The Free Motion Quilting Project: April 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Quilting Intense Feathers on the Grace Qnique 14+

It's time to quilt some feathers! This week I pulled out the Dream Goddess quilt and I'm machine quilting the intense feathers in the sky section of the quilt. What are intense feathers? Check out this video to find out!

As you can see, this involves a lot of travel stitching and speed control. I've waited to get back to Dream Goddess for a few months just to be sure I could use the Grace Qnique 14+ and not stitch wildly out of control on this special quilt.

The great news is the stitches look terrific on the front and back of the quilt and I couldn't be more pleased with how this is turning out! Yes, this is intense and there is a lot of thread filling in the quilt. I wouldn't do this for just any project, but only special quilts like this one.

Click Here to learn more about Dream Goddess.

Now I hate to stitch and run, but I have a costume to finish up and a festival to attend! Wish me luck!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, April 28, 2017

Another Costuming Adventure!

Remember how I got my flower mask back from the Arts Council last week? I haven't had a chance to put her away because...well, where do you put something like this!?

So I've been seeing this mask hanging up every day in the living room and I began thinking about how fun it would be to wear it for a fun event. And my town just happens to have a very big Merry Go Round Festival coming up this weekend!

Do you see where I'm going with this?

So I began thinking about making a dress to match the mask. Something big and funky that would set off the mask, but also stand out by itself too. I was just letting ideas percolate and my copy of Designer Joi's Fashion Sewing Workshop arrived and inside was information I've been wanting to learn for 14 years: fabric draping.

Yes, 14 years! I first heard of fabric draping in garment design on the very first season of Project Runway which I watched in our tiny apartment before James was born, before I was a quilter, before Youtube even existed!

The chapter on draping was stellar and last weekend I draped my first v-neck tank top shirt, created a pattern, and stitched it up in one day and created the best fitting shirt I've ever owned:

I'm so so so pleased with the results! I draped this directly onto Lucy, my dress form, which I modified a few years ago to fit me exactly. Thankfully I'm still the same size so I was able to pin directly into the duct tape to create the design.

Of course, creating the best fitting top in my life was a huge confidence booster. So much so that I decided to take on something a bit bigger...

I made a hoop skirt! I found a very simple tutorial to follow and created this from inexpensive irrigation tubing and leftover ribbon I had around the house.

But you can't just make a hoop skirt. You also have to make a petticoat. So that's in progress today and since I'm under a huge time crunch to have this ready to wear by Saturday (as in tomorrow!) Dad is getting to know the Bernina Ruffler foot while I'm stitching the tulle on the fabric as fast as I can.

I still need to cut and gather the dress itself so cross your fingers we're able to pull this off in time!

Let's go quilt (or sew a crazy huge costume!)

Leah Day

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mega Pinwheel Star Free Quilt Pattern

It's Quilty Box time! This month's box arrived and it was filled with great quilting supplies and beautiful fabrics designed by Jennifer Moore.

Each month I challenge myself to use the fabrics in my Quilty Box to make a new quilt and write the pattern to share with you - all just in a few days! Click Here to learn about Quilty Box so you can join in the fun too.

This month I had an additional challenge: A quilter named Cathy wrote in asking if we could make the Twin Rainbow Star quilt pattern a bit bigger using fat quarters. I decided to see if it would work and that's how I created this Mega Pinwheel Star Quilt:

Click Here to find the Mega Pinwheel Star free quilt pattern.

I love making a quilt out of one single block! It's so fast because you just have to cut one set of shapes. The impact of single block quilts is also very dramatic because you just have the single shape and focal point to the quilt.

Do take your time piecing the massive half square triangles! The key to piecing these big shapes is to pin and stitch carefully so the fabrics don't shift.

