The Free Motion Quilting Project: 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Let's create the Heart Medallion Checkerboard Quilt

It's Quilty Box Time! This month's Quilty Box arrived and I'm super excited to share a big box of goodies picked personally just for you:

Included in the box is a pack of Cheater Needles, two spools of Isacord Thread, a little pouch of Soak a wonderful laundry detergent, a Tutu sewing organizer and two yards of my Island Batik Heart Medallion Fabric.

Affiliate - Click Here to learn more about Quilty Box!

I love getting a box of fun gear and beautiful fabrics every month and this month was extra special because I got to work with Patrick to bring you an excellent box of gear and create a fun quilt pattern for us to create together.

I decided to stitch it up a notch this month and create a mini quilt along to guide you through all the steps to creating the Heart Medallion Checkerboard Quilt. Let's begin my learning how to piece this quilt top together in this new quilting tutorial:

We have four more videos to guide you through machine quilting this simple checkerboard quilt. I'm going to teach you how to stitch in the ditch to secure the layers together, outline quilt the medallions, fill the first border with straight lines, and the outer border with Heart Paisley.

Click Here to find all the tutorials for this project at

I love creating new patterns for Quilty Box each month because it's a wonderful design challenge. I get the box and have to design the quilt, write the pattern, figure out the math, and film the videos in 3-5 days. I know I couldn't do it without Dad's help putting the quilt top together while I write and double check the fabric calculations and math. It's a wonderful team effort and at this point we've shared over 24 free patterns!

Click Here to check out all the free patterns at

Here's to another beautiful quilt and fun quilting together!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, October 13, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Ocean Pearls, #489

Some quilting designs are cool and some are just plain funky! I have a super funky free motion quilting design for you today called Ocean Pearls. Let's learn how to machine quilt this beautiful design in this new quilting tutorial:

If you're looking at this and feeling overwhelmed and confused by free motion quilting, don't worry! There are many styles of machine quilting that are much easier to master including walking foot quilting that is much easier because the walking foot feeds your quilt through the machine.

Would you like to learn more about walking foot quilting? Learn how to quilt a big throw quilt with me in the Mega Star Walking Foot Workshop! This workshop walks you step-by-step through piecing and quilting a big star quilt on your home machine. Click Here to learn more.

Ocean pearls is certainly one of the most eye-catching designs I've created and while!

I love the funky combination of the free-form flame shapes with a small circle in the center. This design is a much simpler version of Oblivion so if you're wanting to stitch it up a notch and add even more thread, definitely try this alternative quilting design.

Lately I've been experimenting with leaving open pockets on my quilts and seeing how that affects the design. I find it's usually faster and easier to free motion quilt and creates a rich texture on both sides of the quilt.

Now let's dig into this Ocean Pearls design:

Difficulty Level – Intermediate – this design is not technically challenging, but it is a lot of steps to form each Ocean Pearl shape. Spent some time drawing the design on paper so you can get the hang of it before quilting it on a real quilts.

Design Family – Branching – while it may not look like it, this design is a variation of McTavishing, one of my favorite free motion quilting designs. This family of designs is perfect for adding flowing texture to your quilts and you can easily stitch them in almost any space.

This design does involve a lot of travel stitching so if your thread starts breaking, remember you can always switch to a thinner, stronger thread, and you don't have to use cotton! Click Here to find my favorite thread for quilting.

But where do I quilt it?

Ocean Pearls can work in all areas of your quilts. I think this would look really cool quilted on a large scale with giant flame shapes and circles flowing over the surface. I wouldn't stitch this design around delicate motifs like a wholecloth quilt because the open spaces in in the Ocean Pearls design will compete with other textures.

Where do you think Ocean Pearls will look best? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Happy Birthday! My Thoughts on Turning 34!

Hello My Quilting Friends! I decided to create a special video with my thoughts on turning 34 years old. Here goes:

Click Here to check out the birthday sale and save 40% on all downloadable books, patterns, and quilting workshops. It will really help us out a lot!

It's scary to be this honest, especially in a video. Another professional quilter once told me to be more careful with what I share because once you put it out there, you can't take it back.

But for me there's a level of authenticity that comes from being honest and sharing the truth. No, this year hasn't been the greatest. It's been tough financially and I've been hustling even more than usual to keep this ship afloat.

I'm very proud of my business, but not so proud that I can't admit that we have ups and downs. Things get busy, things get slow. It happens to everyone and we just have to figure out how to tighten our belts and keep on trucking.

I know in my heart better times are coming. I have so many wonderful things planned for this fall and winter and I'm so excited about a new set of workshops Josh and I have been working on together. Just yesterday we spent the morning filming basting together and had a wonderful time preparing a quilt on our dining room table.

