The Free Motion Quilting Project: Collage Quilting 4 Designs - Sit Down Sunday #5

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Collage Quilting 4 Designs - Sit Down Sunday #5

Last week I shared a video about getting to know your longarm quilting machine and began quilting on a printed table runner quilt.

This week I'm continuing this quilting project with a new video on Collage Style Quilting. This style of quilting involves picking multiple quilting designs and stitching them with no rhyme or reason over your quilt. See what I mean in this new Sit Down Quilting Sunday video:

For this quilt I'm using a mix of four free motion quilting designs: Root Pockets, Fossil Snail, Brain Coral, and Concentric Circles. Each design has a very different texture so they all stand out nicely from one another on the quilt.

Another nice thing about this mix of designs is how Root Pockets and Fossil Snail easily expand to cover large spaces on the quilt while Concentric Circles and Brain Coral easily fill the smaller spaces.

While I quilted each design I was also getting to know my Grace Qnique 14+ a bit better. Surprisingly enough, there are directions this machine doesn't like to stitch in and that was something I wasn't expecting.

When I first started using a sit down longarm machine I thought that because the machine didn't have feed dogs it would be able to easily quilt in all directions universally.

Turns out a longarm machine can still have directions it doesn't like...or maybe it's the thread that's the persnickety element here. Either way, I noticed the thread would twist hard, then begin to skip with a noticeable puff to the left when the thread didn't connect.

Once I noticed this, I became vigilant about watching for skips or the thread acting weird in any way. While a good chunk of my attention is focused on my quilting design, I'm also watching the thread and stitch quality like a hawk and anytime things don't look just right, I know it's time to change direction and try quilting a different way.

I do think it's important to quilt a real quilt when getting to know your machine. I know I wouldn't have caught this subtle thread issue if I wasn't downright obsessed quilting this table runner with these designs.

On a practice sandwich I can break thread or skip stitches and I'll shrug and keep quilting. On a real quilt, I'm hyper aware of anything happening because I hate ripping stitches and having to hide thread tails.

So this week I have homework for you - pull out a real quilt, get it basted up, and give these four designs and collage quilting a try! It's a really fun quilting style and definitely something I plan to play with much more in the future.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. I love this Sunday videos. Something to look forward to every week. Thank you for sharing your talent.

  2. What beautiful designs to quilt! I like how they look together and yet stand out from each other. I love to watch your videos and quilting. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Leah, love your work! This is beautiful technique to creatively fill. You mentioned the machine not liking certain directions. I've rented time on an HQ16 sit down and ran into same problem; then I ran across Jamie Wallen's YouTube video on tensioning a longarm - I did not have a longarm but thought what the heck! Tried adjusting the bobbin case to the test he talked about and it worked! No more skipped stitches. I wondered if the speed and angles we have in FMQ on these big machines requires different thread tension? Or was it just coincidental? Don't know. Anyway sharing an idea.

  4. I have a bernina with a stitch regulator. I usually don't pay attention to the thread because I'm watching where my next turn will be. I have not had any problems with my thread but I really do appreciate you talking about what it might do. I enjoy your quilting every time and now that I have unlimited Internet I feel I can watch all your videos. Yea thanks leah

  5. It is so pleasant to watch you quilt, learn new patterns, and listen to your calm, soothing voice. It is like having my cake and eating it, too! I’ve put your print edition of 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs on my Christmas list for 2017! I think it will be the perfect reference book for me and it is a classic that all quilters should have in their libraries. Thanks so much for all the hard work you put into your design and teaching. You fill a huge need in the quilting community, offering a well thought out course for quilters of all experience levels. We are all better for you being here.

  6. This is stunning. I am learning so much from you. Fantastic teacher.


Help us create more quilting tutorials! Check out our quilt shop at