The Free Motion Quilting Project

Monday, September 26, 2016

How to Quilt Goddess Tears - #464

It's high time we learned a new machine quilting design together! Today's design is a beautiful variation of a previous free motion quilting design called Blowing Wind, except with this new design you leave the tear drop shapes open like this:

Learn how to machine quilt Goddess Tears in a free video tutorial created by Leah Day

I love the texture this creates on our quilts! In the video I'm quilting this design in a Goddess Face cheater cloth panel so you can see how it works in an applique-type shape:

Are you looking for more inspiring designs for your quilts? Check out the book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs, a beautiful picture book of machine quilting designs perfect for all styles of quilts.

Learn how to machine quilt Goddess Tears in a free video tutorial created by Leah Day
As you can tell in the video, Goddess Tears will work in all styles of quilts and just about anywhere you'd like to free motion quilt it!

You can expand the space between the lines to create bigger shapes that will fill a bed quilt very quickly.

You can also shrink down the Goddess Tear shapes so they fit into small areas as well.

I really like the effect of this design quilted in the Peaceful Goddess cheater cloth panel. This panel is a great way to practice lots of quilting designs in a small, cheerful project!

Update! I posted this new design on Monday and that very evening I got a ping from Instagram with this beautiful photo from ElizabethKRay:

Elizabeth posted - "@leahdayquilting just released a new fmq design Goddess Tears. I was instantly in ❤️ and had the perfect spot to try it in my #starlightstardarkqal. Thanks Leah for this great new design, it's wonderful!"

This is excellent! I love seeing designs used in real quilts and love the way Elizabeth used Goddess Tears in this beautiful star block. Great job!

So where do you plan to use Goddess Tears? Do you have any questions about how it's machine quilted?

Definitely share your thoughts and questions in the comments below and don't forget to share the video with your friends!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Stained Glass Lone Star Quilt

For the longest time I've wanted to make a Lone Star quilt, but I just haven't had the time to learn how to cut and piece diamond shapes accurately. Then I started playing with stained glass applique for my new book on walking foot quilting and had a brilliant idea - what if I could make a Lone Star Quilt with this technique and not bother piecing a million diamond shapes together?

This idea must be tested so I grabbed a 45 degree diamond template and began cutting!

I started with scrap fabric to test, but it ended up being a very beautiful choice. Island Batik has several very beautiful hand dyed blender batiks that swirl from one color to another. I was working with Snowcone and Opal and started with this simple arrangement over a piece of French Fuse

Once the diamonds looked roughly lined up, I fused them in place with a hot iron. Then I began covering the raw edges with fusible bias tape. The result is awesome!

In truth, this technique works a lot like No Sewing Until You Quilt It applique but it's much faster because you don't have to turn the fabric edges. Instead the edges are covered with the bias tape, which also adds additional color and texture to the quilt.

Yes, you can make your own bias tape, but that takes FOREVER and you will need loads of it. I'm using Clover's 1/4 inch fusible bias tape because it's so easy and convenient to use.

Once I created this small block, I knew this technique would work to create a larger quilt. I jumped on my computer and created a star pattern so I could more accurately arrange the diamonds together. I ended up designing a 58 inch quilt that can be created in four 29 inch sections.

Back downstairs, I sliced up more diamonds and began arranging fabrics together to create a bright, cheerful Lone Star Quilt. I've only arranged 1/4 of the quilt, but used an app on my phone to see how the design will look when it's a full quilt. 

Now I need your help! Which one do you like the best?

#1 Lone Star Quilt with red and orange tips

I like this one, but the orange seems to blend into the background fabric. That might not be a problem once the bias binding is in place.

#2 Lone Star Quilt with red edge

This arrangement fixes the fabric blending issue and is probably my favorite. What do you think?

#3 Lone Star Quilt with more light diamonds

This is the lightest version which is also very nice. Which do you like best? Do you have another suggestion for arranging the fabrics? Please share your suggestions in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, September 22, 2016

From Sketch to Quilt

Yesterday I shared a video on how I designed a wholecloth quilt using mirrors and tried out my new Pivothead camera glasses.

Travis R asked a great question on YouTube - "After you have created a quilt design that you are happy with, what is the best method to transfer your paper design onto your quilt to be quilted?"

The answer is a bit complex so I decided to film a second video today to share how I take a tiny sketch and turn it into a quilt:

The program I use is a fairly outdated version of Serif Draw Plus. I know, I know, I should update it and probably enjoy a better experience, but I have a whole bunch of excuses and the simplest one is I'm lazy! I have lots of design files that use this version of the program and they won't be compatible with the upgraded version.

When it comes to vector design, the best advice I have is to start simple and allow yourself the time an space to learn the program. It's complicated, it takes time to understand all the steps, and even more time to learn how to keep things organized.

It's definitely worth it though! I've plugged away at this wholecloth design for two days and now have a perfect file that can be resized, printed, and turned into a gorgeous quilt.

I hope you've enjoyed this little mini series! Please let me know if you have more questions about this process. I may just turn on a camera and shoot a video to answer your question!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New Camera Glasses!

Yes, I'm trying out Pivothead camera glasses as a new way of filming whatever I'm looking at. I decided to test them out and show you how I design wholecloth quilts at the same time:

My design process really is this simple - paper, pencil, templates, and a mirro tool that allows me to see what the whole quilt is looking like after only drawing a small sliver of it. This is a very fun way to stretch your creative muscles and play with new ideas.

