The Free Motion Quilting Project: May 2018

Thursday, May 31, 2018

End of an Era

Maybe it's a bit of an exaggeration to call this an Era, but it does feel pretty momentous! My little boy graduated from lower school today and is headed off to middle school next year to begin 5th grade.

At James's school the younger kids aren't allowed to wear sandals until 5th grade so for the graduation, they give the kids flip flops to celebrate their new freedom of footwear.

I thought I might get a bit sad today, but instead everything about the graduation and move to middle school made me happy. My little boy is growing up!

It's only going to be 8 more short years and we will be watching him graduate from high school. This makes me even more focused on enjoying the time we have together.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Quilt Design with the Quiltrovert

Quiltrovert! I love the name Niki Gordham-Harrison goes by on Instagram. Today she's on the Hello My Quilting Friends podcast and we're talking about how she became a quilter just 8 months ago and is already designing her own quilts and writing patterns.

Click Here to find this new podcast episode.

It's really interesting to see how different quilters get into this wonderful craft. Some quilters instantly begin designing and playing with shapes, while others prefer to follow patterns and not have to worry about the math coming out right.

The thing I love most about our wonderful craft is how amazing it is that so many creative people can be supported by this hobby. From sewing machine dealers to quilt pattern designers, there is enough room for everyone.

I honestly think that the huge size and stability of the quilting industry has a lot to do with how it developed naturally from women sharing ideas from one to another.

Other crafts that I've studied, like glass beadmaking, were once shrouded in mystery and kept secret by powerful guilds that would kill you if you shared information too freely. I think these crafts have suffered from a lack of new ideas and innovation because of their closely guarded secrets.

And you doubt this makes an impact, how many towns in America have glass guilds? How many towns have quilt guilds?

You can bet on just about every sizeable town in America at least having a local quilt bee that gets together on a regular basis to stitch together. That is the power of sharing with an open heart!

I hope you enjoy this interview with Nika. Half of the interview she shared her journey, then I turned the questions over to her so she could ask me about writing patterns and how I approach making a living with quilting.

Click Here to find the episode.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

May Quilty Box Challenge

It's Quilty Box time! This month's box arrived and I decided it was time for a challenge, or technically a series of challenges. See what I mean in this new video:

Click Here to find the Eternal Love Quilt Pattern

Affiliate - Learn more about Quilty Box and how you can get a big box of fun gear and beautiful fabrics every month! Click Here to learn more.

I honestly had no idea going into making this quilt what it would look like or if it would even work. I've never made a goddess quilt using printed fabrics and I was worried the similar colors would blend together too much and make a mess.

But it turned out gorgeous!

Sometimes you just have to let go of the fear of wasting your time and try something new. Yes, some of the fabrics did blend together a bit in the hair section, but it honestly doesn't matter. The overall look of the quilt is awesome!

I'm so glad I took on this challenge and then kept the experiment going by trying out different decorative stitches in the hair. I didn't have time to pursue that for very long, but it did give me lots of ideas for future projects that would incorporate decorative stitching as a design element. I finished off the remaining edges with a simple zigzag stitch so I could move quickly to the quilting.

And that's where the third challenge came in - longarm quilting!

I've never quilted a goddess quilt or any sort of wall hanging for that matter on the longarm frame. No, this did not turn out perfect and there were a few times I really wanted to rip out stitches (and my hair) because I just wasn't in control and things did start to look ugly at times.

But I had to keep going because I had to shoot this video and the quilt couldn't stay on the frame forever. It's really nice to have deadlines like this that force you to MOVE!

So I finished it in a day, perfectly imperfect in every way. This quilt ended up taking only 4 days of work from start to finish: cutting and fusing the appliques, blanket stitching, and two days to quilt.

If you had told me before this month that I could make Eternal Love that quickly, I would have laughed at you. It just goes to show you can do a lot more than you think, and if you let go of perfection, you can probably do even more!

Would you like to make this pretty goddess quilt with me?

Starting June 4th, we're going to start the Eternal Love Quilt Along! In just 5 weeks we will construct this quilt, finish the edges, and quilt it together. Click Here to find the Eternal Love quilt pattern to join in the fun!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, May 28, 2018

Look at that Hat!

