The Free Motion Quilting Project: 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Chigger Feast 2017 and Canning Tomatoes

Nope, sorry, there is no Sit Down Quilting Sunday video today because I have just had the worst week ever.

It started with a stomach flu, then just as soon as that started to turn around, we went on a hike in the woods and I got hit by a hungry horde of chiggers.

Gotta love North Carolina woods! It's gorgeous, except for all the things that want to eat or poison you.

I'm very tempted to show you a picture of my chigger nibbled legs, but it's just too horrible. You could Google chigger bites to see pictures, but it turns out I'm very allergic to them which makes the bites swell, turn bright red, and create golf ball sized welts. Uggh.

So I haven't been feeling well and I'm behind on making videos on the Grace Qnique. I had plans to get some Wonky Christmas tree quilts pieced together this week so I could start filming and quilting them for Christmas gifts, but everything got put on hold after the hike and Chigger Feast 2017. I'm too ITCHY to quilt! Double uggh!

But I had to keep my hands busy so yesterday we canned tomatoes. Dad, Josh, James, and I have a pretty smooth system by now and we can reasonably turn 80 pounds of tomatoes into thirty jars in a day.


One problem we realized this year is we haven't been keeping notes on all the details of our canning adventures. It's a lot of little details to remember and we only can one or two days a year, and we wasted a lot of time last week forgetting to buy essential things like ice until the last minute.

So we started a canning notebook to keep with our canning supplies so we won't waste as much time next year getting back in the groove.

Now I'm off to take a cold bath and soak my itchy skin. I'll leave you with some important advice on avoiding my itchy fate:

1. Wear bug spray! If you spray your clothes as well as exposed skin, you're less likely to get bit.

2. Keep your shoes on (yeah, I know, I'm an idiot). Better yet, wear tall boots, tuck your pants down into the boots and tape around the top.

3. As soon as you're done hiking, take off all your clothes and change into fresh clothes that you kept safe in the car. Throw all the clothes you wore in a plastic bin, seal it tight, then throw it straight in the wash when you get home.

That will probably be enough to save you from being served up at the next Chigger Feast!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 21, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Pinstripes, #483

It's Friday and time for a new machine quilting design. Today I'm adding Pinstripes to the Quilting Design Gallery because this super simple design has quickly become one of my favorites!


I know, I know, you're probably thinking "that's only straight lines!" but please don't discount a quilting design just because it looks simple. Pinstripes is a terrific design to add elegant texture to your quilts, and it's very fast to quilt. See what I mean in this new video:


Would you like to learn how to quilt Pinstripes on a real quilt? Learn how in the Mega Star Walking Foot Workshop

In this online quilting workshop you'll get to see exactly how I plan and place the designs in a large quilt and tackle quilting from the center. If you're feeling confused about how to use designs or quilt a real quilt on your home machine, this is a terrific class for you. Click Here to learn more about this class.

Now let's learn a bit more about this Pinstripes machine quilting design:

Difficulty Level: Super Beginner - You really can't get easier than straight lines, but the spacing of lines closer together and further apart is what creates the Pinstripes effect. When you use this special spacing in quilts, it draws the eye inward and I find the effect very peaceful.

The best part is it's easy to space using the prongs or edges of your darning foot, or the edge of your walking foot as a guide. Yep, this design definitely works for both forms of quilting, as well as ruler foot quilting too!

Design Family: Edge to Edge - Designs like Pinstripes run from edge to edge across your quilt. This could be from ditch to ditch across a block, sashing, or border, or it could be across the entire quilt.

Some similar machine quilting designs you might want to check out include Hardwood Floors, Pine Needles, and Split Personality. All of these designs are quilted from edge to edge and use straight lines to create an elegant texture for your quilts.

Where Do I Quilt It? - Honestly I think Pinstripes can be used anywhere in your quilts, but I think the best place is in the background. Use this design to echo other shapes, or quilt it at an angle to the main focal point of the quilt.

The straight lines are very simple, but the spacing will enhance the background and draw more attention to the dominant areas of your quilt. The closer, then wider spacing creates a texture I find hard to resist.

