Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fun Mini Blog Hop with Kimberly Einmo

This is the best combination ever: a new friend, quilting, questionable quilting design choices, and ultimately a beautiful quilt!

This is the combo I've made with Kimberly Einmo, a great new friend and fellow Craftsy instructor. We "met" during a Craftsy webinar and decided to work together on this blog hop project.

Kimberly pieced the top and definitely click here to check out her blog and get the details on how she put this cool block together!
If the pattern looks familiar it's the Variable Pinwheel Lone Star bonus design from her class Magical Quilt Blocks Out of the Box.

I love this class because it shows how many blocks you can create from simple elements: half square triangles, diamonds, flying geese and more, and you can put them all together to make a fantastic quilt in the end!

So Kimberly sent me the quilt and I decided to be adventurous! I wanted to experiment and do wild fun things with this quilt! The star was easy enough to knock out with diamonds and triangles quilted over the star points and dense designs from my class Free Motion Fillers Volume 2 stitched over to fill in the backgrounds with texture.

I love to have tons of open space to play with different quilting designs and the background for this block was just perfect. Rather than test out a few ideas, I jumped in with my first brilliant idea - ripples of water like the star has just been plunged into the ocean.

I also decided to trapunto the quilt so the ripply water effects would stand out even more against the denser quilted background. The picture above is the back side of the quilt after I've stitched and clipped the trapunto - pretty puffy eh? You can learn this awesome Trapunto technique in Patsy Thompson's class Ultimate Free Motion Quilting.

Needless to say, I soon came to an abrupt stop when I stepped back from the quilt and....what?!....WHAT HAVE I DONE?!

Kimberly emailed me around this time just checking on the progress. Um? Sorry - I've RUINED IT!

I was too far in to rip so I had to go with it and admit I wasn't completely happy with my choices. Fortunately Kimberly was not only super accepting of my design, she also found it funny! She said she had questioned her fabric choices too, so really we were both rather unhappy with the quilt.

We debated through various emails whether to start all over with a new color combo and a design...

Eventually we both hit the brick wall known as the FALL and multiple deadlines, back to school stuff, appointments, and catastrophes fell our way. Recreating this whole project just to make it "perfect" was not an option. We had to be happy with the quilt as it was.

Ultimately I think this is a great lesson - I'm not perfect, and I don't make perfect choices every time. I make guesses, fly in too fast, and sometimes end up with less-than-perfect results. My thread color was the biggest problem on the quilt - it blended too closely with the fabric color in the center star and didn't provide enough contrast to make the star pop.

Another lesson learned -  when you want to accent the piecing, try not to blend with it!

Fortunately as more quilting filled the background, the little wiggly shapes looked less and less like sperm and more like the ripples in water I'd originally envisioned:

Now that it's finished, I LOVE this little quilt and the testament to learning, friendship, and adventure it contains!

The best thing about this project? It wouldn't have happened without Craftsy, the awesome online learning platform which connects quilting instructors to students around the world and around the clock.

In honor of our first joint project, Kimberly and I have decided to give away one Craftsy class of your choice. Simply comment on my blog, then click here and comment on Kimberly's blog to be entered to win!

We will pick the winners Tuesday, November 4th and send the free class links via email.

And just in case you don't win the free class, you can still save 50% on all of Kimberly's classes listed below:
And of course, I have to finish up with a Casual Cam Quilting video so you can see the quilt in person:

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Announcing 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs from Leah Day'm so happy to announce we've made our most popular book available for online purchase directly from us - 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs!

Inside you will find a high quality photo of each meticulously stitched design; every single one of the 365 filler designs have been stitched out in painstaking detail, no computerized images here.

Please note this is not a primer on free motion quilting basics: instead, this book is an inspirational companion and the largest collection of free motion quilting designs ever published. This new second edition offers a spiral binding to help the book lay flat next to your sewing machine.

Challenge yourself to memorize--not mark--a new design every day for a year. Stitch the designs exactly as shown or mix it up by creating your own variations. There is no limit to the possibilities!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to Bind a Quilt by Machine

Whoo hoo! I'm getting such a thrill seeing all the beautiful quilts being finished and posted to the Building Blocks Facebook Group! There are so many beautiful fabric choices and all of them look just amazing.

