The Free Motion Quilting Project: 2018

Friday, October 12, 2018

Longarm Ruler Quilting on a Baby Quilt

Last week I unfolded a quilt I'd started quilting on my home machine and moved it to my longarm frame. Lots of drama ensued as the quilt didn't go on the frame very straight, but I eventually managed to baste it into submission. Click Here to watch that video.

This week my goal was to quilt the entire center of the quilt, continuing the ruler foot quilting design I'd established. Check out how things went in this new longarm quilting tutorial:

I really love how this turned out! It was tedious and I caught myself multiple times wishing I'd started a simpler design on my home machine.

But it was a great experiment to see if I could move the quilt and continue the design. It worked out great and now there's only a bit of quilting left to finish in the borders.

And what is the perfect design for borders? Feathers! Make sure to check in next week as I try my very first feathered border.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Listen to a Chapter from Mally the Maker

Hello My Quilting Friends! This week I'm trying on a new hat - audiobook narration. I've read Chapter 1 from Mally the Maker and the Queen in the Quilt so you can begin the journey with Mally into the magical world of Quilst.

Click Here to preorder your copy of Mally the Maker.

I had SO much fun reading this! I've loved reading out loud since I was a kid so narrating this book felt natural and fun.

I've been planning to record the audiobook within the next few months, but sharing this first chapter has finally convinced me it's worth the time and effort to pursue. I'm going to pull out a small laptop and my really good microphone and begin the official recording today. I can't promise when that will be available, but I'll at least take the first steps this week!

I won't be able to film that because I'll most likely be recording in my bedroom closet. You need REALLY good audio quality for an audiobook and that is the best space in the house for recording without any outside noise. Once I fill it with quilts, it will hopefully have the perfect acoustics too.

Whew! I feel like there are a million things to do this month before this book is ready to release officially on November 1st. Today I'm working on the layout for the Ms. Bunny sewing pattern and finalizing the files for print.

I hope you're having a wonderfully creative day!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

How Do You Quilt the Background?

Do you know the trickiest area to quilt in a quilt? No, it's not inside appliques, or within triangle points. The hardest place to pick a good quilting design is the background.

A few things make this area challenging - it's usually a very large area, and sometimes you have a lot of open space. Other times you will have tiny, complex areas created by the piecing that is tricky to quilt through seamlessly.

This week I shared a video on how I plan my background quilting design and add extra details to make it more interesting. Click Here to find this tutorial.

I quilted the entire background of the Leaf Peepers Quilt with only three designs: straight lines, curving lines, and Sharp Stippling. By using the lines created with rulers, I was able to break down the background space. This also made that open area more interesting and dynamic.

I love the flow of Sharp Stippling and Yes, I could just as easily have quilted only Sharp Stippling through the entire background.

But then I would have been very, very bored by the end of it!

Sometimes I break up the background of a quilt just to give myself different designs to play with. I could have quilted each open space between the lines with a different design. That would have made this quilt even more interesting and fun!

Do you have a quilt you're struggling to pick the designs for? Spend some time looking at the quilt top and think about ways you can add extra designs, shapes, and motifs to the background. I often find once I see those extra elements, the entire quilt starts to come together like magic!

Don't forget to check out Sheri's post from the Leaf Peepers Quilt Along this week on quilting the 4th block with walking foot quilting. Click Here to find her quilting tutorial.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Painting and Drawing and Driving

Happy Sketchy Saturday! James and I drove to Charlotte today to go painting at Art Space Studio. It was a long drive, but totally worth it to spend the day with my son painting two projects for the holidays.

I reserved my little Christmas tree a few weeks ago. It's one of those trees with the little plastic colorful lights. I honestly find them kinda tacky, but it brings back memories of my grandma. She had one of those trees and brought it out every year and now I want one too! LOL!

I know I've skipped a few Sketchy Saturdays here. I honestly haven't been drawing much, unless you count doll pattern revisions. Yesterday I got back to my card sketches and had some fun:

I've already started writing Mally the Maker book 2 and the scenes I'm working on is making me want to do a lot more sketching for this book. I just need to set aside the time, make sure I have a sketchbook and pencil and make myself DRAW.

