I’ve been following Leah Day from the sidelines for a couple of years. She is the FMQ (free motion quilting) queen and seems to have made it her mission to teach the rest of us how to do it too. She also appears to be out to prove that there is an unlimited number of designs to free motion quilt. She came up with 365 designs (a whole year’s worth!) and blogged about them complete with a video of her stitching them so you will know exactly how to do it. She now has a book with the designs in it so that you can see them easily all in one place.
Leah also has other products in her online shop – all to teach and make free motion quilting as fun and easy as possible. Years ago I bought a reasonably priced table that she sells that allows me to sink my sewing machine down into it such that I can quilt with a flat surface surrounding the area where I’m actually stitching.
So, as I said, I’ve been following her from the sidelines. I haven’t done a lot of free motion quilting but have wanted to do more and have looked at her different sites and watched some of her youtube videos from time to time. She looks as though she’s 12 years old. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so, because she says she is asked her age all the time. She is actually 29 years old and has a 6 year old son and a husband who now helps her with her business because she has gotten so busy. I sort of knew that she wasn’t running around all over the country teaching in person (by her choice). So, I was very pleased when it was announced that she would attend and speak at the Sew South Retreat. She lives in North Carolina and the retreat was close enough for her to easily drive there. She also teaches FMQ on Craftsy which is a video platform. I believe she has 2 classes and a 3rd which will be shortly released. If you sign up for one of her classes on Craftsy through her website, you will get a 50% discount.
Leah Day speaking at Sew South
She spoke to us one evening about free motion quilting. Mostly she cheered us on and inspired us to give it a try, and wisely suggested we not pick our most heirloom quilt to start on. She also suggests that you quilt a little bit every day. If you do this, you will mentally and physically be better at it.
Sew South Retreat
I found out what a really kind, generous and passionate person she is. She was very open to discussing her business and all the struggles of getting there. She wanted to talk to the quilters who are trying to grow a business and tell them some things she has learned that she wished someone had told her sooner. She likes to support local businesses, is a fiber lover and raises chickens. She was a delight to meet in person and if you ever have a chance to meet her, don’t pass it up.
Thank you Leah for teaching and inspiring us! (Click here to read her blog post about the retreat.)
A few weeks ago, I had big plans to make my 3 daughters and my special girl friends a mug rug for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, this is the only one I actually made. I came down with the flu and couldn’t get myself motivated to work on them while not feeling well. I purchased this pattern from Craftsy. The designer is Amanda from The Patchsmith. She has many adorable mug rug patterns for sale for a small price.
Back of mug rug.
A mug rug is a cross between a coaster and a placemat. It’s just big enough for a mug and a muffin.
While I was sick, I did do a bit of heart embroidery. I’ve always had a fondness for hearts because my husband is a pediatric cardiologist and this is also the field I’ve worked in as a registered nurse.
I’ve been a little hexagon crazed lately and I don’t think that I am alone. The saying “what was once old, is new again” comes to mind. There are a lot of good places online to find information and see projects made from English paper pieced hexagons.
English paper piecing tutorial by Sunshine’s Creations Vintage Threads
This tutorial includes “Ways of cutting fabric”, “Basting” and “Assembly”. Very concise but it covers so much information!
Do you know about Craftsy.com? Craftsy offers online video classes involving quilting, knitting, and garment sewing to name a few. Most of the classes have a fee which is usually quite reasonable and are often on sale. You can download the video instructions and watch it whenever and for as many times as you wish. It is also set up so that you can communicate with the instructor and others in the class through a forum. I have bought and watched several of these classes and I really enjoy them. Craftsy offers a FREE block of the month class by Amy Gibson. It started in January 2012 and the April blocks are English paper pieced hexagons.
Craftsy April Block of the Month
This Craftsy class gives great video instructions for making this and another hexagon themed block. If you enroll in this free class, you will be able to see the instructions for all of the blocks from the other months as well. Each month focuses on a completely different technique.
There is a wonderful quilt book published recently called “hexa go – go” by Tacha Bruecher.
This book includes 16 english paper pieced quilt projects as well as basic instructions for the technique in general. Two of the projects seem especially suited for working on in front of the 2012 Olympics.
Stars and Stripes
Would you like to watch some short video tutorials on piecing hexagons? YouTube is the place for that. Here are a couple that I thought were helpful.
As you can see, it’s easy to spend LOTS of time looking at and learning about hexagons instead of actually sewing them! Got to go sew now. Hope that you do too!