The Free Motion Quilting Project

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Online Teaching with Laura Coia, Podcast Episode #25

Hello My Quilting Friends! It's time for a new podcast episode and this week I'm learning a lot from Laura Coia, the creator behind the Sew Very Easy YouTube channel!

If you'd just like the audio of the podcast, here's a player to listen or download the episode:

And we now have video as well! For this episode only the introduction will be live video as I share what's going on around the house. The interview with Laura will be still images of the two of us. Yes, a full video of the podcast is coming, I promise!

Now a bit about Laura Coia:

Laura is a freelance educator and pattern designer and the creator behind Sew Very Easy, her YouTube Channel that has new videos coming out every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 pm.

Her first video was about her tablecloth quilts - yes, she eats on her quilts! Honestly that's a great idea so we can see and enjoy more quilts around the house.

Laura shares videos on sewing and quilting and plans her tutorials around seasonal projects and items she's curious about and wants to create. She occasionally will publish a series of videos like her three part how to sew on buttons, but for the most part you only need to watch one video to see the entire tutorial.

Her process for creating a video is pretty simple - she gets an idea, then researches the materials required, and designs the pattern. As she's writing and planning, she's also acquiring the materials and keeps the entire project organized in a bin on her shelf.

Once the bin is filled and she has all the materials and pattern created, Laura starts making the video. It takes her about two days to create the video tutorials from start to finish. She only sews one item while making the project from beginning to end so she doesn't end up with lots of half finished projects.

She shoots with a Cannon X80 camera on a tripod with 22 lights. That sounds like a lot, but I can speak from experience - lighting is key!

Laura keeps a really chill attitude about making videos and sharing her tutorials. As she's filming, she imagines she's hanging out with her girlfriends having a fun time. Sewing and quilting is supposed to be relaxing and fun, that's the whole point!

It's perfectly fine to learn from Laura's tutorials, make the projects, and sell the items at a local craft fair. She just asks that you give her credit as the designer. So something like "Based on a design by Laura Coia Sew Very Easy" would be a good attribution to the original tutorial.

Laura doesn't have a website and doesn't want to sell stuff in addition to her YouTube channel. Her focus is 100% on running the channel and making new videos every week.

What does Laura do with all the projects she creates? She gives a lot of the projects away as gifts! If she's sewing a cute outfit for a kid, she makes sure it will fit her grandson. And that's also why she uses quilts as tablecloths - gotta find more surfaces to enjoy them!

Laura is most looking forward to seeing where her YouTube channel takes her. She loves the comments and interaction with people online and is also looking forward to writing a book too. Find Laura's Sew Very Easy channel right here.

The sponsor for the show this week is the Mega Star Walking Foot Workshop, an online quilting class where you'll learn how to piece and machine quilt this beautiful throw sized quilt from start to finish!

The best part of this workshop is it's all about walking foot quilting! Learn how to use your walking foot effectively to quilt straight lines, curves, and a giant spiral on your quilts. Along the way I share tips and tricks for dealing with common quilt issues like puckers and pleats, and how to move the quilt smoothly under the needle.

Come take a class with me and learn how to make this beautiful quilt! Click Here to learn more about this workshop.

Now for a few updates from around the house!

I finally finished puffing and closing the holes on James's puff quilt. I love the Super Mario mushroom and how thick and fluffy this quilt turned out!

But then I realized I needed to open all the puffs on the edges and remove all the stuffing because the edge was impossible to bind next to a 2 inch thick puff. So I pulled out all the fiberfill and already attached 2-inch wide borders to reinforce the outer edge of the quilt.

It was annoying, but didn't take as long as I expected. Two evenings of work while watching a silly TV show with James and we're already back on track and I should be ready to baste this quilt on Friday.

I've also been working on a few collaboration projects. Tomorrow I'll be sharing a collaboration with Laura. She pieced a free form applique block and I quilted it!

I've also created a hoop quilt from AnneMarie Chaney's Hoop Quilt Along. This is so cheerful and fun! I can't wait to quilt it!

Another thing I've been researching and debating is the photography issue for my new book. I called around and even toured photography studios in my area and the cheapest price I was quoted was $2500. Unfortunately the guy quoting that price didn't really understand quilts or seem willing to listen to how I wanted the shots framed or edited.

After much debate, Josh helped change my mind once again and now I'm planning to shoot the photos myself. I finally invested in a good camera (Nikon D3400) and we installed a special shooting area on the back of the house.

This was created with two sheets of polystyrene insulation sheeting. I use this exact same material for my design walls inside and realized it could also work outside too.

When we need to shoot quilts, I'll cover the boards with a big piece of fabric, then pin the quilt to the board nice and straight and square. No, it's not pretty and it's certainly not for everyone, but hey, it works for me and that's what counts!

So that's it for this week. I'm off to play with my new camera, shoot new videos and photos, and create fun projects to share with you. I loved this chat with Laura because it felt like talking to a kindred spirit - we both create and share videos because we love sewing and quilting and just want to share it and pass it on.

