Christa’s Soapbox – Do I Sleep? The Answer is Yes!

Today I thought it would be fun to answer the often asked question, how do I get so much done? Or put another way – do I sleep? The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, I’m NOT a night owl and if I don’t get at least 7-8 hours per night, it reduces my productivity big time.

quilt photography - Rainbow Taffy Quilt

Getting things done: we recently photographed some of my quilts so I can write more in-depth blog posts later. I think about the shots I want, Jason edits them to make them look pretty!

One thing to keep in mind is that quilting and running a business is mine and my husband’s full time job. Plus we have help. It’s taken me awhile to figure out what I do best in our little mom + pop operation: what I need to do myself, and what I’m willing to give up control over. And it’s different for each type of creative person.

For example, when it comes to quilting, I do all my own “stunts.” I design, piece and quilt all of the quilts I make for books, patterns and classes because that’s the most fun part! But I hire out much of the technical stuff to make it all look good.

Secret Sewing

Behind the scenes: quilting a quilt that will be featured in a magazine next spring.

All of the “big” projects I produce is done in partnership with quilting industry companies such as Benartex (my fabric), Craftsy (my online videos), Martingale (my quilting books), and Aurifil (my thread.) This allows me to design and create while tapping into their professional expertise in layout, editing, photography, video production, and marketing.

The only thing I self-publish is my stand-alone patterns, which is probably why I don’t release more of them on a regular basis, LOL!! I have found that I work really well with deadlines, as long as they are imposed on me by others. It’s much harder for me to set my own internal deadlines!!

More secret sewing

More “secret sewing” – this one debuts in a book collaboration next year – I can’t wait!

A typical work day for me consists of getting up early and getting right to work. I try to do all of my social media (blog, instagram and facebook) first thing, so that I’m not constantly distracted by it throughout the day. (That doesn’t always happen of course, which is why I recently decided to streamline and simplify my social media.) Then I jump into whatever project I need to work on for the day – designing a new pattern, working on a class outline, collaborating with one of my industry partners, and of course, sewing!

I take a break in the late afternoon to get in a daily workout with Jason, and then finish up any additional work in the evening before bed. I stop early enough so that I can get to bed at a decent time, and I usually indulge in an hour of “guilty-pleasure” TV watching each night (so I’m always on the lookout for a great Netflix recommendation!).

Designing HST

I’m a planner! I design all of my quilts in EQ8 with the fabrics I’ll use before I ever take the first stitch. Often it takes longer to design them than to make them!

My kids are older so they don’t need quite as much attention (my oldest lives on his own and is heading off to college soon, the next son graduates high school next spring, and the youngest, a freshman, is pretty independent although she’s still homeschooled). But because we have a flexible schedule, we can be there for them when they need us and still do all the regular parenting stuff. Plus they have all worked for us at one time or another, so that’s been a great family dynamic.

We Love our Kids!

These guys are our pride and joy: Jason, Jenna, and Ryan. We enjoy taking them out to lunch on a regular basis and love that they are adventurous eaters!

One thing that I’ll confess right now is that I DON’T do much cooking or cleaning. The kids help a lot with cooking and we have weekly subscriptions to those healthy meal kit places (like Blue Apron, Freshly, etc.) which prevent us from resorting to fast food – or worse – salt filled frozen meals. About two years ago, we hired a cleaning service that comes in every other week to help us with basic housekeeping (in addition to the kids’ weekly chores). That’s the best investment we’ve ever made because I’d much rather hand bind a quilt than clean a toilet!!

Fabric Design in Progress

Sneak peek of the design process while creating Modern Marks. Look closely and you’ll see several prints that didn’t make the cut! Maybe they’ll resurface in the future…

I’m very organized and I’m also a list-maker and schedule-keeper. I’m one of those people who really gets satisfaction from checking off an item in my to-do list, and I don’t mind rearranging my priorities on a daily basis if I can’t fit everything in. I’ve learned over the past few years to give myself more time than I think I need to complete a project, and I can’t stand being idle. So I’m always either planning, making, or thinking, and at times it can be hard to turn it off.

