The Free Motion Quilting Project: 2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Playtime on My New Machine

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

Join in this free motion quilting playtime with me:

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

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

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

Read more about this free motion quilting adventure right here.

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, May 21, 2018

Something Pretty This Way Comes

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, May 20, 2018

First Round of Editing DONE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, May 18, 2018

How to Quilt Pinstripe Curves

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

Click Here to find the full tutorial

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

Click Here to find the Quilt as You Go Tutorial

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Copyright Law and Quilting

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

Click Here to find this episode.

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

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

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

Methods / techniques are utilitarian. You cannot copyright methods.

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

New Quilt Along in the Works!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click Here to find the Eternal Love Quilt Pattern

Click Here to find the Quilting Kit

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, May 14, 2018

How Do I Quilt This?!

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day!

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Trip Down Memory Road

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, May 11, 2018

Two Tutorials in One Day?

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

How to Quilt Crazy Grid

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Bit More Scrubbing

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

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

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

*Sigh* this is going to take awhile.

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

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

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

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

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

What are you working on today?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Who's Quilt Is It Anyway?

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

Click Here to check out the podcast episode.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without quilting, your quilt is not complete.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quilt your quilts yourself. 

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

First Goddess Quilt Pattern

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

Click Here to check out Eternal Love.

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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, May 7, 2018

Finishing Up the Baby Quilt Along

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

Click Here to learn how to quilt your baby quilt!

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Scrubbing a Singer in the Sun

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

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

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

Yes, today was 100% a messy hair day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, May 5, 2018

New Flower Hat for a Derby Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Let's Quilt Pinstripe Ziggie

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Yes, I'm Selling Sewing Machines

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

Click Here to check out this machine.

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

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

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

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

That sounds like a pretty good plan to me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Getting Bit by the Treadle Bug


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

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

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

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

Consider the cast iron treadle bases armed and extremely dangerous.

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

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

Or two... 

Or a few hundred!

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

*    *     *     *     *

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Quilting a Baby Quilt with Lines

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

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

Click Here to find this new quilting tutorial.

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, April 30, 2018

I Get a Gold Star!

Yay! I blogged every day this month! Well, kinda... I had to post twice a few times and today I'm catching up with one last post to reach my goal of 30 posts in April.

Still, that is more than I've shared in a single month since 2014. I'd say I deserve a gold star!

Umm... that isn't a gold star. Yeah, I know! 
I searched through all of my nice new organized folders and I've never quilted a gold star, ever! That's definitely on my to-do list now!

Why did I do this?

Frankly I was curious. I've been bouncing around on my posts for awhile now. Some tutorials and patterns would be posted to and others would be posted here. That often made it hard to predict just how often I'd post and I honestly got lazy with it and sometimes the blog wouldn't be updated for a length of time.

So this started with a firm decision: all new tutorials and posts will be shared at

Once I made that decision, everything changed. I had to commit to taking extra time to share on the website (the word processor and page generator takes more time and is MUCH more glitchy). I had to prepare photos in advance so they were the correct size - something I don't ever worry about here.

And I also had to decide what to do with this blog. Stop posting? Nope. That's not something I want to do. I love this blog. I love writing about quilting!

Why not use the blog for it's intended purpose - a web log or diary or journal of what's going on?

So that's what I've tried to do this month. Yes, some posts are nothing more than a link over to for a tutorial. But in between, here and there, I managed to slip in more posts, more thoughts, more quilts than I would have shared before.

Blogging daily has brought back a lot of nice memories from the start of the Free Motion Quilting Project when I blogged every single day for the first few months without fail.

Yes, it's added one more thing to my already full plate, but it's also forced me to be a bit more organized, a bit more thoughtful, and a bit more grateful. All good things as far as I'm concerned!

Was it worth it? Hard to say. It's hard to quantify only doing one month of anything. I've enjoyed it. It's been tough. There have been days when I wanted to act my 11 year old kid and roll my eyes and stomp my feed down the stairs in protest. (I don't let him get away with that so I don't get away with it either.)

But it's also been nice to have this in the back of my mind. What do I get to share today? What do I get to talk about? What pretty picture can I shoot or quilt can I capture just for fun?

