The Free Motion Quilting Project: 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Messy Hair Kind of Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mostly because I think Sundays are for messy hair.

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

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

I hope you had a great day too!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Great Quilt Sort

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, April 20, 2018

How to Quilt Concentric Circles

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

How to quilt concentric Squares

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Got Quilts?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And there are a lot more quilts to come!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Take Better Photos with Brenda LaFleur

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


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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Straddling Two Worlds

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

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

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

Nuts. Blogging can make you go completely nuts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leah Day

Monday, April 16, 2018

Piece the Prism Path Quilt Top

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


Click Here to find this quilting tutorial.

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Amazing Day in Hart Square

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


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

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

Bob Hart collected log cabins!


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pinstripe Gridlines Quilting Tutorial

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


Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, April 13, 2018

How Many Pieces Can You Cut From...


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

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

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

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

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

There. That's my whine for the day.

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

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

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

Leah Day

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Editing Mally the Maker

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Scant! Scant! SCANT!

Yep, I'm letting my weirdness out a bit this week! I've finally gotten back to our Great Quilting Debates and decided to take on Scant Verses Quarter Inch Seams. Click Here to find this podcast episode.

I had a lot of fun with this one because I'll be honest - scant quarter inch seams have long been a thorn in my side. When the subject gets brought up in groups or classes I find myself naturally leaning forward and banging my head against my desk.

So I took on this debate for fun, but you'll know going into it that I'm not a fan of scant quarters. It's just too confusing for words!

And make sure to watch the podcast or listen all the way to the end. Let's just say I had some fun with editing! LOL!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Chickens, Cats, Fish, Dog, and a Hampster on Top

Whoa! Josh just brought in a mess of 16 eggs from our girls outside. Looks like I'll be having an omelet for breakfast tomorrow...and lunch...and dinner!


It's a funny split Josh and I have with our crafts. Josh loves to take care of animals. He has three fish tanks, a dog, going on three cats (another one decided to adopt us), around 20 chickens, and one duck.

Oh, and James just added a new hamster named Cinnamon to the mix!


How much do I have to do with all these animals? Honestly, not much. I feed the cats on occasion and I cook the eggs from the chickens all the time, but I'm not really a pet person.

I prefer to craft with fiber FROM an animal or plant, but not still ON said animal or plant. LOL!

I do think it's great to have hobbies and Josh and James work with their animals at least a little bit every day. I'm more of a casual observer and I have to say chickens are a lot of fun when they're pecking through the yard. They make a soft cooing noise that's really relaxing.

That is until one of our roosters decides to belt out a crow. If you've never been near a rooster when they do that - it's really REALLY loud!

Grayson, our head rooster always seems to time his crowing fits for when I'm filming videos. He can be silent all day and then suddenly start belting it out as soon as I hit "record." Over the years I've just learned to tune him out, but it often comes through in the background of my tutorials.

How about you? Are you a pet person, a plant person, or a quilt person? Do you have a lot of animals in your house? Also do you need any eggs?!

Let's go quilt (or go feed someone),

Leah Day

Monday, April 9, 2018

Next Step for Prism Path Baby Quilt

Yes indeed, it's time to take the next step on the Prism Path baby quilt along. He he...this is both a baby quilt along because it's a baby quilt and because it's really short - just 6 weeks from start to finish!


Click Here to find Post #2. 

This week we're piecing the strips sets and cutting pieces using a cool Bargello technique. I love this technique for piecing complex quilts that look like they are pieced from hundreds of little pieces. In fact, this is created with strip piecing and careful cutting.


If Prism Path looks a little too simple for you, I did stitch a Bargello quilt up a notch when I made the Waterfall Bargello Quilt a few years ago. This lets you know what you can do when you really go crazy with strip sets and cutting:


Click Here to check out the Waterfall Bargello Workshop. 

Honestly this is one of my favorite workshops to date because I made the quilt to hang in a specific place in my house. Every day I walk past this waterfall quilt and it makes me smile. The best quilts are the ones you use, that get worn out with love and attention!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Long Quilting Day

I missed blogging yesterday and I'd been on a nice streak too! Oh well, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I didn't touch my computer all day yesterday which felt awesome.

