Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop Celebration!

Guess what today is? It’s my birthday!! Whoo hoo! I’m of the opinion that things just get better with age, and each passing year is cause for celebration. So I thought, what better day to kick off my epic blog hop for Piece and Quilt with Precuts than today??

So to get us started, today I want to share links to each of the 30 fantastic bloggers that are joining me on this fun and inspiring journey, plus give a couple of sneak peeks of what’s coming up on the hop!

Inspiring Quilts From Me and My Friends

Each day starting tomorrow, I’ll share more details about each of the quilts in the book, and you can see how others interpreted the designs to make them their own. For example, check out this sneak peek of the beautiful quilts in progress from (clockwise) Sherri, Teresa, Nancy, and Jen.

You just may end up liking their versions better than the originals, and that’s totally ok!!  Hopefully once you see the versatility and variety of looks that can be made from my fun designs and your favorite precuts, you’ll be inspired to make them, too!

Sneak Peeks of Remakes from Piece and Quilt wtih Precuts

Stay tuned for the “final reveal” from 30 talented bloggers including these shown above!!
(The list of participating bloggers is at the end of this post.)

Gifts and Giveaways Galore!

Throughout the hop, we’ll celebrate by giving away tons of gifts! After all, what fun is a party without presents?? Some of the giveaways will be hosted here on my blog while others will be given away by the participating bloggers or other industry friends. So be sure and check back here each day as I send you on a fun scavenger hunt to score prizes and get inspired!

Giveaways for Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop

Just a few of the many “gifts” that will be given away during the hop!! Yes, it even includes a quilt – so check here every day for your chance to win some fabulous prizes!

A Present From me – Baby Geese Quilt Pattern

Let’s kick off this party with a present for all of you, since since you are ALL winners in my book!! The quilt shown below is called “Baby Geese” and it was made from scraps and leftovers of many of the other quilts in the book.

Click here to get the Baby Geese quilt pattern.

Baby Geese Quilt by Christa Watson

Because I included so many detailed instructions for each of the 11 quilts in the book, we didn’t have room to include this one. So think of it as bonus quilt pattern #12, just for you!!

If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing Piece and Quilt with Precuts, take a look at the layout and instructions given for Baby Geese. Just like all of the quilts in the book, the instructions are clear and easy to understand, with plenty of machine quilting eye-candy and step by step diagrams for you to follow. Chances are if you like this one,  you’ll love the rest!

Baby Geese Quilting

Click here to download the bonus pattern for Baby Geese.
I’ll be giving this quilt away at the end of the hop so stay tuned!

Blog Hop Schedule

Here’s the schedule of bloggers to follow with their names, links to their blogs, plus their Instagram handles so you can follow them there. After all, this is a talented bunch who you will want to get to know better!

Friday August 18 – Squiggles

Kathy Bruckman Blog: Kathy’s Kwilts and More IG: @kathyskwiltsandmore
Kate Colleran Blog: Seams Like a Dream IG: @seamslikeadreamquilts
Sharon Parcel Blog: Yellow Cat Quilt Designs IG: @punkydoodle53

Saturday August 19 – Gridwork

Sandy Maxfield Blog: Sandy Star Designs IG: @sandystardesigns
Joanne Harris Blog: Quilts by Joanne IG: @turtlequilterjo
Teresa Mairal-Barreu Blog Sewn Up: IG: @teresadownunder

Monday August 21 – Frequency

Nancy Scott Blog: Masterpiece Quilting IG: @masterpiecequilting
Jenny Wilding Cardon Blog: Stitch This! IG: @martingaletpp
Lorinda Davis Blog: Laurel Poppy & Pine IG: @laurelpoppyandpine

Tuesday August 22 – S.W.A.K.

