The Free Motion Quilting Project: June 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Finished Quilts, New Deadlines

Yesterday I put the last finishing stitches into the four quilts, shot tons of photos of each of them, packed them in a big box, and sent them off to Island Batik for catalog printing. Whoo hoo! My major deadline of the summer is DONE!

As you can see from my big grin, this is a big weight off my shoulders. While I love deadlines because they force me to be efficient and to not question myself, I find that I rarely set deadlines for myself for my own projects. I was able to knock out four awesome new quilts, but what progress have I made on my own quilts, workshops, and books?

I've decided enough is enough! It's time to set deadlines for my own work and to build a new habit for working efficiently.

First up is Dream Goddess. This quilt has been in progress since 2015 and it's time to get MOVING! I really love this quilt and I only have a tiny bit of machine quilting left to do in the sky section above her head. Really I should be able to knock this out by the end of August.

So that's what I'm going to do! I have a new deadline for Dream Goddess to be finished by September 1st!

Setting this deadline has also made me think of the other things that have been continually pushed back as we got too busy to focus on them. I've had multiple video workshops planned, and even a few videos shot, but when life gets too busy these projects often get set aside.

Downside of Deadlines

The problem I've had with deadlines in the past is I set unrealistic goals and put way too much pressure on myself to make the deadline. I would push myself way too hard and exhaust myself trying to reach an unrealistic goal.

It's often hard to know how long something is going to take. Sometimes Dad will need a full week to prep fabric, but we'll have quilt tops pieced within a few days. Some quilts take a week to quilt while others can be finished in a few hours.

Intentions Rule

Ultimately I've learned continually check in on my deadlines. Every day I check what work was accomplished the day before and adjust my goals accordingly. If Dad was able to prep all the fabric required for a pattern today, he's going to need the pattern by tomorrow so he can begin construction.

This really helps me focus on what is the most important thing to work on right this second. I also love feeling productive! That is my favorite feeling in the world.

So that is my new focus: to feel productive, creative, and efficient while working steadily through a new batch of video workshops, quilts, and even a book or two! I've already started researching a new book for beginners and you can help out by participating in the survey right here.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Machine Quilting Survey!

Yes, it's high time I ran another machine quilting survey. I like to create these polls occasionally to see what you like and find inspiration for new videos to create. For this particular survey, I'm going to use the responses for a new machine quilting book!

Thank you so much for participating and sharing your experience! 

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, June 27, 2016

Super Easy Way to Quilt a Real Quilt

Last week I received my Quilty Box for June and was inspired by the included fabric to create a paper pieced quilt top. Click Here to find the free quilt pattern for Paper Airplanes!

Paper Airplanes Quilt Pattern and beginner video tutorial with Leah Day

This quilt has a lot of plain white background space and yes, I could have used dozens of filler designs to add more texture to the quilt. However, something about that plain notebook paper fabric got stuck in my head and I couldn't shake it.

Paper Airplanes Quilt Pattern and beginner video tutorial with Leah Day
When you get struck with a design inspiration please don't question it. There are always a million different ways you could quilt any quilt, but if only one way is speaking to you, follow THAT inspiration!

So I decided to fill the entire quilt with evenly spaced straight lines and to bend those lines around the triangles.

This texture is so subtle, but it really stands out because I used two layers of batting. Learn why I made these design and construction decisions in this new video:

Click Here to find the free Paper Airplanes Quilt Pattern.

What do you think of this simple design? Have you ever used multiple layers of batting in a quilt? Does paper piecing scare you or annoy you? Please share your experience in the comments below!

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Silly Summer Fun

Yes, we're having a great time this summer! James was in an especially great mood today and we shot some silly faces together.

What's really wonderful is our new parenting style has definitely been paying off. We're limiting video games to just 20 minutes and only earned from pull ups or push ups. James is up to 8 pull ups a day and rocking karate two days a week!

When James isn't hanging out with the chickens, cat, or dog, he's reading on the couch or playing Legos. He's doing this without complaining or whining for attention while we work in the next room or downstairs.

If you'd told me that we would have had such a great turn around this quickly, I would have cut off gaming a long time ago! It's been a tough road, but the end result has been so worth it and I know James is stronger, smarter, and happier for the change.