Instead I put myself back in jail again and quilted nearly an entire quilt on the Grace Qnique. I have one more section to advance and quilt and then it will be done.

The more experience I get on the longarm machine, the more I'm surprised by the speed I get on this machine. I think it's the absence of having to stop and shift the quilt that makes the difference. I expected this quilt to take most of the week to finish, but instead it was nearly done when I quit last evening.

What, no photo? Sorry, this is one of those projects I can't share until it's ready to post and that won't be fore another 6 months. I know, that's annoying, so here's a picture of my pretty cat, Pickles, on the Prism Path baby quilt instead.


I'm not a big fan of secret sewing or quilting, but sometimes we just can't stitch around it. He he he...

I have a second quilt to quilt and film videos on this week. I'm also working on embroidery designs, Josh is editing Mally the Maker, and I'm designing more fabric and pantographs for the longarm.

Whew! That's a full plate. I have a new post for Prism Path coming in a bit too. I plan to double up on blog posts today to make up for missing yesterday. I WILL rebuild this habit of blogging / journaling every day.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, April 7, 2018

I Officially Don't Want Sugar

What?! No sugar?! No, I'm not crazy, and I am happy to say my taste buds have officially decided that sugar just isn't my thing anymore.

At the end of January I started the Whole 30 diet which is pretty restrictive, most especially about sugar. Just in case you haven't read an ingredient list lately, let me just say sugar is in EVERYTHING.

From bacon to hash browns, I found sugar, cane sugar, and every derivative under the sun listed on foods I'd been eating for years.  And yes, I haven't eaten any sugar at all, in any form since around January 24th.

Then today I found myself making pancakes. It's a fun thing I like to do on Saturday's when James is up early and I'm in the mood to cook. I haven't been feeling well this week (either allergies or a cold. It's so annoying when I can't tell which!)

Anyway, I was out of bananas so I couldn't make my sugar free, pumpkin banana pancakes. I had to try a new recipe and that ended up being gluten free, almond flour pancakes that were so dry I could probably have crumbled them up and added them back to the almond flour bag. Just plain gross.

So I caved and added maple syrup.

Yep, after two solid months of no sugar added to anything, I poured liquid sugar over my food and ate it.

Nothing catastrophic happened. No lightning zinged down from the heavens and blasted my chair.

Instead I got a stomach ache and felt generally crummy for the rest of the day. And that's enough for me. I don't need it or want it and I'm happier without it.

Now I just need to go to the store and get bananas and pumpkin. Umm...let's just have eggs and bacon instead.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, April 6, 2018

Trying Something New

I've just signed up for a new social media scheduler and today I'm testing it out. I never thought I'd have to work with something like this, but lately I've been feeling stretched thin when it comes to social media. 
I'll reach the end of the day after a full day filming, sewing, quilting, writing, designing, and then look at my phone and think "Uhhh! I have to post to Instagram and Facebook too!"
Sometimes this is just one thing too much. I feel sucked into these platforms and while I love seeing what everyone else is doing, I tend to get lost scrolling through my news feed, especially on Instagram.
I caught myself just the other day and looked up and 20 minutes had gone by. Poof! Even worse, my brain took a good 10 minutes to snap back into reality because I'd gone into some kind of zombie trance while looking at pretty pictures of yarn and quilts. I don't mind the break from reality, but the brain freeze after effects? No, thank you.
But then again, if I'm being driven to use a scheduler, how authentic is this really? There's a piece of me that just wants to share what I've actually shot THAT day at THAT time. Great idea Leah...how about you add just a little more pressure on top of everything else to shoot a new picture every day, tag it, logo it, and post it without getting sucked into the vortex?
Yeah, it's time to take it down a notch.
If I shoot pictures in advance, then sit down to schedule when I have the time, brain power, and I'm in the mood to write, it may just be more authentic than it would be at the end of a long day when I'm frazzled and just wanting to play some Zelda.
So there's good and bad here. I'm not sure if it will work. I'm not sure if it will help or hurt. As with all things in life and business, there's no control group so let's just give this a whirl and see what happens!
On the quilting side, I'm still playing with couching yarn on the longarm today. I just love the thick, chunky texture and how much the design stands out on the surface.
I've also shared a new quilting design today for Square Spiral. Make sure to check it out and learn a new walking foot quilting design for the Marvelous Mosaic quilt.
Let's go quilt,
Leah Day

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Quilting with Yarn? I'm in Love!

