The Free Motion Quilting Project

Monday, October 16, 2017

Let's create the Heart Medallion Checkerboard Quilt

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

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

Affiliate - Click Here to learn more about Quilty Box!

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

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

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

Click Here to find all the tutorials for this project at

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

Click Here to check out all the free patterns at

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, October 13, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Ocean Pearls, #489

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now let's dig into this Ocean Pearls design:

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

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

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

But where do I quilt it?

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Happy Birthday! My Thoughts on Turning 34!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, October 9, 2017

Let's Quilt the Diamond Dresden Plate Quilt Block

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Machine Quilt an Easy Pumpkin Patch

The weather is finally cooling down and the leaves are changing colors so it’s starting to feel like fall. Let’s bring the season into our quilts with this whimsical Pumpkin Patch quilting design!

Click Here to find my review of the Grace Qnique 14+. Remember if you live in the US, call Grace Company for more information and say Leah Day said Hello My Quilitng Friends to get a discount on your order!

Quilting Pumpkin Patch felt like the perfect quilting design for this week. I love the little pumpkin shapes connected together with a single Loopy Line. If you wanted to stitch the design up a notch, you could change thread colors and stitch along the loopy line again with green thread just to add a bit of extra texture and color to the design.

The best thing about Pumpkin Patch is how easy and quick it will fill your quilts with texture. If you make the pumpkins bigger and add lots of Loopy Line between them, you will quickly fill your quilts to the brim with creative Autumn-themed texture.

When quilting detailed designs like this, getting a good grip on the quilt is really important. I wear Machingers quilting gloves when machine quilting because the lightweight rubber tips help grip the quilt so I can move it smoothly under the needle to create all the shapes for the design.

You can find Machingers quilting gloves along with a Queen Supreme Slider and bobbin washers - the three tools I use on my machines every single day in the Queen Supreme Kit. Click Here to check it out!

I’ve been working on a collection of hoop quilts for this fall and popped my little sample into a five inch hoop that I’d wrapped with green bias binding. Make sure to check out the podcast with Anne Marie Chany to learn more about Hoop Quilts.

I’m officially a Hoop Quilt junkie and I plan to fill several hoops with beautiful designs and simple patchwork for this fall. Next week I have a spooky Halloween themed design so make sure to check back in for more beautiful textures and designs.

Let’s go quilt,

Leah Day

P.S - Guess what is coming this week? A quilting frame! Yes, I will be moving the Grace Qnique 14+ downstairs to a frame for the first time and sharing new videos as I learn how to quilt moving the machine instead of the quilt.

I plan to shoot more videos on the Grace Qnique in the table so let me know what videos you'd like to see and any tutorials we're missing before we make the switch!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

How to Quilt Neat Fans, Design #488

I have a neat new quilting design for you today! It's appropriately titled Neat Fans:

I realized the other day that it's very easy to loose track of designs. I often try new designs and ideas in random quilts, but then forget to pick a name and add it to the project.

For me, unless it has a 4-inch square stitched, a name and number assigned, it doesn't count. Hmm...neurotic much? Maybe. All I can say is with over 450 machine quilting designs under my belt, it pays to have an organization system that works!

Neat Fans was originally stitched in the original version of Express Your Love, the goddess quilt I quilted together in 2013. Here's the overall quilt:

And here's the Neat Fans in one of the background squares:

Quite neat indeed! This quilt has been on my mind a lot this week as I'm working on the hand / bead embroidery of the same design. It's fun to look at this one and see all the different textures on the surface. You can still find this design available as Spoonflower cheater cloth here.

So it's high time we make it official and add this cute design to the project! Learn how to quilt it in this new tutorial:

Would you like a real free motion quilting challenge? How about you quilt a new quilting design every day for a year? You can do just that with my book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs!

Quilt one design a day into a 4 inch square of fabric and I promise you'll see an amazing change in your quilting abilities in a very short space of time. Maybe we should make it an official challenge? Hmm...

Now let's learn more about Neat Fans!

Difficulty Level - Intermediate - While Neat Fans looks simple, there is a surprising amount of travel stitching in this design. Traveling is usually challenging for beginners so I'm rating this design intermediate because it's fairly time consuming and might be tricky to master when you're just getting started.

For a simpler design to begin machine quilting try Echo Shell, Echo Arches, or Hot Candy instead.

Design Family - Echoing - This design family is formed by quilting a shape, then travel stitching and echoing around it multiple times to make it bigger. To fill in your quilting space completely, simply quilt more shapes and echoes. It's sort of a clustering-effect that fills your quilts with beautiful Neat Fan texture throughout.

