Facets Quilt Along Week 2 – Improv Piecing

Welcome to week two of Facets Quilt Along. Last week we gathered fabrics and started cutting. This week we will make our own crazy-pieced fabric. The fun thing about this is that even if you are using the same fabric as me (Kona Solids Christa Watson Palette), your quilt will still look different from mine!

kona_improvA piece of improv fabric made from my Kona Cotton Designer Palette

Follow the instructions page 93 of Machine Quilting With Style to make your fabric pieces. Then share your progress and ask questions in my facebook group Quilt With Christa.

Here are a couple more fun examples:


A sample piece I made using a bunch of scrappy prints. It looks great in any fabrics!


This beautiful piece was made by G from my facebook group. She’s sewing along with her sisters!


Jocelyn from the facebook group chose a more muted, modern palette. I love it!


Paula’s festive blue and green combo is so fun – perfect for a Seahawk’s fan!

Seeing everyone’s pictures is half the fun of a quilt along. It’s amazing how the different fabric combinations are coming together to create individual works of art. Be sure to pop over to my facebook group to see more amazing improv in process!


Jan is using lots of leftover scrappy bits – no size is too small!

If you are sharing your progress via social media be sure to hashtag it #facetsqal. Remember, everyone who participates will be entered to win prizes. I just love seeing your progress!

Click here for the complete QAL schedule.

Book Review – Stash Lab by Tonya Alexander

I’m wrapping up my slew of book reviews (for now) with Stash Lab – Simple Solutions for Scrap Quilts by Tonya Alexander. If you are a scrapaholic, then this is the book for you!


Stash Lab images courtesy of Martingale. Photography by Brent Kane.

Stash Lab opens with a wonderful introduction on using your stash, with an easy to understand simplified color theory and explanation of Tonya’s 3 “equations” for scrappy success!


Tonya’s Stash Lab Equations – so clever!

The thing I love about any Martingale/That Patchwork Place book is that the quilts are beautifully photographed from a straight on angle so that you can see the whole quilt. The illustrations are in full color and the book is laid out so that it is very easy to read and follow.


Sample page with step by step, clear illustrations to follow.

Each quilt in Stash Lab lists dimensions and finished block sizes along with a complete materials list with plenty of helpful tips sprinkled throughout each pattern. The book also includes a very thorough techniques section before you get started making the quilts.

Let’s dive in and take a peek at some of my favorite quilts from the book!

FINALS B1335.indd

Kaffe’s Garden at Night, 52″ x 65″

FINALS B1335.indd

Sunny Side Up, 76″ x 78″

FINALS B1335.indd

Loose Change 48″ x 64″

Stash Lab includes a range of styles from traditional to modern, showcasing a variety of techniques from traditional piecing to paper piecing to  applique. I recently learned a rule of thumb in the publishing industry – if you like at least 3 quilts in any book, it’s worth it to purchase. Well, I can say without a doubt that I could see myself making all 11 quilts from the book!

I recently heard an interview with Tonya on the American Patchwork and Quilting podcast. It was so fun to hear her story about how she fell into quilting. Give it a listen the next time you are quilting, and be sure to pick up your copy of Stash Lab today!


Craftsy Class Review – Disappearing Blocks with Precuts

My friend Angela Pingel recently released her first Craftsy Class and I just love it! It’s called Simple to Stunning: Disappearing Blocks with Pre-cuts.


You all know I’m a huge fan of working with precuts, so this class is right up my alley! You’ve heard of disappearing 9 patch blocks right? Angela’s class explores that concept in great detail with many other starter blocks besides the simple nine patch.

The class runs just over 100 minutes so it’s a little on the shorter side compared to some of the other Craftsy classes, but it was the perfect length of time for me. I often get excited about a new class, then lose a little steam and don’t make it through the entire thing. Well, that didn’t happen with Angela’s class. She had me engaged from start to finish!


I watched Angela’s class while working on a secret quilting project. So fun!!

