Behind the Scenes: My Design Process for Fandangle

Today I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of my fabric design process for Fandangle. The line includes 6 designs in multiple colorways so I’ll take you through the design process of 3 of them. (When my first line, Modern Marks came out, I shared a bit of my process along with some some of the rejects, and that got a lot of interest. Read about  that here.)

Fandangle Fabric

Click here to get yardage and bundles of Fandangle, while supplies last.

For Fandangle, I knew that I wanted it to coordinate with Modern Marks, but still stand on its own as a separate collection. In fact, as I was working on the line, I scattered some of the in-process paper swatches onto my Modern Marks Rainbow Taffy quilt, just to make sure they’d look good together:

Fandangle and Modern Marks

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the orange, yellow and green tone on tones are not the final versions I ended up with. Read more about those “rejects” below!

Whenever I design a line, I start with a concept and a rough color palette. When inspiration strikes, I can see what I want in my head, but the hard part is technically getting that into the computer to form a proper repeat. Fortunately, I work with a fabulous stylist and graphic designer at Benartex who can help translate my ideas into reality. I thought it would be fun to walk you through the design process of three of the prints so you can see how they evolved.

Evolution of Baubles and Bits

This print was the hardest to finalize and the one that took the most work. I knew I wanted to create a fun, funky medallion that would almost read as a floral. So we started with the basic medallion shape. You’ll notice that colors and designs change quite a bit during the process. First I finalize the shapes, and then the colors. So any in-process and designs and hues are always just placeholders.

First Try:

Second Try:

Baubles and Bits in Process

Third Try:

Final Design:

Baubles and Bits final design

Isn’t it fun to see how it evolves? Of course there were a lot of intermediate steps in between each image involving more sketches, lots of cutting and pasting, and the painstaking decisions to add or remove colors that didn’t work. Did you notice that I cut the purple? It just didn’t work this time around (although we were able to work in some nice pink and lilac). But don’t worry, purple will work its way into my fabrics in the future – I promise!!

Multiply these design and color changes by each print and color in the line and you can see what an involved process fabric design can be!

Triangle Trinkets Design Process

This print was a lot quicker to finalize. It began with a simple line-drawing sketch of my arrowheads quilting design in several different arrangements.

Original Concept:

Triangles sketches

Then we put the designs into the computer and tried different color groupings and design layouts to see what worked. The teal colorway was one of my favorites, but I thought the stripe arrangement below was too directional.

Good Color, Bad Layout:

Final Design:

Once the design was finalized, we recolored them in a dozen different colors that coordinated with the rest of the prints. It was hard to narrow it down to the final three colors I included in the line, but sadly, I knew I couldn’t include them all!

Fandangle fabric -Triangle Trinkets

Paper Cuts – the Tone on Tone Blender

This print was one I felt strongly about from the beginning. I knew exactly what I wanted but it took awhile to get there. Again, I started with a simple pen and ink sketch on paper, inspired by another one of my favorite free motion designs – jagged stipple.

Design Sketch:

The design team at Benartex wasn’t so sure it would translate well as a design, so we tried a couple other things first that I ultimately rejected. First of all, we revisited the boxes print from Modern Marks with a different take on the design.

Boxes Blender:

Boxes blender

Nice, but nope, that wasn’t it. It turned out very nice but was too close in concept to the boxes design from Modern Marks.

Loops and Strings:

blender loops

We tried something that looked like loops and strings, again based on one of my free-motion quilting designs. This print would have worked well, but it wasn’t what I wanted.

Jagged Design – First Try:

Blender print

Finally, they were willing to let me try the jagged, edgy design that I really wanted with this line. The first iteration was a little too dense for my taste, so we spaced it out to give the design a little more breathing room.

Final Tone on Tone Design:

Paper Cuts design from Fandangle

It was worth all of the time and effort we put into this print! After the design and scale were finalized, the hardest part was naming it. “Jagged Stipple” didn’t really go with the other design names inspired by the idea of ornamentation and embellishment.

