The Free Motion Quilting Project

Monday, March 19, 2018

That's a really bad sound!

How to clean and oil your sewing machine
Ever turn on your sewing machine only to find it sounding more like a meat grinder? Yeah, that's what happened to me this weekend!

I've created a new tutorial on cleaning and oiling your machine and you can find it right here.

I push my machines hard on a regular basis and in order to keep them running smoothly, I regularly service them myself. I take the base of the sewing machine apart, then brush out all the parts and apply oil.

The most common questions I get about this are about the little details: how often do you clean the machine? How often do you change needles? Where and how do you oil it?

Find all of the answers you seek right here.

This weekend was a whirlwind of ruler quilting and I've had a blast quilting my new Dresden Plate sunshine blocks. I'm still not sure about the name of this quilt. Here's the first block I finished:

Sunburst Dresden Plate Quilt Block

Sunburst? Sunshine? Sunny Day? What do you think? Please share your suggestions in the comments.

The quilt is going to be 4 super sized Dresden Plate blocks and I'm going to put the quilted blocks together like the Winter Wonderland quilt with curvy bias binding.

That's IF I can get all the blocks quilted. These are taking a LOT longer to quilt than I expected. Mostly because I start quilting in one section, then I get an idea for another section, and that takes another few hours, then I get another idea for the center...and you get the idea.

Sunburst Dresden Plate Quilt Block

But I couldn't be more in love with this gorgeous texture! Who would have thought you could do all this with 3 quilting rulers?

Just in case you missed my other post, I'm designing a set of quilting / cutting rulers with Grace Company and they will be available in April!

I plan to make this quilt all over again and shoot videos of each step, but right now the push is on to get this quilted, connected, bound, and finished by Friday so I can take it with me to a show on Saturday.

Cross your fingers! It's going to be tight!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, March 17, 2018

New Walking Foot Quilting Tutorial and Late Night Quilting

This has been one crazy week! Changing the location of quilting tutorials doesn't sound like a big deal, but yeah, it's a big deal.

Click here to find the new tutorial: How to Quilt Desert Sand.

I find that just being on the site and working on one page makes me want to work on another, then another. This is great because a lot of updating needs to happen there and it's high time I get it done.

Click Here to find a set of pages I updated with lots of new goodies!

The downside is I felt literally chained to my computer yesterday. As one page update fed into another, I kept putting off my quilting projects until...where did the day go?!

I ended up quilting until midnight, something I rarely do because I love to sleep. I went through a phase of staying up super late to quilt and it was completely unsustainable. Last night I was caught up working on my ruler quilt for Grace Company and just lost track of time.

I love, love, love this beautiful texture! This is the first quilt I'm making 100% with quilting rulers and planning the design as I go. I have kind of an idea of what I want for each block, but then when it comes to quilt it, sometimes that changes and has to adjust based on how it feels on the machine.

Yes, there will be videos! Yes, there will be a pattern!

But no, I'm not filming them right this second because this quilt needs to be Done with a capital "D" by Friday. I'll just have to make this quilt again and shoot the videos as I go. That's not my favorite way to work, but the good thing is if I mess up, I'll know what not to do for the next one.

And yes, this ruler is coming soon! This is the Mini Slide quilting ruler and it's honestly one of my favorites. It makes a very gentle curve, but it's identical on both sides which makes it so wonderful for stitching repeating lines like this without wobbling.

Be looking for this new quilting ruler, which can also be used for some very unique cutting and binding techniques too coming very soon to!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I Just Wanna Quilt!

I shared the podcast today, yes, a day late, but it's up! Click Here to find Episode 49: Quilting and Copyright with Elizabeth Townsend Gard.

Elizabeth is the host of the Just Wanna Quilt podcast which is about understanding the quilting industry with a bit of copyright and intellectual property business mixed in for fun.

I've certainly gained a different perspective on the quilting industry as a whole by listening to Elizabeth's podcast and I think you'll like it to. Click Here to find Just Wanna Quilt.

Around the house today, I was really dragging. Yesterday I thought I had food poisoning. Today I realized I just had a weird cold that included bonus GI issues. Ew!

But that seems to have leveled out now and I started feeling better about halfway through the day. I pushed myself to get out to the Crafty Cottage and finish the quilt block I was working on and start the next one.

I've also reset my upstairs sewing machine to the Juki Exceed F600. Yep, still had it hanging around downstairs for backup. I don't have an insert for it in the Quilty Table so I had to improvise a bit:

Surprisingly, this is working okay and I'm making more progress on my Twisted Squares quilt. I probably won't have it all finished by next Monday, but I'll have a lot more quilted than I did last week.

