The Free Motion Quilting Project: 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Great Quilting Debate: Prewashing Fabric, Episode #36

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I'm taking on another Great Quilting Debate: whether to prewash fabric before making your quilt or not. Listen to the episode or download it to your computer here:

Or watch the episode and check out my super messy laundry room here:

Yes, I do think prewashing fabric is a super important step in the quiltmaking process! Here's the reasons why I wash everything unless it's too tiny and will fall apart in the washer:
  • Stops fabrics from bleeding into one another. Washing removes the excess dyes so all the fabrics remain the color they're supposed to be.
  • Eliminates the question of how to care for the finished quilt. You never have to worry about washing it and messing it up.
  • Gets all the fabric feeling and acting the same way. If all the fabrics have been washed and starched 2 times, they will all have roughly the same amount of stretch and give and be easier to piece together more accurately.
  • Erases the hard crease in the middle of fabric which is rarely square with the grainline of the fabric.
  • Makes fabric easier to square and cut accurately.
Now for the video I promised about preparing fabric:

Once you prewash the fabric, you're going to have to restore order to the soft, wrinkly fabric by applying starch and pressing. Yes, there's also a Great Quilting Debate about starch and whether it's good or bad for your quilts. Click Here to listen to that podcast episode too.

So prewashing usually goes hand in hand with starch and pressing, but not always. Some quilters wash, but don't starch. Some quilters starch, but don't wash. As you can see, there are lots of ways you can work with fabric and definitely not a one-size-fits-all option here!

There are times when you can't prewash fabric. Precut fabrics smaller than a fat-eighth are impossible to wash without turning into a wadded mess of broken threads. You can starch precuts to stiffen them, but washing is just not a possibility.

When working with fabrics like this, think hard about your fabric combinations. If you have a precut pack of bright batiks in the most common bleeding colors (red, blue, purple) that would be a bad idea to mix that with white fabric where a bleed will be most noticeable. Match potential bleeding precuts with darker fabrics like black so even if the colors migrate, your quilt will still look great.

I've never found an issue from mixing prewashed fabric with non-prewashed fabric. I always wash the background fabric for my Quilty Box projects and the precuts are rarely washed, but the quilts still turn out great.

Ultimately the decision to wash or not wash is down to time. If you only have a few hours to quilt each week, prewashing, starching, and pressing your fabrics will likely feel like a ridiculous time-consuming extra step.

But if you have a bit more time or you just want to go the extra mile on a special quilt, give prewashing a try. The relief of knowing you can wash your finished quilt without worry about bleeding dyes is absolutely worth it in my opinion!

Now for a few updates about what's going on around the house...

This weekend we traveled to Charleston to visit family and made a big Thanksgiving meal for everyone. I love to cook and I especially love the challenge of feast meals and getting everything done on time.

It was a huge relief to be able to place our huge book order right before we left. The final proof finally came in and the books look amazing! Trust me, if you place an order for 1000 of anything, you want it to be perfect!

Click Here preorder Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.

Don't forget our Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday sale will begin on Thursday!

My basement laundry room doubles as a space for leatherwork, dyeing fabric, painting fabric, and building costumes. The downside of having so many crafts in one place is there really isn't enough space for them all and I tend to leave my toys out even after I'm finished playing with them so it was time to seriously clean things up today. Yes, this was just a bit of the mess all around me!

I noticed I have lot of bag hardware from and lots of leather projects I've left unfinished. I plan to work on that this week with James while he's out of school for Thanksgiving. I need to get this space organized so I can actually walk in here and get some work done rather than spend all my time cleaning it back up again.

I think part of the problem is not having an idea of what I want to do with all the leather scraps I have laying around. I'm going to do some searching online for fun project ideas and come up with some new things to create.

I'm happy to report I've finally finished my machine embroidered landscape! This cute design will be ready in December and compatible with all the major embroidery machine brands. I just need to write the instructions and create the final files for you to download and it will be done.

It feels great to be finishing up this project and I have many more machine embroidery collections in the works. I know next year we're planning to do lots of videos on walking foot quilting, but I think sharing more videos on machine embroidery will also be a good idea to.

