The Free Motion Quilting Project: 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Podcast - Looking forward to 2017

It's the last day of 2016 and I've put together a short podcast for you today all about the new year and my hopes for 2017. Give a listen right here:


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

If you listened through to the end, then you'll know that I'm no longer sharing full length transcripts. While I loved sharing the transcripts, it was just not sustainable for our business. It came down to either publishing less frequently or shutting down the podcast completely, and I made the simplest choice possible - just stop horsing with the transcripts Leah!

Simple and Open. Those are my words for the year. I want to be open to working with more quilters, collaborating to create beautiful projects, and open to new experiences and opportunities to learn.

I also want to work simpler with less complication and fuss. I tend to over-optimize things and make them so complicated, heavy, and confusing I struggle to finish anything. No more. Simple is the way to go.

But optimizing things feels like a core part of my nature. How can I change something that seems so intrinsically tied to me?

Affirmations. It's been awhile since I pulled them out in a serious way. The last time was when I was pregnant with James, and he's going to turn 10 this year. Somewhere along the line I let go of this awesome habit for change and forgot how powerful it could be.

Before you click away with an eye roll at how silly this sounds - consider this - how many times do you think thoughts of frustration and impatience throughout the day? More often than thoughts of joy and contentment?

Over time the thoughts you think most often plow a rut through your brain. Quite literally - the more often you think about something, the easier it will be to have that thought again and again. And the resulting feeling that accompanies that thought will follow soon after.

So thoughts of anger and resentment, if allowed to fester and build will only become more frequent and accompanied by stronger emotional reactions. It's easy to see how Mrs. Twit went from looking pretty and happy to ugly and twisted just by thinking ugly thoughts.

But what if you could counteract the negative stuff to tip the scales in the other direction? What if we had a fail safe built into our life to tip the scales to happier thoughts?

Is that really such a silly thing to do? I don't think so. This is why I'm using affirmations again on a regular, consistent, and dedicated basis.

I'm combining affirmations with a japa mala from meditation which helps me keep track of how many times I've repeated an affirmation. This is a chain of 108 beads I hold in my hand and as I say an affirmation, I slide a bead down the chain.

I usually do this either right before falling asleep or as the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning. It's a wonderfully relaxing practice and I often find myself falling asleep with the beads in my hand.

Will this actually work? Will affirmations give me some magical juice to stop optimizing and simplify my life? I believe it will. I've already seen some helpful changes just in the last few days and this new habit is so relaxing and easy I see no reason not to continue it.

So that is my plan for this coming year! I'm looking forward to working with simplicity and becoming a more open, adventurous person.

What is your word for the year? What do you want to see change in 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Did I Mention the Feathers?

Did I mention the new Machine Quilting Block Party will feature free motion feathers in every single block?

I was really tempted to call the quilt Feather Flower Festival, but I thought I might be taking the alliteration a bit far.

Free motion feathers are one of the most popular quilting motifs, but they can be tricky to master.

I'm including extra templates within the pattern so you can get lots of practice quilting feathers this year.

If you've been interested in quilting these beautiful designs, plus a mess of pretty flower blocks, this is the Block-of-the-Month project for you!

Click Here to check out the materials list so you're ready to get started on January 1st.

But wait?! Why does the pattern say Out of Stock?!

Because it's not ready yet! The Block #1 pattern will be released on January 1st. 

Each pattern for the Machine Quilting Block Party is released on the first day of the month. Then we'll share a video guiding you through piecing the block on the first Monday of the month, and follow with a video on machine quilting the block on the second Monday of the month.

So pick up your fabrics and get them prewashed now so you're ready to slice and dice on Sunday!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Countdown to the Machine Quilting Block Party!

Only 6 days to go until January 1st!

Do you have your fabric ready? Click Here to find the materials list so you're ready to go on the first day!

This is such an exciting time and I have SO much to teach you this year. There's so many surprises in store and I'm bursting at the seams to share them all right now!

Breathe...Leah...Breathe....

As you can tell, I'm super pumped up about this new mystery quilt along and I can't wait to jump in and get started piecing and quilting together on this new project.

I'll be sharing new pics each day until January 1st and then the first two weeks will kick off with new posts and tip videos every single day. If you're serious about learning how to machine quilt this year, this is the block-of-the-month project for you!

Do I seriously have to twist your leg to go buy fabric? Click here to find the materials list.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


Monday, December 26, 2016

Wonky Christmas Tree Quilt Tutorial

It's the day after Christmas and I'm still head-over-heels for the holidays! Last week I used the fabric in this month's Quilty Box to make dozens of Wonky Christmas Tree quilt blocks.

This week I want to turn these blocks into Christmas quilt tops in all shapes and sizes so they'll be easy to quilt and finish in time for Christmas next year. I've already gotten a head start and finished one quilt top so I can show you how to connect the blocks together:


I love the curvy snow effect of this quilt! It's a bit of work to create that effect, but I think it's totally worth it! You can learn how to connect all the blocks together to make this quilt top in this new Christmas Tree Quilt Tutorial:



So what do you think? Do you prefer the turned, curvy edge or would you like a faster method with fusible applique instead? Did you like the look of a straight line of snow, or are the curves worth it?

