The Free Motion Quilting Project: The Joy of Small Projects

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Joy of Small Projects

Whoo Hooo! I just finished my quilted jacket!

free motion quilting | Leah Day
This went together SO quickly, it's really hard to believe. I had the top already cut, so most of the 2 weeks this took to create was spent hammering out the design.

The quilting really only took about 2 days. That let's you know how fast something can get done when the quilting is big and open like these huge Swirling Feathers!

free motion quilting | Leah Dayfree motion quilting | Leah DayIt is challenging for me to quilt this way because so much of what I do is very tiny and dense. I almost had to relearn how to quilt really big shapes, but I'm so glad I did because this jacket is soft and comfy.

The most obvious plus to quilting large scale is the speed! It's definitely nice to finish something this fast!

The handwork on this project also went quickly because I was always doing something I enjoyed.

I've been listening to a very interested, but slightly scary book called The Master Switch about how open sources of information, like the radio and telephone, were once free for all to use and share (just like the internet now), but they were closed down by monopolies seeking to control them.

When I wasn't getting freaked out about the future of the internet, I was watching more episodes of Top Gear, Torchwood, and Dr. Who. Well, I should say listening to these programs was I was really watching my stitches!

Once the handwork of the jacket was complete, I put it back on the machine for a little extra detail stitching. I almost quilted the front black section with more Jagged Plain, but it was so closed to the edge that I couldn't get a good hold on it. Oh well, maybe for my next jacket I'll figure out a way of doing that better.

I love how the jacket is completely reversible. On red days I can wear red and on blue days I can wear blue!

free motion quilting | Leah Day
It was really nice to go from start to finish in just 2 weeks. I haven't been feeling like getting bogged down with something huge. Really I just want to finish up all the small stuff I have on my UFO shelf and have fun with it.

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day


  1. Wow, your jacket turned out fantastic.
    You must be very proud!
    It looks great on you, too!

  2. Leah, your quilted jacket is fabulous! And the fact that it went together easily and joyfully is a huge clue that you have hit on something that is an important part of your path.

    I believe fervently that you should make garments for sale.

  3. Your jacket looks fantastic! And even though Sinkhole is a dark quilt to you, it is stunning in it's effect.

    As for selling your work - ignore the nasties. I appreciate you asking for our input, it makes us feel part of the project, and then I think we are more likely to support it. And you gotta eat, so you gotta make money somehow. I think I like the idea of a subscription.

  4. I am very dissapointed that people would say ANYTHING nasty to you!! I think the PFD thing is a fantastic idea - one that you should do. And if people don't understand genuis is not always 'free' then they just don't think about anyone but themselves, sad to say.
    You do what you think is right - And thank-you so much for sharing your knowledge with me. I appriciate it! (and the monthly subscription is a good idea by the way!!)

  5. Of course I totally forgot to mention your jacket!!! Beautiful!!! And reversable too!! Win/Win!! Very nice.

  6. Love your jacket. The quilting is just awesome!

  7. Your jacket is beautiful, amazing, fantastic! Great job.

  8. Love your jacket. The red and blue contrast is great. When you wear the jacket to quilt shows or anywhere, glow in the praise you will receive. A fantastic way to show off your talent.
    I am sorry you recieved so many nasty comments about your PFD ideas. When asking for input, people should give constructive ideas, not be ugly in their responses.

  9. Great Jacket....Love it!

    Also I think selling the PDF's would be great. I would love to have them on hand. Maybe you could group them and sell them in sets.....monthly downloads might be a great idea. You should make a profit on all this work you have given us!. Just don't make it complicated on yourself.
    PS I really liked the sample PDF layout.

  10. Your jacket is beautiful, Leah! Congratulations! What a nice break to work on something just for yourself! I hope you enjoy proudly wearing your masterpiece.

  11. The jacket is great! Such a talent you have!
    Charge $1.99 for the PDF. We aren't all going to buy all of them. Just the ones we need. Hopefully you will have them for sale for a period of time so they can be purchased as we need them.

    Thank you for all the inspiration you have given.


  12. Leah,
    Pardon me if this is a really dumb question - I don't know the first thing about PDFs or graphic design or any of that stuff -


    How do you get your color photo of just the square onto your blog? If you import it from a photo on your computer - couldn't you somehow just convert the photo to a PDF file and ignore the graphic designer altogether?? If you could do that - it would surely lower your cost - and - at the same time - be EXACTLY like the square on your video- since it's the square you stitched for the photo!!

