The Free Motion Quilting Project: 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

New Double Basket Weave Quilt Pattern

I have a new quilt pattern for you today! This week I received a box of fabric provided by JOANN fabrics and challenged myself to create a new quilt top in just a few days. Click Here to find this new quilting tutorial and learn how to make this quilt!



Does this quilt look familiar? It should because this is a doubled version of the Basket Weave Quilt I shared last year:


This doubled version is actually a bit easier because it uses only two print fabrics. The Basket Weave Quilt has been confusing to some beginning quilters when it comes time to arrange the blocks to create the woven effect.

I also like that the Double Basket Weave has nice wide vertical lines so you can show off your favorite fabrics in a big space. This is the perfect place to finally use the fabrics that have been too pretty to cut!

Enjoy this new free quilt pattern and please share it with your friends!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Three Easy Longarm Quilting Designs

What are the three easiest designs to learn how to free motion quilt? I'm sure if you asked three different quilting teachers you'll get three different answers! Here's my take on the easiest machine quilting designs to start with:


Click here to find my review of the Grace Qnique 14+. Remember if you're interested in this machine to call the company and mention Leah Day said Hello my quilting friends to get a discount on your order.

three easy longarm quilting designs

Last week I started quilting on this Building Blocks cheater cloth quilt. It includes all the skill-building quilt blocks we quilted together in 2014 printed with the quilting designs included! Click here to find this cheater cloth fabric.

For best results, pick the Kona Cotton Ultra Fabric. If you want all 42 blocks for the Building Blocks Quilt, you'll need to purchase 3 yards. If you only want to make a baby quilt 1 yard should be plenty.

Now let's learn more about these three easy quilting designs: The design I always teach first in any quilting class is Wiggly U Shapes. It's a super simple design that most people naturally draw and doodle without even thinking about it. Even if you don't draw or doodle, you'll probably still find this an easy shape to create because the movement is so similar to writing the letter U or N in cursive.

three easy longarm quilting designs

Quilting this design is a good first step and usually the first thing I stitch when testing out a new machine or a new table setup. It'll get you started moving the quilt under your needle and quilting curves. Come to think of it, I'm tired of calling this essential quilting design such a clunky name. Hence forth, Wiggly U's will now be Noodles!

Noodles is more than just a simple line of curves, it's a terrific first step to quilting Stippling. When I was first starting to free motion quilt, I quilted rows and rows of Noodles until I was bored to tears.

Then one day I was quilting in a particularly tricky space and finally realized I could branch out and make the design more interesting by adding bends and deeper curves. Sometimes it takes that level of repetition, to the point that you're beating your head against the wall, to see and understand how design works and how you can manipulate it to achieve the look you're after.

three easy longarm quilting designs

Stippling itself can be a bit challenging because the rule for this design is a bit tricky. Stitch a curving line without crossing over it. But if you think in terms of Noodles and learn how to quilt the design in rows, it's much easier to master.

The last easy design to try is really two designs in one. Cursive letters are extremely easy to machine quilt because the shapes are formed in one continuous line. Rows of cursive letters like the E and L are the easiest because it's a continuous line and repetitive movement. Plus, rows of cursive L shapes are pretty and quickly add a lacy effect in quilt sashing or borders.

three easy longarm quilting designs

Even better, quilting cursive words directly on your quilt is a wonderful way to give it personality and a special message to future generations. I created this mini quilt as a fun experiment with a new quilting ruler and these three designs.

I marked the cursive words on the quilt so they would be evenly spaced and so I wouldn't forget essential words or letters. Yes, I could easily forget or space the words badly so marking the designs is the best way to go about it!

three easy longarm quilting designs

We all have to get started machine quilting somewhere, and I think these three designs are a great place to start. However, they're not the ONLY place to start so please don't get frustrated if you hate quilting Noodles, Stippling, or Cursive Letters.

three easy longarm quilting designs
Machine quilting is a skill building process and I believe the most important aspect is your enthusiasm to master a design. If these three seem too basic to you, check out our Quilting Design Gallery and pick a design that looks fun to you.

