Friday, September 4, 2015

Patchwork Play - How to Piece a Four Patch Block

I've been in the mood to piece lately and decided to shoot a fun video on how to piece a four patch block!
A four patch is a great block to get started with because it's so simple - four squares come together with matching seams in the middle. It's super simple cutting and piecing, and the patchwork blocks can be combined together in so many ways to create unique, beautiful quilts.

Let's learn how to piece a four patch block in this video:



I had SO much fun making this video and trying stop motion animation for the first time! The section with the blocks dancing around was created by clearing the table and moving the blocks a little at a time, then snapping a picture for each frame. It was fun to do and has definitely given Josh some ideas for filming funny Lego videos!
 Here's the specific piecing directions for this Four Patch quilt block: 

Cut 2 - 3 1/2-inch squares in cream fabric (I used Island Batik Cream)
Cut 2 - 3 1/2-inch squares in teal fabric (I used Island Batik Bermuda)

Piece the cream squares to the teal squares. Press your seam allowances open, then match the seams in the middle and piece the two units together. Give the block a final press, then make a bunch more for fun!

As you can see, there's a lot of quilt layout options when it comes to four patch blocks. I typically see these arranged in a patchwork checkerboard, but there's a lot more that you can do just by rotating a few blocks to create a totally different arrangement.

Did you enjoy learning more about patchwork? What other funky ways can we change this block to give it a new look? I have a feeling I'm going to need to play with patchwork a lot this month!

Now for the equally important question - how would you QUILT this block? 

Join in the fun of the Leah Day Quilting Facebook Group. This week I'm challenging everyone to piece a four patch and quilt it in a creative way. Post your creatively quilted four patch by next Friday to share it with the group!

Looking for even more tips on precision piecing? Learn all the steps to piecing perfectly with matching seams every time in the book How to Piece Perfect Quilts!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wholecloth Quilting Fun

http://www.leahday.com/shop/product/heart-wholecloth/
 Yes, I definitely use wholecloth and fun in the same title!

I've loved wholecloth quilts for many years, ever since first seeing one at a quilt guild meeting. I was obsessed with the idea of being able to make a quilt without piecing or applique, but I just couldn't escape the idea that this was cheating...

No, it's definitely not cheating!

 Wholecloth quilting is actually a very traditional technique where marked, usually symmetrical motifs are made to puff over a flatter, more densely stitched background.

The method to make certain areas of the quilt puffy with extra batting is called Trapunto, pictured below.
http://www.leahday.com/shop/product/heart-wholecloth/

One of my favorite things to do is kick back with a big quilt and clip the batting for trapunto. It's honestly the most relaxing thing in the world, so long as I have a good pair of sharp scissors.

Inspired by my love of clipping and trapunto, a few years ago I designed a simple wholecloth and taught many beginner quilters the basic steps to this unique quilting style.

Now we've updated this simple pattern to create the Heart & Feather Wholecloth Video Workshop.
http://www.leahday.com/shop/product/heart-wholecloth/
 
We've included 10 videos in our new workshop to guide you through every step of making a beautiful wholecloth quilt. This video workshop will teach you how to:
  • Prepare your fabric and mark the wholecloth design
  • Add extra puff to your quilt with trapunto
  • Master the three dense filler designs that will make your motifs pop
  • How to fill the quilt in the most logical and fastest way possible
  • Finish your wholecloth with step-by-step blocking and binding

Are you unsure if wholecloth quilting is really for you? The best thing about this project is its small size and simple design.

The Heart & Feather Wholecloth quilt finishes at 16 inches square.

This is one wholecloth project you can jump into and not get bogged down with month and months of tedious quilting.

It will give you a taste for this quilting style without becoming overwhelming.

Click here for more information about our new Video Workshop, The Heart and Feather Wholecloth Quilt.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Quilting the Dream Goddess Part 2

I caught the most horrible cold this week, which was really unfortunate since I was planning to shoot new quilting videos. Gah! Right now I sound like a cross between a massive bull frog and chain smoking 60 year old man. Seriously! My father-in-law called yesterday and thought he got the wrong number when I croaked out my weird "Hello."