Sherry Shish Blog: Powered by Quilting IG: @poweredbyquilting
Michelle Bartholomew Blog: Michelle Bartholomew IG: @michellebartholomew
Allison Dutton Blog: Allison Sews IG: @allisonsews

Wednesday August 23 – Starstruck

Lissa LaGreca Blog: Lovingly Lissa IG: @lovinglylissa
Sherri Noel Blog: Rebecca Mae Designs  IG: @rebeccamaedesigns
Sandra Healy Blog: Sandra Healy Designs IG: @sandrahealydesigns

Thursday August 24 – Dot’n’Dash

Laura Piland Blog: Slice of Pi Quilts IG: @sliceofpiquilts
Cheryl Brickey Blog: Meadow Mist Designs IG: @meadowmistdesigns
Jen Frost Blog: Faith and Fabric IG: @faithandfabric

Friday August 25 – Twinkling Diamonds

Jessee Maloney Blog: Art School Dropout IG: @jessee_artschooldropout
Jessica Caldwell Blog: Desert Bloom Quilting IG: @desertbloomquilting
Anjeanette Klinder Blog: Anjeanette Klinder IG: @anjeanetteklinder

Saturday August 26 – Windows

Terri Vanden Bosch Blog: Meanderings Along Lizard Creek IG: @lizardcreekquilter
Suzy Webster Blog: Webster Quilt IG: @websterquilt
Katie Joy Church Blog: Wild Prairie Studio IG: @katie_joyquilts

Monday August 28 – Kites

Pam Cobb Blog: The Stitch TV Show IG: @thestitchtvshow
Jen Rosin Blog: A Dream and a Stitch: IG: @adreamandastitch
Rashida Khanbhai Blog:  No. 3 Quilt Studio IG: @no3quiltstudio

Tuesday August 29 – Arrows

Lynn Kline Blog: Monkey Needle IG: @monkeyneedle
Kathy Bruckman Blog: Kathy’s Kwilts and More IG: @kathyskwiltsandmore

Wednesday Aug 30 – Spools

Jen Shaffer Blog: Patterns by Jen IG: @patternsbyjen
Sandra Starley Blog: Textile Time Travels IG: @textiletimetravels

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Whew! That’s a whole lot of great people who will be participating! Be sure to follow their blogs and Instagram accounts. After all, part of the fun of quilt-making is the community behind it. And when you join us on this blog hop journey, you’ll get to know more fun quilting friends!!

Click here to purchase your signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Register for My Classes at Glendale, CA Quilt Show in September!

September is turning out to be a busy time for me as I will be teaching 3 times next month! Once locally and two times for out of state quilt shows. But how could I say no when I get to attend such amazing events??

Once such event is the Glendale Quilt Show in California, September 22-23 at the Pasadena Convention Center. I’m excited when I get to teach both piecing and quilting classes. It allows me to reach a wider audience of students and hit all the basics. Here’s what I’m teaching:

Friday, Sept 22, 9-4 Modern Machine Quilting

On Friday, I’m teaching my most requested class, Modern Machine Quilting from 9-4. This is the class where I cover both walking foot and free-motion techniques and share a sampling of motifs from all 3 of my books. It’s an easy class for students to prepare for because it just requires a machine, thread and some practice quilt sandwiches.

Saturday, Sept 23, 9-12 Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons

On Saturday morning from 9-12 I’ll teach my fun and easy Charming Chevrons pattern. This one is so fun to sit and sew while hanging out with friends!! Over the years I’ve taught this pattern to scores of students and it always makes me happy to see how different they turn out!

Saturday, Sept 23, 1-4 String of Pearls

String of Pearls on the Grass

Saturday afternoon from 1-4 I’ll finish up with teaching another popular pattern, my String of Pearls quilt. This pattern looks great, no matter which fabrics you choose, and it’s perfect for showing off your favorite fabric collection in the center of the blocks!

Click here to register for my classes at the show.

Registration is open to the public, and Glendale Quilt Guild members get a slight discount. The show also includes a “retreat” option, or you can purchase classes a la cart. I hope to see you there!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Quilt in Progress – Exploring Ruler Work

I’m currently remaking one of my quilts from Piece and Quilt with Precuts while trying out something new at the same time. After all, if I’m not constantly pushing myself to try new things, the hobby that I love can get really old, really fast!! I’m creating another version of “Starstruck” from my new fabric so that I can showcase it at quilt market in the fall right before the fabric releases. (FYI  – it’s called Modern Marks from Benartex – available in November!)

Christa Watson Machine Quilting - Modern Marks Fabric

To keep a densely quilted quilt soft, I use cotton fabric, thread and batting. I’m using one layer of Hobbs Tuscany cotton and it is the softest ever. I love it!

