WorldWide Kindness Anthem – Vote for My Friend!

My friend Lacey Newbry is a talented musician,  songwriter and budding quilter. She’s written a song titled “Along the Way” which she hopes will be selected as this year’s WorldWide Dance for Kindness anthem. If chosen, she will  get to perform her song live in NYC Times Square and it will get played in 30 countries around the world.

Lacey_alongtheway

Lacey is one of only eleven finalists and at last check, she’s been going back and forth between first and second place. There haven’t been a huge number of votes, so if you, my loyal blog readers would vote for her, it could put her over the top!

Click here to listen to Lacey’s song and cast your vote!

Here’s How to Vote:

  1.  Click vote
  2. Create a new account
  3. Click vote AGAIN!
  4. You will get a confirmation that you voted.
  5. The direct link is: http://www.lifevestinside.com/contestants/lacey-newbry/

Thanks so much! Voting runs through July 8th at 11:59 PM Eastern time.

flagsforever

Fabric Friday – The Patriotic Edition

With all of the Independence Day celebrations this weekend, I thought it would be fun to showcase precuts in patriotic colors of red, white and blue!

Here’s a lovely grouping from Sandy Gervais called Red, White and Free. Don’t you just love the clever title? At last check I only had a couple of the fat quarter bundles left which includes one of each of the prints, plus the oversized panels (which would make a great quickie quilt!) I also have it in layer cakes and jelly rolls.

Red White and Free FabricRed, White and Free bundle by Sandy Gervais for Moda

Fabri-Quilt’s version of Jelly Rolls are called Snack Packs. Isn’t that cute? Enjoy a high fiber-zero calorie “treat” when you try out this lovely color bundle below, aptly titled “Flags Forever.” I love the fact that the colors together are patriotic yet the individual fabric designs are very universal.

flagsforeverFlags Forever – Bella Casa Snack Pack from Fabri-Quilt.

Red is a great color any time of year, and Moda knows that! I love that they have put together several Bella Solids that are duplicates of the same solid color fabric. The gorgeous red below is 9900-16. Naturally the solids are also available in white and blue.

bella-solids-red

Bella solids in red from Moda

What are your holiday plans?

I’ll be sewing like crazy all weekend! Oh yeah, and shooting off some fireworks, too!

Paper Pieced Quilt Along #7 – Pieced Backing

I love a good pieced backing! There’s something about creating a secondary composition on the back that makes me giddy. Of course, you don’t have to make a pieced backing, but what follows are brief instructions for how I made my backing for the Paper Pieced Quilt Along:

backingdiagramThe backing design is interesting to stand on it’s own as a quilt top, too!

This backing finishes at 68″ x 84″ which is exactly 4″ bigger all around than my quilt top. That’s cutting it close, so if you’d like a bigger backing, just add more rectangles or make them slightly bigger.

Yardage needed – 18 assorted fat quarters (18″ x 22″ each). Note: solids tend to be a slightly wider useable width so they are closer to a true 18″ x 22″. Print fat quarters may result in less useable yardage. To use up scraps, feel free to piece sections together to get the desired rectangle sizes.

Trim 14 of the fat quarters to 17 1/2″ x 21 1/2″. Trim the remaining 4 fat quarters to 17 1/2″ x 11″

backingsquares

Lay out the rectangles on a design wall or other large surface, into a pleasing color arrangement.

Sew 4 rectangles together on their short ends to make the first and third pieced columns. Sew 3 rectangles and two half-rectangles on either end to make the second and fourth pieced columns. To reduce bulk, press all seams open.

Join the columns to create the pieced backing. Once the quilt is basted, trim off some of the excess fabric and batting around the quilt top.

backingpiecedPieced backing after it has been spray basted and trimmed.

It’s ok if the sides don’t look even at this point. Once the quilt has been quilted, it will be squared up.

Once your backing is finished, you are ready to baste your quilt in preparation for machine quilting. Have fun creating your own unique backing!

Click here for all of the Paper Pieced Quilt Along tutorials.

 

Paper Pieced Inspiration and Schedule Update

I am constantly amazed with the creativity that is being shown during my paper pieced quilt along. I knew this design had potential, but it’s quite inspiring to see all the different variations that are being shared in my facebook group! For those who aren’t on facebook, here’s a small sample of the fabulous blocks, color combinations, and layouts that are being shared:

layoutsFrom left to right: Michele H., Chelsea M,. Julie G., and Lorraine A.