I think one of the secrets to how I get so much done is that I make big goals, but then break huge tasks down into daily steps so that I can work on a monumental project a little bit each day. My personal philosophy is that I never think that anything is impossible – most things just take time, patience and perseverance to get them done.

book and pattern editing

Book and pattern editing can be a tedious, lengthy process!

So in an nutshell, that’s how I get things done. Often times, things that I want to do end up morphing into something else, and many ideas that I have don’t come to fruition. The key is to be flexible and roll with it rather than giving up and quitting. Any time I get in a rut or feel like I have creative block (which can happen) the most useful thing to do is look back at what I’ve accomplished, and give myself pep talks when needed.

I hope if there’s something out there you really want to accomplish, you’ll set a goal for yourself and make it happen!

Binding on an airplane

I do a LOT of hand binding while flying across the country for teaching events. I snuggle up to a window seat, cuddle up with my quilt, and turn on headphones to shut out the world. Yes you CAN take needles and small scissors on an airplane with no problems!!

And now, it’s time for me to move on to the next item on my agenda for today – sewing!! (Just think, one of those fun things I’ll be sharing months in the future is being worked on a little bit today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…..)

Finished Quilt: Modern Starstruck + Quilting Details

Meet “Modern Starstruck” – a remake of my “Starstruck” quilt pattern included in my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. The original quilt from the book was made in black and white, but as soon as I released my new fabric line, I knew I had to remake this design to showcase the bold bright colors of Modern Marks.

Modern Starstuck by Christa Watson

Modern Starstruck, designed, pieced and quilted by Christa Watson

Starstruck is a fun fat-quarter quilt made from 24 different fabrics, one for each star in the quilt. Each fabric is used in the quilt twice – once for the star and once for the background. However, since there are 26 prints in Modern Marks, I wanted to showcase them all, so two of the fabrics are only included once.

Modern Starstruck

Click here to grab a fat quarter bundle of Modern Marks (while supplies last.)
Click here to get your signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

I had a LOT of fun quilting this one!! I quilted a different free-motion design in each of the stars and backgrounds. There are a total of 24 blocks which means I quilted 48 unique designs in this quilt. I think of it as a “machine quilting sampler” of sorts.

Machine Quilting Detail

You can really see the quilting when the light hits it just right. I tried lots of different swirl combinations in some of the blocks, and echoed each star a couple of times to separate it from the background quilting.

Modern Starstruck closeup

Modern Starstruck drapes really well due to the cotton batting I used, and the dense quilting gives it plenty of yummy texture.

In each block I quilted a combination of geometric and curvy lines to play around with different ideas. To minimize my starts and stops, I free motion echo quilted around each star shape, then traveled over a previous stitching line to get to the star. I filled in each star with a different design and then traveled back out of the top of the star to continue quilting the additional echo and background areas.

Machine quilting in progress

Here are a couple of closeups of the block quilting:

quilting detail

I quilted a geometric meander in the star above, with curvy woodgrain in the background. Many of the designs came from my books, while others were brand new experiments which may show up as stand-alone motifs in future quilts!

free motion quilting

In this star I quilted a dense echoed diamond design with curvy flowers in the background. I used a light yellow thread for the entire quilt. It blended in to most of the fabrics so I didn’t have to switch thread colors.

Pattern on pattern

In some of the blocks, I quilted a dense pattern on pattern design to add extra depth and dimension to the quilt.

Modern Starstruck detail

It was fun to choose fabric combinations for each block. Because this was a busy quilt with no unifying background fabric, it was important that each pairing allowed the stars to pop!

Modern Starstruck Stats:

Modern Starstuck by Christa Watson

Wall Basting Tutorial Using Spray Adhesive

One of the secrets to successful machine quilting is basting your quilts properly. So today I will share with you my favorite way to baste a quilt using 505 basting spray and my design wall. You can definitely modify this technique and baste your quilts on a table, but I prefer the design wall because I can get up close to the quilt and make sure it’s nice and flat.

I’m demonstrating how to baste my Modern Puzzle quilt. Get the free quilt pattern here.

Click here to grab a Modern Puzzle Quilt Kit featuring Modern Marks.