I’m also trying out free-motion quilting straight lines using rulers rather than marking or using a walking foot. I have to say up front that it’s been a bit of a struggle and a HUGE learning curve! It’s a whole new movement for me, holding onto the quilt while also holding onto the ruler.

It’s also a bit awkward because where you stitch is actually 1/4″ away from the edge of the ruler to account for the width of the ruler toe. Like I teach my students, practice makes progress, so I’m not taking out any wobbles or wiggles in this quilt – it’s all part of the learning process!

Christa Watson Ruler Work Practice

I love combining straight lines with curvy motifs to create contrast in the quilting.

Right now I’m trying out two different rulers – one has handles on it to help better grip the quilt but the posts can get caught up on the back of the foot when I move it, causing tiny stitches to occur. I find that I get much better results if I keep the ruler on the front or side of the toe while I stitch.

Leah Day Ruler work template

Don’t you love how Leah’s template matches my fabric??? Serendipity at it’s best!!

The other rulers I’m trying out are from Leah Day’s set of Dresden Plate acrylic templates. She gave me a set to try out when we met for lunch at QuiltCon earlier this year, and I love how she so cleverly designed them to double as rulers for ruler work! I seem to get smoother lines without the handles. The smaller size is also ideally suited for a domestic machine since there’s not a lot of room on the bed of the machine.

Working on this quilt gives me renewed appreciation for any of my beginning students as they try free-motion quilting for the first time! Just as I teach my students that they will get better with practice, quilting on “real quilts” is the best way to learn and improve!

Christa Watson ruler work practiceI’m having fun trying out lots of different quilting motifs in the stars!

In this quilt, I’m outlining each of the starts by first stitching in the ditch. Then I quilt the middle of each star, then quilt two lines around each star. To make the quilting continuous I’m traveling over a small line after I complete each pass around the star, rather than starting and stopping.

Then I’m quilting a different free-motion design on the outside of each star to add more texture. Most of the quilting motifs I’m stitching come from my books, and a few are new ideas I’m trying out.

Christa Watson free motion quilting Starstruck from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

I love the “pattern on pattern effect!”

To keep it somewhat organized, I’m alternating with a pairing of curvy and geometric free-motion designs in each block. I chose to use a shade of yellow 50 weight cotton Aurifil thread from my Piece and Quilt Collection. It blends in nicely with most of the fabrics and adds a fun layer of pattern on pattern in some of the contrasting areas.

There are definitely some areas of the quilt that look better than others, but I love being a “perfectly imperfect quilter!” (I’m also a perfectly imperfect photographer, but I’d rather show real in-progress pics than nothing at all!)

I’ve learned by trial and error that the best way to hide imperfect stitches is to surround them with more imperfect stitches. 🙂

Yummy Texture created with free motion quiltign by Christa Watson

Can we say “yummy texture?!”

Because I have a longer time frame in which to complete this quilt, I’m really enjoying the process of quilting just a couple of stars each day, without feeling rushed.

I’m liking how this block below is turning out, using the ruler to free-motion quilt my “wonky square spiral” design that I usually teach using a walking foot. I definitely prefer quilting straight lines when they don’t have to line up perfectly!

Ruler work practice

(If you want to improve your ruler work skills check out Amy Johnson’s Craftsy classes on the subject: Quilting with Rulers on a Home Machine, and Creative Quilting with Rulers.)

I’ll be sure and share the final reveal later in the fall, so stay tuned!! Now I just have a few more blocks to finish and then I can relax and enjoy one of my favorite steps beside machine quilting – the hand binding….

What’s your favorite part of the quilt-making process? I’d love to know!

Save

Your Chance to Win the Kit from my Craftsy Class – Startup Library: Quilting!

It’s just been a month since the launch of my new Craftsy class, Startup Library: Quilting, and already I’ve taught hundreds of students how to make a complete quilt from start to finish!! I love how the Craftsy platform allows me to interact with my students and see their progress, even though we might be thousands of miles apart! For those of you who are new to the blog, or Craftsy, let me tell you a little more about this class. Then see the end of this post for a giveaway to get you started!!

