Paper Pieced Quilt Along #1 – Supply List and Sewing Schedule

Overview

Are you ready to join me on a paper piecing adventure? I’d love to have you! For my next quilt along, I will be sharing a 12-part tutorial series, showing you how to make a complete paper-pieced quilt from start to finish including machine quilting!

My block design was inspired by a traditional Dresden Plate block that I reinterpreted in EQ7 using hard edges and sharp angles rather than soft curves and circles. I renamed it Deco Dresden since so many friends on Instagram told me it looked like an art-deco design. :-)

deco_dresden_block

8″ Finished Deco Dresden Unit – Designed in EQ7

The Design

When you place four of the Deco Dresden units together one way, they form a really cool sunburst block.

deco_sunburst

 16″ Finished Sunburst Block

If you’d like to try a more modern, geometric look, you can sew your blocks together like this:

deco_geometric

16″ Finished Geometric Pinwheel Block

One quick tip as you are planing your colors: By using a color gradation and placing similar values in the same spot you can create a pretty cool optical illusion effect, where the blocks look like they are leaning to the left or right (depending on the order of your gradation).

blocks_lean_right

 Can you see that the blocks all appear to be leaning to the right? – Putting negative space in between the blocks emphasizes the optical illusion. Size shown is 56″ x 64″.

If you would like to create a more traditional or contemporary look, balance out your color values so that the lighter colors are on the ends. Then set the blocks together side by side:

dresden_straightset

 Here’s a more traditional/contemporary layout with the blocks in a straight set. Finished size is 48″ x 64″ as shown. Add extra background borders or more blocks to make it bigger.

For a completely different look, you can lay out the blocks individually like this:

deco_diagonal

 As of now, I think this is the layout I’m going to choose –  64″ x 80″.

This is just the beginning of what you can do with this block! During the quilt along, I’ll share several more options of how you can set your blocks.

The Caveat

I will guide you through all the steps of paper piecing these blocks, but here’s a warning up front: paper piecing wastes fabric, and these blocks are very time-consuming since they contain a lot of pieces per block. So allow yourself plenty of time and don’t rush it. The actual piecing is pretty straight-forward and the paper piecing method I use can be applied to any paper pieced block design.

block_scraps

 An early version of the block in a smaller size. All of that waste is just from one block!

One other thing – I will be showing you how to make the blocks and will include step by step cutting and assembly for the layout I choose. I encourage you to choose or create any layout you like, but you’ll have to figure out the additional math if needed. :-)

Group Quilt Along

Are you excited to explore the possibilities of this design? There’s no need to sign up and it’s completely free. The tutorials will be posted here on the blog, and you can join my facebook group Quilt With Christa to share pictures of your progress and get input from everyone else who is quilting along. I will also be posting real-time sneak peeks on facebook in between my scheduled blog posts. My facebook group is also a great place to trouble-shoot and ask questions!

For those of you who would like to share on Instagram, I will be using the hashtag #decoqal for this one. You can also share pics from any of my previous quilt alongs with the tag #christaquiltsqal.

Materials List

This is enough to make 48 Deco Dresden blocks, 8″ x 8″. I have used Robert Kaufman Kona Solids in some of my favorite colors – red, orange and yellow for my version. For more variety and movement, choose a range of fabrics for each color family. And remember, choose colors that appeal to you!

  • Background (Black): 3 yards for blocks only, or 5 yards if piecing in negative space or borders
  • Color 1 (at least 3 assorted reds): 1 3/4 Yards Total
  • Color 2 (at least 3 assorted yellows): 1 3/4 Yards Total
  • Color 3 (at least 3 assorted Oranges): 2 1/2 yards Total
  • Binding Fabric: Approx. 5/8 yard
  • Backing Fabric: Approx. 5 yards
  • Batting Piece: Approx. 68″ x 84″ (or at least 4″ bigger than your finished quilt size)
  • Neutral to dark cotton thread for piecing. I recommend Aurifil 50 weight.
  • Thread to match your fabrics for quilting. I recommend Aurifil 40 or 50 weight.