Because that's what this is supposed to be about - fun! Creativity! Sharing my love of the craft of quilting and just how beautiful this can be. Next month I plan to continue and my challenge is to share more pictures of quilts and quilting and to tell more stories.

I also love linking up the designs and combining them together in creative ways. There are so many things we can do with free motion quilting that I know we've only just scratched the surface.

So here's to a new gold star (or white snowflake... I really need to quilt myself a gold star)! I'm re-building a habit I'd lost many years ago and while it's tough and there are days I slip up, I'm going to stick with it. I'll see you tomorrow my quilting friend.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

What to Make with Quilty Box this April!

The Quilty Box for April has arrived and it's time to check out the beautiful fabrics and cool quilting gear that's included this month!

#Affiliate - Click Here to learn more about Quilty Box!

With the 6 colorful fat quarters included in this month's box you can create the Double Stripe Diamond Quilt or the Double Irish Chain quilt.

If you pull just two more fat quarters of fabrics from your stash you can also create the Sashing Splendor Quilt. I recommend a bright red and yellow to make a balanced rainbow effect.

Or you could add two more fat quarters, then slice them all into fat eights to create the Sixty Slice Quilt!

Find all of these free quilt patterns at!

I love making a new quilt each month, but lately I've been feeling like my pile of tops has just gotten over the top. I plan to start quilting my way through the quilts I've created from Quilty Box over the last two years. Do you have any favorites? Where do I start?! This is going to be a very big job and quite a lot of quilting!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Quilting Designs for Any Weather

It's been a month of rain and chilly weather. Seriously - can it just warm up and STAY WARM already? Anyway, I figured it would be fun to dig through my photos and find quilting designs that fit with this month of unsatisfactory weather. Enjoy!

In order from top design, then clockwise around:

Click Here to learn how to quilt Clouds.

Click Here to learn how to quilt Icicle Lights.

Click Here to learn how to quilt Sun Medallion.

Click Here to learn how to quilt Open Flow.

I included Sun Medallion because that's what I WISH the weather was doing in North Carolina this spring! Maybe I'll stitch out a mini quilt and that will encourage the cold rain to go away for good.

Find almost 500 quilting designs to play with anytime right here in the Quilting Design Gallery.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, April 28, 2018

How to Quilt Jagged Cosmos

I have a terrific walking foot quilting design for you this week! Learn how to quilt Jagged Cosmos both with walking foot quilting AND free motion quilting!

Click Here to find this quilting tutorial.

Yep, I'm playing catch-up once again. Off to grab a cool photo of what I've been playing with today!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, April 26, 2018

How Many Quilts Have You Made?!

Today I spent half the day prepping the post for tomorrow because we have a school thing for James in the morning. The other half the day I spent organizing my quilt pattern designs.

Oh boy.

The problem comes in two parts:

#1 - I've made a lot of quilts.

#2 - I've never organized the files or photos very well.

Rephrase that - I haven't organized anything hardly at all. I had one folder for photos and another set of folders for patterns and written stuff. Sometimes the right things end up in the right files and sometimes they don't!

I've also stashed free patterns off in a totally different weird place that made organizing everything else seriously challenging.

Today I finally pulled it all together. I sorted photos and added files. It looks like I still need to move the free stuff around again, but for the most part, it's a lot better sorted.

While it was a pain to work on for several hours (I've been putting it off for several years), I'm so pleased I had the chance to look back on these quilts.

Quite frankly, I've forgotten about a lot of projects. Some I've given away or donated for charities and some were in that stack this weekend when I pulled everything out for the great quilt sort.

It's wonderful to see these images and see where I was at and what I was trying to do over the years. I've run through so many different phases in both style and color and that's fascinating too.

It made me wonder - what phase am I in now? When I look back at this time, what will I remember quilting and smile?

Minky. Definitely. It's so funny because when I started quilting in 2005 minky was just getting popular (I think, no frame of reference there!) and I didn't want to have anything to do with it. I wanted my quilts to feel like my grandma's quilts!

