The Free Motion Quilting Project: November 2017

Thursday, November 30, 2017

New QAYG Experiments

QAYG is short for quilt-as-you-go, the quilting term we use for connecting quilted blocks together. I've been playing around with machine embroidery this week and decided it was also time to experiment with some new quilt-as-you-go methods.

I'm giving myself permission to play and not worry about turning these into real finished projects. I've played around with these quilt-as-you-go techniques before, but never really gave them a chance.

Either I'm very practical or super lazy because once I found my favorite quilt-as-you-go method, I pretty much stuck with that ever since. But I've gotten a lot of requests lately for more techniques, specifically for connecting blocks together without binding.

I'm also trying to come up with methods that require less...precision. That's kinda tricky since cutting and piecing accurately is a cornerstone of quilting, but stitching a quilted project together makes that a lot more challenging.

Quilting shrinks the quilt, sometimes in inconsistent ways that make trimming down the edges a real chore. Dad and I were comparing methods yesterday and no matter what we did, the results were always a bit squishy. Mostly because the quilt squares were squishy! LOL!

So I'm hoping to figure out some new QAYG methods to share with you soon along with a new embroidery collection with the designs in the pictures above. A faster connection method will definitely come in handy if we want to make something in time for Christmas!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Highs and Lows of Business Transformation with Stephanie Soebbing, Episode #37

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I'm chatting with Stephanie Soebbing once again about the amazing transformation her business has undergone in the past eight months. Listen to this new episode right here:

You can also watch the episode and watch me whipping up Zuchini Ravioli in the introduction here:

Click Here to find Quilt Addicts Anonymous, Stephanie's website. Stephanie recently expanded to create a full scale quilt shop which is open five days a week and carries a wide range of beautiful fabrics.

Stephanie was a bit tired during this interview because she just got back from fall quilt market. She drove to Texas, set up a booth, then drove back home and had to immediately get back to work in her quilt shop. Talk about exhausting!

She also had a lot to share about her business transformation, the hardest part being a terrible mistake her accountant made with filing papers for her business and incorporation. I completely agree with Stephanie - paying for the excellent help of a bookkeeper and tax accountant is worth the money. As soon as you can afford to take those tasks off your back, do it!

Stephanie loves using data to help her make decisions in her business. Her earlier podcast episode was about using Google Analytics to track your income.

She and her husband signed a 2 1/2 year lease on the building she's renting for her quilt shop. In 2018, she will be able to calculate the profit of her online business, wholesale sector, and brick and mortar quilt shop and decide if keeping the physical store is worth it.

Opening the storefront requires much longer hours, plus several employees. Stephanie mentioned in the podcast her worry that her shop is just a pretty warehouse - meaning it's mostly a holding space for fabrics and merchandise that are selling more online.

No matter which way you slice it, running a quilt shop is a lot of work so make sure to support your local quilt shops during the holiday season!

Now for a few updates around the house....

You have just two more days to preorder a copy of Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day. This book comes with seven fun quilt patterns you can piece and machine quilt with the thirty walking foot designs shared in the book.

Three of the quilts from the book will be our projects for the 2018 Machine Quilting Party! Click Here to check out the schedule and materials lists.

This book was an awesome experience to write  and I challenged myself to learn photography for this project so we could include dozens of in-progress photos so you can see the real quilts on the machine. I'm so pleased it's finished and ready for you to learn more about this wonderful form of machine quilting.

Click Here to preorder the print edition which will begin shipping out on December 1st.

Click Here to preorder the ebook edition which will email out on December 1st.

During the introduction I was making Zucchini Ravioli, one of my favorite dinners when we have leftover spaghetti sauce to use up. Here's the recipe:


Zucchini Ravioli

2 Large zucchini
2 c. Ricotta cheese
1/2 c. Finely grated parmesan cheese
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. Fresh mint or basil leaves, finely sliced into ribbons
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 c. Spaghetti sauce
1 c. shredded mozzarella


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Peel the zucchini. Next cut ribbons: position the peeler at the top of one side of the zucchini and pull down to create a long, thin ribbon of zucchini. Repeat peeling layers of zucchini until you reach the seeds.

Rotate the zucchini and slice it into ribbons along the other side. Aim to cut steadily and slowly so you end up with a long slice of zucchini. Repeat with all sides of each zucchini so you have a nice stack of zucchini ribbons.

Mix up the ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, mint or basil, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Arrange two zucchini ribbons vertically together on a plate. Arrange two zucchini ribbons horizontally center on top. Place a scoop (around 2 tablespoons) of the cheese mixture in the middle of the zucchini. Fold the top and bottom zucchini strips to cover the cheese, then the side strips to fully encase the cheese.

Set the ravioli in a buttered dish. Top with the spaghetti sauce and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the whole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and lightly brown on the edges.

I would have taken a nice picture of it, but it's really not a very glamorous dish. By the time I thought about it, we'd already dug in and made a mess of the pretty ravioli. Oh well!

Let me know if you liked seeing me cooking or you found it too loud for the audio. So far I've found spinning and hand stitching to be the quietest things for me to do while filming the introduction, but it's fun to mix it up.