As I've been investigating walking foot designs, I've turned my attention to simpler, straight line quilting designs and I'm loving the change. What do you think? Does Pinstripes look too simple or like a fun design to try? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Yay! and Uggh!

This week has been a weird mix of Yay! and Uggh! On the Yay! side I have a new quilting collaboration and podcast coming out next week.

How would you quilt this mini quilt? I couldn't decide for a bit, then decided to throw the kitchen sink at it with eight different designs. Let's just say I went completely over the top with the quilting and (I hope) it worked!

Be looking forward to this collaboration, podcast, and new video all next Wednesday and Thursday.

On the Uggh! side I have some kind of stomach bug that has beaten me around the block. I really hate getting sick in the summer and this was a doozie.

Thankfully I'm feeling better today and heading back out to the Crafty Cottage to film new videos and plan more fun projects. Getting sick definitely puts good health in perspective!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Machine Quilting Feathers on the Grace Qnique

Happy Sunday! Today is a very lazy day because we spent all day yesterday canning 30 quart jars of tomatoes. It was hot, sticky work, but definitely worth it to enjoy fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter. Today I'm continuing to work with food as I'm quilting another pear in my table runner with Swirling Feathers! Check out the new video on the Grace Qnique right here:



Click Here to check out the Grace Qnique 14+ machine and learn more about it.

Swirling Feathers is one of my favorite feather designs because it allows you to stitch feathers in all directions and fit them together organically. Sometimes the design has to completely break the rules to fill a quilting space consistently like around the stem of the pear shape:


This feather design is also great for sorting out excess fabric issues, which is something I'm dealing with on this quilt. If you watch the video, you'll see how the fabric begins to go baggy within the pear shape as I quilt towards the edges.

This was caused by two things - #1 Density - the background is quilted densely with collage quilting. The density of that stitching has made the fabrics very stable and secure, which causes the unquilted areas to bubble up a bit more.

#2 - Where are the pins? - I clearly basted this quilt quickly and didn't leave the pins in the pears as I quilted the background. That allowed the fabrics more leeway to shift and puddle over the pear shapes.

Is this a deal breaker? Nope, I don't think so. Quilting designs like Swirling Feathers will secure the open spaces and allow the excess fabric space to puff outward. If I end up stitching a pleat or two in the quilt top, it's not the end of the world. It's a table runner, not the Mona Lisa!


So that's it for this video! I hope you enjoyed learning how I quilted this pear shape with Swirling Feathers. I have a few other videos of quilting on this project you may like to check out:

Collage Quilting Four Designs - Learn how to quilt the four free motion quilting designs in the background of this quilt.

How to Quilt on Marked Lines - How to quilt the marked lines on printed fabric to create a cool effect.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 14, 2017

Machine Quilting Bean Sprouts, Design #482

Gosh it's hot! It's definitely feeling like July today so I plan to spend some time in the pool soaking up the sun. It also seems like a great day to stitch a new quilting design so I created Bean Sprouts:


This funky, flowing quilting design starts with a very simple Dew Drop shape. Basically a wiggly line with two tear drops on the end. Then just echo quilt around it multiple times until you get bored and move on to quilt another shape.

See how this design is quilted in this new video:



Are you looking for more inspiring quilting designs to add beautiful texture to your quilts? Click Here to find 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs, a huge book filled with hundreds of quilting designs to stitch on your home machine.

Now let's learn a bit more about quilting Bean Sprouts:

Difficulty Level: Beginner - This is a really simple design to machine quilt so long as you keep the basic rules in mind. Memorize the starting Dew Drop shape and quilt it carefully first, then all you have to do is travel stitch and echo to expand the design.


Design Family: Echoing - This family of designs will fill your quilt with a clustering effect. Basically you form the starting shape and rows of echoes, then to keep going with the design you stitch a new shape and new set of echoes.

Last week's design Cotton Candy is also an echoing design. The only difference between the two is the starting shape - Fluffy Clouds or Dew Drops!