It's been a hustle, but I love quilting and I love running my business. I can't imagine doing anything else with my life. So I'll take the bad times with the good. I'll figure this out and keep moving because I know the only way to win at anything in life is simple: never quit.

As long as we keep moving forward, we're going to get somewhere new eventually!

So here's to another birthday and the magical year 34. I'm so, so happy I'm not 17 and I can't wait to see what this next 17 years holds for us.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, October 9, 2017

Let's Quilt the Diamond Dresden Plate Quilt Block

It's time to quilt our 10th block for the Machine Quilting Block Party! Let's build more skills for free motion quilting and ruler foot quilting as we quilt straight lines, Sharp Stippling, and free motion feathers together. Check out this new quilting tutorial to learn how to quilt it:

Click here to find the pattern for the Diamond Dresden Plate Quilt Block. This pattern includes a full-size template to create this 12 petal Dresden, as well as a 14 inch quilting diagram for you to mark the quilting design on top.

Marking the quilting designs makes quilting much faster and easier because you don't have to guess where to stitch next. When free motion quilting you have a lot of things to do: move the quilt smoothly, control the speed of your machine, and try to balance that speed and movement to make pretty quilting stitches. Thinking about the design can be just too much icing on the cake!

By marking the quilting design, you can focus all your attention on moving the quilt block under your needle and controlling the speed of your machine to create consistent stitches.

But if marking the design seems like a trip to Dullsville, keep in mind half of this block is quilted with rulers!

Ruler quilting is not marked, but instead guided. Using a special ruler foot with a high base, you can press a ruler or template against the foot as you guide the quilt through the machine. For this block I used Template #3 from the Dresden Plate Template set to quilt the straight lines in the petals.

This is also the same template I used to cut out my petal shapes! Yes, these templates can be used to cut Dresden Plates AND quilt them! Click Here to learn more about this template set.

I love this combination of curves and straight-line quilting that's perfectly accented the pointed Dresden Plate Petals. This block was surprisingly fast to quilt because I quilted it entirely with a ruler foot on my machine.

Remember ruler foot quilting is a type of free motion quilting. 

You can use this foot to quilt with rulers, then set the ruler aside and move the quilt to stitch all your favorite free motion quilting designs.

So a ruler foot can be used to quilt with rulers and to free motion quilt, but a normal darning foot can ONLY be used for free motion quilting. Does that make sense?

What do you think of this combination of designs? Have you enjoyed quilting feathers in each block? What are some more designs you like to master in the coming year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Machine Quilt an Easy Pumpkin Patch

The weather is finally cooling down and the leaves are changing colors so it’s starting to feel like fall. Let’s bring the season into our quilts with this whimsical Pumpkin Patch quilting design!

Click Here to find my review of the Grace Qnique 14+. Remember if you live in the US, call Grace Company for more information and say Leah Day said Hello My Quilitng Friends to get a discount on your order!

Quilting Pumpkin Patch felt like the perfect quilting design for this week. I love the little pumpkin shapes connected together with a single Loopy Line. If you wanted to stitch the design up a notch, you could change thread colors and stitch along the loopy line again with green thread just to add a bit of extra texture and color to the design.

The best thing about Pumpkin Patch is how easy and quick it will fill your quilts with texture. If you make the pumpkins bigger and add lots of Loopy Line between them, you will quickly fill your quilts to the brim with creative Autumn-themed texture.

When quilting detailed designs like this, getting a good grip on the quilt is really important. I wear Machingers quilting gloves when machine quilting because the lightweight rubber tips help grip the quilt so I can move it smoothly under the needle to create all the shapes for the design.

You can find Machingers quilting gloves along with a Queen Supreme Slider and bobbin washers - the three tools I use on my machines every single day in the Queen Supreme Kit. Click Here to check it out!

I’ve been working on a collection of hoop quilts for this fall and popped my little sample into a five inch hoop that I’d wrapped with green bias binding. Make sure to check out the podcast with Anne Marie Chany to learn more about Hoop Quilts.

I’m officially a Hoop Quilt junkie and I plan to fill several hoops with beautiful designs and simple patchwork for this fall. Next week I have a spooky Halloween themed design so make sure to check back in for more beautiful textures and designs.

Let’s go quilt,

Leah Day

P.S - Guess what is coming this week? A quilting frame! Yes, I will be moving the Grace Qnique 14+ downstairs to a frame for the first time and sharing new videos as I learn how to quilt moving the machine instead of the quilt.

