The Free Motion Quilting Project: You Can Do a Lot With 7 Inches

Friday, December 5, 2014

You Can Do a Lot With 7 Inches

I've been busy quilting the last few days, experimenting with new ideas and techniques and having lots of fun with feathers!

I'm teaching a new class - Fill With Feathers: Blocks, Sashing, Borders at MQX East (yes, there is still space available!) this spring and I'm digging in and finally allowing myself to fully and completely explore this very fun design.

I've also been playing with some different ideas in a 7 inch square. I'm aiming to create mini art pieces, with the idea that success or failure really doesn't matter. It's not enough fabric to get worked up about if I mess up, and it's small enough I can conceivably quilt one square in a few hours.

I like to call this little project - You Can Do a Lot With 7 Inches. LOL! I love that title. Josh thinks it's a bit inappropriate, but I need to keep this light and silly. This series is a way for me to warm up, experiment, try new things, find what works, and find what flops.

This first one was a fun experiment with trapunto, playing with different types of batting, and different filler designs around the heart shape. I sketched this out with a marking pencil really roughly, trapuntoed the heart and background shapes, then layered with more batting and backing and went to town with different filler designs.

At the moment, I consider this a flop because it finished so dark. I think it needs paint or beads or something to add some bling and make the heart stand out better. The other nice thing about this little series is they're so small I can actually try out ideas like this and it not be some mega month long commitment.

 Another thing I need to work out - how to bind these little quilts. I want the binding to form a rolled edge so only the right side of the quilt shows with no border around the edges. For this piece I did a pillowcase bind, but the back fabric wasn't tight enough and some of it shows around the edges.

Yes, this is me being nit picky, but I'm not satisfied. It's tough to bind a block so small, but I'm determined to find an easy way to do this that produces a really nice finish. I'm off to experiment some more!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. I bound a quilt using the leftover backing fabric. You trim to a certain width past the quilt top, fold it to the front and sew it down. I wonder if you do it in reverse, and fold extra top fabric to the back, if you hand stitched it down it wouldn't show from the front. I can't remember where I found the instructions, but I probably just searched on pinterest and picked one of the results. Your feathers are beautiful and the fabric and thread are perfect too.

    1. I found it:

  2. I like the little heart. I do think you are right, some beads or something on the heart would look nice. Good luck with your new classes. Maybe you will consider teaching them locally sometime after MQX.

  3. I just read a tutorial on mitered facings. On Googling it, I found Susan Brubaker-Knapp's tutorial:

  4. I like the little heart, too. You mentioned paint: perhaps a brushing/dusting* on the higher (trapuntoed) parts with a light color or metallic?

    *like wipe on; brush it lightly with a painted cloth or paper towel or foam brush

  5. I like Jen's idea. I done it going from the back to front. Makes sense you could go from the front to the back.

  6. Beautiful feathers! Wow, you need to be a confident and accurate quilter to use such a contrasting thread! The effect is spectacular!

  7. I think you are looking for a quilt facing rather than a binding. This tutorial shows the method I use - very easy and finished looking.
    Good Luck! ~Jeanne

  8. Love the feathers to finish try adding border of front fabric to backing and pillowcase bind

  9. Regarding the back fabric showing around the edges on the pillowcase binding, next time just cut your back piece a scant bit smaller all around than the front piece, BUT match the edges just like you usually would when sewing. When you turn it, the front fabric will be showing just a bit all around the back, instead of the other way around.

  10. Great ideas! Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


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