So today is the FINAL day - the day we wrap it all up by binding the edges of the quilt so it's officially finished.

For this particular quilt I decided to bind mine and Josh's entirely by machine because it's super speedy and I was able to complete the process within a day or so. You can also machine finish the edge exactly as I show you how to finish the corners, it just takes a lot more time!

So that's it! You now have the connection method detailed right here in this Quilt As You Go post and this machine binding method as well. I'm so looking forward to seeing all the beautiful finished quilts posted to Facebook and also hopefully posted here on our Building Blocks Gallery page.

Yes, I have to admit I'm a bit happy / sad here at the end of this 10 month project. On the one hand it is honestly a relief to be done with this quilt. I'm definitely NEVER going to make another blue and black quilt EVER again! Lol!
This finish is also making me a bit sad because it's been so fun to see so many quilters build skills, ask questions, and support one another so kindly online. We have an amazing community of quilters in the Building Blocks Facebook Group and it's been a delight to share and learn right along with you all year.

In case you're worried, yes, this group will be staying open for everyone that is just starting this project. The Building Blocks Pattern will remain available in our quilt shop so you can still join in and get started anytime.

Until next time...Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quilt As You Go Connecting Building Blocks

It's finally, finally, finally time to CONNECT our BLOCKS! Yes, we've pieced and free motion quilted through 42 blocks, learned loads and gained many new skills with this Building Blocks Quilt!
Now it's time to put those skills to the test with this Quilt As You Go connection method. No, this isn't a hard technique to learn, but it does require preparation, attention to detail, and patience. To start, you first need to trim all of your blocks to 8 inches square.

Yes, you may trim through the outline of your block, but most likely your blocks have shrunk slightly to fit within the 8 inch size. Either way it doesn't matter. Center the quilted section under your ruler and cut carefully and accurately.

quilt as you go blocks
Yes, you will also have a lot of waste. No one ever said Quilt As You Go was frugal! I've already heard a lot of ideas on the Facebook Group on using the scraps for dog and kitty beds so feel free to reuse them as you can.

Once all 42 blocks are trimmed, take some time to prepare your binding. This is crucial. Please take your time and if you really want an easier experience, starch your fabric TWICE before cutting. You will be a happier camper if you do!

quilt as you go binding
Now at this point I think it's time for a video to get the nitty gritty, up close and personal visual demonstration of this Quilt As You Go technique:

Yes, I machine pieced and machine finished each strip with a simple straight stitch. Here's what the front and back looked like on my finished quilt:

quilt as you go binding
Binding on the Front
quilt as you go quilt
Binding on the Back
Yes, I used contrasting binding from the back of my quilt, and I loved the effect! Don't be afraid of contrasting colors - it's cool!

quilt as you go binding
It's important to note that you do have other options here. The Building Blocks Pattern breaks down the amount of binding for the front, back, and sides, so if you want, you can match the binding color with your backing fabric.

However, if you use this machine finished method, you will have stitching showing on the back of your binding. You could finish each binding strip by hand, which results in a completely flat, seamless stitchless appearance on the front and back. I did this on my quilt 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs and just a warning - it's friggin time consuming!

It might not seem so bad when connecting the blocks into rows, but when you start connecting the rows together, trust me, you will wish you had done it all by machine.

So now let's tackle that part - how to connect the rows together of our Quilt As You Go Quilt!

The rows will come together easier if you have starched the binding strips twice because the fabric will have less play and won't want to wiggle like crazy as you stitch the longer seams.

As the rows come together, it will help to have your machine in a flat bed table or at least pull up a small table nearby to rest the weight of the quilt on. The hardest seam will be the last one where the quilt is nearly at full size and the weight will fight the hardest against you.

Of course, a quilt isn't completely finished without the binding. Check back here tomorrow to see the final binding video so you can finish the edges of your Building Blocks quilt completely!

So that is it! I really hope you've enjoyed this Building Blocks Quilt Along and have learned loads throughout this process. I have certainly learned loads myself about teaching, connecting with so many people at once, and managing a project this massive!

Make sure to link up your finished quilt right here on the Building Blocks Gallery Page and share your experience making it. If you don't have a blog, you can always upload a photo to Pinterest instead.