Honestly I didn't even think of fusing this together until I'd already connected two rows together. I just prefer turned edge applique, but the next top I create I'll try raw edge fusible instead. 

I also plan to make some long, skinny wall hangings with single tall Christmas tree. It will be fun to decorate those small spaces in the house with a bright, cheerful quilt!

I'm delighted with how these turned out and since I have so many trees left over, I'm looking forward to playing with these again next year. Maybe we'll pull our Christmas Tree quilt tops out in October and quilt them together in time for Christmas 2017?

Wow, that's pretty far ahead to plan, but knowing how my year is stacking up that sounds like a plan to me!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas from 8 Foot Leah!

I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas day! For my family this is a day of relaxation and good food as we play with our toys and hang out together.


As you can see I my true love was very good to me this year! Josh gave me a pair of drywall stilts for Christmas - in red, my favorite color!

Why in the world do I want drywall stilts you ask? The better to become a stilt walker! As soon as we started getting into cosplay and making costumes, I noticed that the most amazing costumes were often the tallest. The extra length of leg and height added with stilts really makes costume making creative and fun.

Yes, yes, I know this has also drastically increased my likely hood of breaking a limb and I promise to be very careful. I've just spent half an hour reading how to fall safely and I've already decided to go grab my pair of knee pads out of the wood shop before I strap on the stilts again.

Trying new things and pushing my boundaries is definitely going to be a theme for the coming year and I can't wait to make a costume for these stilts!

What do you plan to challenge yourself with this year? What are you looking forward to? Each year holds possibilities for growth and change, but it all starts with identifying what you want and where you want to go.

I'll be sharing more on this later in the week, so for now I hope you have a terrific holiday and enjoy the good food, fun family, and sweet delights of this special day!

Merry Christmas,

Leah Day

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Organize Everything in 2017

Yep, this post contains affiliate links to an awesome product I support and use myself. Organizing everything...to a quilter that's a tall order! In a given week I need to organize blog posts, video shoots, pattern writing and design time along with normal life stuff like buying groceries and getting my hair cut.

Keeping organized hasn't been my strong suit and this year I've really struggled because I feel like I left many things way, way too late and these last few weeks of the year have been anything but relaxing. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel - starting January 1st I will begin using my Quilter's Planner!

Here's a little flip through on the planner and why I think it's so awesome:



Click Here to find the Quilter's Planner!

I'm super excited about using this planner because it will not only help me organize my jumbled thoughts and million to-do lists, it will also help me organize my quilt designs and keep everything in ONE PLACE. That is essential for me because I'm sick of having notebooks and planners that only do half the job.

Another thing I love about the Quilter's Planner is all the goodies included. How many times do I stop to hunt down my Quilter's Reference Tool when I'm designing? Just about every time I start designing a new quilt.

Now I just need to flip to the back of the planner and all the most common measurements and fabric amounts are right there when I need them.

If your goal is to build new skills for quilting, the Quilter's Planner can help you with that as well with 40 quilting design to practice. I promise if you quilt just one 4 inch square of each design in the planner, you will see amazing improvement in your machine quilting skills.

I'm really hoping this will keep me better organized and working further in advance than I have lately. With the addition of the podcast, I realize more than ever the importance of working ahead, scheduling carefully, and staying on task.

I also know the key to feeling happy and satisfied with my business largely comes from feeling like I have at least a little time for everything - a little time to design, a little time to quilt, and a little time to do nothing. Even I need to sit and be still and read a book sometimes.

So here's to organizing everything in 2017! With all my lists in one place and the ability to see months in advance I'm confident I'll stay better organized and definitely design more fun quilt projects in the coming year.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, December 19, 2016

Wonky Christmas Tree Quilt Blocks

Yep, this post will contain affiliate links that help support my business. So what is the best thing about getting a Quilty Box? It's like getting a Christmas present every month of the year filled with quilting supplies you actually want!

This month was a terrific assortment of fabrics and supplies selected by Natalie Barns of Beyond the Reef Designs. She included a huge pack of 10 fat quarters which included 5 bright prints and 5 black and white fabrics.

I jumped right in and got the fabrics prewashing, but then made a mistake when I dried them together. Some of the pink and blue fabrics got a bit too friendly with the black and white. But instead of being frustrated, I love the effect! It made me think of coloring books and what better shape to color this time of the year than Christmas trees!


Click Here to find the pattern and tutorial at LeahDay.com

These wonky Christmas tree blocks are going to challenge you a bit if you really love math and measuring and piecing precisely and every block finishing exactly the same way. Because it just isn't that kind of pattern!

No, these Christmas tree blocks are designed for anyone suffering from a lack of brain cells or an overindulgence of wine this holiday season. There's hardly any math, no exact cutting, and if you piece it wrong? Stitch another scrap on the corner and it'll square up just fine, honey.

I admit I needed a project I could sit and stitch without thinking just to enjoy the feeling of pretty fabrics slipping through my hands and the weird sense of accomplishment that comes from slicing up fabric just to piece it back together again. These blocks more than fit the bill!