What do you think of single block quilts? Do you like making mega half square triangles? What's the biggest block you've ever made? Share your experience in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, April 23, 2017

How to Quilt with Minky Fabric

This week I've been playing with Minky fabric on the back of several quilt sandwiches and I love the effect. Learn how to quilt with Minky fabric and machine quilt Paisley in this new Sit Down Quilting Sunday video:

Quilting with Minky Fabric BackingThoughts on Quilting with Minky Fabric

I really enjoyed quilting with Minky fabric. Honestly it was a lot easier than I expected. I've been intimidated by Minky for years, but once I got it basted up it really wasn't hard to quilt over.

The hardest part was cutting the Minky fabric which made a huge mess! At the store, the clerk cut it and ended up with red fluff all over her shirt, the table, and the floor. I felt bad because I had no idea Minky was such a messy fabric to cut.

I shoved it deep in a plastic bag and warned Dad that it was going to be a big mess so we were both prepared. We ended up cutting it with masking tape and that significantly reduced the mess.

Quilting with Minky Fabric Backing

We taped off the area we wanted cut out, then cut through the middle of the tape, then removed the tape and it took all the cut ends of the Minky with it. I did have to lint roll the tables and my shirt a few times, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the mess it made in the store.

To stabilize or not to stabilize

I do think stabilizing with some sort of lightweight stabilizer like French Fuse is a good idea. Minky is a stretchy fabric and the French Fuse stabilized the fabric and stopped it from stretching out of shape as I basted all my blocks.

When I quilted with fleece, a lot of quilters commented that they didn't stabilize at all. That's fine too! Keep in mind that I tend to quilt densely and whenever I've used weird fabrics in a quilt, I've always regretted not stabilizing.

I also do like using a batting with Minky fabric. I found on the sample I stitched without a batting, the Minky fluff tended to pull up through the fabric and show on the top. I also liked the drape and feel of the quilt best when fleece was the batting in the middle.

Best Quilting Designs for Minky Fabric

The other thing to consider when quilting with Minky is your quilting design and how that will effect the fluffiness of this fabric. I tested three designs on my practice quilt sandwiches: Stippling, Echoing lines, and Paisley.

Quilting with Minky Fabric Backing

On the front, the designs all look great, but on the back...honestly Paisley is my least favorite. That design has a lot of travel stitching which built up over the Minky fabric and showed up through the fluffy pile.

After looking at all of my samples I didn't really like this thread effect on the back of the quilt. I would stick with open designs that don't involve any travel stitching like Stippling, Matrix, and Ocean Currents.

What do you think about quilting with Minky fabric? Have you ever backed a quilt with Minky? Please share your experience in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Art Openings Aren't My Thing

A few months ago I shared a new flower mask I was creating for a local wearable art fashion show. The fashion show happened a few weeks ago and yesterday I picked up my mask from the art council.

Now that the event is over, I've been mulling over my experience and what I learned along the way. Here's a few of the lessons I picked up:

1. What you're afraid of will likely not happen.

While building the flower mask I was initially worried that someone would be rude and criticize it for being made from plastic flowers and hot glued together.

Turns out that fear was pretty silly. No one was rude about my mask or the plastic flowers. It was a pretty popular creation and everyone seemed to enjoy it. It even made the front page of the local paper the next day!

From the Shelby Star newspaper
2. Other things you never considered will bug you.

Even though my fears didn't come true, that doesn't mean the event was perfect. For one thing, I've never seen anyone else wear my masks or costumes before and that...was weird. Weird like someone else wearing your underwear weird. No matter how hard you try to feel cool with it, that just doesn't seem right.

So that was an odd experience and eventually I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that not having control over how my masks were worn or shown was okay. It was out of my control.

Next time I will solve this problem by offering to be a model of my own stuff. I think if I was part of the fashion show I would have enjoyed the event more.

3. Art openings aren't my thing.

I give things three tries before declaring I officially love or hate it. Now I can safely say I art openings aren't my thing.

For one thing, I stopped drinking in January. Only after quitting did I realize what a crutch it was for situations like this. Feeling uncomfortable and awkward? Just go grab a glass of wine...or three.

Now situations like this literally make my skin crawl. The pressure to drink to fit in coupled with the very awkward conversations wasn't a good combination. I ended up leaving after a short time and felt much better drinking tea at home and planning my next mask project.