Where Do I Quilt It? - Echoing Designs like Bean Sprouts can be quilted anywhere on your quilts. You can expand the design and quilt it on a huge scale and cover your quilt with All Over Quilting. You can also quilt it easily in blocks, sashing, or borders.


This design has a beautiful flowy texture that would also look nice in art quilts and wall hangings. You could use Bean Sprouts to add texture to a windy sky, or flowing waves.

No matter where you quilt it, this Bean Sprouts is going to add a soft, curving texture to your quilts. If you use it in your quilt, make sure to share a picture with me on the Leah Day Quilting Facebook Group!

Whew! It's time to hit the pool! What are you quilting this weekend? I'm puffing more squares of James's puff quilt and quilting walking foot samples for my new book. Learn more about both projects in this week's podcast episode here.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Graffiti Quilting with Karlee Porter - Podcast Episode #24

Helly My Quilting Friends! I have a terrific interview for you today with Karlee Porter, the creator of Graffiti Quilting. Click Here to find Karlee's website.


I also have a super exciting announcement - all the podcast episodes are now live on YouTube! I've put the episodes together in a playlist so you just have to click once and the videos will play automatically so you can binge listen / watch to all the episodes shared so far.

Also I've pushed myself to start recording the introduction section live. I pulled out a quilt, turned on the camera, and shared the updates from around the house while stitching on James's puff quilt. The rest of the video will be a still image, but it's one small step to making the entire podcast live video (which is a big leap forward!)

Watch this week's episode here:


Click Here to check out No Sewing Until You Quilt It, an awesome form of applique that allows you to create turned edge applique without taking a single stitch before you're ready to quilt! And yes, I do use affiliate links below to help support this podcast.

Now for links from the interview with Karlee Porter:

In 2014 Karlee published her first book Graffiti Quilting and has also followed up with Graffiti Quilting Volume 2. Graffiti Quilting is basically a method for taking lots of different designs and squishing them together to form a unique texture for your quilts.

Graffiti Quilting from KarleePorter.com
Karlee considers herself an artist first and had been drawing graffiti style art for years. When she learned free motion quilting she simply decided to quilt what she already knew how to draw.

Karlee has traveled around the world teaching Graffiti Quilting. We both agree quilting is an awesome industry because quilt guilds and shops help connect us together. Her favorite moment of a class is when the lightbulb clicks for a student and they suddenly understand how Graffiti Quilting works.

We both agree teaching online is very helpful for both teachers and students. Authenticity and interaction is very important to Karlee and she's interested in using technology to make beautiful quilts and teach new techniques.

Karlee also designs custom printed fabrics for quilters to practice machine quilting. Spoonflower.com is my favorite website for printing fabric easily and on demand.

Don't forget to check out Karlee's website and learn more about Graffiti Quilting!

Now for a few updates from around the house:

In the video I was working on James's puff quilt while I chatted about this week's news. I've been working on this quilt for several months first folding the fabric squares to create individual little pillows, then I stitched them together into blocks, then stitched the quilt together.

Puff quilt with Leah Day

Now I've sliced very small holes in the back of the quilt and I'm puffing each little pillow with exactly 5 grams of fiberfill (yes, I'm weighing each puff!) I decided to go back over the quilt and stitch each hole closed so the fiberfill won't leak out after the quilt is complete.

Whew! It's already been several months and I still need to finish puffing, stitching, then sandwich and figure out how to quilt between each puff. It's been a crazy fun project to create and yes, one of these days I will get around to making a video tutorial so you can see how I made it.

walking foot quilting with Leah Day
I've also been working on my walking foot quilting book this week and we have a potential date for when it will be finished! That's super exciting, but also scary because I still need to find a photographer, plan the photos, and finish three of the quilts.

It's been an interesting process to create this book and I've learned a bit more about how to stay better organized and how I can write my next book better and with less stress. Yes, self publishing is a lot more work, but the payoff is definitely worth it. Click Here to find Podcast Episode #1 about publishing.

While I've been finishing the text and diagrams for the book, Dad has been having fun making Wonky Christmas trees downstairs. I'm a bit jealous - these are so cheerful and fun!