Why is it hard sometimes to do the thing you want to do, even when you want to do it? That's what's on my mind today and I honestly don't have a good answer.

I hope you had a great Saturday! What have you been working on?

Let's go quilt (or draw),

Leah Day

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Preorder Mally the Maker

Yes, it's finally time to share my new book Mally the Maker and the Queen in the Quilt! Click Here to check out the book.

This novel has been such an adventure to write! I've loved every step of the process from creating the magical world of Quilst (no, that's not misspelled) to inventing the evil witch who nearly destroyed it. I had so much fun incorporating hand sewing and traditional quilt blocks into the story and making small illustrations for each chapter.

My goal with writing this book was to create a fun story for quilters to read. Quilters who love piecing beautiful quilts, appliqueing turned edges, and adding hand embellishment will love this story. Quilters who love making sampler quilts and piecing traditional quilt blocks will love this story.

This book is also written about a 10 year old little girl and it's my hope that kids will enjoy this book too. In a day when everything is on a tablet or cell phone and most kids spend more time staring at a screen than the sky outside, I want to encourage kids to turn off the video games and actually make things with their hands.

A big part of this book is Mally's journey to learning how to stitch by hand. It's not an exaggeration to say that her life often depends on being able to stitch a secure seam!

Another amazing part of writing this book was creating the other characters who help (or hinder) Mally along the way.

Ms. Bunny is my favorite. She's based on a doll I was given for Christmas when I was 4 years old. Bringing her to life has been marvelous. She is a very kind, brave rabbit who tries hard to keep Mally out of trouble.

 Bunny doll pattern

I actually wrote this story with the idea I'd bring my own Ms. Bunny back to life. I lost my Ms. Bunny when I was very young yet she still was always a part of me. Writing Ms. Bunny back into life was cathartic but what really made her come to life was recreating her again as a doll pattern. I've gone through at least seven different models of Ms. Bunny until I got it just right.

Books and Ms. Bunny patterns will ship out the first of November!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Adding Pretty Texture to Fall Leaves

Have the leaves started changing colors in your area yet? Every day I check the trees outside and they are stubbornly refusing to be anything other than green. I'm SO ready for the fall, but it feels like summer has a death grip on the weather in my area and it's going to stay hot forever.

Oh well, I know by the time I finish the Leaf Peepers Quilt Along, we will definitely be enjoying some cooler weather!

This week Sheri and I have two excellent tutorials for you on quilting your Leaf Peepers Quilt.

If you're quilting with a walking foot, click here to check out Sheri's tutorial on how she quilted Block #2.

If you're wanting to mix it up a bit or you'd like to use free motion quilting, Click Here to learn how to quilt Sharp Stippling and Paisley Shortcut.

We only have two more weeks to go and the Leaf Peepers Quilt will be complete! Next week I'm sharing tips on ruler foot quilting and Sheri will share her method for quilting Block 3 with walking foot quilting.

Remember you can join in the fun anytime! All you need is the Leaf Peepers Quilt Pattern available here.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, September 21, 2018

Longarm Tension Troubleshooting

One of the biggest learning curves to switching to a longarm machine is tension. I'm not sure if it's because the machines are bigger or the speeds they can reach, but tension seems much more flexible on longarms than home machines. It's just one of those things that you have to get into the habit of checking, and check often.

So today I've shared a post all about troubleshooting tension issues! Click Here to find this tutorial.

In celebration of our 500th free motion quilting design, we've put 90% of all of our products on sale in our online shop.

Click Here to check out our huge sale this week.

* Leaf Peepers Quilt Pattern is excluded

Now, back to tension!

No, I don't think having to check your tension more often is a deal breaker. It's just a new habit to build with this different type of machine. Now that I've been quilting on the Grace Qnique on a frame for almost a year, I don't even think about it.

Whenever I begin quilting for the day, I break thread and pull the machine over to the side and run through a tension test. If the stitches are looking great, I go back to where I was quilting and get started. That way I don't end up quilting a huge chunk of the quilt with terrible looking stitches!

