The Free Motion Quilting Project: A Beautiful Finish

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Beautiful Finish

Today is What's Leah Working on Wednesday and I'm heading into the studio to snap some shots to share with you...

First up is the finished Flower Bouquet Quilt:

free motion quilting | Leah DayLast night I blocked this quilt by steaming it with my iron, then pulling and pushing on it until the borders were straight and finishing at the same size throughout. It ended up finishing at 22" x 29" which I realize is the perfect size for a small, quick project without a lot of fuss.

Now when Josh saw it, he got super excited about the border:

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis is Ocean Current, a foundational design that was SUPER easy to stitch through the borders. All I did was set my foundation with a curving, swirling line, and then all I had to do was echo quilt it to fill in the area.

My original plan was to fill one half of the foundation with bright green thread and the other half with dark green thread, but Josh argued that the black looked better so it blended perfectly and allowed the green to really stand out.

Since I know I'm going to make more of these, I decided to try it and I really like how this turned out. Foundational designs are definitely moving up on my list of absolute favorite designs.

Now I had some questions about the background area around the flowers and how I was going to keep the stitching in this area from competing with the flowers.

free motion quilting | Leah DayIt's really just as simple as matching your thread color. I used a dark purple thread that perfectly matched the purple fabric and stitched Sharp Stippling throughout this area. This independent design flattened out the background, allowing the flowers to stand out even better.

For the stems, I left them blank. Call it lazy, but I just didn't think they needed any more texture than they already had from the pretty batik fabric.

But the vase, that's a different matter! This is Pebbles in a Stream stitched horizontally across the vase area. I choose to stitch this in a bit lighter thread color and it worked out very nice:

free motion quilting | Leah DayNow for the bottom section. I did decide to contrast thread boldly here so the stitching would really show off.. This is something I threw in for fun in the background to give the effect that the vase was sitting on a table. It wasn't pieced into the background, it's only stitching!

free motion quilting | Leah DayFor this area, I knew I wanted a vertical texture to oppose the horizontal texture in the vase. I was a bit stuck on a filler choice for awhile because I wanted something vertical, but not necessarily straight lines. I ended up going with Gentle Flames and I think it was absolutely perfect for the space.

Having made one Flower Bouquet, all I can see are the different possibilities to making many more! I really want to play with stitching the flowers with different colored threads and see what a version looks like with all the same flower, just in different colors and sizes.

I also want to play with a wider border, different fillers and textures in the background, vase, bottom area, and borders. There are just so many possibilities!

But before I run off to start making another one, I really need to get this one bound and totally finished.

When I'm not binding this little beauty, I'm going to be stitching away at Hot Cast:

free motion quilting | Leah DayShe's been basted with the first layer of trapunto batting and I'm stitching along the lines I want to be puffy with water soluble thread. I'm hoping to get this finished up today so I can take her with me to Columbia, SC this weekend and clip her on the road. By this time next week, she could be fully clipped out, basted again, and ready to quilt!

So that's it for today! Lot's of pretty things to work on in the studio, many exciting new quilting possibilities, so if you haven't touched your machine today, what are you waiting for?!

Let's go QUILT!



  1. Love the finished vase and flowers. After the center fill flowers were added, it still looked plain. The vase reminded me of a giant hershey kiss. The quilting gave a very definite WOW factor to the wall quilt. I especially like the effect of creating the table with just a differnet thread to add contrast with out a seperate applique piece. I want to try my own vase with center stitched flowers! The quilting really made your simple design fantastic. Great quilt to put on a door for a spring theme.

  2. Stunning and Gorgeous, Gal! Wow! Inspirational!

  3. Leah, I just love all those designs you have used! It's almost like threadplay.

  4. That border is just fantastic. I was thinking that it was a swirly applique. I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was all from the quilting. I love it!

  5. I agree, the quilting is definitely the WOW factor in this little vase of flowers. Your photos are a good size for close-ups. Thank you!

  6. I'm with Josh and love love love that border. Will have to consider it for a future quilt.

  7. Beautiful Finish is definitely right, it's very nice, good job!!

  8. It is such a lovely quilt - you are so good :-) It makes me going for free hand quilting :-)

  9. Your work (play?) is inspiring!


Help us create more quilting tutorials! Check out our quilt shop at