The Free Motion Quilting Project: 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018

Ultimate Quilt Binding Tutorial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, February 16, 2018

Walking Foot Quilting: How to Quilt Zigzag Lines

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


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


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

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

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


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

Guiding with the Edge

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

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


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

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

Stopping, Starting, and Pivoting

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


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

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

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

Design Families

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



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

Click Here to find the tutorial on Crazy Lines.

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

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

Click Here to find the book in print format.

Click Here to find the book in PDF ebook format.

Click Here to find this book on the Kindle!

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Interview with My Sister Camille! Podcast #45

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


A typical day for Camille looks like this:

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

- Apples and almond butter for snack

- Lunch is scrambled egg, compliant bacon or sausage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food Changes, Work Changes

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

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

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

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

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

Come on, Finish it Already!

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


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

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

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


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

I'm scared.

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, February 12, 2018

Quilting to the Corners on the Rainbow Log Cabin Quilt

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


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

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


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

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

Mark Bright Star Quick and Easy

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


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

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

Quilting with Contrast

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update - What about the back?!

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, February 9, 2018

Walking Foot Quilting: Let's Quilt Super Wobble

Welcome back to the Machine Quilting Party, where we're learning how to quilt with walking foot quilting in 2018. Today we're learning how to quilt our sixth walking foot quilting design: Super Wobble!

Click Here to find the Marvelous Mosaic Quilt Pattern in the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.


Super Wobble is our first spiral design we've learned this year. This type of design begins in the center and radiates outward steadily to cover your quilt with a beautiful texture.

To get started, the best way to begin is to mark the starting Super Wobble shape on your quilt. No matter whether you're quilting a big quilt or a small square, having the starting shaped marked is essential because the start of the spiral is small and your walking foot is really big. Without the lines marked, at least in the beginning it will be hard to tell where you are going.


I used the Ceramic Marking Pencil to mark this design on my fabric. If the fabric was lighter, I'd use the Fine Line Pen instead. I love these two fabric marking pencils and I've used them for years because they show up nicely while I need the marks, but erase completely after I'm done quilting.

Click Here to find both marking pens in the Mark Your Quilt Kit!

It may surprise you, but many times when I mark every single line of the design, the entire quilting process goes faster. I think a lot of this has to do with taking the guess work out of the quilt.

When you're guessing what to do next, or worse have to make frequent decisions on your quilt as to what design to use or how to quilt it, that creates a stopping point.

Every time you stop, even a small stop to pick another design or look at the quilt and decide what direction to quilt into next, that creates a convenient time to walk away from your machine...and who knows when you'll come back!

I've struggled with this myself on the Dream Goddess Quilt. I made the mistake of not deciding the designs to quilt in the sky section. It's now been over three years unfinished with only a few hours of quilting left to complete it.

I left too many unanswered questions in this section and because of it, I kept stopping and putting it away. Lesson learned! More planning, and even more marking the better.

Spiral in the Right Direction

The key to quilting any spiral is to turn it in the right direction. This is another reason to mark the starting shape because it's SO easy to get started turning the design counter clockwise.


And if you make this mistake on a big quilt, your arms might not survive to see the end of it!

How you turn any spiral design is very important. The design itself needs to be quilted clockwise so as you quilt out of the center, you will have the least amount of quilt in the arm of the machine.

Tips for Quilting Smooth Curves

This is the first design we've tackled this year with curving lines and this is one of those things a walking foot can do, but not without a little manipulation.


Make sure to wear quilting gloves so you can get a grip on the quilt and pivot it smoothly as you stitch the curving lines. Watch out for the deeper curves we quilt in the center of the Super Wobble Spiral - it's easy to pivot to sharply and end up with a noticeable point within the curving line.

It's also easy to create whiskering - a soft rippling on the surface which can lead to pleats. If you starch and press your fabric squares before you quilt, that can definitely help to reduce the tendency for the fabric to shift and whisker.

And if this feels really challenging to quilt with a walking foot, you can also free motion quilt this design too! Watch how I quilted Super Wobble into a much smaller square with free motion quilting in this video:


Please understand there's no right or wrong way to make your Marvelous Mosaic quilt and if you'd like some of the designs to be quilted with walking foot quilting and some free motion quilting, that's just fine!

To find the quilt pattern for this project and join in the fun, Click Here to find the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting.