It doesn't matter where you begin with quilting. It just matters that you quilt daily and never give up!

What do you think of these three skill building designs? Remember, these are not just for longarm quilting, but can also be quilted on a home sewing machine too. Here are some older tutorials featuring each of these blocks and Josh, my wonderful husband giving them a try:

Josh Quilting Noodles in a Pinwheel Block

How to Quilt Stippling in a Spinning Square Block.

Josh's cursive words in a Rail Fence Block.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, September 15, 2017

Machine Quilting Itsy Bitsy Spider, Design #486

Have you been searching for the perfect design for a spooky quilt? I have a great Halloween themed free motion quilting design for you today called Itsy Bitsy Spider!

machine quilting spiders | free motion quilting

Looking back through the quilting design gallery we have a few spider themed designs to check out. You could quilt a Spiderweb or Cobwebs in the Corners and use Itsy Bitsy Spider to fill around these bigger designs.

Do spiders creep you out too much to machine quilt? I realized you could also think of these as little sunshines instead while I was quilting this design for the video. Watch the tutorial to see how this design is free motion quilted:


Would you like to celebrate the coming autumn season and spice up your free motion quilting?
magical punpkin mug rug

Check out my tutorial on quilting this magical pumpkin mug rug! I think I need to make another version of this super sized coaster but with spider themed designs instead. Click Here to find the tutorial.

machine quilting spiders | free motion quilting
Now let's learn more about Itsy Bitsy Spider:

Difficulty Level - Beginner. This machine quilting design will be easy to quilt because it's based on Stippling. So long as you've mastered this wiggly design, adding the little spider bodies and wiggly legs will be simple and fun.

As you will see in the quilting tutorial you can use Stippling to quilt around each spider shape and fill your quilting space consistently.

Design Family - Independent. This family of designs are quilted independently of everything around them. So long as you can wiggle into the area, you can stitch this design on your quilts. You may want to change how densely you fill the spider bodies when you quilt Itsy Bitsy Spider on a bigger scale. Instead of thread painting, just fill that center circle with a spiral instead.

Some similar designs include Wandering Clover, Frog Eggs, and Heart Scramble. The cool thing is you can use this design to add the extra spider elements to your quilts.

So where do we quilt it? You can machine quilt Itsy Bitsy Spider in just about any area of your quilt. You can quilt this design into blocks and add wiggly spiders over your pretty patchwork, you can also machine quilt the spiders easily into the sashing or borders of your quilts as well.

machine quilting spiders | free motion quilting

I love the idea of mixing spiders and spiderwebs in a spooky Halloween-themed quilt. I'm going to play with this more and make a new mug rug, but this time with a creepy twist!

So what do you think of this design? Do you like the ideas of spiders on your quilt orders that creep you out? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Steampunk and Mushrooms

With a title like that this is sure to be interesting! This week I've been having a blast creating many fun projects and exploring creative experiments.

One thing I've been struggling with lately has been excessive mess around my Grace Qnique. I finally decided to do something about it and created a steampunk leather tool organizer and cup to hold my Pinmoors. I made this quick video to show you what it's like:


I love working with leather like this because I can literally hammer it together with rivets and that feels so fast in comparison to my other quilting projects.

Speaking of long-term quilting projects, this week I finished the puff quilt for James! This has been my nightly project for several months and its so nice to see if finished.



Recognize this mushroom? It's the iconic power up red spotted mushroom from the Super Mario Brothers video game series. I knew it was the perfect, simple design to make with this puff quilt!