Ultimately I learned that I love creating masks, but I don't love talking about it to random strangers. That's okay. I don't think art openings are for everyone.

Figure out how to make it fit

Just because I don't like the opening event doesn't mean I shouldn't participate at all. I plan to continue making masks and costumes and art and keep entering them in shows because it's fun and I enjoy the challenge of making things other than quilts.

As with all things, the ultimate lesson is to figure out how to make it work for you. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all and we all have to find the path that fits just right.

That might be different from what others consider normal. That's okay. If I've learned anything in the last few years it's to just be myself and stop questioning my nature. 

So often I'll discount an experience like this as "I wasn't feeling well." or "That was different, this time will be great!" when the reality is every single art opening I've ever attended, even when my art wasn't present, has been an awkward, uncomfortable experience.

The next time I enter a piece of art, the day I drop it off will be the day I release it to be enjoyed by my town. Then I'll go home and start working on something new.

That's the best fit for me. Now, what would be the best fit for you?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Podcast: Quilting Superwoman Jackie Kunkel

Hello My Quilting Friends! This week I'm getting to know Jackie Kunkel, an amazing quilter who runs an online business at Canton Village Quilt Works

Jackie also writes books and patterns, teaches online classes, and is a certified Judy Neimeyer teacher. She is truly a quilting Superwoman and I hope you enjoy learning more about Jackie!

Now for a few links from Jackie's interview:

Click Here to find Jackie's website Canton Village Quilt Works. 

Jackie began longarm quilting in 2000 because it allowed her to work from home and fit her hours around her kid's schedule.

She has changed her business over the years - creating a website, selling products online, and writing magazine articles. Jackie believes in remaining flexible so her business can grow and change as the quilting industry changes.

Jackie is also discussed how she became a certified Judy Neimeyer teacher. She was a huge fan of Judy's quilts and found being certified to be helpful in teaching classes.

Jackie is also a big fan of batik fabrics and has a signature collection with Kathy Engel for Island Batik fabrics. She is working on a designer collection for Fall 2018.

We discussed lead times which can be really challenging with many fabric companies. Many companies will deliver the fabric to create quilts for Quilt Market only 1 month before market. Island Batik is one of the best companies to work for because they deliver the fabric much earlier than average.

Jackie keeps everything balanced by writing everything on a calendar and making sure she has big blocks of time open for designing and creating. She can't create while traveling and teaching, so she stays really organized with clear goals while she's home.

Jackie's doesn't say no to teaching opportunities, she tries to find a compromise or another time further in the future if a particular time is too busy.

Being in business since 2000, Jackie has seen the quilting industry change quite a lot in the last 17 years. The fabrics and quilting have both dramatically changed. When she began, hand quilting was the only form of quilting considered "real quilting" and that has changed dramatically in the last 10 years.

Jackie believes if you want to stay in business, you need to constantly rethink yourself and evolve. If you can't do that, you're not going to survive. Things are constantly changing and you have to remain flexible and excited about changing.

I loved learning from Jackie's experience and I hope you did too!

The sponsor for this week's show is the Waterfall Bargello Workshop where you'll learn how to piece this complex looking Bargello quilt using easy strip piecing techniques.

You'll also learn how to quilt this wall hanging with a combination of walking foot quilting and free motion quilting designs.

Last week I received this beautiful photo from Maggie with her Waterfall Bargello quilt in rainbow colors. This was so cheerful - absolutely the perfect quilt for spring!

Click Here to find the Waterfall Bargello Workshop.

And a few updates from my neck of the woods:

I've moved the podcast to Wednesday again to see if this will help free up my weekends so I can enjoy more time with Josh and James. I found posting on Saturday was resulting in a lot of time online because once I get sucked into the computer, I get kind of stuck.

So be looking for new podcast episodes every other Wednesday! Click Here to find all the podcast episodes shared so far.