I'm feeling much better, but I still can't film today. I can share some pretty photos of my pretty Dream Goddess who is back on the machine after going to jail for a solid month:

goddess quilt | Leah Day
Why was Dreamy in jail? Partly because I was getting dead bored of all the feathers in her hair. She has three solid layers of hair filled with hundreds of feathers and...there's only so much of the same repetitive design that I can take. I'm channeling my inner feather nerd with this quilt, but too much of anything makes Leah a dull girl.
goddess quilt | Leah Day
So I was ready for a break and I also had videos for a new video workshop to create. It was a nice timing coincidence and I didn't feel guilty for abandoning Dreamy for wholecloth quilts for the last month.

I figured by the time I finished the videos for this new video workshop, I'd probably be in the mood to knock out the last layer of Dreamy's hair. Surprise, surprise, it worked! I'm neck deep in feathers again and couldn't be happier.
Dream Goddess Quilt | Leah Day
It's not always easy to balance quilting for work and quilting for my personal enjoyment. Back when I first began my business, I thought I would only quilt what I wanted to quilt, whenever I felt like quilting it.

It's taken me a few years to find a balance and be willing to trade off between projects like this. The hardest thing for me is not flying through a project, pedal to the metal. While I like to THINK the finished quilt is what makes me happy, really it's the journey of stitching out every detail that is really the point.

quilted goddess | Leah Day
It's wonderful that this particular quilt is allowing me so much space and freedom as I create her. Dream Goddess is exactly that - how your dreams and thoughts manifest themselves to create your life. What I've focused on the most while creating this quilt is figuring out an answer to that question - What do you really want?

I know now what I don't want: I don't want to travel. I don't want to be in a different city every month. I feel totally crazy and out of my element when I'm bouncing around so much, and it's not good for my family either.

I've felt a lot of pressure for years to travel and be in a million places every year. I'm already preparing myself for the hundreds of questions this fall "Are you going to quilt market? Will I see you in Houston?" Nope. Definitely not.

For the longest time I felt like I SHOULD like to travel. Aren't all successful, independent, entrepreneurial women into traveling? Shouldn't I want more than my small home in my small NC town?

I think the message this quilt was bringing me the whole time is that no - I don't have to like those things, or be someone different. I'm enough doing what I'm doing, being who I want to be, even if that is the simple goal to be a great wife and mother and online teacher.

And now that I've figured that out, I think it's actually a harder thing to do. It's harder to stay simple and small. It's really hard to say "No" to the options and ideas that will complicate our lives, or make me disappear from my home for days or a whole week at a time.

I want to create is a peaceful, happy home. That is the landscape I'm focusing on, dreaming of, and actively creating every single day.

dream goddess quilt | Leah Day
So what do you focus on every day? What kind of landscape are you creating every day?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, August 28, 2015

Quilty Box Challenge - Cute Coaster Project

I received my August Quilty Box last week and I was so excited by the cool gear inside!

 This box included the book Sweet Tweets by Erin Cox, which is a super cute quilting box filled with raw-edge appliqued birds that are thread sketched with black thread to give them a unique appearance.

This box also included thread, yarn, a crochet hook, precut 5" squares of fabric, and batting...so I instantly thought of creating a cute coaster for my table. See how I did it in this video:



I did have to use French Fuse, Lite Steam-a-Seam 2, and black embroidery thread in addition to the materials in the Quilty Box. I have so much of this gear laying around that I'm feeling really tempted to make a whole set of cute apple coasters for the table!

This project only took around 2 hours to complete, and that was because I had to film myself making it. I really enjoyed combining so many different techniques and teaching crochet. Do you feel inspired to give crochet a try now?

Definitely check out Quilty Box if you'd like to receive a box of cool gear each month and have the challenge to make something fun with it. Time to get quilty!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Ruler Quilting Class with Amy Johnson!

At MQX this year I saw so many awesome longarm rulers and found many companies that are bringing ruler quilting to home sewing machines. Of course I brought home a ton of rulers to play with, but how do I use them?

Thankfully Craftsy is on the ball and has found the best ruler work teacher, Amy Johnson, to create a new class: Quilting with Rulers on a Home Machine. What an awesome class! It just launched yesterday and already I understand this new world of quilting so much better!

http://www.craftsy.com/ext/LeahDay_5270_CP
A few weeks ago Amy shared an interview with me, and now it's my turn to interview her about quilting, teaching, and this new exciting class. 