Let's go quilt, 


Leah Day

Monday, September 11, 2017

Quilting the Pot of Petunias Quilt Block

It's time to quilt the Pot of Petunias quilt block with many fun designs: Circles, Microstippling, Stippling, feathers, and Echo Shell:

flower block | machine quilting

As you can see I decided to stitch my flower block up a notch with extra Microstippling in the flowers. You don't have to do this of course, but I like to add that little punch of extra texture in a few areas. I also did this in the center of the Daisy Dresden Plate (Block 4) so by adding it to this block too, the quilting design is nicely balanced through the quilt.

Adding dense quilting like this will make that small area a bit stiff, but since the rest of the quilt is quilted on a 1/2-inch scale or bigger it will still remain soft and cushy. Learn how to quilt all of these beautiful designs in this new quilting tutorial:


machine quilting | flower quilt block
Click Here to find the quilt pattern for the Pot of Petunias Quilt Block.

My favorite part of this quilt block is how the Stippling connects the different quilting designs together so there were very few thread breaks. I quilted through the tight areas around the stems and leaves around the flowers and down to the base of the vase where I could connect with the feather designs.

Connecting the designs together this way made for a very fast quilting project. Stippling is one of my favorite designs for exactly this kind of quilting because you can wiggle through the different spaces fast and with minimal thread breaks.

Sometimes I hear quilters say "Anything but Stippling!" and I understand because if you've been quilting for a long time, chances are you've seen that design quilted A LOT.

But that doesn't mean it's a bad design. Stippling is often the perfect design to quilt through complex areas and it can't be beat for machine quilting a large scale, fast, all-over filler for your quilts.

It can get boring to quilt if you stick with the same wiggly lines for everything. Remember you can always mix it up with Sharp Stippling, Zippling, and Circuit Board too.

machine quilting | flower quilt block

Get a load of those feathers! I think this is one of my favorite ways to fill in the flower vase in this block. We've quilted nine different vases so far this year, so if you don't like one design in particular, remember you can always swap it out with a design from another block.

What do you think of the Pot of Petunias quilt block? Are you ready to tackle another Dresden Plate next month? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, September 10, 2017

How to Quilt with Rulers on a Longarm

This week I've been cleaning out my sewing room and found many unfinished quilt projects that would be fun to quilt on for our Sit Down Quilting Sunday posts. This quilt was created with a Building Blocks cheater cloth quilt panel I had printed years ago on Kona Cotton Ultra. Click Here to find this cheater cloth fabric on Spoonflower.


I basted my sixteen block cheater cloth panel with quilters Dream Puff batting and minky fabric on the back to create a super soft and puffy baby quilt. The upside of thick batting and minky backing is I'll be able to get away with lots of mistakes. Subtle stitch offs and inconsistent travel stitching will be hidden by the thick pile on the minky fabric.

However, the downside is it will feel a bit harder to move the quilt over the machine. I've found minky fabric tends to grip the machine bed so it really helps to clamp the quilt upright to reduce the weight on the machine. Click Here to learn more about how I clamp my quilts. 

This Building Blocks quilt panel has sixteen different blocks to play with and one in the middle is a Sawtooth Star with lots of straight lines in the background. It's the perfect block to play with some ruler foot quilting!


Click here to learn more about the Grace Qnique 14+. Remember if you live in the US and you're interested in the machine, be sure to call the company and mentioned Leah Day told you to say "Hello my quilting friends" to get a discount on your order. This helps me make more videos and helps you save on your machine or quilting frame!

Now for more ruler foot quilting basics:

As I was quilting with rulers on this Sawtooth Star block I realize this is the largest quilt I've ever quilted with rulers. I noticed imediately I wasn't able to rotate the quilt as much as I rotated and shifted small blocks with ruler foot quilting. This changed the way I quilted some lines and did make it feel awkward to quilt certain lines.

However even though it sometimes felt a bit weird I do think my lines are straighter and more consistent than they would be if I quilted without the ruler as a guide. I think this is just one of those things you need to practice a lot first with smaller blocks, and then progressively bigger and bigger quilts.