Now a few links to things I mentioned in the intro:

Click Here to find my longarm quilting video when I moved the Grace Qnique to a quilting frame. I'm really excited about quilting on this machine on a frame and sharing the learning process. We're still working on getting the cameras set up so we get good shots of both the designs and my arms moving.

Yes, I will continue to make videos quilting on a home machine!

Click Here to find the curved seam piecing tutorial for this month's Quilty Box. You'll learn how to piece the Soft Edges Quilt really quickly and easily and learn a super fast way to piece curves with glue basting.

I got a great email from Colleen from Canada and here's the picture she sent me:

Yep, lots of Leah Days in the world and I'm happy to see we have a wide range of skills! LOL!

I love hearing from you so please share a picture of what you're working on as you listen to the Hello My Quilting Friends podcast on Instagram and tag me @LeahDayQuilting so I get to see it!

Whew! That's it for this week! I'll be back with another quilting debate next week - polyester or cotton thread?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cylindrical Piecing? Adventures in Quilting Upholstery

Yesterday I shared a tutorial on curved seam piecing and it must have gone to my head! For some reason I thought it would be a snap to piece a quilted slipcover for this cylindrical foam footstool: This is like curved seam piecing on crack. Plus it needs a zipper so I can occasionally (never) take the cover off the wash it (ha ha, yeah right!) or just to change out covers for different seasons (that's more like it).

At least my first try ended up being too big rather than too small:

Too big is better because I can slip this back off and take a rotary cutter to it and try again without having the cut it out all over again.

So that's what's on my table and machine today! How about you? Made any awesome mistakes today? Epic disasters? That's all part of the fun!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, November 27, 2017

Curved Seam Piecing Tutorial - Soft Edges Quilt Pattern

It's Quilty Box time! I have a new quilting tutorial for you today with tips on piecing curved seams. Do curved seams give you heart palpitations? They're really not that hard so long as you use a well-designed template to cut the curve and glue to stick that sucker in place and show em' who's boss!

Learn how to piece perfect soft curves in this new Soft Edges Quilt Tutorial:

Click Here to find the free quilt pattern for the Soft Edges Quilt.

Curved Seam Piecing Tutorial
Do you like my squooshing and mooshing technique? Seriously high tech! LOL!

I can definitely see many ways to mix up this technique and use to curve the corners of rectangles, play with placement and spacing and make a lot of different quilt designs. My goal this month was to give you a very simple pattern with a handful of curved seams so it wouldn't be too overwhelming. I think the Soft Edges Quilt fit the bill!

Ad - Latifa Saafir has also created an 8 inch and 12 inch version of the Clammy template which will create an even larger, softer curve through those corners. The bigger the circle shape you cut, the easier it will be to fit and piece the seam because your fabric will have more space to ease together.

Make sure to check out Latifa's website here to learn more about her modern fabrics and cool templates!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Moving the Grace Qnique to a Frame!

It's finally time to share a new video on the Grace Qnique 14+! Early this month I moved my sit down longarm machine to it's new home on the Grace Continuum Frame. I shot timelapse videos throughout the build so you could see how this changed my basement sewing room:

Click Here to learn more about the Grace Qnique 14+. Currently Grace Company is offering a terrific sale on these machines, but make sure to call the company and mention Leah Day said Hello My Quilting Friends in order to get bonus accessories with your order!

Initial Feelings about Longarm Quilting on a Frame

I couldn't be happier with this machine set up on the Continuum Frame. It's so easy and fast to move the machine and far less effort on my shoulders to move the machine rather than a quilt.

I originally set up the frame low, but after watching Jamie Wallen's video on Longarm Machine Height, we adjusted the legs to the highest setting. I can clearly see what I'm quilting and all around the needle and my shoulders and back are staying straight instead of hunched forward.

As I said in the video, I feel a bit silly for not making this change sooner. It's not that quilting on a home machine is so much harder. I've been quilting on a home machine for years and I still love it and think it's a great way to quilt your quilts. I wouldn't have created so many designs or spent so many years teaching this method of quilting if I didn't think it was awesome.

But longarm quilting on a frame scratches an itch for speed I didn't know I had until this machine was set up in my basement. I can quilt faster, with big open designs that get the job done quickly. This isn't glamorous show-style quilting, but it is adding texture, simple designs, and getting the project finished so it can be used and enjoyed.

I knew longarm quilting would be faster because I've rented time on a longarm at a local quilt shop. But there's a difference between showing up once every few months to use a machine and actually having it in your basement. I can slip into the room first thing in the morning, click on the machine and quilt half a quilt in half an hour. I can jump back on the machine after watching a show with James and Josh in the evening.

Lately I've been eyeing the stack of Quilty Box quilt tops and wondering just how many I could quilt in a day, or a week. Because now it's no longer a question of when that quilt will be done, it's a question of what do I want to finish next?

The Frame Quilting Experience

Longarm quilting on the frame does feel very different from quilting on my home machines or the Grace Qnique when it was a sit down / table mounted machine.