Here’s a breakdown of the six lessons that are included in the class:

  1. Precuts and Disappearing Blocks – Angela introduces you to a variety of pre-cuts. You’ll also get started on your first block and practice cutting and sub-cutting techniques.
  2. Disappearing Blocks with Charms – Create three beautiful blocks: a disappearing nine-patch, a disappearing four-patch and a disappearing diagonal four-patch.
  3. Disappearing Blocks with 10 Inch Squares – Cut triangles, then find out how to sew gorgeous pinwheels and hourglass blocks that look complex but come together quickly.
  4. Disappearing Blocks with Rolls – Learn Angela’s method for accurate strip-piecing as you make a disappearing strips block and a disappearing strip triangles design.
  5. Double Disappearing Blocks – Learn how the addition of more fabric and cutting can transform 5″ squares into incredible, dimensional nine-patch and whirligig blocks.
  6. Designing Your Own Blocks – Angela shows you how to turn your new skills into inspiration for future projects and how to customize pre-cut color palettes.

Here are just  three of the fun blocks that Angela shows you how to make in class:


Disappearing Strip Triangles


Disappearing Strip Diamonds


Disappearing 4-Patch Block

During each teaching session, Angela includes illustrations of what each block would look like when set into an entire quilt. There are some pretty cool combinations that I’m itching to try!

Just like each and every Craftsy class, there are additional class materials to use when making your own blocks, plus tons of teacher support. You can ask questions during class and Angela is very prompt about answering. One of my favorite things in any class is reading through the comments during each lesson. I highly recommend this class and will definitely watch it again!

Click here to purchase Disappearing Blocks with Precuts

Click here to stock up on your favorite precuts! (And thanks for your support!)

Facets Quilt Along Week 1 – Gather and Share Your Fabrics, Start Cutting

Thanks for joining me on a fun journey while we make the Facets quilt from my book Machine Quilting With Style. This QAL is broken into weekly steps which you can refer to in the introductory post. (If you are new to my blog – jump in at any time!)


Gather and Share

This week’s assignment is to gather your fabrics (detailed materials list in the book on page 90), then share pictures of your fabric pull on instagram (#facetsqal), on your own blogs, or in my facebookgroup at Quilt with Christa.

Here are a few gorgeous bundles that some of my facebook group members have shared so far. It’s so fun to see all of the different variety and really, the sky’s the limit when it comes to fabric selection for the blocks. As long as you have a highly contrasting background fabric, you are good to go!


I love Carol’s combo of prints, solids, and tone-on-tones. With the help of my facebook group, she was able to narrow down her choices!

Lind-BLinda is using these gorgeous gradations for her quilt. She gets bonus points for photographing it with the book!! :-)

Daisy_fDaisy’s quilt will look stunning in batiks and scraps!

Homework – Start Cutting

Start cutting your block fabrics or scraps into random strips and chunks to prepare for improv piecing next week (see what we are working towards on page 93). Don’t be scared – just dive right in and cut. It will be very liberating, I promise!


I cut my pieces into various width strips and chunks with wonky angles.

Yes, you have my permission to make this quilt your way. Although I don’t have the math figured out for any other sizes or alterations, you are welcome to change things up if you like. This is your quilt so the choice is up to you! And yes, you can work ahead if you like, or take a little more time if needed.


Sherri is cutting her pretty purple pieces into hunks and chunks. It will be fun to sew the scrappy chaos into something pretty!


I’m here to help! Be sure to share your progress in my Facebook group Quilt With Christa and ask for any trouble shooting help there. It’s a fun supportive bunch and we are all eager to cheer each other on!

Book Review – Desert to Sea

Let me tell you about my friend talented Jane Davidson, aka Quilt Jane. I’m sure may of you already know her. She’s the brilliant designer of the Nested Churn Dash pattern that has helped fuel the current Churn Dash block craze. She’s also launching a brand new community project with Pat Sloan – The Splendid Sampler Sew Along. (More about my involvement with that later!)


Well today I want to tell you about Jane’s fabulous book. It’s called Desert to Sea, a collection of 10 fabulous modern and contemporary quilts from Australian designers.


The really cool thing about this book (other than the awesome quilt patterns) is that fact that she’s professionally self-published it and it’s easily available through Amazon, although Jane lives in Australia. Let’s take a look at a few of the lovely quilts:


Some of the scenic photography from the book.


Rock Pools by Jane Davidson


Desert Sands by Jane Davidson


Love Letters by Jeannette Bruce


Opal Essence detail, by Lorena Uriarte

The projects themselves are beautiful and so is the photography. The book is really easy to follow, too. Each pattern includes the overall quilt size and block size (if applicable) which makes it super easy to change the dimensions of the quilt if desired. Materials requirements are given in both imperial and metric units and the instructions are written in inches, with a handy conversion chart in the beginning of the book.

