The Free Motion Quilting Project: 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Under the Stairs, Design #479

Wait, is this a tutorial for quilting under the stairs, or a new machine quilting design Under the Stairs? Lol!

I actually have a little Harry Potter style closet under the stairs in my house. It's a cute little space and I think I could cram a sewing machine inside if Josh didn't use it for all of his fish tank equipment. Instead of trying to quilt under the stairs, let's learn how to quilt the new design Under the Stairs.

Are you needing even more quilting inspiration today? Find an entire year's worth of quilting designs in my book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs.

Now let's learn more about this new machine quilting design:

Difficulty Level - Beginner. This design is very easy because you're just quilting zigzaggy lines. However, a few times I caught myself going in the wrong direction. Partly that's from trying to talk and quilt at the same time, but sometimes I'd just forget what I was doing.

So as you're quilting just repeat the steps of the design - up, over, up, over, travel back, and if you make it a chant as you quilt, you won't forget what you're doing.

Design Family - Edge to Edge. Under the Stairs is based on the same idea as Left Turn Right Turn, Curvy Turns, and Angle Turns. Basically you stitch a shape in one direction, then stitch it in the other direction, back and forth to form a column of the design from one edge of your quilting space to the other.

The cool effects are created when the columns of the design interact together. If you aim for a completely random arrangement and don't pay attention to the shapes at all, you'll get something like my design in the video.

But if you do pay attention to what you're doing and intentionally quilt a repeating pattern of lines, here's what will happen:

Under the Stairs will form a chevron effect across your quilt when quilted very evenly in each column. This is challenging and I found myself breaking the rules of the design a few times in order to quilt this so evenly.

Now when you force the lines to mesh together from one column to the other, here's what you get:

See the cool grid effect? When quilting this version I focused on stitching the stair steps into one another and created the little boxes within the design as the lines came together.

The only thing that is changing between these different effects is what you focus on as you quilt the design. Does this sound complicated? It's actually really easy. Jump on your machine and see what works best for you!

Where Do We Quilt It? - Edge to Edge Designs are great for quilting in blocks, sashing, and borders because they easily fill from ditch to ditch.

They're also a great choice as an All Over Quilting design. The straight lines and sharp angles always makes a design feel more masculine to me so I think this would be a great choice if you're making a quilt for a guy.

Where would you like to quilt this design? Do you like angular designs like this or prefer curves better? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, June 19, 2017

How to Piece a Flying Geese Border

flying geese border quilt pattern
It's Quilty Box time! Note: this post will contain affiliate links that help support our business. Quilty Box is a subscription treasure box filled with fabric, thread, and a quilt pattern created by a different designer. Click Here to learn more about Quilty Box.

Each month I open my Quilty Box, plan a new project, and share how to make it with you. I love the challenge of writing a new quilt pattern, shooting videos, and creating a new quilt and I hope you will join in the fun too! Click Here to find all of the free quilt patterns I've shared so far.

In this Quilty Box I was delighted to find a beautiful collection of fabrics and supplies selected by fabric designer and quilter Masako Wakayama, a Japanese quilter who designs traditional American-folk style quilts. That's just plain cool!

We received lots of Masako's beautiful fabric, including a cute printed fabric panel with flowers, houses, birds, and more printed on the surface. Learn what I did with this fabric panel in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find this free quilt pattern.

Flying geese border quilt pattern

I decided to piece a flying geese border using Masako's fabric to surround the printed fabric panel. Piecing a border from multiple pieces is a lot more tricky than just piecing a plain fabric border with fabric strips and I admit - this is one of my least favorite things to piece because it has to be so EXACT.

Make sure to watch the video to find many tips on piecing a flying geese border and you can find all the exact cutting and piecing instructions in the free quilt pattern.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Machine Quilting Flowing Lines in a Baby Quilt

Happy Father's Day! I hope you're having a wonderful day celebrating the Dads in your life. We got the day started right with a big breakfast and later today we're going on a hike through the woods, one of Josh's favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon.

Now for our Sit Down Quilting Sunday tutorial, lately I've been quilting an unfinished baby quilt with many simple quilting designs. So far we quilted Clouds in one corner and filled it with a fluffy sky design.