Many of you are worried that you won’t be able to keep up or catch up during this quilt along, and several of you have mentioned that you haven’t even started. Do not fret – this quilt along is free, the tutorials will stay up indefinitely, and you can work at your own pace!

In fact, I’m even including a longer delay myself than I had originally planned. I got an exciting opportunity to work on a big project right before the quilt along launched. At the time I thought I would be able work on both at the same time, but it turns out that was a little ambitious. Although my top is done, the quilting will need to wait until August for me to finish it.

I’ll throw in an extra tutorial for piecing the backing in July, and will include one for basting the following week. Then we’ll have a nice little summer break and I will begin the machine quilting at the end of August.

How does that sound?

QuiltCon Class Registration Opens June 25!

QuiltCon registration begins Thursday (June 25th) for Modern Quilt Guild members at 7 AM Pacific Time. General registration opens July 1. I’ll be teaching 4 workshops (two on EQ, and two on Free-Motion Favorites).  I will also be a panelist for a discussion on how I stash my fabric, moderated by Rossie Hutchinson.

Click here for descriptions, times and dates for each of my workshops.

CQ_classesClick here for the QuiltCon class schedule and catalog.

Free Admission for Members

If you are an MQG member, be sure to register ASAP! The first 1000 paid registrations get a free goody bag. AND if you register by November 30th, you get free admission to the show. How great is that?!

Are you planning on attending? If so, I can’t wait to see you there!

PS – If you are new to my blog, be sure to sign up for Friendly Threads, my email newsletter.

 

NQA 2015 Quilt Show Wrap Up

I just returned from teaching for the National Quilting Association‘s annual quilt show in Little Rock, Arkansas and it was such a great time for both me and my students! Each time I teach, it rejuvenates me and rekindles my love for the craft! Here are some eye candy pics from my weekend.

The Classes

modernlogs_studentsStudents showing off their Modern Logs blocks after a fun day of sewing!

I taught two classes: Modern Logs and Modern Machine Quilting. The students had a great time exploring their creativity and I’m sure I had just as much fun as they did!

mmq_samplesStudent practice samples from Modern Machine Quilting. I love the texture they created!

The Quilts

The quilts in the show were top notch! I was very pleased with the number of Modern Quilts that were entered into the show, just a few of which I’ve shown below. (Check my instagram feed @christaquilts for more fun pics from the show!)

modern_quiltsA great showing of modern quilts including my entry, Optical Illusion in the 3rd row.

I was thrilled to see ribbons on many quilts of friends and acquaintances I admire!

I follow Margaret Solomon Gunn’s blog and her writings in Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine. Although her style is vastly different from mine, she’s an amazing quilter who won Best of Show – small for her quilt Jester’s Folly. She also won a Masterpiece Quilt award, which you can read about on her blog here.

bestofshowJester’s Folly by Margaret Solomon Gunn, Best of Show Small, NQA 2016

I was so proud of my friend Vicki Ruebel from Orchid Owl Quilts for getting ribbons on 2 of her quilts in the show! Me and My Shadow picked up 2nd in the Small Applique Quilts category and her Big Star quilt (in the modern montage above) won 2nd in the Modern category.

meandmyshadow

I was also thrilled to see a top prize ribbon on my friend Cory Allender‘s quilt, Convergence. Cory’s work is nothing short of amazing, and she’s the one who first encouraged me to start entering my quilts into national shows. Just about every time Cory enters a quilt, she picks up a ribbon. I love it!

convergenceConvergence by Cory Allender, Best Embellishment, and 2nd place Art category

The People

A fun part of any show is getting to meet up with other like minded quilters. I was able to hang out with Jodi Robinson and Gina Perkes and  for a bit one evening and swap quilting stories and inspiration. They are both amazing long arm quilters and I’m super excited for what they have coming up, so be sure to follow them, if you don’t already.

jodi_ginaJodi Robinson and Gina Perkes, two amazing long-arm quilters whose work I admire.

As a teacher, NQA took care of my accommodations which were super nice! I was roommates with another fabulous quilting instructor, Sue Rasmussen who specializes in Domestic Machine Quilting (whoo-hoo) and one-of-a-kind landscape art quilts. She’s self-published a book that includes tons of great info on the technical aspects of quilting, so of course I snatched up a copy!

sue_rasmussenHanging out with Sue Rasmussen in our hotel room after a fun day of teaching.