Grace Company recently came out with a new foot set designed for couching yarn on your quilt. I finally got up the nerve to try this last night and I love it!


For the last few years I've leaned towards an intense travel stitched look on my goddess quilts that's very time consuming to create. Probably why I still haven't finished Dream Goddess.

If I instead couched yarn on the surface, would I get that desired look, but without the huge time stitching 40 weight thread over and over again? Only way to know is to try it out!

I love experimenting and playing. Sometimes I make a total mess. Sometimes it turns out pretty like this. It's always an adventure, but the key is not being afraid to try. This foot is a bit scary and when I threaded the yarn through I had all kinds of fears come up. What if it breaks? What if the yarn is too thick? What if I mess everything up?

Deep breath. Take one stitch at a time. Bad noise means stop. It's all just thread and fabric and yarn anyway. If I mess it up, there's always something else to play with!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Three Step Quilt As You Go with Jenedel Wilcox

Hello my quilting friends! This week I have a really fun podcast with Jenedel Wilcox. She is a hobby quilter and emailed me a few month ago about a neat Quilt-As-You-Go technique she uses to connect her quilted blocks together.

Click Here to find this podcast episode.

We started a conversation via email and decided to collaborate on a little quilt project. I sent Jenedel some embroidered quilt blocks and she connected them together to create this cute mini quilt!


This was a really fun experience and I love how this mini quilt turned out. I hope you'll come and learn about this 3 Step Quilt As You Go technique today. Click Here to find the podcast episode and Jenedel's instructions on how to do this technique.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Whoa! I'm done???

Yes! I'm done with Mally the Maker: The Queen in the Quilt!

No, this isn't a stack of blank pages. I've just flipped the top page because it's still in need of a lot of editing.

This stack feels HUGE, but I know the finished book won't be this thick. This is formatted for a manuscript on 8.5 x 11 pages with double spacing between the lines so it's easy to edit.

I've been working on this novel since October. Every day I wake up an hour early and spend that time writing. I haven't had big blocks of time, but I've chipped away at it a little bit every day.

I got a bit stuck at the very end. I kept going back to fix things in the middle that I was avoiding writing the end of the book. I knew exactly how it was going to end, but it was sort of scary to finish it.

Then Josh gave me one final deadline and I decided to put myself in jail to finish it. I went to a coffee shop and told myself I couldn't leave until the book was done. A hearty protein breakfast, bowl of fresh fruit, one really big cup of coffee and three hours later, the book was done!

The next step is editing. Josh is starting that process today, then I'll take it back and make the changes. Then I'm going to listen to it a few times. I mostly listen to audiobooks and since that's the way I prefer to absorb fiction, I figure that's the best way to listen for issues. Whenever I roll my eyes or yell at the book (get on with it already!!!) then obviously something will need to change.

So while it's not done - done, the hardest part is over. The bones of the book have been built and I'm so happy with the story and the fun journey I've had with these characters. Now what will I do with myself in the morning? Sleep late?

Nope. I'm already planning Book 2!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, April 2, 2018

Prism Path Quilt Along Starts Today

I hope you had a wonderful Easter! We had a very relaxing weekend playing video games. This was the first Easter I didn't have a basket full of candy and as weird as it is not to be chowing down on chocolate, I know I feel a lot better for it.

So what's on my machine today? This beautiful rainbow quilt!


Click Here to find the first quilting video in this quilt along.

This is my second time making Prism Path. The first version I pieced with cream colored fabric in the background and while I love this quilt, it didn't really show the quilting designs very well.


I figure if I bother to quilt the design, you should be able to see it! I've made the Prism Path quilt all over again for this quilt along and this time used black fabric in the background. It's made me fall in love with Prism Path all over again! It's like a rainbow in the dark and makes all the batik fabrics show up even better.

So what is this whole Quilt Along Thing?

Basically if you'd like to make this quilt with me over the next 6 weeks, pull out some fabric and join in. You don't need to sign up, register, or sell your soul, you just need to pick up a copy of the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.

The pattern for Prism Path is in the book you see and you'll need that pattern in order to make this quilt! Today we're just getting started preparing and cutting fabric, so it's the perfect time to jump into this project and make a baby quilt with me this spring.