Quilting a Baby Quilt

Then last week we quilted Ocean Currents in another corner so we have a bit of a organic / earth theme going on in this baby quilt.

quilting a baby quilt

The main design you see running through the center of the quilt is Swirling Water and I quilted that more than 3 years ago for a Craftsy class Free Motion Fillers Vol 1.

So this baby quilt definitely has a lot of personality now with many interesting designs. Let's add one more as we quilt Flowing Lines into another corner of the quilt:

Would you like to learn more about the machine I'm using in this video? Click Here to find more videos on the Grace Qnique 14+ longarm machine.

quilting a baby quilt | flowing lines
They key with quilting Flowing Lines is to remember which type of line you're quilting.

You have echo lines that just echo the previously quilted line, and you have gap lines that travel along the line and branch out to form the interesting gaps and spaces between the lines.

If you want the design to be very simple, quilt simple gaps. Quilt a very gentle curve and return to your starting line to keep the design flowing gently.

If you want a more interesting, organic look, stitch a wild and wiggly gap! This will add extra texture to the baby quilt and make the next echo lines even more interesting.

quilting a baby quilt

I'm really enjoying quilting these larger designs on this baby quilt. It's so nice to be finishing a long unfinished project and knowing it's going to be finished very soon. Next week I have another video quilting this baby quilt with a new design James has named Cool Leaves. I think you'll definitely like this new design.

Click Here to find all of the videos we've shared so far on the Grace Qnique as well as all the videos on this baby quilt project.

Of course I'm always open to more suggestions for new videos so please share your ideas in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, June 16, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Cut Ribbons, Design #478

This week I was cutting ribbons for a present and thought hmm...this could make a neat free motion quilting design. That's all it takes these days to make me jump on the machine and quilt something new!

You've probably noticed by now that a lot of my designs are based on previous designs. How this works is subtle variations in shape, how the lines connect, touch or don't touch, whether the lines are straight, curved, hook, or point all play a roll in how a design appears on your quilt.

So many designs can look completely different, but be quilted almost exactly the same way. In this case Cut Ribbons works like Flowing Glass, Wiggly Tentacles, and Basic Maze.

If you looked at all of these designs together like in the image on the left, they all have very different quilted effects, but they are all quilted the same way. Learn how in this new quilting video:

Quilting a design in a little square is one thing, but what about a real quilt? What about a really BIG quilt? Learn how to machine quilt the biggest quilts in the quilting workshop Quilting a King on Your Home Machine.

Now let's learn a bit more about Cut Ribbons:

Difficulty Level - Beginner. Cut Ribbons is a really easy design. Like last week's design Fire Flow, this is a great skill builder for echo quilting.

In this case I quilted my ribbons and left 1/4 inch of space between the wider ribbon lines and only 1/8 inch of space between the ribbons themselves. It can be harder to quilt lines spaced different distances consistently, but this design will give you lots of practice.

Design Family - Edge to Center. Remember how I said how several designs are quilted similarly? They are all members of the same Design Family which means they are quilted the same way, even if the lines are shaped differently.

In this case Cut Ribbons is quilted from the edge of your quilting space into the center. If you're quilting the sashing between your quilt blocks, the edge of your quilting space is the ditches. So you stitch along the ditch, then quilt the Cut Ribbon shape into the middle of the sashing.

Where Do We Quilt It? Designs like Cut Ribbons work great in quilt sashing and borders because you can quickly quilt through the space using the ditches, or seamlines between the blocks as the edges of your quilting space.

What do you think of this Cut Ribbons design? Where would you like to quilt it in your quilts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Don't forget you can always find hundreds of quilting designs to quilt on your quilts in our Quilting Design Gallery.

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Writing Quilt Fiction with Frances O'Roark Dowell

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today we have podcast episode 22 and it's a wonderful interview with a quilting fiction author Frances O'Roark Dowell, the author of Birds in the Air and many books for children. Click Here to check out her website.

Frances is also a podcaster. She has been the host of the Off Kilter Quilt podcast for seven years - that's incredible!

I learned about Frances and her books in an interesting way. Bonnie Hunter was reading Birds in the Air and tagged me in a post and said I popped into the book halfway through. Lol!