And YES! I will have an update about the quilting frame and moving the Grace Qnique 14+ soon! It's been a crazy busy and stressful month and I'm hoping I'll be able to share more on that transition soon.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Quilt Market Recap with Sheri Cilfaldi Morrill, Episode #35

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I have a new interview with Sheri Cilfaldi Morrill from! Sheri recently attended Fall Quilt Market in Houston and she's going to give us a recap on what she noted at the show. Listen to the episode or download it to your computer here:

You can also watch the podcast and see the things I talk about in the introduction here:

Sheri is an awesome quilter and wonderful pattern designer. Make sure to check out her website right here.

Now a bit about Quilt Market - this is an industry trade show where quilt shop owners come to buy fabrics, tools, quilt patterns, and supplies to carry in their shops. It's only open to industry professionals because this is a place where everyone is buying wholesale - without tax and at a reduced price so then products can be resold for retail prices.

So this is the place to go if you're wanting to buy fabric, tools, machines, and supplies for a quilt shop. It's also good to go as a designer to see the popular trends and new fabrics available and find companies to work with. It's a great place to network and talk about running a quilting business.

Sheri has also been blogging for Craftsy and shared an excellent post with lots of pretty photos from Quilt Market right here.

A few days after fall Quilt Market closes, International Quilt Festival opens. This is a massive show with hundreds (maybe thousands) of gorgeous quilts. The quilts are already hanging during Quilt Market so Sheri was able to check out her favorite collections. She shared a blog post with lots of beautiful pictures right here.

I was extremely happy to hear that rainbow quilts and bright colors are trending right now! Two of the quilts in my new book have bright rainbow colors and those two quilts were also picked for our 2018 Machine Quilting Party!

I think it's interesting to know what's popular and trending, but it's not something I feel the need to chase after. It's far more important to follow your inspiration and make what you want to make and if it happens to be on trend, that's a wonderful bonus.

I did want to give you a heads up that our biggest sale of the year will begin on November 23rd - Thanksgiving Day. All of our downloadable quilting workshops, embroidery designs, patterns, and books (excluding the new book) will be on sale for 50% off! We'll also have select tools and supplies on sale too so if you're wanting to place an order you might want to wait a week to get the best deal during this sale. Click Here to check out the shop.

Whew! It's been a crazy pants sort of week and I wasn't kidding when I described it like labor transition. The final process is always stressful and difficult, but every time we go through this it gets a little easier.

I keep coming back to the simple truth that the more you do something, the better you get. I have so many more books I want to write and I refuse to give up just because the process is challenging. I've learned a lot in the last week and next time this will be even easier to manage from this experience.

Speaking of getting more experience, I'm getting back to machine embroidery and finally finishing a batch of designs I've had in progress for three years.

Both the landscape and tree design can be stitched as a motif, in-the-hoop coaster project, and in-the-hoop zippered pouch. I'm finally getting back to work on it and refusing to let my inner critic scare me off from machine embroidery again.

I love being able to hit a button and let the machine stitch out a perfect design. I also love having the embroidery machine running while I'm quilting something else nearby. My goal is to have the landscape project ready by Christmas so make sure to hold me to that!

Another project that needs work before the end of the year is the Eternal Love quilt pattern. Maybe I should turn this into a quilt along? It would certainly be wonderful to see many versions of this beautiful quilt stitched all over the world!

My goal is to create patterns of several more goddess quilts, but it's tough to prioritize this when there is no deadline to meet. This is my Great Work, but it seems like it's always ending up being the last projects on the list to work on. That needs to change.

Don't forget you can find all of the podcasts linked up right here and hit play on the player and binge listen to many hours of quilting friends goodness!

You can also Click Here to find all the videos linked in one playlist too.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

How to Quilt a Basic Dresden Plate

Today we are quilting our last block for the Machine Quilting Block Party and wrapping up a fun year of quilting along together as we stitch more feathers, spirals, and ruler foot quilting. It's the perfect way to finish up our beautiful Basic Dresden Plate block!

Click Here to find the quilt pattern for block 11 and12. Yes, we combined the last two blocks into one pattern so you can finish your Flower Festival quilt this year!

This year has been a wonderful adventure piecing and quilting twelve flower quilt blocks. The six Dresden Plate blocks are a beautiful counterpoint to the traditionally pieced blocks and I hope you learned a lot about piecing and applique this year.

Of course, my favorite part about any quilt is the quilting. This year I included free motion feathers in every block, plus the extra sashing rectangles. It was so nice to have an excuse to play with feathers and find creative ways to slip them into every block.