Welcome Amy! Can you share a bit about yourself and your wonderful blog to get started?

Thanks Leah. I began quilting in my teens even though there were no quilters in my family. My mother had taught me to use an old Singer and we had done a little garment sewing together, but she was not a sewing enthusiast. Once she taught me the basics, I was forging ahead on my own. My mom was a thoroughly modern working woman, and I perplexed her with my interest in sewing, cooking, horses and farming.

Sewing and creating with needle and thread continued to be a presence occasionally as a young adult, but it wasn’t until I had children that quilting became my go-­to hobby. All of a sudden, the only thing in my life that stayed done was stitching. Laundry, dishes, housework, they never stayed done, but my stitching gave me a sense of accomplishment and a creative outlet.

http://www.craftsy.com/ext/LeahDay_5270_CPThen my husband was diagnosed with a rare cancer and things got very scary. One year later he was declared cancer­ free and I had passed hours upon hours in doctor’s offices and hospitals drawing my quilting designs. Drawing improved my quilting immensely and I credit the occasional escape of quilting to helping to keep myself together during that time.

I started blogging December of 2010 (see Amy's awesome blog here), just to share my work, or my quilting adventures as I like to call them, just as my hubby was undergoing chemo. When I started blogging, my kids had just turned 1, 4, and 6 and we had 4 more months of chemo to get through. I was a wreck, but quilting and blogging really did help get me through that time.

As I began to gain skill and the blog grew in readership, I began not just sharing my projects, but sharing tips. I had no idea that my blog would eventually be so well received. I have received wonderful comments from all over the world and while they thank me for teaching them, I still feel like I’m just sharing what I do, and their comments bring me great joy. Quilters really are the most wonderfully encouraging people!

What made you interested in free motion quilting in particular?

Because I liked that feeling of having something finished and staying that way, I wanted to speed things up. Up until this point I was a hand quilter and almost felt that machine quilting was ‘cheating’.

It wasn’t until I saw some gorgeous, top­notch, award­-winning machine quilting that I realized that there was a massive amount of skill and artistry involved. I finally experimented with machine quilting. When I figured out free motion quilting was like drawing with needle and thread, I was hooked.

Because I hadn’t already been piecing a lot of quilts, I found myself doing more applique and whole cloth quilts which gave me room and freedom to make the quilting really shine. It suited my free­-spirited nature since I favored free flowing designs and the graphic nature of the stitching itself over the precision of piecing. I’ve become a better piecer over time, but I still see creating a top as a canvas for my quilting.

Do you mostly quilt on a home sewing machine? Have you ever quilted on a longarm?

http://www.freemotionquiltingadventures.com/Because I couldn’t get away to take classes in person, I turned to the internet. When I found videos of long arm quilters, I was fascinated. I loved their style and it seemed so effortless. I was even encouraged to long arm as a business, but a long arm was not in my future; small house, small kids, small budget.

I have tried stitching on a long arm a time or two, but it feels so out of control to me compared to the control I have at my sewing machine. I’ve enjoyed quilting on a variety of sit down long arm machines too and they are wonderful, but I continue to stitch on a sewing machine.

Granted, it’s now a nice Janome 8200 which has 11 inches to the right of the needle. It was a big step for me to move to a larger machine. I didn’t want my readers and students to think that they needed a big machine to do free motion quilting.

What do you think the biggest challenge is for us teaching free motion quilting?

The biggest challenge is to convince students that there’s nothing to fear from free motion quilting, and that it’s a skill only developed by practice. Those long hours I spent doodling quilting designs helped me immensely.

Beginners are afraid to mess up their quilts and aren’t sure where to stitch next when quilting. Drawing and working on practice pieces address both of those fears.

So tell me about your awesome new Craftsy class! I hear it's about quilting with rulers!

I am so excited about my class, Quilting With Rulers on a Home Machine. I’ve had blog readers asking for an online class for some time. Even though I’ve got quite a few YouTube videos available, I haven’t been able to go into the detail with them like I can in this class.

http://www.craftsy.com/ext/LeahDay_5270_CP
Using rulers on a stationary machine (whether a sewing machine or sit down long arm) is an adaptation I developed from a common long arm technique. It was made possible from discovering a ruler foot made for a frame system could actually be used on my sewing machine.