Are you looking for all the videos shared so far? Click Here to find them all in one place!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Piece AND Quilt a Serendipity Star Quilt!

I have a huge treat for you today! My awesome quilting friend Luis Sanchez has created a beautiful quilt block called Serendipity Star and I'm going to quilt it with two fun designs.

First learn how to piece the Serendipity Star and make a small baby quilt with this super cool block with Luis:


Click Here to find Luis's YouTube Channel. Most of his videos are shared in Spanish, but I find his hand movements are so clear that I can usually follow exactly what he's doing without understanding the language. And I have to say, he did an amazing job with this quilting tutorial - speaking in a second language and demonstrating and sewing at the same time! I know I couldn't do that!

Just in case you missed Luis's podcast, click here to learn more about him.

Now let's talk about quilting your Serendipity Star quilt. I only quilted a single block, but I'm really tempted to create this baby quilt after watching Luis's tutorial because it's even more interesting when connected together with other blocks.

I wanted to add movement and texture, but I also wanted to emphasize the pinwheel shape in the star. Learn how I took my design inspiration and picked two simple designs to quilt on this star block:


Click Here to find the marking pencil I used in this video.


Now I have to comment on the wonderful coincidence of this quilting tutorial. I filmed this back in October to have it ready to go for our collaboration. Yes, it does take several months of planning and work to put something like this together!

It just so happens that I've recently shared two other tutorials on quilting the designs from this video:

Click Here to watch a video on quilting Concentric Squares on a much bigger quilt. Yes, it really is different to quilt a small block verses a big quilt so this tutorial will give you an idea of what it will be like to quilt the entire Serendipity Star Quilt Luis shared.

Click Here to find an Ultimate Quilting Tutorial on McTavishing. I call this Ultimate because I teach you how to quilt this design on a home machine and a longarm quilting frame.

It's funny how I shared these other quilting tutorials just recently and the designs just happened to be the ones I picked for Luis's quilt block. Life is funny that way, but I hope you'll check out these extra videos and learn even more about quilting with us.


So that's it for this awesome collaboration with my quilting friend Luis Sanchez. Click Here to check out his YouTube Channel so you can subscribe. 

I've learned so much about bag making and setting zippers from Luis and I really think you'll learn a lot too.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, February 5, 2018

Quilting a Big Quilt with Concentric Squares

I'm so excited to see all the beautiful Rainbow Log Cabin quilts taking shape and so many quilters quilting this big quilt on their home machines. Remember, you can join the Machine Quilting Party anytime and begin quilting along with us!

This week the machine quilting process should feel easier as we stitch the middle section of our log cabin quilt with Concentric Squares. See how this works quilting on a small home machine in this video:


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

*New! We've just released this book on Kindle! Click Here to check it out now.

Explore Walking Foot Quilting is more than just a book of pretty quilt pictures. I filled this book with all the steps to quilt making from piecing your quilt tops accurately to binding the edges of your finished quilts. You'll find 30 beautiful walking foot designs as well as seven skill-building quilt patterns that will guide you through the piecing and quilting process step by step.

This is the book you need if you'd like to join in the fun of the Machine Quilting Party! It includes the patterns for the Rainbow Log Cabin, Marvelous Mosaic, and Prism Path baby quilt we're making together this year.


Quilting Big Squares in a Big Quilt

This week our goal is to machine quilt both the yellow and green sections of the Rainbow Log Cabin quilt with Concentric Squares. This should feel much easier and faster to quilt because we're further from the center so there will be less bulk quilt in the arm of your machine.

To get started, I first taped two squares, using the piecing points on the quilt as a guide. This is something we're going to do a lot this year - use the piecing as a guide to the quilting. It's an very easy way to plan your quilting design and always enhances the piecing design nicely.


I also used a guide bar on my machine to space extra lines off the tape. Is this perfectly accurate? No. If you want absolutely perfect lines, use a ruler and mark them with a marking pencil.

But in a quilt like this where it's not a big deal if the lines aren't perfect, masking tape will work just fine!

I quilted Concentric Squares using Isacord Thread in Orange Peel, a bright yellowish orange color that contrasted nicely with the yellow and green sections I quilted over. Click Here to find a thread set of all the colors we will use this year.