Super Productive Summer

So far it's also been a very productive summer. Dad and I have pieced and quilted more than six quilts together over the last month, with many more to create over the next few weeks. Today I've been out in the Crafty Cottage shooting new videos for next week. Here's a little sneak peek for the video coming out this Monday!

Lots of beautiful long, elegant lines! Come to think of it, we should probably do an update on the Crafty Cottage, shouldn't we? I've had the little barn finished for over a year now and it's been such a nice space to film videos and work without interruption. Let me know if you'd like me to shoot a video update in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Easy Applique Sunflower Quilts

It's now officially summertime, and that means sunflowers!

Check out these two gorgeous quilts from Sandi E. and Diane D. shared on our interactive facebook group:

These two quilts were made using Ann Holmes' No Sewing until You Quilt It applique technique.
The method is turned edge applique which allows you to easily build complicated quilts over a layer of French Fuse interfacing.

And yes, the sunflower quilt pattern is included with the book, along with one yard of french fuse fabric to help you learn the technique.

Hope to see you on our facebook group! It's like being part of an international quilt guild with friends all over the world sharing their quilts and getting help on various projects. So much fun!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

More Sneak Peeks for Fall Market

I've been quilting up a storm this week every since I got back from Heroes Con to meet my deadline to ship quilts to Island Batik. I still can't share the full projects I've designed, but I have shot a few sneak peeks for you to enjoy!

I decided to design a variety of quilt sizes - one wall hanging, one large throw, one queen sized quilt, and one small throw that could also be a baby quilt. This new set of patterns will become available in November this year.

Of course I love adding as much texture as I can with the quilting design! When I shared this photo on Facebook, a quilter instantly commented that she knew it was mine without reading the description.

It's funny how subtle things combine together to become your signature style after awhile. For me it's lots of filler designs stitched in contrasting thread with relatively small stitches. This is just the way I love to quilt!

Do you have a particular style of quilting? The best way to develop your own style is to quilt lots of quilts, look at lots of quilts, and always be asking yourself what you love to see and stitch. The more you do what you love, the better your quilting will reflect you.

Now I'm off to finish quilting two more quilts so I can get all of these beauties bound and shipped off by the end of the month. It's been a lot of fun to have this deadline and Josh is already planning deadlines for our own projects coming out later this summer. New workshops, books, and embroidery designs are already in the works!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, June 20, 2016

Easy Paper Airplanes Quilt Pattern

#Affiliate - This article and video share this month's Quilty Box, a subscription box of quilting gear you can receive every month. Click Here to learn more about Quilty Box.

This past week I received my Quilty Box, filled with awesome quilting supplies selected by Heather Gavins, from Heather designed a fun line of fabric called Paper Obsessed and included several fat quarters in the box for us to play with. I was inspired by the paper themed fabric to do a bit of paper piecing and created the Paper Airplanes quilt, a really easy paper piecing project you can learn how to make in this video:

Paper Airplanes Easy Paper Pieced Quilt Pattern at

Click Here to find the video and free quilt pattern at

Just like last month I've published this free quilt pattern in an easy-to-print PDF you can download, print, and share to your heart's content! This is a paper pieced quilt pattern so make sure to print the pages full size with no scaling or shrinking so the paper patterns are the correct size.

Paper Airplanes Easy Paper Pieced Quilt Pattern at
For my first run with the blocks to test the pattern, I used Island Batik fabrics that really looked great. I'm honestly tempted to piece another quilt top using Island Batik Sunset, Black, and Blurple because the colors looked so pretty.

Of course, with this much background space around the airplane blocks, the biggest question is going to be - How do we quilt it? Make sure to check back next week when I share tips on picking designs for this quilt!

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Amazing Time at Heroes Con 2016

Josh and I just got back from Heroes Con, a comic con in Charlotte, NC. We cosplayed as two characters each this year and had tons of fun walking the show floor and meeting comic book artists.

Galadriel from Lord of the Rings with Batman and Harley Quinn
Just in case you've never heard of cosplay, it's basically a mash up of costuming and play acting as the character you're portraying. I'm not the best actress so I mostly focus on sewing an awesome costume with extra special quilted sections if I can manage it.