Wall Basting Quilt Tutorial for Modern Puzzle Free Quilt Pattern

Wall basting is my favorite way to baste! I can get up close to make it smooth and flat.

Wall Basting Tutorial

Ensure that all 3 layers of your quilt (top, batting, and backing) are nice and flat. The batting and backing should be a few inches larger than the quilt top on all sides.

Give the top and backing a final press and clip any stray threads. Relax the wrinkles in your batting by throwing it in a dryer with a wet towel for a few minutes, unrolling it from the package to “rest” for a few days, or pressing the batting with a hot dry iron. (For delicate batting, use a piece of fabric to cover it while you press.)

Step 1 – Apply Adhesive to Backing and Quilt Top separately

Lay a sheet on the ground to protect your quilt and catch any over-spray. Outdoors is best so that the fumes can dissipate, but you can do it inside in a well ventilated room while wearing a dust mask. Be sure to shake the can and spray a few squirts on the sheet to ensure the nozzle is clean and the spray comes out evenly before you start.

Lay out the quilt backing wrong side up and apply a thin coat of 505 spray adhesive evenly across the surface of the quilt. Walk around the quilt backing as needed to reach all areas.

Apply spray baste to the wrong side of the backing fabric

Spray the adhesive on one section of the backing at a time. Use seam lines in the piecing to help keep track of where you’ve sprayed since it’s hard to see the adhesive on the fabric.

Repeat the process for the quilt top, using the design of the quilt to help you keep track of which areas you’ve already covered. Don’t worry if the quilt top and backing have some give or are a bit wrinkly from movement. You will smooth it all out later.

Spray baste the quilt top

Be sure to lay out the quilt top wrong side up while applying basting spray.

Hint: it’s easier to keep track of where you’ve sprayed if you cover one-two rows at a time, moving methodically over the quilt top.

spray basting

Try to keep the can spraying out consistently so you don’t get any adhesive buildup.

Once the backing and quilt top are sprayed, fold them up and bring indoors to assemble the layers on a design wall. It doesn’t matter if you fold them right sides in or out. They will be sticky, but not stuck and you can easily unfold and the layers and peel them apart. You don’t need to baste right away, but I wouldn’t wait more than a few days to prevent the spray from drying out.

Quilt top and back with basting spray

It’s okay if the layers are a wadded-up mess. You’ll straighten them out next!

Step 2 – Assemble The Layers Indoors

Pin the quilt backing wrong side up to the top of the design wall (mine is made from foam insulation board covered with a white flannel sheet). Let gravity pull the weight of the fabric down. Gently un-stick any of the fabric sticking to itself and spend some time smoothing it all out with your hands or an acrylic ruler.

wall basting

For shorties like me, use a chair or step ladder to reach the top of the design wall.

Your hands will get a bit sticky, but the residue easily washes off with soap and water. Spend as much time as you need to straighten the backing so that it’s nice and smooth and flat on the design wall.

Smooth backing on the design wall

The backing is nice and smooth! Any small wrinkles will get ironed out later.

Fold the batting in half vertically and stick it on one side of the backing. Notice that I didn’t cut my batting perfectly straight on one edge and that’s okay. As long as the batting is larger than the quilt top, it’s easy to trim off any excess.

Wall basting - adding the batting

For this quilt I used Hobbs Tuscany Cotton/Wool blend batting. The cotton gives it a nice drape and the wool adds depth and dimension to the quilting without wrinkling up.

Unfold the batting and spend a good amount of time smoothing it out with your hands or a long acrylic ruler. My ruler can get a bit sticky so I have a separate one that I use just for basting. See the excess batting sticking out on the right side? I’ll trim that off with batting scissors before I add the quilt top.

Smoothing the layers

Spend 10-15 minutes smoothing out the batting. It’s okay to re-position it if needed. The ruler acts as an arm extension to help you cover more area while you smooth it all out.

Add the quilt backing right side out in the same manner as the backing. Pin generously and let gravity pull on the weight of the quilt top to get it to hang straight. This is why it’s so important for the batting and backing to be larger than the quilt top. Then you don’t have to make sure it’s lined up perfectly in the middle – you’ll have a bit of “wiggle room” to maneuver.