And I hope you'll pass this podcast on as well! Please share the podcast with your friends on Instagram and Facebook to help spread the word. Also if you have anyone you'd like to recommend for the podcast or you'd like to be on yourself, please post a comment below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, July 24, 2017

Quick and Easy Sixty Slice Quilt

This month's Quilty Box has arrived filled with fun gear picked by Allison Harris from!

See check out the cool tools and supplies Allison picked for us and what we're making together with her beautiful fabrics:

Click Here to find the quilt pattern for Sixty Slice.

I hope you watch all the way to the end! I got a bit tickled shooting the intro which is why my face is red at the beginning of the video. You never know what will set off a fit of the giggles!

#Affiliate - Would you like to get a box of quilting supplies and fabrics every month? Click Here to learn more about Quilty Box and start piecing a new quilt top with me every month!

My favorite part of this pattern was figuring out how to use fat eighth cuts of fabric effectively. I wanted to keep the fabric pieces large so we'd be able to appreciate the different prints.

I also wanted to play with rectangular blocks, which are a bit unusual. They're also really big and that makes piecing this block very fast!

Dad and I tag teamed this quilt and took it from plain fabric to the finished top in less than four hours - and that's with breaks for me to film videos. That is very quick and easy indeed!

Would you like to find more free quilt patterns to create quilts using fat quarters, jelly rolls, charm packs, or layer cakes? Click Here to find all the free patterns available at

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Chigger Feast 2017 and Canning Tomatoes

Nope, sorry, there is no Sit Down Quilting Sunday video today because I have just had the worst week ever.

It started with a stomach flu, then just as soon as that started to turn around, we went on a hike in the woods and I got hit by a hungry horde of chiggers.

Gotta love North Carolina woods! It's gorgeous, except for all the things that want to eat or poison you.

I'm very tempted to show you a picture of my chigger nibbled legs, but it's just too horrible. You could Google chigger bites to see pictures, but it turns out I'm very allergic to them which makes the bites swell, turn bright red, and create golf ball sized welts. Uggh.

So I haven't been feeling well and I'm behind on making videos on the Grace Qnique. I had plans to get some Wonky Christmas tree quilts pieced together this week so I could start filming and quilting them for Christmas gifts, but everything got put on hold after the hike and Chigger Feast 2017. I'm too ITCHY to quilt! Double uggh!

But I had to keep my hands busy so yesterday we canned tomatoes. Dad, Josh, James, and I have a pretty smooth system by now and we can reasonably turn 80 pounds of tomatoes into thirty jars in a day.

One problem we realized this year is we haven't been keeping notes on all the details of our canning adventures. It's a lot of little details to remember and we only can one or two days a year, and we wasted a lot of time last week forgetting to buy essential things like ice until the last minute.

So we started a canning notebook to keep with our canning supplies so we won't waste as much time next year getting back in the groove.

Now I'm off to take a cold bath and soak my itchy skin. I'll leave you with some important advice on avoiding my itchy fate:

1. Wear bug spray! If you spray your clothes as well as exposed skin, you're less likely to get bit.

2. Keep your shoes on (yeah, I know, I'm an idiot). Better yet, wear tall boots, tuck your pants down into the boots and tape around the top.

3. As soon as you're done hiking, take off all your clothes and change into fresh clothes that you kept safe in the car. Throw all the clothes you wore in a plastic bin, seal it tight, then throw it straight in the wash when you get home.

That will probably be enough to save you from being served up at the next Chigger Feast!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 21, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Pinstripes, #483

It's Friday and time for a new machine quilting design. Today I'm adding Pinstripes to the Quilting Design Gallery because this super simple design has quickly become one of my favorites!

I know, I know, you're probably thinking "that's only straight lines!" but please don't discount a quilting design just because it looks simple. Pinstripes is a terrific design to add elegant texture to your quilts, and it's very fast to quilt. See what I mean in this new video:

Would you like to learn how to quilt Pinstripes on a real quilt? Learn how in the Mega Star Walking Foot Workshop

In this online quilting workshop you'll get to see exactly how I plan and place the designs in a large quilt and tackle quilting from the center. If you're feeling confused about how to use designs or quilt a real quilt on your home machine, this is a terrific class for you. Click Here to learn more about this class.

Now let's learn a bit more about this Pinstripes machine quilting design:

Difficulty Level: Super Beginner - You really can't get easier than straight lines, but the spacing of lines closer together and further apart is what creates the Pinstripes effect. When you use this special spacing in quilts, it draws the eye inward and I find the effect very peaceful.

The best part is it's easy to space using the prongs or edges of your darning foot, or the edge of your walking foot as a guide. Yep, this design definitely works for both forms of quilting, as well as ruler foot quilting too!

Design Family: Edge to Edge - Designs like Pinstripes run from edge to edge across your quilt. This could be from ditch to ditch across a block, sashing, or border, or it could be across the entire quilt.

Some similar machine quilting designs you might want to check out include Hardwood Floors, Pine Needles, and Split Personality. All of these designs are quilted from edge to edge and use straight lines to create an elegant texture for your quilts.

