The Free Motion Quilting Project: New Projects, New Machine

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New Projects, New Machine

It's Wednesday and time to share what I'm really working on this week! I've been working ahead to our quilt along next year, and on a DVD project that will be finished by the end of the summer. So no matter where you look, you'll find paper sketches, scribbled calculations, and lots and lots of fabric!

free motion quilting | Leah Day

This is my dining room table covered in a wide variety of luscious Island Batiks. Yes, I learned my lesson from the Building Blocks Quilt - I need to work with prettier colors, and these definitely fit the bill for next year's quilt along!

As for next years design...I don't want to reveal too much yet. I will let slip the following clues:

- It will be another quilt-as-you-go quilt, but I'm, playing with new connection techniques that will not require binding strips.
- The focus will be on applique and free motion quilting, with maybe a bit of embellishment thrown in for fun!
- The quilt along time will run from January until June, so you should have a bright, beautiful quilt to enjoy for the summer.
- And yes, since we will be finishing in only a few months, we start a second quilt along with a totally different quilt for the second half of the year.

Whew! It's exciting to be working on this project and planning all the details. It's a lot to consider, plan, and organize, but I'm finding it easy to work on now that I have an extra set of helping hands.

free motion quilting | Max Gray 

Yep, this is my dad, Max Gray, who has just joined our family business! Dad is helping me construct quilt tops and stitch step outs for videos and patterns. He already knows how to measure and cut accurately because his background is in wood and metal work.

But now he's trading metal for fabric and learning how to piece quilts! With Dad's help, I can spend time designing and writing, while he constructs the quilts I will use for filming.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
This week I've taught Dad to prepare, square, and cut fabric, and piece a huge amount of half square triangles. Interesting tip - he found piecing the diagonal seams easier when he marked only one diagonal line through the center of the square. He then lined up the edges of the 1/4 inch foot with the edge of the line.

It's interesting to find what is easier for different people. Since we're piecing half square triangles for our Pinwheel Quilt Blocks this week, that tip might help you as well!

So what are all these dozens of HSTs going to be used for?

free motion quilting | Leah Day

This is the Salsa Verde Quilt, a massive 109" king sized quilt designed for a new DVD we'll be shooting this summer. The DVD will focus on how to manage a quilt this big on a machine this small:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

This is the Janome DC1050, which is a small, under $500 sewing machine with a 6 inch throat plate. When I asked quilters on Facebook what machine they would like to see a king quilted on, overwhelmingly everyone wanted to see it quilted on a TYPICAL home sewing machine. So I've risen to the challenge!

I'm excited to be working on both projects through the summer, and to have help constructing the quilts for all our future projects. With more time to design and plan, I can become an even better online teacher, and create more beautiful quilts for us to create and learn together.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. That's so exciting! What a great news to have your Dad in your family business!
    Love that little machine and big quilt idea. In 2012 during your QAL I was quilting on a $100 brother sewing machine and it worked beautiful for all my small lap quilts. Thanks again!

    1. I quilt on a $100 brother sewing machine too! I've done small lap quilt, but mostly quilt-as-you-go. It will be awesome to see a big king one in the works!

  2. Hi Max! Love the fact you are able to help your Daughter! thanks for the half square triangle hint! Have fun!

  3. How went from Gray to Day! Such exciting answered my ENTIRE wish list from you! Come on January...

  4. How awesome is it to have your dad working with you! I am very excited to here about next year's projects. Are you going to be selling next year's project as a kit like this year? Love the colors of the fabrics we see! Looking forward to next year. I am enjoying and learning so much with this year's quilt a long,i will try to get my sister to joins us next year. Right she is struggling with a broken arm and tear bicep muscle so next year's project she will be able to do with us.

  5. Way to go Max , Leah will have you a pro in no time .Aren't you just so proud of your girl ,she's amazing .

  6. I'm so pleased your business is growing! Dad looks happy to be part of the show. I just love it when Dad's (and hubbie's) can really support their daughters (and wife!). I've been using your designs on my blocks for another quilt along. Doing 2 different designs each month is really building my skills! Thank you so much. You are such an inspiration!

  7. It is great to have you Dad assisting you with so much joy! I am looking forward to next year's projects. Leah you are great with new challenges!

  8. Love that your Dad is working in your business! He looks like a natural at that machine!

  9. Oh cannot wait to see that! I have a janome7700 and a king size quilt top but am too afraid to put fabric to machine lol....working my way to it....(from small to a bit bigger etc

  10. I am super excited for next years quilt along! I quilt on a Singer Stylist, because I am a cosplayer that machine is great for costume making... I just can't afford a new machine yet. I'm very interested in seeing you quilt such a large surface on a small machine!
    P.S. go Dad!

  11. I can't wait. I'm looking at buying a backup machine because my Bernina has been in the shop for 5 weeks. There is a problem with getting parts, and I just can't take it anymore. I've been watching your "Under $500" reviews.


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