Two weeks ago I shot a podcast introduction wearing my pretty rose flower hat I made for a Kentucky Derby party and I asked if you'd like to learn how to make one too.

The response was overwhelming! Everyone wants to wear pretty hats so I picked a new batch of flowers and a new hat and set to work. Learn how to make your own cheerful sunflower hat in this tutorial:

Would you like to see the other hats and Flower Girl costume I've made? Click Here to find the full tutorial at

I've been pleasantly surprised by how happy wearing a hat makes me feel. Before I'd leave the house with my hair messy and just pulled up in a gross bun and I wouldn't feel like smiling or interacting with anyone.

But now I can cover up my messy hair with a pretty hat and it makes me feel put together and decorated. When I wear a hat, my goals are different. I want to share smiles and make the world a prettier, happier place.

I hope you'll join in the fun and make a funky flowered hat too!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Bright Beautiful Weekend

I hope you're having a bright and sunny weekend!

We took a quick trip to Asheville, NC over the weekend to enjoy great food and relax. I don't know about you, but May always feels crazy busy right until the very end.

All I can say is I'm ready for May to be over, school to be out, and the summer to begin!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, May 25, 2018

How to Quilt Windy Feathers

I'm taking a break from walking foot quilting this week to bring you a new free motion quilting tutorial! Learn how to quilt Windy Feathers with me in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the full tutorial and extra video on Windy Feathers!

James is chomping at the bit to get out of the house and off on a short trip. I'm looking forward to a bit of time away so I can come home refreshed and ready to hit the ground running with the Eternal Love Quilt Along in June.

I hope you have an amazing Memorial Day weekend!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, May 24, 2018

What Can You Do in 1 Hour?

Hello my quilting friend! I have a new podcast for you this week with a big update on what's going on around the house. Many huge projects are finally getting finished, or moving steadily in that direction and I'm feeling great about my progress on Mally the Maker, my quilt fiction novel.

Click Here to find this podcast episode.

The main theme of this podcast was about how to reach your goals in tiny increments, every single day. In the past 8 months I've written a full length (90,000 word) fiction novel, designed rulers with Grace Company, worked with C&T Publishing to create a calendar, posted three videos or more per week, and hosted multiple quilt alongs.

You might be wondering if I ever sleep. I certainly used to get that question a lot when I taught quilting in person.

Yes, of course I sleep. I LOVE sleep! If I didn't sleep well every single night, I wouldn't be able to do anything the next day or probably the next week.

How I get so much done is simple - I work on it all a little bit every day. 1 hour of time every day adds up. So long as you put that effort in every single day, it will pay off eventually.

Even if you don't want to run a business or write a book, I hope you will apply this to your quilts. If you have a growing stack of quilt tops, but no finished quilts, it's time to check in on that. What do you want to finish? What MUST you finish?

Pull out that quilt and work on it 1 hour per day. You'll be surprised by how quickly you finish it!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Playtime on My New Machine

I'm still getting to know my new sewing machine and the best way to get acquainted is to play! I decided it was time to update my walls with new hoop quilts for the spring so I pulled out some cheerful purple fabric, picked a handful of designs, and began quilting.

Join in this free motion quilting playtime with me:

Click Here to learn more about the Eversewn Sparrow 20, the machine I'm quilting on in this video.

No, I'm not using a stitch regulator. This is just my hands moving the quilt and my foot pressing on the foot pedal. It does take time and practice to get the hang of balancing your hand movement with the speed of your machine running.

I'm still getting the hang of quilting on this new machine so I made several big stitches while quilting this little hoop quilt. The best thing to do is throw more thread at it! Cover up those mistakes and keep on quilting.

Read more about this free motion quilting adventure right here.

Have you given yourself permission to play lately? Play is fun, it's light and carefree and best of all, there's no right or wrong, good or bad. Do kids on a playground stop playing and begin criticizing the way they swing or slide? Nope.

Focus on the fun, and if you make a mistake just throw a little thread at it or stick something else on top!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, May 21, 2018

Something Pretty This Way Comes

Just a quick, pretty image to start the day off right!