Christa Watson Startup Library Quilting

Click here to get 50% off Startup Library: Quilting (valid thru 10/8/17)

In class, you’ll explore a range of key tools and techniques as you learn to make a quilt from start to finish. I’ll guide you step-by-step through preparing your fabric, cutting out the pieces and sewing them into blocks, as well as basting, machine quilting, and binding to help you finish your quilt with ease. Plus, when you learn with Craftsy you can work at your own pace and ask me questions as you go. By the end of my class, you’ll be quilting with confidence in no time!

WHAT YOU NEED

Lesson 1: Fabrics & Tools (28 min)
It’s every quilter’s favorite part of project prep: shopping! In this first lesson, I’ll explain the fundamentals of quilting and what to keep in mind when shopping for supplies.

Startup Library Quilting

Lesson 2: Know Your Machine (24 min)
Understand what type of sewing machine best suits your needs, including the features worth splurging on (or not!). Then, get familiar with your machine as you learn to thread it, wind a bobbin and keep an accurate seam allowance.

SETUP

Lesson 3: Working with Patterns (9 min)
Follow along as I go over the information included in your quilting patterns. Find out how to work with patterns as you piece your tops, plus get tips for successfully choosing projects.

MAKE IT

Lesson 4: Cutting the Pieces (38 min)
Before you begin sewing, you’ll need to cut the pieces for your blocks. Learn to work with a rotary cutter and mat as you cut yardage, fat quarters and more.

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

Lesson 5: Chain Blocks (24 min)
Get right into action by sewing up your first quilt block, the Chain! Find out how to keep track of all nine pieces as you sew and press the first block, then make quick work of the piecing by sewing several blocks together at once.

Lesson 6: Star Blocks (32 min)
Ready to throw some half-square triangle units into the mix? Here, you’ll sew the second block of your quilt. Find out how to tame stretchy edges and ensure all of your star points face the right direction.

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

Lesson 7: Assembling the Quilt Top (27 min)
Now, it’s time to have some fun! Arrange and organize your quilt blocks before you sew them together. Then, sew blocks into rows and rows into the inner top – you’ll love my method for keeping blocks in order as you sew!

Lesson 8: Borders (27 min)
Your quilt top is almost done! All you need to do is add the solid and scrappy borders to set off the design. Learn how to piece and add each border, and fix it if it’s slightly too long for your quilt.

Lesson 9: Backing & Batting (11 min)
In this lesson, you’ll prepare the remaining layers for your quilt. Learn how to choose and prepare batting — the center layer of the quilt — and piece the backing fabric.

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

Lesson 10: Basting (8 min)
The secret to quality quilting? Basting, which holds all of the layers together securely. I’ll teach you how to spray-baste the layers and assemble your quilt, explaining why pressing helps you ensure solid results.

Lesson 11: Find Your Quilting Path (38 min)
Quilting — the stitching that holds layers together — can really accentuate your piecing work. Discover different ways to accomplish this, from working with a long-arm quilter to using your domestic machine. And, see how to stitch-in-the-ditch and apply decorative wavy lines using your walking foot.

Lesson 12: Free-Motion Quilting (23 min)
Ready to dip your toes into free-motion quilting? This method allows you to move your needle in any direction. If you’d like, stitch a stipple and continuous curve design on your quilt, or practice for your next quilt project.

Christa Watson Machine Quilting Craftsy Class

Lesson 13: Binding (13 min)
Finish the edges of your quilt by applying a binding. I’ll show you how to prepare for this step. Learn to cut and piece the strips to create the binding, calculate the length you need for any quilt, and square up — or trim — your quilt.

Lesson 14: Binding the Quilt (37 min)
You’re almost there! In this final lesson, find out how to sew the binding to the quilt and finish it by hand. Easily turn with the corners and join the tails with my expert instruction, then get ready to enjoy your quilt!

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

For a limited time, you can get 50% off the regular price of my class when you use this link. The regular price will show on the home screen, but once you click “add to cart” you’ll see the discount. Just for comparison, this class is approximately 2-3 times longer than a “regular” Craftsy class, so it’s a tremendous value, especially when you get it on sale!

GIVEAWAY TIME!
Here’s a behind the scenes secret to share: as I was making the quilt, Craftsy sent me extra fabrics just in case. I ended up with enough fabric for an extra kit. Since I’ve already made the quilt twice (once ahead of time to test it, and a second time on video) – I don’t need to make a third, so I’d rather pass the extra fabric along to you! The kit includes one fat quarter bundle + background to make the quilt top and binding as shown in the class.