The podcast is also on YouTube. Josh has been turning the audio clips into video clips with the podcast artwork. So if you prefer to find us on Youtube, you can always subscribe to our channel and get notified anytime a new video goes live.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

My Newest Quilting Friend

Yep, I have a new quilting friend that's a bit on the furry side!

This is Pickles, our super sweet new kitty. We rescued her a few weeks ago and now she's starting to settle in and her personality is coming out strong.

And...she's a bit of a whiner. Or I should say yowler. When she's not happy (which is anytime she's not being attentively petted or brushed) she meows with ever increasing volume until you just give in and give her what she wants.

What does she want lately? To hang out in the Crafty Cottage with me as I quilt!

The good news is once she thoroughly sniffed both above and below my desk, she found herself a spot under my chair and curled up to take a long nap:

I've never let a cat into the Crafty Cottage before and I hope it works out and she can start quilting with me every day. It's fun to have a companion and I'd rather share the space with her than listen to her meow right outside my door.

Speaking of quilting, I'm super happy to be back to making videos after nearly three weeks of remodeling and cleaning the house! I have a really fun quilt planned using the beautiful fabrics in this month's Quilty Box. Be looking for the video coming out Monday.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

I hope you have a wonderful Easter holiday filled with family, friends, and many chocolate eggs!

We had a fabulous time hosting a big family meal, scavenger hunt for baskets, and massive hunt for Easter eggs. I've never held such a big event at our house, and now that I have, I can't wait to do more.

But I have to admit two weeks of remodeling plus another week of cleaning has definitely wiped me out!

Be looking for our next Sit Down Quilting Sunday next week (4/23) and the Quilty Box project the next Monday (4/24). I have a really fun quilt planned that I'm sure you're going to love!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

P.S Of course we had to shoot a silly photo too!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Stop with the Crazy!

We've finally finished the last leg of the remodel - moving furniture around the house! I still need to hang some quilts and paintings, but this will do for now:

We also moved this cabinet downstairs next to my computer and I took the opportunity to clean and clear my desk. This is the cleanest it's looked in years!

I should have taken a "before" photo but I didn't think of it. Imagine plastic boxes piled up on the top shelf of the black desk right up to the ceiling. Each box was filled with designs, sketches, ideas, and diagrams. Basically if I wrote something down on a piece of paper and thought it was important, I saved it.

Yep, that's just nuts.

The issue with all this stuff is it's just that - stuff. I don't actually use it. I never went through these boxes searching for a missing design. I kept it mostly out of fear that one day I will run out of ideas and all these papers and drawings will somehow bring it all back.

I've also collected binders, clipboards, and plastic boxes:

Why so much of all of these things?

Typically I buy like this when I think I've stumbled across the perfect solution to organize my life and sort through all the stuff that's surrounding me and making me feel crazy. So I buy more stuff to fix a problem caused by having too much stuff.

Yeah...that makes a lot of sense Leah...

When I see these piles of stuff, I feel like a hoarder. That is definitely something I do not WANT to be, but I know the urge to save and stash is definitely in my DNA.

I can remember when I bought a particular bead or a bag of wool fiber on a fun trip. I can remember when I drew that design or planned that quilt.

These memories make me feel more connected to my stuff, but they also make it very hard to throw things away. What happens if I suddenly want that collection of fabric marbling supplies I bought at a show three years ago?

Many times I'll go through a purging rampage and toss tons of stuff out of my studio. Then in a few months I find myself searching for that stupid box of precut wool felt circles that I had in a drawer for five years and I CAN'T BELIEVE I THREW IT AWAY! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!!!

Um...yep, that sounds like me...

I want to get a handle on this. Going through my design boxes I realized I'm still drawing the same designs I was drawing four years ago. Why haven't I just made that quilt already?! Why haven't I taught that set of designs? Why haven't I shared that idea?

When I really think about it, it always comes back to time. I don't feel like I have enough time to do the things I want to do. I buy more stuff because it scratches the itch, but more stuff, and more stuff to organize the stuff, doesn't actually satisfy.

