Charity Fundraiser – Bid on My Quilt and Help a Friend in Need

Friends, I always try to stay positive around here, but now I’m asking for your help for a dear friend of mine. About 9 months ago, my friend Stacy Perry was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. She’s a young mom of 4 who lives here in Las Vegas and she’s an amazing mom, wife, crafter and all around great gal. In fact I found an old blog post where she shared 2 quilts she had made several years ago.

Stacy is strong and she’s been aggressively fighting her cancer since first receiving the diagnosis. She’s doing everything she can with the help of friends, family and fellow church members. By the grace of God, she’s already seen miracles during this fight as her tumors have been shrinking. Her whole life right now is battling cancer, traveling out of state to specialists, and enduring multiple rounds of chemo. She’s chronicling her fight over on her facebook page at Stacy Strong.

Here’s where you can get involved. Several of Stacy’s friends are holding a fundraiser to help defray the enormous expenses she and her family are having to endure as she fights her battle. They’ve rounded up a whole bunch of items that will be auctioned off over on her facebook page starting Tuesday, April 25 and running through Saturday April 29th.

It includes some pretty amazing items like vacation rentals, jewelry, airline tickets and beautiful hand-made items. There will be a live silent auction that takes place for locals on Saturday night, along with an online auction that runs all week.

Machine Quilting With Style

For the auction I’ve donated a signed copy of my book Machine Quilting with Style, along with my quilt “Ripples” from the book (together as one large prize). I chose this quilt because Aqua is Stacy’s favorite color. 🙂 I want someone special to have this quilt, and I hope you’ll consider bidding on it to help her out.

Ripples Quilt

Here’s how it works:

Like her facebook page: Stacy Strong Cancer Be Gone so you can see the items up for bid. Sneak peeks of some have already been posted and the rest will be shared on Tuesday.

Starting on Tuesday, the online bidding begins. It’s very simple: you just place your bid in the comments of each item, and all winners will pay through paypal. Items will be shipped if needed and bidding is open to all. The bidding runs through Saturday night and complete details are included in the posts on her facebook page.

The important thing is that you have to like her page so that you can see the items up for bid. In fact, I recommend changing your default preferences this week to see all posts from her page.

If bidding is not your thing, they’ve also set up a go fund me page where you can donate any amount with a credit card.

 

Stacy Strong

This is Stacy’s true nature: love and kindess for all, no matter what circumstances are thrown at her. She’s strong and with your help I know she will kick cancer’s butt!!

I hope you’ll be able to help her by bidding, donating, or even just sending along a cheerful message of encouragement. Stacy truly is one of the strongest people I know and throughout her fight she’s kept up her good cheer and has stayed positive through it all.

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Pre-Order Piece and Quilt with Precuts – My Next Book!

You guys! I wrote another book!! Piece and Quilt with Precuts will be published this August and I’m now taking pre-orders for signed copies through my site at shop.christaquilts.com.

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa WatsonYou can see lots of sneak peeks here on the cover!! But wait, there’s more…

Now first things first. I’m totally happy for you to purchase the book where you like. However, when you purchase it directly from me, I earn more on each book since I’m the one selling them. Also, when you order from me, you’ll be guaranteed to get them as soon as they ship! The estimated shipping date is August 17, which just happens to be my birthday so that’s super exciting!! I’ll have a grand time, eating cake and signing your books! But don’t worry, I’ll be careful not to spill any, LOL!!

Sneak Peek of Piece and Quilt with PrecutsSneak Peek #1 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts – are you excited?

So FYI, another reason I’m pushing preorders this time around is based on the demand of my last two books. When people preordered them on Amazon, there was a delay in customers getting them because Amazon had to first get them from the publisher, and then fulfill the orders.

Although the publisher knows how many to ship to Amazon, it always takes Amazon several days to process and they get a little bogged down. So when you pre-order your signed copy from me, it’s a win-win for us both and you don’t have to wait!! (Ahem.. plus my preorder price is actually lower than the current price on Amazon as of this writing…)

Sneak Peek of Piece and Quilt with PrecutsSneak Peek #2  from Piece and Quilt with Precuts – one of my favorite motifs to quilt!!