The only downside? I think I'll be piecing these Christmas tree blocks for all of 2017! Seriously, these blocks seem to multiply every time I head downstairs. For every tree shape you piece, you can make a second tree from the scraps, so you may piece enough Christmas tree blocks to make everyone a holiday quilt next year.


Now the video quilting tutorial ended up stretching a bit long so I've split it into two parts. This week we'll learn how to piece the blocks and next week we'll learn how to piece the blocks together to make actual quilts.

What do you think? Are you needing some easy, stress free piecing this week? I hope these wonky Christmas tree blocks fit the bill!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Fabric Design with Sandra Clemons

Hello My Quilting Friends! I have a new podcast episode for you today about fabric design with Sandra Clemons. Yesterday I shared a post about masking tape marking and how I quilted a small block Sandra sent me featuring her Front Yard fabric.


This is Sandra's first fabric collection and it's filled with super cute, whimsical prints. Today on the podcast Sandra is going to share her design process and how she designed these Front Yard fabrics for Michael Miller.

This is a fun, behind-the-scenes look at fabric design that I found really interesting. Sandra is also a self published author and pattern designer and we talk a bit about how she designed her book and fabric collection to work together.

Sandra's latest book is Simple Patchwork that's currently available for preorder. I found the concept of this book really fun - it's 9 block patterns with instructions for making them multiple sizes - up to 24 inches! That's a really big block!

I hope you enjoy this interview about fabric design with Sandra Clemons:


Click Here to find the full transcript

This episode was sponsored by my website, LeahDay.com where you can save $5 on the Supreme Slider this week only. Click Here to learn more.

After listening to this podcast episode you feeling inspired to try fabric design? It's a lot of fun to play with colors and create unique prints that are totally your own. Thank you Sandra for sharing your experience and design process with us this month!

You can learn more about Sandra at her website SandraMakeItBlossom.com and learn about her photo hop and a fabric giveaway she's running this month right here.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Masking Tape Marking a Quilt from Sandra Clemons

Guess what I got last week? A fun little quilt to play with and machine quilt from Sandra Clemons! Sandra is a fabric designer, author, and fantastic quilter from Denver and this month she's hosting a photo hop to celebrate her new fabric collection Front Yard. Here's a few of her fun prints in this little quilt:


Now I understand Sandra is hosting a giveaway for a fat quarter bundle during this photo hop! Click Here to check out the details from Sandra and learn how you can enter to win.

So this is the beginning of a new Quilting Collaboration series we're going to have each month. I'll get a quilt block from an awesome quilter and have to figure out how to quilt it and teach you some cool techniques along the way. For this quilt, I decided to share a new-to-me form of quilt marking using masking tape.


I know, I know, masking tape quilt marking has probably been around since masking tape was invented, but I honestly never used this technique until quite recently. I wanted to add more walking foot quilting to the Rainbow Log Cabin quilt, but I couldn't figure out a way to mark it because the fabrics were so busy.


Then Dad suggested tape and I almost rejected that idea. I'm not sure why, but marking with tape has never appealed to me. Maybe I was worried about tape residue...or just thinking that it wouldn't be easy to follow. I'm not really sure why I never tried it before so I pulled some out and Presto! The quilt was marked and Dad quilted it super easily.

So that's what I decided to do with Sandra's quilt - straight line quilting marked over the surface with 1 inch wide masking tape. Watch the video to learn how to mark with masking tape and quilt with walking foot style quilting:


Here's Sandra's finished Front Yard Star quilt:


What do you think of this marking method? Did you like the way I quilted Sandra's quilt?

Yes, straight lines are simple, but sometimes simple is all you need. I felt a bit of pressure for this collaboration to quilt something amazing and different, but then realized that wasn't really the point. Sandra's beautiful fabrics are the star of the show and the straight lines allow them the space to stand out and show off. 

With quilting, it's always good to take a step back and ask yourself what the quilt really needs. In this case the quilt needed to be secured so it could be used and enjoyed with a simple design that added basic texture. Straight line quilting just fit the bill.

Now I did a bit of research after making the video on masking tape. I did find 1/2 inch painters tape and 1/4 inch painters tape on Amazon (affiliate links) and bought several rolls so I know I'll be sharing many more tutorials featuring this taping method.

I would advise taping and immediately quilting your quilt. I wouldn't leave the tape on for long periods of time because it could eventually leave a sticky residue on the fabric surface.

This is one of those funny things in quilting - you might have seen a technique or understood how it works, but until you try it yourself, you won't know how it feels to do it. Had I known masking tape was this quick and easy to use, I probably would have been marking with it years ago!

Now for more fun - would you like to learn more about fabric design? Sandra will be on the next episode of the Hello My Quilting Friends podcast and shares all about her fabric design experience! Be looking for this new episode coming out tomorrow!


Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, December 12, 2016

How to Quilt a Sun Explosion Block

How is your Sun Explosion quilt block going? This last block for the year is a great review of techniques we've learned so far: half square triangles, flying geese, and square in a square blocks, plus pebbling, straight lines, and a marked sun motif in the center:

Learn how to machine quilt a Sun Explosion Block

This week I finished up my Sunshine Surprise quilt and I absolutely love it! This bright, cheerful quilt is filled with so many beautiful designs and textures. My favorite part are the sun motifs quilted into the center of each corner block.


