I am happy to introduce Leah Day, as our May FMQ Expert, for the 2012 Free Motion Quilting challenge. I’ve found Leah to be a beautiful young woman, who loves to share and inspire others to quilt. She may not realize it, but she also is an excellent Angel on Earth, as she continually touches the hearts of others, as she shares her enthusiasm for life, love of quilting, along with her core value of being a good person that strives to always do good!
SewCalGal is truly honored to have this busy woman as one of our FMQ Experts in this challenge and I hope you too fall in love with Leah Day.
Leah caught the quilting bug, about 8 years ago, when she got married and decided she wanted to make a Wedding Ring Quilt, using scrap fabric from her wedding dress. On her quilting journey, she learned about free-motion quilting through the internet, as well as from books & DVDs by Karen McTavish and Sharon Schamber. With practice, and her enthusiasm to learn FMQ, she quickly mastered free-motion quilting and the ability to learn, as well as create new designs easily.
In her effort to share her insights, teach and inspire others, she launched the The Free Motion Quilting Project where she created video tutorials and shared insights on 365 different free motion quilting designs, over a period of 365 days. Shortly after this project, she launched a FMQ Quilt-Along ,which SewCalGal definitely recommends to any quilter interested in learning/improving their FMQ skills to participate in. Each Wednesday a Leah publishes a video lesson, and you have an opportunity to try out the ideas, then link up your progress on her blog.
Leah has written and published some excellent books and DVDs, which SewCalGal highly recommends. These include:
From Daisy to Paisley: 50 Beginner Free Motion Quilting Designs
“Feathers to Flames: 60 Intermediate Quilting Designs”
“Beginner Free Motion Quilting Filler Designs” DVD
These books and DVDs, as well as various combo collections, and many other great products for those doing free-motion quilting, are available for purchase at Day Style Designs online store.
Lastly, sign up for Leah’s newsletter and receive two free downloadable designs, plus you’ll hear insights on Leah’s teaching schedule and when new products are released.
Leah can be found at:
P.O Box 386
Earl, NC 28038
Don’t forget you can also find new tutorials on free motion quilting every week on Leah’s excellent Free Motion Quilting Project blog.
MAY TUTORIAL, BY LEAH DAY:
Click here if you need a transcription of this video, to translate to another language.
As I mentioned in the video, it would be a great idea to get together with a group of quilting friends to play and experiment with all the different tools and supplies each teacher recommends.
It’s a simple, honest fact: nothing works 100% for everyone!
So play and experiment with a variety of tools to find what works best for you.
2. SupremeSlider – This Teflon coated sheet is super slippery, which makes your quilt much easier to move over your machine. The easier your quilt is to move, the better your stitches will look and the less strain you’ll feel in your arms and back.
3. LittleGenie Magic Bobbin Washers – These little Teflon washers go inside you bobbin case to help your bobbin thread glide and feed as smoothly as your top thread. This will result in fewer thread breaks, fewer birds nest, and better looking stitches all around!
These three simple tools can make a big difference for your free motion quilting because the easier it is to move the quilt, the more control you have over the surface, the better your stitches will look.
Short Feed Dog Explanation:
The mechanism responsible for these even stitches is your feed dogs, or the little teeth under the foot of your machine.
With free motion quilting, we don’t want to move just forward and backward, we want to move in all directions, so we no longer use those feed dogs to feed the quilt through the machine.
So rather than the machine producing perfectly even stitches, it’s now YOU producing the stitches by balancing the speed of your machine with the movement of your hands.
For some reason, when the feed dogs are dropped, many machines react badly, and finding perfect, balanced stitches can become very difficult.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to try free motion quilting both with the feed dogs UP and the feed dogs DOWN to see which works best for your machine.
Whatever thread you use, just make sure to use the exact same thread in the top of the machine and in the bobbin. Especially when you’re first starting out, tension issues can drive you crazy and using the same thread (same brand, same type, and same color) can sort out most of those issues.
Once you gain more skill and confidence in free motion quilting, THEN start experimenting and see what threads produce the right finish for your quilts.
Play with a variety of sizes and go with the needle that works best on your machine. If you notice your thread breaking or skipping, always change your needle first as it may be bent and not catching the bobbin thread properly.
Of course, cotton batting is the most traditional, but please understand that you’re not limited to just cotton materials for your quilts. Experiment with many materials to find the right look and finish for your quilts.
To start, you might want to practice stitching the designs into a scrap quilt before quilting them on your challenge quilt.
Take two 10 inch pieces of fabric and sandwich them with a 10 inch square of batting to create a quilt sandwich.
Mark an 8 inch square within the quilt sandwich to give you plenty of room along the edges to grip the quilt as you’re working. Now free motion quilt along the marked lines of the square.
Click here if you need a transcription of this video, to translate to another language.
2) Upload your photos for this month’s challenge to Flickr, batch organize, send your photos to groups, select “2012 FMQ Challenge“. While Flickr, limits the amount of text you can share in your description, feel free to share your perspective on this exercise and/or your past FMQ experience, if you wish.
3) After your photos have successfully been loaded to the “2012 FMQ Challenge” group, click on your best photo in that group, ideally one that shows the stencil and how you quilted using that stencil. Copy the URL link to your particular photo entry. Add that link to the linky tool above, to officially enter this show.
note: While there was a unique group for the January challenge, based on feedback a Flickr group has been created that will hold all your photos for the remaining monthly challenges, so you will not need to rejoin a group on Flickr every month.
To officially be entered in the 2012 FMQ Challenge please take time to fill out the “Pledge Form” . Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out an easy way to get the email addresses collected in the Pledge Form to automatically load to my MailChimp mailing list, as originally planned. While I apologies, I do ask, if you want to receive email reminders when new FMQ tutorials are released each month, please also sign up via the special mailing list for this activity. And, don’t forget that the page labeled “2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge” is the main page for the FMQ challenge and will be updated throughout the year, to provide a summary of current info and appropriate links. There are two “optional” groups that you may also want to join to network with others participating in this challenge:
- Those on Facebook, may also want to join the “2012 Free Motion Quilting” group.
- MyQuiltPlace is a free forum hosted by AQS. There are a number of fun reasons to join this forum, but for those participating in this challenge, the group “Free Motion Quilting on a Domestic Machine” has recently been created, as an option for those that do not want to use Facebook.
If you have not yet completed the previous tutorials:
- The January tutorial, by Frances Moore, will be available for you to complete anytime.
- The February tutorial, by Diane Gaudynski was originally planned to be pulled at the end of February, but Diane has approved that her tutorial be left on line for an extended period. To clarify, a date to remove Diane’s tutorial has not yet been determined. But, if you have not yet had time to complete the February tutorial I want to encourage you to take time to take advantage of having her excellent tutorial being currently available.
- The March tutorial, by Ann Fahl was only available during the month of March. To clarify, this tutorial will be removed shortly, in keeping with the condition by this FMQ Expert.
- “Bonus” tutorials will be released, this summer, that will also be options for those needing to complete 12 FMQ tutorials anytime in 2012 to be eligible to enter to win a Grand Prize.
Copyright exemption: While posts (photos & content) on SewCalGal are copyright protected, whereby you need permission from SewCalGal, and from other sources, such as the FMQ Expert/Designer, this individual post, aka “May 2012 FMQ Challenge Tutorial, by Leah Day” has the approval of Leah Day and SewCalGal, for you to print, share, and teach using this tutorial, as you like. For SewCalGal, this Copyright Exemption applies to only this post.