I spent a few days after we set up the frame trying to put my finger on the difference in feel and flow from these two styles of quilting. What I ultimately realized is quilting on a frame just feels lighter and faster. I'm standing up, moving my body and arms with the machine, and with very little effort I'm stitching a 5 inch path of Zippling from edge to edge across a quilt.

That same 5-inch section would have taken a lot more time on a home machine because of all the shifting, scrunching, bunching, and smooshing required to fit the quilt through the arm of the machine.

It's also faster because I can run the machine as fast as I can think of the design. I've been critical of stitch regulators for years because on a home machine, they tend to be clunky and can limit the speed you can stitch.

With the machine on the frame, I'm regularly running the machine at full speed and the stitch regulator keeps the needle bouncing up and down to produce perfectly spaced stitches. It's easier for the stitch regulator to work because it's just the machine moving over the quilt.

There are little encoders attached near the wheels of the carriage which keep track of how fast you're moving and adjust immediately when you change speed. I found I liked the Cruise setting best and usually set my stitch length to 16 stitches per inch, which looks almost identical to the quilting stitches I make without a regulator on my home machine.

As for the best designs to get started with, I'll have more videos on that coming very soon. I have found my understanding of quilting filler designs and how to use them has translated perfectly over to longarm quilting on the frame. 

If you know how to quilt a design by heart on your home machine, you'll also know how to quilt it on the longarm. That doesn't mean it will look perfect, but you will still understand how it's stitched!

But What About Your Home Machines?

Of course this is the point where lots of quilters are going to start pointing fingers. But you've said for YEARS home machine quilting is just as good? Weren't you the girl that wrote 7 Reasons Why I Don't Want or Need a Longarm?

Yes, and Yes.

Most of the reasons I listed in that post were about money and at the time I didn't feel like the juice was worth the squeeze.

I also wrote that post more than 6 years ago and the machines and prices have changed a lot. The cost of larger, higher end sewing machines have also increased rapidly. Yes, you can get a home machine with a 11 inch harp space and all the bells and whistles, but it will cost more than the Grace Qnique!

So prices have changed to the point that a small longarm machine on a small frame no longer requires you to go into business. It's still a chunk of change to shell out all at once, but so are the larger home sewing machines.

It's time to think about what you want out of your machine and what you plan to do with it most so you get the most bang for your buck.

And NO, I'm not switching full time to quilting on a longarm! I will still be making videos, quilting workshops, and books on quilting on my home machines!

Next year we're going to quilt along with walking foot quilting, a quilting style you can only do on a home machine. Click Here to check out the schedule and materials lists for the three quilts we'll be making together.

I do want to share videos on quilting on the longarm and I've been thinking a lot about how to incorporate them into our weekly schedule. What I'm considering right now is to combine our weekly new design video so we quilt half of the design on a home machine, then switch to the longarm and see how it works there.

It will be cool to see how the designs are quilted on two different machines, plus helpful to see which style of quilting is easier for particular designs. I know already that travel stitching and hitting exact points will be much harder on the longarm than it is on my home machine.

So that's what I'm thinking about right now. Please let me know what you think of this new video series idea and any other suggestions for new videos quilting on the longarm frame. I hope you're as excited about this new quilting adventure as I am!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy and Grateful Thanksgiving Days

Ah! I find something so relaxing about the day after Thanksgiving. It's like I've been holding my breath through the week and I can finally let it out, kick back, and relax. We did our big feast meal on Sunday so the past few days have been really chill. I've been filming a lot of videos in the Crafty Cottage, getting ready for our big Machine Quilting Party to start in January:

See that big Rainbow Log Cabin Quilt behind me? I quilted it in 3 days. Seriously. 3 days. On that little Bernina 1230 with my Bernina walking foot too! If you're worried about quilting a big quilt all in one piece just remember it's absolutely possible and even if it feels challenging, picking a simple design you can quilt quickly means you won't be suffering for very long.

Click Here to check out the materials list for this new quilt along starting January 1st.

James is out of school and bouncing around the living room. He made us blueberry muffins on Wednesday to celebrate being out of school. My rule is if you bake it, you can eat as much of it as you want, which has turned my kid into quite a skilled baker!

If you're wondering about this month's Quilty Box, YES! I have something fun coming for Monday. I decided to keep it very, very simple and fast so you can make a quick lap quilt before Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, yesterday we picked up our first Christmas tree. James is SO excited about decorating it he was trying to string the lights himself. Last year we got two trees and Josh decorated one and James decorated a smaller one for himself. This year we may just end up with three trees because Dude, where's my tree?

We each have very different design styles too so I think a different tree for each of us would be a fun challenge. I might even make some ornaments too!

The last few days I've been thinking a lot about the new year and my goals for 2018. This year has been filled with wonderful surprises, and a few challenges, but over all I'm so pleased and grateful for everything that has happened.

My words at the beginning of the year were Simple and Open which served me very well through the first half of the year. I know we were able to accomplish so much this past year because I was focusing on keeping things simple. I also know being open to new things and allowing my business and work to flow helped me master many new skills this year.