I plan to shoot more videos on the Grace Qnique in the table so let me know what videos you'd like to see and any tutorials we're missing before we make the switch!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

How to Quilt Neat Fans, Design #488

I have a neat new quilting design for you today! It's appropriately titled Neat Fans:

I realized the other day that it's very easy to loose track of designs. I often try new designs and ideas in random quilts, but then forget to pick a name and add it to the project.

For me, unless it has a 4-inch square stitched, a name and number assigned, it doesn't count. Hmm...neurotic much? Maybe. All I can say is with over 450 machine quilting designs under my belt, it pays to have an organization system that works!

Neat Fans was originally stitched in the original version of Express Your Love, the goddess quilt I quilted together in 2013. Here's the overall quilt:

And here's the Neat Fans in one of the background squares:

Quite neat indeed! This quilt has been on my mind a lot this week as I'm working on the hand / bead embroidery of the same design. It's fun to look at this one and see all the different textures on the surface. You can still find this design available as Spoonflower cheater cloth here.

So it's high time we make it official and add this cute design to the project! Learn how to quilt it in this new tutorial:

Would you like a real free motion quilting challenge? How about you quilt a new quilting design every day for a year? You can do just that with my book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs!

Quilt one design a day into a 4 inch square of fabric and I promise you'll see an amazing change in your quilting abilities in a very short space of time. Maybe we should make it an official challenge? Hmm...

Now let's learn more about Neat Fans!

Difficulty Level - Intermediate - While Neat Fans looks simple, there is a surprising amount of travel stitching in this design. Traveling is usually challenging for beginners so I'm rating this design intermediate because it's fairly time consuming and might be tricky to master when you're just getting started.

For a simpler design to begin machine quilting try Echo Shell, Echo Arches, or Hot Candy instead.

Design Family - Echoing - This design family is formed by quilting a shape, then travel stitching and echoing around it multiple times to make it bigger. To fill in your quilting space completely, simply quilt more shapes and echoes. It's sort of a clustering-effect that fills your quilts with beautiful Neat Fan texture throughout.

Where do we quilt it?! - Echoing quilting designs like Neat Fans can work just about anywhere. This particular design will work best when you have space for the shapes to expand on your quilt. I wouldn't try to quilt this in a dense or complicated space as the extra travel stitching plus filling in the weird gaps and spaces might bog you down.

But Neat Fans will look amazing in blocks, sashing, borders - anywhere with the space to quilt a quarter or half circle shape!

What do you think about this neat design? Does Neat Fans work as a name or would you have called it something different? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Etsy Success with Deborah Fisher, Podcast Episode 30

Hello My Quilting Friends! This week I'm chatting with a successful ceramic artist Deborah Fisher about running her Etsy shop and balancing ceramics with sewing, quilting, and the rest of her life! Listen to this new episode here:

You can also watch the episode with a live introduction with me here:

Click Here to find Deborah's Etsy shop. Does her shop look empty? It's because every time she adds new products they sell out in a few minutes! Make sure to check her sold items to see the beautiful ceramic pincushions she sells.

Deborah began selling on Etsy last fall, but her store didn't take off until Quilt Con in Savannah, GA. That's where I met Deborah and fell in love with her work. I'm still needing to add a thread pooping unicorn to my collection!

Here's the thread pooping unicorn which fits a big spool of Aurifil thread:

I'm still trying to get one of these! The last time Deborah put up more ceramics everything sold out in less than five minutes. That's both a good and bad problem to have and in the interview we talk about how Deborah has been trying to offer her products in the most fair way possible.

Deborah is also a quilter and sews the pincushions that come in most of the ceramics. She has published two books on quilting (Affiliate): Sew Fun: 20 Projects for the Whole Family and Quilt Giving: 19 Simple Patterns to Make and Give.

What I took from talking with Deborah is the importance of setting boundaries with your work. She creates 20 - 25 ceramics and schedules them to go up in her shop on a different day and time each month. She is trying her best to be fair to potential customers all over the world, but internet speeds fluctuate and as I've learned - you have to be really fast on the trigger!

She isn't offering the ceramics on commission and doesn't take special orders because of the complication it would add to her business. She also is only planning to attend two quilt shows a year because she has to create such a big volume of pieces at once.

I found chatting with Deborah fascinating and I hope she continues to succeed with her unique ceramic pincushion creatures! Click Here to check out her shop.

Show Sponsor

How can you support the podcast and help us continue? Check out our Quilt Shop at!

We have a quilt shop filled with tools and supplies, books, and online quilting workshops to help you master quilting on your home machine.

Would you like a beginner quilt pattern to get started quilting? Check out Building Blocks, a beginner sampler quilt with 42 blocks and unique quilting designs for you to mark and quilt on your home machine. Click Here to check out the Building Blocks Quilt Pattern.