The excess batting and backing will get trimmed away later.

Spend a lot of time smoothing out the top layer once it’s on the wall. Use the acrylic ruler to help you work out any bubbles and ensure that the seam lines are nice and straight. Once your basted quilt is flat, smooth and straight, machine quilting it will be a breeze!

Bastd Modern Puzzle Quilt

Taking time to smooth each layer will make it much easier to machine quilt!

Step 3 – Iron the Basted Quilt

Here’s where the magic happens! Once the quilt is basted, I take it to the ironing board and press both sides of the quilt. This does two things: (1) it’s a final chance to press out any wrinkles and work out any fullness in the quilt. (2) It sets the glue and ensures that all 3 layers will stay together without shifting, eliminating the need to add any pins. You can still pull apart the layers if needed, but this process will ensure that every inch of the quilt is sticking to every other inch of the quilt.

Iron the basted quilt

I use a “big board” which sits on top of my regular ironing board and gives me more room!

Once I switched to spray basting, I virtually eliminated any pleats and puckers on my quilt. Because there’s a lot of “scrunching and smooshing” going on while quilting, your basted quilt needs to be able to handle a lot of wear and tear while pushing it under the machine. It takes the same amount of time to baste a quilt with spray or pins, but you’ll save a huge amount of time by not having to stop and remove pins. Give spray basting a try and let me know how you like it!

I quilted Modern Puzzle using walking foot wavy lines, a technique I teach in my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Modern Puzzle Quilting Detail

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you end up making your own version of Modern Puzzle, please share pics in my Christa Quilts Facebook group. I’d love to see your progress!

Christa’s Soap Box – Simplifying Social Media

Social media overwhelms me and I’ve decided it’s time to simplify. Don’t worry – the blog is NOT going anywhere!! But I’ve been contemplating over the last few months about how I spend my time and WHERE to spend my time.

Until yesterday, I’ve been running a bit ragged, trying to keep up with 3 Facebook pages, 2 Instagram accounts, 2 email lists, this blog, and a very weak attempt at Pinterest. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and joined Instagram in 2013, then began adding ever more social media outlets to the lineup to keep up with “the next best thing.”

The result? I’m honestly getting a little burned out. I spend way more time on screens that could be better spent at the sewing machine!

HST Remix Quilt

Because a blog post is more fun to read with pretty pictures, I’ve sprinkled in a few pics of my latest finish – HST Remix . I often have deep thoughts while quilting – it’s very therapeutic!!

What I’m Saying “Yes” to:

So here’s what I’m keeping: the blog, Instagram, my Facebook group, and my wholesale newsletter for quilt shops.

What I’m Saying “No” to:

What I’m ditching: my Facebook biz page, personal Facebook updates, my weekly consumer email, my business Instagram, and Pinterest (Gasp! Sorry folks, I’m just not a pinner!!)

What I’m NOT going to feel guilty about NOT doing: Twitter, YouTube, Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, Periscope, Snapchat, etc. What I AM going to enjoy: making and sharing what I want, when I want, where I want.

If I make it – and others want it – they will find it.

HST Remix Quilt

Dense machine quilting makes me happy. I’d rather spend more time creating, and less time managing social media.

Since making that decision to simplify only yesterday, I woke up feeling much lighter today. I’ve realized I don’t need to post ALL THE THINGS to ALL THE PLACES, or worry about whether I cross promoted or over-promoted, or forgot to mention the latest and greatest: here, there and everywhere.

I can simplify. I can make. I can share. And I can focus on quality over quantity which better aligns with my minimalist leanings.

You Can Still Follow Me Here

By the way, if you DO want to follow what I’m doing, and keep up with the blog, you can easily subscribe to it. Here’s how:

If you are on a computer, there are two options in the right-hand side bar. (1) You can enter your email underneath where it says “follow my blog!” and you’ll get an email each time a post is published. Or (2) scroll down a bit further and click the button that says “follow me on bloglovin.”