For the second half of the year I was guided by the word Trust and it really felt like pulling out my heart and handing it to someone else and trusting that everything would be okay. That's not an easy thing for me to do so this word is continuing to cycle through my head multiple times a day. I've already gotten a hint of my word for next year, but I'll share more on that closer to the end of the year.

Of course, just like most shops, we're also running a Thanksgiving sale!

You can save 50% on all of our quilting workshops, books, patterns, and embroidery designs and many other tools and supplies are on sale this week too. Click Here to check out the sale.

Our Affordable Sewing Table is also on sale, and we're not often allowed to discount it so make sure to check it out here.

Finally I have new longarm quilting videos coming your way on Sunday!

Grace Company is running an amazing discount on the Grace Qnique 14+ and quilting frames right now. If you live in the US and are interested in these machines, make sure to call the company and tell them Leah Day says Hello My Quilting Friends to get a nice discount and bonus accessories with your order!

Click Here to check out the deals from Grace Company.

Whew! There is so much going on and I'm so excited about everything to come!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Great Quilting Debate: Prewashing Fabric, Episode #36

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I'm taking on another Great Quilting Debate: whether to prewash fabric before making your quilt or not. Listen to the episode or download it to your computer here:

Or watch the episode and check out my super messy laundry room here:

Yes, I do think prewashing fabric is a super important step in the quiltmaking process! Here's the reasons why I wash everything unless it's too tiny and will fall apart in the washer:
  • Stops fabrics from bleeding into one another. Washing removes the excess dyes so all the fabrics remain the color they're supposed to be.
  • Eliminates the question of how to care for the finished quilt. You never have to worry about washing it and messing it up.
  • Gets all the fabric feeling and acting the same way. If all the fabrics have been washed and starched 2 times, they will all have roughly the same amount of stretch and give and be easier to piece together more accurately.
  • Erases the hard crease in the middle of fabric which is rarely square with the grainline of the fabric.
  • Makes fabric easier to square and cut accurately.
Now for the video I promised about preparing fabric:

Once you prewash the fabric, you're going to have to restore order to the soft, wrinkly fabric by applying starch and pressing. Yes, there's also a Great Quilting Debate about starch and whether it's good or bad for your quilts. Click Here to listen to that podcast episode too.

So prewashing usually goes hand in hand with starch and pressing, but not always. Some quilters wash, but don't starch. Some quilters starch, but don't wash. As you can see, there are lots of ways you can work with fabric and definitely not a one-size-fits-all option here!

There are times when you can't prewash fabric. Precut fabrics smaller than a fat-eighth are impossible to wash without turning into a wadded mess of broken threads. You can starch precuts to stiffen them, but washing is just not a possibility.

When working with fabrics like this, think hard about your fabric combinations. If you have a precut pack of bright batiks in the most common bleeding colors (red, blue, purple) that would be a bad idea to mix that with white fabric where a bleed will be most noticeable. Match potential bleeding precuts with darker fabrics like black so even if the colors migrate, your quilt will still look great.

I've never found an issue from mixing prewashed fabric with non-prewashed fabric. I always wash the background fabric for my Quilty Box projects and the precuts are rarely washed, but the quilts still turn out great.

Ultimately the decision to wash or not wash is down to time. If you only have a few hours to quilt each week, prewashing, starching, and pressing your fabrics will likely feel like a ridiculous time-consuming extra step.

But if you have a bit more time or you just want to go the extra mile on a special quilt, give prewashing a try. The relief of knowing you can wash your finished quilt without worry about bleeding dyes is absolutely worth it in my opinion!

Now for a few updates about what's going on around the house...

This weekend we traveled to Charleston to visit family and made a big Thanksgiving meal for everyone. I love to cook and I especially love the challenge of feast meals and getting everything done on time.

It was a huge relief to be able to place our huge book order right before we left. The final proof finally came in and the books look amazing! Trust me, if you place an order for 1000 of anything, you want it to be perfect!

Click Here preorder Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.

Don't forget our Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday sale will begin on Thursday!

My basement laundry room doubles as a space for leatherwork, dyeing fabric, painting fabric, and building costumes. The downside of having so many crafts in one place is there really isn't enough space for them all and I tend to leave my toys out even after I'm finished playing with them so it was time to seriously clean things up today. Yes, this was just a bit of the mess all around me!

I noticed I have lot of bag hardware from and lots of leather projects I've left unfinished. I plan to work on that this week with James while he's out of school for Thanksgiving. I need to get this space organized so I can actually walk in here and get some work done rather than spend all my time cleaning it back up again.

I think part of the problem is not having an idea of what I want to do with all the leather scraps I have laying around. I'm going to do some searching online for fun project ideas and come up with some new things to create.

I'm happy to report I've finally finished my machine embroidered landscape! This cute design will be ready in December and compatible with all the major embroidery machine brands. I just need to write the instructions and create the final files for you to download and it will be done.

It feels great to be finishing up this project and I have many more machine embroidery collections in the works. I know next year we're planning to do lots of videos on walking foot quilting, but I think sharing more videos on machine embroidery will also be a good idea to.