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

During the introduction I was working on my Express Your Love embroidery design. I started this in 2013, but I got bogged down in the orange hair section because I didn't like my thread choices.

Well now I'm speeding through it because I use the time James and I watch a show together to stitch on this design. Just a bit of time every day and I can honestly say this project will be done by Thanksgiving!

I want to move forward with all my unfinished projects, but these goddess quilts and designs specifically because I'm planning to write a book on them next year. 

But what about the current book in progress?! 

I know, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. As you saw in the introduction, the walking foot book is nearly done and I'm proofing the first draft this week!

Just keep your ears and eyes open - we'll be starting a preorder soon and of course, next year we will be quilting along together through many of the projects in the book. 

Flipping through the first draft has been thrilling because I never imagined being able to write something like this. I feel like the whole quilt book writing process has opened up for me and I understand it so much better now, and yes, that means there will be many more books in my future.

Another exciting thing to join in this month is our Quilty Box Mini Quilt Along! I'm the featured designer for this month's Quilty Box and I've created a beautiful project for us to piece and quilt together:

Affiliate - Make sure to subscribe to Quilty Box and tune in starting Monday, October 16th for videos on how to piece and quilt this Heart Medallion Checkerboard quilt.

Since finishing the quilt, I've been using it as my tablecloth and I love seeing the cheerful fabrics and beautiful quilting on the table. Yes, the quilt has already been stained a bit, but honestly that makes me love it even more!

Whew! That's it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this interview with Deborah Fisher and learned a lot about selling on Etsy. 

What do you think - should this podcast move to a weekly broadcast? Do you find yourself wanting more? Let me know in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, October 2, 2017

How to Piece a Diamond Dresden Plate Quilt Block

It's our tenth month of the Machine Quilting Block Party and time to make another Dresden Plate Quilt Block for our Flower Festival Quilt. This month's Dresden block is super easy and fast to piece with twelve pointy petal shapes:

diamond dresden plate quilt block

The wonderful thing about the pointy petal Dresden Plates is they are pieced to turn the edge. This makes them much faster to turn the points to create the finished applique shapes. Learn how to piece and applique your Dresden Plate Quilt Block in this new video:

The pattern includes a full sized template for you to cut out your Dresden Plate petal shapes, but you can also use Template #3 from the Dresden Plate Template Set as well.

Using the template set will make the piecing process even faster because you can cut multiple pieces very quickly and not have to worry about accidentally slicing into the paper pattern.

To secure your Dresden Plate to the block background, you can pin the flower shape in place or glue it down securely. I personally prefer to glue the shape down because it holds firm and ensures the block will stay in place while you stitch down the edges.

To glue the Dresden Plate, I use regular Elmer's Glue in a Microtip Glue Bottle so I only apply a little bit of glue to the folded edge of the fabric. You need to control the amount of glue you add or it can quickly become a mess!

My favorite thing about this quilt block is the quick quilting design holding the layers together. We have a simple spiral in the center, big butterfly feathers in the petal leaves, and a touch of ruler foot quilting in the other petals.

Make sure to check back next week as we learn how to machine quilt this beautiful Diamond Dresden Plate quilt block together!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, October 1, 2017

New Diamond Dresden Plate Quilt Block

It's October, my favorite month of the year, and time to make my favorite block for the Machine Quilting Block Party! This month we're going to piece and quilt this beautiful Diamond Dresden Plate Block:

I love the combination of flowing free motion quilting designs and ruler foot quilting in this block. To celebrate our second to last Dresden Plate Block, the Dresden Plate Template Set is also on sale for an additional $10 off!

Click Here to check out the Dresden Plate Template Set.

This set can be used to cut dozens of different Dresden Plate quilt blocks and you can mix and match the templates to create amazing combinations. Watch the video below to see just how much you can do with this template set:

If you're quilting on a home machine, you can also use this template set to quilt with a ruler foot. The templates create fun shapes to quilt: straight lines, curves, circles, and points that will be easy to quilt with ruler foot quilting. Learn more about this style of quilting in this video:

Click Here to find your 10 piece Dresden Plate Template Set so you can quilt with these rulers as well!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, September 29, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Voodle, Design #487

It's late Friday night, but I didn't want the day to slip by without sharing a new quilting design this week. Here's a super simple, funky design called Voodle!

Learn how to machine quilt Voodle

This easy machine quilting design is a basic change-up of Paisley. Just add a circle in the end of the tear drop and you get a new design with an extra punch of travel stitching. Ready to learn how to quilt it? Here's the video:

Would you like to have a lot of beautiful quilting designs in an easy to browse place, maybe a book? I've gotcha covered! Click Here to find 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs, a massive book of quilting designs.