Where do we quilt it?! - Echoing quilting designs like Neat Fans can work just about anywhere. This particular design will work best when you have space for the shapes to expand on your quilt. I wouldn't try to quilt this in a dense or complicated space as the extra travel stitching plus filling in the weird gaps and spaces might bog you down.

But Neat Fans will look amazing in blocks, sashing, borders - anywhere with the space to quilt a quarter or half circle shape!

What do you think about this neat design? Does Neat Fans work as a name or would you have called it something different? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Etsy Success with Deborah Fisher, Podcast Episode 30

Hello My Quilting Friends! This week I'm chatting with a successful ceramic artist Deborah Fisher about running her Etsy shop and balancing ceramics with sewing, quilting, and the rest of her life! Listen to this new episode here:

You can also watch the episode with a live introduction with me here:

Click Here to find Deborah's Etsy shop. Does her shop look empty? It's because every time she adds new products they sell out in a few minutes! Make sure to check her sold items to see the beautiful ceramic pincushions she sells.

Deborah began selling on Etsy last fall, but her store didn't take off until Quilt Con in Savannah, GA. That's where I met Deborah and fell in love with her work. I'm still needing to add a thread pooping unicorn to my collection!

Here's the thread pooping unicorn which fits a big spool of Aurifil thread:

I'm still trying to get one of these! The last time Deborah put up more ceramics everything sold out in less than five minutes. That's both a good and bad problem to have and in the interview we talk about how Deborah has been trying to offer her products in the most fair way possible.

Deborah is also a quilter and sews the pincushions that come in most of the ceramics. She has published two books on quilting (Affiliate): Sew Fun: 20 Projects for the Whole Family and Quilt Giving: 19 Simple Patterns to Make and Give.

What I took from talking with Deborah is the importance of setting boundaries with your work. She creates 20 - 25 ceramics and schedules them to go up in her shop on a different day and time each month. She is trying her best to be fair to potential customers all over the world, but internet speeds fluctuate and as I've learned - you have to be really fast on the trigger!

She isn't offering the ceramics on commission and doesn't take special orders because of the complication it would add to her business. She also is only planning to attend two quilt shows a year because she has to create such a big volume of pieces at once.

I found chatting with Deborah fascinating and I hope she continues to succeed with her unique ceramic pincushion creatures! Click Here to check out her shop.

Show Sponsor

How can you support the podcast and help us continue? Check out our Quilt Shop at!

We have a quilt shop filled with tools and supplies, books, and online quilting workshops to help you master quilting on your home machine.

Would you like a beginner quilt pattern to get started quilting? Check out Building Blocks, a beginner sampler quilt with 42 blocks and unique quilting designs for you to mark and quilt on your home machine. Click Here to check out the Building Blocks Quilt Pattern.

Now for a few updates from around the house...

During the introduction I was working on my Express Your Love embroidery design. I started this in 2013, but I got bogged down in the orange hair section because I didn't like my thread choices.

Well now I'm speeding through it because I use the time James and I watch a show together to stitch on this design. Just a bit of time every day and I can honestly say this project will be done by Thanksgiving!

I want to move forward with all my unfinished projects, but these goddess quilts and designs specifically because I'm planning to write a book on them next year. 

But what about the current book in progress?! 

I know, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. As you saw in the introduction, the walking foot book is nearly done and I'm proofing the first draft this week!

Just keep your ears and eyes open - we'll be starting a preorder soon and of course, next year we will be quilting along together through many of the projects in the book. 

Flipping through the first draft has been thrilling because I never imagined being able to write something like this. I feel like the whole quilt book writing process has opened up for me and I understand it so much better now, and yes, that means there will be many more books in my future.

Another exciting thing to join in this month is our Quilty Box Mini Quilt Along! I'm the featured designer for this month's Quilty Box and I've created a beautiful project for us to piece and quilt together:

Affiliate - Make sure to subscribe to Quilty Box and tune in starting Monday, October 16th for videos on how to piece and quilt this Heart Medallion Checkerboard quilt.

Since finishing the quilt, I've been using it as my tablecloth and I love seeing the cheerful fabrics and beautiful quilting on the table. Yes, the quilt has already been stained a bit, but honestly that makes me love it even more!

Whew! That's it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this interview with Deborah Fisher and learned a lot about selling on Etsy. 

What do you think - should this podcast move to a weekly broadcast? Do you find yourself wanting more? Let me know in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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