Try saying that to someone today. I promise, you will make them feel like a million bucks!

Even better yet, go quilt it. Quilting beautiful words is such a powerful practice. And here's a link to see this entire quilt.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, May 20, 2018

First Round of Editing DONE!

I'm sorry I've been missing the last two days. I dove head first into Mally the Maker on Friday and decided it was time to finish the first round of editing and I'm so happy to say it's DONE!

Seriously I've been doing lots and lots of fist pumps since 3 pm today because that was a LONG process. I finished writing the first draft of the book back in March and Josh took a week to edit the text.

And then I've been stuck in it ever since. Yes, I do use the word stuck because it was like wading through the Swamp of No Fun.

I really love writing and towards the end of writing this book, I really felt myself speed up and get into a groove. Editing is much slower, very detailed, and I like to do it downstairs on my big computer screen which is on a regular desk so I can't stand or walk and work on it.

Side note: I've build a makeshift standing treadmill desk upstairs which only supports a small laptop. I like working on it, but a bigger screen really makes a big difference. I was missing a lot of typos and duplicate words because my screen was so tiny. Yes, I can walk and write at the same time - very, very slowly!

So I've been in editing mode since March and I fixed a lot of mistakes. I added two new spaces to the map, sorted out a lot of inconsistencies, and strengthened a lot of spots that were a bit weak.

I did get stuck twice - both times because I re-wrote a significant section of the text that then spiraled into more changes further in the book. I sorted it out, dug myself out of the hole and swore to myself, Josh, and every scrap of fabric I have left in the house that I will not do that again!

So what is next for Mally the Maker? More editing!

Josh is already reading through the book a second time and making more corrections. I'll add those in, then do two more rounds of editing by listening to the book while I quilt. That's the way I read most fiction novels - as audiobooks - so that's the best way for me to edit. I can keep my ears on the book and my eyes on my quilt and catch minor changes in word choice and things like that as I listen.

Now all this might sound like the book is terrible. I promise you this is just a polishing process. It's the step of going from a drawn quilt pattern on paper to working out the math and size to be most efficient. This is the process of fixing typos, duplicate words, and all my misplaced commas and apostrophes that could potentially pull you out of the book.

The story itself is rock solid. I honestly think this is the second best thing I've ever made (James will always be the best).

Multiple parts make me cry every time I read them. Despite the fact that I plotted the book before starting, it twisted and turned in ways I didn't expect. I heard on a recent writing podcast - No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader - and I absolutely agree.

This process has been surprising, fun, challenging, and amazing all rolled into one.

And it's only just beginning! Josh has the galley now and is already reading through it. I'm still going to wake up an hour early every morning and begin working on the artwork, quilt patterns, and doll patterns for the characters in the book.

This has been the part I've been most looking forward to for months and I can't wait to start making images, designs, and quilts to go along with the book. Yay! We're one step closer to making Mally the Maker a reality!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, May 18, 2018

How to Quilt Pinstripe Curves

What's curvy and spacey and lots of fun? Pinstripe Curves! Learn how to quilt this design in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the full tutorial

This is our 20th design from the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting which means it's time to connect your blocks to make the Marvelous Mosaic Quilt!

Click Here to find the Quilt as You Go Tutorial

The tutorial above is for connecting super-sized quilt blocks together for the Hugs and Kisses Quilt, but I used the exact same technique for Marvelous Mosaic. Follow the instructions in the book and connect your blocks, then bind the edges and your quilt will be complete!

I still have 10 designs to share from the book, but I've decided to change things up and add a bit of free motion quilting or longarm quilting to the new videos. Be looking forward to more machine quilting variety every Friday!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Copyright Law and Quilting

Hello My Quilting Friends! I have a new quilting friend for you to meet today. Heather Kubiak is a copyright attorney and quilter, which is a terrific combination in my opinion! In our conversation, she helped clear up a lot of confusion about copyright as well as opened my eyes to a lot of crazy implications for sharing images on public sites like Pinterest and Facebook.

Click Here to find this episode.

I know this is the second podcast we've done on copyright, which isn't the most fun of topics I'll admit, but please understand this is a major concern for quilt pattern writers and designers.

