming, but I will try to show more of the design edited at double speed so you get a good idea of how to fill the weird areas.

    Thanks a bunch for all the suggestions! Anybody else want to chip in with an opinion?

    Let's go quilt,

    Leah Day

  10. Leah -

    Yes, I was using the word flipping to mean when we have to turn the fabric in order to finish the design.

    In the videos you do not always show how we get to the second row of things - as a beginner I just assumed I was supposed to flip or turn the fabric. In the little squares you are working with, it's easy to just turn the fabric (as you show in Day 15 - Flowing Glass) but for me trying to do on my lap quilts it involved flipping (and reorienting the fabric) to get things set up again.

    I bet you could do most of these without flipping, but a beginner like me probably has trouble sewing backward - could just be my pressure foot but I can't see very well where the stitches are going so I guess that is why I thought I was supposed to change the orientation of the fabric.

    I couldn't keep the same slant with Day 9- Henna Fooffy (the second beginner pattern) without flipping so I just assumed I was supposed to flip and turn on the rest of the designs as I went thru the first 15 beginning designs.

    What I wasn't clear about before is that I said that free motion quilting was my favorite because of your site and help. My little collection of blocks and quilt tops and supplies are just stacks of things - it was the coming together of having the freedom of practicing on a charity quilt (where they even sent the fabric for me to use so I didn't have to think about wreaking up stuff I had paid for and where the project would not be haunting me if it turned out, well, not the way I wanted) and the guidance you have provided in your site and the workbook, supplies and sewing table I purchased from you that led to my first finishes. I have even taken face-to-face workshops in batting selection and intro to machine quilting - but it was the combination of the charity project and your site that actually led to my two finishes.

    So thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I'm working on a new setting for some blocks I won - I want to have lots of plain fabric in this quilt so I can continue practicing and learning your beginner free motion quilting designs. (And this one I'm going to keep!)

    : )


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