And YES! I will have an update about the quilting frame and moving the Grace Qnique 14+ soon! It's been a crazy busy and stressful month and I'm hoping I'll be able to share more on that transition soon.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Quilt Market Recap with Sheri Cilfaldi Morrill, Episode #35

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I have a new interview with Sheri Cilfaldi Morrill from! Sheri recently attended Fall Quilt Market in Houston and she's going to give us a recap on what she noted at the show. Listen to the episode or download it to your computer here:

You can also watch the podcast and see the things I talk about in the introduction here:

Sheri is an awesome quilter and wonderful pattern designer. Make sure to check out her website right here.

Now a bit about Quilt Market - this is an industry trade show where quilt shop owners come to buy fabrics, tools, quilt patterns, and supplies to carry in their shops. It's only open to industry professionals because this is a place where everyone is buying wholesale - without tax and at a reduced price so then products can be resold for retail prices.

So this is the place to go if you're wanting to buy fabric, tools, machines, and supplies for a quilt shop. It's also good to go as a designer to see the popular trends and new fabrics available and find companies to work with. It's a great place to network and talk about running a quilting business.

Sheri has also been blogging for Craftsy and shared an excellent post with lots of pretty photos from Quilt Market right here.

A few days after fall Quilt Market closes, International Quilt Festival opens. This is a massive show with hundreds (maybe thousands) of gorgeous quilts. The quilts are already hanging during Quilt Market so Sheri was able to check out her favorite collections. She shared a blog post with lots of beautiful pictures right here.

I was extremely happy to hear that rainbow quilts and bright colors are trending right now! Two of the quilts in my new book have bright rainbow colors and those two quilts were also picked for our 2018 Machine Quilting Party!

I think it's interesting to know what's popular and trending, but it's not something I feel the need to chase after. It's far more important to follow your inspiration and make what you want to make and if it happens to be on trend, that's a wonderful bonus.

I did want to give you a heads up that our biggest sale of the year will begin on November 23rd - Thanksgiving Day. All of our downloadable quilting workshops, embroidery designs, patterns, and books (excluding the new book) will be on sale for 50% off! We'll also have select tools and supplies on sale too so if you're wanting to place an order you might want to wait a week to get the best deal during this sale. Click Here to check out the shop.

Whew! It's been a crazy pants sort of week and I wasn't kidding when I described it like labor transition. The final process is always stressful and difficult, but every time we go through this it gets a little easier.

I keep coming back to the simple truth that the more you do something, the better you get. I have so many more books I want to write and I refuse to give up just because the process is challenging. I've learned a lot in the last week and next time this will be even easier to manage from this experience.

Speaking of getting more experience, I'm getting back to machine embroidery and finally finishing a batch of designs I've had in progress for three years.

Both the landscape and tree design can be stitched as a motif, in-the-hoop coaster project, and in-the-hoop zippered pouch. I'm finally getting back to work on it and refusing to let my inner critic scare me off from machine embroidery again.

I love being able to hit a button and let the machine stitch out a perfect design. I also love having the embroidery machine running while I'm quilting something else nearby. My goal is to have the landscape project ready by Christmas so make sure to hold me to that!

Another project that needs work before the end of the year is the Eternal Love quilt pattern. Maybe I should turn this into a quilt along? It would certainly be wonderful to see many versions of this beautiful quilt stitched all over the world!

My goal is to create patterns of several more goddess quilts, but it's tough to prioritize this when there is no deadline to meet. This is my Great Work, but it seems like it's always ending up being the last projects on the list to work on. That needs to change.

Don't forget you can find all of the podcasts linked up right here and hit play on the player and binge listen to many hours of quilting friends goodness!

You can also Click Here to find all the videos linked in one playlist too.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

How to Quilt a Basic Dresden Plate

Today we are quilting our last block for the Machine Quilting Block Party and wrapping up a fun year of quilting along together as we stitch more feathers, spirals, and ruler foot quilting. It's the perfect way to finish up our beautiful Basic Dresden Plate block!

Click Here to find the quilt pattern for block 11 and12. Yes, we combined the last two blocks into one pattern so you can finish your Flower Festival quilt this year!

This year has been a wonderful adventure piecing and quilting twelve flower quilt blocks. The six Dresden Plate blocks are a beautiful counterpoint to the traditionally pieced blocks and I hope you learned a lot about piecing and applique this year.

Of course, my favorite part about any quilt is the quilting. This year I included free motion feathers in every block, plus the extra sashing rectangles. It was so nice to have an excuse to play with feathers and find creative ways to slip them into every block.

I also enjoyed digging into three forms of machine quilting. Each month I stitched in the ditch with walking foot quilting, then quilted most of the designs with free motion quilting.

And we really stitched it up a notch with ruler foot quilting! I definitely want to learn more about this easy form of machine quilting and using different rulers as a guide. Just in case you're just trying out rulers for the first time, Click Here to find my video on Ruler Foot Quilting Basics.