These days I guess I'm just craving the comfort and softness. Or maybe I'm tired of quilting everything to death and you can't do that with minky so it forces me to quilt big, open designs. And I LOVE wrapping up with the finished quilt!

Everything I make lately also seems to be a rainbow. I've loved rainbows forever (absolute favorite thing to color when I was 4), but for some reason I've just decided to stop worrying about it or questioning it and just making what I want to make.

It really is that simple.

I can see in my quilts over the years the times I was struggling. I was making what I thought everyone wanted. What I ended up making was something pretty ugly that no one, not even me, cared about.

It's just been an interesting trip down memory road and it's left me wondering - what do I do with all this? Just like sorting through and purging some quilts, it feels like I need to pare down on these designs and ideas as well. Clean out the old to make room for the new!

The hard thing is my hard drives are pretty big and when nicely organized, these files take up such a tiny amount of space! LOL!

So that's what I've been busy with today. Have you had a chance to look back at your quilts over the years? Do you see phases and patterns in what you've made? Was there ever a time that was particularly dark or particularly bright?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

New Friends in the Red Barn

It's springtime which means it's time for new baby chicks! Josh lets his chickens go broody (sometimes you just can't stop them) and also picks up a few chicks from Tractor Supply to replenish our flock.

We always lose a few chickens during the year to wild animal attacks and some girls just decide to stop laying so it's always good bring in new chicks.

Josh and James decided to troll me this year and buy two naked-neck chicks. You can just see the white one right under the light in this picture. Personally I think they look really weird, but after Josh told me some of the benefits (easier to process, more meat, gentle temperament) I can see why it was a good chicken to try.

I really love those little brown chicks with stripes that look like chipmunks. Super cute!

These babies are hanging out in my red barn for a bit. I also have a treadle machine in the barn I'm working on so we may have some interesting background sound effects if I decide to shoot a video while they're in residence.

Have you ever raised chickens? What was your favorite breed? While I'm not an animal person, I do like to hear them pecking around the yard and certainly love their fresh eggs!

Let's go quilt (or pet baby chicks!)

Leah Day

That Quilt is Cheating!

Hello my quilting friend! I'm back this week with another Great Quilting Debate asking a simple question - what is quilt cheating?

Are there quilting techniques you consider inferior or just plain WRONG?

What do you think about cheater cloth? It has "cheater" in the name so it must be bad, right?

Do you find yourself shrugging your shoulders at quilts made on an embroidery machine or quilted on a longarm?

I've dug into this topic this week and had a lot of fun thinking through my past judgments and criticisms. Yep, there was a time that I thought machine embroidery was absolutely cheating. You just hit a button and it does it for you!

But now I see this as a terrific tool for making even more beautiful quilts and projects. That's not cheating, it's wonderful!

So if you've been feeling bogged down with too many rules over your quilts, or you're just craving something different, please come listen or watch this new podcast episode.

Click Here to find Is This Quilt Cheating? Podcast Episode 54.

And I've FINALLY finished my podcast artwork! I've been working on this for months, but just today put the finishing touches on the colors. I'm so pleased with how it turned out!

I'll create a grab-a-button thingy so you can share it too! This has been on my list for months and it's such a relief to have it finished.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Quilt Marking Tips

Super quick post today to let you know about the next step of the Prism Path baby quilt along. Learn how to mark the quilt top with straight lines and Matrix so the quilting process will be super easy from start to finish!

Click Here to find the tutorial.

Just in case you ever worry about it, no, marking your quilt top is NOT cheating. I actually find marking essential to take the guess-work out of what designs I'm going to quilt and how they will work on the quilt.

I've also found that marking the design makes it flow a lot faster. Instead of having to guess which design to quilt next or guess which direction I'm quilting, the marked lines are the perfect guide. The less I stop to think and brood about the design means more time quilting!

Do you like marking designs on your quilts? Or do you prefer to quilt everything free hand (without marks)? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Messy Hair Kind of Day

Thank you so much for your comments yesterday on the little show hoop quilt. The votes ended up split and Josh liked it off centered and I liked it the other way better.

Ultimately I realized it's still a useful piece for teaching and folded it up and put it back in my teaching suitcase. I might never use it, but I'm happier knowing it's there if I need it.

