The Free Motion Quilting Project: Playing with Books

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Playing with Books

So today is Anything Goes Thursday and I want to share another little project with you that I've been working on.

Check out this Mini Book of Free Motion Quilting Designs!

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis was just my tester copy that I created online using This is a mini photo book that's around 3.5 inches by 5 inches.

I've been getting loads of comments from quilters that ya'll want a book with more designs. I even had one quilter email me saying "Can you just put all the photos in a file so I can browse through them easily?"

So I started brainstorming and clicked around Amazon and their book program first. Unfortunately they charge a lot more per photo and I'm really trying to keep the cost down with this. has books specifically designed for photos. It's really set up to take family photos and make easy albums. It's a great idea that I plan to take advantage of whenever I finally decide to get all of James's baby photos organized.

There are several different sizes of books available from, but when I saw this little mini book, a light bulb went off in my head. Why not have a book of 50 or 100 beginner designs?

Yes, I do plan to have a book of ALL of the designs at the end of this project, but right now I'm still in the process of coming up with all of these designs, so it makes more sense to publish some smaller books first, breaking the project up into pieces that are easier to digest.

So I played around with the program a bit. Unfortunately the photos of the early designs are all blurry and out of focus.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
I know this looks okay in the photo above, but in person the photos have pixelized. If I decided to do this, I would need to restitch every design onto black fabric with white thread in order for the photo to look good.

But I've already restitched 30 designs for the beginner DVD! Check out how these came out:

free motion quilting | Leah DayA.

free motion quilting | Leah DayB.

So here's a few questions for you to ponder:

1. Is this a good idea breaking the designs up into either 50 or 100 design groups and publishing small books with them? These little books would retail for around $15 - $20, depending on how many designs are in them. I know that's a little steep for their size, so please share your honest opinion.

2. Which set of photos do you like better? Check out the black and white designs and vote whether you like A or B better.

3. I'm a bit limited on the amount of information I can pack into this little book. Would you like "filler design type / directional texture" info or "how to stitch it" info?

Post your opinion in the comments below!


  1. I like the B book layout. I think it all a great idea. weather its on a dvd book or what. When the cost I'm not sure because I would want it ALL so I'm sure it will be quit abit so I would get what I could. Can you not do it just in the compurter so we can print it and cut it out.
    I won a patteren from a Sebsite and she sells her patterns and it all done by email. Just food for thought. If you want her address I can email it to you. Love your work

  2. Hi Sherry - Yes, I already offer digital books on the site and I'm planning to work on them as well in the coming months.

    Mostly I'm trying to fulfill the needs of quilters who want a physical book. Something they don't have to print out first.

    Let's go quilt!


  3. I think it's a great idea to sell these little books - you've already done most of the work (minus the re-stitching you mention) so take advantage of as many ways to use that information as possible! I think the B book layout is much more appealing - having the quilting design take up as much space as possible is key since that's the focus of the book. I would prefer to have "how-to-stitch-it" instructions versus filler/direction information, but perhaps there is a way to incorporate more information. As a side note, I would suggest playing with the justification of the text that goes beside the designs - my intuition says it might look more appealing having the text justified to the edge of the design photo, so left-justified for the triangle pattern and right-justified for the pumpkin pattern. This is simply a thought from a designer who loves your patterns! :)

  4. I like B best and info on how to stitch it is helpful. Also, if there is a way to get the price to $9.95 I would be more tempted to buy it. Just having a book under $10 would be good as a stocking stuffer, extra treat for doing all of the housework :) kind of thing.

  5. I like book B . the black/white really pops. and I'd also prefer an all in one book.

  6. Thanks Meagan! I'll definitely keep that design detail in mind.

    Marilyn - I would LOVE to be able to have this for $9.95. That would really be the perfect price, wouldn't it?!

    Right now the print cost per book is right at $11.00 though, so it's hard to swing the lower cost.

    However, I could definitely do $9.95 with fewer designs per book.

    Twodraftmom - I agree! I will have a big book (probably the size of an encyclopedia) published with all the designs eventually, but it's definitely not possible right now.

    Thanks for all your wonderful opinions!


  7. Leah (p.s. I posted earlier, but think it didn't go through because of some error sending)
    I like "B." The designs seem larger and clearer!
    Just a thought, could they be arranged in the book alphabetically? Seems that is the handle I use to hunt one down on the blog. After they are alpha organized, you could include the difficulty level, or whatever else you'd like. I'm not so interested in the "how to" or even the level of difficulty, as I can go to the blog to get the details, which I'd be doing either way to get to see you stitch it.
    Would it be possible to provide a thumbnail picture of all of the proposed designs at the beginning of the book?
    Also, depending on the size of the book, picturing them "to scale" would also be an added feature.
    Thought-is there a way for you to provide a template online, where we could drag and drop the photos of our choice of designs into a personalized book?
    You could charge for this, we'd be the ones to print it out, but it would be full of designs we'd like to learn and use.
    In a perfect world I'd make myself two quilt tops, sandwich them back-to-back, and stitch up 6" samples of all of my favorites. I love being able to see them all at a glance!
    Thanks Leah!