Wonky Christmas Tree quilt pattern

Click Here to find the free Wonky Christmas Tree Pattern. I'm planning to create a simple, skinny wall hanging version of this quilt to give as Christmas gifts. Maybe if we start in July we'll have them done in time!

I've also been working on little tree art quilts with scrap velvet and silk fabrics. I also turned the hanging rod in the wood shop and plan to make beaded accents for each quilt.

art quilting trees with Leah Day

Sometimes I get stuck on projects and fearful of ruining it with ugly stitching. I plan to make several more trees then force myself to start quilting them. Mostly the issue these days is TIME - where does it go and how do I get more of it?! Lol! I think I need to listen to Vicki Holloway's podcast episode again and remember her tips for working efficiently.

So that's it for this week! I hope you like the new video podcast and seeing what I'm stitching on. Let me know what you think and if you have suggestions for quilters to be on the show. I'm always looking for more quilting friends!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, July 10, 2017

Quilting the Triple Tulip Flower Block

Last week we learned how to piece the Triple Tulip Flower Block and this week I'm quilting it with a combination of feathers, Pebbling, and a ruler guided grid design. I love this quilting design!

How to piece and quilt a flower quilt block

Quilting this block is a little time consuming, but it's absolutely worth it because of the beautiful texture and designs we're adding to the block. Take your time with each section and follow the video to learn how to move through the block with the least number of thread breaks:

Click Here to find the pattern for the Triple Tulip Flower Block.

I'll be honest - Pebbling isn't usually my first choice for a background filler design. It's a bit more time consuming to stack circular shapes together nicely and the texture can be very dominant on the quilt and outshine the other designs.

How to quilt a flower quilt block


For this block I think quilting Pebbling was a great choice because I could quilt it easily around the flower shapes and the almost-matching thread made the texture blend in a lot better than if I'd used contrasting thread.

Quilting with rulers on your home machine

What did you think of the ruler foot quilting in this block? I love quilting with rulers because my lines are straighter and much more evenly spaced than I could ever create quilting free hand (without marks or rulers).

For this block I was using Template #6 from the Dresden Plate Template Set to guide the lines. This template set can be used to cut out dozens of Dresden plate blocks AND it can be used for ruler foot quilting on your home machine. What can I say - I like tools that multitask!


If you'd like to learn more about ruler foot quilting, click here to find a Ruler Foot Quilting Basics video with lots of tips on ruler quilting on your home machine. I still feel like I've only just scratched the surface with ruler foot quilting and I can't wait to dig deeper and learn more about this quilting style.

Have you tried ruler foot quilting yet? What did you think? Would you like to see more designs and videos created with this quilting style? Let me know in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

P.S - Don't forget about our challenge this month - piece and quilt the first 6 blocks of your Flower Festival Quilt and follow the instructions in Block 7 to bind them together. Post a photo to the Block Party Facebook Group and you'll get a copy of Block #8 for free!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Quilting on a Marked Line on the Grace Qnique

Gasp! I'm coming up for air after working on my book all day. I've been busy creating diagrams to illustrate binding techniques for the last chapter in the book and honestly it's making me crazy! Give me a video camera and let me make a video on it any day.

Speaking of videos, I did have a fun adventure on the Grace Qnique longarm this week. I pulled out the IKEA pear table runner and began quilting inside the pear shapes. The design in this area was so busy I just quilted on the marked lines and shot a video to share how it worked:



Click Here to find all the videos I've shared on the Grace Qnique machine so far. I really love this little longarm and enjoy sharing a new tutorial on using this machine each week.

On this table runner, that was one crazy print inside that pear! I just picked a line to get started and began quilting through the area. The nice thing is the lines were 1/8-inch wide so I could quilt pretty sloppy and it still looked great.


Next week I'll plan to fill one of the empty pear shapes with feathers so be looking forward to that new video next Sunday. Do you like those background designs? Click Here to find a video on how I quilted them using Collage Style Quilting.