The one thing I must emphasize is the importance of play. Don't get too serious or precious about your designs. Just keep drawing and asking yourself - what do you like? What do you hate? What is still bugging you?

Honestly I know a quilt is ready when I look at it and nothing bugs me about it. It's okay when nothing screams "FIX ME!" in the design. It's a really personal thing though so it's important to keep playing until you find the design you like.

So what did you think of the glasses? The shot is much more wobbly because my head naturally moves around (sorry! I'm not a tripod!). I also realized halfway through that the camera is located about 1 inch over my eyes, so I need to look down or slide the glasses down the bridge of my nose to really get a good shot.

I think they are fun to play with and will certainly come in handy when I want to shoot something fast and don't want to drag all my gear out to the Crafty Cottage. Sometimes it's nice to just grab one camera and go!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, September 19, 2016

Double Irish Chain Free Quilt Pattern

It's Quilty Box time! I received my Quilty Box for September last week and I've already pieced a beautiful Double Irish Chain with the awesome fat quarters included in the box.

Click Here to find this free quilt pattern at

Oddly enough, this was my first attempt at a Double Irish Chain, though I once made a quilt very similar for my Mother-in-Law, Ellen. Unfortunately I got a bit stubborn about the piecing design and didn't strip piece the quilt. It took FOREVER to create because every single piece was cut and sewn individually.

Learn how to make an easy Double Irish Chain quilt with a free video from Leah Day.
Lesson learned! Don't get stubborn!

As you can see from the video tutorial above, this Double Irish Chain quilt pattern is much, much faster and easier to create because we use strip piecing and cutting to create the blocks very quickly.

I'm not usually fond of scrappy quilts, but I really like how this turned out using five different printed fat quarters from the Madame Rouge collection. You can find many more patterns and beautiful fabrics at

So what are you going to make with your Quilty Box supplies? I love the red embroidery floss and it's definitely piqued my interest in redwork embroidery. Would you be interested in seeing a hand embroidery tutorial?

Please share the video with your friends and ask any questions you have in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Quilt As You Go - Connecting Sunshine Blocks

This month we've pieced and quilted our 9th block for the Machine Quilting Block Party which means three rows of the Sunshine Surprise quilt can be connected together Quilt-As-You-Go style! I love seeing the blocks come together and how beautiful this quilt is looking now:

Beautiful Sunshine Surprise Sampler Quilt where you learn how to piece and quilt the blocks step by step.

The binding cutting sizes and specific instructions on this Quilt As You Go connection method can be found in the Block #9 Quilt Pattern. Click Here to find the pattern at

Now let's learn how to connect these blocks together in this new video:

Learn how to Quilt As You Go and bind quilted blocks together with help from Leah Day
The trickiest part of this connection method is folding over the folded binding and stitching it to secure. If your 1/4 inch seam allowance tends to be a bit big, you may find that the folded binding doesn't fold all the way over to fully encase the seam allowances.

The easy fix here is to trim a bit of the seam allowances in the channel created by the back binding. Trim a little bit away, smooth out the blocks and fold over the folded front binding and check the fit. You want it to fold over to feel flat and smooth with the edges of the quilt blocks nesting together.

The wonderful thing about this binding connection method is you can finish it 100% by machine which makes it very fast to complete. I trimmed and connected all nine of my blocks in about two hours!

With nine blocks connected together, it really feels like the Sunshine Surprise quilt is nearly complete. We only have three more blocks to go and it will be much easier and faster to trim and bind them to the connected blocks and our quilt will be finished in time for Christmas.

I hope you've enjoyed this project as much as I have and I can wait to see your connected blocks! Please share your photos to the Block Party Facebook Group so we can see your progress.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, September 12, 2016

How to Quilt a Star Crossed Block

It's quilting time! Last week we learned how to paper piece a Star Crossed block and this week it's time to machine quilt it with circles, Sharp Stippling, and straight lines.

Learn how to machine quilt this beautiful Star Crossed block in a video tutorial with Leah Day

I quilted this with a combination of walking foot quilting and free motion quilting, but you could quilt this block completely with free motion quilting if you're feeling adventurous or just don't want to break thread so much.

I have to admit stitching in the ditch is much, much easier with my walking foot so it was worth the extra thread breaks! See what I mean in this new video quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the pattern for block #9.

You may have noticed that I've been repeating certain quilting designs and motifs within the Sunshine Surprise quilt. This is a technique that helps make a sampler quilt look more cohesive. When you see a cool motif in one corner, then used again in another corner it makes the quilt look more organized, even if the blocks are very different.

Learn how to piece and quilt this beautiful sampler quilt with Leah Day

For the last three blocks we'll repeat designs we've already learned like Matrix, Fuse Fire, and Pebbling so you'll get more practice and create a finished quilt that looks balanced and well designed.

As you can see from the quilt above, Sunshine Surprise is definitely looking beautiful! I'll be sharing a video on Wednesday on how to trim and connect your blocks together, quilt-as-you-go style so your quilt will be nearly complete as we enter the last three months of this project.

Have you checked out our fun contest in the Block Party Facebook Group? If you're needing a push to catch up and piece and quilt all nine blocks by the end of the month definitely check out the contest and share a photo for a chance to win a free copy of Block #10!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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