The Free Motion Quilting Project: February 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Longarm Quilting with Mom and Pop Quilt Shop

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I'm chatting with Laura-Lynn Fulford, the mom from the Mom and Pop Quilt Shop! Listen to the episode or download it using the player below:

You can also watch the podcast and see what I'm stitching as I share the intro here:

Laura-Lynn is a longarm quilter from Canada. She and her husband share videos on longarm quilting on their Youtube channel Mom and Pop Quilt Shop.

She also has a website where you can check out all of her services. Find it at WeSewIt.Ca.

Laura-Lynn quilts on a Gammill Stattler Stitcher, which is a BIG machine! It's 16 feet all around and she can quilt 24 inches before needing to advance the quilt. She also has automation set up so the computer can drive the machine and stitch out digitized designs.

What struck me immediately about Laura-Lynn is her connection to her community. She's a crossing gaurd, teaches quilting to kids, and quilts for a living. She also does alterations and makes charity quilts for her local fire department.

Laura-Lynn always sewed and her business started naturally a few years ago when someone needed alterations. Then she and her husband decided to make it their retirement income and got a small business loan in order to purchase the longarm and a Janome Horizon 15000.

The biggest part of her business recently has been finishing quilts for people that didn't finish them before they died. These projects sound like a real challenge because they might be in a seriously unfinished state and Laura-Lynn has to figure out how to work with the fabrics, stabilize, and complete the project for the family to enjoy.

That sounds like a lot of work and could be very expensive, but Laura-Lynn tries to work with everyone. She'll barter with customers and accept straw for her chickens in exchange for alterations or other services.

We and I talked a lot about quilt basting on a longarm and basting the batting before layering the quilt top on the frame. She's made a video for you to see how this works right here. 

Laura-Lynn's longarm quilting tips:

- Check your tension with every bobbin. Weird things can happen when you change bobbins so always test off the quilt before getting into the project.

- Baste your batting so the quilt rolls up nice and square.

- Practice! The more you quilt, the better you will get.

I've shared a few videos quilting on my Grace Qnique, but Laura-Lynn was super helpful sharing her tips for setting up my cameras. She uses a Go Pro and sets it up on the handles of her longarm using a bicycle mount. She's also set up a web cam to the top of the machine that films livestreams.

With a name like Mom and Pop Quilt Shop, you know there's two people involved, but Pop is the behind the scenes guy. He helps with editing the videos, designs quilts, and digitizes designs. He's also focused on keeping an archive of their work to leave a legacy behind.

I loved talking with Laura-Lynn and learning about longarming as well as her wholesome approach to business and life. The last thing she said has really stuck with me:
There is always something to be happy about and be celebrated in the future.
Make sure to check out Laura-Lynn's website here and the Mom and Pop Quilt Shop YouTube Channel.

Now for the quilting updates from my neck of the woods...

I finished my gingerbread house! 5 years after it began, this little massively huge cross stitch project is finally finished, stitched and stuffed!

It's such a relief to have this project finished. I was very scared of cutting into the embroidery canvas but thanks to an inspiring comment from Suzi J, I knew I could do it if I stitched carefully and focused on each step.

After finishing the ornament, I fully anticipated taking a break on cross stitch and embroidery for awhile. I was packing away my supplies when I ran across another unfinished project.

This little goddess has been stashed in a bin for over 17 years! She's traveled with me from my home to college to living with Josh, always stuck in this unfinished state.

I largely put her away because I didn't know how to stabilize the edge of the aida cloth. I designed the border as an after thought after stitching the goddess design and got way too close to the edge. It shows just how far my skill and understanding of fabric has changed. Once I saw the problem, I immediately stitched along the edge and fixed it.

I added ribbon around the piece for now. I might pick that out, I might leave it. Mostly that's just stabilizer so I could put her into my embroidery frame and begin stitching.

I've also made some adjustments to her face (she was a bit grumpy before) to lighten her up. I was 16 or 17 when I designed this so...yeah...I'm allowed to change it!