Troubleshooting any issue on your machine does require patience. Please don't start fiddling with things when you're tired or upset.

Also I cannot stress enough - ONLY CHANGE ONE THING AT A TIME!

Make one change, test, make one more change, test again. If you change your needle, rethread the machine, lower the take up rail, and adjust the height of your foot - which one of those things was the culprit?

This is the #1 tip I've learned from teaching in person and online for the last 9 years. I can't count the number of emails I've received along the lines of "I've changed everything and nothing is working! HELP!"

To gain the most insight into your machine, only make one change at a time and you'll quickly be able to identify the issue and get back on track.

I hope this quilting tutorial is helpful! While it's never any fun to struggle with tension issues, it's great to know how to deal with them when they happen.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Crafty Cottage Clean Out

It's been a busy few days this week getting life back on track after Hurricane Florence. No, we didn't get any damage from the storm, thank goodness, but I did clean out the Crafty Cottage completely just in case.

This space hasn't been so empty since the day we stuck the carpet tiles down! LOL!

I didn't realize just how much stuff had ended up in the cottage until we cleaned it all out last Friday. I've gone through everything and reorganized my drawers and cabinets so only the tools and materials needed in the cottage are out there. I'm tired of tripping over lots of stuff that's just not necessary.

Another plus - I finally found a home for my vintage treadle drawers:

You can find a lot of drawers like this on Ebay and if you also get the wooden frame, it's easy to install to the bottom of any table through the screw holes that secured the drawers to the bottom of the treadle cabinet.

The only downside is treadle drawers aren't the best designed. I know that might sound like blasphemy, but most treadle drawers are just too deep. Quilting tools and notions are relatively small and thin and they easily get lost in a 4 inch deep drawer.

That's why I love this drawer set - the top drawer is only 1 inch deep and has an awesome automatic locking mechanism (a wooden bar on the bottom that pops down) to keep it shut. Most likely the purpose was to keep your scissors and sharp tools in the top drawer that would automatically lock when you shut it.

James helped me carry everything back out to the Crafty Cottage after school yesterday. Then Josh helped me carry out the Singer 27 treadle. Just in case you're needing to move one of these, please know that it's easy to take the cabinet off of the irons with just 4 screws. Even taking it out in two pieces, it's still a very heavy, very painful experience (cast iron doesn't bend, it bruises!)

My cabinet is a bit weird because the right side screw hole is nearly completely overlapped by another piece of wood. I have to take off the drawer frame on the right side completely, but that's just 4 extra screws.

Now I just need to reattach the belt and I'll be back in business! Would you like to see some videos on this vintage machine? It's such a delight to play with and I know Quilty Box is coming soon. Maybe I can use that as an excuse to put my treadle through it's paces!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hang and Store Your Quilts the Best Way

 How to hang and store your quilts
Hello my quilting friends!

I have a fantastic podcast for you this week, covering a topic that concerns all of us as quilters: how to safely store your quilt! Say you have heirloom quilts from your grandmother and want to ensure they do not get damaged or discolored in storage.

I also show two different ways to hang your quilt.

Click Here to watch how I store and hang my quilts.

Be sure to also check out our sitewide sale and save 50% on our quilting books! The sale will end Monday, September 24th.

Click Here to check out our huge sale this week.

* Leaf Peepers Quilt Pattern is excluded

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How to Quilt Matrix Star, Design # 500

HAPPY DAY 500! I can't believe I have finally shared the 500th design. I decided to pull out one of my oldie goldie favorites, Superstarand change it up a bit to create a new design called Matrix Star. Learn how to quilt this new free motion quilting design in this quilting tutorial:

I’ve updated the Quilting Design Gallery to include all 500 designs. Click here to check it out.

I’ve added links to all of the Free Motion quilting, walking foot quilting and longarm quilting tutorials I've shared over the last nine years. I’ve also added all the videos we’ve shared in our yearly Quilt Alongs too!