I see a lot of misinformation wandering around in the world as well as a lot of bent out of shape quilters that seem to think techniques and methods can be copyrighted (sorry, they can't). You can watch all the free motion quilting tutorials I've shared, teach yourself the designs, then go teach them yourself and use the exact same information I've taught.

That's perfectly legal and that's a great thing because otherwise we would all be stuck in little boxes standing perfectly still because walking, running, talking, and every form of stitch work imaginable would be protected by some form of copyright and we'd all have to pay royalties to someone for breathing.

Methods / techniques are utilitarian. You cannot copyright methods.

I've personally experienced bullying a few times from tutorials I've shared and even recently received a take-down notice from a quilter who didn't like that I used her tool in a video. Hello? Free advertising? Fair use? Did you not create this for quilters to use to make quilts?

That experience just left me shaking my head in absolute wonder at the crazy pills some professional quilters seem to take. Please don't fire off copyright claims and take-down notices unless you actually know what you're talking about!

So if you've ever experienced copyright bullying or excessive copyright claim, I hope this podcast helps you feel better. If you're still feeling confused, contact Heather Kubiak and get her help mediating the issue. Yes, it is worth it to have peace of mind and the issue resolved once and for all.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

New Quilt Along in the Works!

Yes, today I'm making it official - I'm hosting a new goddess quilt along!

I received so many super supportive, kind emails and comments about Eternal Love, the new goddess quilt pattern released last week in time for Mother's Day.

Click Here to learn more about this Quilt Along and find the schedule.

I honestly wasn't sure if anyone would be interested in making this in a Quilt Along. It's definitely a far cry from the traditional quilts I've shared in the past.

So I'm super excited to share this new project and teach you lots of fun techniques for fusible applique and free motion quilting. This is going to be a very quick quilt along with just 5 videos shared in June and July.

Let me know if you have any questions between now and then!

Click Here to find the Eternal Love Quilt Pattern

Click Here to find the Quilting Kit

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, May 14, 2018

How Do I Quilt This?!

Do you wish I was still posting videos here? Are you missing my tutorials getting posted where they are easier to find? I'm still working out a good system for organizing everything at, so I think I'll continue to post videos here occasionally.

Here's what I shared today asking the question How Do I Quilt This Quilt?!

This was such a fun video to share and I really love digging into the design process. This is exactly how I plan my quilting design for any quilt. Pencil. Piece of paper. Eraser. Maybe a ruler if I can find one (I usually can't since they seem to grow legs in my house and run away from me).

So I hope you found that helpful and will use it to plan your own quilting designs from now on.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope you've had a wonderful, relaxing, beautiful day with your family!

Josh and James got up early this morning and made me breakfast, then I spent several hours working on Mally the Maker, then pieced a mess of half square triangles, then jumped in the pool, and now Josh is going to make our usual Sunday spaghetti.

James is working on a silly comic strip and I'll probably sit down and draw at the table with him after I finish writing this. Simple, fun, and relaxing - the best Mother's Day ever!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Trip Down Memory Road

Last night I was working on a detailed post about the inspiration and journey of making the Eternal Love quilt and found myself wandering down a trip through James's birth and little baby time.

I believe this was around August 2008, so about a year before I started this blog. James was SO lovey! These days when I swing my arm out for a hug, he dodges and runs away. Gotta say, that breaks my heart a little every time (but in a good way. He's growing up!)

So that's what I'm thinking about today. That little guy and how much he's grown up. He'll be graduating into middle school at the end of this month which just blows my mind. Here we are scrubbing the treadle base together a few weeks ago:

He wasn't all that happy with me, hence the frowny face. Yeah, I have a feeling even smiles are going to be a rare occurrence for the next few years. No worries! I have a big enough smile for both of us!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, May 11, 2018

Two Tutorials in One Day?

Yeah, I'm feeling like a bit of an overachiever today! I've shared two new quilting tutorials for you:

How to Quilt Crazy Grid

How to Quilt-As-You-Go with Supersized Blocks

I know a lot of quilters following along with the Marvelous Mosaic quilt are just about ready to put their blocks together. I demonstrated this Quilt-As-You-Go technique on the Hugs and Kisses quilt, but it's the exact same technique you'll use to combine the blocks for Marvelous Mosaic.