Other supplies

  • Add a quarter ruler (I think the 12″ size is the most versatile.)
  • A piece of thin but firm template plastic, or other thin hard edge such as a manilla folder or postcard
  • 48 pieces of lightweight copy paper or specialty foundation paper
  • Needles, size 90/14
  • Washable glue stick or pins for securing the first piece
  • Basic sewing supplies and rotary cutting equipment
  • Iron and optional portable pressing mat
  • Your can-do attitude – this is going to be fun!

Paper Pieced Quilt Along Schedule

  • Part 1 – Intro and Supply List – Today!
  • Part 2 – Cutting the Fabrics – May 13
  • Part 3 – Sewing the First Block – May 20
  • Part 4 – Sewing the Rest of the Blocks – May 27
  • Part 5 – Exploring Alternate Layouts – June 3
  • Part 6 – Sewing the Top – June 10
  • Part 7 – Backing and Basting – June 17
  • Part 9 – Machine Quilting – June 24
  • Part 10  – More Machine Quilting – July 1
  • Part 11 – Trimming and Binding – July 15
  • Part 12 – Wrap up and Share Your Success! – July 22

Copyright and Permission Granted

I am very happy to share my knowledge with you free of charge during this quilt along. However, this information is for your personal use as a loyal reader of my blog. Please do not make copies of any part of this quilt along to distribute it to your friends. If you’d like to tell them about it, simply share my QAL site link with them and encourage them to come on over and join us.: ChristasQuiltAlong.com

If you’d like to share links to my site on Facebook or on your own blog, that is great, too!

At the conclusion of the quilt along, I will be happy to edit down all of the content and turn it into a pattern for sale, so that others can use my pattern as a teaching aid in the future. :-)

So who wants to quilt along?

When you’ve picked your fabrics, please share your stash over on my facebook group. I’d love to see what colors you are working with!

Recommended Sewing Machine Features for Free-Motion Machine Quilting

In my latest Craftsy blog post, I’ve made a list of 6 things to look for when considering purchasing a domestic sewing machine for machine quilting. My favorite feature is the extra wide throat space my Bernina has, which makes it much easier to “squish and smoosh” my quilts as I go.

fmq_sitd

Closeup of my String of Pearls Quilt in progress

Click here to read the rest of my recommendations!

Introducing HST in Make Modern Magazine

I’m excited to share one of my latest quilt finishes with you today. It’s called HST and the pattern can be found in the current issue (#5) of Make Modern Magazine.

HST

 HST designed, pieced and quilted by Christa Watson

When the gals at Make Modern invited me to submit a design, this idea literally popped into my head. I love making half square triangles and thought what a riot it would be to make a quilt from half square triangles that form one larger, modern HST.

HSTbed

HST on my bed – I’m not much of  decorator, but this quilt brightens up my room!

It turned out so well that I now use it on my bed and it is so comfy and snuggly! I used Alison Glass Handcrafted batiks from Andover fabrics along with textured solids in 2 shades of grey with a pop of yellow/green just for fun! For batting, I chose the highest loft of Quilter’s Dream cotton that I could and it is very warm. I just love this quilt!

Click here for my previous blog post showing sneak peeks of the quilting and the back.

String of Pearls Updated Pattern Now Available

I am on a roll this week! I just completed all of the updates to String of Pearls which is now available in four sizes from table topper to queen. I have a confession to make: I really like writing patterns and figuring out the quilty math!! Oh yeah, making the quilts is fun, too! :-)

StringofPearlsCover

The PDF version of String of Pearls is available in my Craftsy pattern store. If you make a quilt from any of my patterns, be sure to share your progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa. It thrills me to no end to see how you are putting your own spin on these designs!