So I finally renamed it “Paper Cuts” because that sounded cutesy and crafty. The irregular jagged lines reminded me of small cuttings of paper. I almost named the print “scherenschnitte” which literally means “scissor cuts” but I knew people would have a hard time trying to pronounce that word it, let alone spell it, LOL!!

Fandangle Quilt Patterns

Fandangle Quilt PatternsClick here to get PDF versions of the Fandangle Quilt Patterns
Click here to get print versions of the Fandangle Quilt Patterns

Of course, once the prints were finalized as digital images, it took me nearly as long to come up with quilt patterns to showcase the fabrics effectively. Designing quilt patterns is a very similar process for me as fabric design: I start with an initial sketch, and tweak it until it feels right. All of this work was finalized before I even received fabrics to work with. It’s a long process for sure, but I enjoy every minute of it!

Fandangle Finalized

Fandangle fabric by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo

I hope you enjoyed seeing this peek behind the curtain of how one designer’s process evolves. I know it’s different for each and every fabric designer, but so far this process has worked very well for me. I went through a similar process described above for all six prints in the line, but it was worth it to create a collection I love!

In fact, as I write this, I’m developing additional concepts, sketches, colorways, and ideas for future fabric lines. I’m starting to get the hang of how things works which each new collection I create, and it’s been such an incredible journey. As long as you all continue to love them as much as I do, I’ll have more to share in the coming months – so stay tuned!

Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Week 6 – Machine Quilting Part 1 SITD

Can you believe we are 6 weeks in to the quilt along?! The work you all are doing is fabulous and I’m excited to get to my favorite part – machine quilting!! This week we will Stitch in the Ditch (SITD) to secure the quilt for the jazzy free motion quilting we will do later. Many times, this crucial step is overlooked, and although it’s not the most exciting part of machine quilting it’s one of the most important steps for successful free-motion quilting.

Machine Quilting Detail on Dot n Dash Quilt

Machine Quilting Detail on Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt. Stitching in the ditch allows you to break down the quilting into sections, which makes for more successful free-motion quilting later.

My Fave Machine Quilting Supplies

First of all, let me tell you about the needles I prefer to use for machine quilting. They are from Superior Threads and are called Topstitch needles. Look at the image below to see the difference between a Topstitch needle and a Universal needle. The Topstitch has a slightly sharper point which is helpful for penetrating the fabric. But the most important feature is a slightly longer eye (the hole) so that your thread won’t shred. I love these needles so much that I use them for piecing as well.

Needle Closeup

I buy the needles in the blue package as they are most economical for my projects:

Next, the thread I use for piecing AND machine quilting is 50 weight 100% cotton from Aurifil. The 50 weight is thin, yet strong so that it will blend into your quilt. I’d rather see the overall texture of the quilting rather than the individual stitches, and quilting densely helps me mask any mistakes. After all, the easiest way to hide imperfect stitches is to surround them with more imperfect stitches!

Piece and Quilt Collection Aurifil Thread by Christa Watson

For this quilt, I’m using the medium gray #2605 from my Piece and Quilt Neutrals thread collection. (My neutrals box also includes a lighter gray and a darker gray so that you’re covered, no matter which shade of gray you like!)

Stitching in the Ditch

Whenever I do any custom quilting, I will always “anchor” the quilt by stitching in the ditch first, in key areas of the quilt. For Dot ‘n’ Dash, it made sense to stitch in the ditch between each long row. I recommend using a walking foot, or a machine that has a built in dual feed system (such as the BERNINA 770 QE that I’m using).

The nice thing about pressing seams open, is that you can actually stay in the ditch, and you don’t have to worry about switching thread colors for the low vs. high side of the ditch. Contrary to popular myth, stitching in the ditch with seams pressed open will NOT weaken your seams. I’ve been doing it for years with no problem, and I find it actually strengthens my quilts and adds more stability. (Just think about it – if stitching over a previous line of stitching would cut your threads, then you’d never be able to backtrack over a seam, right??)