What I need is dedicated time to create. The original goal of my business was to have time to quilt every day. If my business isn't fulfilling that basic goal, it's a failure.

This might sound harsh, but sometimes being harsh is necessary to make change happen. Instead of buying more craft stuff on my next trip, I need to bring some craft stuff with me and do something fun with it. My vacation should be playing with the things I've bought and making something new and pretty with all of these materials.

My goal this year was to simplify and make my life easier. I have a tendency to get bogged down and to let things pile up until it's too overwhelming and crazy to deal with. Instead of letting it get that far out of control, I need to keep things under control every day.

So my starting goal? Just keep my desk clean.

Simple. Easy. Doable. Just keep your desk clean, girl!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, April 10, 2017

How to Quilt a Daisy Dresden Plate Block

It feels like the whole world is blooming with beautiful flowers this week! Let's add more pretty flowers to the mix as we quilt our Daisy Dresden Plate block:

I spiced up the center of my Daisy Dresden Plate by adding Microstippling in the center circle and space between the middle rings. I love finding spaces like that within a block to stitch it up a notch. See what I mean in this new video:

What did you think of quilting circles with a ruler foot and circular rulers? I do find this a bit challenging, particularly when the ruler is on the outside and I'm quilting the circle to the inside like it was in the beginning of this video. 

I prefer to quilt with the ruler to the inside of the foot so I can swing the block around it and then remove the ruler easily to quilt inside of the shape. Definitely give it a try and let me know which way you like best!

My favorite part of this block is the bouncy echoes in the background. I love adding simple texture in the background of a block and rows of repeated echoes always have a relaxing effect on a quilt.

What is your favorite part of this block? Do you have any questions on quilting it this week? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Josh is Quilting on the Grace Qnique 14+

Last week I tried quilting with fleece fabric on the back of my quilt and I received a lot of questions about working with this fabric. I decided to try it again, this time without stabilizing with French Fuse and with a wool batting to see what would happen.

And because I had a really sore throat, I asked Josh to jump on the machine and see what it was like from a beginner perspective. So here's Josh quilting a super simple design called Teeth:

Josh quilted with me through 42 videos in the Building Blocks Quilt Along, but really hasn't done much quilting since. This was the first time he's ever quilted on this machine and I think he did great!

Yes, there is a lot of speed in the Grace Qnique 14+ and I trolled Josh a bit at the end by telling him to press the foot pedal harder. As you can see, his quilting looked pretty good for the first two rows, but when he sped up, his Teeth got really sloppy because he wasn't ready to handle the high speed, plus moving the quilt, plus forming the Teeth design: 

On quilting with fleece without stabilizer, yes, you can skip that step. My default is to stabilize anything weird, but in this case I think you can quilt without the stabilizer and be okay.

It does make the quilt more challenging to baste, but you could get around this by basting on a longarm (on a frame) with water soluble thread and avoid having to tape the quilt to a table, or spray baste outside.

I've really enjoyed playing with this fabric and next week I plan to quilt with Minky fabric! This is even softer, squishier fabric that will be delightful on the back of a quilt.

I can already tell you what is not delightful about Minky fabric - cutting it! More on that next week...

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Quilting Super Spiral Collaboration with Helen Stubbings

It's time for another collaboration video! This month Helen Stubblings from Hugs n' Kisses sent me this cute red and white star block!

So how do I quilt it? There's a lot of little pieces with this block and certainly many ways you could creatively add extra texture to the quilt surface. The best way to pick your quilting design is to shoot a picture of the quilt or block and print out copies of the picture on plain paper. Then you can draw your quilting ideas on the paper and figure out what you like best.

Personally I was looking for an excuse to jump back into walking foot quilting so I already had that style of quilting in my head. When looking at the block, I really liked how round the border around the star appeared and I wanted to accent that with circles or a spiral. Super Spiral is a bit faster and easier to quilt than Concentric Circles so that seemed like the perfect design for this quilt.

