DIY Block Design By Alyce Blyth

Ready to go on another blog hop? My friend Alyce (pronounced Elise, not Alice), from Blossom Heart Quilts has just released her first e-book – hooray!! It’s called DIY Block Design and is all about teaching you some of the math principles that go into designing your own quilt blocks from basic geometric units. What a fun concept, right?

DIY Block Design coverAlyce includes some handy charts and exercises that will walk you through the steps of block design including learning how to break down a block design into its basic grid structure.

For the hop, Alyce has rounded up several designer friends and a few designer newbies who will share some of their tricks and tips of their design process. For me, I always start with a basic block. I draw my designs in EQ7 but you can use simple graph paper, too!

My #1 Tip

When I’m dealing with design I don’t worry about the math until the end. For example, I’ll finalize my block design, then set it into a layout. Once I’m happy with the way everything looks, I’ll tweak the size of the block until it’s the size I need for the quilt I want to create. In DIY Block Design, Alyce shows you how easy it is to resize the block you want into the size you need.

DIY Block Design inside peekAs part of the fun, Alyce will also be hosting an Instagram challenge where participants will be able to share their design progress each week this month and enter to win prizes! The book is not required to participate in the weekly instagram giveaways, but it will help with your design process. Enter your blocks and be inspired by everyone else’s with the hashtag: #mydiyblockdesign. And here’s a bonus – you can get DIY Block Design at an introductory price until October 7th!

Be sure to check out all of the stops on the hop below for more fun and inspiration! And then get started designing your own quilt blocks!

October 2
Heidi @ Fabric Mutt
Christa @ ChristaQuilts      You are here!
Angie @ Gnome Angel

Week 1: Inspiration

October 7
Ros @ Sew Delicious
Leanne @ Sewn By Leanne
Amy @ And Sew We Craft

October 9
Jennie @ Clover & Violet
Jane @ QuiltJane
Melissa @ My Fabric Relish

Week 2: Sketches

October 14
Jen @ Faith And Fabric
Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts

October 16
Sandi @ Crafty Planner
Anne @ Play Crafts
Jess @ Elven Garden Quilts

Week 3: Making

October 21
Joy @ Quilty Joy Joy
Linden @ Vine Lines Quilting
Cassie @ Cassandra Madge

October 23
Keera @ Live Love Sew
Janice @ Better Off Thread
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts

Week 4: Finishes

October 28
Kelly @ A Place Of My Own
Abby @ Color Bar Quilts

Paper Pieced Quilt Along #9 – Start Machine Quilting

Hey guys, remember this quilt? To recap, you can find tutorials to make the quilt top here.

stitch_inthe_ditch_1My Deco Dresden quilt blocks – I’m still trying to name this quilt!

It got pushed aside while I was planning my blog hop for my first book and because of the other very special project I announced in my last blog post. Well good news for my patient followers – I’m ready to finish it up!

To ease back into the swing of things, this week’s tutorial will be very simple. We are going to stitch in the ditch around the block outlines. This will anchor (secure) the quilt for further quilting, and is an easy way to dive back in.

To help you out I sketched out a very rudimentary diagram that shows the stitching path. (This is why I hire illustrators to do this kind of thing for me professionally, lol!!) I’ve just diagrammed one row, but it’s the same quilting path for each row of blocks.

stitching-pathFollow the arrows to quilt in the ditch in each row.

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Stitch in the ditch rather than away from the ditch as shown in the arrows. I drew the lines away from the ditch so you could see them.
  • There will be a lot of turning of the quilt. I used my integrated dual feed (works similar to a walking foot), to quilt these lines. If you prefer, you can free-motion quilt in the ditch instead. A knee lift really comes in handy here (thanks Bernina)!
  • Start and end each row of quilting a few inches off the quilt in the batting. That way you don’t have to clip threads or bury knots.

sitd_startingAn open toe foot comes in very handy for visibility. Start quilting on the edge, “off the quilt.”