    Like i said - I don't know how all that stuff works, but maybe that is something you and/or Josh could look into. (A program like "Adobe Acrobat" comes to mind, but I don't know if it plays nicely with "Blogger.")

    And if you could just use the photo you already took - all you would need to do is add an arrow or a star (or tell us) where you started your design. I'm sure we could probably figure out the rest from there.

    And as far as the nasties are concerned - IGNORE THEM!! You will never please everybody!! Do this for YOU - not for THEM!!

  13. Leah -
    Oh - so sorry - I forgot to say - I LOVE YOUR JACKET!! How did you make it reversible? Did you use a pattern or draft it yourself? If you drafted it yourself - and you probably did - would you show us how you did it?

    It's absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!

  14. Don't you just look wonderful in those spiffy (super spiffy) jackets of yours!! You are too cute girlie!! Love the jacket, and love you and your blog. You are a great inspiration in everything you do! Keep it up and have a fantastic holiday season!!

  15. That jacket is wonderful! You got a great model to work for you too LOL! Hope you paid her LOTS! Congratulations, anyone would be proud to wear such a fantastic jacket. I know I couldn't make something so wonderful as that!

  16. Fabulous jacket! Wow! I enjoyed reading about how you decided what to work on and why.

  17. Your jacket is STUNNING!! congratulations on a job well and quickly done

  18. Leah, You absolutely SHOULD NOT be worried about asking us to help out with the cost of the
    PDF's. All of the work that you have shared with us for free over the last year+ show that you have a active mind and a vast talent. I for one would be extreamly willing to shell out a few bucks as I have them. If you have to pay out to get them set up as PDF's those of us who are recieving them should not begrudge you not just recooping your costs, but also to make a nice profit to help support your family.
    Just my rant....

  19. The jacket is lovely, Leah. Maybe now I will get my finger out and finish that waistcoat I started 2 years ago....?
    I hope that some people have confused your comment about some people having a heart attack with nastiness, and that someone has not really been nasty on giving their opinions on your question about buying pdfs'/subscribing.
    I think, like most things in life, you are walking a narrow path between the publicity your blog draws and the need to make the creative ideas you are giving away on them become a source of income. It is probably a narrow path to walk indeed.
    The only way I can explain my way of thinking is that I would rather spend good money on a good, inspiring technical book than on a magazine costing a quater of the price. That feeling transfers with even more emphasis to the pdfs'.I hope that one day your books and ideas will be filling the pages of several books that I will happily buy, read, re-read and treasure, just as I do my collection now. I think probably many people feel the same way about their reference books. And if generating the pdf's are going to be that expensive to you and to us to acess, I think you would have to choose not to publish freely as you have done. and that, on the otherhand, would reduce the publicity your blog generates.

  20. Make patterns for items like the jacket - both the item and particularly the quilting - and sell them. Higher margins, volume, and less investment of time as with making jackets for sale.

  21. I think it's reasonable to charge for the PDFs, and I like it. I think the real "win" for them would be that you then have something ready (or nearly ready) for your future books. That way you could do the Big Hairy Audacious Goal of getting a book together in little pieces, as you felt ready.

  22. Hi Leah - your jacket is absolutely stunning - love it. Don't worry about charging for the PDF downloads - a girl's got to eat. If it isn't horribly complicated, could you run a subscription and also offer individual files for $1.99? Then occasional quilters like me could pick a few as and when we want to try them. PS excellent taste in TV programmes!

  23. Beautiful jacket. Nasty people will get their reward sooner or later, we really don't need to pay any attention to them.

    Based on the way I work, and on my financial resources (SS disability is pitiful, btw), I would only pay money for a big book with lots of designs and an accompanying CD. I would buy that at any reasonable price because I LOVE your work. I have to be really selective about purchases, but that I would spring for. Or get Santa to spring for next year.

    I think most of us understand that a girl has to eat and pay bills and I sincerely hope that all the revenue streams that you can dream up come true for you!

  24. Your work is inspiring and you deserve to be paid for it! Don't let a few cheapskates get you down. Thank you very much for all that you do share with us.

  25. LOVE the jacket!!!! Is that the same kimono pattern you did before?

    I'm sad to hear people were nasty over your suggestion for the pdf's. You have given so much to all of us who read your blog and have gained skill and confidence using your videos! I'm thankful for your generosity!

  26. Leah, love the quilted jacket, congrats on the ribbon! As for the nasties... the heck with them!
    We all are so used to getting everything for free. I for one feel it is YOUR hard work and intellectual what you need to do. It is wonderful that you have shared all that you have with us. Thank you for all the great quilting videos.



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