I totally goofed up a photo as Zelda, Twilight Princess
What's really fun is meeting so many people wanting to learn the basics of sewing and garment construction. Pretty much anyone I met in costume asked how or who made my costume and how they could do the same. Hint hint local sewing machine dealers - I think you should set up a booth here next year!

I have big plans for new costumes and lots of inspiration to build new props. The interesting thing about sewing costumes is you have to not only make something that looks great, it has to also wear well through the event and not become too painful to bear over the long hours of the con.

I made a mistake with my Galadriel costume by wearing a body suit underneath that was so restricting I felt like the stuffing was getting squished out of me within two hours. I had to change out of the costume, which really limited the number of photos I took and people I met.

Ultimately it was a terrific weekend and I can't wait to dress up again in a few weeks for the Shelby Comic Con. It definitely won't be as big, but I'll be there with bells on!

Let's go quilt or cosplay!

Leah Day

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ugh! Really Stupid Mistake

Ever make a horribly stupid mistake that just makes you want to bang your head against a wall?Yesterday I dropped James off at karate and noticed the car was almost out of gas so I headed to a nearby gas station to fill up quick before running some errands.

Now I should add that I HATE pumping gas. I will use our truck over the car just to avoid it. It's one of the few, rare errands that just make me crazy and after 11 years of marriage, Josh has nicely taken over this task for the most part. So it's a rare day that I pump gas myself and I've sort of gotten out of the habit of it.

So I hopped out of the car with both my wallet and phone in my hand and pull out the pump and notice it leaking all over the place. It leaks right down the side of the car and I put my phone and wallet on the top of the car to protect them and grab some paper towels to clean up the mess.

Can you guess what I did next? I cleaned up the mess, finished pumping gas, hopped back in the car and drove away - with my brand new iPhone and wallet on the roof! UGH!

I realized my mistake less than 2 minutes later as I was pulling into the bank and noticed my wallet was missing from my purse. Where is it? Oh my gosh! Where is it!??? I hop out of the car and luckily, thankfully, my iPhone had stuck to the back of the car and not fallen off. My wallet was nowhere to be seen.

I rushed back to the gas station, searching the road for any sign of a wallet. The gas station attendant told me frankly that this was a bad part of town to lose a wallet and shrugged his shoulders. I headed back along the route I'd driven and noticed a black lump in the road. Could that be it???

I parked in a nearby lot and ran over and YES! it was my wallet! Whew! Giant sigh of relief!

Then I opened it up and found all the cash, checks, and one credit card gone. UGH! For a minute I was outraged, but then I realized just how lucky I was. Whoever had stolen my cash had thrown the wallet back in the road where I could find it. I won't have to replace my drivers license, all the miscellaneous discount cards and bank cards that could have been stolen.

And really - none of it would have been stolen if I hadn't left the wallet on top of my car! Yes, it was  a horribly stupid mistake, but it could have ended very differently. I'm chucking it up to a learning experience and yet another reason why I don't pump gas.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Goodbye Tanookie

Yesterday our door bell rang with some very bad news. Our neighbor had found our cat, Tanookie, on the side of the road. She had been hit by a car sometime overnight or in the early morning and died.

Tanookie became our cat in 2012, along with an orange tabby we called Shy Guy. Both cats were sort of hand-me-downs from my Dad who was working and away from home so much that he couldn't keep the cats anymore. Instantly the cats became part of the family hanging out on the back porch, sneaking inside anytime they got a chance, and stalking chickens for fun in the yard.

In 2013 I could tell Shy Guy was getting old and I didn't know how much time we had left with him so I created a stepping stone with his and Tanookie's paw prints.

I'm so happy that I made this because now, just three years later, we've lost both cats. You really never know how much time you have.

What's funny is the very things that annoyed me the most about Tanookie are the things I'll likely miss the most. She had a habit of stalking out our doors and rushing in whenever we were carrying groceries or packages inside so we'd have to chase her through the house to throw her back outside again.

She loved to be petted, but for only around 30 seconds. Any more than that and she'd attack your hand viciously. She was an excellent hunter, but really wanted to get credit for her kills so she'd leave lots of dead little bodies all over the carport and stepping stones.