The ruler I was using in this video was Template #5 from the Dresden Plate Template Set, but mine was specially cut extra thick to use on the longarm. If you'd like a thicker set specially cut for you, make sure to contact us to check on pricing and availability. And yes, making more rulers is definitely on my list of things to do in the next few months! The more rulers the better and the more creative things you can do!

Have you tried ruler foot quilting yet? What did you think of this style quilting? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Love Yourself Quilting with Jennifer Farsh, Episode #28

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I have a wonderful interview with Jennifer Farsh, an online quilting friend! Jennifer is a quilting hobbyist and today we're talking about how she's using this awesome craft to love herself and feel happier every day. Enjoy the audio podcast here:


And you can also watch the video here:


Now a bit more about Jennifer: She's doesn't have a website or blog, but you can see her kindness and loving nature in every comment and post she shares on Facebook and YouTube. Honestly it makes my day, nearly every day, to see a message from Jennifer!

And that's why I asked Jennifer to be on the show. I wanted to have a real life chat with this sweet person and get to know her better. Turns out, Jennifer in SC, which isn't that far away from me, and I would never have known this if I hadn't reached out and asked her to be on the show.

Never discount the power of a kind message. It might just help you build a new friendship!

Jennifer shared many pictures with me from the projects she's working on right now. She's working on a Flower Festival quilt for the Machine Quilting Block Party and already put the first six blocks together!


And she's also quilted this beautiful peacock panel:


You might be curious about Jennifer's sewing room so this is her setup:


Jennifer has also been using quilting to help heal and transform her life. She thinks of an affirmation to quilt and stitches it out with free motion quilting:


I love these beautiful affirmations and I know just how powerful it can be to stitch out words like this onto fabric. Click Here to learn more about quilting with words.

She was inspired to try this after watching this short timelapse video I put up last year:


When I put this video up, it was mostly an experiment to play with the timelapse feature on my iphone, but I had also been feeling squashed under the pressure to constantly be DOING something. Painting this fabric was a reminder that I am enough and I can just be still. I don't have to work at such a fast pace.

Talking with Jennifer reminded me how much I love to share this more personal side of my life, which sometimes gets lost when I'm too busy. It's hard to be self reflective when deadlines are bearing down on me.

It's also been a reminder to me to be true to that side of myself and not let it fall to the wayside. I love teaching quilting and I love designing and writing too, but the work that feeds my soul is my goddess quilt series which has been slowly shifted aside for other projects. That must change.

I'm so thankful for this conversation with Jennifer and I feel like this has reminded me of my deeper purpose - to teach you how to make quilts that mean more. Thank you so much Jennifer!

Show Sponsor

The sponsor for the show this week is Quilting a King on Your Home Machine, a fun quilting workshop that will guide you through all the steps to quilting a huge quilt on a small home machine. Click Here to check out this workshop now.

Now for what's going on around the house:

I've finally shot the last photos for the new book on walking foot quilting and it feels great to finally have that responsibility finished. I still have some editing to wrap up, but that will be done by the end of the day. Yay!

But the Crafty Cottage had reached a state of epic clutter and it was time to clean up and clear out. Here's the before:


I haven't shot an "after" photo because I still want to hang up a few more hooks and holders to hopefully control my habit of hoarding around my machine. I'll update this post with a nice cleaned up desk in a bit.

But of course, I shifted most of my mess back inside the house and now the entire basement studio needs to be cleaned up! Lol! Shifting from one spot to another doesn't make it all go away. I really need to clean out drawers and make decisions on where things go, then use a label maker to label the drawers so I stop losing everything. Yep, it's on my list!

For now I'm planning to take a few days to make new quilting tutorials, write, and generally relax now that the book photography is complete. That's a seriously huge weight off my shoulders and I couldn't be happier with how everything has turned out.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, September 4, 2017

Piece a Pot of Petunias Quilt Block

Hello My Quilting Friends! It's time to piece our ninth block for the Machine Quilting Block Party, the Pot of Petunias quilt block:


This is the last block featuring three flowers with stems and a big vase. Do I hear you exhaling with a gasp of relief? Blocks #5, #7 and #9 have been on the complex side with lots of little pieces to create the stems and flowers.