I had to pick up a copy and read it and yep, my book How to Piece Perfect Quilts helped the main character learn more about piecing. Other professional quilters were mentioned such as Carol Doak and the Dear Jane quilt project as well as quilting tools I've seen for years.

I felt this added a deep level of authenticity to the book which was so obviously written by a quilter who loves quilting. It was also fun to hear references to North Carolina, the state I've lived in my whole life. While the town the book is set in is fictional, other nearby towns like Gastonia and Asheville are meantioned and that also made Birds in the Air a pleasure to read.

Frances got into writing quilting fiction - stories about quilts and quilters - because she loved reading quilting fiction. I've definitely heard this about writing: write what you read. Whatever you're interested in, whatever makes you happy to read will also be the most fun for you to write.

She had read all the Jennifer Chiaverini books on the Elm Creek Quilters and she still wanted to read more stories about quilters making quilts.

Frances also wanted to write about her own experience as a quilter and share that within her book. I love that idea because it's another way of sharing your journey and life with the world.

The inspiration for Birds in the Air came from The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jenny Beyer and she flipped through it and saw a Birds in the Air quilt block and instantly the words caught her attention. She's already working on a sequel to this book called Stars Upon Stars and found the title and inspiration the same way.

Frances has a simple writing process. She doesn't wait for inspiration but instead writes Monday through Friday from 10 am to 1 pm. Frances is a "pantser" which means she writes by the seat of her pants as she writes a rough first draft, then works with editors to polish and revise the book to finish it.

She also tends to fly by the seat of her pants with quilting design, using a design wall to plan blocks and build unique quilts.

Frances and her husband formed a publishing company, Milton Falls Media, to publish Birds in the Air. Frances has been traditionally published with her children's fiction books, but wanted to try self publishing for this new book.

To market the book, Frances has her established podcast and blog, she also reached out to other professional quilters like Mary Ann Fons for book blurbs, and asked bloggers to share reviews. This was a lot of work, but she's sold nearly 10,000 copies!

Check out France's website and her blog the Off Kilter Quilt to see what she's working on right now.

Also a big congratulations is in order as France's Birds in the Air quilt won 3rd place in the Riley Blake 2017 Fabric Challenge!

Our sponsor for the show this week was the new Mega Star Walking Foot Quilting Workshop.

In this online class you'll learn how to piece the Mega Pinwheel Star quilt, design a simple quilting design, and learn how to quilt it entirely with your walking foot on a home sewing machine.

Click Here to check out this quilting workshop now.

Now for some updates from my neck of the woods:

It's June and I always like to check in on my yearly goals this month and how things are going. If you'd like, you can go back to hear my New Year's Resolutions here.

My words for the year are Simple and Open and I feel like I've been very successful keeping things simple. I'm streamlining a lot of processes here on the blog and with creating videos which are simplifying my life and giving me a lot more time to design and create.

I've also forced myself to be open to being outside this summer. We've been having Burning Swimming Days every Saturday where we light a fire alternate between jumping in the pool and warming up by the fire (because the water is REALLY cold).

We cook hot dogs and s'mores and just have a fun time in the sun and yes, I do get bug bitten, but the extra chocolate and marshmellow on my s'mores makes it worth it!

So that's the update for this week! I've been thinking about returning to a weekly podcast and use the off weeks to answer your quilting questions. What do you think? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, June 12, 2017

Machine Quilting a Dainty Dresden Plate Block

Last week we learned how to piece a Dainty Dresden Plate quilt block with sixteen pointy petals. This week we're going to quilt our dresden plate block with free motion feathers, a marked leaf design, and more ruler foot quilting!

dresden plate quilt block | machine quilting dresden plate

I designed this block with the quilting design covering two Dresden plate petals at a time so the designs could be larger with more space between the lines of quilting.

I also think it looks really cool to have a design cross over two different colors of fabric. I noticed the quilting design stands out a bit better over the purple fabric and blends in a bit more over the green fabric.

This is one of those fun things you can experiment with quilting design - having some parts of the design contrast and other parts blend can create really interesting effects on your quilts.

Now let's learn how to quilt it together in this new video:

Click Here to find the pattern for Block #6 which includes the piecing instructions and a full sized quilting diagram and templates for you to mark this beautiful design.