HST Remix

This is HST Remix, one of my QuiltCon entries. Whether it gets accepted to the show or not, I enjoyed every stitch of this huge 90″ x 90″ quilt! It was made entirely on my home sewing machine.

If you are reading this from your mobile device, it’s a bit trickier to find the signup box. You’ll have to scroll way, way, down, like past a million blog posts until you get to all the “stuff” at the bottom of the screen. Then you’ll see the box to enter your email, or the Bloglovin button. But they are there if you persevere!

Whew – that felt so good to get it off my chest!! I’ll post again when there’s something more to say or show. Now it’s time to start on the next quilt….

Modern Marks Inspiration and a Free Quilt Pattern!

To celebrate the release of my new fabric line, I have a free pattern for you, plus loads of inspiration on what you can make with my fabric! Take a look at Rainbow Taffy, a bright colorful quilt made from 5″ squares of Modern Marks, + white background:

Click here for the Rainbow Taffy pattern download.
Click here to get Modern Marks precuts.

Click here to get the free quilt pattern.

I knew I wanted to create a bright colorful quilt which would show off every fabric in this collection. In fact, when it came time to create the precut bundles for this line, it was fun to decide which fabrics would have duplicates (since there’s 31 in the line but 42 squares in the 5×5 pack). I designed Rainbow Taffy so that it would show case these cheerful fabrics in rainbow order, but of course the pattern would look great in other fabrics, too!

Boxes Quilting on Rainbow Taffy

Boxes quilting design on Rainbow Taffy

The pattern includes a detailed chart with color placement, plus machine quilting suggestions. I quilted it with one of my favorite geometric designs, “boxes” which is also the name of one of the designs in the collection!

Modern Marks Fabric by Christa Watson

Click here to grab a bundle of 26 Modern Marks fat quarters.

Be sure to ask for Modern Marks by name at your favorite local quilt shop! If there’s not one near you, I have a limited number of fat quarter bundles and kits availalbe at shop.christaquilts.com.

More Modern Marks Inspiration

Modern Marks

Be sure to check out the stops on the blog hop below for even more ideas of what you can make from Modern Marks!

Monday
HollyAnne @String & Story
 
Tuesday
 
Wednesday
Hilary @Aurifil
 
Thursday
 
Friday
I hope you are inspired to create something fun with Modern Marks!
Rainbow Taffy Quilt

EQ8 Has Now Been Released and You can Win a Copy!

Have you heard the great news? After years of patiently waiting, a new version of Electric Quilt software was released, just in time for Christmas! I’m sure you are all busy with your holiday shopping so here’s a fabulous gift you could win for yourself!!

Electric Quilt 8

Click here to learn more about EQ8!

Meet EQ8, with an updated interface, new features, and the same great capabilities you’ve come to know!

I have to share a fun behind the scenes story. Back in 2016 when I met the owners Dean and Penny for the first time while teaching at EQ Academy, I was impressed not only with their business sense, but it was heartwarming to see how much they cared about their customers. I asked if they would be releasing an updated version of the software since the previous version, EQ7 had been launched way back in 2010.

EQ8

Even those these images say “coming soon” they are actually here now!!!

Dean’s answer really impressed me. He told me that he’d only release a new version if there was a market need for it. He said he didn’t want to follow in the footsteps the big software companies who release new versions year after year just so they could gouge their customers. He wanted to make sure that any new product the company created had enough value to justify the cost.

Click here for the EQ8 FAQ.

I love how thoughtful they were with releasing this software. Those who already own EQ6 or EQ7 can upgrade to the version at a lower cost, and those who haven’t ever owned it before can easily purchase and download it online without having to wait for anything to arrive in the mail.

EQ8

This is my favorite thing about EQ8!

I’ve recently installed my version of EQ8 and just started designing new projects for upcoming patterns and online classes. So far it’s even easier to use than EQ7 and the interface is much more intuitive.

EQ8Once you start using this software, it will be hard to design without it!

Your Chance to Win!

My friends over at Electric Quilt are generously giving away a copy of EQ8. It comes both in PC and Mac versions and both version also include a comprehensive help manual already installed in the software.