Whew! We're just about finished up with our third quilt from the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day. This has been such a fun year so far and it's only going to get better from here!

Thanks to everyone's awesome support, we are going to do an Eternal Love mini Quilt Along this summer and then I have an awesome Quilt Along planned with Sheri Cilfaldi-Morrill this fall. Lots of fun quilts and learning to come!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Bit More Scrubbing

I haven't had a lot of time to work on my treadle machines this week, but yesterday I wandered out to the red barn for a little meditative scrubbing on the Singer 12. Here's what she was looking like when I started:

I'm finding myself taking a lot more trips to the auto parts store just down the road. Okay, I'd pretty much never shopped there at all until I started playing with the treadle machines. I found a great pack of three brushes: nylon, brass, and steel and they have been really putting a hurting on the grime and metal oxidation.

Yep, this machine is STILL dirty! I was thinking after the extensive apple cider soak and long scrubbing session with James that it was clean. Nope. Every time I rub a Q-tip over anything it comes off black and coated in grime.

*Sigh* this is going to take awhile.

It's a good thing I'm not in any hurry. This is just my weekend puttering project and I'll be happy if it's all put back together and working again by Christmas.

Here's what the machine looked like when I closed up the barn:

What? You don't see a difference? Yeah, I didn't accomplish much, but it still counts.

I polished up that bar that controls the feed dogs. I think my favorite part about working on this machine is learning how it works and understanding the relationships between the gears, feed dogs, and stitch length setting.

I have a lot of the parts that go in this area taking another apple cider vinegar bath and hopefully today I can pull them out for a quick scrub too. It's amazing what you can accomplish in 10 - 15 minutes at a time.

What are you working on today?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Who's Quilt Is It Anyway?

I've heated things up this week with a new Great Quilting Debate about quilt ownership. If you hire a service like longarm quilting, having binding attached, or even piecing, is that still just YOUR quilt?

Click Here to check out the podcast episode.

I had a lot of fun with this one and found the more I thought through each angle, the more interesting it became. There are so many different sides to it:

 - If I pay for the service, doesn't that take care of it? 

- If I don't end up liking the person that did it, do I really HAVE to give her credit?

- If I provide the design, doesn't that make it mine?

It's been really interesting to read the comments as they've rolled in on Facebook and YouTube. Make sure to listen to the podcast all the way through because I dig into the possible comparisons - I pay a guy to mow my lawn. Do I have to credit Rodney every time someone compliments me on it?

But ultimately my point is a quilt is unique because without the quilting, it's not actually a quilt. In order to enter a show, a quilt must be 3 layers with stitching running through all three layers.

Without quilting, your quilt is not complete.

When you hire someone to quilt it for you, it is fundamentally different from having your car or shoes fixed or your lawn mowed. You are paying for it to be finished not just fixed and without the quilting, it is not complete.

I have the feeling that a lot of quilters are taking credit for the quilting on their quilts as if it's happening by magic. Poof! It's quilted!

I'm sorry to break it to you, that is not how it works!

If you have your quilt quilted for you, it's no longer just yours. It's a collaboration. It is a combination of your work and the longarmers work. If you have a quilt bound it's the same.

I have most of my quilts pieced by Dad. This is a collaboration between the two of us and if I showed the quilt, I would absolutely credit him as the piecer.

Does this bug you? It's very clearly getting under a lot of quilter's skin and this surprises me. When you quilt by check, you are giving up a piece of the puzzle. You are also giving up sole credit for that quilt.

But there is a solution. It's not as easy and it will take time to get the hang of it:

Quilt your quilts yourself. 

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

First Goddess Quilt Pattern

Yes! I've finally hit "Publish" on my first goddess quilt pattern!

Click Here to check out Eternal Love.

I admit, this has been a pretty long process! I first drew this goddess design back when James was 8 (he's 11 now) and I've been working on it a bit at a time ever since.