But I admit I'm getting a bit bored with those designs. If you have suggestions for more designs in this project let me know!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 7, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Cotton Candy, Design #481

A few weeks ago I started playing around with a simple Clouds quilting design and then I couldn't seem to stop playing with the design! It's fun to quilt the fluffy shapes and add a light, pretty design to our quilts. Here's a simple variation I'm calling Cotton Candy:

Learn how to machine quilt Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy is a very simple design and a great way to practice quilting Clouds. You begin with the simple clouds shape, then travel stitch and echo quilt around it multiple times to add a ripply texture to your quilts.

Confused by all that quilty jargon? Watch how to quilt this design in this new machine quilting video:


Learn how to machine quilt a wholecloth

Would you like to take a quilting class with me? I've created several online quilting workshops just for you! Create the quilts, watch the videos, and learn how to quilt bigger quilts, master walking foot quilting, and even make a wholecloth quilt like the one above. Click Here to find a workshop.

Now let's learn more about quilting Cotton Candy:

Learn how to machine quilt Cotton Candy
Difficulty Level - Beginner. Cotton Candy isn't a hard quilting design to master because the steps are simple enough to memorize. Think of this like memorizing how to sign your name in cursive. It took a little time, but now you sign your name without even thinking about the letters and how they connect together to form the shapes.

Quilting a design like Cotton Candy is the same. It may help to mark the design on your quilt to begin, then quilt on the lines. That way you can see the lines and know where to stitch, then pretty soon you won't need the lines to guide you.

Design Family - Echoing - This family of designs begins with a simple shape (circle, triangle, fluffy cloud). You then travel stitch and echo around the shape to expand the design. Some similar designs include Echo Shell, Brain Coral, and Trippy Triangles

Try quilting these designs as well and then quilt Cotton Candy. Which is your favorite Echoing Design?

Where do we quilt it? - This is one sweet design and I think it will work just about anywhere in your quilts. You can expand the cloud shapes and echoes to quilt the design on a big scale for bed quilts. You can also shrink Cotton Candy down to quilt densely on wall hangings too.

Learn how to machine quilt Cotton Candy

Where do you think this design will work best? Give it a try and share a picture of your quilt on the Leah Day Quilting Friends Facebook Group. 

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, July 3, 2017

How to Piece a Triple Tulip Flower Quilt Block

It's hard to believe we're already halfway done with the Flower Festival quilt! This month we have another patchwork challenge as we piece this beautiful Triple Tulip flower quilt block:

Triple Tulip Flower Quilt Block Tutorial

There are a lot of little pieces with these three flower blocks which can feel overwhelming. Take your time cutting, label your pieces, and arrange the shapes on a table top near your machine so you don't get confused by how it goes together.

Another thing that really helps is piecing the flower block together in units: the vase, the stems, and the flowers. Learn how to piece each unit of this block in this new quilting tutorial:


Click Here to find the pattern for Block #7 - the Triple Tulip Quilt Block!

How to connect quilted blocks
Because we have two full rows of the quilt complete, you can begin to think about connecting the blocks together into rows. This is a great step to take now so you'll have less to do in December when the last block pattern is published.

Starting in the Block #7 quilt pattern you will find instructions on connecting your blocks together using binding strips. The tip video on connecting the blocks is from last year's Sunshine Surprise quilt, but the steps are 100% the same.

Click Here to learn how to connect your blocks together.

Personally I'm connecting my blocks with the extra Sashing and Cornerstones pieces which increases the size of the quilt to 65 x 85 inches.

Flower Sampler Quilt by Leah Day

I'll be sharing an extra tip video later this month on connecting the rows together and matching the connecting binding strips. When pieced together carefully, your Flower Festival quilt will look like it was quilted in one big piece!

Triple Tulip Flower Quilt Block Pattern

Speaking of quilting, next week you'll learn how to quilt this beautiful block with feathers, Pebbling, and more ruler foot quilting. Be looking forward to this new quilting tutorial on Monday June 10th.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ruler Quilting on a Sit Down Longarm Machine

It's time to finish up our baby quilt project! I had one last little corner to quilt and I decided to fill it with straight lines. The easiest way to quilt lines like this is to switch to a ruler foot and use a straight ruler to guide the quilting. Learn how it works in this new video:


Ruler quilting on a sit down longarm machine
Click Here to find all of the videos I've shared so far on quilting on the Grace Qnique 14+. I love this machine because it's very simple and easy to use, but has a large harp space so it feels easier to quilt my quilts.