I'm going to turn on a Vampire Diaries episode to play in the background and quilt at least three blocks on that quilt to finish out the day. What are you working on this evening? I hope it's something that makes you smile!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Updating the Header! Whew!

Whew! I just changed out the header for this blog and it gave me fits getting the sizing and spacing just right. It's always scary to upload a new photo and hit "publish" only to find the image way smaller than you expected, shifted off center and looking really weird on the top of the page.

Just in case I ever need to come back and do this again: size the header a bit smaller than the width of the total blog (1200 pix worked good), then if needed wiggle the width in the advanced settings to get it just right.

I also made a new FMQ Project square logo. Again, just something that needs to update every couple of years.

I decided to use a picture of the 365 quilt I created with the first 365 free motion quilting designs shared here. I've been feeling a bit nostalgic today, just looking at some old designs and playing around with a few ideas that are taking me back to 2009.

I do have a podcast coming today, but I'm waiting on photos so it might be a bit late. It might not go up until tomorrow. I dropped the ball and forgot to ask for photos last week and didn't realize they weren't in the folder until late last night.

But that's okay! I'm glad I had a chance to do this little update and tool around a bit on the blog. I'm not feeling well (unhappy stomach) so I think it's time for a break, a cup of tea, and some time drawing at the kitchen table.

We also released the Super Squares and Sashing Workshop today. This quilting class is all about learning how to quilt designs into different spaces in your quilts. Click Here to check it out.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sock Darning Tutorial and Sneak Peek

Whew! It's been a really long filming day. I shot the podcast intro for tomorrow and began working on new videos for a quilt along I'll be sharing this fall with Sheri Cilfaldi-Morrill. Here's a little sneak peek of the block I was working on:

I love these beautiful batik fabrics! Can we just skip the next 5 months and go straight to August? I'm really looking forward to sharing this project and showing you more sneak peeks as it develops.

Now for something that's up and ready for you to enjoy. Click Here to check out the sock darning tutorial!

I'm so happy to be able to fix the holes in my socks so I can keep wearing them. It makes no sense to throw away a perfectly good sock just because the heel has a hole in it.

Now I'm off for a cup of tea and a tiny bit of Zelda playing before dinner. I hope you've had a beautiful day!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Uggh...time changed...

Today was like this ugly darned sock.
It's fixed, but it's still ugly.

Well, maybe it wasn't THAT bad...
Daylight Savings Time began today. Uggh! I hate losing an hour in the spring because suddenly it feels so much harder to wake up early and get the day started.

On the weeks I take James to the bus stop I get up at 5:45 am. Yes, I like my sleep, but I also love to write and by waking up that early, I get to write at the kitchen table for around an hour before anyone else wakes up.

I already knew it would be an Uggh Day because one of my machines broke last night. I was quilting along happily, playing a silly Vampire Diaries episode in the background and suddenly the needle stopped catching the bobbin thread.

I broke thread and switched the machine to piecing. Still no go. The needle would drop, but didn't catch the bobbin thread at all.

Then the needle stopped going down. Umm...what???

I pulled on it and like a loaded spring, it just jumped back to the up position. This happened once before on this particular machine, but the glitch only lasted for a minute or so. I gave it a stern talking-to and it magically stopped glitching and went back to being an awesome machine.

Well no matter of yelling or sweet talking got her working again this time. To the shop with you!

Other than losing an hour and my upstairs machine, the day was nice. I shot a sock darning tutorial I'll share tomorrow, played a good bit of Zelda, and hung out with my guys. Give it a week and the time change won't matter a bit.

Let's go quilt (or go reset all your clocks),

Leah Day

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Chill Zelda Day

I'm finishing up the last pages of the Super Squares and Sashing Workshop today and fiddling with layout and design. This is one of those things that is tedious, but I actually enjoy arranging photos and text boxes on the page. It's kind of like quilt design and it's a bit of a puzzle to put together so the pages look as nice as possible.

After staring at the computer screen for a good while, I took a break with James to play some Zelda. I've been a die hard Nintendo Zelda fan ever since getting Links Awakening for Christmas in 5th grade. I even dress up like Zelda for comic book conventions!

Right now I'm exploring the incredible world of Breath of the Wild, which is the most awesome Zelda / Nintendo game ever! Just finished beating a massive labyrinth and shrine and can now go get more hearts and stamina.

I do have videos to film and quilts to quilt, but it's nice to kick back and relax and solve puzzles and hit things with swords for an hour or two. What are you working on today? I hope you're having a very relaxed Saturday!

Let's go quilt (or kill more Chu Chus and Gardians),

Leah Day

Help us create more quilting tutorials! Check out our quilt shop at