The Free Motion Quilting Project: FMQ Friday - Is this Illogical?

Friday, June 14, 2013

FMQ Friday - Is this Illogical?

Ah! I'm already feeling more peaceful and content because I've been extremely piece-ful today! I've begun carefully piecing the background for a new version of Express Your Love:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

This might not look like much, but this is 4 hours worth of piecing. Actually more than that because the center star was pieced at Sew South back in March!

I've decided to make one version of this quilt that is entirely pieced. The background will be pieced around this star. Each lock of hair and breath and her body will be pieced from scrap fabric and then be appliqued over the background. Every section will be a mass of multiple shades of the same color.

I love piecing. It's peaceful and simple, but I rarely give myself permission to piece often, largely because it's so extremely time consuming. Of course, not all forms of piecing are time consuming. Last year the modern quilt we worked on together was a lesson in simplicity and it was a project that you could literally fly through, so long as you didn't stop to think too much.

But today I am thinking and planning and fitting everything together rather methodically. Fortunately the cutting has been super quick thanks to the log cabin Accu Quilt die I've been using to cut the pieces for the blocks.

I've always felt a bit ambivalent about using my Go! for strip cutting, mostly because I can easily cut strips from fabric very accurately and feel that getting things on grain and straight on the die is a bit trickier than just using my rotary cutter.

Today however, I waved a flag of truce between the warring factions of speed and perfection. I accept that my log cabin blocks aren't going to be pieced to extreme perfection so using this die definitely saved me loads of time.

Even still, it left me asking a simple, obvious question - why the heck do we do this?

I know where this craft originated from - sewing scraps of whatever leftover fabric was around the house into a utilitarian blanket for warmth and comfort. I understand that this particular version of quilting - piecing tiny bits of worn out clothing together that might normally be thrown away - has very frugal beginnings.

But I was working from yardage, cutting it up just to sew it all back together again. I think if I could go back in time and transport one of my great great great grandmothers into my sewing room, she'd probably faint at the idea. Is this even logical?

Maybe that's the wrong question to ask here because I already know it's not logical. It's art. It's entertainment. It's meditative. And I enjoyed it!

And just to keep things in line with FMQ Friday, here's what I finished free motion quilting yesterday:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

The inner ring is done! I've decided to hang her up and enjoy her on my dining room wall until July. Then I'll buckle down once again and quilt through each corner in turn. Right at the moment, I'm satisfied just to sit and stare at her through every meal.

So what have you been up to? Enjoying the heat of the summer or cranking the AC so you can quilt in comfort?

Simple rules for the FMQ Friday link up:

1. Link up with a post that features something about Free Motion Quilting (FMQ).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here, or you can just post the FMQF button in your sidebar.
3. Comment on at least a few of the other FMQF links. Share your love of free motion quilting and make this weekly link up a fun way to connect.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. why the heck do we do this?

    I ask myself that all the time! I'm just glad you do what you do, so maybe someone else is glad I do what I do, and if so that's why the heck we do this. ;-)

  2. Started to quilt in december. Found your blog three months ago and now I am addicted to fmq. I read your blogs with interest and admire you for being so strong! I learned a lot. Thank you for everything and wish you all the luck with your family!

  3. My favorite time to quilt is January. Why, because here in Appleton, WI the temperatures tend to hover in the single digits either above or below zero in January. I am not seduced to go outside. Instead working in a warm home, especially doing handwork under a warm quilt is sheer bliss in January. It also feels like a reward for making it through the busy holidays. Is there a bad time to quilt? I don't think so.

    1. I agree! Here in Ottawa Ontario winter goes to minus 30 degrees celcius so making quilts inside just makes sense!

  4. Your color combo in the pieced work you did today is just gorgeous, one of my favorites.

    Glad you are taking your time on Duchess Reigns. Art such as this deserves to be savored not just as a finished piece, but in the making of it as well.

  5. Lol Nina! Yes, I'm so glad you do what you do. James and I recently watched Sita Sings the Blues again and he sang 'Rama's great" for the rest of the day. Your work makes me smile, so yes, I hope you continue to do it and I'll remind myself of this anytime I question why the heck I do it again!



  6. Quilters - the only group of people who cut up perfectly good fabric into small pieces and then sew it back together. Logical? No. Fun? Absolutely! (And my husband says it keeps me out of the bars!)

  7. Love this new design .. like so many of your others i will have a go..
    Im pretty sure with different colour fabric and thread you create a different look each time .

  8. Interesting discussion. I work at a pain clinic and someone said that to me today saying they are a 3 time cancer survivor. The problem I'm having with my quilt is way too many options for what to quilt on it!


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