My favorite part of quilting this Dainty Dresden Plate was quilting with rulers in the background. I honestly found my quilting more precise and accurate using a ruler as a guide and completely ignoring the lines I'd marked over the background.

I used template #5 from the Dresden Plate Template Set to quilt these lines. This is my favorite ruler for ruler foot quilting because it's small and narrow and allows me to hang onto the quilt and the ruler at the same time, which makes it easier to keep in position.

But remember, if you don't have a ruler foot or rulers, you can still quilt the straight lines in your block with regular free motion quilting or walking foot quilting. There are always other styles of quilting you can use and it's fun to mix and match to try new designs and ways of machine quilting.

What was your favorite part of quilting this Dainty Dresden Plate? Did you like how the designs covered two petals at once? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Machine Quilting Ocean Currents on a Baby Quilt

Last week I pulled out this old baby quilt and shared a video on quilting it with our new Clouds quilting design. I'm so delighted by how many quilters enjoyed this video and left sweet comments for James!

This week I'm quilting another corner of this baby quilt with Ocean Currents. This simple quilting design flows through the space and because I quilted it with more space between the lines, it knocked out a lot of space in very little time. Learn how to quilt it in this new video:

Quilting Baby Quilt Ocean Currents
Would you like to learn more about the machine I'm using in this video? Click Here to find all of the videos we've shared so far on the Grace Qnique 14+ longarm machine.

They key with quilting Ocean Currents is to go with the flow. He he!

It is intended to be a flowing, organic design so it's a great choice if you're just getting started and echoing - keeping your lines a consistent distance apart - is not all that consistent.

In fact, I think the less consistent this design is, the prettier it looks!

I also used this quilting design in a butterfly from the Dancing Butterfly sampler quilt so you can use it to quilt over a whole quilt, or you can shrink the design to fit into smaller spaces like these butterfly wings as well.

Quilting Baby Quilt Ocean Currents

It's been fun quilting on a larger scale in these videos this week. Next week I have another video quilting this baby quilt with Flowing Lines, one of my all time favorite quilting designs.

Be sure to check out last week's video on quilting another section of this quilt with Clouds.

Of course I'm always open to more suggestions for new videos so please share your ideas in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, June 9, 2017

Super Triangle Easy Machine Quilting Tutorial #477

I was flipping through my design journal the other day and I realized we have a lot of "Super" designs: Super Spiral, Super Daisy, and Giant Snail. I think we need more of these quilting designs because they're very easy and fast to quilt over any style of quilt. Let's learn how to machine quilt Super Triangle together!

Beginner quilting design Super Triangle

This is one of those fun quilting designs that could be quilted with any style of machine quilting: free motion quilting, walking foot quilting, or ruler foot quilting. All three quilting styles can knock out this design quickly and easily.

I'm demonstrating this using free motion quilting, but if you'd like to see more tutorials showcasing the other styles of quilting on your home machine please let me know in the comments below.

Now for the new quilting tutorial:

Easy quilting design for beginners
Would you like to learn how to quilt designs like this to quilt a big quilt using your walking foot?

I've created a quilting workshop to guide you through picking simple designs and quilting on your home machine with walking foot quilting. Click Here to check out this walking foot workshop!

Now let's learn more about our new Super Triangle quilting design:

Difficulty Level - Super Beginner. Super Triangle is a very easy quilting design that doesn't require a lot of precision to quilt nicely. It will be a great skill builder for echo quilting as you quilt the lines of the triangle based on the lines quilted before.

Easy Super Triangle Quilting Tutorial
As I showed in the video, rotate your quilt or block so you can see what you're stitching and maintain nice straight lines. Don't get hung up on the idea of quilting in all directions - quilt in the direction that feels the most natural to you!

Design Family - Center Fill. This quilting design begins in the center of your quilting space and radiates out to the edges.

This means that the quilting design will continually expand like a spiral. When the Super Triangle shape touches the edges of your quilting space, just use the edges of your quilt or the ditches around the block to travel stitch and continue quilting more lines of the design.

Where do we quilt it? - So now that you know how to quilt a Super Triangle, a Super Spiral, and a Super Daisy, what shall we do with all these SUPER quilting designs?