Working on this project feels very different than the gingerbread house. I'm making excuses to work on it more and I'm excited about finishing it. This feels like a project I NEED to finish verses kinda sorta want to finish.

Squares and Sashing is Coming Back

Another project I'm working on this week is a video series for the Squares and Sashing Quilt. I quilted this in several years ago, but after our website change in 2015, I didn't have time to get it updated into a workshop.

But the issues with this quilt went back a bit further. I made this during a time I was very critical and saw only how my work wasn't good enough.

This week I watched the videos and honestly I have no idea what I was so upset about! They're great! I shot a new intro for the workshop along with some basics videos to get you started and I'm looking forward to getting this quilting workshop updated and back on the site in March.

It's easy to get stuck. It's also easy to look at all the ways something doesn't measure up.

Now I look at this quilt and see all the ways it's beautiful and interesting and so different from what I've been quilting for the last few years. It will be a great addition to our Quilt Shop!

Mally the Maker Update

I've set myself a tight deadline to wrap up the final scenes of Mally the Maker, my fiction quilt novel. I identified three scenes that needed the most work in order to finish the book so I'm focusing on those. Reading the scenes out loud made me cringe at first, but then I began editing and polishing and feel a lot better about my writing.

It's kind of like a gemstone - it comes out of the ground looking pretty ugly, but once polished and cut, it's gorgeous. I have a very raw gemstone in this book, but it's going to be great!

Nearing the End of Whole 30

Today is the last day of February so I only have 2 days left of my Whole 30 diet. I feel AMAZING!

I know I've lost weight (I've cheated and weighed myself), I feel smaller and stronger. I've also lost mental weight and I'm moving forward on many goals with less fear, more excitement, and getting away from that STUCK feeling I can no longer stand.

Many quilters commented last week with advice to take care of myself and not push too hard. Burnout and workaholism was a major issue for me in the past.

I do feel pressure to do more of everything: more tutorials, more patterns, more books, more workshops. The quilting world is changing and consolidating and I am a bit worried about how things are changing online.

But I also know that I wouldn't want to be doing anything else with my life! It's worth the work, it's worth the push in order to do what I love.

Catch Up on Quilting Tutorials

Speaking of things I love, I finally tackled a quilt design I've been wanting to make for years: Tumbling Blocks!

Come learn how to make a Tumbling Blocks quilt without Y-Seams! Click Here to find the tutorial and free quilt pattern.

We're continuing to quilt new walking foot quilting designs. This past week's tutorial was how to quilt Curving Lines.

Click Here to find this quilting tutorial.

Look for new walking foot quilting videos posted every Friday during the month of March. Click Here to find all of the videos shared so far.

We have another fun quilting project in the works for this spring! We will begin piecing and quilting the Prism Path quilt on April 2nd.

Yes, we're making another rainbow quilt! I can't wait to show you how to piece this unique pattern with a Bargello quilting technique and quilt it with easy walking foot quilting designs.

Would you like to find the bright rainbow batik fabrics I'm using in this quilt? Click Here to find them in a fat quarter pack.

Would you like to binge listen to the podcast while you quilt? Click Here to find all the podcast episodes and a convenient player so you can listen to them all!

You can also find a playlist of all the episodes on YouTube and watch all the videos shared at once.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, February 26, 2018

Tumbling Blocks Quilt Tutorial - No Y-Seams!

Can you make a Tumbling Blocks quilt without Y-Seams? Yes, you most certainly can!

I've been wanting to make a Tumbling Blocks quilt for awhile now, but the Y-seams (which I prefer to sew by hand) kept putting me off. So I never took on this quilt project and never tried to make a Tumbling Blocks Quilt.

Quilty Box arrived this month and brought me an awesome new cutting ruler. The Sidekick Ruler cuts 60 degree diamonds, triangles, and half triangle shapes.