When quilting with rulers, I used the templates from the Dresden Plate Template set on my home machine. These small templates fit perfectly in your hand and are easy to guide even on a small home machine. The best part is you can also use these templates for cutting six different styles of Dresden Plate quilt blocks.

This year has been a great adventure in machine quilting and I hope you'll join us for next year's Machine Quilting Party! We're going to explore walking foot quilting and create three beautiful quilts from start to finish. Click Here to find the schedule and materials list.

Now that all of your blocks are pieced and quilted, you're probably wondering how to start putting them together to make your quilt! Here's a series of tutorials I've shared on connecting quilted pieces:

And just in case you'd like to see last year's video, click here to find it.

Let's go quilt, 

Leah Day

Monday, November 13, 2017

How to Piece a Basic Dresden Plate

It's time to piece our last block for the Machine Quilting Block Party! Today we are going to return to the basics with a Basic Dresden Plate with just eight petals and simple curved edges. Learn how to piece and applique this basic Dresden plate in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the quilt pattern for Blocks #11 and #12 combined. We released these patterns together so if you play your cards right you'll be able to finish your Flower Festival quilt before the end of the year!

Dresden plate quilt block

I've saved one of the easiest Dresden Plate blocks for last! The Basic Dresden Plate has only eight petals so it will be very fast to cut the shapes and begin piecing the units together. I used Template #2 from the Dresden Plate Template Set to cut the shapes quickly.

I turned the edge of my curved petals, but remember you can also fuse that edge too. Click Here to learn more ways to create curved edge Dresden Plates!

Quilting a dresden plate block

 With our last block pieced, the last step will be quilting it! Make sure to come back tomorrow and learn how to quilt this Basic Dresden plate block with spirals, feathers, and simple ruler foot quilting.

Let's go quilt, 

Leah Day

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Let's Quilt Windy Feathers, Design #491

I have a new design for you today! I kept meaning to get out to the Crafty Cottage all week to shoot more design videos, then I realized I already had a brand new design I quilted on the Grace longarm: Windy Feathers! Learn how to quilt it in this new video:

Click Here to find my review of the Grace Qnique 14+. If you live in the US, make sure to mention Leah Day said Hello My Quilting Friends to get a discount or bonus accessories bundled with your machine!

I love how Windy Feathers turned out in the background of my hoop quilt:

This is a terrific design to quilt in spaces like this because it filled quickly, I could easily travel stitch to form more lines of the design, and the flowing lines added a nice contrast to the center circle.

Let's learn more about Windy Feathers:

Difficulty Level: Intermediate. Don't let this rating intimidate you! I mostly set the rating based on the amount of travel stitching a design has and how much time it takes to fill a space. Travel stitching is a skill you just have to build with quilting and Windy Feathers would be a great design to learn how to stitch right on top of your stitching to move through the design.

Design Family: Edge to Edge. This design is part of a little mini family that I call Pocket Designs. Basically you stitch the lines to create gaps or pockets, then you can leave those spaces open, or fill them with other designs, which creates a totally different effect!

If you're interested in geeking out on this with me (yes, of course you are!), first learn how to quilt Flowing Lines. This is the simplest version of the design and the fastest to stitch.

Then stitch it up a notch with Goldilocks and Trapped Paisley. I promise if you stitch out all of these designs you'll not only gain a lot of awesome quilting skill, you'll also fall in love with this design style too!

Where Do I Quilt It? - Backgrounds, sashing, and borders are all great choices for Windy Feathers. I love how the background of my Hoop Quilt turned out. Do you want to make one too? Go check out Anne Marie Chany's podcast to learn all about Hoop Quilts!

I've loved sharing videos on the Grace Qnique 14+ this year and learned so much more about quilting on a sit down longarm. But I admit - I'm still curious! I want to know what it will be like to put this machine on a quilting frame. 

So starting in December, that's exactly what we're going to do. I'm not sure which day of the week we will be sharing videos, but soon they will switch from quilting on a sit down longarm to quilting on a frame longarm. I hope you're as curious as I am and excited to see these new videos!

(And please don't worry! I'm still going to share weekly posts and videos on quilting on a home machine too!)

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Is Starch Bad for Quilts? Podcast Episode #34

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I'm weighing in on another Great Quilting Debate - is starch bad for fabric and quilts? Listen to my take on this hotbed issue in this new podcast episode:

You can also watch the podcast and my progress painting over my ruined button mosaic here:

It's been a wonderful week and I want to start by saying thank you so very much for supporting our new book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day. The response has been tremendous and wildly exceeded both Josh and my expectations!

The preorder for this new book will continue until November 30th so right now you can get a great deal on the book which will ship or be emailed to you on December 1st.

Click Here to preorder ebook version.

Click Here to preorder a print version.

During the podcast I was working on my ugly button mosaic and covering it up with Pebeo Prisme, Moon, and Ceramic paints. I love these super thick paints because they create awesome effects all by themselves. Here's the finished result:

I think this turned out okay! It's not ending up in the trash, which is something. It's not exactly what I originally envisioned, but it's not a terrible result either.

Now I'm turning my attention to finishing up projects before the end of the year and that list is LONG! I have two goddess quilt patterns I'd like to add to the site, lots of new pages to add, and many new videos too.