I knew from the beginning I wanted to make this quilt into a pattern, but creating a pattern for a unique art quilt is very challenging. I kept having to go back and tweek the design to simplify it. It started out a lot more complicated and slowly by one line, one piece at a time, I refined the steps to until it's the design it is now.

A lot of that process is working around fusible applique and figuring out which piece needed to go over or under another piece. I have a LOT more respect for applique patterns and yes, they are complicated to produce!

But I enjoyed every bit of it. Yes, I have shared another goddess quilt in the past, but this is the first I've broken down into logical, easy to follow steps.

I know applique has a bad reputation for being difficult. Would you like to make this quilt with me in a mini Quilt Along this summer? Let me know in the comments below! It's something I'd love to share!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, May 7, 2018

Finishing Up the Baby Quilt Along

I promised you Prism Path would be a short and sweet quilt along and it certainly was! Today I wrapped up this baby quilt with a quilting tutorial blending both walking foot quilting and free motion quilting.

Click Here to learn how to quilt your baby quilt!

I really want you to begin using both forms of machine quilting in your quilts. There's no right or wrong method, just whatever works for you! That's why I switched from one style of quilting to another in the middle of this quilting video just to show you the difference and the advantages / disadvantages of both styles.

So that wraps up the second quilt we've made together this year! That was a very fun project and I can't wait to see all the pretty rainbow baby quilts you create!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Scrubbing a Singer in the Sun

Thank you all so much for your kind compliments on my flowered hat for the derby party! It's funny, I often find the anticipation of parties - getting ready, making the hat, planning the design, etc. is more fun than the actual event. It's yet another reminder to enjoy the journey, not the end result.

Now I have a really pretty hat to wear around. Who knows, I may just pop it on when I'm having a bad hair day and wear it to the grocery store!

Today has been such a busy, wonderful day. We started a game of monopoly in the morning, then paused it to go outside and play. I've been soaking my dismantled Singer 12 in apple cider vinegar since Thursday and it was high time it came out of the rust bubble bath and got a solid scrub down.

Yes, today was 100% a messy hair day!

I plan to post a detailed step-by-step tutorial on this whole process later, and I've been stocking up hoarding photos for that and it's been driving me crazy. I like sharing what I'm working on WHEN I'm working on it!

So I've decided to just share the photos and tell the story and link it all up nicely in the end. It'll work out one way or the other.

I know it sounds crazy to soak a 130+ year sewing machine in vinegar, but I had it on good authority (Dads) that this was the best possible way to remove the rust from the machine. It was also a great way of removing a lot of the loose paint and all the dirt too!

I enlisted James's help and together we scrubbed it down with toothbrushes and baking soda to stop the vinegar reacting with the metal. Then we dunked it, scrubbed it, dunked it, scrubbed it, again and again and again.

It is really amazing just how nicely simple apple cider vinegar cleaned up this machine! As soon as I rinsed the machine for the last time, I dried it off quickly then began oiling it with sewing machine oil. All the exposed metal will immediately rust again unless it's coated completely in oil or primed and I wasn't in the mood to paint today after all that scrubbing.

Now I know this looks really rough, but at least it's clean. When I first opened up the machine, the bugs inside made me do the creepy crawlies dance a few times before I could settle down and get back to taking it apart.

And I FINALLY got the bobbin plates off! VICTORY! These were so caked with rust I was wondering if they would ever come off the machine. I gently tapped with a screwdriver and hammer and they slowly, stubbornly slid away from the center (I may have started hitting a bit harder after a few gentle taps).

Both plates are soaking in more vinegar because they have even more rust on the sides that I couldn't access while they were stuck on the machine.

So that's what I was working on today! It was so nice to be outside in the sunshine and I feel like this treadle machine is one step closer to coming back to life. What have you been working on today? Have you caught VMO yet?

If you're reading this, I'm sorry to say, you are probably already infected. Vintage Machine Obsession is extremely contagious!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, May 5, 2018

New Flower Hat for a Derby Party

Last week Josh and I were invited to a Kentucky Derby party at the last minute. My first question was: What do I wear???

I searched for ideas and discovered a new-to-me costuming opportunity: Spectacular flower hats!