StringofPearlsBackPDF

Great News – Sewing Machines to be Provided at NQA

I just got great news that sewing machines will now be provided for all classes at the National Quilting Association show this June. Since I will be teaching 3 hands on classes, this will be so much easier on the students!

nqaclassesIf you are thinking of attending, be sure to register for classes now as the deadline for workshop registration is May 1st.

Just to recap, here are the 3 classes I will be teaching. I’d love to see you there!

Modern Logs  This class is quickly become a student favorite. It’s fun to teach the same workshop in multiple venues and I love to see how everyone makes it in their own way! My quilt measures 48″ x 54″ and it’s super easy to make it larger – just add more blocks!

Modern Logs

Modern Machine Quilting  Enjoy the satisfaction that comes with learning to quilt your own quilts! In class, I’ll teach a plethora of walking foot wonders and free-motion favorites that are accomplished with little to no marking. Let go of perfection and enjoy the rich textural effects of modern quilting!

modern machine quilting samples

Charming Chevrons  The one that started it all, this design was my entry into the world of modern quilting. It’s quick and easy to make from your favorite collection of charm squares, whether they are solids, prints, or a mix of both!

Colorful Chevrons

Charming Chevrons Pattern Makeover – Now Available in 4 Sizes

Exciting news! I’m updating all of my patterns, and I just finished the first one! Charming Chevrons is now available in 4 sizes: Lap, Throw, Twin, and Queen.

CharmingChevronsCover

 Purchase the PDF version of Charming Chevrons here.

 Thanks to the fabulous graphic design work of Design by Lindsie, I’ve checked off something that has been on my to-do list for literally 10 years!!

Charming Chevrons is currently available as a PDF, but as we speak, I’m also getting them professionally printed so that quilt shops can carry them, too! (Just email me for wholesale pricing if you are a shop interested in carrying my patterns.)

I had a certain look I wanted for my patterns, and Lindsie knocked it out the park! She’s busy working on updating my other patterns, too, and I can’t wait! They will all be full-color with plenty of diagrams to help you out. After doing a little research on what others wanted in their patterns, I decided to offer each of my patterns in 4 different sizes. Where possible, I’ve also included extra tips for machine quilting or additional layouts.

Here’s the back cover with the fabric requirements for Charming Chevrons:

CharmingChevronsDigital_back

So, what do you think of the new look?

Just for fun-sies, you compare the new pattern with all of my older ones here.

If You Were Friend Shopping…

Hey guys, it’s usually an Instagram thing to share and tell about someone’s work you admire for others to follow. Well, I figured, why not do that occasionally here on the blog? Meet my friends Ida, who blogs at Ida Rather be Quilting, and Vicki who blogs at Orchid Owl Quilts.

stgeorgeshow

 In this picture Vicki and Ida are just behind me in the back row on the left and right. We went with several other fun members of our Modern Quilt Guild to a Quilt Show in St. George, Utah.

I first met Ida last year when she moved into my neighborhood and I found out she was a quilter. We can just find each other – you know?? Vicki moved to town about a year later and she got involved right away with the local guilds.  Both of them have helped me so much this year as I’ve led our local Modern Quilt Guild. I love all of my online friendships, but there’s nothing quite like having friends close by who get your obsession for all things quilting!

ida_shoppingIda was stocking up on solids during a recent shopping trip to Superior Threads.

Ida is a military wife so she is very good as making friends quickly and adapting to new surroundings. Be sure to visit her blog and scroll through her posts for some excellent eye candy along with musings on military life. One of my favorite tutorials is her improv zipper pouch which I followed to make a recent guild swap gift. I also adore her Plus One quilt, shown below.

PlusOneHillcloseup

Vicki and I actually met online through Instagram, and became fast friends when I learned she was moving here. We clicked right away because we both have that innate desire to show and share our quilts with as many people as possible, and we both love talking about the “industry” side of quilting. (In fact, Ida loves to refer to Vicki and I as the “quilt divas” when we are talking shop, LOL!!)

orchidowlVicki and with her quilt Me and My Shadow which won judge’s choice at a recent quilt show.