So what has been the #1 thing you've learned in this project? Are you ready to branch out and start quilting all the quilts you've pieced? Are you looking for what's next?

Don't worry! We'll have a new quilt along cranking up in December filled with beautiful new designs, applique butterflies, and lots more to learn in 2015.

Sign up for our newsletter so you'll get the best deal on the new Dancing Butterfly Quilt pattern when it first launches!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Casual Cam - Princess Zelda Costume

You know the most frustrating thing about creating videos and teaching online? It's not really REAL time. Everything I do has to be planned in advance so whatever I'm passionate about RIGHT NOW has to wait at least a few weeks before the videos are edited and everything is ready to go live.

So I've decided to start shooting a new series of What's Leah Sewing / Quilting Right Now? These casual cam videos will be super simple - just Josh grabbing one camera and me chatting about what I'm working on and some review of the posts we've had during the week.

Let's get the ball rolling with the first video about my Princess Zelda costume!

Whatcha think? Let me know if you like this new type of video and we'll definitely make more each week!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, October 25, 2014

54. Quilt Stippling and Echoes in a Slash Star

It's finally here! The LAST BLOCK for the Building Blocks Quilt!

We're getting our last bit of free motion quilting practice with the designs Stippling, Wiggly U shapes, and Echoes in this Slash Star. We've practiced these designs a lot this year, and I hope by now you feel very confident quilting them on your last block!

Josh was also very excited to be finishing up his last block and we talked a lot about the project and how much his skills have changed over the course of this year.

 YES! You can STILL get started on this project right now--the videos will ALWAYS be available, you get the entire pattern immediately without having to wait for monthly installments, and new quilters are starting the Quilt Along daily and sharing their progress on our super active and fun Facebook group.

So what have you learned about free motion quilting this year? Which block was your favorite and which was your least favorite?

The main #1 goal of this entire project was to teach absolute beginners how to piece AND free motion quilt. We've learned so many techniques: accurate piecing, pressing seams open, half square triangles, flying geese, paper piecing, improvisational piecing, quilting on a marked lines, and free hand free motion quilting.

I sincerely hope that this project has taught you loads about quilting, helped you build new skills, and given you the confidence to quilt all of your quilts yourself!

Of course, the project isn't completely over yet - we still need to connect all the blocks together Quilt-As-You-Go style to create the finished quilt. Make sure to swing back on Monday to learn how that method works so you can finish your quilt next week!

Let's go quilt!

Leah  and Josh Day

Friday, October 24, 2014

#438 - Free Motion Quilt Octopus Legs

Whew! I feel like I've been slaving away at the computer all day. I've been doing a lot of housekeeping - creating invoices, polishing up my Youtube channel, getting distracted with funny videos from channels I love, etc, etc, etc.

This is one of the things I love and hate about being online so much - on the one hand I feel like I've gotten loads accomplished, but on the other hand my quilts downstairs are not going to complete themselves so I'd better get my work done and get off this computer so I can go stitch something!

So here's a new design for this week - Octopus Legs - long wiggly tentacles that will fill your quilts with absolutely gorgeous texture:

Lately I've been changing up how I shoot photos and including a little slip of embroidered fabric with either or placed at the bottom. Whatcha think?

I usually find edited photos with a little copyright symbol annoying and I hate having to spend MORE time on the computer to edit every single photo to put that bit of text in. Shooting this way, I can slip in my websites without having to do any extra work and when the photo gets shared and linked up as I love them to, it's easy to see where you can find more info about that design.

I've also been working on my YouTube thumbnails, which does add more computer time, but I think it's worth it. I certainly like seeing the design front and center rather than a blurry shot of my hands. See what I mean?

Hmm...Octopus Legs...this definitely requires more photos! Josh, James and I actually saw a real octopus for the first time at Sea Life aquarium in Charlotte. It was so still that I nearly missed it perched up at the top of the tank:

Then it was fed and it's legs started to move in the coolest way across the surface of the water. Undulating is a great word to describe it, but it might not do enough justice. Suffice it to say octopi are now one of my favorite creatures!

So that's it for Octopus Legs! Do you have any questions about this free motion quilting design? Where do you plan to use it in your quilts? Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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