I played around with the ruler a bit and YAY! We can piece a Tumbling Blocks quilt with NO Y-Seams. Even better, this can be chain pieced which makes the quilt go together in no time.

I sliced and diced and pieced and pressed and created this Tumbling Blocks Sunrise quilt. 

Each month I get Quilty Box, a subscription box of fun quilting tools, thread, and fabrics. Rather than stash these new supplies in a drawer, I challenge myself to use up the fabrics in a new quilt.

In just a few days I design a quilt, cut and piece it with help from my dad, and write a free quilt pattern for you to enjoy. It's a fun challenge and I enjoy pushing myself to work quickly and make a new quilt every month.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

P.S - Yep, there are affiliate links within this blog post because it helps support my business. This allows me to share free quilting tutorials every week. You can also help support us by checking out our Quilt Shop at

Friday, February 23, 2018

Walking Foot Quilting: How to Quilt Curving Lines

Last week we learned how to quilt Zigzag Lines, a very simple walking foot quilting design so this week let's tackle Curving Lines. This is a bit trickier to manage because the walking foot really prefers to quilt straight, so make sure to watch the video for tips on adding a wiggle to your quilts:

Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day
Would you like to learn more about walking foot quilting? Join me for a machine quilting adventure and explore all the things you can do with this beautiful style of quilting. You'll learn how to quilt 30 designs, plus how to use them in quilts of all shapes, sizes and styles, including a wholecloth quilt!

Click Here to find the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting.

There are three designs I consider the baseline for walking foot quilting: Straight Lines, Zigzag Lines, and Curving Lines. These are the basic three shapes you can form easily with a walking foot and pretty much all other designs are just a variation of one of these.

Of the three, Curving Lines can be the trickiest because it's...well...curvy.

It's not that curves are hard, it's just that they require a bit more time and attention to quilt with a walking foot. To create the curves, you'll need to pivot your quilt and push it gently to form the curve as the walking foot feeds the quilt forward.

It's better to quilt shallow curves so you don't have to shift the quilt dramatically. As you stitch a small curve you can angle the quilt very slightly with every stitch so the walking foot manages the direction changes.

Watch Out for Whiskers!

But there is a weird thing that can show up with curves, even shallow ones. Quilting at an angle to your fabric can create ripples and this is especially prone to happening when you're shifting the quilt into a curve and quilting at the same time.

See those ripples that stared between the curves in the photo above? This is called whiskering. It's just a gentle ripple forming on the quilt surface and it's really not so bad. I wouldn't rip out stitches if this shows up.

But whiskers can lead to pleats. If the quilt is particularly big and the whiskers become deeper and more fabric shifts, it can create enough distortion that the fabric forms pleats when one design overlaps another or you run up against some sort of outline, like stitching in the ditch.

To avoid whiskering, lift up on your foot often to reduce the tension on the quilt and pressure of the walking foot on the fabric.

Wear quilting gloves and flatten out the quilt with your hands as you stitch the curves. If the curve becomes deep, stop, lift the foot, and rotate the quilt slightly to follow the angle rather than trying to stitch and twist the quilt to follow the path.

That's a lot of curves!

I love quilting on a 1/2 inch scale with my walking foot because that's the automatic spacing I get when I use the edge of the foot as a guide. But you could increase this scale and have less lines to quilt and less time on your project by using a guide bar.

Click Here to see how I used a guide bar when quilting Gridlines.

You can also mark the design on your quilt too. This is especially helpful when you want flowing curves that don't perfectly echo one another or you want a much wider spacing of 4 inches or more between the lines.

Click Here to find my favorite marking pencils for fabric marking. No, it's not cheating to mark a design on your quilt! You have to mark designs when you want the lines to fill a space symmetrically or in an exact way.

I definitely marked the curves in this "X" block from the Hugs and Kisses quilt so it formed evenly spaced curves that crossed in the center. When you overlap curves like this, I call this Matrix. That will be another design we'll learn how to quilt together soon!