I had to do a full count and that’s over 700 quilting tutorials! It’s been a blast creating this resource for quilters and I would love it if you shared it with your friends.

Now let's learn more about Matrix Star:

Design Family – Center Fill. This design starts in the center of your quilt with a wiggly star shape. I took some time to tie off and very my thread tails so they'd be out of my way while I stitched this design.

Click here to find the cheater needle I use to quickly tie off and secure my thread in the middle layer of my quilt. I do this for every single thread break and as you can see in the video, it doesn't take that much time to secure the tails properly, even with gloves on.

Once I got the thread tails out of the way, it was easy to quilt the beautiful star over the small quilt sandwich. From there it’s just a process of echoing to expand the design until it fills the entire quilt square completely.

Difficulty Level – Super Beginner. I think this is one of the easiest designs I’ve shared in awhile. If you can stitch a simple line based star, and make it wiggly, then Matrix Star will be right up your alley.

Even if you're just learning how to do echoing, this design is perfect to experiment with. All the overlapping lines means even if you're echo quilting isn't perfect, it will still look great on your quilt.

Suggestions for Use – I think Matrix Star will work great on any style of quilt, especially using All-Over Style quilting. This style of quilting ignores the piecing design completely and allows you to quickly cover the quilt surface with texture. I use this style of quilting to cover the Jelly Town Baby Quilt with a huge Super Spiral design. Matrix Star will work the same way and cover the quilt quickly with beautiful wiggly lines.

So now you have 500 designs to play with, which one are you going to stitch next? Click here to check out the quilting design gallery and browse through the collection of designs and video tutorials I've shared over the last nine years.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, September 17, 2018

Let's Quilt Leaf Peepers! Echo Ditching and Block 1

Hello my Leaf Peeping Friends! It's been a very wet, rainy weekend, but the sun has finally come out. I'm hoping the weather will cool off and we can become real leaf peepers as the leaves begin changing colors.

Last week we finished up piecing the last leaf quilt block which means this week we get to dive into my favorite part of the process: quilting!

Click Here to find my tutorial on Echo Ditching with ruler foot quilting.

Click Here to find Sheri's tutorial on Quilting Block #1.

Yes, Sheri and I are both quilting this quilt differently with two very different styles of quilting! I hope you'll check out both tutorials to understand why we're making these choices and pull a bit of info from both of us as you tackle your quilt.

Now I'm off to clean up the mess that is my kitchen studio. I have the entire contents of the Crafty Cottage spread over the tables and it's time I sort through it all before putting it back.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Messy Sketchy Saturday

Yes, it's a messy sort of Saturday. A combination of Hurricane Florence and cleaning out the Crafty Cottage yesterday means the newly redesigned studio is a total wreck!

I honestly haven't had much time to sketch this week. I did try a variation of Ms. Bunny's dress, but with doubled seam allowances in places to allow for French or flat felled seams, but that resulted in a definite craft fail.

I personally find doll clothing to be so tiny that the extra bulk of French seams just made everything stiff and bulky. Flat felled didn't work at all on the deeper curving seams and I had to throw one entire test dress away because it was just too much to rip out and re-stitch.

So that feels a bit like a step forward and a step back. It's not much fun to make a dress alteration and then realize the earlier pattern pieces were better.

But then again, I learned something! That's definitely progress and I won't have to try those seams again, at least not with this dress. I'm going to finish the seams with a combination of zigzag and top stitching. That combination results in a beautiful flat seam that takes up very little space inside the garment and will hold up to heavy wear from little hands.

No, the hurricane hasn't been an issue for us... yet. Lots of rain and high winds are in the fore cast so I'm keeping an eye on it. I did bring the Singer 27 treadle inside so if we lose power, I can still sew! The only downside is it's currently in three very heavy pieces, spread across the living room floor and adding to the general mess. Uggh!

Oh well, sometimes life goes according to plan and sometimes things get messy. Just have to roll with it!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thank you IKEA! Studio Remake

Two weeks ago James went down to the basement to grab something and said "Hey, there's a lot of water on the floor down there."

Basement + Water + Floor = BAD! Especially bad because we have three fish tanks in the basement. One of them is 180 gallons.

