The Free Motion Quilting Project: May 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Print vs. Digital Books

I've shared another post on Craftsy blog today on print vs digital craft books. Click here to check it out now!

So which do you prefer? Print books have definitely been my favorite for years, but now I'm leaning more towards digital books instead.
Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fun Posts for Craftsy

Yep, I've been cheating on the Free Motion Quilting Project! I began blogging for Craftsy on Sunday's starting in April and it's turning into a fun place to share block ideas, trend alerts, and other quilting topics that might not fit here quite as well.

Two weeks ago I shared a post on piecing a Square in a Square block without paper piecing. This was a fun article to write because it challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and make a cute block the traditional way!

Click Here to read Leah Day's Quilting Study - Piecing a Square in a Square Block

Last week I shared a bit about the three products I liked the best at spring quilt market. These items ended up not being super quilting-related, but fun, quick projects and kits that encourage small bites of creativity.

Click Here to check out Leah Day's Quilting Study: Fun Non-Quilting Finds from Quilt Market

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, May 25, 2015

Dancing Butterfly Design #23 - Hot Hot Spiral

The weather has definitely warmed up which makes it the perfect time to share this design - Hot Hot Spiral! This simple independent design is an easy combination of Sharp Stippling and Basic Spiral and will fill your quilts with gorgeous, flame-y spiral-y texture.

free motion quilting | spiral quilting design
I originally taught this design in the Express Your Love Quilt Along and stitched it into a version of the quilt that I still haven't finished.
goddess quilt | Leah Day goddessfree motion quilting | spiral quilting design
 Hot Hot Spiral was just one design in a series that I quilted into the orange sections of the quilt. It's really fun seeing the totally different effect when the same design is stitched on a larger scale in the Dancing Butterfly Quilt:

butterfly quilt | butterfly quilt block
Hopefully you can see just how versatile this free motion quilting design can be, no matter what style of quilt you use it in! Let's learn how to quilt Hot Hot Spiral in this new video from the Dancing Butterfly Quilt Along:

Only one more design for this project left! Swing back next Monday to find the last video in this series and remember you can join in this fun quilt along anytime by picking up a copy of the Dancing Butterfly Quilt Pattern.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, May 22, 2015

Clean Sweep

Yes, I'm cleaning and clearing out yet again. I seem to do this every 6 months, but this time I'm going for a spartan look.

quilting yard sale
I was so pleased to see three whole shelves of my bookshelf cleared off completely. These have previously been packed to the hilt with craft books on knitting, quilting, embroidery and art. Many were purchased years ago and I haven't flipped through them in a long time.

While it sort of hurts to get rid of books, I have to be practical and a bit cut throat. My issue is I have so many different interests and skills and very little time to enjoy all of them. Am I going to ever have time to knit a jacket? Probably not. Am I ever going to complete that complicated drawing kit? No.

quilted art journal | quilted journal
I hate admitting that running a creative business saps your time to pursue every craft and art you're interested in. I feel like this year I've been far more creative on small, quick-to-finish quilted journal pages. I can work on one page a month and try new ideas without feeling overwhelmed by a massive project.

But many of these books and a lot of my gear - yarn, fiber, beads, buttons, tools, fabric - were purchased out of some optimistic dreamland fantasy that I actually have time to play with all this stuff. I don't. I have the space to STORE all this stuff, but that isn't the same thing.

I'm tired of keeping things because I wanted it before. Yes, I wanted it, I bought it, it sat on my shelf and took up space for many years, and somehow it makes me feel guilty to get rid of it.

I once heard this advice for getting rid of creative gear - pull everything out and set it on your table and go "shopping" through all the stuff. What would you buy today if you saw it in a shop? Would you take it home and put it on a shelf or immediately start working on a cool new project?

That mentality really helps when deciding what to keep and what needs to go. And thankfully it's going to go quick because we're having a yard sale tomorrow!

If you happen to live in the area and are needing more crafty gear, swing by S Clay Street in Gastonia, NC from 7 am to 12 pm on Saturday the 23rd. I'll have loads of creative gear for you to play with, plus it's only a few minutes from Mary Jo's Cloth Store!

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Casual Cam - Lucy is Armless!

I feel like I've hit the ground running after I got home on Monday night! We have loads of projects in motion and the Crafty Cottage is coming right along as well. Last night I couldn't contain my urge to get back on track with my Zelda Costume so Josh helped me shoot this short video: more about fitting garments in the following awesome Craftsy classes and help support my efforts to make more fun, free videos:

Sew the Perfect Fit - This is a great class for understanding how to mark, cut out a muslin test garment, and alter it to fit nicely step by step.

Jacket Fitting Techniques - I love to watch this class for specific tips on fitting jackets. VERY helpful especially when I'm planning to layer and quilt the pieces and I want them to fit nicely.

Fast Track Fitting - Speedy techniques for altering a garment based on body measurements.

Now I made Lucy more than a year ago by covering myself in duct tape, then sliding this custom shape over my existing plastic dress form. You don't have to have a dress form to do this, you could just do the duct tape and then stuff it with stuffing.