We have a new version of the book with lay flat binding so you can spread out the book next to your machine and find the perfect design for any quilt!

Learn how to machine quilt Voodle

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

Learn how to machine quilt Voodle
Difficulty Level - Beginner. This design isn't very challenging, but there is some travel stitching involved. Slow down as you quilt the circle shape in the end of the tear drop and travel stitch on top of the lines of quilting.

Design Family - Pivoting. This family of designs is all based on Paisley, so make sure to watch that tutorial too so you can understand how these designs work. Designs like this are easy to master so long as you're using thread like Isacord that is thin and strong so you can travel stitch many times over one area without the thread breaking.

Where do we quilt it? - Voodle can be quilted anywhere! Shrink it down into tiny Voodle shapes to quilt in the complicated spaces of your quilts or expand it to fill large bed quilts with a unique, funky texture.

This family of designs fills with clusters of the same shapes so if you get bored you can always switch to other pivoting designs and your quilt will look even more funky and fun.

Learn how to machine quilt Voodle

Where do you plan to quilt Voodle? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Uggh...I'm a Data Hoarder!

Yep, it's finally time I fess up and reveal the truth: I am a data hoarder. Today I've been digging through files, sorting out a monumental mess and finally organizing 8 years worth of quilting designs, ideas, inspiration, projects, and thousands of ugly photos.

Honestly I feel like I'm switching from shaking my head in disgust to banging it against a wall in frustration. Before I bought my iPhone, I struggled with several point and shoot cameras that all produced terrible pictures. But instead of just shooting one terrible picture, I'd shoot fifteen. And then SAVE ALL OF THEM!

Regardless of my terrible organization habits of the past, today is a clean sweep. I'm digging through each folder in Dropbox and figuring out whether to trash it or keep it and then figuring out where it can go so I can easily find it again.

The worst are the years 2012 and 2013 when we first began quilting along with new videos published weekly. I posted thousands of photos, but never organized them post by post. Instead I have dozens of folders labeled "d" and "f" from the original photo import, as if that means anything now!!

So please, if you are shooting pictures of anything, if you are creating, writing, or designing anything, please create an organization method that will keep your work tidy. For me it's creating folders of the main headings like Books, Workshops, Quilt Along, then folders within those folders for each individual project like Mega Star Workshop, Heart and Feather Workshop, etc. And then even more folders within for photos, drafts, diagrams, and final copies to separate the finished files and best photos so it's easy to grab what I need.

The upside to sorting through all of this junk? I feel extremely productive! Looking back at all the projects I've made, all the pretty quilts I've experimented with, all the weird tangents, crafts, ideas, and gadgets I've designed, I see my body of work and it is huge. Seeing it all organized makes me feel even better and I feel like I'll be able to work faster, with less fuss and fighting to find the photos and files I need.

Do you struggle with organization or does it come easy for you? What tips have you picked up over the years? Any other advice for a recovering data hoarder?

Let's go quilt (or sift through another thousand photos),

Leah Day

Monday, September 25, 2017

New Sashing Splendor Quilt Pattern

It's that time of the month...yeah, you's Quilty Box time! Here's the Quilty Box tutorial for this month:

Sponsor: Click Here to subscribe to Quilty Box and join me each month making a new quilt top! I love challenging myself to make a new quilt each month with the fabrics included in the box.

Click Here to find the Sashing Splendor quilt pattern as well as more tips and tricks for piecing your quilt.

This month's Quilty Box was one of my favorites and filled with beautiful fabrics and fun quilting supplies picked by Jena Brandvig from Quilting in the Rain. I loved the fabrics Jena designed for the box which are delicate floral prints in light pink, blue, and green colors.

I instantly thought of picnics in the spring and bright sunshine on a crisp white quilt. I knew I wanted to use all eight fat quarters with white fabric to create a simple quilt.

Right now my favorite part of this quilt is the cheerful fabrics, but I know once I start quilting it, I'll love the big open blocks and cornerstones even more. This quilt is made for fun machine quilting and you could easily quilt a different design into each square. Contrast your thread slightly with a bright pink, blue, or green so you can see where you're quilting and keep track of which blocks you've filled.

If you subscribe to Quilty Box, you've probably already seen the sneak peek for next month. Yep! I've put together an awesome Quilty Box for you next month and we're going to not just piece the quilt, but also quilt it step-by-step together!

