The Free Motion Quilting Project

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

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