I also enjoyed digging into three forms of machine quilting. Each month I stitched in the ditch with walking foot quilting, then quilted most of the designs with free motion quilting.

And we really stitched it up a notch with ruler foot quilting! I definitely want to learn more about this easy form of machine quilting and using different rulers as a guide. Just in case you're just trying out rulers for the first time, Click Here to find my video on Ruler Foot Quilting Basics.

When quilting with rulers, I used the templates from the Dresden Plate Template set on my home machine. These small templates fit perfectly in your hand and are easy to guide even on a small home machine. The best part is you can also use these templates for cutting six different styles of Dresden Plate quilt blocks.

This year has been a great adventure in machine quilting and I hope you'll join us for next year's Machine Quilting Party! We're going to explore walking foot quilting and create three beautiful quilts from start to finish. Click Here to find the schedule and materials list.

Now that all of your blocks are pieced and quilted, you're probably wondering how to start putting them together to make your quilt! Here's a series of tutorials I've shared on connecting quilted pieces:

And just in case you'd like to see last year's video, click here to find it.

Let's go quilt, 

Leah Day

Monday, November 13, 2017

How to Piece a Basic Dresden Plate

It's time to piece our last block for the Machine Quilting Block Party! Today we are going to return to the basics with a Basic Dresden Plate with just eight petals and simple curved edges. Learn how to piece and applique this basic Dresden plate in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the quilt pattern for Blocks #11 and #12 combined. We released these patterns together so if you play your cards right you'll be able to finish your Flower Festival quilt before the end of the year!

Dresden plate quilt block

I've saved one of the easiest Dresden Plate blocks for last! The Basic Dresden Plate has only eight petals so it will be very fast to cut the shapes and begin piecing the units together. I used Template #2 from the Dresden Plate Template Set to cut the shapes quickly.

I turned the edge of my curved petals, but remember you can also fuse that edge too. Click Here to learn more ways to create curved edge Dresden Plates!

Quilting a dresden plate block

 With our last block pieced, the last step will be quilting it! Make sure to come back tomorrow and learn how to quilt this Basic Dresden plate block with spirals, feathers, and simple ruler foot quilting.

Let's go quilt, 

Leah Day

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Let's Quilt Windy Feathers, Design #491

I have a new design for you today! I kept meaning to get out to the Crafty Cottage all week to shoot more design videos, then I realized I already had a brand new design I quilted on the Grace longarm: Windy Feathers! Learn how to quilt it in this new video:

Click Here to find my review of the Grace Qnique 14+. If you live in the US, make sure to mention Leah Day said Hello My Quilting Friends to get a discount or bonus accessories bundled with your machine!

I love how Windy Feathers turned out in the background of my hoop quilt:

This is a terrific design to quilt in spaces like this because it filled quickly, I could easily travel stitch to form more lines of the design, and the flowing lines added a nice contrast to the center circle.

Let's learn more about Windy Feathers:

Difficulty Level: Intermediate. Don't let this rating intimidate you! I mostly set the rating based on the amount of travel stitching a design has and how much time it takes to fill a space. Travel stitching is a skill you just have to build with quilting and Windy Feathers would be a great design to learn how to stitch right on top of your stitching to move through the design.

Design Family: Edge to Edge. This design is part of a little mini family that I call Pocket Designs. Basically you stitch the lines to create gaps or pockets, then you can leave those spaces open, or fill them with other designs, which creates a totally different effect!

If you're interested in geeking out on this with me (yes, of course you are!), first learn how to quilt Flowing Lines. This is the simplest version of the design and the fastest to stitch.

Then stitch it up a notch with Goldilocks and Trapped Paisley. I promise if you stitch out all of these designs you'll not only gain a lot of awesome quilting skill, you'll also fall in love with this design style too!

Where Do I Quilt It? - Backgrounds, sashing, and borders are all great choices for Windy Feathers. I love how the background of my Hoop Quilt turned out. Do you want to make one too? Go check out Anne Marie Chany's podcast to learn all about Hoop Quilts!

I've loved sharing videos on the Grace Qnique 14+ this year and learned so much more about quilting on a sit down longarm. But I admit - I'm still curious! I want to know what it will be like to put this machine on a quilting frame. 