She was a pretty contradictory cat - both loving and mean, cuddly and surly, and maybe that's what made her so fun to have around. You really never knew what was coming next with Tanookie!

We're all going to miss her unique personality. I know I'll probably end up with another calico cat soon, but never one quite as weird, fun, and temperamental as this sweet cat.

With love,

Leah Day

Monday, June 13, 2016

Machine Quilting Solar Flares - Block #6

How is your Solar Flares block going? This funky asymmetrical block gave me a bit of trouble in piecing because I kept getting the triangles flipped around. Make sure to check out the piecing video here to find tips on piecing this block.

Now it's time to quilt Solar Flares and again we're using a combination of walking foot quilting and free motion quilting. Learn how I planned my quilting path for this block in this new video:

A few extra tips for quilting this design: Make sure to take your time lining up and marking the center Spiral Illusion area. This can be really tricky to line up just right and get the spiral illusion centered into the middle 4-patch block.

I'm still using my lightbox to line up and mark designs from the back, but I just picked up a pack of Golden Threads quilting paper to experiment with marking from the right side.

I'll be sharing some test videos soon to show you how it works and if it will help make marking quilt blocks like this easier.

As you can see from the back of the block, I did travel stitch a good bit in the ditches around the center Solar Flare star, and then switched thread colors for the outer Hot Path flames.

I really love the flow I was able to create in the background of the block. Being able to travel stitch, fill, then move to the next space without breaking thread and without excessive travel stitching is always my goal.

So what do you think of this latest block? Are you enjoying the mix of walking foot quilting with free motion quilting? Have you ever combined techniques like this to quilt an entire quilt?

Please share in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Excellent Trip to Johnson City

This weekend Josh and James and I packed up and headed to Johnson City to visit family. eat great food, have fun together, and of course discover new quilt shops along the way! This morning I treated James to an early breakfast and then stumbled across a shop hop going on with quilt shops in Tennessee.

I found lots of goodies as you can see! I've been needing to expand my collection of solids so I picked up several yards of gray, purple and green at Tennessee Quilts, a beautiful quilt shop with one of the largest collections of quilting fabric I've ever seen! I even stumbled across some silk Radiance fabric, something I've been wanting to play with for awhile.

The next stop was Sewing Bee, which was a sweet shop just down the road. While it didn't have as much fabric, they had a great selection of sewing machines and I saw both rail and sit down longarm sewing machines being set up to demo. At this shop I found a piece of simple Minky fabric, which I've been wanting to play with. How do we quilt with this stuff? Time to find out!

My last visit of the day was to Bernina In Stitches, a small quilt shop in downtown Johnson City. This cute shop was also packed to the gills with a beautiful supply of Moda fabric, notions, buttons, and more. I was super tempted by a special Bernina embroidery foot that would fit my old Bernina 1130 and 1230.

After my mini shop hop we went on a wonderful tour of Appalachian Caverns, one of the best caves I've ever visited. Josh and I both regretted not wearing old clothes and tennis shoes so we could take the longer tour and get really dirty crawling through the tight areas of the cave.

Appalachian Caverns

We'll definitely be back for an extended tour! The caverns were beautiful, though at times my fear of heights and bridges were pushed to the limit.

Another fun family experience was visiting Silverball City Arcade, a video game arcade with multiple pinball and arcade machines. The best part is it was one flat fee to play as much and as long as we wanted. We played for an hours, then ate dinner, and came back for a little more.

All in all, it was an excellent short-but-sweet trip to Johnson City and we'll definitely be back for more fun soon.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Beautiful Kimono Sewing Project

Do you love to sew? I really love to sew and make clothing, but rarely have the time to fuss with the fabric, pattern, and sizing to get everything just right. But now that may just change thanks to! Learn more about it in this quick video:

So instead of buying fabric, then buying the pattern separate, you can now buy the fabric with the sewing pattern printed directly on top! 

What makes this even more awesome is you can design the fabric for a new shirt, skirt, dress, or kimono robe! I first designed the pink blossom fabric for a Spoonflower challenge, but decided I wanted the trim and belt to contrast slightly so I took out the flowers and created another fabric with just the background gray rings.