Stitching in the Ditch on Dot n Dash Quilt

I use the terms walking foot quilting and dual feed quilting interchangeably.
Stitch slowly , so you can stay in the ditch as much as possible

The built in dual feed turns my 1/4″ patchwork “D” foot into a walking foot, feeding the quilt through evenly with no puckers. I recommend quilting with a slightly longer stitch length (3.0 instead of 2.5) to help compensate for any drag on the quilt. I also recommending reducing your presser foot pressure when doing walking foot/dual feed quilting (but not for FMQ).

Because you are making contact with the quilt on every stitch, this puts a lot of pressure on the quilt which can lead to tucks and puckers, especially when crossing seams. By reducing the presser foot pressure, it enables you to quilt with a lighter hand (or should I say foot?) on the quilt.

Modern Marks Quilt Backing

Look how nicely the gray thread blends into the blue Modern Marks print on the back.

When stitching long straight lines across the quilt with a walking foot, I recommend stitching in one direction only, from top to bottom, rather than going back and forth. This will keep the quilt flatter, with less torque on the quilt. Many times, “whiskering” – or lots of little creases will appear if you stitch lines back and forth.

Scrunch and Smoosh the quilt under the machine

Scrunching and Smooshing in Progress

To deal with the bulk of the quilt under the machine, I scrunch and smoosh it out of the way however I can, and only focus on one area of the quilt. I start on the right side of the quilt and work my way across the quilt, stitching one line at a time.

When I get to the center of the quilt, I’ll rotate the quilt 180 degrees and keep going from the middle to the edge of the quilt. This allows you to deal with the least amount of bulk at a time, and by the time you get to center you know that the bulk will get less and less as you quilt the other side.

Stitching in the Ditch on Dot n Dash

Detail of stitching in the ditch

Once either side of the strips has been stitched in the ditch, your quilt is fully secure to add more quilting. Note that I’m only SITD along the long rows, not in between the smaller squares. That would be too much starting and stopping for my taste! And don’t worry, even if your ditching lines veer off a little bit, you won’t notice it once you add more quilting.

Quilting Homework

Finish stitching the rows in the ditch and then get ready for free-motion quilting next week! Because we are taking our time and spending 3 weeks on machine quilting, you’ll have plenty of time to ease into it.

Dot n Dash machine quilting

Next time we quilt, all we have to do is think about smaller sections, one row at a time.

You could always stop right here and call it finished, but I can’t wait to show you how to add more yummy texture next week! Be sure and share your progress and ask questions or get any trouble-shooting help over in my Christa Quilts Facebook group, or on instagram #dotndashqal.

Click here for the start of the quilt along with supply list and links to all of the QAL steps.

Beaded Lanterns Quilt Along Part 2 – Making the Blocks (on the BERNINA Blog)

Are you having fun with my quilt alongs? I know it’s kinda crazy that I’m doing two at once (Dot ‘n Dash on my blog and Beaded Lanterns over on the BERNINA blog). But seriously, if I didn’t have deadlines for my quilting, I wouldn’t get anything done, LOL!!

Fortunately – just so you know, I actually made both quilts ahead of time since I knew I would be out of the country teaching when they were scheduled to be shared. (More about my Australia trip later, so stay tuned!)

Beaded Lanterns Blocks

Click here to purchase Fandangle precuts, bundles and yardage while supplies last.

This week over on the BERNINA blog – We All Sew – I’m sharing the process of cutting the strips and making the blocks. So head on over there to check it out!

Remember – for any of my quilt alongs, I leave the posts up indefinitely so you can always come back to them later when you have time.

Virtual Trunk Show of 63 Quilts from My Books

While I’m away teaching in Australia this week, I thought I’d share a virtual trunk show with you, so you can pretend that you are right here with me! I’m including all the quilts from all three of my books along with the book covers from each, so you can easily reference where to find them. Be sure to click the bonus links for more details about each quilt. So grab a treat and enjoy the show…

Quilts from Piece and Quilt with Precuts (2017)

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

All of the quilts in this book are precut friendly and each pattern includes piecing instructions and a quilting plan with diagrams and quilting suggestions. You can mix and match pieced patterns and quilting motifs to your heart’s content!