  • Since my background is black, I used black thread in the top. My backing fabric is shades of bright orange so instead of using black thread in the bobbin (which wouldn’t look good on the back), or orange thread (which would show through on the top), I used an invisible thread in the bobbin.

sitd_pivotWhen it’s time to pivot, stop with your needle in the down position and lift the foot. You don’t need to turn the whole quilt – just enough so you can line your foot up with the next section to stitch.

  • If your layout is different than mine, take a picture of your quilt and print it out in black and white. Then draw a possible stitching path, or trace it with your fingers with the fewest possible starts and stops.
  • I plan to come back later and quilt the insides of the blocks with a different quilting motif.
  • It took me a total of 4 hours to completely outline each row with stitching. Split this up over time and don’t try to cram it all into one day.

sitd_doneIt doesn’t look like much, but this will anchor the quilt for more quilting next week!

Sharing is Caring

If you are quilting along, be sure to share your work in progress over on my facebook group: Quilt With Christa.

You can also post pictures on instgram with the hashtag #paperpiecedqal or #decodresden. Be sure to tag me so I can see what you are doing: @christaquilts

Happy machine quilting!!


MQWS Blog Hop Wrap Up and Winners

What a great blog hop this has been! Thanks to all of you who participated by leaving comments and voting for your favorite quilt. Also – huge hugs to those who participated on my blog hop and helped spread the word about my debut book, Machine Quilting With Style. And now, the results of the most popular quilt that will be my selected for my quilt along is January is…….


The Quilt Along Winner Is….

Facets! With Rain and Color Crystals coming in at 2nd and 3rd place. Be sure to stay tuned as I announce more details with the exact quilt along dates a little bit later. Now that I know the winner, I’ll start planning the quilt along.

Don’t forget to grab your copy of Machine Quilting With Style so you can join us in January!

MQWS_facetsFacets – Quilt Along coming in January 2016!

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner…..

And now I owe you a couple of winners! Congratulations go to Debra R. from Kentucky who won the box of Aurifil Thread and Denise W. from Pennsylania who won my Fat Quarter designer bundle! Both of you have been emailed. Those of you who won ebooks will be notified by the publisher in the next week or so. Those than won additional sponsored prizes will be contacted by the bloggers directly for your prizes!

A few of the giveaways are still open – be sure to check the individual hop stops for details.

giveaway prizes

A Bit More…

And now for some exciting news – I’ve just finished writing my second book, with a very special co-author. I’m not going to say too much about it yet because I don’t want to overshadow the first one. But if you are so inclined, you can pop on over to Amazon for a sneak peek of the cover and place your pre-order. It’s due to be released in April of 2016.

Again, a huge thanks to all of you amazing readers for your continued support in this fun journey. Now – it’s onto the next quilt!

MQWS Blog Hop Day 12 – Focal Point

I can’t believe today is the last day for my Machine Quilting With Style blog tour! When I finished up the book earlier this year, I went into withdrawals for a day or two, not quite knowing what to do with myself. Now I feel the same way, what will I share next?!

On Monday, I will do a quick recap of the tour and announce the winners of my 2 giveaways. I’ll also announce the results of the Quilt Along Survey. Plus, I’ll have an exciting new announcement to share, so stay tuned!

Focal Point – The Background Story

focal_pointFocal Point 45″ x 45″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

One of my modern quilting heroes, Jacquie Gering, gave me the best advice when I was trying to learn how to make my quilts look more modern. She told me I should always try and include a focal point in my quilts. So in a way, I named this quilt to honor her.

center_spiralMy continuous spiral is perfectly imperfect and adds just the right amount of texture to the quilt!

I love quilting large continuous spirals and think they look terrific on both modern and traditional quilts. They add incredible texture to a quilt. However, for many people, quilting a smooth center can be a little tricky. After a little bit of trial and error, I figured out a way to quilt the whole spiral with a walking foot, with a nicer looking center.

Just remember, don’t knock yourself out trying to achieve perfect quilting. Opt for perfectly imperfect quilting instead. Once you back away from your quilt, all you will notice is the allover texture, rather than the individual stitches!