But piecing slightly more challenging blocks like this is a good thing! It forces you to pay attention to your cutting and piecing on each seam. Many quilters have built great new piecing skills on these blocks and shared their progress to the Block Party Facebook Group.

Peg P shared her Triple Tulip block and a disaster story about accidentally spraying the right side with spray basting. The great news is she was able to remove the glue from the surface using rubbing alcohol. I think it looks terrific!

Michele M stitched her Triple Tulip Block up a notch with different piecing with half square triangles. I love this variation!


And a huge congratulations to Wendy C who has already created a quilt as a gift using the first seven blocks from this sampler quilt:


It just goes to show you don't have to do 12 different blocks! You can always piece and quilt multiple of your favorite blocks to make a bigger quilt or to get more practice with the technique.

Thank you to everyone that shares their blocks and quilts to the group and both the good and the bad that happens along the way. It's always good to know that we're not alone making mistakes and sometimes sharing the ups and downs of a project can keep things moving forward.

This month we also have a new piecing unit to learn along with our flower block. Click Here to learn how to piece a Flying Geese unit.

I love flying geese because they're simple units that add add multiple triangles to your quilt without actually having to piece a single triangle!

Now learn how to use your flying geese units along with a lot of half square triangles to create the Pot of Petunias Quilt Block:


Click Here to find the quilt pattern for Block 9.

Now that we've pieced this beautiful block together, the next step is to quilt it. Next Monday I'll share a video on how to machine quilt the Pot of Petunias quilt block with Stippling, Microstippling, circles, and feathers!

What do you think of this new quilt block? Do you like flying geese or half square triangles better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, September 1, 2017

How to Piece Flying Geese Units

Happy first day of the month! Today we have a new flower quilt block for the Machine Quilting Block Party and a fun tutorial on how to piece flying geese units. Let's start by checking out the block for this month:


This is our last three-flower block. I designed quilt blocks #5, #7, and #9 to be very similar with three flowers sprouting out of a taller vase so we'd have a lot of space to quilt in the vase and some tight, complex areas to quilt in the background. It's good to get experience quilting through all sorts of spaces so I hope you've enjoyed creating these blocks as much as I have!


Now let's learn about piecing a flying geese unit in this video:


Flying geese units are just like half square triangles and that you create a triangular shape without having to actually work with triangles. I love working with flying geese units because they're simple and quick to piece, and create a nice wide triangle for your quilt blocks.

The key to piecing this unit is leaving the starting rectangle full-size. If your piecing isn't perfect, but the rectangle was cut correctly, then your flying geese unit will still come out just right.


You can learn much more about piecing and how to improve your piecing skills dramatically with my book How to Piece Perfect Quilts.

In this book you'll learn how to piece many beautiful quilt blocks and easy quilt tops very accurately. If you've been struggling with mismatching seams and wondering why things aren't lining up this is definitely the book for you!

I hope you'll join in the fun of the Machine Quilting Block Party and enjoy piecing and quilting our 9th block this month. Once we finish this block will have three rows of the Flower Festival quilt completed. That means we're three quarters of the way done with our quilt!

Let's go quilt, 

Leah Day

Monday, August 28, 2017

Easy Eclipse Quilt Pattern Featuring Applique

Hello Leah's Quilting Friends! This is Josh in for Leah, and we have a really fun Quilty Box Eclipse project for you today.

First, the story behind the inspiration of this month's project. As we all know, the United States experienced a total solar eclipse on August 21st, 2017.

The swath of 100% totality ran from northern Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.

As this is a once in a century / once in a lifetime event, and we only live an hour away from totality, we headed south from the foothills of North Carolina until we reached the 100% zone. We avoided the Interstate and major state highways, sticking to back roads as we meandered south until we were in the path.