I learn how to make the duct tape dress form in the Craftsy Class Curvy Crochet which is an excellent class on fitting crochet to larger sizes.

I'm hoping to get this jacket knocked out and nicely fitted so I can cut out another version in gold glittery fabric for my Zelda costume. My original armor piece was just too stiff and uncomfortable to wear around for more than a few minutes.

Charlotte's Hero Con is just around the corner so cross your fingers that I can get this fitted and quilted in time!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dancing Butterfly Design #22 - Flowing Lines

I'm headed back home today after a wonderful trip to spring quilt market, but I have plenty of time before my flight so I'm sharing our 22nd quilting design for Dancing Butterfly!

free motion quilting | flowing lines
Flowing Lines is one of my absolute favorite free motion quilting designs. It can honestly stand all on it's own to make fantastic quilting texture in an art quilt. It can also easily fill in the wings and border of our butterfly block:

butterfly block | butterfly quilt
The best thing about this free motion quilting design is how simple it is - it's just gently curving lines, and occasionally you quilt a gap line to create those organic spaces in the design.

You know the most fantastic surprise I've had at quilt market? Seeing the Dancing Butterfly Quilt again after more than 6 months, unfolding her for my schoolhouse class and finding it wasn't crippled with wrinkles!

butterfly quilt | dancing butterfly quilt
I used Hobbs Heirloom Wool as the batting for this quilt and I find it made an enormous difference! From now on I know what I'll be using in show quilts that have to be folded and shipped sometimes months in advance.

So what do you think about flowing lines? Does it seem easy enough to quilt in the borders or sashing of your next quilt? Where do you plan to quilt it next?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, May 15, 2015

Amazing Days at Market

Wow! The last two days have been a blur of wandering happily around Minneapolis, meeting quilter's I've known digitally, but never met in person, and working with Island Batik to prepare for an excellent quilt market. Let's start with Minneapolis - this is an incredible city!

I love the ease of getting around with such an excellent public transit system. I was able to ride a bus to the Midtown Global Market, then ride another bus to check out Glad Creations Quilt Shop, then ANOTHER bus to Mall of America all for $1.75. Then I took the blue line back to Nicollet Mall and free buses back to my hotel. All told, I spent less than $5 to get to many places that would have been $50+ in a taxi.

Mall of America is definitely on attraction that can't be missed. I just wasn't prepared for the size and scale of this mall, and once I found the Lego store, I was literally in heaven!

I know I wouldn't have even tried going to all these places if it wasn't for the Minneapolis transit system and how easy it was to use the buses and light rail. Their website included videos and detailed fare information that made it easy to understand. I've been to cities that have systems, but simply lack the detailed information on how to use it for a total novice.

Yes, it sounds insane, but watching a video on how to buy a ticket and board the train or bus made me feel confident that I could do it without getting lost or accidentally not paying the right amount.

Back to market - yesterday the day of schoolhouse classes, which is sort of a pregame learning event before the main floor of Quilt Market opens. I'm working with Island Batik for this market and demoing in their booth so I stopped by to see if I could help set up.

This is what most booths look like when they unpack, but very quickly it transforms into a gorgeous booth filled with pretty quilts and fabric samples. I didn't have much to do Thursday morning so I met the awesome Bad Ass Quilter Maddie Kertay for lunch and had a great chat about branding, business, and maintaining a balance of family and work life.

Then it was back to Island Batik to load up gear and head to my first Schoolhouse class! This was a 15 minute presentation on using the Dancing Butterfly Quilt Pattern as a block-of-the-month program in a quilt shop. My goal is to get more shops teaching free motion quilting on a monthly basis so more quilters can learn how to finish their beautiful quilts.

After the schoolhouse presentation, I headed to dinner and then right back to the show for Sample Spree. This huge event is for buyers to find cute items for their store and purchase before the main show opens. For a fabric company like Island Batik, this meant precuts!

These beautiful precut packs of 2 1/2 inch strips and 10 inch squares will be appearing in quilt shops very soon. My favorites are Pumpkin Patch and Feedsack. Whatcha think - should we do a quick quilt along with these precuts this summer???

So that's it for my adventures the last two days! Today the market will officially open and I'll be demonstrating in booth #2100 at 11, 1, and 3. Come and see me if you're coming to the show!

Let's go quilt shop!

Leah Day

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Headed to Spring Quilt Market

Today Josh and I dropped James off at school, then Josh dropped me off at the airport so I could fly to Minneapolis, MN for Spring Quilt Market!

Quilt Market is a special show held for quilt shop owners, manufacturers, and designers. The shows are held twice a year in the spring and fall, and the spring show moves from city to city each year. Last year we attended our first spring market in Pittsburgh, PA which I wrote about here.

Josh and I learned a lot while attending that first market and we achieved our goals - to get our books, DVDs, and patterns carried by distributors who help connect us with quilt shops around the world.  Within just a few months, our products were showing up more readily in quilt shops and in many catalogs as well.

This spring I'm heading back to spring market with new goals in mind. I'm working with Island Batik to launch the Dancing Butterfly Quilt Pattern, and the beautiful collection of fabrics in this quilt!

