Facets Quilt Along Week 3 – Making the Triangle Blocks

I can’t tell you how much fun it is to watch your Facets progress. So many people are sharing their progress on Instagram and in my Facebook group. It makes me giddy!! If you are just joining us, you can catch up and get started on the Facets Quilt Along here. Be sure to grab a copy of Machine Quilting With Style, if you don’t already have it. We will be following the instructions found on pages 92-94 from the book.


This week’s assignment is to cut your “made fabric” into triangle shapes using the Triangle Squared Ruler and Perfect Rectangle Ruler from Creative Grids. If you don’t have these rulers, you can cut your shapes from the full-sized templates given on pages 96-97 of the book. You can either make templates from plastic or draw them onto paper and tape the paper to a ruler that’s wide enough to accommodate them.


You need both Creative Grids rulers for this method to work.

How to use the Creative Grids rulers:


First, make sure there is fabric completely underneath the triangle shape you are cutting. Next, align the Triangle Squared Ruler so that the blunted triangle corner is on the top of the strip, and the measurement you need lines up evenly with the bottom of the strip. Trim on both sides of the triangle. There will be a little bit of waste, but you can just throw that in the scrap pile for more improv piecing!


Once you have cut the triangle with the blunted tip at the top, rotate the ruler to cut a triangle with the blunted tip at the bottom.


Don’t forget to cut triangles from you accent fabric, too! Hint: if you are using directional prints, you may need additional fabric to accommodate cutting your triangles in one direction only.


You will need to cut the background triangles using the Perfect Rectangle Ruler. Remember to keep your strip folded so that you get a half rectangle for each side of the triangle in a square.


Don’t forget to cut angled tips indicated by the blunted end of the ruler. These will help line up your units correctly for sewing.

Using the picture below as a guide, line up the background rectangles so that the blunted ends align with the center triangle. The pointed tips will stick out. Trim the tips once the units are sewn.


I borrowed this image from a previous project using the same method with a smaller sized unit.

Sew the triangle blocks into diamonds where indicated in the book on page 94.

Eye Candy Inspiration

The best part of any quilt along is seeing how others make it their own. Here’s a roundup of blocks being made by followers in my Facebook group: Quilt With Christa and on instagram: #facetsqal. Remember – you can jump in at any time and work at your own pace. Some people have just started and others are nearly finished (which gives me plenty of pics to share for future posts)!


I love the pop of orange that Gina from Gina’s Custom Creations chose to include!


Sherri (@snugbear2 on IG) is laying out her pretty purple blocks and sewing them together!


I love Paula’s pretty piles!


I know I’m not supposed to have favorites but I really love Jocelyn’s triangles!!

Next week we will sew the blocks together to complete the quilt top.

Click here for the start of Facets Quilt Along


Christa’s Soapbox – Joining the Modern Quilt Guild Changed My Life

I guess I could subtitle this – “Sappy Love Letter to the MQG.” Sorry guys – I can’t help it!

As I prepare to teach at QuiltCon, the modern quilting show and conference that takes place in Pasadena, CA, February 18-21, I can’t help but pause and reflect on how much The Modern Quilt Guild has changed my life in such a short amount of time!

Here’s a quick recap: I’ve loved the art of quilting ever since I started this awesome hobby back in 1994. However, for many, many years, I felt stuck and uninspired because I couldn’t find my personal quilt style. I made a lot of quilts that I didn’t really like, just because it was so darn fun sewing them together! When I first heard of the MQG in 2012 and decided on a whim to attend QuiltCon (by myself!) in 2013, it really was a life changing moment.


The first time I ever entered or attended a national show was at QuiltCon in 2013.

At once, I resonated with the modern quilting aesthetic. The bold colors, clean lines, and graphic geometry appealed to me immensely. Now – I don’t want to go down a rabbit hole about what modern quilting is or isn’t. Neither do I want to discuss the merits of whether or not one should define their style or label themselves as fitting into a particular genre. Suffice it to say – upon becoming involved with the MQG, I instantly knew these were my kindred spirits and this was the style that I had been looking for, but didn’t know where to find it.

The best part of joining such a diverse community is truly connecting with so many people from different walks of life. Let’s be real – I’m probably not going to meet one of my tattooed and pierced BQF’s (best quilting friends) in my conservative church community, and they most likely won’t run into me at a bar – but we certainly do have a lot to chat about when we hook up at QuiltCon in person!


Returning to QuiltCon in 2015 was even more fun – this time I had more friends!

When I attended QuiltCon back in 2013, I was on fire with excitement! The whole weekend was full of and inspiration and exhilaration. It lit a fire under me to start publishing my work, and I vowed to one day return as a teacher. When I attended the second QuiltCon in 2015, it solidified all the positive feelings I’d had since the first one.

It’s funny – although I’ve always said I’d never be president of anything, I spent last year being president of the Las Vegas MQG. But when the universe moves you to take action, you just can’t ignore it! So yeah, I’m a little bit excited (and a whole lot nervous) to return to QuiltCon again in 2016.

Although I’m not naiive enough to realize that there are both cheerleaders and detractors for any organization, I look forward to the future of the Modern Quilt Guild. Although I’m sure there will be bumps in the road ahead, I’m excited for the journey, because being a member has truly changed my quilting life – for the better!

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?