The best way to quilt them is using All Over Style quilting. Ignore the piecing, the applique, the pretty shapes, and the nice fabrics on your quilt. Pick a point somewhere roughly in the center, pull up thread and start quilting your Super Triangle.

If you'd prefer not to ignore all the elements of your quilt (hey, you bothered to piece it, you should get credit for it!) try quilting Super Triangle just in the blocks instead. It will fill the space with pretty angular texture and quilt the space super quickly too.

So that's it for this new addition to our SUPER collection of designs. I think that's what I'll call these now, and in my head I'm shouting that word like a superhero. Lol! It doesn't take much to entertain me!

Make sure to post any questions you have in the comments below and share this post or video with your friends. Super quilters share SUPER designs with their friends!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, June 5, 2017

How to Piece a Dainty Dresden Plate

After a long, beautiful weekend outside I'm ready to jump back on my machine and piece the next block for the Machine Quilting Block Party. This month's blocks is a super cute Dainty Dresden Plate made with sixteen pointy petals.

Check out this video to get tips on piecing this new block:

Click Here to find the pattern for Block #6.

Make Dainty Dresden Plate Quilt Block
The first step to piecing this Dainty Dresden Plate is to cut out your petal shapes. Make sure to print the cutting template page in the quilt pattern "actual" size with no fitting or shrinking on a US letter size page.

Every once and while a quilter will email to say that the 1-inch box measures 1 inch, but the template isn't printing properly. Every single time I send her back to measure the 1 inch box and it actually is measuring 7/8, which means the printer is shrinking the page in some way.

Yes, this is an annoying technicality, but that 1-inch box needs to measure exactly 1-inch! That way you know all of the pages of your pattern have printed exactly the right size.

Why am I harping on about this? Because with 16 petals form this Dainty Dresden Plate and if the template is off, it's just not going to work. An alternative to printing is to pick up the Dresden Plate Template Set and use Template #5 to cut your petals.

This just happens to be my favorite template in the set for ruler foot quilting as well!

Dresden Plate Ruler Foot Quilting

Creating this Dainty Dresden Plate quilt block isn't hard if you piece the petals in sets of 4 petals. This way you can square up the edges so the plate will piece together perfectly and lay flat on your block background.

Once you have the block positioned on your background, pin or glue it down. I like glue because it sticks to the block and stays in place, rock solid, as I stitch over the edges.

Yes, I use Elmer's Glue that I put into a little glue bottle with a tiny tip. I'll look into carrying that tiny tip bottle this month as it really works great for applying just enough glue to do the job.

After gluing, you could machine stitch the appliques down or hand stitch them in place, it's totally up to you. I really love the look of hand applique, but rarely have the time to do it. And besides, we're going to stitch over the block quite a lot to quilt it so what's a little more machine stitching on the edges of the petals?

I hope you enjoyed this new tutorial and are excited to create this Dainty Dresden Plate quilt block. Have questions about this process? Make sure to post in the comments below!

Flower Quilt | Flower Sampler Quilt

The best thing about making our 6th block is our Flower Festival quilt will be half finished! I've been busy connecting the blocks together with sashing and cornerstones and I love the look so far.

Are you looking for all the posts we've shared so far on the Machine Quilting Block Party? Click Here to check them out.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Machine Quilting Clouds on a Baby Quilt

Last week I shared a new quilting tutorial on Clouds and I can't seem to get this design out of my head! A lot of quilters requested bed quilting designs last week so I figured it was time to try quilting really big clouds. Check it out in this new Sit Down Quilting Sunday video:

Click Here to find all of the videos shared on the Grace Qnique 14+ so far.

I have to say, quilting big, bed sized designs is where this sit down longarm machine really shines. The 15 inch harp space makes it very easy to position and shift the quilt without having a wrestling match.

Make sure to watch my video on how I've set up my Grace Qnique to see how my hanging system works to lift the quilt and reduce the weight even more.

The key to quilting bigger designs is to quilt the shapes bigger. Lol! It's a pretty simple concept - the exact same design quilted small will take longer and make the quilt feel stiffer.

If you expand the shapes and the distance between the lines of quilting, you will make the design much bigger. The bigger the shapes, the faster you can cover your quilt, and the softer the quilt will feel when it's finished.