So starting in December, that's exactly what we're going to do. I'm not sure which day of the week we will be sharing videos, but soon they will switch from quilting on a sit down longarm to quilting on a frame longarm. I hope you're as curious as I am and excited to see these new videos!

(And please don't worry! I'm still going to share weekly posts and videos on quilting on a home machine too!)

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Is Starch Bad for Quilts? Podcast Episode #34

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I'm weighing in on another Great Quilting Debate - is starch bad for fabric and quilts? Listen to my take on this hotbed issue in this new podcast episode:

You can also watch the podcast and my progress painting over my ruined button mosaic here:

It's been a wonderful week and I want to start by saying thank you so very much for supporting our new book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day. The response has been tremendous and wildly exceeded both Josh and my expectations!

The preorder for this new book will continue until November 30th so right now you can get a great deal on the book which will ship or be emailed to you on December 1st.

Click Here to preorder ebook version.

Click Here to preorder a print version.

During the podcast I was working on my ugly button mosaic and covering it up with Pebeo Prisme, Moon, and Ceramic paints. I love these super thick paints because they create awesome effects all by themselves. Here's the finished result:

I think this turned out okay! It's not ending up in the trash, which is something. It's not exactly what I originally envisioned, but it's not a terrible result either.

Now I'm turning my attention to finishing up projects before the end of the year and that list is LONG! I have two goddess quilt patterns I'd like to add to the site, lots of new pages to add, and many new videos too.

I spent a good bit of the intro talking about my quilt fiction novel which I've been working on every morning. At this point I'm a quarter way through, but experienced a setback when someone wrote in to tell me I was "cheating" at NaNoWriMo by starting my book before November 1st. Color me clueless - I had no idea!

This is the thing: there will always be people that try to derail you, stop you, limit or downright snuff out your light. There are people in this world that hate to see your excitement because they sadly believe that your success means there's less room for them to succeed too.

I know none of that is true. The more I create, the more I want to create. The more I've designed, the more designs that pop freely into my head. And the more people that are teaching, sharing, writing, and designing, the more quilting has a chance reach more people, which means there's even more space for everyone to succeed.

So no, I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo with this book, but I am still going to write my book! I've been using a handy app called Ink On to keep track of my daily word count and progress and Josh has been sticking gold stickers to the kitchen calendar as well.

I like seeing the chain of days - each marked with a bright star to show my progress and to keep me in the habit of writing. I think it's far more important to sit and write a short bit every day than to write for huge lengths of time one day a week. I feel the same way about quilting. Stitching for 15 - 20 minutes every day will be far more helpful to building your skill than quilting 4 hours every other Saturday.

It's very exciting to see the chapters coming together and I love the world I've created. I want to stitch the quilt from the book and make dolls for the characters. Yes, that's more projects to make and the list of things I want to finish before 2018 is already pretty long!

I believe the most important thing is following creativity and giving into the nudge, wherever it's directing you. Please don't let the Negative Nellies of this world get in your way or derail your pursuits. It's so easy to let one negative comment or criticism lock you up, and much harder to trust the overwhelming number of positive voices cheering you on.

I've also been working on getting out of my own way. Sometimes the only person that's stopping me from moving forward is ME! I've had three awesome embroidery collections basically sitting in files on my computer, waiting for me to get over my stuff and release them. Be looking forward to new projects in that area as well as more embroidery videos too!

As always, I love hearing from you and would love to make even more quilting friends in 2018. If you'd like to be on the podcast or recommend your favorite quilting teacher or company, please send us a message right here.

Now for the Great Quilting Debate! Is Starch Bad for Quilts?

Yes, the choice to use starch on your fabric is a contentious subject in the quilting world and over the years I've gotten comments ranging from "You're ruining people's quilts with your bad advice!" to "Wow! Starch made such a difference to my fabric and piecing is so much easier now!" 

One thing I forgot to include in the podcast is why I use starch - I find it stiffens the fabric nicely, which makes squaring it and cutting pieces and strips much easier and more accurate.

I also find starch fabrics are less likely to fray on the edges. Lately I've been testing the stability of my starched fabrics by not pinning units together. Even with the seams pressed open and no pins, my seams are matching every time and I think a lot of that has to do with all the fabrics in the quilt feeling and acting the same. I don't have one fabric that's going loosey goosie while another is stiff as a board.

So yes, I'm on Team Starch and I use it to prepare the fabrics in every single quilt we make. If we're using precuts, every single strip or square is starched on both sides before it's cut or pieced into the quilt.