I love what Vicki wrote recently on her blog about entering quilt shows. She also shares a bit of that competitive spirit with me and it’s fun to cheer each other on as we enter our work into shows. (I told her she will always beat the pants off me any day with that luscious feather quilting!!)

bigstar_vickiAnother of Vicki’s award-winning quilts.

So if you are looking for more inspiring blogs to follow, I can highly recommend Ida Rather Be Quilting and Orchid Owl Quilts. Go give them some comment love and make some new friends!

Check Out National Quilter’s Circle Blogger Awards

The National Quilter’s Circle is now accepting nominations for your favorite quilting and fiber arts blogs. I had honestly never even heard of this before until they contacted me letting me know my blog had already been submitted by several different people (thank you).

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Nominations run through April 29th and the top four blogs with the most nominations in each category will then move onto the voting round which runs through May 15th.

Categories include:

  • Best Traditional Quilting Blog
  • Best Modern Quilting Blog
  • Best Quilting Patterns Blog
  • Best Fiber Arts Blog
  • Best Art Quilts Blog
  • Most Humorous Blog
  • Best Overall Quilting Blog

Click here if you’d like to nominate your favorite blog – including your own!

I always like to support contest like these because I think it helps get the word out about other quilting bloggers and brings the blogging and quilting community together. :-)

My Book is Now Available for Pre-Order!!

It’s real – it’s really real! My book is now available for pre-order on Amazon! So before I faint with excitement, please allow me to tell you a little something about it… :-)

MQWS_cover

My book is called Machine Quilting With Style: From Walking-Foot Wonders to Free-Motion Favorites. That’s quite a mouthful, but I couldn’t be more thrilled! As many others have said, it really is like birthing another child, complete with restlessness, anxiety and weight gain, LOL! :-) The “due” date is mid-September, about a month after my own birthday, so I really couldn’t ask for a better present.

It’s been a dream of mine to write a book since I began quilting many years ago, and the perfect opportunity came at just the right time. I had returned home from the first QuiltCon on fire with the desire to share my passion for quilting with a many people as possible. Coupled with my new-found love of the modern aesthetic, all the stars aligned in the best possible way to create this book.

BookPostcardBackSept

Promotional information by the incredibly talented marketing team at Martingale.

Machine Quilting With Style includes patterns for 12 quilts with step-by-step instructions on how to machine quilt them. It also includes a large section on setting yourself up for successful machine quilting, with plenty of motifs to practice. There are a total of 112 pages, and I’m so grateful to Martingale (aka That Patchwork Place) for believing in my vision and allowing me to write the book I was meant to write.

Now that the hurdle of writing and editing is over, I get to engage in the fun part: promoting the book, talking to shop owners about it, creating classes around it, and getting to share it with as many people as possible. I’m pretty sure I enjoy the “social” aspect of quilting just as much as the actual making. :-)

book-editingThis is what book editing looks like!

Machine Quilting With Style is available for pre-order on Amazon at a discount off the cover price, which is always nice. You can also purchase it from your local quilt shop or favorite bookstore later this summer, or ask them to preorder you a copy when they attend quilt market this spring.

If you’d like to pre-order a signed copy directly from me, it’s just a few dollars more, and I’ll ship mid-September as soon as they come in.

Ok – I’d best get started on the next one, now! (Kidding-not-kidding!)

The Beehive Quilts – Double Star Block

This month I’m pleased to be a part of The Beehive, a quilt block tutorial series hosted by Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts.

My block of the month is called Double Star, which finishes at 12″ x 12″.

Double Star Block

Be sure to hop on over to Alyce’s blog for the Double Star block tutorial, plus see what the block looks like in repeat, and check out Alyce’s version in an alternate colorway. If that’s not enough, there’s also an extra bonus for EQ users!

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Click here for links to all of the Beehive block tutorials.