Lily and Loom Fabric

This giveaway is open to all (int’l winner just pays shipping). To enter, leave me a comment letting me know how many UFO’s (Unfinished Fabric Objects) you currently have! Once you take my class, you’ll be armed with the skills to finish them up! The giveaway will remain open through Sunday night, Aug 13, 2017 and I’ll choose a winner first thing Monday morning.

Click here to learn more and watch a preview video for Startup Library: Quilting

Last Chance to Get a Free Pattern with Book Purchase

First of all, thanks so much to those of you who have supported me in this fun quilting journey!! Many of you pre-ordered my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts sight unseen and I’ve now been getting lots of fun notes and comments about how much you all are enjoying it. That gives me the warm fuzzies!!

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa WatsonBecause of your tremendous support, the number of sales of my third book from my own site have already surpassed the other two and I couldn’t be more thrilled!!

I’m also realizing how heavy it can be to load up a box of packaged books to take to the post office every couple of days, LOL!!

Shipping Books

Just a reminder that from now through the start of my book blog hop next week, I’m throwing in a bonus pattern when you get your signed copy from me. It’s my way of saying thanks for purchasing direct!

Currently I have six stand alone patterns in print, and each one includes instructions for 4 sizes. Just like my books, I want to help you finish your quilts, so each individual pattern includes machine quilting suggestions, photos or diagrams to help you finish the job! When you place your order for the book simply comment in the notes letting me know which of the 6 patterns you’d like to receive. If you don’t leave a note, I’ll pick one at random for a fun surprise!

Christa Quilts PatternsI released the first four patterns shown above before I wrote Piece and Quilt with Precuts. Then I released two more shown below, once the bulk of the manuscript was complete. Now that I’m not in the middle of a huge deadline and have a little more breathing room, I’m looking forward to releasing the next batch of patterns this fall. There are so many ideas!!

Christa Quilts Patterns

I’m super excited about the blog hop which starts on my birthday, August 17th! During the hop, I’ll be sharing images of each of the quilts in the book along with friends who have remade them in their own colors and fabric choices. It will be so fun to see all of the variety!! Plus, there will be plenty of gifts (aka giveaways) to celebrate!

Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop

Now it’s time to go sign and ship another stack of books!! And start dreaming up possibilities for the next round of fun ideas….

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Click here to browse my books and patterns

My Trip to Quilt Nebraska 2017

I’m trying to carve out more time to share a little update each time I teach. Although I repeat a lot of the same classes, it’s so fun to meet such a variety of fun quilters when I travel! In each workshop I teach, I’m always taking mental notes of what works well, what could use some tweaking, and which of my silly jokes get the most laughs!!

Teaching at Quilt Nebraska 2017

Ahem, there’s no Las Vegas in NE, so I made a simple fix!

Last weekend I was in a tiny, but adorable little town callked Kearney, as one of the teachers they brought in for Quilt Nebraska, the annual retreat of the Nebraska State Quilt Guild.  (Next year’s event will take place in Omaha if you are nearby and inclined to go.)

Although it took me 10 hours, 3 different planes (including the tiny one below), and 2 layovers to get there, it was worth the trip. Whenever I’m among quilters, I truly feel at home among friends.

The Glamourous Life of a Traveling Teacher!

This is what the “glamorous” life of a traveling teacher looks like, LOL!!

On Friday I taught my most popular class – a full day of Modern Machine Quilting. I teach this class using a sampling of designs from all 3 of my books. First, we tackle walking foot quilting in the morning, which builds up the students’ confidence. My favorite part of this class is when students realize that YES, they can quilt their own quilts and they can do more than just stitch in the ditch!

Walking Foot Quilting: Spirals

Although I teach several different walking foot designs, spirals are always a favorite!

Then after a nice lunch break, we practice free-motion quilting in the afternoon. In a relatively short class like this (6 hours goes by fast!), there’s not enough time to quilt on an actual quilt, so students practice on sample sandwiches consisting of fabric and batting scraps. The best part about getting to play is that it’s okay to learn and be a “perfeclty imperfect quilter”, since it’s all just practice.

Free Motion Quilting: Student work in Christa Watson's class

Here are some great student examples of the free-motion favorites we tackle in class.