If you want to make a quilt that's identical to mine, you can find the same beautiful batik fabrics I used in the Rainbow Batik Fat Quarter Pack.

The thread colors I used are also included in the Machine Quilting Party Thread Set.

So what else will you need? Just the background fabric you like best, plus batting, backing, and your sewing machine. We're going to piece and quilt Prism Path for the next 6 weeks and have a beautiful baby quilt at the end.

Click Here to find the first quilting video in this series.

Be looking forward to the next step on Prism Path next Monday!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Have a Bright and Beautiful Easter!

Happy Easter my quilting friend! I'm enjoying a quiet day with my family and started the morning writing the last scene for Mally the Maker wrapped up in my new favorite quilt at the kitchen table.


I've just shared this new Twisted Squares / Rainbow Road / quilting in reverse tutorial. Yeah, clearly I need to settle on ONE way to describe this quilt and stick with it.


Some quilts I make get hung on a wall. Some quilts get finished, then folded up and put away. Lately I've been making quilts that immediately hit the couch and I curl up with every day.

Rainbow Road / Twisted Squares is one of these quilts. I cannot get enough of it! I love the Twisted Squares side printed on soft Minky fabric. I used a wool batting in the middle so it's nice and fluffy, even where the quilting got a bit dense in the purple squares.


But I also love the Rainbow Road side which is pieced from 2 1/2-inch wide scraps I've been collecting for years. I see scraps from many quilts Dad and I have made together over the last four years and that makes it super special.


For some reason this size is really working for me. I printed Twisted Squares on 2 yards of Minky Fabric which is 54 inches wide. So the quilt ended up finishing at 54 x 70 inches.

This sounds like a weird size until you curl up with it at the kitchen table, or on the couch, or on the floor while you do yoga (umm...Leah where aren't you dragging it with you now?)

This size is perfect because it totally covers your legs when you have it stretched vertically. It's also perfect to share when you rotate it horizontally, so long as the wiggly kid you're sharing it with sits still. LOL! We're still working on that part!

It feels great to have this quilt finished, and every time I curl up with it, it's reminding me of a very important lesson on prioritizing projects I learned in March. Basically I had this quilt pieced AND basted for months.


It was ready to quilt. I was ready to make a video on it. I wanted to quilt it really badly.

But I didn't have time. Everyone else's quilt came first. Random quilts that weren't even on the list slid in front of this one. Projects I didn't really like got finished first.

At some point in March I looked around the Crafty Cottage and noticed Twisted Squares / Rainbow Road sitting folded up on the floor. When are you going to quilt that Leah? When will you put the quilt YOU want to finish first?

So I put this quilt at the top of the list and I made it happen! It's finished and bound and 100 times better than I expected and I'm going to love using it every day.

Click Here to find the Twisted Squares / Rainbow Road / Reversible Quilting Tutorial. Any suggestions on which description really fits this best?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, March 30, 2018

Three Quilts in Two Weeks?

Really. Three quilts in two weeks. Who is this chick and where has she been all my life?! All I know is there is a very efficient, hyper focused quilter inhabiting my body right now and I'm happily letting her run the show!


The first finish was the Midnight Sunburst quilt, which was kind of easy to knock out in a few days because I didn't do anything other than work on it. I also find solid deadlines (quilt show starts on Friday!) much easier to work towards than wishy washy deadlines (eh, whenever you feel like getting it in).

Then yesterday I sat down and finished the quilting on Prism Path. We're starting the quilt along on this beautiful baby quilt next week and while I don't strictly have to have it done by Monday, I figured it would be nice to have it off my plate and out of the Crafty Cottage.


Then Wednesday I finished the quilting and Dad bound the Twisted Squares / Rainbow Road quilt. I literally squeal with delight every time I see this quilt! It makes me SO happy!


I have a free quilting tutorial on this project tomorrow. It's different from my usual free quilt projects because we're not piecing together - we're just focusing on machine quilting.

I'm delighted with how this turned out and definitely plan to design more large scale quilting fabrics for quilt backs. It's still hard for me to describe the technique - baste the quilt upside down and quilt it from the back. Wait...what? Still working on that description.