I'm sure you're eager to get your Sunshine Surprise quilt finished too. Let's learn how to quilt this last block together:



Click Here to find the pattern for block #12.

Are you ready to trim and connect the blocks together? Click Here to learn my favorite method for binding the blocks together securely by machine.

Looking for an edge binding tutorial? Click Here to learn how to finish the edges of your quilt.

With Sunshine Surprise now complete, I'm sure you're wondering about next year. This block party is too fun to stop now so we're starting over from the beginning on January 1st with a new mystery quilt called Flower Festival.

Machine Quilting Block Party 2017

Machine Quilting Block Party with Leah DayWould you like to get the first block of this new year for free? If you finish your Sunshine Surprise quilt and post a picture to the Block Party Facebook Group we will send you the pattern for Block 1 for free!

The deadline for entry is December 31st, so make sure to get your blocks quilted and bound together in time. To enter, make sure to post your photo in the pinned post at the top of the group so it's easy to find. Everyone that shares a finished quilt picture will win a free pattern and we'll email you with the download link on January 1st.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Tunic Challenge - Part 4

It's finished! This is the last week of the Tunic Challenge and our goal for this week was to finish our tunics and show them off. So here's a video for you to see how my tunic finished:



This has been such a wonderful project with Amy Johnson from Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures. I know for sure that I wouldn't have made this shirt right now if it wasn't for this challenge and being able to sew along with a friend.

My favorite part of my tunic is definitely the Renaissance Ribbons that accent the front placket, sleeves, collar, and hem. I went a bit ribbon crazy!


But I don't think it looks ridiculous. A bit formal, yes, but for the first time in a long time, I've made a shirt I will look forward to wearing!

My least favorite part is the collar. When I created the muslin test garment in week 2, I used the bias strip collar, but I didn't think it looked good with my long neck.


Then I played with the band collar and for some reason I couldn't get it to fit properly along the neck edge. I'd also caught a cold and was running a high fever so I don't think I was exactly in the best frame of mind for collar fitting.

The next morning I tackled the collar after taking some cold medicine plus half a shot of 5 Hour Energy...which incidentally is a very interesting cocktail if you'd like your whole body to go numb while your mind drifts off on tangents of strawberry milkshakes and shortbread cookies.

I digress...I managed to measure the actual collar of the shirt, then the collar pattern and I found you could use the regular angled collar for another placket, but only if you change the seam allowance from 5/8 to 3/8. So I stitched it and stuck it on my shirt and this time it fit perfectly.

That is, until I put it on and realized I'd just added a 3 inch collar to an already high neckline. I'm ready for my Elvis impersonation! Uh Huh!


The good news is I can fold the collar down so it doesn't come up to my ears and I really like this look. All in all, this wasn't a huge problem and is certainly not a deal breaker. I love my tunic!

Now for a few tips and insights as I've finished this project:

1. Do not skip making a muslin! Also don't change your collar design halfway through like I did. If you change your mind, make another muslin to test the new collar.

2. Don't test the muslin by putting it on for 5 minutes and looking at yourself in the mirror. That just tells you what it looks like. Put it on and wear it around the house for a few hours - that will tell you want it FEELS like and if you will really like that length. Turns out, I shortened my tunic a bit too much.

3. There can never, ever be enough ribbon trim. Seriously. It's awesome!

4. All projects are made better with the help of a friend. At least for me, they actually get done! Thank you Amy!

So that's what I've learned from the Tunic Challenge. Let's check out Amy's blog to see how her tunic turned out.

Do you want to read the past posts about this challenge? Click Here for Part 1 about cutting out the pattern.

Click Here for Part 2 on sewing the muslin test garment, and Click Here for Part 3 on cutting out the fabrics for our finished tunics!

Let's go sew,

Leah Day

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

How to Teach Quilting Classes

Hello My Quilting Friends! It's time for a new podcast episode and this week I'm sharing tips and ideas for teaching quilting classes. I received this request from Suzanne on Instagram and she wrote:

"How do you prepare and plan to teach a class from prep to actual class time and then post-class?"

That's the question I'm answering today. If you'd like to make a suggestion for a future podcast episode please contact me or you can send me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I love knowing that you're engaged and interested in the show and I may just record an episode just to answer your question!

Now here's the show:



As you can tell, I have a lot of strong opinions about what makes a good quilting class and what makes a good quilting teacher and I think that all this information can apply whether you're teaching in person or online or anywhere in between. I do think it's important to come from the heart when you teach. If you're tired and run down, it's going to be reflected in how you express yourself.

I also share a lot of tips on how to teach and the importance of samples and a hand out. Find a few friends to practice your class as well before you teach a bigger group so you'll know what questions are going to come up ahead of time.

Click Here to find the full transcript

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Monday, December 5, 2016

How to Piece a Sun Explosion Block

It's time to piece our very last quilt block for the Machine Quilting Block Party this year! Our final block combines many units we've learned this year including a Square in a Square, Half Square Triangles, and Flying Geese to create a beautiful Sun Explosion quilt block.


Let's learn how to piece this block step-by-step in this new quilting tutorial:


Click Here to find the pattern for Block 12

The trickiest part of this Sun Explosion Block is the flying geese units that are expanded with little strips to create the side units. Make sure to watch the video above to see how I deal with the bright orange fabric shadowing through the light cream fabrics.

