I had been eyeing up Leah Day's 365 Free Motion Quilt Designs for a while now and so was very happy to review a copy! It is available through Search Press or on Amazon and also comes in a perpetual calendar form.
This book is not a reading book but rather a picture book - and what pretty pictures it has in it. For the how tos on each of the designs you need to go to Leah Day's quilting design gallery where you will find short videos demonstrating each design. These are really interesting to watch because sometimes the path of travel is not what you might think!
Do you really need 365 designs in your repertoire? In all honesty you don't, in fact if you can master half a dozen designs, then the variations you can do on them and different scales you can use will probably be what you use the most. But this book gives so many different options. Since starting my longarm quilting journey and talking to numerous quilters from around the world I have realised that people generally have several quilting designs that they have a natural talent for, ie it comes easily to them. My advice would be to play to your strengths and expand from there. Designs 1 to 7 in this book might be your natural talents, your friend might favour numbers 8 to 15, and so on. It is a great book to look and doodle from and given a little time you will soon find what designs work for you and take it from there.
You can see from the photos below how one design, Day 7 Echo Rainbow, can look very different depending on the size and curve of the initial arch.
You will also notice that certain individual designs belong to families of design, for example if you can quilt a paisley design then it won't take you much to be able to quilt the designs below. They all use the same path of travel and the muscle memory you built up whilst learning to quilt a paisley design will soon kick in for these.
Whilst all similar they will all give a very different finish on your block or quilt and a number of options for your quilting toolbox.
All of the designs are available for free online, at the link posted above, but I think the book is a great resource to have if you are interested in FMQ. It has lots of designs in one place, it is easy to bookmark, it is easy to have on the table whilst doodling or quilting, in fact that is a real plus. Although this book is not spiral bound it does lay nice and flat and remains open whilst you use it.
Having received this book during the summer holidays and then settling the girls into new schools and routines a couple of weeks ago, I have been frustrated that I haven't been able to stitch any of these out yet. I have done lots of doodling so hopefully that will put me in good stead for when I can get to my machine .... fingers crossed at some stage next week. So pop back if you fancy seeing how I got on using some of these designs.
The original idea was for 365 designs - but Leah hasn't stopped there! To date there are 499 designs - to see them all head on over here.