Turns out a Derby Party is where ladies get to dress up beautifully and pull out the biggest hat they can find and top it with the biggest flowers they can find.

Well... hmm... doesn't this fit the bill?

LOL! My Flower Girl costume is a bit over-the-top and when my face is fully covered it can be sort of creepy. Still, I would have had a great time standing in a corner as a living statue. Maybe another event!

Because I know my tendency to go over-the-top with costumes, I intentionally didn't search for information about derby parties until the last minute. The day before the party I checked out pictures of hats and figured out what I would make.

Then I purchased the hat and flowers and put it all together in about 2 hours with a bit of needle and thread to stitch the hat brim back and 10 mini hot glue sticks to glue the flowers in place.

I received lots of compliments for my hat at the party! One sweet woman even told me she was going to vote for mine to be the "best hat" of the event. Unfortunately we weren't able to stay until the end so I don't know who ended up winning.

It was tremendous fun, but honestly making the hat was the best part. I love creative play and sometimes pulling out my glue gun and experimenting is the best way to make something fun and different.

Seeing all the flowers and pretty dresses was definitely inspiring. I'm off to make more pretty things!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Let's Quilt Pinstripe Ziggie

I'm seriously ziggie today! I've been driving all over the place, running errands, made a fun hat, and attended a Derby party - all in one day! More on the hat in just a bit... here's the new design we've tackled this week:

Make sure to check out the post because I include a lot of tips on spacing the lines and making the direction changes easy and smooth. 

Also have you been struggling with large stitches when walking foot quilting? Remember to take a lighter hand on the quilt so you're not pushing it through the machine too fast. With walking foot quilting, it's the walking foot's job to feed the quilt through the machine.

Would you like to find more tips on quilting your own quilts? Check out my book Explore Walking Foot Quilting to learn more!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Yes, I'm Selling Sewing Machines

This must be the month of sewing machines because I've added not just two treadles, but also a new regular home sewing machine to the mix! I'm now sewing, piecing, and quilting on the Eversewn Sparrow 20:

Click Here to check out this machine.

Yep, if you clicked the link above you will find that I'm selling the Eversewn Sparrow 20. I've shared four videos so far to help you get started and I have a lot more are on the way!

If you've been watching my videos for a few years, you've probably noticed me bouncing from machine to machine. Sometimes I'd get curious about a machine brand and want to try it, then I'd realize it wasn't a good fit or just didn't do everything I wanted and switch to something else.

But no matter what I'm quilting on, quilters want to know what it is, and will often buy it. I know I've sold a lot of machines for Juki, Bernina, and Janome over the years and unfortunately some of those were machines I didn't really like.

After attending VDTA I had to ask myself the simple question - what would happen if I found a great machine, became a dealer, and supported it completely with detailed videos, feet, and accessories?

That sounds like a pretty good plan to me!

So that is why I've made this switch. I want to use a machine I can sell because that makes the most economic sense for my business. In doing so, I can also teach you how to get the most out of this sewing machine and also prove that you don't need a super expensive machine with all the bells and whistles in order to quilt your own quilts.

In fact, I think the stitch quality on the Sparrow 20 is even better than some of the sewing machines I've owned in the past that cost 4 - 8 times more!

If you're worried about what this means for my videos and quilting tutorials, please don't worry. I don't plan to change the way I share videos or teach online. I'm simply using a machine that I sell and when you buy it from us, that helps me make more videos. That is win-win for everyone!

So far I've received a lot of questions on Youtube about why THIS machine? Why entry level?

I picked Eversewn because I really love the quality. I stitched on all of the Eversewn machines in the line at VDTA and found them all to be sturdily built and have beautifully balanced stitches. It also included features like needle up / down that I just can't live without.

Yes, we will eventually carry all Eversewn machines and we can easily special order any of them for you if you like. Click Here to contact us for help.

I'm also now a dealer for Grace Company. Again, this was a process of finding the right machine that I can use and support completely. We're in the process of adding the longarms and frames to our quilt shop so for now you can contact us if you're interested in learning more about them too.

As for the level of the machine, yes, this is an entry level sewing machine.