Squiggles – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Squiggles by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Squiggles Remake using Modern Marks Fabric

Click here for the Quilt Along for this quilt.

Squiggles by Christa Watson

Gridwork – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Gridwork by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Gridwork Remake by Vicky Holloway Using Modern Marks

Click here for Vicky’s blog post about this quilt.

Gridwork by Vicki Holloway

Frequency – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Frequency by Christa Watson for Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Frequency – Mini remake using Modern Marks

Click here to read more about this collaboration between me and Leah Day.

Mini Frequency wiht Modern Marks

S.W.A.K

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

SWAK from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Starstruck – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Starstruck by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Starstruck remake using Modern Marks

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Modern Starstuck by Christa Watson

Dot ‘n’ Dash – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Dot 'n' Dash by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Dot ‘n’ Dash remake using Fandangle

Click here for the Quilt Along for this quilt.

Dot 'n Dash quilt by Christa Watson

Twinkling Diamonds

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Twinkling Diamonds by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Windows

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Windows from Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Kites

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Kites Quilt from Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Arrows

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Arrows from Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Spools – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

QuiltCon reject 2
Spools Remake by Hollyanne Knight Using Modern Marks

Click here for Hollyanne’s blog post about this quilt.

Spools from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Quilts from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting (2016)

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Angela Walters and I each made the same ten quilts in our own choice of fabrics and quilting motifs. There are 10 different patterns presented along with over 50 different machine quilting designs. Below are each of the 20 quilts we made showcasing different color combos and machine quilting suggestions.

Choosing Colors

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Choosing Colors by Christa Watson

Christa’s version – in rainbow order.

Choosing Colors made by Angela Walters

Angela’s version – mix it up and throw in a scrappy binding!

Swirling Butterflies

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Swirling Butterflies Wholecloth Quilt

Christa’s version – bold and contemporary.

Swirling Butterflies Angela Walters

Angela’s version – white and traditional.

Plumb Lines

Click here to read more about this quilt.

My version of Plumb Lines won 2nd Place, Modern at HMQS in 2016.

Plumb Lines Quilt

Christa’s version – free-motion alternatives to straight line quilting.

Plumb Lines Quilt

Angela’s version – peachy keen!!

Cornered

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Corned quilt by Christa Watson

Christa’s version – pretty in pink!

Cornered by Angela Walters

Angela’s version – make your friends green with envy when you learn how to quilt these motifs!

Directionally Challenged

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Directionally Challenged by Christa Watson

Christa’s Version in shades of blue with walking foot quilting and FMQ.

Directionally Challenged by Angela Walters

Angela’s version in red showing how to break down large blocks for quilting success.

Migration

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Migration Quilt

Christa’s version – grid quilting in warm earthy tones.

Migration by Angela Walters

Angela’s version – jewel box quilting with lots of negative space fillers.

Exploding Star

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Exploding Star by Christa Watson

Christa’s version using Angela’s fabrics with walking foot continuous spiral quilting.

Exploding Star by Angela Walters

Angela’s version quilted with multi-sized spirals.

fractured squares

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Fractured_Squares_Christa

Christa’s version – completely quilted with a walking foot.

Fractured_Squares_Angela

Angela’s version – having fun with improv borders!

Quatrefoil Applique

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Quatrefoil-Applique_Christa

Christa’s version – it’s a machine quilting sampler!

Quatrefoil-Applique_Angela

Angela’s version – bold and dramatic.

U-Turns

Click here to read more about this quilt.

U-Turns_Christa

Christa’s version – cool teal solids with a touch of print.

U-Turns_Angela

Angela’s version – perfect for practicing turning a corner!

Quilts from Machine Quilting with Style (2015)

Click each highlighted link below each image for more about that quilt.