A big key to using starch on fabric is knowing the proper technique to use it. The first time I starched a piece of fabric, I sprayed it down, then hit it with my hot iron and suddenly all this horrible flakey white stuff flew everywhere and the bottom of my iron went brown and smelled gross.

It took a few tries before I learned how to apply the liquid to fabric and press without making a massive mess. Learn how I do it in this Quilting Basics video:

As for Team Starch is Evil, I get it! If you've been taught that a substance is bad for your fabric and you've never used it before and got along just fine, that's great!

When researching starch, I found a lot of helpful information right here at

I do think the whole bug-loving-starch thing is a bit silly and I shared my opinion on where that story got started in the podcast. It makes absolutely no sense that a substance used for hundreds of years in clothing that washes out of fabric completely could make a moth more likely to chew up your quilt!

There are a lot more products out there like fusible webs, spray basting, and permanent marking pens that can wreck far more havoc on your quilts and I don't see a massive concerted effort to demonize them. I've written about chemicals in quilts here in case you're interested in reading further.

As with our last Great Quilting Debate podcast on pressing seams open, I think there's room for every technique, every method, and every opinion. Please don't feel like just because you don't use starch or press your seams open we can't be friends!

This is a debate so please share your thoughts in the comments below. I'd love to know your thoughts on starching fabric, what you learned when you first started quilting, and how you prepare your fabric now.

If you're preparing fabric for a quilt this week, make sure to snap a picture and share it with me! If you tag me @LeahDayQuilting on Instagram, I'll see your photo when you post it!

In 2 weeks I'm going to continue this discussion with another debate on Prewashing! Who would have thought I could turn fabric preparation and piecing into three different podcast episodes?!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

How to Quilt a Log Cabin Flower

Are you enjoying a slightly faster pace to the end of the Machine Quilting Block Party? Today I'm quilting Block 11, the Log Cabin Flower Block. Click Here to learn how to piece this block with me.

This block is quilted with a nice combination of free motion filler designs including feathers, Swirling Water, and Chain of Pearls. Quilt along with me in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the combined pattern for Blocks 11 and 12. If you work fast your be able to finish your Flower Festival quilt before the end of the year!

I decided to add an extra step to the back of my Log Cabin Flower block. I used my embroidery machine to stitch a quilt tag to the backing fabric. Learn how to do this in this extra tip video:

The advantage of adding your quilt tag to the backing of your quilt BEFORE it is quilted is you get this cool effect of the quilting design running over the quilt tag:

Another advantage of having the quilting run over the quilt tag is slightly sad. There are some people that steal quilts. When a tag is created separately and stitched to the back, it's easy to rip off, leaving no sign of the original maker. A lot of show quilters will add a tag to the backing before it's quilted so quilting stitches run over the tag, making it impossible to remove without damaging the quilting.

And yes, I know that date is all kinds of wrong! I was being really hopeful I'd have my entire quilt done during the summer, but that just didn't happen. I might wait until next July to put it together so I only have to change the #7 in 2017 to a #8!

There are a lot of seam allowances in the Log Cabin Flower Block and if you add the extra machine embroidery, it may feel a little trick to quilt in the flower and background sections.

Just take your time quilting the feather designs in this area. Stitch slowly and carefully and bring your hands a little closer to the needle so you have more control over where the quilt block is going. If your needle begins to sound different - like a louder POCK sound - slow down and try to stitch over that spot quickly.

Sometimes thicker spots can cause your thread to break, but the quicker you stitch over them, the less likely this will be to happen.

My favorite part of this block is the Chain of Pearls design filling in the vase. I quilted over the circles the second time so they stand out dramatically on the quilt surface. But keep in mind that that's an optional extra step I did just for fun. What can I say, I'm a thread junkie!

Are you planning to embroider the back of this quilt block with your quilt tag? Do you like adding machine embroidery to your quilts? I'm planning to experiment with this more next year so be looking forward to more tutorials like this!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, November 6, 2017

How to Piece a Log Cabin Flower

We're rocking and rolling through our last two quilt blocks for the Machine Quilting Block Party! This week I'll share videos on Block #11, the Log Cabin Flower Block, and next week we'll learn how to create the Basics Dresden Plate Block. Today let's learn how to piece the Log Cabin Flower Block together in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the quilt pattern for Blocks 11 and 12 combinedWe mixed these two block patterns together so you can finish your quilt before the end of the year.