Lately I've been much more interested in quilting large scale designs than small scale. What can I say - I like finishing quilts! Quilting on a tiny scale takes SO long and can feel SO boring.

Quilting bigger designs feels faster and more effective as you can see - wow - that's 15 inches of the quilt we knocked out together!

What do you think of quilting Clouds on a larger scale? Would you use this design on a baby quilt? Do you have any other questions about using the Grace Qnique machine? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, June 2, 2017

Learn how to Machine Quilt UFO, Design #476

It's a bird! It's a plane! No! It's a UFO!

Here's a fun new design for us to quilt together this week. It's basically Concentric Circles, but with an escape hatch so you don't have to break thread with each circle you quilt. See what I mean in this new quilting tutorial:

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

Difficulty Level - Beginner. I usually base the difficulty level on the amount of travel stitching a design involves and as you can see UFO doesn't have a lot. But what it does have in abundance is echo quilting, which can be just as challenging.

So I consider this a skill-building beginner design. It's an easy enough set of steps and shapes to quilt, but it's going to seriously build your skills for echo quilting.

Filler Design Type - Edge to Center. You can actually machine quilt UFO two ways - you could quilt the straight line into the center, then quilt from the center of your block to the outer edges like you saw in the quilting video.

Or you can start in the center and work straight out like a Center Filled design. Either way, you're going to end up with rings of circles with a straight line to escape from the center. 

Where do we quilt it? I came up with this design while quilting the Basket Weave Quilt. I wanted rings of Concentric Circles in the squares, but I didn't like how much time it was taking to quilt the circles and break thread with each one.

So I stitched the straight line in the ditch and used that as an escape hatch that was almost invisible on the quilt. See what I mean in this video:

I hope it helps to see UFO quilted in a larger space in this video! As you can see if you stitch the escape hatch in the ditch of the block, it ends up hiding completely on the quilt surface leaving just the circles behind.

And one more thing about this video - it's never a mistake to mark the design on your quilt! The circles in the Basket Weave Quilt felt much easier to quilt because they were marked on the fabric. If you can't quilt the circles freehand just mark them on your quilt and it will feel much easier and look better too.

So what do you think of UFO? Do you like the little escape hatch through the middle of the circles? Do you plan to mark the circles on your quilt? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, June 1, 2017

New Block and New Workshop!

It's June 1st and time for a new block for the Machine Quilting Block Party. This month's block is a beautiful Dainty Dresden Plate that we're going to quilt with feathers, a simple leaf design, and awesome ruler foot quilting.

Click Here to find the pattern for Block #6.

But that's not all!

We also have a new quilting workshop for you today. The Mega Star Walking Foot Workshop is a beginner quilting class that will guide you step-by-step through piecing and quilting this giant star quilt.

Wait...walking foot quilting?

Yep, that's right! I've been wanting to experiment with walking foot quilting and how to quilt a larger quilt using just this style of quilting. It not only worked great, I was able to quilt this quilt in less than two weeks.

In this quilting workshop I share tips on picking a fast and easy quilting design that will also transform your quilt top with beautiful texture. Together we will learn how to quilt through hardest part of the quilt and manage the bulk and weight while also maintaining a pretty design.

If you're just getting started with quilting, this workshop will get you started on the right foot piecing and quilting a very easy quilt. If you've been quilting for awhile, you'll learn a lot about spacing lines with minimal marking and designing the quilting based on your materials and time.

My goal creating this workshop was to prove that you CAN quilt your own quilts on your home machine, and you can quilt a quick, but beautiful design using your walking foot.

Click Here to learn more about this new quilting workshop!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Quilt Pattern Writing with Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill, Podcast Episode #21

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I'm chatting with Sheri from Whole Circle Studio about designing and writing quilt patterns. Check out her website right here.

Sheri and I shared a fun collaboration last week! She pieced an awesome mini version of Road Work and sent it to me for quilting. Click Here to check out our collaboration.

Sheri has a bachelors degree in graphic design and one of her professors said - what do you like, what do you love, what do you care about? This is how Sheri finds inspiration in the world and is constantly paying attention to the things that catch her eye.