Learn how to quilt Super Spiral with your walking foot in this new video tutorial:

To get started on the right foot, mark the first few rings of the spiral shape on your quilt with a fabric marking pencil.

I marked this from the center, and estimated around 1/2 inch between the lines of the spiral so that as I worked further out from the center I could use the edge of my walking foot as a guide for the rest of the design.

When you begin stitching, take one stitch at a time, lift your foot and rotate the quilt very slightly. You'll want to avoid big rotations as this will make your spiral look jagged.

It's definitely a bit tedious to begin, but once you get further out from the center the curve of the circle will be bigger so you can stitch and rotate the quilt at the same time.

As I mentioned in the video, the center of Super Spiral is easier to quilt with free motion quilting because you can see the entire spiral and form the design without having to rotate the quilt. If you like you could knock out the center of the spiral with free motion quilting, then break thread and change feet and finish the outer section with walking foot quilting.

Quilting a Super Spiral like this over your quilt is called All Over Style Quilting. It's a method of covering your quilt with one single design and ignoring the piecing or applique design.

This style of quilting is fast and doesn't require a lot of thought or decision making during the quilting process. This is really important if you're needing to finish a project quickly and easily.

The downside of All Over Quilting with Super Spiral is how it overlaps your piecing design. This might not be the effect you're going for on your quilt, especially if it took a long time to piece.

What do you think of this design on Helen's quilt? Would you have quilted it differently? Share your thoughts and any questions you have about Super Spiral or All Over Quilting in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, April 3, 2017

How to Piece a Daisy Dresden Plate Quilt Block

It's time to piece our fourth block for the Machine Quilting Block Party and this month it's a Daisy Dresden Plate!

In this quilting tutorial you'll learn how to turn the edges of the curved petal shapes, piece the twelve petals together, and machine applique the Dresden Plate to your block background. Make sure to watch the entire video tutorial to find all the tips on making this block:

Click Here to find the quilt pattern for Block #4.

The only tricky thing about this pattern is making sure your templates are printed the right size. You can find the petal cutting and turning template on page 6 of the pattern and make sure to measure the 1-inch square on the page so you're sure the templates print correctly. Some printers can do funky things like add borders and automatically shrink the page so watch out for that!

This time I decided to stitch the Dresden Plate down to the block background with a blanket stitch with contrasting white thread. This made it stand out quite a bit on the quilt surface.

You can also use a straight stitch and match the thread color with the fabric color like we did with Block 2, the Pointy Eight Dresden Plate.

You can also hand applique the Dresden Plate petals and center circle too. Click Here to find a tutorial on hand applique. Always remember there are multiple ways to tackle any technique and never a single way to do anything in quilting. It's good to try a lot of techniques to find the one you like best!

Speaking of techniques, we'll be trying lots of fun quilting designs with this block next week. I used circular rulers to quilt the center circles in my block, then added Microstippling just for fun. You'll also learn how to quilt feathers, arches, and easy bouncy echoes too.

Be looking for the quilting video for this block coming out next Monday. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below and I'll be sure to help!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, April 2, 2017

How to Quilt with Fleece - Sit Down Quilting #10

Time for a quick Sit Down Quilting video! Last week I was in Hobby Lobby and I saw they had a huge stock of fleece fabric in really pretty colors and designs. It got me wondering how it works to quilt with fleece as your backing fabric. So I bought a few yards and gave it a go!

What's up with the French Fuse?

Whenever I work with a weird fabric, I always stabilize it first. French Fuse is my preferred stabilizer because it's lightweight, fuses easily, and you absolutely can't tell it's in the quilt after it's quilted. Click Here to find French Fuse.

Dad and I found the best way to fuse the French Fuse to fleece was to crank my iron up to high and use a cotton pressing cloth (spare ugly fat quarter laying around) on top of the French Fuse. You need to press slowly over the fabric to ensure a good fuse of the interfacing to the fleece.

Is step this really necessary?