There are a lot of steps to this quilt block so make sure to watch the video carefully so you have great results with your Log Cabin Flower. You've already gotten a lot of practice piecing half square triangles for the vase and stem sections. Just in case you need a reminder Click Here to learn how to piece half square triangles

For the flower section, we're trying something new this month and first piecing a traditional log cabin block, then rotating it with a square and a square technique. Be carefully trimming down the resulting flower shape so it fits nicely with the other pieces of your block.

Make sure to swing by tomorrow as we learn how to quilt this beautiful block together with Feathers, Swirling Water, and Chain of Pearls.

Don't forget to check out our schedule for the 2018 Machine Quilting Party! We're going to stitch it up a notch with walking foot quilting and create three beautiful quilts together step-by-step! All of the patterns for this new quilt along are included in our new book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.

Click Here to order your book so you're ready to quilt along in 2018!

Leah Day

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Four Spooky Fall Quilting Designs

I know Halloween has come and gone, but I still have one last set of spooky designs to share with you! Learn how to quilt a Creepy Feather, Web Fill, Oblivion, and Left Turn Right Turn in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to learn more about the Grace Qnique 14+. I love quilting on this machine and plan to move it to a quilting frame very soon. Remember if you live in the US make sure to call the company and mention Leah Day said Hello my quilting friends to get a nice discount on your order.

Now for the Candy Corn mini hoop quilt I was quilting in this video - I used Dresden Plate Template #2 to create the candy corn shape and put fusible web along the outer curve and stitched across the tip to make it pointy. I didn't have time this year to share a full quilting tutorial on this project, but it's on my list for next year!

When picking the four spooky designs to quilt, I mostly thought about the iconic shapes we think about around Halloween. At first I quilted the feather empty, but when I saw the open space I knew it needed to be filled with something. I decided to add three tiny curved fingers like a little hand clawing out of the feather.

I totally see little clawing hands here! Do you?

Web Fill was an easy choice because it's basically a stacked version of Spider Web. I love stitching around the design and making it fit in the space just right. Definitely spooky without even trying!

Oblivion was another obvious choice because it looks like eyeball soup. He he...this is turning out sorta gross! If you want an easier version of the design, try quilting Ocean Pearls instead.

And the last design is Left Turn Right Turn, which isn't really spooky, but it does provide a brick-like texture that works great with the curves in the other designs. It's good to have a few flat, simple designs that will recede into the background to let the other designs shine.

So that's it for Halloween! It's time to put the spooky and creepy designs away at least for another year. Unless, of course, you're like me and every day can be a dress up day!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to share it with your friends! I really love it when you do that!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Self Publishing with Janice Brewster and Karen Sulmonetti, Episode #33

Hello My Quilting Friends! We have a spectacular episode for you today with two awesome ladies that have helped me create my new book! Janice Brewster Weiser and Karen Sulmonetti, the ladies behind Creative Girlfriends Press are on the podcast and we're talking all about writing books and self publishing.

Listen to the episode here:

Watch the episode and see my slightly Frumpy Fraggle look (the heater was glitching! It was cold!) at the beginning here:

Make sure to check out Janice's website Creative Girlfriends Press if you're interested in getting help with your next book or pattern project.

Karen Sulmonetti's website can be found here at Sulmonetti Designs.

It was fun to talk to Janice and Karen during this interview and this was the first time we've ever seen one another in person. We've worked together on several projects now so it was a nice to finally have a conversation face to face.

One of the biggest surprises from this interview was both Janice and Karen agreed the most important quality you should develop if you want to be a writer is your organization.

It's one thing to have a good idea, but translating that idea into 6 chapters and multiple quilts in a step-by-step system takes great organization and a lot of thought during the writing process. One system I used when writing my new book was to write down all the topics I wanted to cover in the book on index cards. Then I spread the cards out over the kitchen table and played with organizing them until the topics could flow from one to another seamlessly.

Another thing to think about is your photos and diagrams. As Janice said in the interview, photos can be tricky and it's good to be thinking about this step from the beginning to know how much it will cost and how much time it will take to create the photos for your book.

Yes, there is a certain amount of bootstrapping you may need to do for your first book. Bootstrapping means figuring out how to do things yourself to save money on the cost of making the book.