If you'd like to get more practice with walking foot quilting on blocks so big they feel like baby quilts, consider making the Hugs and Kisses Quilt. This is a Quilt-As-You-Go project with nine supersized blocks and lots of space to quilt many walking foot designs.

You can find this quilt pattern along with Marvelous Mosaic and five other skill-building projects in the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.

Don't forget to check out our other videos on walking foot quilting! Click Here to find them all.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

No Sewing Until You Quilt with Ann Holmes, Podcast Episode 46

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I'm chatting with Ann Holmes, the creator of my favorite No Sewing Until You Quilt It applique technique. Get to know Ann and her assistant Rachel and how this cool technique works in this podcast.

Listen to the episode or download it to listen anytime:

Or watch the podcast and see me cooking sausage and apples for lunch!

Click Here to check out Ann's website Ann is both a stained glass artist as well as a quilter and her goal in creating the No Sewing Until You Quilt It Applique technique was to easily make her original stained glass art into quilts.

It's a wonderful technique for creating smooth curves without having to sew. Yep, you do have to glue though! You can watch Ann's videos to see how she does No Sewing Until You Quilt It on her YouTube Channel here.

Ann mentioned working on many quilts in this podcast. One of my favorites is Summer's End which is also on the cover of her book:

Another beautiful example of what you can do with the No Sew technique her with Enchanted Evening:

The last quilt here is Cygnus where flying geese form a quilting constellation. These beautiful swirling shapes make me want to go pull out fabric right now and start slicing! Remember, this is not pieced - it's turned edge applique built on a base of French Fuse:

I do hope you'll check out Ann's website and her YouTube Channel to learn more from her.

We carry her book No Sewing Until You Quilt It and package it with a 1 yard pack of French Fuse so you can try the technique immediately. Click Here to learn more.

Now for the updates around the house!

This week I've shared a huge three part binding series to guide you through all the steps to binding your quilts completely by machine.

That finishes up our Rainbow Log Cabin Quilt completely! This has been a wonderful project and I've really loved sharing it with you.

Remember you can always join in the fun and make this quilt too. Click Here to find the quilt pattern in the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting.

We will be continuing the Machine Quilting Party into March working on our Marvelous Mosaic quilt. Every Friday you'll find a new quilting tutorial guiding you through quilting a new walking foot quilting design on your home machine.

This quilt along has definitely been keeping me busy and this week I've been filming the videos for Prism Path which we will begin in April.

I've also been working hard on my fiction novel Mally the Maker. It's funny, just last week I thought I'd settled on the subtitle, but nope! I just changed it again. I'm going to wait until I finish the book completely before I finally settle on the final title.

I've also been working hard on a very fun project made from this month's Quilty Box. The box included an awesome Sidekick Ruler that is so wonderfully designed. It cuts diamonds and triangle shapes super easily and very accurately.

So I've tumbled down the rabbit hole that is Tumbling Block quilts and I'm not sure I'll be emerging anytime soon. These are so much fun!

Be looking forward to this Tumbling Block Mini Quilt tutorial on Monday Feb 26th.

Nope, I didn't get much done on Dream Goddess or fabric design this week because I spend a lot of time playing with tumblers. But I had loads of fun and made a quilt just for me and that feels great.

A lot is changing in the quilting world and as I mentioned at the end of my introduction, businesses that were once considered the best and brightest can suddenly disappear.

It's certainly made me much more introspective this week and take stock of what I'm creating and sharing, and how I feel about my business in general. I'm working on letting go of a lot of weight I've been carrying around in the form of regrets and working happier and lighter.

It certainly feels amazing to be wrapping up Mally The Maker and I'm really looking forward to what comes next for this new quilting / writing challenge.

I love hearing from you so please leave a comment if you enjoyed the show and let me know what you're working on as you listen!

Click Here to find all the podcast videos listed in a playlist so you can listen to them all in reverse order. Yes, binge watching or listening is a great thing!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Ultimate Quilt Binding Tutorial

how to bind a quilt
We're officially finished with our first quilt for the Machine Quilting Party this year! The Rainbow Log Cabin was such a beautiful quilt to create together and I'm so happy to see all the different variations you've made.