So if you'd like to join me in making a beautiful quilt next month, make sure to subscribe to Quilty Box today!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Fun Machine Quilting Grid Designs

I've been experimenting a lot lately and trying new quilting designs. I had a pretty boring grid block to quilt in my Building Blocks cheater cloth quilt so I decided to try three different ways to quilting the grid designs:

Click Here to find my full review of the Grace Qnique 14+. I'm really enjoying quilting with this machine and making tutorials for you to enjoy each week.

machine quilting grid designs
I loved playing with these grid designs and I plan to try even more! The grid creates a solid base for the lines to flow and allows you to form interesting repetitive patterns without marking. While the lines are permanent on this fabric, the quilting design still stands out because the stitching flattens out the quilt and adds beautiful texture over the surface.

When quilting the Robbing Peter to Pay Paul design, I got a bit lost in the grid and had to think about how to quilt the arch shapes so the design would remain continuous. I think with more practice this could become very easy so you don't even have to think about it.

What do you think of grid designs? Have you tried marking a grid on fabric and quilting over it with a different design? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, September 23, 2017

My Bucket is Filled to the Brim!

This morning I rolled out of bed, walked into the kitchen and found my sweet sweet boy had made breakfast! James baked blueberry muffins all by himself and made me a cup of tea and wrote a sweet note. Aw! My bucket is so filled!

Have you read the book (Ad) How Full is Your Bucket? We learned about it in kindergarten I think and "bucket filling" and "bucket dipping" quickly became words we used a lot in our family. 

The basic premise is we all have an imaginary bucket of water over our heads and when nice things happen, it fills our bucket up. When bad things happen that make us feel bad, it dips the bucket. So the goal is to fill up your bucket by doing things that make you feel good, and also to fill up everyone else's bucket because that makes us all feel good.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and focusing on self care - filling my own bucket. I've been getting up early every morning to do yoga, something that really fills my bucket, but I sometimes make excuses not to get on the mat. I've also been taking more time to write for myself, journal, plan, and design which is all stuff I love.

I think when I'm doing all of those things, I'm a better person. More loving, more connected, and more receptive to my family and that circles back around with lovely breakfasts like James made me today. The more I take care of myself and fill my own bucket, the more I fill my family's bucket and the more they want to fill mine right back. Round and round it goes!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

P.S Did you notice the quilt on my table??? Yep, I took a leaf out of Laura Coia's book and I'm using quilts as tablecloths now! 

This quilt is going to be a super fun project and mini quilt along next month. Hint - You might want to (Ad) subscribe to Quilty Box so you can join in the fun!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Curved Ruler Foot Quilting on My Hoop Quilt

This week has been all about Hoop Quilts as I shared the podcast with Anne Marie Chany on Wednesday and now today I'm quilting my Hoop Quilt using ruler foot quilting!

I decided to challenge myself and use the curved edges of Dresden Templates #2 and #4 to create this cool design in the center of the quilt:

I love love love this effect, but it was a bit challenging to create. Watch this quilting tutorial to see how I quilted it:

Do you want to make a Hoop Quilt? Find the quilt pattern from Anne Marie Chany!

Click Here to check out the quilt shop at where you can find books, tools, workshops, and more to help you master machine quilting.

While no, my quilting wasn't perfect, I really enjoyed creating this hoop quilt. I've played around with using the curves on the Dresden Plate templates a bit on a practice sandwich, but you know there's nothing like trying a new technique on a real quilt. It really takes the challenge up another notch!

Something I was thinking about while making this project is my constant push / pull with perfection. For many years I nit picked my quilts to death and ripped out every single bad stitch. I didn't finish a lot of projects and the stuff I did finish, I usually didn't like very much.

Quilting this hoop quilt was the complete opposite - I quilted it from start to finish in 2 hours and it's peppered with mistakes. Sometimes the ruler wasn't in the right place and sometimes I got distracted and quilted something...creative...instead.

But now that it's finished secured in the hoop, I absolutely love it. Don't get me wrong, I still see the mistakes, but somehow leaving them in makes me happy. Is that weird or what?!

How are you feeling about perfection today? Are you striving for perfect stitches or accepting what is naturally coming from your hands and machine?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pickles the Quilt Cat

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this cat? We rescued her this past spring and it took her a few months to settle in and now her personality has come out - LOUDLY!

She is one whiny cat, especially when she's hungry. She's also manic about food to the point of digging through the cabinet, opening containers, and eating directly out of the bag.

The other day I left this stack of quilted squares in the office and guess who curled right up? Tee hee! It was really cute because the stack is about a foot off the ground (couldn't capture that exactly in this photo) so she's propped up like a princess on her cushion.

Anyway I thought that was cute and it made me smile! And this stack of squares? Be looking forward to learning how to quilt these beautiful designs next year! This is a stack quilted for my new book on walking foot quilting and I can't wait to start putting the quilt together. The blocks have black and red minky on the back so it's going to look great and feel super soft too.