A Bit More and a Bonus Giveaway

I took copious notes about what makes a quilt modern during a presentation from Heather Grant at QuiltCon 2013. It’s taken me a couple of years to let these design principles sink in, and I’m still discovering more of what I like about modern quilts. I remember Heather saying something along the lines of wanting to encourage more design that looks liked it’s been cropped from a larger piece. That’s sort of the look I was going for with this quilt, and I’m pleased with the results.

Focal Point - Chic Neutrals no linesFocal point with swatches of Chic Neutrals by Amy Ellis for Moda

For my version of Focal Point, I used Amy Ellis’ Modern Neutrals fabric from Moda. Amy’s new line is called Chic Neutrals, so decided to play around in EQ7 and recolor it in the newer line. Isn’t it fun? Amy’s generously giving away a bundle of Chic Neutrals to make this quilt.

Pop on over to Amy’s Creative Side to see her fun things and enter to win!


Elements that make this quilt modern – neutral palette with high impact, hard edges that create high contrast between the pieces, off-center design, focal point, geometric quilting done with a walking foot.

Time for me to complete – 15 hours from start to finish.

More Inspiration from Amy garro!

13_spoolsAmy Garro from 13 Spools is another inspiring friend of mine. She recently wrote her first book, Paper Pieced Modern. It’s pretty awesome, and I’m so glad the timing of my book worked out for her to catch her breath, and then make another quilt! You’ve got to check out her version of Focal Point – it’s amazing. I always encourage everyone to change up my ideas to make it their own, and Amy did just that with her version. She includes lots of eye candy and some fun commentary so be sure to check it out!

Be sure to  enter Amy’s giveaway to win an ebook of Machine Quilting With Style.


Giveaway from Pellon Products

pellonPellon was another great partner – they donated several battings for me to make some of the quilts in this book. One of the things I did was try to use a different batting for nearly every quilt, just to give them a try. My favorite? Hands down, it was the cotton/soy blend, which is the batting I chose to make Focal Point. The batting was soft and supple, drapes well, and hangs well with no creases after it’s been folded. It was easy to quilt through, and I’m going to be using this batting in a lot more of my quilts in the future.

Thanks to Pellon for sponsoring a generous giveaway for this hop. Head on over to the Pellon blog for your chance to win some of the same batting I used – I think you’ll love it!

Click here for the complete blog hop schedule.

Click here purchase your autographed copy of Machine Quilting With Style.

MQWS Blog Hop Day 11 – Facets

If you love the fabrics in Facets, be sure to sign up for my weekly email newsletter, and get a free pattern showing them in a different way. (Of course you can choose your own fabrics, too!)

Facets – The Background Story

Facets_KonaFacets 63″ x 70″ by Christa Watson. Photo courtesy of Robert Kaufman.

I love coordinated scrappy quilts and improvisational piecing, yet I’m more of a “structured improv” kind of gal. I like to randomly sew together a bunch of scrappy goodness, then create order and structure from the chaos. For Facets, I chose 28 Kona Cottons in warm reds, oranges, and yellows, with some green thrown in for good measure. The palette reminds me of crisp juicy apples!

facets_stripsIt was such fun to cut up these fabrics into smaller chunks to play with!

It was very liberating to create my own crazy-pieced fabric to work with:

crazy pieced yardageRandomly sewing bits of fabric together is very therapeutic!

I really went to town with the machine quilting on this one. I used both walking-foot quilting and free-motion techniques when quilting Facets. Whenever I quilt, I like to think about the logical sequence of steps I take before starting. That way, it doesn’t seem too overwhelming.

facets_quiltingUsing my “scrunch and smoosh” method for dealing with the bulk while quilting. There’s an extra table under there which helps hold up the weight of the quilt.

I love quilting swirls, and combining them with switchbacks really creates a lot of movement.

Finals B1324.inddPhotography by Brent Kane.

A Bit More – and a Bonus Giveaway!

I was stoked when Robert Kaufman decided to add this grouping to their designer palette series this fall. Coming in October, you’ll be able to get your hands on the Christa Watson Designer Palette in fat quarters, ten squares, charm squares, and roll-ups! You can create a quilt just like mine, but of course it will still be different because of the improv element. :-)

What makes this quilt modern – offset grid layout, improvisational piecing, geometric design with high contrast and graphic impact, exclusive use of flat solids, bold, bright color palette, design goes all the way to the edges, organically quilted machine quilting.