We continued south until we found a picturesque abandoned gas station that was right out of a Norman Rockwell exhibit, and we waited and watched as the moon totally eclipsed Sol.

I cannot begin to describe observing and experiencing this incredible phenomenon. We did attempt to document with video and photo stills, but the magic didn't really come through. You'd think being in the 98 or 99% eclipse zone would be adequate, but that was nothing compared to 100% totality. The moment of total eclipse, when the sun's corona blazed over the moon like a crackling halo of orange fire, was easily the most amazing natural event I've ever seen.

Here's a short video I took as the clock ticked down to 100% totality.


The sudden onset of darkness really made one appreciate the sheer power of our sun. I know the video is a little disappointing as we were unable to fully capture the corona event, but if you enjoyed both my and James' antics, I'd love for you to check out my own youtube channel where I share Minecraft videos as well as homesteading and self sustainability information, hosted by myself and sometimes James too. It's all kid and family friendly so if you have a child or grandchild who loves Minecraft, please check out a video or two.

Now onto the Eclipse Quilt project! We do not have a pattern for you this month, but all information on how to construct this quilt is included in the video below:


This video features Quilty Box - a fun subscription service that delivers quilting tools, supplies, and fabrics each month. Click Here to learn more about this fun monthly subscription package.

It was only natural for Leah to make an eclipse-themed quilt, given the pretty orange, yellow, and red color fabrics in this month's Quilty Box. Using cutaway applique, this project is super easy and ideal for all quilters who want a quick and fun little project. Watching the video, I think I could even do it!



We begin by stitching around the applique shape and then cut away all the fabric that's extra. There's no batting in this project so your machine can easily take the six layers of fabric as you feed the the layers through your machine.

Click Here to watch stitching instructions beginning at 5:38 in the video above.

I really enjoyed watching Leah put this one together, as I first saw the quilt in its finished form and couldn't believe how fast it was put together. We hope you give this one a try!

We have additional free quilt projects available for you on leahday.com. Please click here to check out over 21 quilt patterns and projects.

I sincerely hope you've enjoyed our solar eclipse video and Leah's quilt.

Let's go quilt,

Josh

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Grace Qnique 14+ Longarm Sewing Machine Review

This week is decided to change up our usual Sit Down Quilting Sunday and finally share an official sewing machine review for the Grace Qnique 14+. I've been using this machine since January 2017 and I think it's time for me to share a bit more about why I love quilting on this machine:


Click here to find the full review of the Grace Qnique 14+.

I've created almost 30 videos on the Grace Qnique 14_ and I've learned that quilting on a sit down longarm is very similar to quilting on a home machine in many ways. I have my machine set up like my home machines with the motor to the right and the needle to the left. Using open toe foot that faces the side of the machine so I can clearly see what I'm doing.


The major difference with quilting with this machine is the speed, visibility, and ease of movement through the large harp space on this machine. Having 15 inches of space to work in can make a dramatic difference in how it feels to move and shift the quilt while free motion quilting.

That said, having so much speed does take some getting used to! It will take practice to get used to quilting on any machine. When set up as a sit down longarm, you will not have a stitch regulator on the machine so it's up to you to learn how to balance the speed of your machine with the movement of your hands to create beautifully balanced, consistent stitches.


So buying a longarm isn't a magic bullet to perfect quilting. Just like learning how to quilt on a home machine, it will require effort and probably a lot of ugly stitches to get the hang of it. But if you're ready to take your quilting to the next level, or you wish you could quilt bigger quilts with less of a struggle, then I do think a longarm like the Grace Qnique is a good investment.

I've been asked many times why I made the switch from the Juki 2200 longarm to the Grace Qnique 14+. Ultimately I found the Grace Qnique to be a more reliable machine. It may be smaller and with fewer features, but those features WORK consistently every day. I also found the Grace Company to be an amazing partner to work with and I value great customer service.