After her initial inspiration, she uses Adobe Illustrator and does several layouts based on her design idea. Then she will work with the math of quilting to figure out what works best.

Sheri really wants the patterns to be as clear as possible with tips and diagrams. She will then test it and get her husband to proofread before it goes to testing.

She tests all her patterns with three different quilters that are each at different skill levels to double check that it makes sense and there aren't lots of questions about the quilt construction. Sheri usually gives quilters three weeks to test and create the project.

Sheri found her quilting testers through Instagram and keeps a spreadsheet of potential quilters for testing. She does not pay for testing, but does send the pattern and sometimes materials to the quilters testing her patterns.

One of the struggles with quilt pattern design is working with prints, which can quickly go out of stock and never be printed again. For this reason, Sheri tends to use solid fabrics or prints that will be reprinted.

Sheri offers PDF versions of her patterns on her website and has nine patterns available in print versions as well. Sheri prices her patterns according to how many pages it requires to print, plus the packaging materials and her time to with the highest price $12 retail.

Sheri offers multiple sizes in all of her patterns except Aperture so you can pick the perfect size to make. This adds a little more time and effort and she does end up making multiple versions of the same quilt, but it's worth it so quilters can make the right size for themselves.

Make sure to check out her most popular Buzzzz quilt pattern! This is so cute!

Now let's check in with what we've been up to the last two weeks!

I've shared two new quilting designs that are both easy to quilt on your home machine. Fanfare will be a great choice for quilting blocks and open spaces in your quilt. Click Here to find the Fanfare quilting tutorial.

Clouds is funny because I can see the search terms used on my new website and since we switched in 2015, that has been the most searched term for a quilting design so here it is! You can now quilt clouds on your quilts! Click Here to find the Clouds quilting tutorial.

I've also shared a free quilt pattern this month using the beautiful fabrics included in this month's Quilty Box. This month's box was curated by Alex Anderson so we received 10 fat quarters of her new fabric RJR Mirage.

I loved these prints and really wanted to use them together in one quilt so I grabbed 10 solid fat quarters and pieced up a bunch of nine patches and then poof! made them disappear to make a Disappearing Nine Patch quilt.

Click Here to find this free Disappearing Nine Patch quilt pattern.

This month I've played musical podcasts with Stephanie Kendron, the host of the Modern Sewciety podcast. You can find Stephanie's episode for Hello My Quilting Friends right here and learn about her and how she creates her podcast episodes.

Then I was on Stephanie's podcast Modern Sewciety episode 121 last week. In that interview I talked a lot about business, how I make videos, and how I work with Josh and Dad to run the business smoothly. I'm not ashamed that I make a living from quilting because this is what allows me to share new designs, free quilt patterns, and this podcast with you!

Another new video that was shared this week was on quilting Heart Paisley on the Grace Qnique sit down longarm machine. I created this series because a lot of quilters were curious about these machines and how they differ from home sewing machines and I was curious too.

I've been quilting lots of different projects for these videos and a wide range of quilting styles too. Now this series is completely question driven so if you have questions about quilting on a sit down longarm come and ask in the comments and I'll make a video just to answer your questions.

But I'm not only quilting on the longarm, I've also been putting in a lot of quilting time on my home machine using a walking foot.

Throughout the month of May I've been working on a new quilting workshop on walking foot style quilting on a real quilt.

I took Mega Pinwheel Star Quilt and designed a simple quilting design, basted, and quilted it on my home machine in less than two weeks! And I filmed videos of every step along the way so you can learn how to use your walking foot to quilt real quilts too.

Now I have a beautiful giant star quilt to cuddle with on the couch and I'm thrilled by how this quilting workshop turned out. I really put my walking foot through it's paces and shared every step to quilting a real quilt on a home machine.

Make sure to check out this new Mega Star Walking Foot Workshop coming out tomorrow and learn how to make this beautiful star quilt from start to finish with me!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, May 29, 2017

Quilting Heart Paisley on a Sit Down Longarm Sewing Machine

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you have had a wonderful last weekend of May. I always feel like this month is as busy and crazy as December, and now *sigh* it's time to relax into the slower pace of the summer.