  8. B is best.

    Under $10 if possible.

    I don't think it needs more info, but if so - a quick 'how to' would be my opinion.

    LOVE the size - just a handy little booklet that will fit in my sewing/quilting toolbox that never leaves the table next to my machine!

  9. I love the small book! I prefer a physical book and the idea of several small books over one large one is great. For me small is easier to handle. Cost would be great to keep under $15.00 would love around $10.00 since there would be several and I would want all of them! I like photo B the best and would like "how to stitch" info. Like the black and white. Leah, I have enjoyed your products and so excited about learning from you!

  10. I think that black and white (B) would be best - saves on colouer printing costs as well! Being a beginner, I would prefer the "how to" info. Why not categorise the patterns form "Beginner" to "Advance"?
    I love your work! Thank you for being such a huge source of inspiration!!!

  11. I'm putting my vote in for (B).

    Also, you may want to check out From what you've said about LuLu it sounds very similar. On blurb you can design and upload a book and people purchase it through the burlb site - then you just get a check in the mail. My husband has used it with good success for his landscape photography. And we used it to create photo books for our parents prior to our wedding. They turned out great.

  12. I prefer the black and white. I think the design is clearer. The "guide" tool would be helpful, too. I don't think the price would be too high. I would buy one in a minute. Having the book there trying to do a pattern would be very useful. Printing off the computer doesn't always give the clearest picture. What a great idea you have come up with.
    Sharon M

  13. I like the way B looks. I would prefer to have how to stitch information.

    The price of the book seems fair, but at that price, knowing that it is just a subset of the whole, I would wait until the whole was ready and just buy one book.

  14. I like B as well. Lots of good ideas in the comments. I'd like something that I could print myself!

  15. Design layout B is my choice: This layout has elegance and an artistic feel to it. It is even pleasing just to look at and rest with the image, even as meditation!
    I wonder, 50 designs in a single volume might be just the right amount of brain input. $15 sounds like a fair price for that. Then again, many quilting book cost $25-35. I guess there is some marketing research behind that price range. So if you prefer a bigger book, don't hesitate to price it at $25 or more.

  16. I like the "b" version as well. I love the idea of a "pocket reference" and would buy multiple at $10 each.

    I also agree to the beginner to advanced series or filler vs background series. So possibly like "beginner backgrounds" or "advanced fillers"

    I also like the brief instructions on how to do it - sometimes it is not as clear when you are just looking at the photo how to start.

  17. Excellent! Love the idea of the book. I'd prefer option B. And I'd be happy to pay for the convenient format. You're the best!

  18. I like A, but B was growing on me. I think I liked A because it was "the usual". B presented the design in a larger picture.

    I love the idea of the minibook. I would like something to hold that I didn't have to print out. My print outs disappear among the other papers in my very messy desk and quilting studio. A book would have a much better chance of surviving.


  19. Yes, the B version, and how to quilt it. I like the idea of a book--much easier to browse through, mark pages, have it open by near the sewing machine. For myself, I'd prefer to wait until all the designs are out, and buy one compilation of the whole thing. A spiral binding would be nice.

  20. LOL. I guess I was the ONLY one who went for A first off!

    glen: always off from the norm!

  21. I agree with the black & white, and style B. I would like to have the how to stitch. Even though I could look it up, having that at my fingertips would be useful. I think I could figure out from the pictures which ones would be what type. Although maybe you can sort them according to type. That way you can decide what type you need and browse through different patterns.

  22. This is a great idea! I would like a book to be tall, rather than wide. I hate books that don't fit well into my bookshelf. It looks like the design in B is bigger than in A, which is probably better, although I like A layout. I think info on how to sew the pattern is probably most important as people can play with directional/filler stuff themselves once they know how to.

  23. Leah
    Little books, little cost, layout B with stitching instructions, for us to use as gifts for those who don't do the internet thing.

    For me, I will wait for the a 400 page book, one design per page with a few pages of general info, to reach one of my favourite quilt shops.

    Judy B

  24. B for sure, flip thru the book, you can see B by flipping not A. and price is fine...put 100 in, we want them... def so the how to stitch description.
    It would be great if eventually your 365 of designs, there was a quick way to find one, ie . alphabetical order, I know, you can't do that now, you are still inventing them... I just want it now=)))
    keep up the great work.

  25. I like the B layout. Larger image and seems you could save costs by going all B&W. For the writing I'd like seeing the directions or tips for sewing it. I either arrange in alpha order or in type order - then have an index for the other listing. For each image you could insert one of the new bar codes, so we could hold the page up to the computer and go to your video for that design!

  26. Making a little book(S) is a great idea!!

    1) In order to answer this question, it'd be interesting to know the price of a book with all of the designs you plan to do. It seems reasonable to break it up into 3-4 books, as i'd imagine one with all the designs would be really thick and a bit unweildy. However, rather than making it a round number like 50 or 100 i'd make it closer to a divisible of 365 - eg 3 books of 121/122 layouts or 4 books of 91/92 so that you end up with a few volumes of equal size. You'd need to decide if you want to have it in any kind of order or just random too. I think i'd rather have a $20 book that's has a useful number of designs in it than a whole pile of smaller $10 ones.