This is our last block for this year, but remember the party is starting right back up on January 1st, 2017! We have a new mystery quilt called Flower Festival to piece and quilt together month by month next year.

We will have more details on this new quilt along very soon. In the meantime, get to work on your Sunshine Surprise quilt! If you finish your quilt and post a picture to the Block Party Facebook Group we will send you the Block #1 pattern for next year for free!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Tunic Challenge - Part 3

Photo from The Tunic Bible
 It's our third week of the Tunic Challenge and I'm on the home stretch! Amy Johnson and I have been sewing along together for the past three weeks to push each other to make something for ourselves. We both bought a copy of The Tunic Bible and this week we're cutting out the pieces of our tunics to sew next week.

I've had a lot of fun picking out my fabrics and deciding how to stitch my tunic up a notch. In the book, we have 12 necklines and 6 sleeves and 4 hems to choose from (not to mention 2 ways to fit and 3 different lengths), and if I extrapolate the different combinations, you could potentially create more than 288 different garments from this one pattern!

My favorite by far was the tunic with an elongated placket and ribbon trim. It looks a bit retro to me, and obviously comfortable to wear around the house, but is also easily dressy enough for a nice occasion.

Now for a guilty admission - I've been hoarding ribbon trims.



This started more than a year ago when I first stumbled across the seriously addictive, absolutely wonderful delight that is Reniassance Ribbons. Ribbon isn't even a good word for it. This is DIVINE!

I began my collection with the 2 inch wide gorgeous trim on the right, but then...how do I use it? I must get more so I can play. But then what if I mess that up?

Yeah, most of my horded collections of supplies start this way. And then get promptly stuck in the this-is-too-pretty-to-cut / I-just-want-to-pet-it-and-love-it-from-afar state that doesn't actually yield to using it.

But I really, really love this stuff! Wouldn't it make me more happy to use it and see it and get to show it off in a fancy garment?

Absolutely! I'm determined to use a significant amount of this to trim my tunic. Just as soon as I figure out how to make my hand cut into it. I can't seem to force my fingers to close around the scissors and make...them...cut....

*Sigh* I will just have to make myself do it!

So this beautiful bubble blue and purple trim was my starting point and then came the search for fabrics. I decided to go with a darker color to make the ribbon stand out that much better and my eyes fell on a big piece of dark purple batik.

I'm sure this was a big piece of backing fabric set aside for something important. So important I absolutely can't remember it now. No problem - it will now be my tunic.

Cutting out of course went easy as pie because I already had the pattern pieces prepared. I also added an extra layer of white cotton voile which is very thin fabric that I will use to back the purple batik.

This will be an interlining that will strengthen the tunic and reduce wrinkles. It did double the time to cut out the whole thing, but as with all of this - it will be worth it!

So that's what I did this week on the Tunic Challenge. Let's see how Amy Johnson got on with it.

We just have one more week to go - sewing and showing off our finished tunics! You can join in the fun too - pick up a copy of the Tunic Bible and follow along. It's a very fun pattern with so many variations. I know I will definitely be making many sleeveless tunics for next summer.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Quilt Impossible Maze - #471

It's Friday and time for a new machine quilting design! This new design, Impossible Maze, is inspired by the second design to be posted to the Free Motion Quilting Project - Etch n' Sketch. It's even simpler and easier to quilt than before because I've switched out all the curves for straight lines and right angles:

Learn how to quilt Impossible Maze in a beginner quilting tutorial with Leah Day

I really like the texture of this Impossible Maze quilting design. It's a bit like Monster Teeth and Hardwood Floors, but I think it will be even easier to quilt than other of those. Notice how my straight lines aren't really all that straight? You can also get away with that because it's not supposed to be exactly perfect. See what I mean in this new quilting tutorial:



Do you enjoy these tutorials each week? Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you don't miss any new videos!

Now let's learn a bit more about this Impossible Maze quilting design.

Learn how to machine quilt Impossible Maze - free video!
Difficulty Level: Beginner - Yes, this design involves a lot of straight line quilting, but it's perfectly fine if it's not perfect.

Look closely at my block above - see how the lines are a bit wobbly and sometimes closer together and sometimes further apart? It's quite forgiving and still looks great inspite of these imperfections.

Now if you want it to be perfect with nice straight lines the best bet would be to mark the design. Don't worry, it's not cheating. I do it all the time!

Design Family: Edge to Edge - Impossible Maze is quilted by stitching from one edge to another. This could be from one ditch to another across a narrow bit of sashing. It could also be across a border. It could also mean quilting across an entire quilt. All are fair game.

Suggestions for Quilting - As for the easiest space to put this design I would suggest 4-6 inch sashing and borders. This is enough space for the quilting design to stand out and show off, but not so much space you're having to stop and reposition your hands several times while quilting the straight lines.

Of course, the best way to know where any design will work best is to quilt it! Experiment and play with Impossible Maze in your next quilt and be sure to snap a picture to show us what you did with it. You can post your pictures ot the Leah Day Quilting Facebook Group or tag me on Instagram or Facebook @LeahDayQuilting.