Complete step-by-step instructions are included as are enough illustrations and templates so that you can successfully make any of the quilts. I also enjoyed the tips and closeup details that are sprinkled throughout the book.

Although I rarely tend to make quilts from other people’s patterns, I sure enjoy collecting quilting books purely for their inspiration and aesthetic value.

Be sure to grab a copy of Desert to Sea today!

The Quilts from My Book – All in One Place

I wanted to make it easy for you all to see all of the quilts from my book, together in one place.Here you can find pictures of all of the quilts from my book, Machine Quilting With Style.

If you have made one of the quilts from my book, or are currently making one, I’d love for you to share your progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa.

Machine Quilting With Style

13 friends each remade the 12 quilts + 1 of the backings. I have included their versions, too. Photography of my quilts courtesy of Martingale and Brent Kane. Here’s the order in which they are presented in the book:

ripplesRipples, made by me.


Ripples, made by Melissa Corry and her MIL Barbara

mqws_rainRain, made by me


Drizzle, made by Cheryl Brickey

color crystals.Color Crystals, made by me


Color Crystals, made by Vicki Ruebel


Technicolor backing made by me


Urban sunrise, made by Ida Ewing

Little Man's FancyLittle Man’s Fancy, made by me


Little Man’s Fancy, made by Tina Guthmann

staticStatic, made by me


Static, made by Lee Heinrich

square in a squareSquare in a Square, made by me


Square in a Square, made by Stacy Cooper


Focal Point, made by me

Focal Point - Chic Neutrals no lines

Focal Point, recolored in EQ7 using Chic Neutrals fabric from Amy Ellis


Focal Point, made by Amy Garro

Lightning and backing

Lightning, made by me, bonus backing tutorial from Martingale

lightning_leannePink, made by Leanne Chahley

Candy_PopCandy Pop, made by me


Candy Pop, made by Linda Hungerford

BrokenVBroken V, made by me


Broken V, made by Sharon McConnell


Facets, made by me



Facets, made by Kristy Daum

Finals B1324.inddPearl Gray, made by me


Pearl Gray, made by Alyce Blyth

I hope you enjoyed looking at all the quilting eye candy presented here.


You can purchase your copy of Machine Quilting with style from these locations:


My Stop on the Sister Sampler Quilts Blog Hop

Welcome everyone, to my stop on the Sister Sampler Quilts blog hop tour! If you are new around here, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter, and get a free PDF quilt pattern. :-)

Today I get to share my thoughts and sample blocks from AnneMarie Chany’s brand new book, Sister Sampler Quilts.

Sister Sampler Quilts Book Cover
Sister Sampler Quilts: 3 Modern Sampler Quilts with Paired Sister Blocks
By AnneMarie Chany
Fons & Porter/F+W; $19.99

So what are sister sampler blocks you ask? They are two of the same block within a quilt that make a visually interesting design when they are arranged within the sampler setting. Each time you make a block, you learn about color and fabric placement, value, tone, scale, etc.  By making two of each block, you can play, improve upon your selections, or try out something different.

Here are a few examples from the book:


grandmother's frame


Sister Sampler Quilts contains 3 samplers of 25 interchangeable blocks given in 2 finished sizes. All sampler blocks are made in pairs so that you make 2 of each block instead of just one. The block pairs can be the same or different, allowing you to explore different ideas within the same block!

My favorite sampler from the book is the modern Vice Versa Sampler shown below. I’m not usually a big fan of traditional sampler quilts which is why Sister Sampler Quilts really appeals to me. All blocks are traditional blocks with fun modern layouts.


My favorite sampler from the book – Vice Versa

I chose to make a pair of Rising Star blocks because I love the inverse design that’s created when you swap the fabric placement. I used some scraps from my  Kona designer palette to make my blocks and I loved being able to whip up two blocks at the same time!


9″ finished Rising Star blocks – these were so fun to make!

I simply love the fact that AnneMarie also chose to include plenty of quilting suggestions and closeup details of her machine quilting. I don’t know about you – but I when I spend my money on a book, I want to think about finishing the darn thing, not just making another top, LOL!! This book is a great value because it’s 126 pages long and priced under twenty bucks (or less when you buy it from Amazon).



Win a copy of Sister Sampler Quilts

Have you ever made a sampler quilt? Leave a comment below and tell me all about it. Plus, you can share pics of your sampler quilts, or blocks made from this book in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa. I’d love to see!

