The Free Motion Quilting Project

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Let's Quilt a Spooky Spider Web!

Are you needing as super spooky quilting design for Halloween? I've got awesome quilting tutorial for you today on the Grace Qnique on how to quilt Spiderweb!

Click here to learn more about the Grace Qnique 14+, the machine I'm using in this video. If you live in the US, don't forget to call the company and mention Leah Day said Hello My Quilting Friends to get a nice discount on your order.

As you can tell from the video, I'm using bobbin thread work to quilt a funky, glittery spiderweb on black fabric. I've put silver Razzle Dazzle thread in the bobbin and wound Isacord thread on the top of the machine. Click Here to find another tutorial on bobbin thread work.

When quilting with thicker threads in the bobbin, I don't adjust my bobbin tension, but do adjust the tension on the top thread a bit higher to pull the bobbin thread tight so it holds firmly to the surface of the quilt.

Bobbin thread work is more like couching and you will see your top thread looping over the bobbin thread to hold it in place. I like matching white or sterling Isacord thread with silver Razzle Dazzle so it blends in with the decorative thread.

Quilting Spiderweb on this simple black quilt sandwich went very quickly and after finishing the bouncy spiral I set my quilts in a hoop so I could decorate the house for Halloween. Click here to learn more about Hoop Quilts!

There are many other awesome ways to use Spiderweb in your quilts and give them that touch of creepy texture that they need. I hope this video has inspired you to give bobbin thread work a try and see how it works to quilt with thicker threads in your bobbin.

If you're looking for more funky fall designs, don't forget to check out the Pumpkin Patch tutorial here.

Looking for more Sit Down Quilting Sunday videos? Click Here to find them all!

Wishing you could see this design quilted on a regular home sewing machine? Click Here to find the original tutorial.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, October 20, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Vertigo, Design #490

Hello my quilting friends! It's Free Motion Friday and I'm quilting a fun new design called Vertigo. This is basically a circle and a spiral mash up with a pinch of thread painting on top. Learn how to machine quilt this design in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to learn more about the Machine Quilting Block Party. Each month you'll learn how to piece a new quilt block AND machine quilt it with me! This year we've been working on the Flower Festival Quilt and creating beautiful pieced flower blocks and appliqued Dresden Plates. I've also shared tutorials on walking foot quilting, free motion quilting, and ruler foot quilting as well!

Click Here to check out the project and join the quilting party!

I love circle based designs like Vertigo because the shapes easily stack together and fill your quilts with rich texture.

The downside is designs like this can be very time consuming as I mentioned in the video. If you decide to use Vertigo in a big quilt, make sure to quilt the circles very large so each shape fills 3-4 inches of space. That'll be the only way to ensure it doesn't take a million years to finish your quilt!

Let's learn more about machine quilting Vertigo:

Difficulty level: Beginner. This design incorporates some thread painting, but don't be intimidated! Thread painting is surprisingly easy for beginners to master because it's just messy, overlapping stitching. Just keep stitching a messy circle over itself to create the bright center circle in your Vertigo shapes.

Help! My thread broke!

If you break thread while stitching that spot, it may be a sign your thread is too weak for free motion quilting. Try switching to a stronger, thinner thread like Isacord for better results.

Design Family: Stacking. This family of designs is all based on Pebbling, a simple stacked circle design. The shapes locked together to form a solid texture over your quilt. These designs tend to have more travel stitching involved because the edges of the shapes touch. 

You can change the look of this design by filling in the background around the circles with more thread painting. This will add even more time to the design that results in a very interesting quilting affect as you can see from this thread painted Pebbling in Block 2 of the Flower Festival Quilt:

Where do I quilt it? 

I think Vertigo will work great as an accent design in the center of a quilt block or in small spaces in your sashing or borders. Use Vertigo to add extra detail to your favorite areas of the quilt and it will draw more attention to those spots.

Vertigo will not be a good choice as an All Over Design because each shape takes a long time to create. Even on a large scale this design will be very time consuming to quilt and may become frustrating if you try to use it on a really big project.