Let's go Quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Podcast 4 - Machine Embroidery with Patsy Thompson

Hello My Quilting Friends! This week I have a excellent interview with Patsy Thompson about machine embroidery. Patsy is an award-winning quilter, and she's also a self-published author, and you've probably seen her DVDs in your local quilt store. She has this really unique style of free-motion quilting, her thread colors especially. When you see her quilts, I think you'll instantly recognize them. It's really that distinctive.

Patsy and I are going to talk all about machine embroidery, how she uses machine embroidery in her quilts, how she does it, how she digitizes, all of that good stuff. Of course the machine she uses, so definitely be looking forward to this interview with Patsy.
She shares a lot of good information. We're going to include a few photos in the show notes, so if you'd like to see some visuals, you can of course come by and see the full transcript and show notes from the episode, and that's going to be at LeahDay.com/Episode4, so you'll be able to find it there. You can also see Patsy's amazing work at PatsyThompsonDesigns.com.

Click Here to find the full transcript with links to everything mentioned in the podcast.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sneak Peek for Block #12!

It's almost December and our very last Machine Quilting Block Party block for 2016! Here's a little sneak peek to give you an idea of next month's block:


This last block will finish off the last row of your Sunshine Surprise Quilt so you can connect all the blocks together to create your completed quilt. It's so exciting to see so many beautiful blocks being posted to the Block Party Facebook Group so be sure to join in and share your progress this month!

And yes, the party will continue in 2017 so if you're just finding out about this project, just wait until January 1st and begin the Flower Festival quilt with us next year!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Tunic Challenge - Part 2

Yay, we're on the second week of the Tunic Challenge! Click Here to find Part 1 of this mini series.

Just a quick recap in case you haven't been following along - Amy Johnson and I are both making tunics using The Tunic Bible book. We're both super busy this month and we knew we wouldn't make tunics for ourselves, but by challenging each other, we're having lots of fun and making something pretty to wear this winter.

This I cut out the pattern pieces in white fabric and started sewing to create a muslin of the tunic garment. Honestly I'm glad I did because adding the elongated placket and bias neckline was a bit tricky and it was good to get some extra experience with it. 

I was also able to play with interfacing and decided that French Fuse was the best choice for me. It's lightweight and adds body to the garment without becoming stiff.

I cut out the pieces and slipped on the tunic before attaching the sleeves. Immediately I saw it needed to be shortened, which surprised me. I have a fairly long torso and the tunic for size small ran to below my butt. That's not my favorite length because you end up sitting on the end of the shirt and it gets all wrinkly, or you have to bunch it up not to sit on it and that looks weird...yeah, you get the idea.

So I found the only full length mirror in the house, backed up as far as I could and folded the tunic up along the lengthen / shorten lines. Then James decided he needed to come help out, despite already going to bed.




















When I finally managed to get my kid to stop picking my nose and choking me, I found the adjustment I liked. This raised the tunic up around 3 inches so the bottom edge falls around the pockets of my jeans. Perfect! I don't like shirts that come up too short and expose my belly (who the heck would?!) and I don't like shirts that come down too low, unless it's actually a dress. None of this wannabe dress / confused length shirt nonsense for me.

Have you noticed I'm fairly picky? I know - I'm surprised too! When I buy ready-to-wear garments I know instantly when something feels right. When making it yourself, I think you have to give yourself permission to keep tweeking the pattern until it feels good. Too many times I've made garments that were...eh...good enough...and then I've never worn them.

So back to the fitting. The collar was tricky and yes, I was working with leftover bias binding from funky quilt that absolutely didn't match my white muslin, but hey, it was already cut!

Then I played with the sleeves. Or more like fussed with the sleeves. The first thing I realized is the main garment is designed with 3/4 length sleeves. So I tried adding a cuff and that only took them down to my wrist bone. Uggh!


I measured and guessed that I needed an additional 5 inches of length to become a long sleeve. I tried that out and I like it a lot better, but I may extend it another two inches to get it just right.

So that's my fitted tunic! I didn't stitch the back darts because I like a comfortable fit. I like the cut and I think it's nicely flattering.

Now how has this gone for Amy Johnson? Check out her post right here!

We have just a few more weeks of this Tunic Challenge. Here's the next posts we have planned:

Next Saturday - Cutting out the pieces of our real fabric

Saturday after next - Sew our tunics and show them off!

You can join in this informal sewing party. Just pick up a copy of The Tunic Bible and follow along sewing your tunic with us. We'd love to see what you make on Instagram!

Let's go sew!

Leah Day

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Biggest Sale of the Year!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you're having a wonderful holiday! This is just a short post to let you know about our biggest sale of the year which has already started right here at LeahDay.com


Here are the deals you will find at LeahDay.com from Thanksgiving Day November 24th until midnight Monday, November 28th: ​​​​






And remember - free shipping on all orders shipped within the US over $100!