What are you working on today? Got a furry friend keeping you company? Now I'm thinking Pickles needs a special spot all her own. What about a tuffet? Hmm...

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Make Hoop Quilts with Anne Marie Chany, Episode #29

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I have a terrific interview with Anne Marie Chany from Gen X Quilters. Anne Marie hosts a yearly sampler quilt along, is the author of several quilt books, and has recently created Hoop Quilts - a new way to create and display mini quilts!

Here's the video with live intro so you can see what I'm working on!

Let's learn more about Hoop Quilts! I fell in love with this over the summer as Anne Marie began posting pictures to Instagram. I LOVE this idea because it takes care of a big issue I have with mini quilts - what do you do with them after they're done!?

Seriously, I've made a lot of mini quilts in sizes from 12 to 30 inches and there's only so many table surfaces in my house that need a quilt on top. And hanging them on the wall is such a pain to hand stitch the hanging sleeve in place, then you have to install the stuff to hang it. Can you tell I'm whining? I've seriously blown this out of proportion, but it's a serious quilting problem here people!

By putting the quilt in a hoop, Anne Marie has fixed all the issues of displaying and hanging mini quilts. No more hanging sleeve, no more side tables covered with dusty quilts. Pop that beauty into a quilt frame and stick it on the wall. Ta Da!

Anne Marie has created a beautiful quilt pattern for you to make your own mini hoop quilt with sixteen half square triangles you can mix and match. She also has templates you can cut out and piece the curved seam to create this pretty circle too. Click Here to find the quilt pattern.

Hoop Quilts are also a great way to use up small scraps of fabric and play with embellishment. I love the idea of gluing on buttons and stitching decorative threads on the surface. Anne Marie was originally inspired to create Hoop Quilts after spending a lot of time hand embroidering while recovering from surgery so this seems a terrific way to try new techniques on a small, manageable project.

I've had my own Hoop Quilting adventure which I'm planning to share this Friday so be looking forward to learning how I machine quilted my mini quilt.

We also discussed Anne Marie's Block of the Month programs which she's run for five years now. This year she's sharing the Chocolatier Block of the Month which is not only gorgeous, it's also scrumptious!

Show Sponsor

The sponsor for the show this week is my website and the new Happy Fish Quilt Pattern we just released today! This cute quilt will show off your pretty fabrics and create a bright, cheerful addition to any kid's room.

Just like all of my quilt patterns, I go beyond just teaching you how to piece a pretty quilt top. I also include ideas for machine quilting so you're not stuck with an unfinished quilt top. For Happy Fish, I added extra texture to the quilt with air bubbles and embellished each puffy circle with hand embroidery. Learn how to do this and make this cute quilt with me!

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

I'm officially working on a new online workshop featuring the Love the Light Wholecloth quilt. I had the quilt half marked and decided it was time to mark the rest while talking through the intro. This is a walking foot wholecloth - two things you probably don't think of going together!

I love how this quilt turned out and I've learned so much every time I've created it. Now I'm going to make it one more time, this time filming each step of the process so you can see how it works too. And yes, this quilt is entirely created with walking foot style quilting. It's a bit slower, but creates such a beautiful finished effect!

Another thing we're working on is the new Rainbow Log Cabin quilt for our the Machine Quilting Block Party starting in January. We're going to piece this beautiful, bright quilt together, AND machine quilt it too!

Dad has been working on the new version of this quilt that we're piecing with beautiful Island Batik fabrics. I can't wait to get started making the videos next week!

I hope you didn't mind my tale of spider slaughter in the podcast. That little bugger had it coming! If you make me scream in terror you're not long for this world (or at least you owe me a very big cookie). Oh and here's the Bug-A-Salt gun on Amazon (yep, that's an affiliate link). Josh LOVES blasting flies with it!

Just in case you missed Friday's post, here's the Itsy Bitsy Spider design post. Yes, I like spiders stitched in thread. Not a fan when they're real and huge and wiggling right in front of my face.

And last but not least, the design video Cotton Candy that YouTube decided was Inappropriate Content. Can you give it a watch so they will review it and hopefully remove this incorrect flag?

Thank you for watching and super thank you for listening! If you're enjoying the podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes as that also helps increase the podcast reach so more people can find it. We had eleven wonderful reviews left so far and I was so touched to read everyone's kind words about the podcast.