This allowed me to safely guide my free motion quilting with a ruler along my free motion foot. Best of all, you don’t have to be an advanced level quilter to use the technique. You only need to be comfortable with the basics of moving the quilt sandwich under the machine.

Advanced quilters love how ruler work creates the structure or bones of the design from which they can build upon with their regular free motion work. Newer quilters enjoy having the rulers guide them where to go next as they follow the edge of the ruler.

What made you want to use longarm rulers on a domestic machine?

Having been a fan of traditional hand quilting designs, and seeing these designs recreated by longarmers with the aid of rulers, I wanted to try it with my sewing machine. I loved how crosshatching, swags, and other line­based designs combined with feathers and fillers for a beautiful effect but I hated doing a lot of measuring and marking in order to create similar designs on my sewing machine with a walking foot or regular free motion quilting.

Ruler work allows such great design opportunities. First of all, it makes straight lines incredibly straight and curves are nice and smooth. It helps give a quilt structure and ‘resting places’ for the eyes. Ruler work also yields beautiful designs without necessarily being as dense as a lot of jaw­dropping free motion work.

http://www.craftsy.com/ext/LeahDay_5270_CP

What is your number one goal with teaching quilting?

My number one goal is to take the fear out of free motion quilting and encourage my students’ creativity.

What question do you get asked the MOST?

Right now with ruler work, the biggest question is what foot to use with rulers on various brands of sewing machine. But there are several sources for these feet listed on my blog here.

Beyond that, the next question is where do I go next? That question is often answered by encouraging students to draw their designs with an eye for what I call mapping. Mapping is figuring out how to change directions when quilting a design to get where you need to go.

What question do you wish you were asked more often?

That’s easy! I want them to ask, “What’s next?” When they ask that question, I know they feel a measure of confidence with what they are currently doing and are ready to move on to something new or take their quilting to the next level.

If you had no quilts in process, no projects in the works, what would you want to start fresh right now?

That is the hardest question you’ve asked, Leah! I’ve got so many projects in the works, quilts unfinished, and projects I want to make that I have trouble looking ahead with a fresh eye.

I’d probably sit down with a quilt sandwich made from a single piece of a beautiful solid fabric, mark a few registration lines to create a scaffold with rulers and then quilt to my heart’s content.

Beyond quilting, I feel like I’ve just started a fresh new season of my life as the kids are now all in school, my quilting business is expanding in ways I never imagined, my husband is healthy and so encouraging, I’ve got a wonderful community of online quilty friends, and life is good.

Life is good! I love Amy's perspective on quilting and I hope you've enjoyed learning more about this awesome quilting teacher. Click Here to check out Amy's new class and save 25% on your class pass.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, August 24, 2015

Free Motion Quilting Hot Path #450

Today we're going to free motion quilt our 450th design in the Free Motion Quilting Project! Can you believe we've done so many?

This is a cute, edge to center design which would work great in both sashing and borders. Let's take a look at how to free motion quilt this pretty design:



Hot Path is an Edge to Center design, which makes it perfect for narrow spaces. I decided to stitch it into a long, skinny rectangle similar to sashing, but you could easily use it in blocks or borders too. Where do you plan to try Hot Path?

Find so much more machine quilting inspiration in the book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs, which showcases 365 of our 450 beautiful free motion quilting designs!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Flowing Leaves Table Runner

Fall is a great time for leaf designs of all shapes and sizes, so I used that as my inspiration for the latest issue of Quiltmaker Magazine!

This table runner pattern is very easy with simple piecing and very quick fusible applique leaves. I decided to finish the applique edges with a blanket stitch after the table runner was basted so I could flow straight into echoing the leaf shapes with my walking foot.

This project ended up taking only a few hours to complete, and is such a beautiful addition to our table! Watch how I quilted the leaves and background in this video:



Find the Flowing Leaves Table Runner pattern in the Sept / Oct 2015 issue of Quiltmaker Magazine.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
Related Posts with Thumbnails