And just to sweeten the deal, with every pre-order of Piece and Quilt with Precuts placed directly through me  before June 30th, I’m going to throw in a bonus pattern from my pattern shop for free!! When you check out, you can let me know which pattern you prefer in the comments. Or just leave it blank and I’ll surprise you. (For anyone who has already pre-ordered, you’ll get a free pattern too – but it will be a surprise!! I don’t want you to feel left out!!)

And did I mention the books will be personally signed by me??? (Wink wink!)

Sneak Peek #1 from Piece and Quilt with Precut

Sneak Peek #3 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts – Alison Glass fabric is so good, it’s in here twice!

Writing this book was such a joy but there’s a crazy story to go along with it. Just after I had turned in my manuscript for my first book, Machine Quilting with Style, I immediately came up with the idea for Piece and Quilt with Precuts – easy to piece patterns made from precuts along with step-by-step machine quilting instructions for each quilt.

So I set to work designing the patterns, fleshing out the details, and submitting a detailed proposal to the publisher. No sooner had I begun work on the book when the folks at Martingale contacted me and said “we love this book and want you to write it. However, can you wait just a bit? We have another idea we’d like you to do instead.” And then I proceeded to write my second book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting with Angela Walters.  So needless to say once that book was finished, it was time to get back to this one! So in essence, I wrote three books in 3 years, one right after another. Crazy huh??

Sneak Peek #1 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Sneak Peek #4 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts – Improv piecing AND quilting in the same quilt!!

Martingale was sooo awesome and supportive during this crazy time. They even offered to help me piece or bind the quilts if needed. But being the control freak that I am, I politely declined. I have this crazy obsession that when it comes to quilting, I must do all my own “stunts”, LOL!! For me, there’s something personally satisfying in taking ownership of every stitch. 🙂

So later on this summer once the book publishes, I’ll share details of all 11 quilts and 18 machine quilting motifs that are included in the book. I’ll also do a blog hop with some friends who will be trying out their own versions of some of the designs.

Sneak Peek #3 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts - Alison Glass fabric is so good, it's in here twice!

Sneak Peek #5 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts – Why quilt straight lines when you can go wavy?

One other thing I wanted to tell you that’s special about Piece and Quilt with Precuts is that the name is all mine. For those that don’t know, whenever you publish a book or magazine pattern, the editor reserves the right to re-name it, or work with you to come up with a name they think they will sell. The first 2 book names came straight from Martingale, and I think they did a fantastic job, since I was totally clueless as to what to choose LOL!! However, when writing this book, the name was all me, baby and I’m so proud that they chose to keep it!!

And now, I know what you are wondering…. have I already started on book #4?? No, not quite yet. I decided I needed a little breather before jumping into my next book idea or 3. And some other big opportunites have come my way that I’ll get to tell you about just after this book launches. So stay tuned, it’s never a dull moment around here!

Click here to preorder your copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

As always, thanks for your support that allows me to do this crazy quilting thing full time!!

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The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting – 1 Year Anniversary!

Today is a very special day. It marks the one year anniversary of the book that changed my life!
Writing The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting with Angela Walters was not only an amazing experience, but it has led to so many more life changing events! Since the book came out, I’ve taught at QuiltCon, released my first Craftsy class, won awards on 3 quilts from the book, traveled around the country meeting so many of you, and I’ll be sharing a couple new huge things, later on this year.

If you’ll indulge me, I thought it would be fun to share a little yearbook recap of mine and Angela’s encounters since we first met at QuiltCon in 2013.

Christa Watson and Angela Walters

First time we met, in her class at QuiltCon in 2013. We bonded over machine quilting!

Angela Walters and Christa Watson, Spring 2015

Meeting up at Spring Quilt Market 2015 to finalize the details of our book. We had to be stealthy so no one would know what was going on!!

Christa Watson, Jennifer Keltner, Angela Walters

Jennifer Keltner, CVO of Martingale/That Patchwork Place met us at QuiltCon 2016 to give us the first copies of our book before it published that spring. We were so thrilled!!

Angela and Christa at Schoolhouse

Presenting our book to shop owners at Quilt Market in Spring 2016. It was a packed room!

We also collaborated with Patchwork Threads to produce T-Shirts to go along with the book!
Click here to get Angela’s shirt.
Click here to get my shirt.