Time for me to complete – 47 hours from start to finish, including the improv piecing.

How would you like to get your hands on a fat quarter bundle of my designer palette?

Christa Watson Designer PaletteThe Christa Watson Designer Palette – available at quilts shops everywhere in October!

To enter the giveaway for a 28 piece fat quarter bundle of my favorite Kona colors, just comment letting me know whether you’ve ever tried improv piecing and what you think about it. I’ll draw a winner at the end of the day on Sunday and announce their name on Monday, Sept. 28th.

And remember, don’t forget to vote for your favorite quilt for my QAL in January! Since I know you are dying to ask – yes, Facets is MY favorite quilt from the book. :-)

Quilting Inspiration from kristy daum


I think my favorite part of this blog hop is seeing all of the amazing quilts from my talented friends! Kristy Daum from St. Louis Victorian and I have been online friends for awhile and finally got to meet up at QuiltCon earlier this year. You may remember Kristy’s amazing pixelated quilts featuring David Tennant as Dr. Who and the lovely Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock.

Now Kristy has knocked it out of the park with her version of Facets. I really love it when others really take an idea and make it their own! It was fun watching her instagram sneek peaks, and her final reveal today will take your breath away.

Pop on over to Kristy’s blog to see her version of Facets.

Teri’s Take


The amazing Teri Lucas from Terificreations shared a sneak peak of some Facets blocks on the Generation Q website earlier in the week. She chose to use solid pieces of fabric and did some killer quilting on them! Like me, she prefers to quilt on a home-sewing machine and she is one talented lady!! She’s one of those that I can talk quilting with all day long!

So far we’ve only met in person once, and I can’t wait to see her again at the next event. She’s always so thoughtful and encouraging – just the type of quilty friend you want in your corner. Teri is offering a book giveaway on her site. While you are there, be sure to browse around, and check out her amazing quilting!!

Head over to Teri’s blog to enter her giveaway.

Visit The Quilting Gallery

quiltinggalleryMichele Foster is the brilliant name and voice behind the highly popular website the Quilting Gallery. We first met online when I was an advertiser on her site, many moons ago. We have turned that business relationship into a really great friendship and I hope someday soon that we can meet up in person. I mean, if you are like me, you can always use another BQF (best quilting friend), right?

Michele blogs and shares so much inspiration about what’s happening in the quilting community, and she’s has written very nice things about my book over on her blog today. She even scored extra points with me by saying that Facets is her favorite quilt, too! In addition to being a prolific quilter, Michele is an amazing designer and hosts lots of fun clubs on her site. As part of her stop, she’s generously including a fun giveaway of her own. :-)

Visit the Quilting Gallery blog and enter to win a membership to Michele’s mini quilting club!

Click here for the complete blog hop schedule.

Click here purchase your autographed copy of Machine Quilting With Style.

MQWS Blog Hop Day 10 – Lightning

Today’s stop on the Machine Quilting With Style book tour is full of inspiration and giveaways! Be sure to stop by all of the blogs listed below to get in on the prizes. And be sure to go back and visit the earlier stops you may have missed. Many of those giveaways are still open. :-)

Lightning – The Background Story

LightningLightning 72″ x 96″ by Christa Watson. Photograpy by Brent Kane.

I love taking traditional design ideas and then tweaking them with a bit of the unexpected. You may recognize Lightning as a simple rail fence variation, but with a modern twist! I’m realizing I love to do scrappy, but with more of a “controlled scrappy” look. As I have said before, why choose one fabric when 20 will do! And why cut straight strips when you can make them a bit wonky instead, right? I decided that the ziz-zag streaks looked like they were piercing through a cloudy sky, hence the name Lightning!

lightning_topHave sewing machine – will travel and quilt, even while on vacation!

I actually pieced this quilt last summer while on vacation. I brought along my Singer Featherweight and was able to set up a makeshift sewing area in a small space. I used the hotel floor as a design wall and took pictures with my phone so I could keep the layout oriented correctly.

lightning_quiltingQuilting in progress – you gotta love a good stipple!