Today is all about quilt binding and I have three videos to guide you through this process. Yes, three!

The first step is to prepare your quilt for binding by stitching a victory lap and trimming the edges straight and square. Click Here to find this quilting tutorial.

The next step is to prepare your binding fabric and stitch it to one side of your quilt. Yes, the side you stitch it on does matter! Learn why in this quilting tutorial.

Finally the last step is to wrap the binding fabric around the edge of your quilt and stitch it in place. You have to fold the corners at this stage to create a perfect miter in each corner. Click Here to find this quilting tutorial.

Quilt binding is the last step of the quilting process and it secures the outermost edges of your quilt so the quilt can be washed, drug around the house, and cuddled with on your bed.

Binding is also the part of the process that I just want DONE. I want this job finished and done in a day.

This is why I machine bind my quilts. I attach the binding strip to the edge and I stitch it closed all on the machine so the job gets done quickly and easily.

Yes, I do hand bind some quilts that are particularly special or when I plan to compete with the quilt in a quilt show. You can learn how to hand bind a quilt in the Heart & Feather Wholecloth Workshop.

So that's it for the Rainbow Log Cabin Quilt!

I do hope you've enjoyed this quilting project and you've learned a lot about walking foot quilting. Remember you can always find this quilt pattern in the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.

Click Here to find all the videos we've shared for the Rainbow Log Cabin Quilt.

I've had a great time sharing this beautiful quilt with you and I can't wait to see your cheerful versions of this quilt! Make sure to contact us to share a picture if you make a Rainbow Log Cabin quilt too.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, February 16, 2018

Walking Foot Quilting: How to Quilt Zigzag Lines

Happy Friday my quilting friend! This week we finished the last line of quilting on the Rainbow Log Cabin quilt, but we're still going strong on the Marvelous Mosaic Quilt. Let's learn how to fill a square with Zigzag lines today:

Click Here to find the pattern and tons of info about walking foot quilting in book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.

Quilting Zigzag Lines is pretty simple and it will hopefully feel easy for you because we're getting back to straight line quilting.

The one tricky thing about this design is the direction changes. It's really helpful to have some horizontal lines marked on your quilt to mark where the lines are changing direction so you don't have to guess and stop and rotate your quilt a lot.

I mark my lines with a ceramic marking pencil you can find here. I love this pencil because it shows up great on medium to dark fabrics, but brushes off the fabric easily after you quilt over it.

For lighter fabrics, I use a water soluble pen which makes really nice fine lines too that are also easy to follow. Make sure to follow the instructions and fully submerge your quilt when marking with a water soluble pen. Just spritzing the surface with water doesn't cut it and won't wash out the blue color completely.

Guiding with the Edge

As you've probably picked up by now, I quilt most designs using the edge of my quilting foot as a guide which spaces the lines 1/2 inch apart.

The main reason for this is laziness, yeah, I admit it, I'm pretty lazy and I don't like fiddling with a guide bar if I don't have to. The edge of the walking foot is right there and easy to see and line things up with so it saves time to use that as a guide.

But my laziness has a double edged sword because 1/2 inch spaced lines are pretty close. That is a LOT of quilting to put into a big quilt and if you combine it with a really dense batting your quilt may end up feeling stiff on this scale.

If you want it to feel softer and get the quilting done faster, either mark the lines or use a guide bar and you'll be long finished with your quilt while I'm chugging away with 1/2 inch spaced lines.

Stopping, Starting, and Pivoting

I've gotten a lot of questions lately about accidentally stitching over the masking tape we use to mark a lot of the designs we've quilted both on Marvelous Mosaic and the Rainbow Log Cabin.

I've never accidentally stitched over my tape so I think the main issue is speed control. Walking foot quilting is slower and it pays to slow down, sometimes taking one stitch at a time.