I really love creating this show and am seriously thinking about increasing to every week. That's a lot of work, but honestly this is turning into my favorite video of the week so why not?! Let me know what you think of that idea and please continue to watch, listen, and share the podcast with your friends.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

New Double Basket Weave Quilt Pattern

I have a new quilt pattern for you today! This week I received a box of fabric provided by JOANN fabrics and challenged myself to create a new quilt top in just a few days. Click Here to find this new quilting tutorial and learn how to make this quilt!

Does this quilt look familiar? It should because this is a doubled version of the Basket Weave Quilt I shared last year:

This doubled version is actually a bit easier because it uses only two print fabrics. The Basket Weave Quilt has been confusing to some beginning quilters when it comes time to arrange the blocks to create the woven effect.

I also like that the Double Basket Weave has nice wide vertical lines so you can show off your favorite fabrics in a big space. This is the perfect place to finally use the fabrics that have been too pretty to cut!

Enjoy this new free quilt pattern and please share it with your friends!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Three Easy Longarm Quilting Designs

What are the three easiest designs to learn how to free motion quilt? I'm sure if you asked three different quilting teachers you'll get three different answers! Here's my take on the easiest machine quilting designs to start with:

Click here to find my review of the Grace Qnique 14+. Remember if you're interested in this machine to call the company and mention Leah Day said Hello my quilting friends to get a discount on your order.

three easy longarm quilting designs

Last week I started quilting on this Building Blocks cheater cloth quilt. It includes all the skill-building quilt blocks we quilted together in 2014 printed with the quilting designs included! Click here to find this cheater cloth fabric.

For best results, pick the Kona Cotton Ultra Fabric. If you want all 42 blocks for the Building Blocks Quilt, you'll need to purchase 3 yards. If you only want to make a baby quilt 1 yard should be plenty.

Now let's learn more about these three easy quilting designs: The design I always teach first in any quilting class is Wiggly U Shapes. It's a super simple design that most people naturally draw and doodle without even thinking about it. Even if you don't draw or doodle, you'll probably still find this an easy shape to create because the movement is so similar to writing the letter U or N in cursive.

three easy longarm quilting designs

Quilting this design is a good first step and usually the first thing I stitch when testing out a new machine or a new table setup. It'll get you started moving the quilt under your needle and quilting curves. Come to think of it, I'm tired of calling this essential quilting design such a clunky name. Hence forth, Wiggly U's will now be Noodles!

Noodles is more than just a simple line of curves, it's a terrific first step to quilting Stippling. When I was first starting to free motion quilt, I quilted rows and rows of Noodles until I was bored to tears.

Then one day I was quilting in a particularly tricky space and finally realized I could branch out and make the design more interesting by adding bends and deeper curves. Sometimes it takes that level of repetition, to the point that you're beating your head against the wall, to see and understand how design works and how you can manipulate it to achieve the look you're after.

three easy longarm quilting designs

Stippling itself can be a bit challenging because the rule for this design is a bit tricky. Stitch a curving line without crossing over it. But if you think in terms of Noodles and learn how to quilt the design in rows, it's much easier to master.

The last easy design to try is really two designs in one. Cursive letters are extremely easy to machine quilt because the shapes are formed in one continuous line. Rows of cursive letters like the E and L are the easiest because it's a continuous line and repetitive movement. Plus, rows of cursive L shapes are pretty and quickly add a lacy effect in quilt sashing or borders.

three easy longarm quilting designs

Even better, quilting cursive words directly on your quilt is a wonderful way to give it personality and a special message to future generations. I created this mini quilt as a fun experiment with a new quilting ruler and these three designs.

I marked the cursive words on the quilt so they would be evenly spaced and so I wouldn't forget essential words or letters. Yes, I could easily forget or space the words badly so marking the designs is the best way to go about it!

I mark fabrics like this with the Ceramic Marking Pencil which I've used for years because it shows up bright with a thin line that's easy to follow, but erases completely after I've quilted over the marks.

three easy longarm quilting designs

We all have to get started machine quilting somewhere, and I think these three designs are a great place to start. However, they're not the ONLY place to start so please don't get frustrated if you hate quilting Noodles, Stippling, or Cursive Letters.

three easy longarm quilting designs
Machine quilting is a skill building process and I believe the most important aspect is your enthusiasm to master a design. If these three seem too basic to you, check out our Quilting Design Gallery and pick a design that looks fun to you.

It doesn't matter where you begin with quilting. It just matters that you quilt daily and never give up!

What do you think of these three skill building designs? Remember, these are not just for longarm quilting, but can also be quilted on a home sewing machine too. Here are some older tutorials featuring each of these blocks and Josh, my wonderful husband giving them a try:

Josh Quilting Noodles in a Pinwheel Block

How to Quilt Stippling in a Spinning Square Block.

Josh's cursive words in a Rail Fence Block.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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