And finally, I can’t give enough thanks to the staff and volunteers of NQA who helped make my time there a success! I was able to connect with many of the people I’ve only worked with online and through emails. Meeting them in person was such a treat!

barbara_polstonBarbara Poslton is the editor of NQA’s Quilting Quarterly magazine. She’s a doll!

If you ever get a chance to visit a national quilt show, I highly recommend it!

Fabric Friday (New Kona Solids) and a Thank You

Before I dive into some new fabrics, I want to give you all a big thanks and a huge hug for supporting our online shop. I’ve been running it now for almost 12 years and Jason’s been with me full-time for the last 8 years. Our switch to selling only precuts and thread (and now my own patterns) was an exciting but scary change. However, our niche focus has given me much more time to design, write, and teach, which I love doing. So big smooches to all of you!

 New arrivals – Kona Solids

Robert Kaufman has recently organized all 303 of their Kona Cotton Solids into a plethora of new color ways and we have them all (at least… I think we do!) The color assortments are available as charm squares (42 – 5″ squares), ten squares (42 – 10″ squares), and roll ups (40 – 2 1/2″ strips). There are at least 2 dozen different groupings, not to mention the single color-precuts! Check out a few of them below:

Cherry wood

cherrywood

Gray Area

gray area

Lush Lagoon

lush lagoon

Mustard Seed

mustard seed

Powder Room

powder room

Yucca Tree

yucca tree

These are a few of my favorite colors – what are yours?

Click here to view all Kona Solid Charm Squares

Click here to view all Kona Solid Ten Squares

Click here to view all Kona Solid Roll Ups

On My Way to NQA for More Teaching Fun and Inspiration!!

Have I told you guys lately how much I love teaching machine quilting?? It’s so fun to teach, both locally and nationally and see that spark of excitement when one of my students “gets” it! :-)

Last month, I taught my full-day Modern Machine Quilting class and I’m off to teach it again this week at the National Quilting Association’s annual show in Little Rock, Arkansas. I’m so excited! I’ll be teaching my Modern Logs class, there too. It’s been super fun to teach the same class to different audiences. So far, no one has ever made the exact same quilt!

christmas_goose_may2015Here are a few pictures from my Modern Machine Quilting class that I taught at The Christmas Goose in Las Vegas last month. (Not to worry for those locals who are on the waiting list – I’ll be repeating the class again in October.)

christmasgoose_2_may2015It’s amazing the textures and designs you can create with just a walking foot and some simple free-motion quilting! I organize the class similarly to how my first book, Machine Quilting With Style has been written: students start off getting comfortable quilting with their walking foot, then they move onto several of my free-motion favorites.

Machine quilting truly is my favorite part of the quilt-making process. What’s yours?

Check out Irish Chain Quilts by Melissa Corry!

I’m super excited to be a part of Melissa Corry’s blog hop for her fabulous new book, Irish Chain Quilts. Melissa is known over on her blog as Happy Quilting Melissa and I can’t think of a better pseudonym for such a truly fabulous gal!

B1297_Final_FB_Cover.inddImage Courtesy of Martingale Publishing, Fabulous Photographer Brent Kane

About Melissa Corry

I first got to know Melissa when my shop used to sponsor her blog and we immediately hit it off! I mean how could you not adore someone with such a friendly, bubbly personality that loves to help others and share her loving of quilting with as many people as possible? She’s truly someone I look up to as a positive example in the quilting industry, and I’m so glad to call her a friend. I’ve shared about her and some of her other quilts on my blog previously, too!

Christa Watson and Melissa CorryMelissa and I met in person for the first time on her way to quilt market in 2013. She flew out of Las Vegas that time which was awesome for me! We had lunch and chatted non-stop the whole time!

Ok, enough gushing and on to the book!!

The Book

Irish Chain Quilts includes 15 fabulous quilts all based on the classic Irish Chain block design. You know – that’s the design that forms an X in each block which creates a very striking chain effect when all blocks are placed side-by-side. Melissa created such stunning original designs and asked several of us to re-create a block inspired by one of the quilts in the book.

This is the design I chose to work with – Daisy Chain. I’m a sucker for applique with fun big pieces that I can easily stitch down by machine! I also love the photography in this book. Hanging all of the quilts on a clothesline with clothespins is sooo Melissa! :-)

01-80_B1297_Finals.inddImage Courtesy of Martingale Publishing, Fabulous Photographer Brent Kane

My Take

Here’s my and funky colorful interpretation of Melissa’s block. I’m a sucker for orange, earthy tones!

christa_daisychain

This block was super easy to make and very easy to resize. The book calls for larger blocks, but each of the blog hoppers is remaking a block in a smaller size that will be joined together to create a super fun and scrappy quilt from all of the blocks!