Machine Quilting With Style

13 friends each remade the 12 quilts + 1 of the backings. I have included their versions, too. Photography of my quilts courtesy of Martingale and Brent Kane. Here’s the order in which they are presented in the book:

ripplesRipples, made by me

ripples_melissa

Ripples, made by Melissa Corry and her MIL Barbara

mqws_rainRain, made by me
Juried into QuiltCon 2016
Shown at MQG Exhibit at Int’l Quilt Festival

rain_drizzle_cheryl

Drizzle, made by Cheryl Brickey

color crystals.Color Crystals, made by me

colorcrystals_vicki

Color Crystals, made by Vicki Ruebel
Honorable Mention, PIQF 2015
Faculty Award, MQX New England 2016

technicolor_backing

Technicolor backing made by me

technicolorbacking_ida

Urban sunrise, made by Ida Ewing
Best Machine Quilting, Pahrump Quilt Show 2016

Little Man's FancyLittle Man’s Fancy, made by me

littlemansfancy_tina

Little Man’s Fancy, made by Tina Guthmann

staticStatic, made by me

static_quilt_lee

Static, made by Lee Heinrich

square in a squareSquare in a Square, made by me
Juried into Road to California, 2016

squareinasquare_stacy

Square in a Square, made by Stacy Cooper

focal_point

Focal Point, made by me
Juried into QuiltCon 2016

Focal Point - Chic Neutrals no lines

Focal Point, recolored in EQ7 using Chic Neutrals fabric from Amy Ellis

focalpoint_amy

Focal Point, made by Amy Garro

Lightning and backing

Lightning, made by me
Bonus backing tutorial from Martingale
Juried into Road to California 2016

lightning_leannePink, made by Leanne Chahley

Candy_PopCandy Pop, made by me
Awarded 3rd Place, Applique at DQN 2016 Quilt Show

candypop_linda

Candy Pop, made by Linda Hungerford

BrokenVBroken V, made by me

brokenv_sharon

Broken V, made by Sharon McConnell

Facets_Kona

Facets, made by me
2nd Place Modern, AQS Paducah 2016
Juried into AQS Phoenix 2016
Quilt Along Blog Series 2016

facets_kristy

Facets, made by Kristy Daum

Finals B1324.inddPearl Gray, made by me
1st Place Large, Single Maker, DQN 2016 Quilt Show

pearl_gray_alyce

Pearl Gray, made by Alyce Blyth

Click Here for Signed Copies of All 3 Books

Books by Christa Watson

 

Dot ‘n Dash Quilt Along Week 5 – Backing and Basting

I love quilt alongs and the best part is seeing the variety you all are making! It makes my day. 🙂
This week we are getting down to the nitty gritty and getting the quilt ready for machine quilting next week. But don’t worry, if you aren’t to that point yet, that’s perfectly fine. These quilt along posts will stay up indefinitely and you can always refer back to the intro post for links to each specific QAL step.

Dot n Dash Quilt Along

Click here for the quilt along schedule and supply list.

Preparation is Key

Getting ready to machine quilt is a little like getting ready to paint a house. The actual painting isn’t hard – it’s all the prep work (ike moving furniture and taping down the windows) that takes time and gets in the way of the fun part. So take your time to prepare the quilt and baste it and don’t feel like you have to rush this part. In fact, I always set aside a separate day for backing and basting and then give myself a little reward when my least favorite part of the process is finished!

A tip on choosing batting: if you want to hide machine quilting “irregularities” and give your quilt that antique puckered look, choose a cotton batting like Hobbs or Quilter’s Dream. If you want to give your stitches more definition and a loftier look, choose wool. I usually stay away from polyester batting because it’s very slippery and usually causes me to get puckers on the back of my quilt. Cotton and wool cling to the quilt which gives you better control while quilting.

Quilt Batting Used in Dot n Dash Quilt

Take a picture of your batting with your quilt top so you can remember what you used.