Two ways I bootstrapped my book was doing all the diagrams and photographs myself. If you go back to episode #26 you can see me taking photos of Marvelous Mosaic, one of the bigger quilts in the book!

I learned digital photography as I wrote the book and I'm so, so happy I challenged myself to learn this skill. I know the book is 100% better because I was able to take photos while quilting and shoot awesome in-progress shots that are often missing from quilting books these days.

But paying for solid editing and layout is a worthy investment. Editing is super essential to make sure your words read as good as possible. Janice saved me from a lot of embarrassing mistakes and also caught small issues with the quilt patterns that might have made the patterns confusing for beginners.

The layout was the most expensive, and the most time consuming investment into the book, but again, I think this was well worth it! In the time Karen has spent arranging the book, I've been shooting videos for two new quilting workshops and started writing a new book. I definitely couldn't have been working on any other projects if I'd attempted the layout myself.

I hope you enjoyed the interview and learned a lot about the writing / self publishing process. I could talk about this subject happily for years so if you have questions, make sure to ask in the comments below and I'll share another podcast on this topic if there's a lot of interest!

Speaking of books and publishing, we're ready to start the preorder on the new book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day!

Click Here to preorder the Print edition.

Click Here to preorder the Ebook edition.

Remember, books will not be shipping or emailed until December 1st. You will receive a special PDF download as a preorder bonus. That is a set of worksheets with all the designs in the book!

Now for a few more updates from around the house:

The heater has just been fixed today as I type this! It was a glitchy setting on our thermostat that wasn't letting the outside fan talk to the inside heat pump. It's all better now so hopefully I'll be looking better in our next podcast video.

I've been feeling very fiber inspired since going to SAFF. I love seeing all the beautiful colors of yarn and roving and kept an eye on what was inspiring me. I'm really drawn to black these days, I've been wearing black a lot and working it into my quilts a lot more too.

In the video I was spinning black roving on my Hansen Mini Spinner and I've finally settled on calling her Stella. It's fun to name tools, especially when they have a sort of personality already.

At SAFF I picked up beautifully dyed wool from Green Mountain Hooked Rugs. I also finally got my hands on some yarn from The Fiber Seed. And I now have a new addiction to hexagonal knitting needles from Indian Lake Artisans!

I saw a lot of awesome weaving looms and felt tempted in that direction, especially the triangular shaped looms that can create a beautiful shawl in a day. I resisted the urge because realistically I just don't have time for that kind of weaving right now. As always, too many projects, inspiration, and ideas, and not enough time to pursue them all!

Speaking of projects, I had a bit of a failure this week with my button mosaic. The grout idea was a total flop and right now I'm one step away from chucking this in the trash.

I don't think this was a complete waste of time though. I learned something important and I plan to figure out a better alternative for the background. If anything, I may add lots of paint to this and turn it into something very abstract. I think there's still room to learn even more from this project so I'm going to throw a bit more time and patience at it and see what happens.

So that's it for this week! I'm planning to take on another Great Quilting Debate next week with prewashing and starch. Maybe I should split this into two episodes? LOL! You know you're a fabric geek when you could easily talk for an hour or more about fabric preparation!

Click Here to find more episodes of this podcast.

Click Here to preorder the new book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Let's Quilt Magical Pumpkins!

I have a magical new quilting design for you today inspired by the Pumpkin Patch design we quilted a few weeks ago. Add some decorative flourishes to the vine and bigger pumpkins and you'll create Magical Pumpkins! Learn how to quilt it in this new video:

Click Here to learn more about the machine I'm using in this videos. I love quilting on the Grace Qnique 14+ because it's a simple, streamlined machine backed by a company with excellent customer service. Remember, if you're interested in the machine and live in the US to mention Leah Day said Hello My Quilting Friends to get a discount on your order!

Magical Pumpkins definitely takes the Pumpkin Patch design up a notch! This design has more open space between the Twisted Tendril vine and the pumpkins and that will make the design stand out better on your quilts.

It will also be an easy design to quilt bigger and cover more space on your quilt. While there are a lot of steps to Magical Pumpkins, I still think it would make a cool bed quilting design!

Have you checked out our other fall quilting design tutorials? Last week I shared a quilting tutorial on Spider Web using bobbin thread work and that came out great!