I spent a good bit of the intro talking about my quilt fiction novel which I've been working on every morning. At this point I'm a quarter way through, but experienced a setback when someone wrote in to tell me I was "cheating" at NaNoWriMo by starting my book before November 1st. Color me clueless - I had no idea!

This is the thing: there will always be people that try to derail you, stop you, limit or downright snuff out your light. There are people in this world that hate to see your excitement because they sadly believe that your success means there's less room for them to succeed too.

I know none of that is true. The more I create, the more I want to create. The more I've designed, the more designs that pop freely into my head. And the more people that are teaching, sharing, writing, and designing, the more quilting has a chance reach more people, which means there's even more space for everyone to succeed.

So no, I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo with this book, but I am still going to write my book! I've been using a handy app called Ink On to keep track of my daily word count and progress and Josh has been sticking gold stickers to the kitchen calendar as well.

I like seeing the chain of days - each marked with a bright star to show my progress and to keep me in the habit of writing. I think it's far more important to sit and write a short bit every day than to write for huge lengths of time one day a week. I feel the same way about quilting. Stitching for 15 - 20 minutes every day will be far more helpful to building your skill than quilting 4 hours every other Saturday.

It's very exciting to see the chapters coming together and I love the world I've created. I want to stitch the quilt from the book and make dolls for the characters. Yes, that's more projects to make and the list of things I want to finish before 2018 is already pretty long!

I believe the most important thing is following creativity and giving into the nudge, wherever it's directing you. Please don't let the Negative Nellies of this world get in your way or derail your pursuits. It's so easy to let one negative comment or criticism lock you up, and much harder to trust the overwhelming number of positive voices cheering you on.

I've also been working on getting out of my own way. Sometimes the only person that's stopping me from moving forward is ME! I've had three awesome embroidery collections basically sitting in files on my computer, waiting for me to get over my stuff and release them. Be looking forward to new projects in that area as well as more embroidery videos too!

As always, I love hearing from you and would love to make even more quilting friends in 2018. If you'd like to be on the podcast or recommend your favorite quilting teacher or company, please send us a message right here.

Now for the Great Quilting Debate! Is Starch Bad for Quilts?

Yes, the choice to use starch on your fabric is a contentious subject in the quilting world and over the years I've gotten comments ranging from "You're ruining people's quilts with your bad advice!" to "Wow! Starch made such a difference to my fabric and piecing is so much easier now!" 

One thing I forgot to include in the podcast is why I use starch - I find it stiffens the fabric nicely, which makes squaring it and cutting pieces and strips much easier and more accurate.

I also find starch fabrics are less likely to fray on the edges. Lately I've been testing the stability of my starched fabrics by not pinning units together. Even with the seams pressed open and no pins, my seams are matching every time and I think a lot of that has to do with all the fabrics in the quilt feeling and acting the same. I don't have one fabric that's going loosey goosie while another is stiff as a board.

So yes, I'm on Team Starch and I use it to prepare the fabrics in every single quilt we make. If we're using precuts, every single strip or square is starched on both sides before it's cut or pieced into the quilt.

A big key to using starch on fabric is knowing the proper technique to use it. The first time I starched a piece of fabric, I sprayed it down, then hit it with my hot iron and suddenly all this horrible flakey white stuff flew everywhere and the bottom of my iron went brown and smelled gross.

It took a few tries before I learned how to apply the liquid to fabric and press without making a massive mess. Learn how I do it in this Quilting Basics video:

As for Team Starch is Evil, I get it! If you've been taught that a substance is bad for your fabric and you've never used it before and got along just fine, that's great!

When researching starch, I found a lot of helpful information right here at

I do think the whole bug-loving-starch thing is a bit silly and I shared my opinion on where that story got started in the podcast. It makes absolutely no sense that a substance used for hundreds of years in clothing that washes out of fabric completely could make a moth more likely to chew up your quilt!

There are a lot more products out there like fusible webs, spray basting, and permanent marking pens that can wreck far more havoc on your quilts and I don't see a massive concerted effort to demonize them. I've written about chemicals in quilts here in case you're interested in reading further.

As with our last Great Quilting Debate podcast on pressing seams open, I think there's room for every technique, every method, and every opinion. Please don't feel like just because you don't use starch or press your seams open we can't be friends!

This is a debate so please share your thoughts in the comments below. I'd love to know your thoughts on starching fabric, what you learned when you first started quilting, and how you prepare your fabric now.

If you're preparing fabric for a quilt this week, make sure to snap a picture and share it with me! If you tag me @LeahDayQuilting on Instagram, I'll see your photo when you post it!

In 2 weeks I'm going to continue this discussion with another debate on Prewashing! Who would have thought I could turn fabric preparation and piecing into three different podcast episodes?!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

How to Quilt a Log Cabin Flower

Are you enjoying a slightly faster pace to the end of the Machine Quilting Block Party? Today I'm quilting Block 11, the Log Cabin Flower Block. Click Here to learn how to piece this block with me.