This is our biggest sale of the year and the best time to stock up on supplies like thread and new quilting gloves and also treat yourself to a quilting workshop to learn new techniques this winter. Click Here to Shop Now!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Behind the Scenes of Our Family Business

Hello My Quilting Friends! I have a fun new podcast episode for you today! This week I interviewed my husband and business partner, Josh Day, to share a behind-the-scenes look at how we run our family business. You can download the episode or listen to it right here:


Click Here to find the full transcript for this episode

Josh and I have worked together since 2004 and as you'll hear in the episode, he is a big reason why I'm in business today. I didn't know anything about the internet or running an online business, and Josh taught me all the basics from designing a website to uploading content.

Over the years our jobs and roles have changed and Josh is very much the power behind the power. I know I wouldn't have been able to keep blogging and sharing quilting designs back in 2009 if Josh hadn't been helping me edit videos and packing orders.

The thing I hope I've captured in this podcast is how much we depend on one another. This is very much a 50-50 business with both of us equally contributing to build a business that fits our life. As I say during this episode - we want to build a big business, but not too big. Just big enough to support us, but not so big that we're being run off our feet.

I hope you enjoy and take advantage of our big Thanksgiving sale starting tomorrow!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chain of Beads Beginner Precut Quilt Pattern

Have you received your November Quilty Box yet?! It's filled with awesome supplies and beautiful fabrics selected by Tammy Silvers. My favorite thing in the box? The beautiful collection of Island Batik Seafoam precut squares!

I love these fabrics so much, I couldn't bear to cut them up. So I left the blocks nice and big and showcased them in this very easy quilt pattern called Chain of Beads:

Chain of Beads free beginner quilt pattern

Click Here to find this free Chain of Beads quilt pattern

The inspiration for this quilt was a simple beaded necklace with cotton cording separating bright beads. If it works in jewelry, I figured why wouldn't it work for a quilt?

I can't stress how easy this quilt pattern is - just a bit of strip piecing and cutting and you'll have all your blocks created. Then the quilt itself is pieced in vertical rows and it doesn't matter if a single seam lines up properly! How's that for a forgiving, beginner quilt pattern?

I pieced the long rows together with a long strip of background fabric to add a bit of space between the blocks. That way all the bright fabrics seem to stand out on their own and even though you have a lot of contrasting colors right next to one another, it still looks great.

So this Chain of Beads quilt would be a great choice for making a quilt with fabrics you find just too pretty to cut. You can leave those fabrics in nice, big squares, and showcase them all together in one quilt top.

But how do we quilt it? Click Here to find the piecing video plus two easy machine quilting ideas.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Tunic Challenge - Part 1

I just recently purchased The Tunic Bible, a book that features a simple tunic sewing pattern and at least 100 ways to change it from the neckline to the hem to the sleeves. I really wanted to make a tunic, maybe even a few tunic shirts for fun, but you know how I am about sewing for myself - I just don't get around to it.

But then I saw Amy Johnson had also bought this book in an Instagram pic and I was like "YAY! I can ask Amy to make this with me and that will FORCE me to make it!" I seriously would not have started this project had Amy and I not turned it into a challenge and set goals to make progress each week.

This is just my nature. I work well on a deadline set by someone else, but I can't work on deadlines I set for myself. It's just how my brain works and how I respond to an outside expectation. If you're interested in learning more, definitely read Gretchen Rubin's new book Better Than Before. (I'm an Obliger, by the way. Just in case you couldn't already tell).

So we've turned this fun project into The Tunic Challenge and it's a very laid back challenge to push us to sew a beautiful tunic shirt over the next four weeks. The fun thing about the book is all the different variations of the simple, classic tunic design. There are so many ways to change up the neck, the sleeves, the hem, and the fit that you could easily make a whole closet of new garments from this pattern and have them all look totally different!

Now I've set these goals pretty low so we won't feel overwhelmed, but at the same time we'll make steady progress on this project. For this first week we needed to figure out our size, cut out the pattern, and maybe make a muslin of the garment if we were feeling ambitious.

I immediately hit a big ole' whiny wall when I realized the pattern was printed double sided so I would HAVE to trace it onto tracing paper or fabric in order to cut it out. Do I have to?

Honestly if Amy wasn't making this with me, I'd have stopped right here!

But I pulled myself together and pushed forward. I received a lot of great suggestions for materials to transfer the pattern to. Swedish Tracing Paper is a super popular option, but a lot of quilters also liked Doctor exam table paper which comes in huge rolls, but is easy to see through.

Some quilters also mentioned freezer paper and stabilizer. I choose cut-away embroidery stabilizer because I have TONS of it and it's thick enough to hold together nicely, but not so thick it's hard to see through to trace the pattern.

I should be fair - tracing the pattern only took an hour or two and wasn't so bad. Sometimes the idea of something is far worse than the actual thing. I turned on an audiobook and started tracing.

Then I cut it out. Plackets! Plackets! and More Plackets!


These are used to create the many different necklines from the book. I choose a Elongated Placket which created my favorite tunic in the book. I'm also planning to embellish mine with Reniassance Ribbon too!

The next step is the muslin, or the test garment that will make sure the shirt fits and doesn't either A - make me look pregnant by stretching too tight across my belly or B - make me look like a sack of potatoes because it's not fitted at all from shoulder to hip.

Yes, I have received my fair share of well wishing for the new baby when I WAS NOT PREGNANT. Nope, I'm not planning on having more kids. You see a bump? That's my cookie addiction and it doesn't need well wishing.

