The Free Motion Quilting Project: Textured Sunflowers

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Textured Sunflowers

Today is "What's Leah Working on Wednesday" and today I'm playing with several different projects and materials.

The first is a sunflower wall hanging courtesy of the Overall Quilter!

I met Aimee Griffen, the owner of Overall Quilter, at the Albemarle Quilt Expo and we've continued to run into one another at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium and most recently at Barnful of Quilts.

This past spring Aimee created a line of simple wall hanging quilt patterns called Floral Fling. These wall hangings all finish out at 18" x 21" and are raw edge fusible applique, so they're VERY easy to put together.

When I saw Aimee most recently at Barnful of Quilts, she gave me the Floral Fling Sunflower pattern to try. More than anything else, she wanted to see what I would do in free motion on a quilt like this and I was more than happy to give it a go.

But before quilting my wall hanging, I first have to put it together!

I love trying out new patterns and playing with new techniques. When I'm working from a pattern, my quilt never ends up coming out like the picture because I always have to change it up a bit. Whether it's different fabrics, materials, piecing, or even additional appliqued shapes, I enjoy adding my own special touches to the design.

Today I really wanted to experiment with something new, to play, maybe mess up some fabric, but more than anything else, to have fun in my studio.

So this week I pulled out the pattern, Wonder Under, fabric, and a new material called Texture Magic to play with.

I used Texture Magic on the back of the green leaf fabric, stitched some vein lines, and watched in amazement as the magical fabric shrunk right up! It's a really neat way to add texture to a quilt, though I'm still testing the limits of this material with my iron.

Texture Magic works by first quilting the material to the back of your fabric. For one leaf I included a piece of batting for a more subtle, trapuntoed look:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Of course, the batting is hanging out from the edges because I haven't machine appliqued it yet, but you can see how this leaf is quite plump and full of ridgie texture (yeah, I know I'm making up words today).

The texture created with batting is much more subtle than the texture created with just fabric and Texture Magic:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
I like the second leaf better and the more I play with the stuff, the more I like it. To shrink the material down, you steam the surface lightly with your iron or a steamer.

While the directions say to never touch your iron to the material itself, I found that I could fuse Wonder Under to the back and make it fusible.

Trying to turn the edges after they've been wrinkled up so much is something I'll try another day, and so far I'm really pleased with the effect of using both Texture Magic and Wonder Under in the same quilt.

When I haven't been playing with the Sunflower Quilt, I've been adding a few new links and gadgets to this blog!

We now have pages where the designs are listed by Difficulty Level, Filler Design Type, Alphabetical Order, and Chronological Order!

These new pages are really exciting because they will allow you to find designs specifically for certain areas of your quilt. For instance, if I want a Center Focused design for the center of my Sunflower Quilt, I can simply click on that selection and see all the different designs that have that texture!

I plan to keep these pages updated on a weekly basis, so remember to click "refresh" on your pages if you've been away for awhile. This will refresh your browser so it reads the new updates to the site.

Whew! I feel like I've gotten a lot accomplished today, but I'm still going strong! I'm heading upstairs to get back to my Over the Top Quilt from the "How to I Quilt This?!" series. I'm still not sure of when these videos will actually roll out, but it'll be fun to play with some dense free motion quilting and maybe experiment with a few new designs.

Let's go quilt,



  1. I love love love the new way the site is organized! It makes life so much easier to be able to find the designs according to type and directional texture! Thanks, Leah!!

  2. I just saw that texture stuff for the first time last week at a local quilt shop. I have not seen it in the 2 magazines I have a subscription for. I wonder what else I'm missing out on? Thanks for the "new" to me product demo/info.
    looking forward to the over the top video series.

  3. Thankyou sooooo much for the fabulous filing system you have created for the designs. It is amazing and well worth every second you spent on it.

  4. With textured fabrics, reverse applique is your friend! I'd much rather flip the background under & stitch than wrestle with the crinkles...

  5. Way to go girl - your really getting things organised and running smoothly - I've also found your Flickr group - perfect - another great way to see and link back to the videos - well done

  6. Leah,
    I have been playing with Texture Magic also. I am using it for the center of a sunflower I am working on. I have fusible on the back, I am trying to decide how to get rid of the white showing (TM) and to secure it to the piece. I think satin stitch will not work, maybe a blanket stitch.

  7. Fantastic new look to the site. Thanks for it all!


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