Sewing the Backing Fabric

You want to ensure that the backing fabric is at least 3-4″ bigger on all sides of the quilt top, more if you plan to long arm quilt. The easiest way to do this is to cut two large pieces of fabric and sew them together. For example, my quilt measures 60 x 72. So If I cut 4 yards into 2 two -yard pieces that will give me one big rectangle approximately 72″ x 80″ to work with once the chunks are sewn together parallel to the selvage.

Sewn Quilt Backing

I basted this quilt at a recent teaching retreat I participated in. All you need is one table for basting – work on the middle and then the sides as needed.

Spray Basting the Quilt

If you prefer to pin baste, click here for an alternate tutorial.

My basic method for spray basting is to spray the wrong side of the top and bottom layers of the quilt outside, then bring them inside for assembly. For a slight variation of this technique, click here for my wall basting tutorial.

My favorite basting spray is 505. Be sure to shake the can before you use it and spray a little on a scrap to make sure the nozzle isn’t clogged. If the spray doesn’t flow out evenly, some of the chemical can accumulate and leave a stain on your quilt, so always test it first.

Spray Basting the Quilt

At first I tried an off brand that a friend had but I didn’t like it because it wasn’t sticky enough. Fortunately one of the other retreaters had some 505 which they let me use for my quilt!

The basting spray does not cause any problems with machine quilting, and if you notice it starting to gum up the needle at all, just wipe it away and you’ll be all set!

Lay out all 3 layers of the quilt – backing, batting, and quilt top on a large table (or design wall). Spend time smoothing out each layer with a long acrylic ruler before adding the next layer. This can take awhile but is worth it so that the quilt is nice, flat and smooth.

Quilt Basting

Notice the leftover batting – most of it will get trimmed away after basting. I like enough extra batting and backing so that I don’t have to worry about getting my quilt top perfectly centered.

You can also use the acrylic ruler to scooch any quilt blocks back into place and straighten out any wonky seams as needed. Smooth out any bubbles as needed so that the quilt is nice and flat.

The last step is to iron the quilts on both sides – front and back. This helps set the glue and allows you to work out any wrinkles one last time before you quilt. I use a hot dry iron ,with no steam. You can iron the quilt on an ironing board, or on a table to give you more room. Because there’s batting inside, the quilt acts as it’s own pressing surface.

Iron the basted quilt to set the glue

My quilt is basted and ready to quilt!

Now it’s your turn! Get your quilt basted and we’ll start machine quilting next week. We’ll have extra time for quilting since it’s my favorite part!

Show Your Work

Don’t forget to share your progress in one of 3 ways (or all of them if you like):
(1) In my Christa Quilts Facebook group
(2) On Instagram, #dotndashqal
(3) Share a link to your blog, or leave a comment about your process on this post.

Dot n Dash Ready to quilt

Trim the batting so that there’s only 1-2 inches sticking out on all sides of the quilt. This will prevent the excess from flipping under the quilt and getting caught in the machine.

Beaded Lanterns Quilt Along Part 1: over on the BERNINA Blog

This week kicks off another fun quilt along that I created to help promote my Fandangle fabric collection. Over the next 7 week’s I’ll be sharing step by step tutorials over on BERNINA’s Blog – We All Sew. We will make my Beaded Lanterns quilt – a free pattern I designed that is precut friendly.

Beaded Lanterns Quilt

Of course, all of the patterns I design would look fabulous in any fabrics you choose, but I really love the excuse to design and make quilts with my own fabric lines.

All you need is one jelly roll or Fandangle “strip-pie” plus 4 yards of background fabric. The two grays I’ve been using from the line – Confetti Crosshatch – have been so popular that they’ve already sold out of the first printing. But fortunately Benartex reprints fabrics that sell well, so more of those will be coming in October thank goodness!

Fandangle Strippie

Click here to get the Fandangle Strip-pie while supplies last.

In the meantime, you can check out my where to buy page for a list of shops that carry Fandangle. I have a note on there indicating which shops carry the full line as well as which shops sell online so you can track it down for yourself.

Click here to visit BERNINA’s blog – We All Sew.
The Quilt Along will be shared there each Wednesday. Happy quilting!

