Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Modern Chevron Patchwork Quilt

It's Quilty Box time! I received a super collection of cool gear in this month's Quilty Box that was selected by Vanessa Wilson, The Crafty Gemini. It included some precut printed fabrics, beautiful threads, and a funky angle slicing ruler!

I really wanted to keep my project simple and quick because it's only one day until Thanksgiving and definitely not a time to take on something complicated and fussy. I kept the pieces big, cuts simple, and put together a Modern Chevron patchwork quilt that would be the perfect throw quilt for the couch.

Learn how to piece this patchwork quilt in this free video:

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Modern Chevron Patchwork Quilt Pattern

I used 18 prints from the Birds & Bees precut layer cake pack (precut 10 inch squares) and 18 10-inch squares of white fabric to make 36 blocks.

 I spent a lot of time playing around with the layout of this quilt and I think there are MANY unique possibilities using the 10" slicer ruler. I liked this chevron pattern because it reminded me of the funky chevron crocheted blankets I grew up with, only this patchwork version was MUCH easier and faster to create.

By the way, next month I'm picking the gear for your Quilty Box! Make sure to Click Here and sign up today use the coupon code LeahDec10 and save $10 on your first box and enjoy the cool gear and unique project we'll make together.

So what are you going to make with the materials in your Quilty Box? This is definitely one quilt you can slice and stitch in an hour or two so it's perfect for this time crunch time of the year!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, November 23, 2015

How to Quilt an Olaf Frozen Quilt Panel

Yes, Olaf is in the house! I found this delightful Frozen quilt panel and realized it would be the perfect gift for my young niece and a great way to practice machine quilting.

Quilting Olaf Frozen Quilt
I found this project to be really fun and a great learning experience. The challenge is the same as every quilt: how do we quilt it? Where do the design go and what will look best in which space?

Having hundreds of designs to choose from can really make it hard to pick just a few designs to work with. I knew Olaf didn't need to be elaborately or densely quilted. In fact, I had a bit of a time crunch on this project and needed to have him off the machine in just a day or two, which meant the quilting design needed to be fast and not fussy.

What makes a design fussy? Lots of thread color changes, thread breaks, and dense quilting. Thread breaks and color changes have long been the bane of my existence. It's both time consuming and distracting to stop, pull out your bobbin and re-thread the top of the machine. Dense quilting is also S...L...O...W. If I'd quilted this on a wall hanging style scale (1/8 inch between the lines of quilting) I'd probably be getting Olaf finished when my niece is graduating from college. Not an option!

Quilting Olaf Frozen Quilt
For that reason, I quilted 99% of this Olaf quilt panel with white thread. I intentionally choose designs like Stippling and Tangle of Lights that could be quilted with minimal thread breaks. I also quilted this panel on a 1/2 inch scale and left most of Olaf un-quilted so he puffs up nicely on the surface.

I also added snowflakes! Lots and lots of snowflakes were marked on the quilt surface using a stencil I cut from an AccuQuilt snowflake die. These shapes took up space and added to the overall design.

Quilting Olaf Frozen Quilt
All told, it took around 4 hours to quilt this panel from start to finish and I couldn't be more pleased! It's super soft and cuddly, but the quilting definitely added a beautiful additional texture to the surface. Watch how this design was planned, then quilted in this free video:

Here's the list of materials I used to transform a single 1 yard Olaf panel into a quilt:

- Olaf Panel for the top
- Craft sized wool batting (Quilter's Dream Wool)
- 1 yard blue solid fabric for backing
- 3 strips of white fabric 
- Snowflake stencils or templates (optional)
- Basting Pins and Pinmoors
- White and Black Isacord Thread 
- Machine quilting gloves

About halfway through quilting my Olaf quilt I hit a little speed bump of indecision. I made the mistake of stopping and analyzing the quilt and I wasn't completely thrilled with the designs. It was still less than half quilted and looked a bit blotchy and weird and I started to feel like I'd made the wrong choices.

Do you do this to yourself? Is this part of the reason why it's hard to pick machine quilting designs?

Instead of picking up a seam ripper or chucking the quilt in the trash, I just kept quilting. This is the learning experience I think is most key to this quilt - who cares if your quilt isn't perfect? FINISHED is better than perfect!
Quilting Olaf Frozen Quilt

I also found as I quilted more of the panel and the design emerged that I really liked what I'd picked. It just took a bit more time to see the machine quilting designs coming together and see the cool effect it created.