To help promote the book, our publisher hosted meet and greets and quilting demos at both spring and fall market in 2016. Everyone we met was sooo kind!!

At fall market 2016. We planned out more book publicity and joked about how she had written 6 books by the time I had written 2. I don’t think I can keep up LOL!!

Angela Walters and Christa Watson

Angela paid a visit to my hometown guild in Jan 2017 which happened just after I had injured my arm. Although busy with teaching and lecturing, she made sure I was well taken care of!!

Angela Walters, Christa Watson, Tula Pink at QuiltCon 2017

Most fun photo bomb ever: during our QuiltCon 2017 booksigning, Tula Pink joined in the fun! After all, the “I wrote a  book with Angela” club is pretty small so far!

It’s been an amazing ride and neither one of us is ready to slow down yet! We’ve been very pleased with the reception that The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting has been getting. We each made the same 10 quilts from start to finish, showing different fabrics and quilting designs. So it’s really like 2 books in one. Whether you like to piece, or quilt, or both – we’ve got you covered!!

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Click here to view all of the quilts from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Upcoming Machine Quilting Blog Hop Starts May 1

A fun group of bloggers recently hatched together an idea to do a 10 week-long blog hop, working their way through the book one chapter at a time.

The group consists of HollyAnne, Vicki, Kristin, and Jen. Starting May 1, you can follow them on their blogs (click each of their names) and follow the instagram hashtag #machinequiltingbloghop as they share their real world experiences while improving their machine quilting skills. The best part is, they’ve invited you to join their journey.

Christa HollyAnne Angela

HollyAnne telling us all about their plans for the Machine Quilting Blog Hop at QuiltCon 2017

So grab a signed copy of the book (if you don’t have it already) and join the fun. I I can’t wait to see everyone’s progress! You can check out HollyAnne’s blog here for more complete info.

One more thing, if you’ve made a quilt from the book, or if you’ve tried some of the quilting motifs on your own quilts, please share pics with me in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa. I’d love to see how you are doing!

Now it’s time to go put the finishing touches on my next book. Watch for pre-order details about that later this week!!

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Vermont Quilt Festival Class Registration Now Open – See My Schedule

This year I’m getting to travel to so many beautiful places I’ve never been before. That includes Essex, Vermont to teach at the Vermont Quilt Festival which has been going strong for 41 years! The show runs from Fri-Sunday, June 23-25 and classes start on Thursday, June 22. I’ll be teaching a total of 4 classes plus a trunk show. Read below for details:

Vermont Quilt Festival

The registration process for the show requires you to create an account and then purchase your $35 registration ticket which includes entry into the show the entire time. After registration, you  can then select the classes you wish to take.  It’s a little cumbersome, so to make it easier, here are some quick links:

Step 1Click here to create an account on their site. Then login.

Step 2Click here to add the $35 registration. Click “book ticket” to add it to your cart. The item “registration” is located in the “class categories” option.

Step 3Click here to view and add classes to your cart. You can search classes by category, instructor or date.

Step 4Click here to view and select any of my classes. Click each image individually to add it to your cart. Then check out and pay as you normally would.

The system will allow you to view the classes, but it won’t allow you to add classes to your cart until you’ve added the registration option. When you click on the detail of each class, it will list the number of seats still available.

Here’s what I’m teaching:

#118 – Modern Machine Quilting

Christa Watson Books

Thursday, June 22: 8-3
Take your modern quilts to the next level by adding depth and dimension to your designs. The secret is learning to let go of perfection by practicing over a dozen different asymmetrical textures that require little to no marking of the quilt. Students will utilize both free-motion and walking foot techniques by practicing on small practice samples or leftover quilt blocks. Students may bring in their tops for a discussion of possible quilting ideas.

Click here to purchase the recommended books, signed by me.

#203 – Ultimate Free Motion Fillers

Friday June 23: 8-12
Learn 12 fun fillers in just 4 hours! This class will walk you through a dozen of the free-motion motifs from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. This will be a fast paced class, so students should be comfortable working with their machines and have a little bit of experience with machine quilting. Book Required: The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.

Click here to purchase the required book, signed by me and Angela.