This quilt is rather large, but I had no problems quilting it on my BERNINA. In the book, I share my best tips and tricks for how to deal with the bulk of the quilt when quilting on a sit-down machine. Just remember, you only need to deal with a small amount of the quilt under the needle at any time. :-)

A Bit More

lightning_backingBacking in progress – a great way to use up fat quarters!

As I love to do, I made a scrappy backing for Lightning from my fat quarter stash of black and white prints, with some pops of green. I had originally wanted this included in the book, but was sad when it had to be cut for length. However, the folks at Martingale have generously decided to include it as a free pieced backing tutorial on their site – so yay! (See more below.)

What makes this quilt modern – graphic color scheme, wonky blocks based on tradition, zig-zags create a focal point with a bright pop of color, block design goes all the way to the edges.

Time for me to complete – 44 hours from start to finish, including the pieced backing.

More from She Can Quilt, Martingale, and Riley Blake

shecanquiltLeanne Chahley from She Can Quilt is one of those people whose work is easy to admire! I fell in love with an award winning quilt of hers at the first QuiltCon and I’ve been her stalker friend ever since! I love her take on Lightning done with scrappy pinks and scrappy quilting. She used the designs from the book as sort of a sampler for machine quilting. Leanne quilted her version of Lightning on her long-arm, showing how versatile these designs can be!

Head to Leann’s site to see her fabulous version of Lightning and enter her giveaway!

martingaleMartingale/That Patchwork Place is simply the best publisher anyone could ask for! Yes, I may be a bit biased, but writing this book has been a fabulous experience from start to finish (just like making a quilt)! After writing this book, I would definitely partner with them again! When you purchase your copy of Machine Quilting With Style from the Martingale site, they’ll throw in the ebook for free. Double bonus!!

Machine Quilting With Style

Martingale has a lot of content on their site today: you can see more quilty photos from the book, check out a little video from my quilt market demonstration last spring, and enter for your chance to visit their giveaway. (When you watch the video, you’ll get to see how fast I really talk in person!)

Go to Stitch This – the Martingale blog to get the free backing tutorial and enter their giveaway!


Riley Blake Designs has been a terrific partner. Not only did they provide me with fabrics used in some of the quilts in the book, they are offering a fantastic giveaway to go along with the hop!

riley_blake_giveawayPop on over to the Riley Blake blog and enter for your chance to win!

Click here for the complete blog hop schedule.

Click here purchase your autographed copy of Machine Quilting With Style.

MQWS Blog Hop Day 9 – Rain

As you are perusing the blog hop each day, don’t forget to vote for your favorite quilt over at Survey Monkey. (Yes, you can totally sneak peeks of all the designs from Machine Quilting With Stile on the Martingale site to help you choose!) Whichever quilt gets the most votes, is the quilt along I will lead next year.

Be sure to grab your copy of the book and join the QAL fun in January!

Rain – The Background Story

As I was contemplating designing a series of quilts for a book back in 2013, my husband thought he’d help me brainstorm a few ideas. So he whipped out is iPad and sketched out this design in about 5 minutes. I fell instantly in love (with him again, and this design)!


Jason’s original iPad doodle. I like his ideas!!

He originally called his design Meteor Shower, but for some reason, I wanted to call it Rain. I love the stark simplicity of this design, and tweaked it just a bit – making my lines completely straight and parallel for easier construction. I also added in 3 extra rain strips. Can you spot them?


Rain 60″ x 80″ by Christa Watson. Design inspiration by Jason Watson.

Rain is the only quilt in the book where I worked backwards to create the pattern. I estimated how long I wanted each piece to be and used a design wall to start laying out the pieces in order, filling in with background fabric to get the spacing just right. I sewed up the top first, then I went back and calculated all of the math afterward.

Rainstrips_wipWorking on Rain prompted me to build a larger design wall for my studio. And get better lighting.

The cool thing about this design, is that even though I’ve given exact pattern directions in the book, you really can change it up to make it your own by using thinner or thicker width strips, changing the number and length of the strips, and varying their placement.