Always Quilt Clockwise

When quilting Concentric Squares, the most important step is the direction you're quilting when you begin. Please double check that you are quilting clockwise, so the quilt is inserted into the machine with the least amount of bulk in the arm.


If you begin quilting counter clockwise, you will end up with the entire quilt, past the center in the arm. Talk about a wrestling match!

But if it still feels like a wrestling match even when you're quilting clockwise, you might want to look at your quilting tables and see if you can arrange things to support your quilt better. Click Here to find a video on setting up your machine for quilting.

And I highly recommend using quilting gloves to grip the quilt and a Queen Supreme Slider to make moving it over the table easier. Click Here to find both tools in a money saving kit!

Rise to the Challenge

Another thing I keep in mind when quilting a big quilt is that it's not going to be easy.

What?! A quilting teacher just dared to say this wasn't fast or easy? Burn her! Burn her!



Watch the pitchforks! LOL! Look at it this way, if it was easy, we'd all have all of our quilt tops quilted none of us would have any unfinished, un-quilted projects lying around. If quilting on a home machine was fast or simple, longarm quilting machines would never have been invented. They were created to meet a demand.

This is hard. Accept it.

I'm not trying to be discouraging. Quite the opposite. I find mentally accepting and inviting the challenge of quilting this big quilt can make a big difference. Go into this understanding it's going to make your shoulders a bit sore, it's going to take time, and you may end up looking like you just got out of a ring with a wrestler twice your size.

But go into it also knowing you're going to WIN! You're going to quilt this quilt and show it who's boss and then you'll have a beautifully finished quilt to enjoy in your home.


So here's to accepting the challenge and rising to meet it! Next week we'll be quilting the corners of the Rainbow Log Cabin, and trust me, it definitely gets much easier from here.

Click Here to find all the videos we've shared so far to this project. Remember, you can join in any time and the videos will remain online to guide you.

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, February 2, 2018

Walking Foot Quilting: Let's Quilt Gridlines

Happy Groundhogs Day! We're kicking off the second month of the Machine Quilting Party and continuing our quest to learn more about walking foot quilting with new quilting tutorials shared every week. Today let's learn how to quilt a really simple design called Gridlines:


Click Here to find the quilt pattern for Marvelous Mosaic in the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day!

I quilted Gridlines in several quilts from the book. Here I quilted the lines farther apart to fill this "X" block of the Hugs and Kisses quilt:


I also quilted Gridlines on a much smaller scale for the Love the Light Wholecloth. This helped emphasize the motifs in the quilt and created contrast between the larger shapes and the background. Yes, I really did quilt all of those lines completely with my walking foot!


Quilting Gridlines without Pleats

None of the designs we've quilted together so far involve crossing your lines of quilting. When you begin to cross your lines of quilting, issues can arise in the form of pleats and puckers forming as you stitch right up to and over the previously stitched line.


The reason is simple: if the layers of your quilt begin to shift and form a snow pile in front of your foot, stitching over a line is like running into a wall - that extra fabric has to go somewhere and it's just going to fold over and form a pleat in that spot.

So the solution is to watch your quilt like a hawk and keep a firm grip on the surface. Make sure to wear quilting gloves so you can pull down the fabric gently as you quilt right up to the line so it doesn't form a pleat.


A few things can stop your quilts from being prone to pleating and puckering. Starching your fabric before you cut it will really help to stabilize the surface so it has far less stretch and give as you quilt over it.

Securely basting your quilt will also be a big help. No, I do not stitch around the perimeter of my quilt block before beginning to quilt. The main reason is the size of the blocks (anything bigger than 8 inches can start to see shifting as you stitch across the full length) and I'm using a very thick batting and minky fabric on the back.


To make the block easy to move, I always have my Queen Supreme Slider stuck to the table top, but off my feed dogs. You use your feed dogs a lot with walking foot quilting and put a lot of pressure down on them with the walking foot. If you put your slider over the feed dogs it will get chewed up, so make sure to set it up the way I do in this video.

How to Mark Gridlines on your Quilt

The only other time challenging thing with Gridlines is deciding how to mark it on your quilt. For this block, I used a guide bar on my walking foot to space out the lines. This is great for lines spaced 1 inch apart or wider because it won't be noticeable from a distance if the lines aren't perfectly spaced.