#204 – Machine Quilting Trunk Show

Colorful chevrons

Friday, June 23: 1:30-3:30
I enjoy making complete quilts from start to finish, and am excited to share quilts from my books and patterns. I’ll share a few tips I’ve learned that make the machine quilting process easier, and will present a variety of designs that can be done on a home sewing machine. Exact quilts shown will vary and my lecture will include detailed images of machine quilting, as well as an opportunity to get up close and personal with my quilts.

#321 – Structured Improv Piecing (Facets)

Facets

Saturday, June 24: 8-3
Learn how to dive into improvisational piecing, but in an organized way. Students will create their own crazy pieced fabric, then give it some structure when they make their own Facets quilt top. Class includes instruction for quilt top only. Required book: Machine Quilting With Style.

Click here to purchase the required book, signed by me.

#413 – String of Pearls

String of pearls

Sunday, June 25: 8-12
Show off your favorite collection of fabrics with this bright, graphic quilt. It’s a great first pattern to get your feet wet with modern design. The blocks are easy to sew with plenty of background space for you to add interesting quilting texture. Class includes the instruction for quilt top only.

Click here to purchase the required pattern.

If you plan to attend the show, please let me know in the comments! It would be so great to meet you in person. 🙂

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Join Me for a Workshop in Las Vegas in May!

If you are near Las Vegas, or want to plan a fun road trip, I invite you to join me for a lecture and two workshops May 4-6. On Thursday night I’ll be presenting a lecture and trunk show about my quilting journey. On Friday, May 5th I’ll be teaching improv piecing while students make their own version of Facets from my book Machine Quilting with Style. On Saturday, May 6th I’ll be teaching machine quilting: Walking Foot Wonders and Free Motion Fillers.

Facets Quilt

Facets won a 2nd place ribbon in Paducah last year. I was beyond thrilled.

Christa Quilts Machine Quilting Books

I’ll be sharing my favorite motifs from all 3 of my machine quilting books!

The event is hosted by my hometown guild, Desert Quilters of Nevada, and non-guild members pay just $10 more per workshop. The Thursday night lecture is free, and visitors are welcome.

Click here to register for one or both workshops. I hope to see you there!

Newest Quilt Patterns Now in Print

I have fun news to share today. In between unpacking for one trip and getting ready for the next, I managed to get my latest two patterns printed for those of you who like working from a physical copy. To make it easier to buy them directly from me, I also set up a store at shop.christaquilts.com where you can pay with a credit card or paypal and I can ship anywhere in the world! I’ve also set a flat US shipping rate for the patterns so you only pay one small fee, no matter how many patterns you order. 🙂

Christa Quilts Patterns

Click here to order a printed pattern of Positive Direction or Stepping Stones.

In both quilt patterns I’ve included 4 sizes along with machine quilting suggestions. After all, I want to help you beyond “Quilt as Desired!”

Positive Direction Quilt Pattern by Christa Quilts

If you are a shop looking to order wholesale, please email me at christa@christaquilts.com and I’ll help you access the wholesale section of my site.

Stepping Stones by Christa Watson

Outdoor photography take by my husband Jason in the desert behind our home.

Click here to order any of the 6 print patterns I currently have in stock.
Now it’s time to go work on the next one!

Modern Triangle Quilts by Rebecca Bryan

I’m so excited to be part of Rebecca Bryan’s blog hop for her brand new book Modern Triangle Quilts. It includes patterns for 70 different triangle blocks set into 11 different samplers.

“Becca” and I first met at QuiltCon in 2013 before either of us had dreams to become authors and we hit it off right away. We got to know each other pretty well since then and solidfied our friendship when we both got the opportunity to film a quilting segment for QNNtv back in 2015. She’s one of those go-to people I can message at any time and she’ll offer a kind word of support when I most need it!

Christa Watson and Becca Bryan

Becca and I enjoying dessert together after QNN taping back in 2015.

Modern Triangle Quilts is actually her second book. (I highly recommend her first book, Modern Rainbow, too!) I was so excited for her when her quilt Equilateral Sampler won 2nd place in the Minimalism category at QuiltCon. This is definitely my favorite quilt in her book, but they are all so fab!

Rebecca Bryan Equilateral Triangle quilt at QuiltCon

Don’t you just love that expression on her face? She was freaking out, just a little!!