What do you think of Vertigo? Where do you plan to quilt it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Would you like to find even more beautiful quilting inspiration? Find hundreds of designs to inspire you as you machine quilt in my book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Teaching Quilt in Spanish with Luis Sanchez, Episode #31

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I have a wonderful interview with Luis Sanchez, our first international quilter on the show! Luis is a hobby quilter, but has started sharing quilting tutorials in Spanish to help spread this wonderful craft in his home country of Costa Rica and beyond. Listen to the show on this player:

Or watch the show in this new video:

Click Here to check out Luis's YouTube Channel. The videos are all in Spanish, but you can use the translator to read the translation in English.

Luis was raised listening to a sewing machine hum because his grandmother sewed all the clothing in the house and also worked as a seamstress in two factories. The sound of the machine running was relaxing to him so when his grandmother passed away 7 years ago he inherited her machine.

He learned how to sew first and created basic projects, then moved on to wallets, purses, and bags. From the videos he found he learned the basics and eventually ran across my videos on free motion quilting, but had no idea what I was doing in the video, but thought it could help make his bags a bit better:

His first attempt at free motion quilting was actually thread painting on this little cat embroidery. When I saw this my jaw nearly dropped off my face - that is some serious skill! That is really good thread painting for your first attempt!

Luis is also an ER doctor and he balances quilting with his career by using the hidden 5-10 minutes in the day to plan projects and get a small amount of stitching done. He also looks at different projects and ideas online in the quite times of the night when work is slow.

So even though Luis is a very busy person, he is still managing to create beautiful projects and quilts and share his love of quilting and sewing with the world through his videos.

His channel is entirely filmed in Spanish. There are a lot of accents in Spanish and words that some countries use that others don't. Luis tries to speak in the most neutral Spanish he can so he's the most clear to the widest number of Spanish speakers in his videos.

Quilting isn't as common in Costa Rica, but he does have a local longarm quilter and there are some local quilting groups in his area. He mostly buys thread and fabrics online because they're hard to find good quality fabrics in his country.

Now that he's begun designing his own patterns, Luis is planning to teach in person and travel to different quilting groups. For him, sharing this knowledge is the most important part of learning any skill.

Luis loves making baby quilts. Sometimes he won't know who the quilt is for, but by the time the quilt is finished a baby has appeared and it's perfect for them.

What I loved most about talking with Luis was seeing his passion about quilting and sharing with an open heart. His love is so clearly being expressed through the quilts he is creating. That is a universal language to me!

Click Here to find Luis's YouTube Channel

Looking for more Hello My Quilting Friends Podcasts? Click Here to find all the episodes shared so far!

Help Support this Podcast

I really hope you're enjoying the Hello My Quilting Friends Podcast. I love putting this show together and as of this week we are moving to a weekly show! Every other week we will have a quilting friend on the show to talk about quilting and on the other weeks I'm going to answer a question about quilting and explain more about my quilt making process.

Please help support the podcast by checking out our Quilt Shop at We have quilting tools, books, patterns, and more to help you master quilting on your home machine.

Just in this week we have more No Sewing Until You Quilt It applique books from Ann Holmes. This is an out-of-print book featuring Ann's awesome turned edge applique technique you can use to quickly build intricate quilts without taking a single stitch on your sewing machine.

We include a free Sunflower Quilt Pattern when you order No Sewing Until You Quilt It from our website. Click Here to learn more!

Now for news around the house...

I'm having a Mini Bonanza and stitching up lots of little quilts for myself and for collaboration projects. Here are my fall mini quilts:

I love the candy corn minis! I found the perfect colors of Kona orange and yellow for this project and I can see making a whole candy corn quilt! For this year I only have time for these little hoop quilts that will be decorations for the wall. What is a hoop quilt again?

I also have collaborations with Margaret Leuwen from Miss Markers Quilts, Christa Watson from Christa Quilts, and Dora Cary from Orange Dot Quilts coming up soon and I need to get these bad boys quilted!