But I've learned over the years that even if I don't know how to explain something perfectly, usually I'll learn enough with the first tutorial to teach it again, then again, and it gets better every time.

Since I'm on this speed run of finishing projects, I think it's high time I finish the novel I've been chipping away at since October. Josh has set me a deadline of April 1st.

I NEED that deadline. I have got to treat this book just like all of these quilts and do the work, write the final scenes, and get it done. Until it's finished, it can't be edited. Until it's edited, it won't see the light of day.

So one stitch at a time, one word at a time. I'm going to finish this!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Long Term Goals and Best Time to Blog

I'm still trying to figure out my schedule around blogging daily. It's not so much the HOW - get on the computer and write something Leah! It's the WHEN.

I like to chain behaviors together so I'm always blogging right after breakfast or at the end of the day or something like that. I still haven't figured out the best time that will work every day.

Part of the reason why is every day is so wildly different. Yesterday I quilted on the longarm for an hour, then worked on the website, then went out to the Crafty Cottage and filmed a new video. Today is working out completely different.

The only time that's ever stable is first thing in the morning and that's my dedicated fiction writing time. Maybe I should set aside the last 20 minutes of the day for blogging. It's meant to be a journal after all!

So what's been going on this week? I've been working on the piecing videos for the collaboration I'm doing with Sheri Cilfaldi-Morrill this fall. I'm really excited to finish this up today so I can start the best part - quilting!

I also shared a new podcast episode yesterday on setting and reaching long term goals. I feel like I've hit a major goal working with Grace Company and creating the quilting rulers and that feels amazing.

This was also episode 50 so I figured it was a good time to check in on the podcast and share how that's going. When it first started, it was so hard to make even a single episode, and now we're (mostly) sharing a new hour long show every week.

I also share a lot of tips on setting and reaching long term goals. I think everyone WANTS things. I want to share my goddess quilts in patterns, books, embroidery designs and fabric designs. But how do we make it happen?

Small steps taken every day. It's as simple as that. It's as hard as that.

Click Here to find Hello My Quilting Friends Podcast #50.

Speaking of small steps, I'm heading back out to the cottage to film another video and finish quilting Prism Path for our quilt along starting on Monday!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, March 26, 2018

What an Amazing Show!

Whew! This weekend was such an amazing experience. I attended the VDTA / SDTA show in Charlotte, NC and hung out with Grace Company at their booth. 


This is why I created the Midnight Sunburst quilt last week - to illustrate what you can do with the rulers we're making together!

**These Cut & Quilt rulers are just about ready! We're hoping to be shipping by mid-April and I'm planning to make a whole bunch of videos to teach you how to use them.**

I'd never heard of this show until 2 months ago and it was such a treat to see this side of the quilting industry. Where Quilt Market is mostly geared towards fabric sales, this show was entirely for sewing and vacuum cleaner dealers.

It's an incredible show and really fascinating to see all the different brands of vacuums and sewing machines in one place. I had many great conversations with dealers and learned a lot about the reality of owning a physical store with an emphasis on machines. 

I also had a marvelous time talking with other business owners and checking out new products that will be coming out soon. I've had some fears about the quilting industry slowing down, but I was able to put most of that to rest as I talked with many dealers that were expanding and opening new stores in the coming year.

But of course, I'm very introverted so two days of talking, walking, and smiling have caught up with me! No, I'm not shy, but I quickly run out of energy in busy places and especially when I'm surrounded by people for several days. I know the only way to get my energy back is to be completely alone for a few hours days!

So I'm heading out to the Crafty Cottage so I can rest and recuperate, make progress on a few projects, and be alone. I'm going to try to film and record a podcast, but if I can't make it happen, that's okay too. 

Big events always throw me off my game, which is why I don't do it very often, but it's awesome to jump out of my comfort zone every now and again and do something different.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, March 23, 2018

Best Quilting Retreat Ever!

This week I gave myself a gift in the form of a mini quilting retreat. I didn't go anywhere or do anything special. I just gave myself permission to quilt my Dresden Plate quilt and not worry about what was happening online.


I cannot describe what an enormous relief this was. Instead of stopping to shoot photos and post to Instagram, which always leads to twenty minutes of brain freeze, I kept quilting. Instead of checking Facebook comments or sharing daily progress here, I kept quilting. I even let email hang for a day or two and didn't share a podcast this week because I just needed space and time to quilt.