So my advice to you with any quilt project is this: Pick some designs and jump right in. If halfway through you feel worried you made the wrong choice, keep stitching. Judging a quilt by it's half quilted state is silly because you have no perspective of the overall design.

Keep quilting and if in the end you hate the quilt, at least it's done and you learned something! Win win in my opinion!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, November 20, 2015

Machine Quilt Open Flow - #455

It's finally Friday and time for some free motion quilting! I originally shared this quilting design in the Craftsy class Free Motion Fillers Vol 1 and I love the flowing, organic texture it creates on your quilts:

The texture really reminds me of Flowing Lines, but it's machine quilted more like McTavishing which means this free motion quilting design will be able to fit more places and be easier to quilt in the background of your quilts. Watch this new machine quilting video to see what I mean!

Now where will this machine quilting design work best in our quilts? I believe this design will work just about anywhere so long as it's not too small and complicated.
If I was quilting this design in the Heart & Feather Wholecloth, I wouldn't try to stick it into all the little fiddly spots in the interior of the quilt. I'd instead use it as the filler around the outer edge where it has more room to flow.

Open Flow will work even better larger scale with wide 6-7 inch long gaps. This will create a dramatic effect on the quilt surface and, even better, it will also cover huge amounts of space with every shape you stitch.

So what are you needing to quilt this week? Do you have several projects to finish in time for the holidays? Give Open Flow a try and see if this new design will help you knock out those projects with a super fast finish!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Gorgeous Dancing Butterfly Quilt

Josh here today for a quick little post. We received an email last week from a quilter who had completed her Dancing Butterfly quilt, and it's so beautiful we just had to share it.

This butterfly quilt was made by Kathy A, and it's simply stunning. I love the color contrast of the violet and dusky orange, and the central butterfly squares make this a show stopper.

Here's another angle:

You can see more beautiful finished Butterfly quilts by joining our Dancing Butterfly facebook page here.

You can pick up the pattern for Dancing Butterfly in both digital, download format as well as a printed physical pattern for $19.95. We've dropped the price of the physical version from $29.95 to $19.95 for the holiday season.


Monday, November 16, 2015

New Sewing Machine Review

Yes, it's high time I shared a detailed sewing machine review on the Juki Exceed F400, the machine I've been using for more than a year for sewing, patchwork, and machine quilting. Watch the detailed review in this video:

Read the detailed sewing machine review for the Juki Exceed F400 right here.

Yes, this machine really snuck up on me! I really wasn't planning to fall in love with it, but once I began using it I soon realized it was very well designed and awesome feet and features that typically come with much more expensive machines.

The ONLY thing I have to gripe about is the complicated set of steps to access the decorative stitches. But really, I use those stitches maybe once or twice a year so it's not much to complain about! Overall I love the way the machine is set up and I'm happy to use it in my videos and workshops.

What are you looking for in a new sewing machine? What are the features you value the most? Share in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, November 13, 2015

Machine Quilt Living Feathers - #454

It's Free Motion Friday and time to learn a new feather design called Living Feathers!

This beautiful quilting design combines feathers and leaf shapes to create a rich texture for your quilts. It is a bit slow because there are a lot of steps that go into every leaf shape. What this video to see what I mean!

I originally created this design in 2011 when machine quilting the background of Emergence, one of my favorite goddess quilts. As you can see, this is a perfect background quilting design and I love the bright green texture it added to this area.

Emergence Goddess Quilt from a distance:
 Living Feathers Quilting Design close up:

This was quilted on a very tiny scale with YLI Variations thread, one of the only variegated threads I like to use because the color changes are so subtle. This was perfect for making a earthy, forest filled background, the perfect texture for a goddess quilt representing transformation and new life!

Yes, you can definitely machine quilt Living Feathers on a bigger, bed quilting scale. Just start with a much bigger leaf shape so you can fill the space with large, plump feathers, and expand each element with rows of echo quilting.

Do you have a friend that would love learning how to quilt this design? Please share this post so everyone can learn how to free motion quilt Living Feathers!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sassy Quilt Chain Cutter

Occasionally I receive quilting tools in the mail with requests to try them out and maybe share a video on how they work. Recently I received a Sassy Quilt Chain Cutter, a useful gadget for cutting apart your pieced chains.

Watch this new video to see how this chain cutter works:

I do like this tool and I found it really helpful when chain piecing. It's always awkward to hold the chain of pieces and a pair of scissors all at the same time and this tool gives you a hands free blade for easy cutting.

Definitely keep an eye out for this helpful quilting tool at your local quilt shop!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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