Turns out it was one of the smaller fish tanks (not the 180 gallon, whew!) It cracked and leaked around 5 gallons of water on the floor overnight. Instantly we went into cleanup mode, and unfortunately most of the water had leaked into my kitchen studio.

But bad things can some times have a silver lining. The water ruined a very ugly, dirty green rug, but other than that, it didn't do much damage. The horrible brown tile the rug was covering would probably survive a nuclear blast.

I had to collapse my big cutting table for several days while the floors dried and until I found a replacement for the carpet.

Which is where IKEA comes in. The big cutting table I have set up in my basement kitchen has been a cobbled together mess for several years. For awhile it was plywood. Then I added two plastic folding tables. Then I tacked on a homemade lightbox.

Slowly this table surface changed to fit our needs and it's gradually shrunk because there's usually 3 people trying to walk around it at any given time. This area is a pass through for the entire basement so it needs be easy to walk around.

Dad and I have both been complaining about the plastic folding tables for awhile. They certainly do work for awhile, but long term the tops begin to bow and they flex when putting a lot of pressure on the surface when rotary cutting.

So I decided it was time for an IKEA improvement! I already had a spare table top from another sewing machine setup and a handful of adjustable height legs. I took some more measurements, ran some searches and found the perfect combination. Here's the awesome results:

This is three LINNMON tables on OLOV adjustable height legs. I've adjusted the tables to be higher than they were before so the top is coming in around 35 inches, which is perfect for cutting and pressing while standing.

Underneath I have ANTONIUS frames and bins. Unfortunately they've discontinued the plastic bins and only offer this with wire frames now. I may go back for more frames, but I already have two under the longarm and another 4 in the laundry room.

Sometimes I think limiting the amount of storage I allow myself is good. If I have space to stash stuff, I just end up buying more stuff!

The new rug I found on Amazon and placed some white peel and stick tile against the wall to cover the bare concrete where the indestructible brown tile had never been laid.

I'm tempted to lay more white tile because the entire room feels so much brighter and happier now. But I'm resisting the urge because one day I do plan to wage war on that brown tile floor and I don't really want to make it more difficult by laying more tile on top of it.

All around, I think this remake has been a success! If you live near an IKEA definitely check it out for organizers, bins, and accessories. Even if it's a couple hours drive, it's worth it!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tips for Naming and Tagging Your Quilts, Podcast #74

Happy podcast day! I'm having a blast in my kitchen studio today which is finally put back (more or less) together after being collapsed for two weeks after Josh's fish tank disaster. I'm slicing up embroidery squares to experiment with a new quilt-as-you-go method.

This podcast came about from a listener suggestion. Dawn wanted to know if I had any tips on naming quilts and adding tags or labels to the back. I had a fun time thinking through both topics and shared my take on the importance of adding a quilt label. 

Think of it this way, if you don't at least put your name on it, who knows who will get credit for that quilt down the road???

I've also been stitching out several dresses for Ms. Bunny. What do you think - should doll dresses have finished seams? Do the fraying edges give you hives? I'd love to know the level of finishing you like to do for dolls and projects like this.

If you've been watching the news you know hurricane Florence is on the way. We're keeping an eye on the storm and I've stocked up on candles, batteries, and flash lights. If you're on the east coast please be safe and let's all hope for a quick recovery.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How to Quilt Rise and Shine, Design #499

Sunshines are one of my favorite symbols to use on quilts because my last name is Day and I love the idea of adding more light and creativity to my quilts. Learn how you can add a touch of sunshine to all your quilts with this Rise and Shine design:

I use a lot of different quilting tools to make free motion quilting easier on my home machine. On my hands I wear quilting gloves that help give me better control over where the quilt is going and the size of my stitches.

On the machine I placed a Queen Supreme Slider, a slippery Teflon sheet to help the quilt slide easily over the surface. I am using Isacord white thread in the top and bobbin of the machine. I find using the same thread in the top and bobbin reduces tension issues and prevents little dots of different colors showing up on the right or wrong side of the quilt.