Yes, we live in a social media driven world, but sometimes I wonder if all of this stuff isn't just a big distraction. Had I constantly stopped and started, stopped and started, I might not have finished this project in time.



It was also a relief to have a tight deadline. I know that sounds weird. Aren't deadlines supposed to add extra pressure and stress to a project?

Yes, but a good deadline can also force you to stop agonizing about every single detail. Three times in particular I stopped and looked at a block and thought "I really want to rip all that out."

If I'd had a month to make this quilt, I might have walked away from it. Taken a break. Let it sit on the table or the frame and pouted about it not being perfect. I might have even picked up a seam ripper and "fixed" that "mistake" I thought was too terrible to leave in.

Instead this deadline to have the quilt finished, connected, and bound by today forced me to keep quilting. I couldn't walk away. I couldn't pick up a seam ripper. I couldn't agonize about every design decision.

And now I'm looking at this quilt and I LOVE IT. There is nothing I would change about this.


Sure, some of the lines could have been better planned or lined up. Take a ruler to it and you'll find mistakes.

But I think fixing those mistakes or design glitches would only make the quilt around 5% better. Not enough to really matter. Only a quilt show judge would be able to see or appreciate the difference, and again, probably only if they had a ruler in their hand and knew where to look!

The main lesson from this is in how I feel about this quilt. When I stop and rip and agonize about everything, I slow down. It feels heavy. I want to walk away because the pressure builds and nothing feels right.

This quilt feels the opposite of all of that. It feels light, bright and challenging. I finished the last line of stitching and stepped back and had to wonder - did I make that? Did I really do that in a week?

Yes, I did, but only because I was ready and willing to accept the challenge. I quilted two blocks on my home machine and then forced myself to quilt the last two on my longarm frame. I white knuckled my way through it and I can 100% say that these quilting rulers I've designed for Grace Company are awesome!


So the lesson from this wonderful mini quilting retreat is it's okay to pull away and dig deep. It's okay to shut out the world of distracting social media and just focus on finishing the project. And it's okay to seek a tight deadline and use it to force you forward instead of getting stuck.

Whew! That was fun! What's next?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

P.S - The curvy bias binding is a Quilt-As-You-go technique I shared in the Winter Wonderland Quilt Pattern.

P.P.S - These new quilting rulers are coming very soon! Be looking for them by the middle of April!

Monday, March 19, 2018

That's a really bad sound!

How to clean and oil your sewing machine
Ever turn on your sewing machine only to find it sounding more like a meat grinder? Yeah, that's what happened to me this weekend!

I've created a new tutorial on cleaning and oiling your machine and you can find it right here.

I push my machines hard on a regular basis and in order to keep them running smoothly, I regularly service them myself. I take the base of the sewing machine apart, then brush out all the parts and apply oil.

The most common questions I get about this are about the little details: how often do you clean the machine? How often do you change needles? Where and how do you oil it?

Find all of the answers you seek right here.

This weekend was a whirlwind of ruler quilting and I've had a blast quilting my new Dresden Plate sunshine blocks. I'm still not sure about the name of this quilt. Here's the first block I finished:

Sunburst Dresden Plate Quilt Block

Sunburst? Sunshine? Sunny Day? What do you think? Please share your suggestions in the comments.

The quilt is going to be 4 super sized Dresden Plate blocks and I'm going to put the quilted blocks together like the Winter Wonderland quilt with curvy bias binding.

That's IF I can get all the blocks quilted. These are taking a LOT longer to quilt than I expected. Mostly because I start quilting in one section, then I get an idea for another section, and that takes another few hours, then I get another idea for the center...and you get the idea.

Sunburst Dresden Plate Quilt Block

But I couldn't be more in love with this gorgeous texture! Who would have thought you could do all this with 3 quilting rulers?

Just in case you missed my other post, I'm designing a set of quilting / cutting rulers with Grace Company and they will be available in April!

I plan to make this quilt all over again and shoot videos of each step, but right now the push is on to get this quilted, connected, bound, and finished by Friday so I can take it with me to a show on Saturday.

Cross your fingers! It's going to be tight!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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