I went out of my comfort zone, choosing highly contrasting thicker weight Aurifil thread to extend the streaks of rain in the colored strips.

rain-closeupSometimes contrasting thread can be used as a design element to great effect.

A Bit more

I’m super excited that Rain was recently juried into the Modern Quilt Guild Exhibit at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this fall. This means it automatically gets entered into QuiltCon 2016 to hang with all of the other amazing quilts. I think Rain is the most modern quilt I’ve made and Jason is very proud – he’s always encouraging me to “go more modern!”


What makes this quilt modern – simplicity of form; lots of negative space; bold geometry, flat solid colors with high contrast; minimalist design; organic, imperfect machine quilting.

Time to complete – 29 hours from start to finish (including some thinking time…)

Optional Colorway from Cheryl Brickey


Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs is another fantastic pattern designer and online friend. We met in person at QuiltCon in 2015, starting off as roommates and becoming BQF’s (Best Quilting Friends) by the end of the show.

My deadline to get the last book edit in the mail was the Monday after QuiltCon, so Cheryl got to watch me frantically finish it up after show hours. This meant she also got an early sneak peek of the quilts, and right away, she knew she wanted to recreate Rain in her own way. I love the colors she chose, and her quilting is just too cool. She included a bit of hand quilting along with machine quilting for a stunning combination.

Head over to Cheryl’s Blog to see her awesome version and enter her giveaway.

More from Rebecca Bryan


Rebecca Bryan from Bryan House Quilts is another BQF who I keep running into! We first met at a Pile O’ Fabric meetup at QuiltCon 2013, got to hang out and have dinner again at QuiltCon 2015 and recently met up in Salt Lake City to film machine quilting segments for QNNtv. I told her each time we meet, there must be food involved! Becca (as I lovingly call her) released her first book, Modern Rainbow earlier this year, and I think it’s pretty fab.

Pop on over to Becca’s blog and she what she has to say about my book!

Click here for the complete blog hop schedule.

Click here purchase your autographed copy of Machine Quilting With Style.


MQWS Blog Hop Day 8 – Static

On yesterday’s giveaway post I asked everyone which was their favorite quilt so far. It was so fun to read the responses! I was a little worried when I wrote the book, that not everyone would resonate with each pattern from Machine Quilting With Style. But I have been overwhelmed by the positive responses. There truly is something for everyone in this book, as evidenced by your answers – so thanks for your input!

Static – The Background Story

Pixelated quilts (those forming an image from tons of tiny squares) have been all the rage in modern quilting circles the last couple of years. Static is my tongue-in-cheek attempt to get in on this trend. Being the non-artist that I am, and not being able to come up with an amazingly complex design – I attempted to recreate “static” – a repeating block pattern that looks like nothing but chaos. I even posed the question – do you see an image in the static? :-)

Finals B1324.inddStatic 56″ x 64″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

I really did enjoy picking out the fabrics for this quilt, happy shades of pink, purple and yellow from the True Colors collection by Free Spirit. The quilt contains lots of small squares, but strip piecing made the blocks go together fairly quickly. Although the individual blocks look random, there’s actually a method to my madness when I pieced the quilt!



Some of my Static strips. I chose 16 different fabrics – such fun!

For the machine quilting, I really had to fight hard to overcome the urge to quilt this one to death! I wanted to have at least one quilt that a very beginner quilter could have immediate success with. It’s quilted completely with a walking foot and I use my favorite method of stitching “near the ditch” rather than in it. The job goes much quicker and is a lot more forgiving this way. I also like the wavy effect that the quilting gives to some of the blocks, even though they are all pieced totally straight.

static_quiltingQuilting “near” the ditch is so much easier than stitching “in” the ditch!

A Bit More

What makes this quilt modern: Although Static is a pretty traditional design, I still chose to incorporate a few modern elements: bold, geometric prints, sharp angles with hard edges, minimal design, walking foot quilting, no borders.

Time to complete: 26 hours from start to finish (mostly piecing and pressing).