I am quilting on the Eversewn Sparrow 20, a small affordable sewing machine that I think is perfect for basic sewing and quilting and also a terrific travel machine if you are needing something lighter to take to workshops.

Now let's learn more about Rise and Shine!

Design Family – Echoing. This design is stitched with a series of rules you can memorize to repeat the design over your quilt. I group designs with similar steps into families to make them easier to understand. If you can quilt one Echoing Design, chances are you can quilt all of them.

If you’d like to build some skill for Rise and Shine first, try quilting Echo Shell and Echo Daisy first. The steps to this design are simple: stitch a half to quarter circle shape, echo that shape close to the first line of stitching.

Then travel stitch and leave a wide gap between that first set of lines and echo again, this time leaving a lot of space between the lines. Echo one more time closely, then travel stitch inside the open space and fill that area with pointy lines. This gives soft curves the jagged sunshine effect.

Difficulty Level – Intermediate. Rise and Shine isn't super challenging, but it is a precision-oriented design. It requires being able to stitch the shapes, hit the line, travel stitch and consistently echo the curving lines lines.

If you're working on building this skills, this is a great design to practice with! Fill a fat quarter sized practice sandwich and you'll get the hang of the design and get lots of practice on precision quilting, travel stitching and echoing.

Suggestions for Use – Rise and Shine will work anywhere on your quilts and you can quilt it on any scale, or size. I personally think this would look amazing stitched on a large-scale with free motion couching. I'd love to see the bright sunshine shapes fill in a corner of a quilt, then a design like Clouds fill in another corner. That sounds like an awesome idea for a funky baby quilt!

Where do you plan to use Rise and Shine? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Have you checked out the free motion quilting design gallery lately?

I recently updated it to include all of the designs for the Free Motion Quilting Project and the walking foot designs I shared this year. I’ve also added link pages for the longarm quilting videos and quilt alongs I’ve shared as well. That's well over 700 tutorials for you to browse through and watch any time!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Leaf Peepers Quilt Along Block 4

 How to piece a quilt block

This week we are finishing up the piecing with the fourth leaf block so we can finish up the quilt top. First learn how to piece the prettiest red, orange and purple block with half and quarter square triangles.

Click Here to watch the full tutorial for this week.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Drawing Dresses and Dripping Paint

Hello My Sketchy Friends! I'm continuing my doll making adventure by sewing dresses and undergarments for Ms. Bunny. Last week I stitched three versions of this doll and finally solidified the design. Now I am focusing on drawing and planning the two dresses described in the book Mally the Maker and the Queen and the Quilt.

This is tricky because I'm basing my design on the memory of my Ms. Bunny and the dark pink calico dress she wore. Click here to read that story.

It's tricky because after making a very similar shaped dress, I realized that it's far more formal looking than what I described in the book. So this is a bit of a conundrum – do I design for what I wrote in the book or design for the memory of my own Ms. Bunny?

Ms. Bunny #1 in formal dress #1 and Ms. Bunny #5 in formal dress #2
I think the ultimate solution is to design a dress that I like and in which Ms. Bunny looks cute. These dresses just ended up looking... well, a bit old fashioned. 

I'm going to keep tweeking until I get the pattern pieces perfect (which will probably take another three tries!) and then stash this pattern away for a future pattern collection with formal dresses. I can already see making Ms. Bunny a hoop skirt and ball gown!

This is such a fun challenge because designing dress costumes was something I got interested in over a year ago. But costuming and pattern making for myself had a serious limitation: I quickly ran out of space for all the costumes! I quite literally have dresses and masks packed everywhere now.

But for Ms. Bunny and any other dolls I create from the book, the sky is the limit on garments and costumes because they're not going to take up nearly as much space. I already planned to make Ms. Bunny a set of undergarments today because that just suits her prim nature. She's just not the type to go commando! LOL!

I'm also pushing past my mental block with my sun and moon paintings today. I got bogged down with these pieces because I made several mistakes and keep seeing the mistakes instead of the overall piece. But the deadline is coming up and I have to finish them.

