The Free Motion Quilting Project: July 2016

Friday, July 29, 2016

Dad's Cabin Fever Quilt - Part 2

Dad's been keeping busy this week working on his Cabin Fever quilt! You can find the first part of this series right here.

We had a bit of a math mishap. When I looked at Dad's quilt colors and design I decided to change the block from flying geese units to more half square triangles so the blue fabric wouldn't shadow through the yellow fabric. It might also be a bit faster to construct half square triangles.

Except...if you don't calculate the number you need accurately!

Dad ended up cutting out plenty of yellow and green fabric, but only cut half as much blue needed for the quilt. I knew something had to be off because I'd cut and washed the fabric and he still had an entire yard of blue that hadn't been cut.

So it's back to the cutting board for more blue squares! I think Dad needed a break from making half square triangles because he's constructed two rows and this quilt is coming together beautifully:

This quilt is turning out so, so cheerful! Dad says he can't help but smile at it when he sees it and that is the whole point!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Renting the Bernina Longarm

Yesterday I drove to a local quilt shop to rent time on the Bernina Q24 longarm. What a day! I loaded a piece of plain, black fabric, set up a spool of gray Isacord thread, and quilted for hours trying to learn how to control the machine. Here's a quick glimpse of just how terrible it looked in the beginning:

Honestly I'm really pleased with all of my quilting, even this wobbly mess in the beginning! The great thing about the Bernina Q24 is the stitch regulator which kept the stitches roughly the same size and shape no matter how crazily I moved the machine.

The biggest goal I had for the day was to find more control over the machine's movement. I wanted to be able to quilt wiggly shapes and Stippling by the end of the day and great news! That definitely happened:

Now before you jump to conclusions - no I'm not switching to longarm quilting. Mostly I'm curious to know how a longarm works and how it differs from quilting on a home sewing machine. Yesterday I learned a lot - like why you don't want to tighten the quilt up SUPER tight because that adds more bounce. When the quilt surface bounces around too much the stitch regulator has trouble working.

I also learned that designs like Stippling are much easier to quilt than designs that require travel stitching. While I had enough control to stitch a wiggly design I knew really well, I definitely did NOT have the control to hit points or travel stitch consistently.

So that is going to take a lot more practice and patience to master. Overall I was pleased with my day and how much I accomplished. My quilting was far from perfect, but I learned quite a lot about this different form of machine quilting!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, July 25, 2016

Beginner Walking Foot Quilting Tutorial

Last week I used the beautiful materials in my Quilty Box to create the Twin Rainbow Stars quilts - a pattern that helps you make two quilts at the same time! This week I begin the quilting process very simply with my walking foot and created an excellent beginner walking foot quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the quilt pattern and more tips for quilting!

After stitching in the ditch and quilting many straight lines with my walking foot, I found I had beautiful open diamond spaces that would be perfect to practice many free motion quilting designs.

Would you like to see this mini project continue? Let me know if you'd like to see more quilting tutorials for filling in the spaces of these Rainbow Star quilts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 22, 2016

Facebook Live Chat Today!

Last week we tried our first Facebook Live event with the Machine Quilting Block Party group and had a terrific time talking about quilting. Today we're hosting another live event at 4 PM EDT!

Here's how to join in the fun:

1. Join the Leah Day Quilting Facebook Group right here. 

2. At 4 pm EDT, the event will begin. Click Here to figure out what time that will be for you!

(If you need to put in a city to check the time, we're in the same time zone as New York City)

3. If you're on a computer, just click the "click for more" link on the video screen so you can post comments.

If you're on a tablet or phone, rotate it vertical so you can see the comment area.

4. Post any questions you have about quilting and I'll try to answer them all!

Even if you miss this event, the video will be posted to the Leah Day Quilting Group so you can watch it any time.

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer Sale!

It's the height of summer, at least in our neck of the woods, and the tomatoes are ripe, the mosquitoes ravenous, and all the baby chicks hatched in the spring are now fluffed up and roaming the yard. It seems like the perfect time to host a big sale!

Right now you can save 10% on almost everything at! 

Click Here to shop now!

Unfortunately we can't discount our affordable tables and custom cut inserts, but everything else in the shop is 10% off from today (7/20) through Monday (7/25). This is a great time to stock up on thread, quilting supplies, books, patterns, and more.

Your support of our quilt shop helps us continue making free videos and quilt patterns each week. We really appreciate your support!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, July 18, 2016

Twin Rainbow Stars Free 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 beautiful fabrics and supplies selected by Kathleen Starr from This box came with gorgeous hand dyed fabric that I couldn't wait to cut into and turn into a beautiful quilt. I ended up creating TWO super easy Rainbow Star quilts!