In this video I attached a ruler foot to the Grace Qnique and used a thicker style ruler I had cut specially for quilting on my longarm.

You need to use a thicker ruler for this type of machine because the foot hops and could potentially jump on top of a thinner ruler. If you'd like this ruler created for your longarm, we'll need to special order a set of thicker templates for you. Click Here to contact us about the templates.

If you have a home sewing machine, you can use the Dresden Plate Template Set exactly as it's cut right now. Click Here to find this ruler set for home machines.

I'm currently working on a new set of quilting rulers that will be available in both a thin version for home machines and thick version for longarms. I love quilting with rulers because it's easy and fast and creates perfect lines every time.

I also attached True Grips to the back of the ruler to stop it from shifting on the quilt. Because we're guiding the quilt under the needle, you need to be sure the ruler doesn't slip as you move the quilt and ruler at the same time. 

Using the ruler as a guide, I was able to quilt straight lines at an angle below my Clouds quilting design to create Rainy Day! 

Ruler quilting on a sit down longarm machine

I love the effect of this design and how it finished off the edge of the baby quilt perfectly. In the last four weeks we've quilted the other designs in this quilt. As you can see, this is now one interesting baby quilt!

how to quilt a baby quilt video tutorial

I forgot to mention that I also pieced the back of this baby quilt with scrap blocks left over from the front. It's a very different look to the front and shows off the quilting designs even better:

how to quilt a baby quilt video tutorial

How to quilt a baby quilt video tutorialWhich side do you like best? Do you think this baby quilt is too busy with five designs quilted over the surface or just right with lots of textures and different designs?

There's a piece of me that thinks this is ridiculous, but most of me loves it! It makes no sense, there's no rhyme or reason to the designs, but it kinda works. I don't think the baby that eventually plays on this quilt is going to mind!

If you're just finding this project, you can watch more videos on the other designs used in this quilt. Click the links below to find quilting tutorials on each design:





This baby quilt was originally designed and quilted in 2013 for the Craftsy class Free Motion Fillers Vol 1. It's remained unfinished ever since, but now I've knocked it out in a very short time with four fun designs.

how to quilt a baby quilt video tutorial

Would you like to see more videos like this? Let me know in the comments below and I'll hunt through my stash for more unfinished quilt tops that just need some simple, large scale quilting designs to finish them off. I'm enjoying finishing the projects and I hope you're learning a lot by watching the quilting process.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, July 1, 2017

New Triple Tulip Quilt Pattern

It's the seventh month of the year which means it's time to jump back into patchwork and learn how to piece and quilt this fun Triple Tulip quilt block!

Find a Triple Tulip Flower Quilt Pattern

Click Here to find this new quilt pattern

This quilt pattern will definitely improve your patchwork skills as you cut and piece half square triangles, then combine shapes to create the vase, stem, and flower units.

To machine quilt this flower block, you'll learn how to quilt a simple Feather Shell design in the flowers, fill the background of the block with Pebbling, and play with more ruler foot quilting in the vase.

Whether you're just getting started with quilting or you've been making quilts for years, this quilt block will teach you many new skills and give you the chance to try multiple free motion quilting designs in one block.

Since we're halfway done with the Flower Festival quilt, I've also included information on how to connect your quilt blocks together with binding strips so you can put half of your quilt together this month.


Bonus Challenge

If you'd like to win the pattern for Block #8 for free, here's a fun Flower Festival challenge for July:

1. Piece and quilt six blocks for the Flower Festival quilt.
2. Connect all six blocks together using the instructions included in the Block #7 quilt pattern.
3. Shoot a picture of your quilt and post it to the Block Party Facebook Group. We'll have a specific pinned post for you to share your photos so it's easy to find.

Post by July 31st and you'll receive the pattern for Block #8 for free on August 1st!