This giveaway is open through the end of the month, November 30, 2017 and is open to all. Simply leave a comment on this post and I’ll choose one at random and notify the winner via email.

 

Pre-Black Friday Sale: Get my New Improv Squares PDF Pattern at 50% Off!

Fun news to share: I’ve just released my newest PDF pattern called “Improv Squares.” It’s a fun pattern that shows you how to to dive into improvisational piecing but in a structured format. It calls for one set of 10″ x 10″ squares plus 4 yards of background. I used my Modern Marks collection but of course it would look great in any fabrics!

Click here to get the PDF version of Improv Squares on Sale for just $4.95!

To introduce this pattern and to say thanks for being a supporter of my blog, I’m offering the PDF at 50% off the regular price through the end of Thanksgiving weekend (November 26th).

Whenever I introduce a new pattern, I put the PDF on sale for about a week which allows me to then finance the print version of the pattern. It’s a win-win for both of us – you get it on sale and then I can print off enough copies to offer at quilt shops across the country!

Quilting Improv Squares

Like all of my patterns, I include machine quilting suggestions so that you can finish it up in no time. I quilted Improv Squares with an allover “Jagged Stipple” design on a pretty large scale. That way I could finish quickly without a lot of fuss!

My number one free-motion tip is to pick one design you want to learn and quilt it across an entire quilt regardless of the piecing. By the time you’re done with the quilt, you’ll be an expert at that design!

Jagged Stipple Quilting

I quilted “Jagged Stipple” with a variegated thread – Aurifil 50 weight Marrakesh.

In the pattern, I’ve included step by step instructions and detailed cutting charts so you’ll have guaranteed success when making this quilt. With my “structured improv” approach, each block will turn out unique, yet unified.

Improv Squares back cover

Materials requirements for Improv Squares

Here’s a tip for fabric selection when it comes to choosing the background: make sure your background fabric is very dark, or very light compared to your precut squares and it will look fantastic! If you are using the same fabric that’s included in the precuts, that’s not a problem. Most 10″x10″ packs include 42 squares, but you only need 36 to make this quilt. That allows you some flexibility.

In my version, I used Modern Marks Navy Herringbone, for the background so I set aside those squares from the 10×10 pack and didn’t use them in the blocks. Here’s what this quilt would look like if you chose a different fabric for the background, such as the Cream/Lime Boxes print:

Improv Squares with Cream

Pair up one set of 10×10’s (Layer Cake) with 4 yards of your favorite background print!

Check out how different it looks using the Light Blue Crossmarks print as the background: (I quickly recolored these using EQ8 from Electric Quilt.)

Imrpov Squares Light Blue Background

Grab a 10×10 bundle of Modern Marks from The Precut Store while supplies last!

Isn’t it fun to see the possibilities? Now I must share with my inspiration for this design. When I’m out running errands I drive by this broken fence. The first time I saw it I thought it would make a very cool quilt design! So there you have it – I’m often influenced by my surroundings in my everyday life and I love it whenever I come across great design inspiration!

Broken Fence

This broken fence inspired the design for Improv Squares. Inspiration is everywhere!!

Imrpov Squares by Christa Watson

If you want to purchase the needed supplies to make this quilt, click the links below.
(They are from 3 different store locations.)

Click here to purchase the PDF pattern for Improv Squares.
Click here to purchase the Modern Marks 10×10 Precuts
Click here to purchase a coordinating background (limited supplies).

One Time Only – Modern Marks Fabric Destash

Now that Modern Marks is making its way to stores, I’m excited to see it reach a wider audience. However, being a minimalist, I now need to clean up from all the quilts I’ve made from Modern Marks and get rid of the excess fabric I don’t need. So my loss will be your gain!

Click here for my Modern Marks fabric destash.

Modern Marks by Christa Watson for Benartex

Quilts in this photo: Rainbow Taffy (free Pattern on the Benartex Website, Starstruck and Gridwork patterns from Piece and Quilt with Precuts.). All were made with Modern Marks precuts.

After setting aside a “good amount” of each Modern Marks print for myself, I have several leftover 2 yard pieces that I’d like to share with you all for a fantastic price.