Not only do students learn how to quilt the actual motifs, we also have a discussion on how to apply those motifs to an actual quilt. It’s similar to the process I teach in my Craftsy class, The Quilter’s Path. If students can make a plan to tackle their quilting, and break it up into bite size pieces, it’s much easier to handle and they don’t get overwhelmed.

Carol Ann Waugh Lecture

Carol Ann Waugh shared her inspiring creative journey.

Friday evening we were fed a yummy dinner and treated to an inspiring presentation by Fiber artist, Carol Ann Waugh. I’ve long been an admirer of hers and I got to have some fabulous conversation with her and another amazing instructor, Becky Goldsmith of Piece O’ Cake Designs. It’s fun to talk shop and compare notes with these teachers on how best to interact with students so they get the best possible experience!

Christa Watson, Carol Ann Waugh and Becky Goldsmith

I love getting to know other instructors along with the students!

On Saturday, I taught students how to dive into improvisation piecing while make the Facets quilt from my book Machine Quilting with Style. I teach this class a lot, and it never gets old!! The beauty of improv is that no student’s quilts look alike, even if they are using the same fabrics, and making the same design!

Student work on Facets from Machine Quilting with Style

Just a few of the gorgeous blocks being sewn in class.

Saturday night capped off the event with an excellent lecture about Modern Quilting from Kristy Daum. Kristy and I are online friends and we’ve gotten to chat for a few minutes here and there at quilt shows and industry events. She was even part of my blog hop when my first book came out a couple of years ago. Click here to see the version of Facets that she made!

Kirsty and I had a great time chatting over dinner and getting to know each other better. She told me more about her experience judging QuiltCon earlier this year, and I think it was the most we’d ever talked to each other in person!! We even realized we will both be teaching at Maine Quilts next year and it will be fun to see her again!

Christa Watson and Kristy Daum

Kristy shared a bit about her creative journey along with the evolution of modern quilting. It was fun to watch many of the audience members get excited about what she had two say, and I think between the two of us, we made quite a few modern quilt converts over the weekend!!

Kristy Daum Modern Quilt Lecture

Community in quilting is so important – whether you find it in a guild, class, or online!!

It was a fabulous weekend and I’m happy to be home for a few more days before I head off to Houston to teach for a couple of guilds there: The Coastal Prairie Quilt Guild of Texas and the Houston MQG. I can’t wait to meet more fun friends!!

Scrap Happy Quilt on the Cover of American Patchwork and Quilting

It’s time to share another fun finish! This is Scrap Happy, patterned in the October issue of American Patchwork and Quilting (available now) and I’m pleased that it happened to make the cover!

Scrap Happy by Christa Watson in American Patchwork and Quilting

Photograph used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

One of the things I love best about American Patchwork and quilting is the photography. Even those this quilt is about the piecing, I love how well you can see the quilting on the cover shot and in the pattern directions themselves.

The quilting on Scrap Happy is a good example of my “divide and conquer” method I teach in my quilting classes. First I stitched in the ditch around each row of blocks (vertically on each side). Then I outlined the ditch using the edge of my walking foot/dual feed as a guide for spacing. Once the straight line quilting was done, I moved onto the free motion motifs.

Here’s a closeup shot of my own camera-phone photo that I took while making the quilt:

Free Motion quilting detail

I love combining walking foot quilting with free motion in the same quilt! Fabric selection tip: flip over the back of many medium prints to get more variety of lights.

In the scrappy blocks I quilted “woven switchbacks”, which is basically rounded back and forth lines that go in alternate directions in each square. Finally, I quilted “swirls and pearls” in the light backgrounds, combining elongated swirls with pebbles for an interesting design.

Here’s another beauty shot of the whole quilt as photographed in the magazine:

Scrap Happy American Patchwork and Quilting

Photograph used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

As you can see – this is a BIG quilt, and yes I actually quilted it on my regular home sewing machine. The key is to “scrunch and smoosh” the bulk of the quilt out of the way as you go, rather than trying to fold it or roll it. Just remember that you are only working with a small part of the machine at any time and if you can keep that area nice and flat, you won’t have any problems.