A Fresh Quilt from Freshly Pieced

My friend Lee Heinrich from Freshly Pieced can put together fabulous color combinations like no one else! I adore the fabrics she chose for her version of Static, which makes a seemingly simple design come to life. Lee has an eye for color and she’s an amazing pattern designer, too!



I was so happy when Lee, Katie and Faith released their first book, Vintage Quilt Revival, with much success. Lee wrote me the kindest note ever after I participated in her blog hop. She said she’d return the favor when it was my turn for a book, and true to her word, she’s knocked it out of the park! I love the extra touch she added to the quilt, to truly make it her own!

Head on over to Freshly Pieced for tons of eye candy and quilty inspiration!

Eye Candy from Esch House Quilts and Gen Q Magazine

Another fabulous designer friend of mine is Debbie Grifka from Esch House Quilts. She’s been super involved in the modern movement almost from the beginning, was an instructor at the inaugural QuiltCon and is a prolific pattern designer, too!



Pop on over to Debbie’s blog for her thoughts on the book (we really do have similar tastes),  and while you are there, you may want to look around for awhile. I mean just look at the sleek, modern quilts pictured in her website header above. Every time I see a quilt of Debbie’s, I’m so inspired to make more!



Generation Q is one of my favorite modern quilting magazines! It’s a bit edgy and fun and the designs they share in each issue always resonate with me. Plus, the magazine has tons of well-written articles, so there’s more to read and look at than just pretty pictures. I was honored when they chose me to represent “I am Gen Q”  in their latest issue. Be sure to grab a subscription to Generation Q magazine and check it out!

IamgenqI Am Gen Q is written by Scott Hansen, who was an earlier stop on the hop.

Scott (who was an earier stop on the hop) and Teri (who’s coming up later this week) both chose to remake some blocks from one of the quilts in the book. Be sure to pop on over to the Gen Q website to see which quilt they chose. You will be blown away by their versions – so completely different yet amazing in their own way. I love it when designs look great in any fabrics!

Be sure to enter the Generation Q giveaway!

Click here for the complete blog hop schedule.

Click here purchase your autographed copy of Machine Quilting With Style.

MQWS Blog Hop Day 7 – Square in a Square

Good news for those of you who wish to purchase Machine Quilting With Style on Amazon – it’s now back in stock on their site with plenty of additional copies on the way!

Square in a Square – The Background Story

The title of Square in a Square is my nod to tradition. Although I would consider this quilt very modern in design, the title comes from a very traditional block of the same name. I like the play on design – this quilt features several squares inside of bigger squares, all contained in one large, gigantic square.

Finals B1324.inddSquare in a Square 60″ x 60″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

In addition to piecing a whole bunch of squares, I wanted to carry over the square theme into the machine quilting, too. The blocks are all quilted in a wonky square spiral, using a walking foot. I chose a variegated thread for the square spirals to give it a little extra punch of color.

detail quiltingQuilting Square Spirals is So. Much. Fun!!

The background is quilted using one of my favorite modern textures – boxes. In the book I remind my readers, that not all of the boxes are perfectly square. Crushed boxes happen in life and a few wonky ones on the quilt are okay.


Detail quilting on Square in a Square

A Bit More

Modern elements – asymmetrical alternate grid structure, oversized blocks, simple repetitive shapes, minimalism, bold colors, expansive negative space, modern geometric quilting.

Time to complete – 20 hours from start to finish.

Stacy’s Version – A Modern Halloween Quilt


Stacy Cooper from Farm Road Quilts is my original BQF (Best Quilting Friend). We met at a quilting retreat about 15 years ago and have been returning to the same event together year after year (Check out my recent Instagram feed @christaquilts for pictures from the event this weekend.) In fact, as a true friend, she let me “borrow” her quilt to cuddle up while sewing, when the retreat room got a bit chilly. (Another friend let me borrow her quilted sweatshirt jacket so I stayed nice and toasty while I sewed.)

square_sneak_peekHere’s a sneak peek of Stacy’s quilt in action!

Stacy created her version as a Halloween quilt. However, when you see it, at first glance, you wouldn’t even know it’s a holiday quilt! She threw in pops of turquoise along with gray, black and orange for a very sophisticated take on a whimsical idea.