From the very beginning I've been honest about my relationship with Grace Company and that openness and transparency is very important to me. By working together Grace Company has connected me with an excellent machine I can use to make fun videos and teach you more about quilting.

And now Grace Company has created a way to help you save money on a new machine and help support our business at the same time. Now if you call Grace Company and mention Leah Day told you to say Hello My Quilting Friends, you'll be able to get a great discount on your order!

I love working with Grace Company and I love quilting on this machine. I hope you enjoyed the review and will continue enjoying our weekly Sit Down Quilting Sunday videos!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Episode 27: Quilting Along with Margaret Leuwen

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I'm chatting with Margaret Leuwen the business owner behind MissMarkersQuilts.com. Margaret is a longarm quilter, shares YouTube videos, and hosts fun quilt alongs throughout the year. Listen to Margaret's interview here, or download to your computer:


We also have the podcast on video now so you can see what I'm working on through the introduction!


Click Here to find all the podcast episodes shared so far.

For the past few years Margaret has shared quilt along projects online. This year instead of one massive quilt along, she's sharing Quilt of the Quarter - four different quilts which take a quarter of the year to create and are made with fat quarters! Her last Quilt of the Quarter will be this beautiful Christmas tree quilt using Kaffe Fasset fabrics:



Click Here to check out the videos for Olivia's Quilt, the first Quilt of the Quarter.

Click Here to check out the videos for Lyon's Quilt, the second Quilt of the Quarter.

All of the Quilts of the Quarter are projects Margaret designs herself to tackle her fat quarter stash. She designs the quilt patterns so you can make multiple sizes depending on how many fat quarters you start with. This is great because fat quarters are often something I collect, but find hard to use up!

Margaret shares the How-To information of her quilt alongs on YouTube and shares any written directions on Facebook. She has trouble with the written directions, but can easily show you how to do something in video.

She learned how to do this when her daughter was in Idaho and wanted to learn how tie a quilt. Margaret tried to write out the directions, but that didn't work so she grabbed a camera and shot a video of Margaret, her sister, and her mom teaching her daughter how to tie a quilt.

Margaret started a blog and kept it going for awhile, but just didn't feel like it got traction. She was focusing more on her longarm quilting business and her YouTube channel and her fans kept asking for a Facebook Group which really took off this year. Click Here to check out Margaret's Facebook Group.

She is also a longarm quilter and recently built a beautiful studio to hold her Gammill longarm. Click Here to watch the video series on how she and her husband built her studio.


This building is shared between Margaret and her husband, but she is using more of the space for her longarm quilting machine and storage loft upstairs.

She's been longarming for five years and her customers are split between local customers and mailed in quilts. She's attracted more customers from her YouTube channel and Facebook group. She doesn't film videos on her longarm because she rarely is quilting something for herself and doesn't feel comfortable showcasing an issue or mistake on a customer's quilt.

Margaret does a lot of edge to edge patterns, but also does custom quilting as well. She will often look at the quilt and pick something to focus on with the quilting design. When she bought her longarm, she knew it was going to be a business and wanted a professional machine. She still loves her Gammill machine and uses it for both free motion quilting and the automated system for edge to edge quilting.

Another way Margaret interacts with quilters is a Youtube Livecast every Sunday at 2 pm. It's become a relaxed time when Margaret shares her real life and hangs out with her quilting friends online. Her family will often pop in during the video and she flows with it and shares the projects and events that have happened through the week. Click Here to check out Margaret's videos.

Margaret is most looking forward to watching her grandchildren grow up, being apart of her loving family, and continuing to teach and share quilting. Click Here to check out Margaret's website.

Podcast Sponsor

We have a new helpful quilting tool available this week! We have a new set of Microtip Bottles which will be very useful for sewing and quilting. This set of empty bottles are available in a 2-pack so you can fill one with fabric glue for applique and fill the second bottle with sewing machine oil to keep your machine running smoothly.

Click Here to check it out.