The ultimate lesson will be figuring out how to hide the mistakes or simply let them be and view these paintings as a fun learning experience.

What are you sketching or designing today? I hope you're having a fun time!

Let's go quilt,

Leah day

Thursday, September 6, 2018

How to Machine Quilt Hopscotch, Design #498

I've been playing around with altering some golden oldie designs to create new quilting fillers. This hopscotch design is a simple variation of paisley, but with a lot more bouncy echoes to create this funky texture. Learn how to quilt this design in this new quilting tutorial:

Quick Links to tools mentioned in today's post:

Let's learn more about quilting hopscotch.

Design family – pivoting

This design is a little tricky to place because it works a bit like a stacking design in the sense that the bouncy echoes lock together to form a solid texture over the quilt. But because it's based on Paisley, a pivoting design and all you do is add extra pivots and echoes around it, I think this best fits in the pivoting family.

That's just my esoteric way of keeping the designs organize, but it's good to know that you can look for different designs and so long as the way they are stitched is similar, you will most likely be able to quilt any of the designs in that family easily.

Difficulty level – beginner. Hopscotch isn't very challenging, but it's definitely one of those designs that needs more practice and play. I haven't yet figured out a system for when to stop pivoting and begin a new hopscotch shape. Sometimes when I go too long without creating a teardrop, the arch shapes seem to get too long and unwieldy. But other times they tend to stack identical teardrop shapes to close to one another than it looks like Paisley. Definitely looking forward to practicing and playing more with this design soon!

Suggestions for use – hopscotch will work in just about all areas of your quilts. Because you can shrink the echoes down easily this designs going to work great on a small scale. You can also increase the distance between the lines and quilt hopscotch on a large scale to I may have to give this a try with free motion couching on the long arm next week.

Do you have any questions about free motion quilting on your home machine or suggestions for new quilting tutorials? Please share in the comments below.

Let's go quilt

Leah day

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

5 Tips for Giving Quilts as Gifts

Hello my quilting friends! This week I'm talking about something I'm sure nearly all of us have struggled with: the best way to give a quilted item as a gift and how to handle our emotions if we receive a lukewarm reaction.

I'm sharing 5 easy tips on staying sane and happy during the quilt gift giving process.

Click Here to watch the podcast and read more about giving quilts as gifts.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

How to Machine Quilt Pea Soup, Design #497

What happens when you combine the swirly flame shapes of Sharp Stippling with the cute bubbles of Double Pebble? You get the recipe for Pea Soup!

Quick links to tools and supplies I'm using in this quilting tutorial:

I’m quilting with my favorite Machingers quilting gloves as usual and have a QueenSupreme Slider placed on top of my machine to make sliding the quilt block around a big easier. 

We've combined the gloves, slider, and bobbin washers in a special Quilting Kit you can check out here.

As for the machine I’m using, I’m really enjoying quilting on the Eversewn Sparrow 20. This fun little affordable sewing machine is great for piecing and free motion quilting. I am using a Low Shank Darning foot that I modified to fit this machine perfectly. 

I'm also quilting with Isacord polyester thread because it's thin, strong, and rarely breaks as I quilt.

Now let's learn more about quilting Pea Soup!

Design Family – Independent. This design is a simple variation of Sharp Stippling. You can wiggle around your quilt easily in all directions with flame shapes, and occasionally swing into the circle shapes. This is a great design to practice echoing and quilting circles because you don't have to stitch either one of them perfectly to create this pretty texture.

Difficulty Level – Beginner. Pea soup is quite an easy, fast design to quilt. If you find yourself struggling to stitch sharp points, follow my advice in the video and slow down, or stop when you're wanting a sharp point on your quilt. Then shift your hands and get a good grip on the quilt and don’t hesitate as you quilt in the new direction to make a sharp direction change.

Suggestions for Use – this design will work great anywhere on your quilt. You can quilt this on a large scale easily and make the circles really big so they take up lots of space. You can also shrink the design down to a small scale to use it to fill intense areas of your quilt as well.

Where do you think Pea Soup will work best? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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