This block is quilted with a nice combination of free motion filler designs including feathers, Swirling Water, and Chain of Pearls. Quilt along with me in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the combined pattern for Blocks 11 and 12. If you work fast your be able to finish your Flower Festival quilt before the end of the year!

I decided to add an extra step to the back of my Log Cabin Flower block. I used my embroidery machine to stitch a quilt tag to the backing fabric. Learn how to do this in this extra tip video:

The advantage of adding your quilt tag to the backing of your quilt BEFORE it is quilted is you get this cool effect of the quilting design running over the quilt tag:

Another advantage of having the quilting run over the quilt tag is slightly sad. There are some people that steal quilts. When a tag is created separately and stitched to the back, it's easy to rip off, leaving no sign of the original maker. A lot of show quilters will add a tag to the backing before it's quilted so quilting stitches run over the tag, making it impossible to remove without damaging the quilting.

And yes, I know that date is all kinds of wrong! I was being really hopeful I'd have my entire quilt done during the summer, but that just didn't happen. I might wait until next July to put it together so I only have to change the #7 in 2017 to a #8!

There are a lot of seam allowances in the Log Cabin Flower Block and if you add the extra machine embroidery, it may feel a little trick to quilt in the flower and background sections.

Just take your time quilting the feather designs in this area. Stitch slowly and carefully and bring your hands a little closer to the needle so you have more control over where the quilt block is going. If your needle begins to sound different - like a louder POCK sound - slow down and try to stitch over that spot quickly.

Sometimes thicker spots can cause your thread to break, but the quicker you stitch over them, the less likely this will be to happen.

My favorite part of this block is the Chain of Pearls design filling in the vase. I quilted over the circles the second time so they stand out dramatically on the quilt surface. But keep in mind that that's an optional extra step I did just for fun. What can I say, I'm a thread junkie!

Are you planning to embroider the back of this quilt block with your quilt tag? Do you like adding machine embroidery to your quilts? I'm planning to experiment with this more next year so be looking forward to more tutorials like this!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, November 6, 2017

How to Piece a Log Cabin Flower

We're rocking and rolling through our last two quilt blocks for the Machine Quilting Block Party! This week I'll share videos on Block #11, the Log Cabin Flower Block, and next week we'll learn how to create the Basics Dresden Plate Block. Today let's learn how to piece the Log Cabin Flower Block together in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the quilt pattern for Blocks 11 and 12 combinedWe mixed these two block patterns together so you can finish your quilt before the end of the year.

There are a lot of steps to this quilt block so make sure to watch the video carefully so you have great results with your Log Cabin Flower. You've already gotten a lot of practice piecing half square triangles for the vase and stem sections. Just in case you need a reminder Click Here to learn how to piece half square triangles

For the flower section, we're trying something new this month and first piecing a traditional log cabin block, then rotating it with a square and a square technique. Be carefully trimming down the resulting flower shape so it fits nicely with the other pieces of your block.

Make sure to swing by tomorrow as we learn how to quilt this beautiful block together with Feathers, Swirling Water, and Chain of Pearls.

Don't forget to check out our schedule for the 2018 Machine Quilting Party! We're going to stitch it up a notch with walking foot quilting and create three beautiful quilts together step-by-step! All of the patterns for this new quilt along are included in our new book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.

Click Here to order your book so you're ready to quilt along in 2018!

Leah Day

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Four Spooky Fall Quilting Designs

I know Halloween has come and gone, but I still have one last set of spooky designs to share with you! Learn how to quilt a Creepy Feather, Web Fill, Oblivion, and Left Turn Right Turn in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to learn more about the Grace Qnique 14+. I love quilting on this machine and plan to move it to a quilting frame very soon. Remember if you live in the US make sure to call the company and mention Leah Day said Hello my quilting friends to get a nice discount on your order.

Now for the Candy Corn mini hoop quilt I was quilting in this video - I used Dresden Plate Template #2 to create the candy corn shape and put fusible web along the outer curve and stitched across the tip to make it pointy. I didn't have time this year to share a full quilting tutorial on this project, but it's on my list for next year!

When picking the four spooky designs to quilt, I mostly thought about the iconic shapes we think about around Halloween. At first I quilted the feather empty, but when I saw the open space I knew it needed to be filled with something. I decided to add three tiny curved fingers like a little hand clawing out of the feather.

I totally see little clawing hands here! Do you?

Web Fill was an easy choice because it's basically a stacked version of Spider Web. I love stitching around the design and making it fit in the space just right. Definitely spooky without even trying!

Oblivion was another obvious choice because it looks like eyeball soup. He he...this is turning out sorta gross! If you want an easier version of the design, try quilting Ocean Pearls instead.

And the last design is Left Turn Right Turn, which isn't really spooky, but it does provide a brick-like texture that works great with the curves in the other designs. It's good to have a few flat, simple designs that will recede into the background to let the other designs shine.

So that's it for Halloween! It's time to put the spooky and creepy designs away at least for another year. Unless, of course, you're like me and every day can be a dress up day!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to share it with your friends! I really love it when you do that!

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