When you're stitching up to a direction change that's exactly how slow you should go so you don't overshoot the direction change. It's when you line up those zigzags just right that you get a really cool effect over the quilt.

So slow down! Take your time and maintain your focus as you quilt these designs. It actually saves time to slow down because then you don't have to stop and rip out mistakes or pick out tape from your stitches!

Design Families

I hope you're starting to see similarities between these walking foot quilting designs and how they're quilted. With Zigzag Lines, we've learned three Edge to Edge Designs. 

Click Here to find the quilting tutorial on Straight Lines, which includes Walking Foot Quilting Basics.

Click Here to find the tutorial on Crazy Lines.

These designs are all super easy to understand because they're just lines stitched from edge to edge across your quilting space. What are the edges of your quilt? This could be the edge of a block, seamline, a line you mark, the edge of another design or motif, etc.

If you'd like to learn more about the different families of walking foot quilting designs, be sure to pick up a copy of Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day. You'll learn how to quilt 30 fun designs and learn multiple techniques for using those designs in your quilts.

Click Here to find the book in print format.

Click Here to find the book in PDF ebook format.

Click Here to find this book on the Kindle!

Looking for more walking foot quilting designs to quilt with me? Click Here to find all the videos we've shared so far this year!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Interview with My Sister Camille! Podcast #45

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I have a really fun interview with my sister, Camille Gray, about her experience with the Whole 30 diet. Listen or download the episode to your player here:

Or watch and see what I'm stitching during the intro, which happens to be at the end of the video for this episode:

My sister had a radical transformation on the Whole 30 Diet. Here's her Before Picture, which was a few years ago:

And here's her After Picture on the beach last summer:

Camille works out to videos from Rebecca Louise Fitness. Click Here to check out her channel.

This is the ab workout that totally beat me to a pulp. Thankfully I can do most of the moves now with only 2 weeks of effort. It really will build quickly if you do it every day!

I am cheating on the Whole 30 Diet with creamer in my coffee. I do add a few spoonfuls of heavy whipping cream to my coffee every morning.

Camille cheats on honey and tequila. LOL! But definitely not together!

Eating out is tough, but you can do it. I've found Mexican restaurants very easy to find meals with just meat, usually cooked in salsa. I just have to control myself and not eat the corn chips!

Camille doesn't obsess about a little sugar in things like mayonnaise, sausage, and when there's a bit in foods she eats at restaurants. But she has been on the diet for 10 months and is a size 0 now. She does advise sticking with the diet hardcore for the first 30 days.

A typical day for Camille looks like this:

- Larabar for breakfast (look for the ones without peanut butter or chocolate. I like Cherry Pie and Banana Bread the best!)

- Apples and almond butter for snack

- Lunch is scrambled egg, compliant bacon or sausage

- Dinner is usually a big cooked meal and they try to make leftovers so her husband can take it to work the next day for lunch.

They makes a lot of "cheat" meals that are meant to taste close to the real thing, but made healthy and Whole 30 compliant. So really, it's not a cheat at all!

I'm having a bit more trouble with cooking because Josh and James are not joining me with the diet. So far we've had a good experience splitting meals and sometimes I will cook a steak for myself while Josh makes something different.

I have had some hard days. Some days I just feel hungry all day and I'm eating a lot, but it's like I'm a bottomless pit. I've also struggled to let go of the old comfort foods like coffee with sugar and a cookie.

Camille finds her comfort in exercise (what?!) and cracking pistachios with her husband. I think it will take me more time to get to a point (probably never) when exercise replaces a sugary treat. I'm still in the early days and determined to get my sugar addiction under control.

That being said, last week my sister sent me a recipe that is only a cheat if you add the maple syrup. Seriously, these carrot cake bites are divine and you definitely don't need to add the maple syrup.

I do find that my body will react to these the same way they do a candy bar so I still need to be careful with eating them. I don't think I'll be accomplishing much if I continue to chow down on dates instead of dealing with my sugar cravings as they come.