These little quilts measure 32 inches each and are SO fast to piece together. I think they will make a great project for charity quilts or anyone you know that's having twin babies!

The star of these quilts is definitely the fabrics. I absolutely fell in love with Kathleen Starr's hand dyed fabrics and definitely plan to pick up more.

Of course, with two quilts pieced, we now have the fun job of deciding how to quilt them both! Make sure to check back next week when I share tips on quilting both Rainbow Star quilts.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dad's Cabin Fever Quilt - Part 1

Last week I shared the piecing tutorial for our Cabin Fever block and included an image of what an entire quilt would look like created from just this one block. The next day Dad told me how much he loved that quilt design and wanted to make one for himself. Color me delighted!

I showed Dad the basics of using EQ7, and he played around with fabric colors and the design for a few hours until he was happy with it. He expanded it to 42 blocks so it would fit a queen sized bed and played around with borders as well until he came up with this beautiful quilt:

As you can see, Dad added a lot more colors to the block design and also added bright yellow cornerstones and sashing. Now I know where my love of bright colors comes from!

I'm super excited to see this quilt come together. Dad's already started prepping up fabric and piecing a few test blocks just to make sure he really likes the colors.

Dad's eyes nearly bugged out when we drew up the yardage list and it was 4 yards of yellow, 3 yards, of blue, another 3 yards of green. It really is surprising how much fabric a queen sized quilt requires. Thankfully we had plenty of fabric on hand and this massive patchwork quilt is already in progress!

So what do you think of Dad's design? Have you ever made a quilt with a family member? What was your favorite part? Please share your experience in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Finishing Up a New Workshop

Yes, I'm finally in the finishing stages of the Waterfall Bargello Workshop! This workshop has been so much fun to film and write and the quilt is so, so beautiful!

Waterfall Bargello Workshop - Online class with Leah Day

My goal for this workshop was to teach more than just Bargello piecing, but also how to plan and audition a quilting design over the piecing design. If you've ever struggled to quilt a Bargello quilt, you're probably not alone! These quilts are busy and can be challenging to "see" the design between all the seam lines and fabric colors.

There's definitely a lot more ways to quilt a Bargello quilt that are not just "in the ditch!" I've even shared an extra lesson on adding a bit of bling to the quilt with decorative threads.

Waterfall Bargello Workshop - Online class with Leah Day

Today I'm going to finish quilting this wall hanging and tomorrow head back out to the Crafty Cottage to shoot two more videos on how to bind the edges of the quilt securely. Be looking for this new video workshop coming out later this month!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, July 11, 2016

How to Quilt a Cabin Fever Block

It's time to machine quilt our Cabin Fever block, the 7th block in the Machine Quilting Block Party!

Learn how to quilt this Cabin Fever Block in a free video tutorial with Leah Day

I think this block has the perfect combination of textures: flowing Desert Sand over the star, beautiful echoes and circles in the background, and soft Echo Shell in each corner.

Make sure to check out our extra tutorial on marking with paper that I shared last week. This is a new way of marking your quilt from the surface that I also used in this block and it worked well, though a bit of my stitching was out of the ditch. See what I mean in this new video:

Click Here to find the quilt pattern for Block #7

Learn how to mark a quilt block with paper in a tutorial with Leah Day
What did you think about marking the block from the surface? It was tricky to see the ditches and align the marked square nicely with the quilt block, especially with block already on the machine.

One thing that might make it easier would be to not mark the outline of the space so the ditches wouldn't be covered by the pencil drawing.

It might also be easier to mark with freezer paper or wax paper. I haven't tried anything other than Golden Threads paper and tissue paper, but freezer paper is more rigid and could be cut to fit exactly into the quilting space, then stitched over.

The issue with paper of course is removing it after quilting. There's a whole host of water soluble papers and stabilizers that could also work for this method, then be ripped first, then any extra bits left in the stitching could be washed away after quilting.

Ultimately the lesson here is to keep trying new things and experimenting to find what works best for you!

Now I did make a bit of a ditching mistake with this block, but as you can tell from the back it's really not noticeable. I quilted around the star shape first with white thread, then realized I wanted it quilted with orange thread and stitched around again.

Learn how to quilt this beautiful sampler quilt block in a free video tutorial with Leah Day

I didn't ditch any of the lines within the log cabin block in the center because that space was filled completely with Desert Sand.

What did you think of this Cabin Fever block? Which block has been your favorite so far? Is a certain step in piecing or quilting giving you trouble?

Please share your experience in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Spoonflower Fat Quarter Sale

Happy Sale Saturday! Spoonflower is running a fun sale on fat quarters this weekend. When you buy one fat quarter you get the second one for FREE. Check out the promo rules right here.