    2) I much much much prefer the B layout, hands down.
    I also agree with the above comment about justifying the text to match the side of the book that the page is on.

    3) I think I would have a very summarised version of the info about the design. eg
    Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced *
    Design Type: Center fill / Foundational
    Directional Texture: Center Focused
    (*maybe in a star or dot system rather than words)
    I see the book as complementary to your other resources, so you would flick through the book for ideas, the information on how/where to use it would be in the book and then you look up that design on your blog / DVD. I'm just struggling to see how the 'how to stitch it' information would be portrayed in such a small space, especially in comparison to the videos that do it really well.

    Lastly, the thought of having a spiral bound rather than regularly bound book popped into my head, as then it would stay open on a page easier, however the normal type would be easier for flicking through...

    Sorry for the long comment, I just think this is a fantastic idea. I'd certainly buy one (or a set) for myself and it would make a great gift, especially for my gran who is currently learning free motion quilting.

  27. B seems to be very popular! I'd just like anything that helped me with some free machining patterns...I've run dry!

  28. I agree that I like B the best too because I can flip through the edges to see a design I like. Could you maybe put 36 photos in the book (so you’d have 10 books when all is said and done) and maybe that would bring the cost under $10 like some have mentioned? It won’t be a thick book, but extremely useful, so I think it would sell well at that size and price. As for the text, maybe find a way to consistently describe each one in a succinct manor and have that next to it? Or maybe you could start permanent URL’s on your shop site for past designs (keep them on the blog, but make more permanent pages like then you could just put the URL to the filler in the book. This way people that already know how to do the design, but just flip through the book for inspiration wouldn’t need to go to the URL, but for those that have never tried it before, they can have the full how-to from the site without searching through the blog posts.

    Good luck!

  29. B, black and white, spiral binding is a must. Fewer per book and under $10 so you can sell them at quilt shows and the price point will keep them moving.

  30. Leah,

    I like B design better and info about filler type. It would be great to get them all in one book for someone to see all of the possibilities.

    Keep up the creative ideas! You are doing great.

  31. $20 for a little book containing 100 FMQ designs is reasonable, even if the book itself is small. I'd consider it a lot of info in a tiny package. Kind of like I'd be willing to pay more for a more concentrated formula in a smaller package.

    I like "B"

    and I like "how to stitch it" over other info. The other info seems like I'd be able to figure out by looking at the picture.

  32. Ooh. A book would be great! I like B.

  33. Yes, certainly B, the layout is more appealing, with stitching info.

  34. I think the little books are great, and would be a great reference tool. I like the B layout better and would suggest "how to stitch it" in the text. I would also like to see the filler type included, or maybe even group the books by filler type. Honestly, not sure I would buy at 15-20, but would definitely pick up one for 10-12.

  35. I like the B version as well.

    Maybe some color on the cover, and the stitches in B&W.

    I like the mini instructions too. They would take forever to write! But would be just enough to get started.

  36. Such a brilliant idea. Thank yiu for sharing these designs with everyone. I like the 'B' presentation best, less white space. Choice of either as an e-book or a DVD is good. I would prefer e-book with the option to print out the whole thing or just one design at a time so that you can see and sew. Enjoy your videos they are fantastic and show how very clearly. Best wishes Kath from Australia.

  37. I love love love the idea of your little booklings! I also prefer the B layout and I would surely purchase one for $10 - $12. Some great ideas have been posted and as much as I like the spiral binding idea I know it is more costly.
    Stitch info would be very useful.
    best of luck, I am excited for you.

  38. Definitely B and how to stitch it info. I also liked the idea a previous commenter had about making it spiral bound.

  39. I like B with instructions on how to do it. Beginners like myself need good instructions. Under $15.

  40. I like the look of option B best.

    If you are going to separate the little books into 10 volumes, why not have the volumes broken into block/border, background/filler, and all-over patterns? You could also either make separate books for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels or have the little books start with beginner and end up with advanced designs.

    Great ideas just keep coming to you! Thank you so much for sharing your creative genius with us!

  41. I prefer the layout of B booklet. Have you considered spiral bound or would that be too expensive? Or maybe a spine that would enable the book to stay open at any particular page?
    Am loving your designs and playing with them in my latest projects.

  42. Hi Annick - I love spiral binding too, but it is a slightly extra cost. I've just realized how limiting sites like and are on price when it comes to spiral binding.

    I'm now looking into a few other printing companies which will cut the cost of production, spiral bind, AND hopefully keep the price under $12.99. Cross your fingers this works out!

    Let's go quilt,

    Leah Day

  43. I like the B version. I follow you for a few months, you do a great job! Thank you! I'm a male quilter from Holland.

  44. Hi, I like the A layout, and I would love a little book for beginners like that to have in my sewing room. It would work better than just a DVD, although that would be nice to have too.


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