The wonderful thing about mini quilts is they are quicker to create and test a particular quilting technique. I also love hoop quilts because I don't have to bind it! I stick it in the hoop and cut off the excess fabric. I'll likely make this set of fall hoops permanent by gluing the quilt into the hoop so it holds up well for storage.

My plan is to create a series of hoop quilts for each season so I can switch them out on my wall. I love the idea of testing out construction techniques on something small like this so I don't have the pressure of finishing a massive quilt with a weird technique (which I've learned is CHALLENGING!)

Writing a Fiction Novel

Another thing I'm super pumped about is participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) next month. I've heard from so many quilters that say they want to write a book. So write it!

The first step is planning, organizing your thoughts, and figuring out what is going inside your book. Even if you want to write a non-fiction quilting book, it's wonderful to have a set month with clear goals to knock it out.

For the past month I've been working hard on my outline and creating 30 scenes of the book and now that it's all laid out, I'm super excited about writing it! This is very much like how I create quilts - the easiest quilts I've created were planned and designed meticulously before cutting a single piece of fabric.

In the book's case, I wrote a 6000 word outline with characters laid out in detail before starting the first scene. No, not all books need that much detail or that big of an outline, but this is my first fiction novel and I didn't want to leave a single part unexplored. I've hit snags halfway through major quilts because I said "I'll figure that out when I get there." and when I got there I still didn't know where to go!

Now most of my novel writing information comes from Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn podcast which I highly recommend. Joanna basically got me back into book writing and her constant enthusiasm about fiction and non-fiction writing was so infectious I had to try both this year!

(Affiliate) I also recommend the book 2K to 10K which you can also find in audiobook. Yes, I will be writing for speed over the next month because I don't have a million years to tell this story. I had the idea for this novel more than 5 years ago and I've been sitting on it. I want to tell it so the characters will stop bugging me!

But What About Your Other Book?

Yes! We also have the new book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day coming out in just a few weeks!

If you're confused why I didn't talk about it much, the main reason is I don't have any control over it right now. It's still with my wonderful editor and layout artist getting polished up and the covers designed.

We're planning to start the preorder for print books in the next few weeks and the official launch will be Thanksgiving (November 26th) for the print and ebook editions.

But here's the great thing about working with other people - while that book is still being polished, I can be doing other things! I'm also working on a new quilting workshop, the fiction novel, and of course creating many new video tutorials for you to enjoy.

Following Curiosity to a Quilting Frame

As you can tell, I'm moving in a lot of different directions right now, but this feels great because I'm following my curiosity and feeling so energized to try new things.

Something I've been very curious about for awhile now is quilting on a frame - basically longarm quilting where the machine moves over the quilt. Working with Grace Company has allowed us to create a fantastic series of videos on Sit Down Longarm Quilting.

Now I'm ready to transition to a quilting frame and see what the Grace Qnique 14+ is like when it moves over the quilt on a frame!

So the frame has arrived and it's in boxes and it's going to take us a few weeks to work out this transition. Basically machines are going to move around the house and I need to shift furniture and rearrange two rooms. So I'm planning out this transition so it goes smoothly and planning to shoot a few more videos on the Grace Qnique as a sit down longarm before moving it to the frame.

I don't know when we will begin sharing these new videos, but I'll definitely be showing the reality (and ugly stitches) that come from learning a new style of quilting. I don't expect to be very good at this so it will be fun to show you each step of the quilting process!

Whew! That's a lot of fun things going on! I love this life and I really enjoy sharing it with you. Remember to check out our Quilt Shop at to help support the show!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Looking for more Hello My Quilting Friends Podcasts? Click Here to find all the episodes shared so far!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Let's create the Heart Medallion Checkerboard Quilt

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

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

Affiliate - Click Here to learn more about Quilty Box!

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

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

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

Click Here to find all the tutorials for this project at

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

Click Here to check out all the free patterns at

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, October 13, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Ocean Pearls, #489

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now let's dig into this Ocean Pearls design:

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

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

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

But where do I quilt it?

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Happy Birthday! My Thoughts on Turning 34!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, October 9, 2017

Let's Quilt the Diamond Dresden Plate Quilt Block

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Related Posts with Thumbnails