Free Pattern for Fandangle in Modern by the Yard

The latest issue of Modern by the Yard was just published by Benartex. It’s a free quarterly online magazine published to help promote their fabric collections and it always features lots of amazing designs.

Free Quilt Pattern for Fandangle

My friend Vicki from Orchid Owl Quilts designed and made this gorgeous quilt, Teal Appeal from Fandangle, which is featured on the cover. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Get the Pattern and Fabric to make teal appeal

Click here to download issue #9 of Modern by the Yard
Click here to purchase Fandangle bundles and yardage while supplies last.

The pattern includes a complete materials list and step-by-step full color illustrations. I think it’s so clever that Vicki chose the teal confetti crosshatch print as the background. I’ve really been enjoying seeing what other designers have been making from my fabrics. It’s always fun to see how folks combine the prints and really make them sparkle!

Free-Motion Inspiration

Christa Watson and Amanda Murphy

In the issue, there’s also an interview with me and fellow fabric designer Amanda Murphy about how our machine quilting designs often influence our fabric lines, so be sure to read about that, too!

There’s also a really fun block-study in the ezine called “Modern with a Twist.” Three designers are each challenged with putting  a modern spin on a traditional block and this issue’s block is the drunkard’s path.

Chris Dodsley came up with this really cool variation that showcases some of the cool-colored Fandangle prints. She even went the extra step and created a fun layout which she talks about more in depth on her blog -click here to see more.

Block Study – Drunkard’s Path

Modern Drunkard's path by Chrissie D

I hope you check out Modern by the Yard from Benartex. I love that they offer a source of inspiration to make fun things from their fabrics, and can’t wait for the next issue!

Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Week 4 – Sewing the Quilt Top

Did you finish your quilt blocks from last week? How is it going? Be sure to share your progress over in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group and/or on instagram using the hashtag #dotndashqal.

Finished Dot n Dash Quilt Blocks

Today we will be laying out our blocks and sewing them together to make the quilt top. The most important thing to remember is that each row in the quilt goes in opposite directions, so separate your blocks into two piles, A and B.

See pages 53-54 of Piece and Quilt with Precuts for specific directions.

It’s super helpful to lay out all 30 blocks on a design wall or other larger surface area. If you have a design floor or a design bed, that will work, too! Take as much time as you need to orient your blocks in the correct position with a nice color distribution of prints.

Dot 'n Dash Quilt Along

All blocks are laid out in order on the design wall, and ready to sew.
Take a picture with your camera phone to refer to as you piece the rows.

Pinning and Pressing

The key to a really nice flat quilt top is pinning and pressing. I prefer to press all seams open for the entire quilt and sew with a shorter stitch length (2.0 instead of the default 2.5.) However, if you choose to press to the side, that’s ok, too. Just be sure to press each and every seam as you go with a hot, dry iron.

Dot n Dash piecing detail

My corners match up nicely because I pressed each seam, and pinned each intersection.

Here’s a tip for managing the bulk of the quilt top while sewing and pressing: Sew the block rows together into pairs of two. Then press each pair of rows before joining larger sections together. The quilt to will shrink up a bit once it’s all joined, but you can always add more blocks or a border to make it larger if you like.

Dot 'n Dash finished quilt top made from Fandangle Fabric

My finished quilt top – ready to baste in next week’s lesson!

Take a Victory Lap!

Whenever I’m making a quilt top with blocks that go all the way to the edge (no borders), there is a chance that the edge seams could split open. To prevent this, I take a “victory lap” around the edges – sew with a larger stitch length approximately 1/8″ in from the edge of the quilt around the entire perimeter. It feels like a great way to celebrate the finished top!

Here’s what the edge stitching looks like from another quilt I recently made:

Victory lap around the quilt to secure the edges

By sewing with a larger stitch near the edge of the quilt, the stitching line will get covered by the binding. This secures the edge seams from splitting open during all of the rough handling that will occur with basting and quilting.

Jump in any time!