I did try unsweetened chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine's Day and they were....gross.

Chocolate needs sugar! I added a bit of honey and they were at least edible, but still not great. I'm going to enjoy strawberries without chocolate for the rest of the month instead.

Food Changes, Work Changes

Changing my diet has changed a lot of things beyond just the food I'm eating. I've had to slow down and take better care of myself this week. I've had to admit that I took on a lot with the Machine Quilting Party and I need to lighten my load.

I struggle with taking time for myself and being kind to myself. Trust me, sharing 3+ videos plus blog posts per week is a lot of work. It's effort to shoot the videos, get everything organized, and carry the tutorial through to the finish. I want to go, go, go and I expect my body to put up with anything I throw at it.

Well, this past week, my body said "NO!" in a big way and I had to stop, take a nap, rest, and quit pushing so hard. My favorite thing is to take a washcloth and soak it in hot water, wring it out and rest on the couch with it over my eyes. That seriously chills me out and makes me feel really good.

Because I've needed to slow down, we're not going to start the Prism Path quilt immediately. I'm pushing that back to April 2nd which will give me the extra time I need to shoot the videos and have Josh edit them.

We have added Batik Fat Quarter Packs to the quilt shop if you'd like to use the same rainbow color of fabrics to your quilt too.

Come on, Finish it Already!

I've realized this week how many unfinished projects I have laying around with just a bit of stitching left and they will be done. The biggest is Dream Goddess, which has been unfinished for 3+ years with only a few days worth of quilting left to be done.

The main reason she's not finished is the binding technique for the edges as I mentioned in the podcast. Yep, this is on my list for this week to work on this quilt and at least get the quilting done.

I need to stop putting it off just because I'm afraid of the next step.

The same goes for my book, which now has a tentative title! Mally the Maker: The Witch in the Quilt. I have a few other sub-titles I'm thinking about, but this is feeling good right now. This week I hit 75,000 words! My original goal was 70,000 words, so this is huge!

Even more important - I only have a handful of scenes left to write to end the book on a dramatic note. So why haven't I finished it already?

I'm scared.

When I type "The End" I will not longer be writing this book, I will be diving into a whole new world of editing and polishing to get it into the best shape it can possibly be. That feels like a huge leap, and I don't know what to expect.

I must stop treading water between previous scenes and knit-picking stuff that will be best left sorted out later. Finish it already Leah!

I did manage to finish one thing, thankfully. During the podcast I finished stitching the quilt tag and hanging sleeve for this Love the Light Wholecloth Quilt.

This is one of the quilts from the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting and was the last bit of stitching to finish up. It feels great that it's done and now I'm going to channel more Finishing Energy into completing Dream Goddess and the Mally the Maker book too!

I'm still not sure if I can meet these challenges. It's a tall order to even wrap my brain around these two huge projects being finished in 14 days. But I know it would feel great to have both done by the end of this month.

One last thing I'm challenging myself to pursue is fabric design. I don't expect this to be finished by the end of February, but I do want to work on it a little bit every day.

I have dabbled a bit with Spoonflower, but I've always known I could do a lot more with it, if I only took the time to learn how to design fabric more quickly and build successful collections.

The only way to learn this is jump into it! I'm taking the time to draw every day and watch videos on Illustrator on YouTube. I will never accomplish this goal if I keep sitting on the sidelines, dipping my toes in. I have to jump in face first and just see what happens.

Do you have things like this that you've been waiting to pursue? What has been the major stumbling block holding you back? What would push you into action?

Personally I'm tired of waiting. I'm ready to rise to the challenge of my life and do the things I've been only thinking about for years. Thinking about it doesn't get it done! It just keeps me spinning my wheels in place, worrying over the same things I can only answer if I actually make a start.