Click here to view what’s left and grab them before they’re gone.

Modern Marks Fabric

I’ve saved a bit of each print for myself…..

I’m NOT planning on selling yardage on a regular basis, so scoop them up while you can. I’m happy to ship internationally and refund any excess shipping and handling.

After you shop my destash, be sure and visit your local quilt shop for more coordinates and tag me on instagram (@christaquilts) so I can see what you’re making. I had fun working with Modern Marks. Now I can’t wait to see what YOU will create!

Modern Puzzle Quilt – Get the Free Pattern!

Modern Puzzle is a quilt I designed and made to show off my debut fabric line from Benartex, called “Modern Marks.”

Click here to get the free Modern Puzzle pattern.

Modern Puzzle by Christa Watson

It’s full of brightly colored geometric prints that are perfect for quilts in any size and style!

Modern Puzzle Using Modern Marks

I used Modern Marks from Benartex/Contempo for this quilt – it’s bright and cheerful!

Modern Puzzle is a remake of the design I originally created called “Puzzle Box” that showed off some solid fabrics, but I never actually made the quilt. Now that my fabric is out there in the world, I was excited to see how well this design looks using prints!

Modern Marks Fabric

Modern Marks prints and Colorweave coordinates

Modern Puzzle is super fast and easy to make from 2 sets of precut strips – one bundle of colorful prints, and another set for the background. Benartex calls their precut strips “Pinwheels” but they are also known as Jelly Rolls, Pixie Strips, Rollie Polies, Roll Ups, etc. depending on the manufacturer. Each precut bundle includes 40 strips, 2 1/2″ x 42″.

Modern Marks Pinwheel from Benartex

For my quilt I used one Pinwheel of Modern Marks plus one neutral background bundle in gray/white that I asked Benartex to offer along with my fabric. I love how the neutrals really allow the brighter prints to pop!

Click here to get the Modern Marks Precuts.

Neutral Pinwheel from Benartex

Because the fabric images are finalized months before the fabric was ready, I was able to play around in Electric Quilt software to come up with lots of fun designs using my fabric. When I show the “real” quilt you’ll be amazed at how much it looks like the original drawing!

Modern Puzzle Free Pattern from Christa Watson

Modern Puzzle Designed Using EQ

Don’t you just love a snuggly, colorful quilt?? Full reveal coming soon!

Modern Puzzle by Christa Watson

Catching My Breath, a Few Updates – and a Fun Fabric Giveaway!

So right before quilt market my computer crashed. As in Dead. As. A. Doornail. Fortunately, my tech savvy hubby backed everything up so that nothing was lost. As you can imagine, the timing wasn’t great, but is it ever good timing for a hiccup like that?

Christa at Quilt Market 2017

One of my many demo’s at quiltmarket. My mom and I made the shirt I’m wearing from my fabric.

Now that at I’m back from quilt market and Jason has set me up on a new laptop, I can stop and breathe (for about 5 minutes) before it’s time to start working on the next fun quilty thing! (More fabric, more classes, more patterns, oh my!!)

So this post is a quick catch-up of what’s happening in real time along with a thank you giveaway for sticking with me and reading to the end!!

Quick Quilt Market Recap

Quilt Market was a blast! This is the industry trade show that takes place each fall in Houston, Texas, the week before Quilt Festival which is the consumer show. Many industry folks stay for both but that would be way too exhausting for me! Maybe once the kids are out of the house we’ll consider doing both…

Quilts from Modern Marks

One of the many quilts made from Modern Marks. Free & paid patterns coming soon!

I was in my booth most of the time at market showing my fabric line Modern Marks to quilt shops in the hopes that they decide to carry it in their shops. The response was really great as so many folks are attracted to the fun bright prints. I promised the shop owners a couple of free patterns coming soon, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t also share them with you. So be on the lookout as I’ll be sharing those as soon as my graphic designer has made them look pretty!

Machine Quilting Demo in the Aurifil Booth

Demoing machine quilting + wearing another top made from my fabric.

I also introduced new customers to my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts, and my awesome publisher set up several book signings and machine quilting demos while I was there.