Ocean Swirls and Spirals in Blue

This is one of my most recent fabric designs based on my Swirling Water quilting design!

I've been dabbling with designing fabric for the past two years and I really love Spoonflower because I can upload a design today and have it printed and shipped to me immediately. Yes, it is more expensive than regular cotton fabric, but the ability to design, print, and ship immediately definitely has it's benefits!

I've also designed fabric that's intended to help you learn how to machine quilt. This Quilt Me! fabric has easy quilting designs printed right on the surface so you could quilt along the printed lines:

Paisley Quilt Me! Red

If you've never tried Spoonflower definitely give it a go during this fat quarter sale!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 8, 2016

How to Quilt Desert Sand

This month our feature quilting design is Desert Sand, a super easy foundational design that will look great anywhere you quilt it! Learn how to machine quilt this beautiful design in this new video:

Looking for the pattern? Click Here to find the pattern for Block #7!

Now where will this quilting design work best in our quilts?

Desert Sand works great to fill in a space that has already been stitched in the ditch or has a stitched outline of some sort. You use the outline to travel stitch and echo the lines of the design to fill up your quilting space.

We're going to use this design to machine quilt the center star of the Cabin Fever block and fill it with beautiful flowing texture.

What do you think of Desert Sand? Have you ever used this design in your quilts? Share your experience in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Quilt Marking with Paper

Have you ever tried marking your quilt top using paper? I finally decided to give this technique a try and I was really excited by the results. Learn how to mark your quilt top with paper in this new video:

I've already received a lot of questions on YouTube about this process. Many quilters were wondering about other materials like freezer paper, wax paper, and press n' seal wrap. Honestly I have no idea how these other materials will work so it's up to you to test them out and let us know if they're any good!

Ultimately I felt like the Golden Threads paper was the best for marking my quilt because I was able to slightly see through the paper which will come in handy for lining things up and making sure the design is properly placed.

I also liked this paper because it was easier to rip away after quilting. It tore cleanly away from the stitches without leaving lots of little tuffs of paper behind like tissue paper.

So what do you think about this marking method? Do you think this is easier to use than a light box or bright window? Does it seem easier to add an extra layer over your quilt rather than marking directly on the surface?

Please share your thoughts and experience in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Feathers, Feathers, and More Feathers!

Can you tell I've been quilting lots of feathers? I've finally reached the upper right corner of Dream Goddess so I'm doing a happy dance today!

Still three more rows of feathers and nine open spaces for background filler. I'm averaging one section per day, so theoretically the quilting will be complete in just 12 days. That is pretty exciting for a quilt that's been in progress for nearly two years!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, July 4, 2016

How to Piece a Cabin Fever Block

Happy 4th of July! I hope you're having a wonderful holiday and ready to jump right in to Block #7 for the Machine Quilting Block Party! Today we're learning how to piece a beautiful Cabin Fever Block:

Cabin Fever quilt block video tutorial with Leah Day

I love this combination of a log cabin quilt block and sawtooth star. Both blocks are my favorites and work great to create quilts all on their own. Combine them together and you get a knock out design! Let's learn how to piece it together in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the Cabin Fever Block Pattern (Block #7)

I love this Cabin Fever quilt block so much I decided to design a quilt top using just this block with 2 inch sashing and corner stones. See the neat alternate block created with this combination?

Cabin Fever quilt block tutorial with Leah Day

Cabin Fever free motion quilting
Now we have lots of extra tip videos for you this month! I decided to test out Golden Threads paper and compare it to tissue paper as a method to mark the block from the surface of the quilt. We'll have a new tip video on this method coming out Wednesday.

Our feature quilting design for this month is Desert Sand so we'll have an extra quilting video coming out Friday so you can practice this beautiful design over the weekend.

And of course, our machine quilting video for Block #7 will be out next Monday, July 11th. Please remember you can always find ALL the videos for the Machine Quilting Block Party right here.

So make sure to check back often so you don't miss any of these fun, informative quilting tutorials this month!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 1, 2016

New Block Available for the Block Party!

Today is July 1st, which means a new block in the Machine Quilting Block Party is out!

So far we've pieced and quilted six fun and simple blocks and now that we've crossed the halfway point we're starting number seven - Cabin Fever.

With more than half the blocks released, this beautiful sampler quilt is starting to emerge. 

Yes, you still have time to join in this fun skill-building project!

The best way to get started is to pick up the pattern for block #1. I included a lot of extra tips and frequently asked questions in the first pattern to help you get started. Once you piece and quilt one block, you'll be ready to tackle any block in this Sunshine Surprise sampler!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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