So it's February 14th. I have 14 days until the end of the month, a book to write, a quilt to finish quilting, fabric to design, and videos to shoot. Whew! Let's get started.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, February 12, 2018

Quilting to the Corners on the Rainbow Log Cabin Quilt

We're on the home stretch quilting the Rainbow Log Cabin quilt for the Machine Quilting Party! I hope you've had as much fun as I have piecing and quilting this beautiful quilt this year.

Today we're quilting through the corners with more Bright Star. This simple straight-line design will fill in these spaces beautifully and best of all, the quilting will feel so much easier because you'll only have a corner of the quilt in the arm of the machine.

Learn how to quilt through the corners of a big quilt in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the quilt pattern in the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.

We've shared many tutorials on this quilt pattern that you might have missed! Click here to find all the videos shared so far.

Mark Bright Star Quick and Easy

Just like quilting the center of our Rainbow Log Cabin quilt, we're marking the straight lines in the corners using masking tape. I found it worked best to mark half the lines in a corner, quilt along them, then mark the second half of the lines.

That seemed to work best, but as you saw in the video, I sometimes fought with the tape a bit in the corners because it would easily cover up the area I needed to see to quilt through.

You could also mark the lines using a yard stick and a marking pencil too. There's no right or wrong way to do it so please experiment with different marking methods to see what works best for you.

Quilting with Contrast

The most frequent questions I'm asked about quilting is about about thread: what color, what to use in the bobbin, and how much to contrast.

For this section I used Isacord Apple Green in both the top and bobbin of my machine. I always, 99.9% of the time match the same color thread in the bobbin and the top. I do this because no machine has perfect tension all the time and there is nothing more frustrating than seeing little pops of color pulling up to the front or down to the back.

I hate that and struggled with it and yelled at my machines for years before I finally gave up and realized I was acting nuts. Why struggle and fight and give myself headaches when I could instead match thread colors and hide those little tension fluctuations instead?

When I made that decision my life became so much simpler. Instead of worrying and fretting about what was going in the bobbin of the machine and how to adjust the tension to match it, I just wound a bobbin off the top thread spool and I was ready to quilt.

Now for contrasting thread, this is a big one. Apple Green is a strong contrast to the blue, purple, red, and black sections I quilted over in the corners of the Rainbow Log Cabin.

I'm just going to say it straight: I like contrasting thread.

I like being able to see where I'm stitching and I like the quilting to be an element you can see in the quilt. I bothered to stitch it on, I should get some credit for it!

But I understand the fear of contrasting thread on a quilt. What if I mess up? What if my ugly stitches show? What if someone sees my ugly stitches and judges me for it?

I struggled with this myself at the beginning of this blog project back in 2009. I wasn't a very good quilter and still struggled to travel stitch and echo cleanly. But I wanted to be a good teacher and I wanted everyone to see what I was doing so I started quilting with white thread - super high contrast against the darker fabrics I was quilting over.

And what would you know - my skill shot through the roof in just a few months! Being able to SEE your stitching is essential. If you can't see it, you're quilting in the dark and not likely to improve in a hurry.

So moving forward, as you quilt other quilts on your home machine please continue contrasting thread. It doesn't have to be as bold a contrast as on the Rainbow Log Cabin Quilt, but at least a little contrast so you can see your stitching and improve with each design you quilt.

Now that we're done quilting the Rainbow Log Cabin quilt, how are you feeling? Did you enjoy this process? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

And just in case you've found this later, please know you can join in the fun anytime. The videos will remain online forever and you can find this quilt pattern in the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.

Next week we will wrap up this project with a huge tutorial on quilt binding and then be ready to begin working on our second quilt of the year!

Update - What about the back?!

I received a lot of questions about what the BACK of my Rainbow Log Cabin Quilt looked like. I used a very dark backing fabric so the thread and quilting designs stand out quite a lot.

You can see what the back of the quilt looks like in the two last tutorials for this quilt: How to Bind a Quilt and How to Finish the Binding.

Make sure to watch these videos to see what the back of my quilt looked like. I might not contrast quite as drastically next time, but it's really nice to see what my quilting looked like on both sides!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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