Now for news from around the house:

I've finally gotten back to my mini tree art quilts. I got a bit stuck with this project and set the quilts aside when things got too busy this summer. While I talked through the intro I was clipping away the batting on the back around the tree shapes so after they're quilted the trees will stand out extra puffy on the surface.


This technique is called trapunto and you can see a step-by-step tutorial for this technique in the Heart & Feather Wholecloth Workshop. Clipping batting from the back of a quilt is one of my favorite things to do and a big reason why I've made several wholecloth quilts over the years.

I got a bit stuck on my tree quilts which I talked about at the beginning of the podcast. When you've made something pretty and unique it's really easy to start looking at it and think "I'm just going to mess this up." That's what I was doing and it was silly! My goal is to push past those negative thoughts and get at least one of these further in the quilting process.

I've also been working on the quilts in the book as well as photography, which is coming along great. There's a lot I still don't know, but that's okay. I'm feeling a lot more confident about my abilities and less worried that the book will look bad or low quality. I know I'm trying my best, and that's the most important thing!

James went back to school this week and I'm really happy to be getting back to a schedule and having a nice block of quiet time in the morning. In just two days it feels like my energy level is through the roof and that's largely because I'm an introvert - I rebuilt energy by being alone.

I really, really, REALLY like to be alone most of the day, and that's just not possible in the summer. Now that we're back to school I'm feeling energized, relaxed, and super happy for James starting 4th grade.

So that's it for the updates from my neck of the woods! Make sure to check out Margaret Leuwen's website right here and join her for a live cast on YouTube every Sunday.

By the way, would you like to be on the show or recommend a quilter you'd like to learn more about? Please contact us and let's set it up! I can never have enough quilting friends!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Quilting Crazy Curves on a Wonky Christmas Tree Quilt

Today I'm finishing my Wonky Christmas Tree quilt with a super simple quilting design called Crazy Curves in the border. This beautiful texture is the perfect contrast to the Swirling Water design we quilted last week.

Learn how I quilted the border of this quilt in this new tutorial video!


Yep, I noticed the lights on the machine were too bright in this video. I'm taking steps to fix that for the next video. Sorry about that!

Click here to find all the videos shared so far on this machine.

Just in case this is first post you've found on this Wonky Christmas Tree quilt I have a few more videos for you to check out.


Click here to find the free quilt pattern for the Wonky Christmas Tree quilt. It's a super easy, free form piecing design that makes super cute trees!

For this quilt, I pieced three blocks together and surrounded them with a white border. This turned out a bit ho-hum with the gray background fabric, so I decided to really stitch it up a notch with extra special machine quilting.

The first step was to secure the layers of the quilt together so I stitched in the ditch on the Grace Qnique 14+ around the trees and outlines of the blocks.


Have you ever stitched in the ditch with free motion quilting? While it is a little easier to stitch in the ditch with walking foot quilting it's absolutely possible to stitch in the ditch with free motion quilting to. Just need to slow down to keep better control over your quilting stitches.

After stitching in the ditch I flipped the quilt over and quilted the background around the Christmas tree with Razzle Dazzle thread in the bobbin. This technique allows you to quilt with thread that's too thick to pass through your needle. Click here to find that tutorial on the bobbin thread work.


After filling in the background of each block, the quilt was really looking good, but I wanted to fill in the borders as well so it would hang well on the wall and have a balanced, beautiful quilting design. I decided to quilt this space with Crazy Curves using Magnifico thread.


The best thing about the Crazy Curves quilting design is its free-form forgiving nature. The lines get closer together and further apart doesn't matter at all. In fact the more irregular the curving lines are quilted the prettier this design will look on your quilts.

Even the Christmas tree block that I didn't like looks great when surrounded completely with Crazy Curves. Some people say the quilting makes the quilt but I think in this case border design made the quilt and it's my favorite part of this wall hanging!


What do you think of this Crazy Curves design? What designs would you have quilted in the border of this quilt? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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