Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I Love Leah Day! :-)

So back in March of this year, I decided to write to Leah Day to tell her how very much I appreciate her website, her generosity, and her passion for sharing Free Motion Quilting, FMQ, as well as to let her know how much of an impact she has made on me.  I had started a blog, but didn't write a thing, or have it public, until just last month, so this email to her was really the beginning.  Now that basically no one except my sister and my daughter are following it, (ha ha), I thought I should really go back and publish those beginnings of quilting on my Avanté Longarm, aka LA.  After I sent her the email with photos, I read NOT to do that (gulp), but to provide a link for her to view photos!  Oops, and a huge sorry.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I've bought one of her books, I'm taking her tote class on Craftsy, and I tell everyone I can about her terrific website.  I want to support her in any way I can!

Here is basically what I sent to her:

I have FMQ-ed since 1996 I think, first on my Elna and then on my Bernina 180. I’ve done everything from tiny wallhangings to bed quilts, including one king-size. I have wanted a longarm for a LONG time, and finally, after years of saving, I got an almost-new one, like 6 weeks old, off eBay! I got some good quality muslin, sliced off two 1-yard pieces and started playing…then I found your website, and OMG, I LOVE it, and so I started practising some of your designs. This led to me setting out 6” squares and then going along in posted order (I love order and organization) and doing a few each day to practise. What a learning curve going from a DSM to a LA.

These 3 quilts are my very first projects on my new-to-me Avanté 18.
So this is the second practice quilt. I thought I’d bind each one and give them to my two dogs…but I really like the way they’ve turned out. so... :-))

I tried Gutermann beige cotton (horrible for lint in the bobbin, so ix-nayed that), then researched threads, and got The Bottom Line both for bobbins (bought several pre-wound ones) as well as the top thread, and love that thread. I have ordered some Isacord through a local dealer here in Sarasota, (Leah recommends it). I also have used a fair bit of Fufus rayon on these two quilts and really like it. I had so much fun, well, a little frustration at times too, but it just takes practice, practice, practice. I keep reminding myself of how my first FMQ was on that first snowman quilt way back in 1996…
So even though I wasn’t very good, especially at feathers, which I love, and can do pretty easily on my DSM, (sidenote: wow, did my feathers improve with just the first few lessons of Angela Walters' class on Craftsy!) I decided I’d just jump in and start quilting on this “Perky Purse” quilt I made last Fall (long story but I hadn’t been in my sewing room since January 2012, and this was the kickstart I needed to dive into my stash and feel the buzz once again). It’s out of a Layer Cakes book by Pam & Nicky Lintott.

Here it is in progress! I decided to stipple the background (I know, yawn, but I needed to really feel confident with stippling) and in each bag part of the purse, do a different one of Leah's designs. There are 25 purses.
This is the only one of the purses where I did my own design…but I can’t claim to be the originator, as SOMEWHERE a LONG time ago, I saw this little loops and 5-pointed stars meander, and I like it a lot. Besides, the star fabric in this purse was just asking for it!
The tree bark design showed up quite nicely on this purse fabric. I used King Tut variegated cotton on the whole quilt. Beautiful thread.
Love this tree bark design
I learned that even with a beautiful variegated thread, detailed filler designs do not usually show off your work if used on a strong print fabric…duh. Here I used Matrix, Tree Bark, Gentle Flames, a leaves and loops one, and a Leaves filler that’s kind of like the feather filler…hmm, it might be out of her Beginner FMQ book. I used a few out of it.
Detail of five blocks.
This is Flame Flower with Pebbles. I like how mixing 2 designs on a skinny purse worked out so well here!
I think I saw this on her Goddess quilt, or perhaps in "Express Your Love".  GREAT idea to mark the horizontal lines for registration marks! I’ve done that with feathers sometimes with chalk to help me get them more uniform.
Flying Geese design

Circuit Board
All quilted!
It’s approximately 42”X 60”. It didn’t have a binding on it yet in that picture.  I put on a solid black.

And here is what I wrote to her, and it came from my heart at that time, as it does this very minute that I'm posting it for all to see:
"Your generosity in sharing all of your creativity is truly amazing to me, and I find it uplifting. The time you spend to develop new ideas, film the How-To videos, take pictures, upload them, write a blog, do your newsletter, etc. etc. is really really appreciated by me, and many others like me, judging by how many are following you on flickr (me now, as of tonight…maybe I will post some pictures eventually!) on FaceBook, on your website….wow. Thank you. Thank you for your generosity, for your candour, for your honesty, enthusiasm, inspiration, and words of wisdom. I feel such a connection to you! I hope to meet you one day. I’d love to attend the Paducah show, not sure if I can this year, but one of these years…

Sorry for going on and on, but I want you to know that you are amazing! I truly mean that, and I have told several of my quilting and non-quilting friends to check out your website. And they have. And they all are amazed and impressed.
Thank you!"

So if you haven't, and even if you aren't a quilter, you should check out Leah's website.  Just gazing at her gallery of quilts is a feast for the eyes.


  1. Hi Sandra! Thanks for sending me the link. You've given me a few more ideas - Circuit Board - duh! I should have thought of that one. Did Leah answer you? This looks like a fun quilt, and a fabulous way to practice FMQ on whichever machine. ~smile~ Roseanne


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