And on the plus side, I have a spare hoop to make another hoop quilt! Win win! I'm thinking something bright and sunny to have a special decoration to pull out for spring and summer. I still have a few fall quilts on the wall that are looking pretty weird now so that needs a change up.

As for today, I put away the quilts I'm keeping, tacked up the quilts I need to photograph, and made another stack to sell.

Yes. Sell. I've never done this before and I'm still working through the details of how, where, and when, but I'll keep you posted.

I also spend a good chunk of the day editing and writing Mally the Maker. I always intend to film the introduction to the podcast on Sundays, but it never happens. Never.

Mostly because I think Sundays are for messy hair.

It's not that the podcast and messy hair aren't compatible, it's just that it's supposed to be a day off, a day to leave the flat iron in the cabinet and not have to put on eyeliner.

With my messy hair floating in a halo around my head I wrote, did some sewing, rearranged some quilts on the wall, and hung out with Josh and James and played some video games. All around it was a terrific messy hair sort of day.

I hope you had a great day too!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Great Quilt Sort

The Great Quilt Sort is in full swing and I've managed to organize, fold, and make decisions about most of the quilts in my closets.

I started by giving a lot of quilts away. My in-laws and Dad took a few quilts and I gave a baby quilt away to a friend that's expecting. It's a very pink quilt so we'll cross our fingers she's having a girl.

I continued organizing and sorting and found myself running into a problem. If a quilt could possibly be used for teaching, I felt a tendency to keep it. That pile grew and grew until it basically took up the whole couch. Do I really need this many quilts to teach a class?

I should add that I don't teach classes in person right now. Maybe one day, but for now I'm focusing all my attention on writing and teaching online.

So... maybe these quilts need to find a new home too?

Another issue I have run into is my Quilt Along quilts. I need to keep those, don't I? Well, many of these projects are 3 or 4 years old. They are done. It was fun to create them and we learned a lot, but it's over.

As you can see, there's a lot of emotional attachment here and it's a process to work through it. I have many quilts that I've spent months, if not years quilting and it's hard to let them go.

But I also need to make room for new quilts to be made. It's a catch-22 because I'm afraid if I release these quilts one day I will need them and they won't be there and worse, I'll have to make it all over again.

Argh! Obviously that's a bit illogical, but you get the idea. Now for another problem I could use your help on. I have a quilt that I probably put in over 200 hours of quilting very densely. It was for a mini quilt along back in 2010 and was supposed to be the show quilted version of an appliqued quilt.

I never finished it because at the time my definition for a show quilted / quality quilt was super densely quilted. I got in over my head on that project and never finished it.

So I've decided to turn it into a hoop quilt so I can at least enjoy it a little bit. But I found I can set up the hoop two different ways. Which way do you like best?

Option A - Off Centered. This captures a bit of the border area and more of the leaves of the heart flowers.

Option B - Centered. This showcases more of the quilting and the funky technique I was playing with at the time with travel stitching.

Let me know which version you like best in the comments below! I can only cut it once after all!

Overall I've really enjoyed this sorting process. It's been an adventure to pull out all of my quilts and go over the designs and fabric choices. I can see how my quilting style has evolved over the years and I can see the direction I'm moving into and that's fun too.

So that's what I'm doing today! What is on your machine or piled up on your couch? I think I'm going to take a break from sorting and folding and go stitch something while listening to a fun audiobook. It's time for a break!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, April 20, 2018

How to Quilt Concentric Circles

I have a new walking foot quilting design for you today! Concentric Circles is a design you use when you want to take a bit more time and energy to get a really special effect.

How to quilt concentric Squares

This feels really elegant to me and yes, it requires breaking thread with every single circle.

But, there is a way to cheat and I included that option in a second video in this tutorial. Click Here to find the videos and learn how to quilt Concentric Circles.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Got Quilts?

What a great day! I spent almost the entire day editing Mally the Maker, and then I finally found one of my sewing machines a new home and helped pack it off and send it away.