I really like this one, too, called “Twilight.” The modern triangle blocks are grouped together into four types: equilateral triangles, right triangles, and isosceles triangles, with a sampler for each.

For the blog hop, Becca asked each of us who participated, to make one of the blocks from her book that she assembled into a beautiful quilt for a charity fundraiser. First, here’s the block that I made:

And here’s the gorgeous quilt that Becca put together will all of our block contributions. Isn’t it just stunning? But wait.. there’s more!!

Modern Triangle Quilt by Becca Bryan

Becca is offering the pattern to make this quilt for a limited time and all proceeds go to the Living Water International charity that focuses on bringing water wells to communities without a safe place to get clean water. If that isn’t reason enough to get the pattern, here’s one more reason: she’ll be giving the quilt away to one lucky person who supports this worthy cause. For complete details on the contest and pattern fundraiser, visit Bryan House Quilts.

And because Becca is so giving, here’s another thing, just for you! She’s also offering a separate freebie for all of her newsletter subscribers! Bright, shown above, was cut from the book due to space limitations, but you can get this pattern free!

Click here to read more about this fabulous design and get the pattern.

Then, be sure to pick up your copy of Modern Triangle Quilts from Amazon, or from your favorite quilt shop or book retailer! And now, for more inspiration be sure to visit the rest of the blog tour participants to see how they were inspired by the book!

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Quilt Las Vegas 2017 – A Recap and a New Milestone

Quilt Las Vegas is the annual quilt show put on by my local traditional guild here in Las Vegas, Desert Quilters of Nevada. I’ve been a member of the guild for over 20 years, and I’ve been entering their show for nearly as long. It’s the show that gave me the confidence to start competing nationally. I’ve also learned a lot about what goes on in the judging room as a volunteer. As my quilting skills increased, it’s been reflected in the number of times I’ve gotten a ribbon. However, the show this weekend was a new milestone for me. It’s the first time that everything I entered received a ribbon.

Machine Quilting demo by Christa Watson

One of the show highlights for me was getting to share a machine quilting demo and book signing for one of the local quilt shops vending at the show, Sew Yeah Quilting.

Most of the quilts I make nowadays are usually for a book, magazine, or individual pattern, so I think it’s really helped me focus on doing the best quality work I can. Today, I thought I’d share pics of my quilts hanging in the show, include the judges’ comments, and let you know where the patterns can be found, if you are inspired to make on of your own. Plus there are a couple more that my friends made that I thought were super cool. Enjoy the mini-show!

My Quilts in the Show

Churn Dash Slide from I Love Churn Dashes

Churn Dash Slide, 1st Place, Pieced Large – Single Entrant Category

 I was actually surprised that this one got a ribbon, let alone first place because the quilting on it is really simple. It’s just an allover swirl design. But the the fabrics really make it and I had a fun time taking a traditional design and freshening it up a bit.

Machine Quilting Detail by Christa Watson

Machine Quilting Detail on Churn Dash Slide

Here’s what the judge had to say about Churn Dash Slide:

  • Excellent piecing technique
  • Well balanced tension in machine quilting
  • Appropriate overall quilting design
  • Binding is securely and neatly attached
  • A crisp, clean and fresh approach to a traditional quilt pattern

The pattern for Churn Dash Slide can be found in  I Love Churn Dashes, a compilation published by Martingale/That Patchwork Place (my awesome publisher). I enjoy submitting ideas for their books where they usually feature 14-16 different designers’ patterns all in one collection.

A block from my quilt made the cover of I Love Churn Dashes – so fun!!

Quatrefoil Applique by Christa Watson

Quatrefoil Applique, 1st Place Applique

I made Quatrefoil Applique as a machine quilting sampler to show what some of my favorite quilting motifs would look like stitched out. I’m actually teaching how to make this quilt for the guild’s workshop this May, so it was cool to get a ribbon on it so the students could see it in the show. 🙂

Here’s what the judge had to say about Quatrefoil Applique:

  • Piecing and applique are neatly and precisely executed
  • Excellent quilting technique and multiple patterns elevate simple piecing and applique to a higher level
  • Very good binding technique
  • Well balanced colors and values

The patterns and machine quilting instructions for Quatrefoil Applique, and Swirling Butterflies shown below, are both included in the book I wrote with Angela Walters, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. I’m extra proud of that book now that some of the quilts are getting a bit more bling! (Last year another quilt from the book, Plumb Lines, got a ribbon at HMQS.)