The design for this quilt is based on a traditional block called “Mock Log Cabin” because of it’s half light/dark coloring. Just like a log cabin, you can set the block a million different ways. I originally designed and made a quilt from similar (but larger) blocks back in the 90’s when I was going through my dusty pink and blue phase, but I prefer the newer version with updated scrappy bright prints. It’s also perfect for using up precut scraps! (In fact, I actually threw in many of the leftovers from my latest book when making this quilt!)

Mock Log Cabin Alternate Layout

An alternate layout for the blocks (not included in the pattern).

Thanks to EQ7, I was able to play around with many different settings before I chose the final layout. Here’s another tip: when working in EQ7, I don’t always have to color the quilt exactly how it will appear. If I’m making a scrappy quilt, I might just mock it up in one colorway as shown in these two examples, knowing it will look great in any color scheme.

Alternate Layout for Mock Log Cabin Blocks

Another alternate block layout – it’s so fun to play!

When working on this design I thought I would make it smaller – but when I realized how many scraps I had, I ended up making it much larger! I really like quilt designs that are easy to size up or down, simply based on the number of blocks that can be made.

Scrap Happy in American Patchwork and Quilting MagazinePhotograph used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

The best tip I can give when making this quilt is to just make a few blocks at a time as your scraps accumulate. It’s quite a lot of pieces and you’ll go a little stir crazy trying to make all of the blocks at once. Plus if you use your scraps as you go, you’ll get a really fun scrappy look that will add to its charm.

Click here to see more patterns in the October issue of American Patchwork and Quilting and pick up your copy if you don’t already have a magazine subscription. If you end up making this quilt, do let me know!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Book Reviews: Walk and Free Motion Quilting 1-2-3

So by now I hope you all know how much I love incorporating BOTH walking foot and free-motion techniques in my quilts. So I thought it would be fun to share two of my favorite books on those two techniques! Jacquie Gering’s WALK is THE definitive guide to Walking Foot Quilting, and Lori Kennedy is a whiz at showing you how to create fabulous free-motion motifs step by step.

Walk by Jacquie Gering

I ran into Jacquie at quilt market last year and we both swapped copies of our books. I love how encouraging the quilting community is, even when many of us are teaching the same subjects!

By far one of my favorite things about WALK is that Jacquie shares her “wall basting” method in step by step photos. This is similar to the method I used, and it’s worth it to own this book just for this section! Of course, the rest of the book is fab, too as Jacquie walks you through over 60 different designs that you can do, all with a walking foot (or dual feed).

I love it how Jacquie sets you up for success through a series of “test drives” to get you comfortable with her process.

Walk by Jacquie Gering

Take a look at these two exercises from the book, shown in the photos above and below (photography credit Lucky Spool):

Walk by Jacquie Gering

Jacquie’s methods involve marking and are a little more precise than mine, but I love it that there are a whole range of options to explore. She gets you comfortable first with basic straight lines, and then she moves on to gentle curves, decorative stitches, and several designs you can do incorporating the reverse feature on your machine.

Whether you are new to walking foot quilting, or want to expand your horizons with this fast and fun technique, I encourage you to give WALK a try – you’ll be glad you did!

Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3

Moving on to free-motion, take a look at Lori Kennedy’s debut book, Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3. Based on Lori’s step by step photo tutorials, this book is a beautiful center piece for you sewing room and I know you’ll spend time poring over its pages!

Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 features over 400 photographs plus oodles of trouble shooting tips. My favorite part of the book is where she shows the difference between good and bad tension, and what to do to avoid thread buildups (it’s all about the starting and stopping point of each design). Just having a visual guide is such a huge help when you are learning to quilt!

Take a look at just two of the 60+ designs that are shared in the book (photography courtesy of Martingale/That Patchwork Place and Brent Kane):

Free-Motion quilting loops

Loops are a perennial favorite and probably the easiest design to learn! Follow Lori’s step by step tips and you’ll be finishing your quilts with a flourish!

Lori Kennedy Spirals

Once you learn Lori’s basic spirals, you can then move onto Spiral Rose, Spiral Heart, Reverse Spiral, and more! It’s like anything new: learn the basics and build your skills from there.