Do I have to use a machine that costs $1000 and has 500 decorative stitches? Nope. I don't think you need to spend tons of money on a sewing machine in order to quilt your own quilts. It's time I practice what I preach! The 1980s Bernina machine I've been using for the past two years still retails on Ebay for well over $1000.

Is the Eversewn Sparrow 20 perfect? No. None of the Eversewn machines have a knee lifter and yes, that is a feature I'm going to miss. I like the convenience of having that bar to lift my presser foot.

But do most quilters have a knee lifter? Probably not. I realized in making my walking foot videos that I was taking it for granted that most people watching would know what a knee lifter is and have one.

Yet that isn't a feature usually included in machines that retail for less than $700. By taking it for granted that you would have one, I was automatically teaching to that audience.

It's taken me years to become a good quilting teacher and I believe the most important and essential thing is to never take anything for granted. I regularly try to put myself into the shoes of a beginner making her first quilt. I believe using an entry level sewing machine will help me be a better teacher for exactly that reason.

My slogan is "Let's go quilt" and I want to teach everyone how to quilt. Now I'm quilting on an Eversewn Sparrow 20 and you can buy it from me if you like it. It's really that simple.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Getting Bit by the Treadle Bug


There has been an outbreak of a serious, very contagious illness: Vintage Machine Obsession!

VMO is easily passed from quilter to quilter. Watch out for friends carrying around square black boxes with old latches on the front. Be especially wary around any solid black machines, especially if you see the word SINGER printed anywhere on the surface.

Only enter antique stores if absolutely necessary and never, I repeat, NEVER touch a treadle sewing machine!

VMO is usually transmitted from via VME - Vintage Machine Enthusiasts - but many quilters seem to be able to catch this illness entirely on their own by simply coming into contact with a treadle sewing machine.

Consider the cast iron treadle bases armed and extremely dangerous.

Symptoms of VMO include excessive machine purchase, historical fascination and education, frequent exploration of antique stores and flea markets, tinkering and cleaning of rusty bits of metal, and radiant joy.

If you see any quilters exhibiting these symptoms, be warned. You have already been infected. There is no vaccine. You will very likely come down with similar symptoms that will only be cured by owning a vintage sewing machine. 

Or two... 

Or a few hundred!

WARNING: The following post is extremely dangerous to your health! You will likely be infected with VMO instantly. Be ready to travel to you closest antique store or click to Craigslist to begin your search for the perfect vintage treadle sewing machine.

*    *     *     *     *

You know, if I'd read this warning a year ago, I would have shrugged. Naw, I'm not interested in treadles. They're cool and all that, but they're heavy and take up so much space. Naw, not for me.

Then somewhere along the way I caught VMO and overnight I had to have a treadle! I also happily began watching hours of Youtube videos about treadle irons and cabinet restoration. 

In the space of three months I've acquired two vintage treadles: a Singer 12 and Singer 27 and I can't seem to stop myself searching for more. Yep, I have VMO big time and I'm a super contagious VME!

I was seriously helped along the way by another VME, Cheryl Warren. She is the author of the Dragon Poodle blog which is all about restoring vintage sewing machines. 

I had Cheryl on the podcast to talk about treadles, vintage machines, and how to get started on my vintage machine obsession. Click Here to check out the episode.

Warning - you'll likely not survive without coming down with VMO too!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Quilting a Baby Quilt with Lines

We're almost done with the Prism Path baby quilt along. This week we jumped into the quilting and it's so simple you're probably going to roll your eyes - yes, straight line quilting!

Lines are easy, quick, and they look amazing! Please don't discount a design just because it looks simple. I promise you there's a lot more to quilting straight lines on your quilt and it can do dramatic things for your patchwork too.

Click Here to find this new quilting tutorial.

We're going to use straight lines to knock out more than half this baby quilt. We'll quilt the other half next week with Matrix when we finish up Prism Path together.

Click here to find all the Prism Path tutorials shared so far.

I've really enjoyed creating this baby quilt a second time. I actually need to go shoot some photos today of both finished versions side by side. It's finally feeling a bit warmer so I'm going to go hang up the backdrop and play photographer for a bit.

What are you working on today? I hope it's something bright and cheerful!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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