Have questions? Post in the comments below an I'll help you out!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, June 30, 2017

Machine Quilting Split Personality, Design #480

Last month I was playing around with new walking foot designs and stumbled across a very simple combination - straight and curvy lines. Immediately I realized this combination would be super simple and easy to quilt. Truly it's the best Split Personality!


I created this design when I was working on Sheri Cifaldi Morrill's first Road Work quilt. I was looking for a very simple design that was more than straight lines, but not too wild and crazy which would be distracting on this simple modern quilt.

Ruler Foot machine quilting tutorial

I quilted that version using ruler foot quilting and Template #6 from the Dresden Plate Template set, but I want you to see that you can also quilt this design free hand using normal free motion quilting. See what I mean in this new quilting video:


Would you like to find a book of inspiring quilting designs to keep next to your machine? Check out my book Free Motion Quilting from Daisy to Paisley, a mini book of beginner quilting designs!

Learn how to machine quilt Split Personality in this beginner tutorial
Split Personality is a super simple combination of shapes, but I think there's a lot of room to play with this design. Let's learn more about it:

Difficulty Level - Super Beginner. You really can't find an easier design to quilt! Rows of parallel lines like straight lines or curves are always easy to quilt. 

I do think it's a good idea to mark a line across your quilt to mark the point you switch from straight lines to curves. If I didn't have that line, I would probably forget what I was doing and just quilt straight across the space.

Design Family - Edge to Edge. The lines of this quilting design are stitched across from one edge to the other. This could be from ditch to ditch if you were quilting blocks or sashing. To reach the next line of the design, just travel stitch in the ditch, then rotate the quilt and stitch the next straight and curving line.

Machine quilt Split Personality

If you were quilting a big quilt on your home machine, I'd start in the center and quilt to the outer edges. This will ensure the layers of the quilt can come together evenly with the least chance of puckers and pleats.

Where Do We Quilt It? - Designs like Split Personality work great in the open spaces of your quilt like sashing or borders. This would also be a very easy All Over Quilting design because you could quickly and easily quilt half your quilt with straight lines and the other half with curves.

What do you think of this new quilting designs? Does it look easy to you or challenging to space the lines evenly? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sew Darn Cute Longarm Quilting with April Wells

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I have a great interview with April Wells, the longarm quilter behind Sew Darn Cute Quilting.



April is a professional longarm quilter and can cover quilts of all shapes and sizes with beautiful quilting. She offers multiple levels of quilting to fit any budget. Check out April's longarm pricing here.

However, April didn't start out as a longarm quilter. She wanted to make a quilt for her son and learned the basics making that baby quilt. She was a stay at home mom and quilting made her feel good and was something she could do while taking care of her children.

The turning point for machine quilting came with Cindy Needham's Design It Quilt It class on Craftsy which helped her master free motion quilting. She had lots of quilt tops to quilt so she bought her first frame, a small Grace wooden quilting frame from Craig's List and a Brother 1500.

She quilted on this small frame for quite awhile and even began quilting customer quilts on this setup before investing in a used Gammill 22 inch machine with steel frame.

April did feel the need to create a successful business once she purchased the Gammill simply because of the size and expense of the machine and frame. April loves quilting for others because she doesn't have to piece the quilt tops.

If you decide to try a quilting frame with a home machine, April advises you to find a steel frame because wood frames tend to bow in the middle as the quilt gets bigger and heavier. She also found using a stitch regulator really helped keep her stitches consistent.

Longarm Quilting by April Wells of Sew Darn Cute Quilting
April quilts using three different tiers of quilting to fit your budget and add pretty designs to the surface:

All Over Quilting - Covers the quilt with one single design and ignores the piecing design.

Mid Custom Quilting - A blend between full custom and all over quilting. She plays off some details from the piecing design to enhance the quilt.

Full Custom Quilting - Much more detailed quilting with dense designs and intense ruler work.

April mentioned that quilts seem to come in waves with lots of new quilt tops right around Christmas for gifts. She home schools her kids so she's able to take a break from school work and focus completely on quilting during the holidays to manage the extra demand.

This is one of the many ways I've found longarm quilting to be a great business for working moms. Learn more about April and check out her longarm quilting services on her website right here.