Pop on over to Stacy’s blog to see her version, and be sure to enter her giveaway!

The Littlest Thistle (With a Big Heart)

Katy Cameron from the Littlest Thistle and I have yet to meet in person, although we are friends online. However, I hope we’ll get a chance to one day soon, because she’s from the UK which means I bet she’ll have a killer accent!! Not only is Katy a quilter and instructor, she’s also an amazing bag maker and is hosting a really cool event – the Sew Brit Bag Camp in rural England next year. Doesn’t that sound lovely?


Katy also has a big heart when she agreed to review my book on her blog. Head over there to see what she has to say and while you are there, check out her other projects. You just may be inspired!

But Wait, There’s More!

I’ve mentioned throughout the book how much I enjoy using Aurifil thread for both piecing and quilting, so I thought I’d throw in a bonus giveaway! One of you luck readers can win this collection of 10 spools of Angela Walter’s Drift colorway and try it out for yourself.


(Unless you’ve been quilting under a rock – I’m sure you know what an amazing machine quilter Angela is. Don’t be surprised if you hear more from both of us in the near future….)

To enter simply leave a comment on this post, letting me know which quilt has been your favorite so far. I’ll draw a random winner at the end of the day on September 26th – the last day of the hop! And yes, EVERYONE is eligible to win!

Click here for the complete blog hop schedule.

Click here purchase your autographed copy of Machine Quilting With Style.

MQWS Blog Hop Day 6 – Little Man’s Fancy

I haven’t blogged every day in a couple of years now and it’s been pretty fun getting to write new things each day. Today wraps up week 1 of the Machine Quilting With Style blog hop. I’m taking a rest day tomorrow and will pick up with the hop again on Monday.

Little Man’s Fancy – The Background Story

Little Man's FancyLittle Man’s Fancy 36″ x 36″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane

Little Man’s Fancy was inspired by a traditional block called Gentleman’s Fancy, hence the name. (I love a good play on words!) I tweaked the design a little, made it super-sized, and chose blue prints from Zen Chic’s Figures collection and coordinating Moda bella solids in blue and grey. Don’t you think it would look just as cute in pink, for a charming little lady?

I really, really enjoyed quilting this one. It’s all done with the walking foot and the hardest part was knowing when to stop!

A Bit More

option_1Optional layout – included in the book

Just for funsies, I played around with the orientation of the block units, just to see what other designs I could make. The layout above is included in the book and It creates a really cool star effect. If I made this for a little girl, I would choose shades of pink and use this layout, I think.

option_2Another possible layout – which one is your favorite?

Here’s another possible layout – all using the exact same block pieces. I love to create quilts with plenty of options to make it unique. Although the star designs are really cool, I went with my original idea because I really wanted the quilt to read modern, geometric, and masculine.

What makes this quilt modern – oversized block, modernized traditional design, what I like to call a “modern monochrome” color palette, simple but graphic machine quilting.

Time for me to complete – just 10 hours from start to finish!

Check out Tina’s Version

christa_tinaTina and I in met in Angela Walters’ fabulous class at QuiltCon in 2013. This was my part of my educational journey to discover that I prefer sit-down machine quilting to long arm work. :-)

I met Tina Guthmann at the very first QuiltCon and we bonded over machine quilting! She blogs over at ModGeometry and is a talented designer as well. She created an adorable line of fabrics on Spoonflower and used those to make her version of the quilt. Click on over to Tina’s blog to see her cute quilt, and enter her giveaway!

Giveaway from Moda


I was thrilled when Carrie Nelson from Moda agreed to be a stop on the hop. She’s recently taken over the social media campaign for this amazing fabric company and I love the wit and humor she is able to show on the blog – not mention some fabulous quilts showcasing their extensive line of scrumptious fabrics!

Be sure to pop on over to Moda’s blog – The Cutting Table to see what they have to say about the book, and enter for your chance to win a fabulous fabric bundle (and maybe a few extra goodies!!)

Click here for the complete blog hop schedule.

Click here purchase your autographed copy of Machine Quilting With Style.