For lines closer together, like the 1/4 inch spacing in the Love the Light Wholecloth, you need to mark every line of the design to ensure they are accurately spaced. Click Here to find my favorite fabric marking pens.

It will be VERY noticeable if you quilt some lines closer together or further apart when quilting a dense version of this design. The quilt can also shift as the surface is densely quilted so having the lines marked ensures they will be evenly spaced.


But please don't let that stop you from trying it! Quilting densely is a great way to build skill because you get so much more bang for your buck. In a small square you get a lot more repetitions when you quilt lines closer together rather than further apart.

So that's it for this quilting tutorial for Gridlines! I hope you have a lot of fun quilting this design in a Marvelous Mosaic square this week.

If you'd like to join us for this Machine Quilting Party, simply pick up a copy of my book Explore Walking Foot Quilting to find the patterns and follow along.

Click Here to find all the quilting tutorials we've shared to this project so far.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Leah's On a Diet? Quilting Friends Podcast #44

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I decided to share a personal update on the quilts I'm working on right now and a big challenge I've taken on for the month of February. Listen or download this episode using this player:


Or you can watch the episode and see me working on the Love the Light wholecloth quilt here:


I was stitching on the hanging sleeve to the back of this beautiful quilt while recording the podcast. This is the walking foot wholecloth quilt from my book Explore Walking Foot Quilting. I'm trying to take care of little projects like this so they don't get left unfinished forever:


In the evening I'm still working on this forever cross stitching project. Looking forward to seeing the end of this one!


All this week I've been working on an update to the Winter Wonderland Quilt Pattern. This is a very unique quilt I created right at the start of the Free Motion Quilting Project to test the designs and a technique I'd created called Reverse Shadow Trapunto.


I put the finishing touches on this pattern last night and you can find it right here at LeahDay.com!



It feels so good to have this quilt pattern back on the website today. It really is one of my best quilts, and pulling it out has made my fingers itch to pull out graph paper and my lightbox to design something new.

But the big news in this podcast came at the end. Yep, I've decided to go on the Whole 30 diet. This is a very restricted diet and I've cold-turkey cut off sugar, wheat, soy, dairy, and well, a whole lot of stuff except for meat, vegetables, and fruit.

My main goal for going on this diet is to feel better about my body, to become stronger, and to look on the outside the way I feel on the inside. I want to feel great AND look great and yeah, I want to have a rocking swimsuit body this summer!

Last summer, I was only comfortable showing this much of myself in a picture:


Um...yeah, there's a lot more to me than just my shoulders and head!

This sounds weird, but I've never allowed myself to want this. In the back of my head I've always told myself "No, Leah, that isn't for you. You're not good enough to have a body like that."

This is the exact same voice that told me for years that I wasn't good enough to run a business, wasn't good enough to make amazing quilts, wasn't good enough to have a supportive, nurturing family. Who do you think you are, ugly girl? You don't deserve any of that! (Yes, that is how the voice in my head talks to me.)

In my daily work to challenge these negative voices in my head I realized I need to work on my whole body - my flabby belly, my thighs, my floppy arms - and to actively take responsibility for how I look.

This will be a big challenge, the greatest of which is finally dealing with my sugar addiction. I LOVE sweets and they have long been a problem in my diet. More than a year ago, I stopped drinking cold-turkey. I've done the same thing this week with sugar and yep, I'm going through withdrawal!

The crazy weird symptoms I've been experiencing has left no doubt in my mind how bad sugar is for my body. But I feel stronger and happier every day I don't eat it.

Yes, yes, I've long heard "things in moderation" and "a little bit won't hurt" but that doesn't work for me. I draw strength from the fact that I can make a declaration like "I will not eat sugar again" and stick with it. When I quit drinking, every day I didn't pour a scotch was a day I felt stronger and more resolved to never drink again. Unless I trip and face plant into a chocolate cake, it's just not happening!

So that is my major goal for February. 30 days of meat, vegetables, and fruit. 30 days without sugar. Would you care to join me? Learn more about the Whole 30 Diet right here.

I'll also be sharing a recipes and workout videos I find helpful in our weekly newsletter. This is the best place to find links to all the quilting tutorials we share each week. Click Here to sign up for My Quilting Friends newsletter.

So that's it for this month! It's been a terrific start to the year and I can't wait to see where we go from here.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Help us create more quilting tutorials! Check out our quilt shop at LeahDay.com