I think so. When basting a quilt, I always like to pull the backing nice and tight to the table top. Fleece is naturally stretchy and if I didn't stabilize it with French Fuse, it would stretch way out of control during basting.

Then if I layered the batting and quilt top on top and stuck pins through it, more than likely when I removed the tape the fleece would retract back into it's normal shape, causing my quilt top and batting to go crazy.

I think the better move is to stabilize! The flatter and less stretchy a fabric is, the easier it will be to quilt.

Two Layers or Three?

This was an interesting part of my experiment. I wanted to know if you could skip the batting on a fleece backed quilt and just have the quilt top and fleece. It would be very lightweight and a nice throw blanket for the couch or possibly a good choice for quilted garments.

Well ultimately I found it's definitely possible to quilt with only two layers: fleece and quilt, but you're going to have a different texture to your quilt.

You know that crinkly texture you get when you don't prewash your fabric and you use a 100% cotton batting that shrinks? This finish is a bit more intense than that. It's super crinkle!

When Dad and I compared the two finishes, we both agreed the quilting stitches looked just as nice on both squares, and he really liked the crinkly feeling. It also hides your quilting design a bit on the surface because the stitches sink further into the fabric.

Personally I like a very flat finish to my quilts so the quilting design shows up nicely on the surface so I liked the square that had thin batting in the middle.

One thing I noticed on both samples is how the individual quilting stitches are almost completely invisible on the fleece side. The fuzzy loft of the fleece completely covers the stitches so you can't see subtle variation in size of your stitches, just the texture the lines create:

So fleece would be a great choice for your backing fabric if you're still struggling to maintain a consistent stitch length for free motion quilting. It's nice to be able to hide the stitches, but not the texture of the design you've stitched.

Ultimately I found this to be a really fun test and I can't wait to try quilting an entire fleece backed quilt. What do you think? Have you ever quilted with fleece as your backing fabric? What do you think of using materials like this in your quilts?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Podcast: Designing Textiles with Leah Kabaker

Hello My Quilting Friends! I have a great interview for you today with Leah Kabaker. Click Here to find her blog No Idle Hands Here. Leah is a hobby quilter, artist, and former textile designer from California. She has a fascinating perspective on so many things and I hope you enjoy our interview today!

Leah has been a member of the San Fernando Valley Quilters Association. She worked for a converter fabric company in LA that converted gray goods to finished fabrics. She would work with designers and design fabrics herself to reduce the colors in the artwork and create repeats so it would print continuously.

We also discuss the huge amount of printed fabrics being produced for quilting and how design groups like Cotton + Steel have worked well because they have marketed themselves successfully. According to Leah, most quilting prints are designed in 6 weeks and when they're sold out, they're out. So you have to work fast and have an eye for trends far in advance.

Don't forget you can find all the podcast episodes in one place at!

Now for a few updates around the house:

Today is also the first day of the month so we have a new block ready for you today! Click Here to find the new pattern.

I'm really looking forward to teaching you how to piece these curved petal shapes for this Daisy Dresden Plate. I also used rulers to quilt the center circles which was a fun challenge. Be looking forward to those new videos on the first and second Monday of the month.

I'm still dragging through this home renovation. You can read more about it here. The last two days have felt very slow because the painting process is so time consuming, but yesterday we got the hall finished!

This took forever to paint because of the trim around the five doors. I don't ever want to paint this hall myself again. It's so fiddly!

The living room hasn't made much progress in the last two days because the new paneling we nailed up didn't like being painted. The first layer of paint just slid right off the slippery surface. We tested a few different things and ultimately found the slick design printed on the boards needed to be sanded down, then primed with a high bonding primer.

I'm determined to finish this and clean everything up by Sunday. I just can't take any more days with the house so messed up.

Doing all this work has reminded me how much I love to quilt and make videos. While I've been painting I've been planning new video series in my head so I hope when I'm done it will be super fast and easy to create.

But I have a big mess to clean up first. Wish me luck!

Let's go quilt (or sand and paint a wall. I think you know which we would all prefer!)

Leah Day

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