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Christa Watson and Angela Walters

Signed copies of this book are available from me, with both of our signatures.

Swirling Butterflies by Christa Watson

Swirling Butterflies, 2nd Place Open Category (Wholecloth, misc., etc.)

Swirling Butterflies is the only wholecloth quilt I’ve ever made, and it was pretty risky using such a high contrasting thread for the butterflies. But it also pushed me technically, and was super fun and meditative to quilt! The lighting at the show wasn’t super great, so you can see a better detailed closeup of the quilting below. I explored one of my favorite techniques – free motion improv – in the background areas of this quilt.

Detail free-motion_quilting

Free motion improv quilting detail.

Here’s what the judge had to say about Swirling Butterflies:

  • Very good binding technique
  • Excellent machine quilting with precise backtracking
  • An elegant presentation

Fractured Puzzle by Christa Watson

Fractured Puzzle, 2nd Place Modern

This is the second time Fractured Puzzle has been shown in a show and the second 2nd place ribbon! (It got a 2nd place in modern last year at MQX). I love how the red ribbon matches the quilt!

Here’s what the judge had to say about Fractured Puzzle:

  • Very good piecing technique
  • Well balanced machine tension but strive for consistently even stitch length
  • Quilting motifs fill the spaces evenly
  • Binding is securely and neatly applied
  • Strong visual impact

Fractured puzzle is my ultra modern take on the free Puzzle Box quilt pattern I offer for newsletter subscribers. I really pushed myself and went way out of the box by cutting it up and sewing it back together again. But it was a really fun exercise in “what if…??”

Puzzle Box Pattern

Remember – you can always take a pattern and make it your own!

Other Favorite Quilts from the Show

I was bummed that I had very little time to spend at the show, due to other obligations at the same time, but I was thrilled to see ribbons on many of my friends’ quilts. These two quilts really resonated with me:

Vicki Ruebel Machine Quilting

Argyle Gone Wild by Vicki Ruebel of Orchid Owl Quilts. She won 1st Place Pieced Small, AND Best Machine Quilting. I was so excited and proud of her! Click here to see more details of the quilting and making of this quilt. She does amazing work!

Viva Las Vegas by Melissa Curley

My friend Melissa Curley won 1st place Show Theme for her quilt “Lucky.” She names all of her quilts with first names which I think is pretty cool. Lucky was the name of Elvis’ character in the movie Viva Las Vegas. I love how she showed the iconic neon of Vegas, mixed with the more subtle side of “Sin City”

Machine quilting students

In addition to catching up with local quilting friends, it was a thrill to run into some former local students while I was demoing. Kathy and Ofelia shown above were some of my first students way back in 1999. It was fun to connect with them again at the show, and know that they are still prolific quilters! I told them thanks for being great students that allowed me to learn how to become an effective teacher. 🙂

Now it’s time to go make (and enter) more quilts!

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Quilt Las Vegas 2017 is this weekend: come watch me quilt!

If you will be in or near the Las Vegas area March 30-April 1, be sure and check out Quilt Las Vegas, put on by the Desert Quilters of Nevada, my local quilt guild.

Quilt Las Vegas 2017

Quilt Las Vegas

I will be at the show on Saturday, April 1 from 10-1 in the Sew Yeah Quilting booth, signing books and machine quilting live and “in the cloth!” Be sure to stop by for a chat and watch me demo some free-motion quilting on a beautiful new BERNINA!

Christa Quilts Show Entries

I will also have 4 quilts hanging in the show. Clockwise from top: Fractured Puzzle, Churn Dash Slide, Quatrefoil Applique and Swirling Butterflies. (Click on each of the names for more detail about each quilt.)

It’s always exciting to see if any of them will pick up a ribbon. But even if they don’t, this show gives some of the best feedback which always helps me improv my quilts for next time. 🙂

Christa Quilts Machine Quilting Demo

If you don’t already have my books, you can grab a copy of either at the show and I’ll be glad to personalize it for you. If you plan on attending, please let me know – I’d love to see you there!