If you are just joining the quilt along, remember you can work at your own pace. Please don’t ever feel like you are “behind” as that’s never the case. And if you want to work ahead, that’s great, too! I’m just glad you are following along, either on your own version of the quilt, or virtually in your head!

Dot n Dash Quilt Along

Click here for the Dot ‘n Dash Quilt Along Schedule and Supply List
Click here to purchase the Fandangle Strip-pie or other precuts.
Click here to purchase a signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

EQ Design Contest Winners

I have to tell you how blown away I was with all of the entries into the Fandangle EQ design contest last month. EQ limited it to one entry per person which was probably a good thing, or we never would have been able to make a decision, LOL! EQ picked their favorite, I picked my favorite, and together we picked a joint favorite. So without further ado, congratulations to the winners below:

Overall Winner – Betsy’s Pinball

Betsy EQ8 entry for Fandangle

This quilt really spoke to me with it’s asymmetrical modern style. It’s really eye catching and I love how she took a traditional block – the Drunkard’s Path and created such a unique, fresh design!

MY Honorable Mention: Mel Beach Slice & Insert

EQ8 Design by Mel Beach

Mel’s design absolutely blew me away! I love how she incorporated some of the design motifs from the fabric into her unique and original quilt design. Check out the blog post she wrote about her process and several other design ideas. Each improv-looking blocks is actually an abstract pieced “F” (for Fandangle). How cool is that??

EQ Honorable Mention: Janet Barker Cut the Deck

Janet Barker EQ8 design with Fandangle

Here’s what Janet had to say about her fabulous entry: “My Cut the Deck quilt design uses a range of dark and light fabrics in the same color family. The teals with lime green accents fit the bill perfectly. The quilt uses easy strip piecing with sub-cuts to make up the blocks.”

Other Favorites

I have to give a shout out to a couple of other designs that really made my heart sing. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved ALL of the entries and it was so so hard to choose! We have some amazing talent out there in the quilting world and I was impressed by all of the original designs. I hope that several of the entrants decide to turn their designs into quilt patterns because they are all so good!

Willow Olson – Oh My Stars

Willow Olson EQ8 fandangle Design

 

Diane – Lisbonesque-like

Diane EQ 8 Fandangle Design

 

Pat A – Untitled

Pat A EQ 8 Design

 

Terri Nice – All that Glitters

Terri Nice EQ8 design

 

Darlene Cunningham – All The Ins & Outs

Darlene Cunningham EQ 8 Fandangle Entry

See The Rest of the Amazing Entries!

There were a total of 96 entries and they were all so fabulous! The ones I just showcased above are just a drop in the bucket of all the incredible designs that were shared.Do you know how hard it was for us to choose the winners?? The rest of them are still up on the EQ site so you can enjoy an amazing virtual trunk show. Be sure to read the comments for more about each entry.

Click here to see all of the remaining entries and grab a couple of fun freebie from me – a PDF pattern download & the EQ file to make a simple jelly roll quilt from Fandangle (or any other fabrics in your stash.)

Then click here to grab your favorite Fandangle fabrics to and get started on your next quilt! Remember to use coupon code SAVE10 at checkout!)

EQ design challenge

Thanks for playing!!

Labor Day Sale – Save 10% on My Patterns and Fabric!

Happy Labor day! It’s the official end of summer and the start of quilting season!!  To celebrate, you can save 10% on all of my patterns, books, fabrics, and bundles at shop.Christaquilts.com. Use code SAVE10 at checkout to get 10% off your entire purchase.

Fandangle Quilt Patterns

Get my newest patterns now, and stock up on your favorites at shop.christaquilts.com.

Did you know that my printed patterns will also ship free to the US? There’s no code necessary (but shipping will apply to other items in your cart). I’m also happy to send things internationally.

I hope you have a fun day off and can even get in some sewing and quilting!

Fandangle Fabric by Christa Watson
What will you add to your stash today??

Click here to purchase and remember to use code SAVE10 at checkout.

Sale valid through September 5, 2018.