Be sure to stop by all of the stops below for additional chances to win a copy of Sister Sampler Quilts. Winners will be chosen at the end of the hop.

Sister Sampler Quilts Blog Hop Schedule
Monday, January 18  
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters – Introduction
Sara Lawsom / Sew Sweetness
Tuesday, January 19 
Leah Day / Free Motion Project
Brenda Ratliff / Just A Bit Frayed
Wednesday, January 20
Faith Jones / Fresh Lemons Quilts
Angela Pingel / Cut To Pieces
Thursday, January 21
Lynne Goldsworthy / Lily’s Quilts
Amy Friend / During Quiet Time
Friday, January 22
Christa Watson / Christa Quilts — You are here!
Violet Craft
Monday, January 25
Lee Heinrich / Freshly Pieced
Melissa Corry / Happy Quilting
Tuesday, January 26
Karen Lewis / Karen Lewis Textiles
Wednesday, January 27
Sherri McConnell / A Quilting Life
Melissa Mortensen / Polka Dot Chair
Thursday, January 28
Heather Valentine / The Sewing Loft
Friday, January 29
Cindy Wiens / Live A Colorful Life
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters – Wrap Up


3 Fun Things for You to Check out…pattern writing, finish-a-long, Aurifil BOM

One of the things I love about the online community (no, blogs are NOT dead!) is all of the community projects that you can be a part of! Last week I introduced my Facets QAL which starts next week, and today I’m here to share a roundup of a few fun things my friends are doing.

#1 – Pattern Writing Series


Cheryl, from Meadow Mist Designs just kicked off her pattern writing series which I know that many of you are interested in. Today, she’s introduced the 6 designers that are going to be part of each weekly roundtable discussion. It was fun putting together my thoughts on various topics, and I love how the series is going to go very in-depth in several areas. Each week will include 2-4 posts from Cheryl and the other designers. It’s going to be a wealth of information, and I’m sure I’ll learn a thing or two!


Click here to keep up with the Pattern Writing Series.

#2 – Finish Along

Next, I’m one of the sponsors for the Finish Along, coordinated by Leanne from She Can Quilt. I’ll be offering a different prize each quarter, so be sure to sign up and link up your finishes! The Finish Along is also on Instagram at – you guessed it – @finishalong.

2016 button

Click here for the Finish A Long main page.

#3 – Aurifil Designer Block of the Month

Finally, I am proud to be one of the 2016 Aurifil Designers of the month. Pat Sloan and Aurifil have teamed up since 2011 to bring you fun free projects each month, so you can put your collection of Aurifil threads to work!


The theme for 2016 is blue and white blocks, so each month, you’ll get a free block pattern from a different designer. (My month is March.) Heather Valentine kicks of January with her awesome block, Swirl Away, shown below.


Click here to get directions to make the Swirl Away block.

What quilting groups and community projects will you be involved with this year?

Book Review – Every Last Piece by Lynn Harris

I’m working my way through my new stash of quilt books and am excited to share Every Last Piece by Lynn Harris from The Little Red Hen.

Every Last Piece Cover

Lynn and I have known each other for awhile online but we got to meet in person at QuiltCon last year, and then got a chance to be roommates at the BERNINA ambassador reunion in December.


BERNINA ambassador friends: Nancy Mahoney, Lynn Harris, Me, Mandy Leins, Kari Carr.

I love Lynn’s concept for the book: using the tiniest pieces and scraps to create unique, fabulous designs. The cool thing about scrap quilts is that no two quilts are ever alike! Let’s take a look at just a few of the beautiful quilts in this book (images courtesy of Lynn and F&W)):


The Nancy Quilt – definitely my favorite. That green!! Those feathers!!

Wind farm

Wind Farm – I love it when a quilt can use teal as a neutral!!


Circular Reasoning is such a clever name for this quilt!

The quilts range in style from traditional to contemporary to modern, so there truly is something for everyone in this book!


Detail of the quilting on Bar Scene – I love it!

Lynn gets bonus points from me for quilting all of the quilts in her book, and there are tons of gorgeous closeup photos so you can see what she did!

The book includes patterns for 12 beautiful designs, plus a fabulous gallery of scrap quilts Lynn has made over the years – perfect inspiration for creating your own unique quilt! Templates, where needed, are given in full size and there are plenty of alternate layouts given to show you multiple options.