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The Making of Diamond in the Rough Part 2 – The Quilting

Click here to read about Part 1 – My design process for Diamond in the Rough.

Meeting up with Craftsy Acquisitions Editor at QuiltCon

Diamond in the Rough hanging at QuiltCon 2017. I’m with Linda Permann, my editor at Craftsy. I credit her with helping me put a name to the process I use to figure out how to quilt each quilt. It’s called “The Quilter’s Path.” Click here to register for my class of the same name.

Now I’m excited to tell you about how I quilted Diamond in the Rough, since that’s my favorite part of making any quilt! First of all, I printed off a copy of the EQ7 design on a regular 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper. (You can do the same thing by taking a picture of your quilt top and printing it onto paper – black and white is perfectly fine!!)

Machine Quilting Plan

This is the actual sketch I submitted to QuiltCon Magazine when it was accepted.

I always, always make a quilting plan before I quilt so that I can figure out the quilting path I’ll take to get it done. It’s like a puzzle – figuring out what designs I want to put where and how to maneuver around the quilt with the fewest stops and starts. I’m not too worried about scale here. I’m more interested in seeing how the texture of the quilting will look and where I may need to switch thread colors.

Of course, I have to sketch with black ink to see my design, so my quilting plan is pretty rough and quite stark when you look at it. However, from experience I know that I prefer to use a blending thread so that all you see is the overall texture, rather than the individual stitches.

Diamond in the Rough quilting detail

Overall, I’m really happy with how the quilting turned out. I’m just a little bummed that you can’t see the quilting in the black areas. I quilted a textural pebble design in the black triangles. Although I love the contrast of black and white, each time I quilt on black, I remind myself that it doesn’t show up as well as I would like. So I may need to use less black fabric in the future!!

I’m really happy with how the “Switchbacks” and “String of Pearls” quilting turned out in the white areas of the quilt. I teach how to quilt both of those designs in my book Machine Quilting with Style. It was super fun to combine them together in this quilt!

Quilting Detail on Diamond in the Rough

I used very dark gray, red, and white 50 weight cotton thread from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt collection for the machine quilting which I did all on my BERNINA. You can sort of see the pebble quilting on the top row of black diamonds in the image above.

Here’s a view from the back of the quilt where you can see the pebbles better. I normally use the same color thread in the top and bobbin so that any tension imperfections are not noticeable. However, since I didn’t want the dark gray thread showing up too strongly on the light back, I used an invisible thread in the bobbin when I quilted the pebbles. Here’s a tip: wind your bobbin slowly and only fill it half full!

Managing the quilt bulk while machine quilting

First I stitch in the ditch with the BERNINA dual feed before adding free-motion quilting.

Here’s the quilt in progress underneath my machine. I use a very technical process I call “scrunching and smooshing” to wrestle the bulk of the quilt. It’s really no more complicated that twisting and shoving enough of it out of the way so I can see what I’m doing. Here’s another tip: when working with a large quilt on a small machine, just remember you are only quilting about 5-6 inches of the quilt at any time, so it’s normal to stop and shift a LOT!!

QuiltCon 2017 Cover

Right now you can get a digital copy of my Diamond in the Rough quilt pattern in QuiltCon magazine. It includes the instructions for the piecing only, but when the rights revert back to me next year, I’ll release it on my own, most likely in multiple sizes with quilting suggestions.

I was pleased with the comments I received from the QuiltCon judges about the quilt:

  1. Strong offset focal point.
  2. Varied quilting motifs were well chosen and fit areas well.
  3. Strong geometric shapes create graphic visual appeal.

I’ve had at least one quilt in each QuiltCon and have yet to win a ribbon, but it’s still fun to get them accepted. In fact, the main reason I submitted this design for the magazine was that it was a guaranteed entry into the show. Since the other 5 I entered didn’t get in, I was really happy that this one did.

Diamond in the Rough by Christa Watson, at QuiltCon 2017

Making this quilt reminds me what I love most about the modern aesthetic: strong geometric forms, minimalist designs, and plenty of negative space for fun machine quilting. Although I love ALL quilts, making those on the modern end of the design spectrum truly make my heart happy!

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