My good friend Annie Unrein from By Annie made several bags and accessories for my booth and my mom help me sew up several shirts from my fabric to wear during the show.

Annie Unrein and Christa Watson at Fall Quilt Market 2017

The quilt on the left is a free pattern coming soon; the one one the right was remade from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts using my fabric! Notice the cute bag by Annie and my matching shoes!

Be on the lookout for more about the individual Modern Marks quilts and projects a bit later after I’ve had a chance to recover! Then save the date: Starting November 27th, Benartex will be hosting a blog hop to share even more ideas of what you can make from Modern Marks!

Quilt Kits for Sale

Squiggles recolored in Modern Marks

Get the Squiggles Quilt Kit

I’m continuing to sell quilt kits for the upcoming Quilt Along I’ll be hosting here on the blog in January. Click here for the QAL schedule. Most folks voted for us to make Squiggles from my new book for the QAL, but I know several of you really wanted to make Gridwork as well.

Gridwork recolored in EQ using modern marks

Get the Gridwork Quilt Kit

I’m now offering kits for each quilt, along with optional backing kits. You’ll need a copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts for the patterns, but hey – if you want to make BOTH quilts, you just need ONE copy of the book. I really like it when you can get more bang for your buck!

And of course either of these quilts would look fabulous in other fabrics, too!!

Click here to purchase Modern Marks quilt kits and bundles.

Upcoming Teaching

I head to St. George, Utah this weekend to do a trunk show on Friday and machine quilting class on Saturday for Dave’s BERNINA. Then on December 1-2, for my last gig of the year, I’ll be flying out to visit my friend Stephanie who runs Quilt Addicts Anonymous in Illinois. I’ll be sharing a lecture and full day free-motion class at her shop, so if you are in the area, be sure and join us!

I’ll be super busy in January, and it’s the last time I’ll be in driving distance of Las Vegas for awhile. On January 3-5 I’ll be teaching one day of machine quilting and 2 days of improv piecing at Quilting at the Lake. Click here for registration info.

Then, January 15-18, I’ll be teaching four different machine quilting classes at Road to California. At last check, two of my classes at Road had sold out with waiting lists, but there are still spots open in my Monday and Tuesday classes. Click here for class schedule info.

How Do I Quilt it MQG

If you aren’t near where I’m teaching, you can catch my live webinar for the Modern Quilt Guild next week! On Wednesday, November 8th at 6 PM Pacific Time, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks for quilting on a home machine, answering the most asked question, “How Do I Quilt It?”

Click here to register for the webinar/or join the MQG.

If you aren’t yet an MQG member, be sure and join now so you don’t miss the fun! Members have access to all of the MQG webinars, so you can also catch it later.

The GiveawayS – Win my Fabric!

I have 3 fabric giveaways for you today, as a thanks for your continued support! First, I’m giving away a box full of fabric scraps which is mostly Modern Marks plus a few misc. pieces. These are leftovers, large and small of all the projects I’ve been making from Modern Marks over the last few months. It also includes some nice chunks of funky shapes that were the cutaways from the shirts I made, plus tons of small to medium scraps that frankly I’m just too lazy to sort through! But I know one of you will love them!

Modern Marks Scraps

Win my Modern Marks scraps!

The second and third giveaways are Modern Marks precuts. At Quilt Market, there’s a night of shopping frenzy called Sample Spree where attendees can purchase bundles before they are available in shops. I wasn’t there, but apparently all of my precuts sold out except for one 2 1/2″ strip bundle (Benartex calls them Pinwheels) and one charm pack (aptly named 5×5’s) that were held back for promotion, so I snagged those puppies to give to you all!

Modern Marks Precuts

Modern Marks precuts coming soon! Ask your local quilt shop to stock them.

I’ll make this easy – just leave any comment to enter. I’ll give the scrap box and the Pinwheel to two separate US winners, and send the charm pack to an international friend. So be sure to mention in your comments which prize you’d like to win and where you are from!

I’ll pick the winners first thing Monday morning and notify them via email.

Whew! I think that’s all for now!! Now it’s time to unpack and sew!