MQWS Blog Hop Day 12 – Focal Point

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

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

Focal Point – The Background Story

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

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

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

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

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

A Bit More and a Bonus Giveaway

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

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

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

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


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

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

More Inspiration from Amy garro!

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

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


Giveaway from Pellon Products

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

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

Click here for the complete blog hop schedule.

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

6 thoughts on “MQWS Blog Hop Day 12 – Focal Point

  1. Karen says:

    Christa, this was such a terrific Blog Hop! Thanks so much! it’s a real demonstration of who you are and how much you are loved in the quilting community that all these talented quilters have hopped on with their own takes on your wonderful quilts. You must be exhausted 🙂 Sit down, put your feet up, have a cup of tea (if it’s cooled off in LV), order a pizza for dinner and take a nap–you’ve earned it. BRAVO!

  2. Jan Beasley says:

    Yes, I did a little improv piecing years ago and used it for the centers of log cabin blocks. I liked the result and still have the quilt.

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