I'm sharing this quilt as a new block-of-the-month program where quilters can come to their local quilt shop and learn how to applique the blocks and free motion quilt together. This quilt pattern has worked wonderfully for our online quilt along, and I think it will also be a big hit for quilt shops as well.

Working with Island Batik has been a fun and exciting adventure. Thanks to this business relationship, I'm sharing a Schoolhouse presentation on Thursday before the quilt market show opens and demoing at the Island Batik booth during the show.

For the longest time I tried to do everything by myself, but working with other companies is one of the great keys to being a successful professional quilter in my opinion. Being open to try new things, like designing fabric, is a fun challenge and opens up many possibilities for beautiful quilts, patterns, and awesome teaching opportunities.

I know I'll have a lot to share in the coming days about quilt market, so I'll leave this here with a few quick details:

Schoolhouse presentation - 2:50 - 3:05 in room 203AB - I'm presenting a short talk on "Teaching Your Students What They Want to Learn"

Demo - I'll be in Island Batik's booth #2100 on Friday and Saturday at 11, 1, and 3, and Sunday at 11 and 1 to demonstrate quilting and answer any questions about using the Dancing Butterfly Quilt Pattern as a block-of-the-month project.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dancing Butterfly Design #21 - Sashiko Shell

Today we have a very cool, turtle-shell style design called Sashiko Shell.

And here is Sashiko Shell stitched out:

Remember, you can find a longer, more detailed video included in the Dancing Butterfly Quilt pattern!

Until next time, let's go quilt.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Best Mother's Day Ever!

Today has been such a wonderful Mother's Day! Josh and James woke up early and made breakfast burritos and had sweet gifts on the table. It's so wonderful to feel so appreciated and loved!

I hope you have had a terrific Mother's Day as well! It was a perfect spring day so we worked in the yard and I built a new door to Josh's duck coop. We tried to swim, but the water is so cold I could barely stand to get my feet wet.

I'm really trying to get out and enjoy the weather this year and spend more time in the yard. We've put in loads of tomato plants and herbs so I know this is going to be a great summer for fresh vegetables and amazing flavors in the kitchen.

I'm planning to kick back the rest of the day and work on a new set of butterflies for quilt market. I can't believe I'm leaving Tuesday for Minneapolis for nearly a whole week. I'll be hanging out in the Island Batik booth #2100 and demonstrating on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so if you're attending the show please come by to see me!

I promise to keep you updated on the show events and share many photos this week to Instagram and Facebook. This time I'm headed to market alone so Josh can hold down the fort at home. I'm definitely going to miss my guys and this great weather we're having, but by the time I get home my crafty cottage might be nearly finished! Lol - probably wishful thinking!

Let's go quilt,


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Chickens and Ducks

Josh here, and it's past time we did our own little Throwback Thursday post!

If you're a member of Facebook, you've likely seen pages and facebook friends sharing old pictures and stories under the tagline "Throwback Thursday." We've even seen a few funny and memorable Throwback Thursday entries on Leah's facebook group page, which is a great place for quilters from all over the globe to come together and talk about quilting, sewing, crafts, and anything and everything.

Have you ever been watching one of Leah's youtube videos and heard a rooster crow in the distance?

Let's rewind back to a few weeks before Easter of 2010. I got two chicks as a gag gift, and that's how it all started.

Barred rock and unknown breed of young cockerals, April 2010
Unfortunately, the gag gift nature of these two played out as both grow into roosters.

Along the way, we picked up three hens, got a few more over time, hatched out their eggs, and fast forward to today where I currently have nineteen laying hens and three docile roosters, along with six Indian runner, Magpie, and Pekin ducks.

Oh, and we also brought a gentle little silkie rooster into the house for a week or two! He was the one hatchling from fifteen eggs I ordered online and grew up around us.

And yes, that is a specifically designed chicken diaper! The little rooster ultimately joined the flock outside as chickens need fresh air and sunshine to thrive.

If you're interested in chickens, I have several posts about them, which you can read here, and here, and here.

Do you have any chicken, or duck, or guinnea, or peafowl stories to share? We would love to hear from you!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Making Progress on the Crafty Cottage!

A few weeks ago I announced a big new project to install a prebuilt shed in my back yard. We're going to finish out this space to be a new filming studio that I'm calling the Crafty Cottage.
I've decided to share the progress of this big project in a series of posts at So far we've prepared the site, had the shed delivered, built a little deck and steps on the front, and insulated the shed floor. Click Here to read all the posts about this project.

Whew! It's a lot of work putting this together, but we're having a great time getting a little done every day. We'd love your support with this project so this week we're putting everything in the store - yes, even tables! - on sale for 20% off when you order over $20! Click Here to shop now!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Dancing Butterfly Design #20 - Barbed Vine

Today we have an easy and unique design called Barbed Vine. This is the twentieth design so far in our Dancing Butterfly Quilt Along.

And here is how we stitch it out:

I love this type of design because they're so versatile. You could easily use this in your sashing, but you could also expand it to fill a whole 6" border too.

Enjoy this fun and spiky design!

Let's go quilt,


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