This and That

Random bits of my life

Free Machine Quilting and Leah Day

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 4, 2011

First attempt at free-form machine stitching

I dug up my old darning foot and did a little experimenting a couple days ago. Near the end of the exercise I started to feel comfortable with the process, by speeding up the machine speeding and focusing on the hand coordination. Now I see how those special “gripping” gloves would really make a difference!

I picked up some excellent tips from Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Project, especially the Start Here page.

She has a wealth of information available and sells some truly useful products for reasonable prices, like quarter-inch piecing feet, generic darning feet, gloves, teflon sheet, and bobbin case liners. Although I have a darning foot already, I bought her generic foot because it’s plastic and see-through. I found it difficult to see what I was doing with my metal foot. The navigation on the site leaves something to be desired, so if you see a product you like (like the gloves or presser feet), you will have to click your way from links embedded here and there on her blog. She doesn’t have a well-developed navigation system for her shop. The shipping to Israel was very reasonable, about $6 for a bundle of things. She accepts PayPal and credit cards.

Leah Day started the Free Motion Machine Quilting Project because she was so bored with stippling (translation for non-quilters: quilting stitch (the stitching that holds together the sandwich of a backing, batting, and a top) that meanders around in S-shaped curves, never crossing. She has posted hundreds of free designs, with videos. What I find mind-boggling is the ease with which she sews these complex shapes.

Take her Moon Feathers design, for example. Most mere mortals would be gritting their teeth and holding their breath while creating this design. She makes it look like meditation, as easy as breathing! I applaud her generosity in sharing her designs and expertise and am happy to support her shop.

5 Responses to “Free Machine Quilting and Leah Day”

  1. pam said

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing Leah Day and her Free Motion Quilting project. Once I get past the holidays, I will take some time to really dive in and enjoy and learn! Free motion quilting appeals to me so much more than standard sandwiching techniques. I tried a little bit of it on the big quilt i made for Diane and you are right – speed is the answer. But sooooo scary! At least until you get past being perfect!!

    Hope you are planning to share some of your work soon!

  2. Debbie said

    Heh! Another addict!

    Two good reasons that Leah makes it look so easy is that she has thousands of hours of practice AND she works on a top of the line Janome machine. Makes a big difference.

    BTW, your plata cover came out great! Very pretty. Where did you get the scorch free lining fabric? Locally? I certainly have plenty of old towels! My son takes any towel out of the closet to cover the food. It would be a good idea to make something nice. Next time do the binding by machine. There are easy ways of making a clean finish by machine. No sense in struggling.

    • Avital said

      Thanks, Debbie! I figured Leah had a lot of practice. Sometime I will ask you how you do the binding by hand. I saw one of Leah’s videos, although she uses a blind-hem stitch (my machine only does straight and zigzag).

      The scorch-resistant lining fabric came from Bad Ratz in Talpiot. It’s quite wide, so a half-meter was enough for two plata covers.

  3. Leah Day said

    Thank you for sharing the free motion quilting project on your blog Avital! I created the project just to experiment with creating new designs and it has really blown up into so much else.

    And for anyone interested in Debbie’s comment – yes, I have logged over 10,000 hours on my sewing machine, and I do largely sew on a Janome Horizon 7700, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do this on a cheaper machine or with less experience. Just jump in with both feet and make it fun and your stitches will improve every single day!


    • Avital Pinnick said

      Thank-you for visiting my blog and commenting, Leah! You’ve turned your site into a wonderful resource for free-motion quilting. Keep up the great work!

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