What has resulted is a gorgeous new garment that's just needing to be cut and sewn! I love the 3D imaging that Sprout Patterns offers because you can really see what the project is going to look like being worn.

Click Here to check out this kimono project.

As for the cost and time to print, yes, this is a little expensive, and yes, it takes a little time to print and ship. I choose to print my kimono robe on organic cotton sateen, which is a bit pricey, but I believe the soft feel to the fabric will be worth it.

Another thing to keep in perspective is the time. Using Spoonflower, you can upload a design today and have it printed and shipped within a week. So while it did take a few weeks for my kimono to be printed and shipped, that's actually super speedy in comparison to more traditional fabric printing methods.

For all of these reasons, I'm delighted to design fabric for Spoonflower and to easily print sewing projects with Sprout Patterns. I can definitely see a lot more sewing in my future!

Let's go sew,

Leah Day

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Yes, You Can Quilt a King on a Home Machine!

A few days ago I was looking through all the pretty pictures of quilts people share on our Facebook Quilting Group, and I have to say my jaw dropped when I saw this amazing king-sized quilt Heather M. made:

Heather made this gorgeous quilt on a domestic machine, using the pattern from our video workshop and tutorial Quilting a King on Your Home Machine.

Heather writes, "My first king-size quilt, made on my home machine Janome 7700 with Leah Day's video workshop. I started in January using batik with silk batting. It's a gift for a couple. I followed the pattern for some quilting and some l did my own (simplified) designs. I made matching pillow cases and shams using Janome MC500e. It was a lot of area to cover.

Thank you Leah Day for the encouraging instructions."

Here are Heather's matching pillow cases, which I absolutely loved to see!

And a closer look at the free motion quilting designs:

As Heather has proven, it's absolutely possible to quilt a king on your home machine! Thank you for sharing your version of this beautiful quilt!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, June 6, 2016

How to Piece a Solar Flares Quilt Block

Yes, it's finally time to piece our Solar Flares block! This 6th block in the Machine Quilting Block Party is very fun to piece with just half square triangles and squares coming together to create a cute asymmetrical block:

While this block may look really simple, it can actually be pretty tricky to piece correctly. Learn how to construct it properly in this new video:

Click Here to find the pattern for Block #6 - Solar Flares.

Did you notice how easy it is to flip around the pieces and have the triangles facing the opposite directions? Definitely take your time and pay attention to the block layout on page 5 of the pattern.

Another thing to watch out for is the quilting diagram. This is one month in particular that the diagram is not symmetrical so be really careful cutting and taping together the diagram to make sure the lines of the Spiral Illusion line up properly.

The great news is we're going to quilt the Spiral Illusion design in the center of the block with a walking foot! Make sure to check back here next week to learn how to machine quilt this block step by step.

Any questions about this new block pattern? Please ask in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Gearing Up for Fall Quilt Market

Fall quilt market? Really? Yes, indeed! Last year I designed a beautiful set of fabrics for Island Batik and a few weeks ago the yardage arrived and I did a super happy dance throughout the house to celebrate. Since the fabric arrived I've been designing, planning, slicing and dicing to create new quilts by the end of the month.

Thankfully I have Dad to help me make all these quilts! Dad has pretty much mastered quilt piecing and has already constructed two quilt tops. This particular queen sized quilt has already been basted and today I started machine quilting by stitching in the ditch.

Unfortunately I can only share a few sneak peeks right now. I can't wait to share more about this beautiful new fabric which will be hitting quilt stores around January 2017.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Halfway Point of the Machine Quilting Block Party!

Yes, we're officially halfway done with the Machine Quilting Block Party! We've learned how to piece and machine quilt five beautiful blocks together and we've just released the pattern for Block #6!

This Solar Flares block is going to be so much fun to learn together! We're going to learn more about walking foot quilting and free motion quilting and continue getting more practice with half square triangles.

Click Here to find the pattern for Block #6!

Remember, the video on piecing this block will be posted on the first Monday of the month, which happens to fall on June 6th. Then we'll learn how to machine quilt the block together on Monday, June 13th.

If you're just joining the Machine Quilting Block Party, now is the time to pick up all of your block patterns for just $4.99 each! It's not too late to catch up with us and build new skills for piecing and machine quilting this year. Click Here to learn more.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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