I have a few more fall designs to share with you so make sure to check back next week to learn a beautiful feather design that will be perfect for adding texture to the background or borders of a autumn quilt.

In the meantime, you can check out more Sit Down Quilting Sunday Tutorials right here. I've quilted many fun quilts on this machine and you can learn how to quilt on minky, fleece, on a small scale, and more!

If you're wondering about the quilting tools I'm using on this machine, check out the Queen Sized Supreme Slider and Machingers Quilting Gloves - my two favorite tools for quilting on this machine!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Great Pressing Seams Debate, Podcast Episode #32

Hello My Quilting Friends! Yes, we are officially moving to a weekly podcast! Every other week we'll continue to meet new quilting friends with interviews. The opposite weeks will be a podcast with me answering a specific quilting question or digging deep on a quilting topic.

So this week I'm tackling the Great Pressing Seam Debate - do you press your seams open or to one side? What is your reason for pressing your seams the way you do?

If you happen to be piecing this week, post a picture of your quilt to Instagram and tag me @LeahDayQuilting to share your favorite way to press your seams. I can't wait to see all your beautiful blocks and quilts!

I find this topic fascinating because it really brings out surprisingly strong opinions in quilters, as you will be able to tell in this podcast. Sorry, but I can't help being a bit bias to my favorite method of pressing seams open!

But I tried to explain the entire topic coming from our quilting roots - hand piecing and hand quilting which continue to guide our craft even today. I hope you enjoy this new type of episode and look forward to hearing from me each week. Listen to the episode here:

Or you can watch the entire podcast as a video and see what I'm working on (and crazy gesticulating) as I chat here:

Now for some updates from around the house! While I was talking through the introduction, I was working on a Christmas tree button mosaic:

I find it's easier to keep my thoughts running smoothly if my hands are busy so that's why I always try to find a project to work on as I chat with you. I have a really big collection of buttons and this was the perfect way to use them up!

And just in case you're curious about the paints that the canvas was designed for, they are Pebeo paints and much thicker so you apply them with a tear dropper, but the effects are AWESOME! Here are two paintings I've made with them:

All those funky effects are created naturally as the paint dries. I don't paint much, but I love using paints like this because I can be terrible at it, but the paint effects end up making it look good anyway. LOL!

Sunday I shared a Spiderweb tutorial that has been a big hit and made a beautiful Hoop Quilt:

Make sure to check out this video featuring bobbin thread work and quilting on a sit down longarm quilting machine. Click Here to find the video.

Yep, that little Candy Corn mini will also be another sit down longarm quilting tutorial coming up soon!

Downstairs I'm getting ready to switch the longarm from a sit down to a frame longarm. Right now the boxes are all stashed in the sewing room and I'm feeling a bit divided on when to set up the machine. I just need to pull on my big girl panties and do it!

Honestly I think I've just been a bit too busy to think about changing the sewing room. The last few weeks we've been finishing the edits to the book, creating new pages, planning the schedule of the new Machine Quilting Party for 2018 and creating a nice bonus for preorders as well. Whew!

Speaking of Preorders - we will begin preorders for Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day on November 1st! 

That is just one week away and I'm super excited to be finally ready to release this book to the world. The books will begin shipping and ebooks will be emailed out on December 1st - just in time for the Machine Quilting Party which will begin in January.

Speaking of the party, it's time to reveal the quilts we will be creating together next year:

We will begin the year working on the Rainbow Log Cabin, a beautiful 80 inch quilt that's a terrific scrap buster. If you have lots of fat quarters laying around, this will be the perfect quilt to use them up all in one go!

After creating Rainbow Log Cabin, we'll probably be in the mood for a simpler, faster project with the Prism Path baby quilt. This is a bargello quilt that will be very easy to piece and create lots of fun spaces for beautiful quilting.

Sort of a bonus quilt you can create will be the Marvelous Mosaic Quilt which is Quilt-As-You-Go so each block is quilted separately, then put together at the end to create a large throw sized quilt.

You can find the schedule for the Machine Quilting Party as well as material lists so you can get started collecting fabrics so you're ready to jump in at the beginning of the year! Click Here to find the schedule.

Whew! It's so exciting to be getting all this planned, organized, and videos ready for you. I can't wait to get started creating these beautiful quilts and learning together next year.

Do you have a topic you'd like to recommend for the podcast? What is your favorite way to press seams? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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
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