On the flip side, Josh has always made fun of my Frumpy Fraggle tendency - unfitted garments I used to wear that were usually three sizes too big. The name comes from Mokey, a Fraggle Rock character. Her cozy gray shrug was exactly my beat!

These days I like things to fit a bit better, but at the same time not too fitted. There's a balance there somewhere that I'm hoping to find while sewing this tunic. I want it to fit nicely, accent and enhance my figure, without feeling too tight and constricting.

But it was around this time that both Amy and I realized we had bitten off more than we could chew in the first week of our Tunic Challenge! After a few posts back and forth on Instagram we decided to hold off on the test garment and fitting until week #2.

Now I'm wondering - how has this first week gone for Amy? Check out her post and progress right here!

Here's the schedule for the rest of the Tunic Challenge:

Week 2 - Cut and sew a test muslin and adjust the fit as needed.

Week 3 - Select fabrics and any special features or trims and cut out the pieces

Week 4 - Finish sewing the tunic and show it off!

Would you like to join in the fun? Grab a copy of The Tunic Bible and jump in! We're posting frequent updates on Instagram so use the hashtag #tunicchallenge so we can see what you make!

Let's go sew a tunic,

Leah Day

Friday, November 18, 2016

How to Quilt Candy Rush - #470

I've been looking back over the last couple of weeks and I realized I've been on a role sharing new quilting designs each Friday! Is this the return of Free Motion Friday? Do you like seeing new designs each week? Let me know and this role might turn into a streak!


Yep, I've named Candy Rush is named after Candy Crush Saga, the popular app game. If you're not familiar with it, I have two hilarious videos for you to watch:

The first is the Honest Game Trailer for Candy Crush which may be a bit too honest. LOL! This second video is a heavy metal music video about a lead singer's love / hate for Candy Crush. Now both videos are slightly explicit, but I find them both super funny and a great way to explain what this app game was all about.

No, I don't actually play Candy Crush Saga, but I love satirical videos making fun of games I don't play. Does that even make sense? Probably not!

Back to machine quilting...Candy Rush is a fun variation of Heart Suckers, a funky free motion quilting design we learned a few weeks ago. First you stitch the Heart Sucker shape, then travel and echo around it to expand the design. See how it's quilted in this new video!



Are you looking for more designs to play with? How about a book where they're easy to flip through and feel inspired? Click Here to find the book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs.

Now let's learn a bit more about this Candy Rush quilting design:

Difficulty Level - Beginner - The challenging thing about this echoing consistently around the heart shape. You'll want to quilt straight lines when echoing the straight-lined areas and curves when stitching around the hearts.

This can feel a bit tricky and if it feels like your echoes are wobbling all over the place, try quilting a design like last week's Drunk Spiral quilting design which is much more forgiving and a great way to build your echo quilting skills.

Family Type - Echoing - The designs in this quilting family all work the same way: quilt a shape or set of shapes, then travel stitch a short distance away and quilt around with an echo. The number and spacing of your echoes can change this quilting design quite dramatically.

If you quilt the design on a small scale with very little space between the shapes and echoes, the design will add intense texture to your quilts.

If you quilt this design on a larger scale starting with a 4 inch long Heart Sucker shape, then quilting with at least 1/2 inch between the echoes, it will soften considerably and add a really interesting texture all over your quilt.

Where will Candy Rush work best in your quilts?

Candy Rush is a wonderfully versatile quilting design that can work in all areas of your quilts. You can shrink it down to fit into tight spaces, like around applique shapes. The one tricky thing is the heart shapes will tend to stand out, even when quilted on a small scale.

I think Candy Rush will work best as an All Over quilting design. This means you quilt the design on a really large scale and use it to cover the entire quilt. This type of quilting is fairly fast because the shapes are quilted as large as you can manage on your machine. It's also a great way of adding texture to your quilt without having to stitch in the ditch.

What do you think of this quilting design? Do you think it will look best quilted on a large or small scale? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Episode 2 - Finding Your Values

Hello My Quilting Friends! I have a new podcast episode for you today that's all about finding your core values. Core values are deeper than goals or priorities (both of which seem to change weekly or daily for me) and they tend to remain more constant through your life.

For example, a big value of mine is being creative and making things and this value has remained constant since I was very little. I don't expect this value will ever change because it feels like such a permanent part of my personality.

But here's the thing - in all the books I've read on business, marketing, soul seeking, and personal development, I rarely hear about values playing an important role in setting priorities, making good decisions, or living a happier life. 

After reading a very good book, several things clicked into place all at the right time, I now believe that understanding your values is the KEY to all of these things.

Would you like to learn more? Click the "Play" button to listen right here:



This podcast is also available on iTunes and Google Play if you'd rather listen straight from your phone. If you have an iPhone, you can find it in the Podcasts App by searching "Hello My Quilting Friends"

I hope you enjoy the new intro music! It makes me laugh and dance every time I hear it! LOL!

So what are some of your values? Do you have values that influence your quilting choices? Have you ever felt pushed to ignore your values by a friend or family member? Share your experience in the comments below!

Also if you have suggestions for new podcast episodes, I'm open to any suggestions!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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