I love the combination of piecing, applique and quilting on Beach Balls!

Every Last Piece is a scrap quilter’s dream, and I highly recommend it for your bookshelf.  I’ll leave you with this final beauty shot – a closeup of the cover quilt that Lynn slept under during our ambassador reunion stay. I love it when quilts get used!!


Stardust detail – those stars are so tiny at just 2″ each!!

What quilting books are you currently reading?

Facets Quilt Along – Intro and Fabric Requirements

I’m ready to start my next quilt along featuring Facets, from my book Machine Quilting With Style. This is the quilt you all voted that was your favorite, and I’m so excited because it’s my favorite, too!


Facets by Christa Watson 63″ x 70″

The quilt along is a little bit different than the other quilt alongs I have shared in the past. You will need a copy of my book to participate. But that’s no problem, because I know that many of you have purchased your copies already (or received them as Christmas gifts).

Where to Purchase My Book

Machine Quilting With Style

Those new to my blog can pick up a signed copy of Machine Quilting With Style directly from me, or grab it here on Amazon for a super low price! It’s starting to show up in many local quilt shops, too, so check yours for availability. If you’d like to get a combo e-book + hardcopy, my publisher has a great deal over on the Martingale website.

Materials Requirements



  • 28 Fat Eighths of your favorite fabrics (or grab a fat quarter bundle of the Christa Watson palette if you want to make yours in the same colors as mine!). Or 3 1/2 yards of scraps.
  • 2 7/8 yards of background fabric (white in my quilt)
  • 1 1/8 yards for accent and binding (red in my quilt)
  • 4 1/2 yards backing
  • Twin Size Batting
  • Your favorite thread for machine piecing and quilting (I prefer Aurifil 50 wt.)
  • Creative Grids Rulers – Triangle Squared and Perfect Rectangle rulers. (Be sure to get this brand as other rulers are not the right size.)

creative_gridsThe book includes templates if needed, but the rulers are easier to use!

Facets Quilt Along Schedule

Here’s how it will work: each Friday I will post an update with your “homework” here on the blog. You can share your progress anytime, in my Facebook group at Quilt With Christa. If you are not on Facebook but still want to share, you can email me a picture of your progress and I’ll share it in a roundup photo.

Because we are working through the book, no directions will be given here on the blog. However, I will share behind the scenes of the making of Facets and I’ll be your cheerleader to help you out as well as lay out your goals for completion week by week.

  • Week 1 – Gather and share your fabrics. (This is a breather period to give everyone enough time to purchase their fabrics and books).
  • Week 2 – Feb. 5 – Make your own improv pieced fabric.
  • Week 3 – Feb 12 – Cut the blocks (with a bonus tutorial on how to use the Creative Grids specialty rulers).
  • Week 4 – Feb 17 – Sew the quilt top together. (Note this post will be on Wed. this week!)
  • Week 5 – Feb 26 – Baste the quilt.
  • Week 6 – March 4 – Machine Quilting part 1.
  • Week 7 – March 11 – Machine Quilting part 2.
  • Week 8 – March 18 – Bind to Finish.
  • Wrap up – April 1 – Prizes awarded (no foolin’!)

There Will be Prizes!

Each week you share your progress in my Fb group (or email pics to me), I’ll enter your name into one of three grand prize drawings at the end. So the more weeks you share, the more chances you have to win!

Three lucky participants will win the Grand Prize Pack – all three prizes per winner!

  1. A signed copy of my next book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, which releases April 19th. (And yes, I’ll get my co-author Angela Walters to sign it for you, too!)
  2. A charm pack of my Kona Designer Palette.
  3. A 1300 meter spool of Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread, in the color of your choice!

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

You don’t even have to finish your quilt to be entered into the grand prize. However, everyone who shares a picture of their finished quilt by March 31 will be entered to win the BONUS prize – a jelly roll of their choice from The Precut Store.


And because I don’t want to leave anyone out, all participants who share at least one picture will win a PDF pattern of their choice from my pattern shop!

Sharing is Caring

If you’d like, you can save and share this badge on your blog or other social media and spread the word about my quilt along! You can share the image only, or link it back to this post.

Share your work in progress on Instagram with the hashtag #facetsqal


So who’s ready to join the fun? Grab a copy of my book, your fabrics and start sharing your pics!