At the end of the hop, Melissa will share the big reveal of the quilt she’s assembled from all of the various blocks from the book. And, true to her generous nature, she will then be donating that quilt to charity. I can’t wait to see it!

Giveaway!!

Along with the Charity Quilt reveal, Melissa is hosting two grand prize giveaways where you can win one a copy of the book, a mini quilt made by Melissa, and a treasure trove of fabrics!

Grand Prizes

To enter the grand-prize giveaway, be sure to hop on over the intro post on Melissa’s blog and leave a comment!

Where to Buy

List of Blog Hop Stops

Be sure to hop around to all of these fabulous blogs below to see the rest of the quilts from the book, plus the reinterpreted quilt blocks. There’s inspiration galore!

Thanks for stopping by!

If you are new to my blog, be sure to sign up for Friendly Threads, my email newsletter!

Christa’s SoapBox – Hallmarks of Modern Machine Quilting

There’s been a lot of buzz about modern quilts since the debut of QuiltCon in 2013. And with my recent announcement that I’m part of the QuiltCon 2016 faculty, I thought I’d throw more of my voice into the mix. It thrills me to no end to see so many quilters embracing the modern style as they learn how to design and piece modern quilts. When I returned to QuiltCon in 2015, I noticed that elements of modernism had now been applied to the hand or machine quilting process, too.

Since machine quilting is my favorite technique, I’ll share 5 trends I’ve noticed in today’s machine quilted modern quilts:

1. Functional quilting enhances the design of the quilt without overpowering it.

straightline_hst

Closeup of my HST quilt, which was recently featured in Make Modern Magazine.

Quilting stitches serve a functional purpose by holding the three layers of a quilt together. Over time, sophisticated quilters have learned to add an extra layer of decoration to their quilts by quilting intricate motifs onto the surface. With modern quilts, decorative quilting can be used to make the pieced design come alive, but the quilting is usually a little bit more subdued and is not the star of the show. Because many modern quilts emphasize clean lines and minimalist designs, over-the-top ornate quilting is not often seen on modern quilts.

2. Quilting motifs are often inspired by elements of graphic design.

fmq_boxes_3

Closeup of Optical Illusion, included as part of QuiltCon 2015

The seven basic elements of graphic design are line, color, texture, shape, size, value and space. These elements can be incorporated into modern machine quilting design motifs, too. Modern quilts often emphasize linear quilting because it adds such a textural quality to the quilt. Think irregular grids, tightly spaced lines (often known as matchstick quilting), and evenly spaced parallel lines. Thread colors, simple shapes, contrasting motif sizes and even the amount of negative space in between the quilting can all play a role in creating a successful modern composition.

Although my new book is not exclusively written to a modern audience, it does include a healthy portion of geometric quilting motifs. It’s what I’m drawn to, and what I love to quilt!

3. Asymmetrical quilting designs add depth and dimension.

Asymmetrical, “off the grid” piecing is one of the hallmarks of modern design. This idea can be incorporated into machine quilting as well. When you can see the hand of the maker in his or her quilt, I’m sure you’ll agree that a quilt doesn’t have to be computer perfect to be both functional and beautiful. Ditch the stencils and embrace irregularity to create perfectly imperfect quilts!

4. The walking foot has been reclaimed.

spiral_quilting

Spiral Quilting with a walking foot, part of my full day class on Modern Machine Quilting

No longer relegated to “stitch-in-the-ditch,” walking foot quilting is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Using a walking foot, or built-in dual feed, quilters can do more than quilt simple straight lines. Think of gently flowing waves, organic, angular textures and continuous large-scale spirals. And don’t forget the possibilities of decorative stitches. Continuous zigzags and undulating serpentines can add drape and body to a quilt, just begging to be snuggled with!

5. Dense free-motion quilting adds incredible texture.

dense_fmq

Detail of Swirls and Pearls free-motion quilting with geometric spirals in String of Pearls

From pebbles and swirls, to shattered lines and echoed spaces, dense free-motion work adds character to a quilt with an extra layer of composition just waiting to be explored. Contrary to popular belief, a densely quilted quilt can be soft and cuddly. Since most modern quilts are meant to be loved and used, they tend to soften up wash after wash. So don’t be afraid to quilt your own quilts, and when in doubt, add more quilting!

 So – what are your thoughts about the “quilting” part of modern quilting? I’d love to know!