But even though it's summer, that doesn't mean we're going to stop quilting! I have several fun quilting projects planned this summer and my first goal is to finish up the Dream Goddess quilt so I can enjoy seeing her hang on my wall this fall.

So today let's learn how to quilt a small scale Heart Paisley design into the background of the Dream Goddess quilt:

Click Here to find all the videos I've shared so far on the Grace Qnique sit down longarm machine.

Quilting this small scale Heart Paisley design was really easy in this area of the Dream Goddess quilt. This is one of my favorite quilting designs because you can quilt it any size and the heart shapes easily nest next to one another so it has a very nice texture as well.

A question I answered in this video was about the hopping of the quilting foot. The Grace Qnique 14+ is a longarm machine which is designed so the foot hops along with the timing of the needle. This is meant to help the machine feed evenly over the fabric when the machine is set up on a rail system.

The thing that creates the hopping is internal, meaning you can't alter or change the way the foot hops, even if you change the foot.

This is very different from home (domestic) sewing machines where the hopping is often created by a badly designed foot. Click Here to watch a video to see how I stop a foot from hopping.

So this is just one of those things that differs between a longarm machine and a home sewing machine. You can't stop the foot from hopping on a longarm machine, even when it's set up as a sit down machine.

The good news is it doesn't stop me from quilting beautiful designs on this machine. If it was a probably, trust me you would be able to tell because I wouldn't be able to travel stitch as nicely or echo quilt as evenly.

Do you have more questions about quilting on a sit down longarm machine? Be sure to ask in the comments below and I'll shoot a video just to answer your question!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, May 26, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Clouds, Design #475

You know the most searched keyword for quilting designs on my website? Clouds! Who would have thought so many quilters are searching for this simple shape? I decided to give it a try and came up with this new design:

This is my first run at free motion quilting Clouds and I think it turned out pretty good! I realized immediately while quilting it that there are several ways you can alter the design which will change the way the Clouds look on your quilt. Let's check out the quilting tutorial and then I'll show you the variations of this design:

Would you like to support this project and free videos that come out every week? Click Here to find my book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs!

I was aiming for the stereotypical fluffy cartoon cloud shape while quilting this design and I'm really pleased on how it turned out. It's very simple and fast to quilt too which is always a bonus. Let's learn more about it:

Difficulty Level - Beginner. Clouds turned out to be a very easy design! If you can quilt a slightly curving line and manage a bit of travel stitching, you can definitely quilt Clouds.

The hardest part is dealing with the different angles of the clouds as you quilt from right to left and then from left to right. I found it felt more natural to quilt from left to right and my clouds tended to look weird when quilted from right to left, but that might just be me being picky.

Design Family - Stacking. The cloud shapes stack on top of one another to form the design. You can change the look by making the clouds taller and fluffier. You can also change it by having the clouds dip down into the row before less often.

If you wanted a sky of ominous low hanging clouds you could quilt a thinner line of small arches running almost parallel with the top edge of your quilt. I'll have to think on variations with echoes to create storm clouds! Lol!

I decided to quilt Clouds again and try three different versions of the design to see how it would look if I changed the travel stitching within the Cloud shapes.

This first version has no travel stitching. You stitch 3-4 bouncy arch shapes chained together without doing any travel stitching. This makes the clouds look less cloud-like and a bit more like popcorn:

Here I added back the travel stitching, but kept it very short - only 1/8 inch of travel quilting back along the arches before branching out with the next:

Personally I liked this look best and with the minimal traveling, it also felt the easiest to machine quilt. But I had to try one more change this time with 1/4 inch of traveling and much bigger arch shapes:

Which version of Clouds do you like best? Do you see how the change in travel stitching makes all the difference with this design? I'm sure there are even more ways to change it up so if you have any ideas to test let me know in the comments below!

Where do we quilt Clouds? - As you can see this design is easy to machine quilt big with large fluffy shapes. I think it would make a great bed quilting design!

That's good because I don't think this works as well on a small scale. Even when I tried shrinking down the cloud shapes, it tends to go fluffy a good bit of open space between the shapes.

I do think there's a lot of possibilities for combining Clouds with straight lines and curves and that might work better on a smaller scale. One thing is for sure, I've definitely got my head in the clouds now! Lol. Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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