Where Do I Quilt It? - Honestly I think Pinstripes can be used anywhere in your quilts, but I think the best place is in the background. Use this design to echo other shapes, or quilt it at an angle to the main focal point of the quilt.

The straight lines are very simple, but the spacing will enhance the background and draw more attention to the dominant areas of your quilt. The closer, then wider spacing creates a texture I find hard to resist.

As I've been investigating walking foot designs, I've turned my attention to simpler, straight line quilting designs and I'm loving the change. What do you think? Does Pinstripes look too simple or like a fun design to try? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Yay! and Uggh!

This week has been a weird mix of Yay! and Uggh! On the Yay! side I have a new quilting collaboration and podcast coming out next week.

How would you quilt this mini quilt? I couldn't decide for a bit, then decided to throw the kitchen sink at it with eight different designs. Let's just say I went completely over the top with the quilting and (I hope) it worked!

Be looking forward to this collaboration, podcast, and new video all next Wednesday and Thursday.

On the Uggh! side I have some kind of stomach bug that has beaten me around the block. I really hate getting sick in the summer and this was a doozie.

Thankfully I'm feeling better today and heading back out to the Crafty Cottage to film new videos and plan more fun projects. Getting sick definitely puts good health in perspective!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Machine Quilting Feathers on the Grace Qnique

Happy Sunday! Today is a very lazy day because we spent all day yesterday canning 30 quart jars of tomatoes. It was hot, sticky work, but definitely worth it to enjoy fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter. Today I'm continuing to work with food as I'm quilting another pear in my table runner with Swirling Feathers! Check out the new video on the Grace Qnique right here:

Click Here to check out the Grace Qnique 14+ machine and learn more about it.

Swirling Feathers is one of my favorite feather designs because it allows you to stitch feathers in all directions and fit them together organically. Sometimes the design has to completely break the rules to fill a quilting space consistently like around the stem of the pear shape:

This feather design is also great for sorting out excess fabric issues, which is something I'm dealing with on this quilt. If you watch the video, you'll see how the fabric begins to go baggy within the pear shape as I quilt towards the edges.

This was caused by two things - #1 Density - the background is quilted densely with collage quilting. The density of that stitching has made the fabrics very stable and secure, which causes the unquilted areas to bubble up a bit more.

#2 - Where are the pins? - I clearly basted this quilt quickly and didn't leave the pins in the pears as I quilted the background. That allowed the fabrics more leeway to shift and puddle over the pear shapes.

Is this a deal breaker? Nope, I don't think so. Quilting designs like Swirling Feathers will secure the open spaces and allow the excess fabric space to puff outward. If I end up stitching a pleat or two in the quilt top, it's not the end of the world. It's a table runner, not the Mona Lisa!

So that's it for this video! I hope you enjoyed learning how I quilted this pear shape with Swirling Feathers. I have a few other videos of quilting on this project you may like to check out:

Collage Quilting Four Designs - Learn how to quilt the four free motion quilting designs in the background of this quilt.

How to Quilt on Marked Lines - How to quilt the marked lines on printed fabric to create a cool effect.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 14, 2017

Machine Quilting Bean Sprouts, Design #482

Gosh it's hot! It's definitely feeling like July today so I plan to spend some time in the pool soaking up the sun. It also seems like a great day to stitch a new quilting design so I created Bean Sprouts:

This funky, flowing quilting design starts with a very simple Dew Drop shape. Basically a wiggly line with two tear drops on the end. Then just echo quilt around it multiple times until you get bored and move on to quilt another shape.

See how this design is quilted in this new video:

Are you looking for more inspiring quilting designs to add beautiful texture to your quilts? Click Here to find 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs, a huge book filled with hundreds of quilting designs to stitch on your home machine.

Now let's learn a bit more about quilting Bean Sprouts:

Difficulty Level: Beginner - This is a really simple design to machine quilt so long as you keep the basic rules in mind. Memorize the starting Dew Drop shape and quilt it carefully first, then all you have to do is travel stitch and echo to expand the design.

Design Family: Echoing - This family of designs will fill your quilt with a clustering effect. Basically you form the starting shape and rows of echoes, then to keep going with the design you stitch a new shape and new set of echoes.

Last week's design Cotton Candy is also an echoing design. The only difference between the two is the starting shape - Fluffy Clouds or Dew Drops!

Where Do I Quilt It? - Echoing Designs like Bean Sprouts can be quilted anywhere on your quilts. You can expand the design and quilt it on a huge scale and cover your quilt with All Over Quilting. You can also quilt it easily in blocks, sashing, or borders.

This design has a beautiful flowy texture that would also look nice in art quilts and wall hangings. You could use Bean Sprouts to add texture to a windy sky, or flowing waves.

No matter where you quilt it, this Bean Sprouts is going to add a soft, curving texture to your quilts. If you use it in your quilt, make sure to share a picture with me on the Leah Day Quilting Facebook Group!

Whew! It's time to hit the pool! What are you quilting this weekend? I'm puffing more squares of James's puff quilt and quilting walking foot samples for my new book. Learn more about both projects in this week's podcast episode here.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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