It was wonderful to open up a corner of the living room that had been very full for months. I rearranged the couches for our summer setup (in winter one couch faces the fireplace, in summer, they both line the walls), swept the floor, dusted off the window and was feeling really good about my productivity.

Then I saw the stack of quilts. I had this pile of quilts loaded up on that table with that machine and now they needed a new home. Go find them a new flat surface to occupy, or actually deal with the mess, Leah?

I decided to deal with it by making a bigger mess:

I've been having a bit of a quilt problem lately. I've been finishing a lot more quilts lately. I made a lot of new quilts last year for the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting and then I've made second versions of three of them for the Machine Quilting Party.

So between workshops and classes, yearly quilt alongs, and all the quilts I made as a beginner, this is really starting to add up!

I'm not sure why I decided it was the perfect time to pull out EVERY quilt and dump them all in the living room.

Well, not every quilt. I left my heirloom quilts I inherited from my grandmothers and great grandmothers in the closet. I also haven't pulled out the goddess quilts yet. They're coming though.

I'm going to take a good, hard look at every quilt I own. Some I want to keep for sentimental reasons. Some I'll keep because they're a great teaching tool.

But some of these quilts need to go. I'll have to think on this to figure out the best method, but I'm thinking about offering a few for sale on my website.

It's not that I don't love these quilts, don't get me wrong. I do love them, I loved creating them. But now I need to let go of the old to make room for the new.

And there are a lot more quilts to come!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Take Better Photos with Brenda LaFleur

I've made an awesome new quilting friend with Brenda LaFleur! She is a photographer and teacher from Louisiana and she came on the podcast to chat about photography.

I was digging in the dirt during the introduction so I apologize for the less-than-perfect sound. Josh and I had just picked up several herbs and tomato plants and I knew if I didn't get them into the ground immediately, I'd kill them with neglect.

I also had some bulbs to plant too and I'm not sure...they were looking pretty rough as I plopped them into the ground. I might have managed to kill them before they were even planted!

Let's cross our fingers they will magically come back to life and give us gorgeous blooms I can photograph! Pretty flowers and quilts - what is better than that?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Straddling Two Worlds

Ack! I missed another post yesterday. So far I've had to double up on one other day this month. This time my excuse was I thought I'd posted this!

I had the blog editor open, I had half written some rambly stuff and was just going to set in the photo when life interrupted me. I had to go play with James's cute hamster for a few minutes, and when I came back into the room I completely forgot what I was doing.

Then at 4 am, I woke up suddenly from deep sleep and thought, "I didn't finish that blog post!"

Nuts. Blogging can make you go completely nuts.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying it, but lately feeling like I've bitten off way more than I can chew. I'm munching on two big tutorials a week, plus the podcast every Wednesday (don't worry, I'll double post today with a link to that), and also trying to edit Mally the Maker at the same time.

Editing is really interesting. In one way it's easier than writing the book. The words are on the page. Now I just need to make them pretty. And make sense. And be consistent.

I had Mally turning into a violent rage monster in Chapter 2 and that's just not fitting with her crybaby personality in this book. Part of her journey is to learn how to take care of herself and stand up for herself so that really didn't fit.

So I shifted the scene so she burst into tears instead. It took around 3 minutes to rewrite and double check it flowed well with everything else, but that required 100% focused attention. When I'm writing or editing it feels like I'm IN that world with Mally.

It's hard to pull away. I don't WANT to leave. Can I just pause time so I can dig into this world and not come out for three weeks?

No, sorry, it doesn't work that way.

So if I appear a bit crazy with one foot a little less planted on this plane of existence it's because that's exactly what's going on right now. I'm straddling two worlds. I love it. I hate it. Give me more of it!

Let's go quilt (or write, whatever your passion),

Leah Day

Monday, April 16, 2018

Piece the Prism Path Quilt Top

Last Monday we pieced the rainbow Bargello strip sets so this week we're piecing them together with the background fabric to create the finished Prism Path Quilt Top!

Click Here to find this quilting tutorial.

As of today, we're halfway through this baby quilt along! Next week will be a bit of a catch up week as we mark the quilting design on the surface.