So whether you prefer to quilt with your walking foot, or free-motion or both, these books have got you covered. After all, even though I teach similar techniques, I always recommend that my students learn from several different sources. You ever know when someone is going to explain an idea in a different way that will resonate you!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

My Relaxing Week at the Beach

I usually try to keep my blog all quilting related, but I’m sharing an update from last week’s beach vacation because I think it’s sort-of work related. I’m a bit of a self-proclaimed workaholic, but I’ve realized I do my best work when I’m relaxed and well-rested. Besides, some of my best ideas occur when I’m doing other things.

View from the Beach

Pretty much my view all week. I can sit and listen to ocean waves for hours!!

My annual family beach vacation was especially relaxing because it’s the first summer in three years that I haven’t been working on a book, LOL!! But even still, I did manage to firm up a few new fall projects, design some new quilt patterns, and finalize plans for my book blog hop coming up in August. Thank goodness for mobile internet!!

So while I wasn’t on the computer or my phone, I had a great time taking bike rides with my family along The Strand….

Family Beach Bike Ride

We took a bike ride nearly every day. It was great fun AND great exercise!

Watching some beach volleyball…..

Beach Volleyball Tournament

Can you believe the bleachers were temporary just for the tournament? It was fun to watch!

And we even took a side trip over to Universal Studios one day. (Frozen Butterbeer from Hogsmeade is definitely our favorite treat!!)

Universal Studios Hollywood

My kids are much happier about being in pics when I take them from behind, LOL!!

There was of course plenty of beach-side relaxing, too. It was nice to unplug for a bit each day, so I made sure to bring along my “low tech” designing supplies: a graph paper notebook and some colored pencils.

Old School Beach Side Sketching

I’m not sure yet what this sketch will ultimately become, but it was fun to play!

Jason and I even managed to squeeze in a little “on-location” photography for some of my quilts, so be on the lookout for some beach-side beauty shots later on.

Photo shoot of quilts on the beach

Doesn’t everyone bring quilts on vacation to the beach??

All in all, it was just what I needed to relax, recharge and get ready for what I know will be a very busy end of summer and fall. One thing I didn’t bring with me was a sewing machine, so I’ve been taking advantage of lots of sewing time this week until it’s time to head out for my next work trip!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Books Are Here! Piece and Quilt with Precuts Ships Ahead of Schedule

I have some exciting news to share today! My third book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts has arrived ahead of schedule! That means that all of you who have pre-ordered my book directly from me should be getting it in the mail over the next few days.

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Click here to order Piece and Quilt with Precuts – and get a free bonus pattern!

Needless to say, I plan to spend all day signing and shipping them off. This is always such an exciting day!! Huge thanks to those of you who pre-ordered directly from me. Not only will you get your book ahead of schedule, you are helping me to break a record for pre-sales compared to my other two books. Wowza and thanks!!

Squiggles Quilt from Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Sneak peek of Squiggles, the first quilt shown in the book. I start off with super simple walking foot quilting like gentle wavy lines. They are such a fun and easy design to quilt!
Photo credit Brent Kane for Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

Now, if you ordered the book from somewhere else, that’s totally fine. I just can’t guarantee when it will arrive since that’s out of my control. But I’m grateful for your support wherever it comes from!

If you haven’t yet ordered Piece and Quilt with Precuts, now is your chance to get your hands on a signed copy ASAP, plus a special bonus. For each book you order directly from me, I’ll throw in one of my printed patterns for all orders placed through my birthday August, 17th! You all have given me the best gift by being my loyal friends and fans – now it’s my turn to give something back. 🙂

Now is a great time to announce that August 17th also kicks off my epic blog hop for the book. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate and party with you all!! The blog hop will run through the end of August, featuring 30 different talented bloggers I met through the Quilt Pattern Designers Facebook group.

You’ll be able to check out each of the quilts I made, plus you’ll be able to see how 30 other “real quilters” were able to easily follow my tips and techniques for piecing and quilting success!

Spools from Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Spools, is the final quilt shown in the book. It utilizes both improv piecing AND quilting – my favorite combo! Photo credit Brent Kane for Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

And you can’t have a party without presents, so I’ve rounded up some special giveaways throughout the event, plus an extra freebie for everyone who participates!! So save the date and plan to join the fun! It all starts here on August 17th!

Box of Books - Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

It was so exciting to get back from vacation and find several boxes of my books waiting!!

Click here to get your copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts, signed by yours truly.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save