Our podcast sponsor this week is my website where you can find quilting tools and supplies to make quilting on your home machine much easier. Come check out the Machingers quilting gloves which I wear in every video because they help me grip the quilt and move it smoothly over the machine.


My dad prefers Quilting Grips which allow him to grip a small disc and reduces the pressure on his fingertips, which tends to aggravate his arthritis. Click Here to find more quilting tools from LeahDay.com

Now for a few updates around the house:

It's officially summer and James and I took off for a short trip to Charleston just the two of us to visit with my sisters and their kids. I ended up keeping all four kids at once which was an adventure! James being 10, I really haven't been around little kids much recently and it was a fun challenge to keep them all entertained.

Thankfully we had stopped by a Tandy Leather store on the way down in Columbia, SC and picked up a few kits for the kids. If you've never tried leather work, it's very simple (at least from a quilter's perspective) and I've found many designs from quilting can be carved easily into leather.

I kept things simple with the kids and let them stamp and bang shapes into leather as much as they liked and helped James and his oldest cousin stitch projects together.

I love learning new crafts and I got into leather this winter after realizing it's much easier to nail a costume together with leather and rivets than to try sewing it together. I plan to experiment with this even more as I've been continually getting an impulse to make some small art quilts.

I've mentioned this before I think, but when your brain fires off a message like "Hey wouldn't it be fun to try..." it's a good idea to follow that nudge and see where it leads. I'll be sharing a post about this maybe over the weekend to share a new art quilt I'm working on and the many crafts I'm combining in the process.

Several quilters wrote in to ask how things are going with James and transcription this summer. I've found so long as I keep the audio files short - so under 10 minutes he does really well. Any more than that and it's really hard to keep him motivated.

I haven't been giving him much on that project because I've been 100% focused on my book on walking foot quilting. This has been in progress since last summer, but had to be put aside and now it's crunch time! I'm getting up earlier in the morning and setting aside the first two hours every day to writing.

I plan to keep this up even after this book is complete because I've realized I have so much more I want to teach and share and books are a great vehicle for that. So my goal is to have the text of this new book nailed together by Saturday July 1st so I can hand it off to my editor, Janice Brewster from Creative Girlfriends Press.

A block from a quilt in the book. Yep, this was quilted
with a walking foot!
Josh and I are debating whether to do the layout ourselves or to have that done by a professional as well. This is one of those things that I can do, but I don't like to do it because you have to be very consistent - each quilt arranged the same way on the page, getting the bleed just right, the text arranged properly. All that is highly detailed and it can eat up days and days of time.

So I'm going to hand off the rough layout to Josh first and he's going to get started, then I'll go back over and polish, then hand it back to Josh and I think we'll bounce back and forth like that until it's done. We worked this way together on the Mega Star Walking Foot workshop we recently released and it worked really well.

I want to do this myself because if we increase our speed with books, getting one layout down and solid will be like a template for other books. Also it's a lesson in keeping things simple, making it easy. The more I complicate it, the more time it takes so this will be a challenge to simplify the process.

Speaking of simplifying, I've read a great book this week - The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It's a very short read, but super helpful for any creative person wanting to make something scary. So if you've been thinking about writing a book, making a very different quilt, trying a new craft, please read this book.

I've listened to it twice (I got the audiobook) and identified many ways I've let resistance beat me down. Listening to this book really fired me up and I think you'll like it too.

I think the key is slow, steady work. Working on the book every morning for two hours is not going to get it done in a day, but it will make steady progress. This has also worked on my evening project. Every evening I watch a show like Legends of Tomorrow with James and work on his puff quilt. Don't worry, I will be making a video on this puff quilt soon!

The steps to making this quilt are complicated and time consuming, but by working at it for just 30 minutes every day, it's nearly done and I know I would never have sustained this interest if I'd been stitching it in fits and bursts.

All in all it's been a great summer so far and I love working on all of these projects. I'd also love to hear from you! Please let me know if you'd like to be on the show or you have a special quilter in mind. I'm always eager to meet new quilters and make new quilting friends!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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