The Free Motion Quilting Project: Torrent of Fear - Part 2

Monday, January 30, 2012

Torrent of Fear - Part 2

Last week I posted a bit about the background of Torrent of Fear, the first quilt I'm tackling this year as apart of my personal goal to create 12 goddess quilts this year. Today let's discuss the construction technique that managed to get her together in just 3 days.

Yes, you heard that right - the top of Torrent of Fear is complete! I'm happy to report that this quilt top is ready to be quilted!

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Just in case you don't believe me, check out this video which details how she was constructed and a fun reveal as each piece of freezer paper was peeled off one by one:

So how was Torrent of Fear pieced so quickly?

Very simple - it wasn't.

This quilt was put together using No Sewing Until You Quilt It, a method of applique that allows you to put together a quilt top without taking a single stitch.

Essentially this quilt top is TOGETHER, but it is not stitched, appliqued, or pieced at this point. Instead it's all being held together with glue and french fuse, a lightweight fusible interfacing.

Way back in 2005 when I was first getting into quilting, Ann Holmes, a member of the guild I joined, shared her technique for putting quilts together very similar to a stained glass window.

I was instantly hooked on the technique because something about this construction and design really worked with my brain. I was suddenly able to design and create any quilt I could think of so I used it to create many quilts, including the first goddess in the series Life and Fire:

So why haven't I been using this technique for all my quilts?

At some point in 2010, I became obsessed with perfection. I wanted the pieces of my quilts to fit seamlessly together and the quilting to flow effortlessly to the edges, and in order to achieve that look I used alternative techniques that used a lot more precision and finicky steps, but also produced much more "perfect" results.

I say "perfect" here because even the quilts I created with these methods had issues. They were not any more or less perfect than my previous quilts, but they were much more complicated and time consuming techniques that gave the illusion of perfection.

Looking back, I think I was mostly into the idea of making my life difficult.

Thank goodness that phase is over! When I settled on the design for Torrent of Fear I took a good look at the techniques I was using and decided enough was enough - I'm returning to the older methods that worked great before because if it was good enough when I was a beginner, it's definitely good enough now!

And it is! Torrent of Fear came together quickly and was very exciting to put together. I forgot how much I love the big reveal at the end - peeling each piece of freezer paper off the surface to reveal the fabric underneath. It's like unwrapping a present!

Now that the quilt top is complete, it's time to consider the quilting. Rather than quilting the snot out of her, I'm planning to keep the quilting much more open and play with many interesting techniques like couching decorative threads and yarn over her hair and glittery threads in the blue section.

Overall it's all about having fun and letting go of fears of imperfection and inadequacy. Who would have thought making quilt about fear would make me so fearless?!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. I think the clouds actually look like balloons on strings!

  2. I love Torrent of Fear it really speaks to me.

  3. How beautiful....she is DEFINITELY A GODDESS!!!! Thank you so much, not only for sharing your amazing quilting talents with us but also for courageously peeling back layers of baggage of fears we all hold on to in one form or another. You inspire far deeper than just fabric and thread. Blessings...

  4. she is lovely, i look forward to seeing the rest of the process as she comes together

  5. "Overall it's all about having fun and letting go of fears of imperfection and inadequacy."

    This line says it all, Leah...enjoy the process and let your heart sing :)))


  6. I will be looking forward to seeing how you quilt her. She looks great!

  7. Oh, Leah, I really identify with your quest for perfection! As we said often in the US Navy (from which I retired after 25 1/2 years of service in 2008), "perfection is the enemy of good enough." And that says a lot, but it doesn't quite address the extreme effort that goes into trying to get that extra 5-10 % perfection, and the frustration that inevitably follows. Another maxim for perfection: 90% of effort is focused on 10% of the whole. Watch out for that effect!


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