So if you find yourself very busy and don't get around to finishing the piecing don't worry. You can always catch up next week.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Amazing Day in Hart Square

What do you get when you turn a quilter, a writer, a blacksmith, and a kid loose in a historical log cabin village? A really, really good day!

On Saturday, Dad, Josh, James, and I went to Hart Square for their Founder's Day celebration. Hart Square is an amazing place built by Bob and Becky Hart and their family. Click Here to learn more about Hart Square.

It's hard to describe this exactly, but this seems the most fitting. Quilters collect fabric, knitters collect yarn, blacksmiths and welders collect metal.

Bob Hart collected log cabins!

This is actually the largest collection of historical log cabins in the United States, but they are so much more than just a set of buildings.

Bob became interested in the history behind it - what is was that tool used for? Why was that house built that way? And began collecting and preserving all the little details of life to go along with the houses.

In almost every house I entered, hand pieced, hand quilted quilts were displayed on the beds, hung on the walls, and draped over the furniture. Along with quilts they have dishes, linens, knives, and every kind of tool imaginable.

It's a level of history and preservation that I've honestly never seen before. Since yesterday, I've tried to put my finger on why this feels so incredible. It's a bit like Renaissance Festival in that it's a chance to step back in time and appreciate how people lived many years ago.

But to me, Hart Square is even more magical and wonderful because it's REAL. This isn't a magical fantasy world with dragons and princesses. This is how we used to live and raise our kids, in tiny cabins that had to be bitterly cold in the winter and very warm in the summer.

It feels magical I think because the cabins have been so well preserved and so much attention to detail has been given to filling them with historically accurate furniture, quilts, and accessories.

So that's what I was busy with yesterday! I had an amazing time with my family and saw so many beautiful quilts. I feel filled with inspiration and ideas and a much deeper sense of appreciation for the comfortable life I get to live in the twenty-first century.

This has definitely made me want to pull out needles and thread start a new quilt project 100% by hand. If my great grandmothers could do it along with everything else they were managing, I can too!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pinstripe Gridlines Quilting Tutorial

What an amazing, super busy day! I plan to tell you all about it, just not tonight! Instead, you can find yesterday's quilting tutorial on Pinstripe Gridlines right here.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, April 13, 2018

How Many Pieces Can You Cut From...

It's been a pattern planning / book editing kind of day. Dad picked up my phone while we were cutting pieces together and snapped this shot.

I'm working on a weird idea and sometimes that requires cutting up fabric, testing, making a mess and seeing what sticks. This was quite literally a test of: if I make this unit, how many other shapes can I cut out of it?

This is what it's like to be a pattern designer! It's weird!

But mostly I'm digging deep with Mally the Maker and editing one page at a time. Today I nearly finished chapter 3 which feels like a huge accomplishment (only 14 chapters in the book) and added more changes after Josh finished the second round of edits to chapter 1.

Yes, it's a revolving door of editing and fixing. I would really, really, really like to KILL COMMAS! I'm terrible at them! I stick them places they don't need to go and don't use them when I should. The rules are so weird and fiddly that I don't think it will ever make sense to me completely.

There. That's my whine for the day.

I'm loving this journey back through the beginning of the book. I'm loving the note-taking process, and all the ideas that are flowing of things to make for this book.

This is 97% fun and awesome. It's 3% annoying because of commas.

Let's go quilt (or sleep and dream of comma monsters),

Leah Day

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Editing Mally the Maker

Josh handed Mally the Maker back to me this week and GULP! There are a lot of things to change!

I'm working through this one page at a time, and trying to finish one chapter a day. It's interesting to go through it again because in the six months it took me to reach the conclusion, I kinda forgot the details of Chapter 1.

It's not a lot of things, and minor details that can add up and be annoying when things don't line up later.

As I'm working back through it, I'm also taking lots of notes in a separate notebook. I can't have a character suddenly changing personality or a blue quilt block changing to green for no reason. I just hope I never lose this notebook!

So that's what I've been working on today! What have you been working on? Do you have a pretty quilt in the works or has pretty weather made you want to get outside in the garden?

After working I went out to the wood shop today and had to suck up 35 stink bugs before I could touch a piece of wood. Uggh!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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