Machine Quilting With Style: Ripples Re-imagined

Ripples is the first quilt presented in my book Machine Quilting with Style. The technique is what I call “structured improv.” The basic block shape is a traditional log cabin. However, each of the individual “logs” in the quilt are cut and pieced improvisationally so that no two blocks are alike! I selected teals and grays from my stash, plus leftovers from other projects. Here’s the original quilt as it appears in the book, my abstract representation of rippling water:


Ripples 66″ x 88″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Let’s Play!

Now it’s time to have some fun, discovering alternate looks for this design! Of course the layout possibilities are endless. Here’s a another version, showing the same color scheme, set in a more traditional “barn-raising” layout. I imported swatches of fabrics from some of my favorite fabric brands into EQ7 to create a “virtual stash” for this quilt.


I design my quilts in EQ7 so that I know what they’ll look like before I make the first cut!

Here’s another layout, and another colorway, using Bonnie and Camille’s Ruby collection, plus coordinates  from my “virtual” stash. I selected reds and greens for one half of the block, with aquas, creams and light grays for the other half. I set the blocks slightly differently so that now the ripples go the other way and are more centered.


Here’s another graphic layout with very strong lines, called Zig-Zags, using the same fabrics. In all variations, the same number of blocks are made, but each block is rotated differently.


Isn’t it fun to explore the possibilities? I hope you will enjoy seeing all of the quilts from Machine Quilting with Style re-imagined over the next few weeks. Perhaps you’ll discover that one of the designs speaks to you in a new colorway.

Celebration Giveaway

Each week as I share the re-imagined quilts, I’ll celebrate the one-year milestone of my book release with a giveaway. To start off, I’ll give away a signed physical copy of Machine Quilting with Style to one lucky reader here in the US! And my publisher will send an e-copy to one of my international friends!

Machine Quilting With Style

To enter, leave a comment letting me know if you’ve ever made a log cabin quilt – and if you want to share – how many?? For an extra bonus entry, you can share a picture of your favorite log cabin quilt you’ve made in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa.

Comments will be open through next Thursday at 6PM PST. I’ll  a choose two winners at random (one US, one Int’l.) and will announce their names in next week’s post on Friday, along with the next virtual quilt!

Click here to see all of the quilts from Machine Quilting with Style.

142 thoughts on “Machine Quilting With Style: Ripples Re-imagined

  1. Kristie says:

    I’ve never made a log cabin quilt but have always wanted to. I even have a Pinterest board just for log cabin quilts. Your post has inspired me to get my behind in gear and project plan and fabric pull for one. Thanks!

  2. Gloria Cotten says:

    I have made at least 4 log cabin quilts and another is in process. I obviously love them! Thanks for the giveaway and happy anniversary!!

  3. Laura says:

    I’ve made at least 3 log cabin quilts. I have been putting aside scraps for an improv version. Thanks for the lovely photos of the improv ones in your new book.

  4. Pat Evans says:

    I have made log cabin blocks as Christmas ornaments and a kid quilt using a modified log cabin (center blocks in novelty prints). I really like the infinite possible layouts with log cabin blocks so it is on my bucket list.

  5. Michele Hanus says:

    The only log cabins have done are the “Log Cabin Crosses”. I have made about 20 of them for gifts and charity. One of these days I am going to make a log cabin quilt though.

  6. Petra says:

    I made my first log cabin quilt for my then boss as a farewell present, the quilt was made in the company colors yellow, black, red and blue – but that was 20 years ago and sadly I have no picture of it. Last year I did a workshop with Shizuko Kuroha in Karlsruhe for the clamshell quilt. I finished the quilt at home (log cabin sewed on paper) and handquilted it. I will post the picture on facebook!

  7. Elaine in North Tx. says:

    I have made small log cabin quilts. The first was a wonky log cabin and the other used log cabins in the border. Both are wall hangings.

  8. LJ says:

    A Log Cabin quilt is on my bucket list. I really do like your interpretation of the traditional; looks to me like there would be minimal seam matching and that’s always a relaxing process.

  9. ivy says:

    I have made log cabin blocks for others, and I would LOVE to make an actual log cabin quilt. Definitely on my list. Would love the book. Thanks!

  10. Trib Hadley says:

    The first quilt I ever made was a log cabin quilt. This was long before rotary cutters were around. Log cabin quilts are so versatile and fun.

  11. Liz Horgan says:

    After thinking about it, yes I did make a log cabin quilt-might have been my second quilt! My daughter used it. I’m not sure where it is now, but I’ll look and post a picture if I find it!

  12. Martha cook says:

    gosh, I wish I could tell,you but I can’t. my first quilt was a log cabin. I made tons of them. I love how you can arrange the blocks and come up with such different looks. would love to win your book 🙂

  13. Skye B says:

    Log cabins is one style I have not tried. I wasn’t really interested in them to begin with but I’ve now come across so many designs and colour combinations that I want to try one soon

  14. Suellen Franze says:

    Recently, I made a log cabin quilt, sort of improvisationally-pieced, from homespun fabrics from my stash. I made it to sell on Etsy, but so far I haven’t been willing to part with it. Does anybody else have that problem? I’m trying to teach myself FMQ and can do okay on small quilts but not so great on big ones. I need more courage!

  15. Janet M says:

    I’ve never made a log cabin quilt, tho I really am into traditional quilting. You are the first modern quilter that I’ve encountered and this form is really growing on me. I’ve made my first one and am quilting it myself at the moment. It is very simple, but I’m having fun.

  16. spierssusan says:

    Love the way you use the colors in your quilts to make them so different-just lovely! I have only made three quilt tops & none of them are log cabin. I’m just a beginner, and hope to make one one day.

  17. Brenda Estes says:

    So many options, so little time! I have made 2 log cabins, my first quilt a simple rail fence the 2nd, a quilt for my daughter for college, many years ago.

    Have material for another! So your post inspiration!

  18. Mary says:

    I’m just getting started in quilting (still at the small project stage) but a log cabin quilt is at the top of my list. I like the ‘improv’ look and really am inspired by combining logs and ripples.

  19. Charlotta Norby says:

    I’ve made two traditional log cabin quilts, in fact the very first quilt I ever made was a full sized blue log cabin quilt. Entirely hand-pieced and hand quilted! I still have it, though it’s somewhat worse for wear now, many of the fabrics are quite faded and worn, they weren’t of the best quality, I didn’t know how t shop for fabric. I’ve also made at least three courthouse steps quilts, which are a variation of the log cabin, and one of my favorite patterns. Not sure whether you’d consider that a log cabin, or not.

  20. Chris says:

    I love log cabin quilts. I make them all the time. I’m a piecer and just bought a Mid-arm so my quilting skills need help. I will try to post a picture of my heart log cabin on your facebook page.

  21. Amy Hiusser says:

    I have not completed a log cabin quilt yet. I am in the process of making one and I chose peach and brown fabric to give it a more modern look. It’s coming along nicely!

  22. Sherry Chambers says:

    I haven’t made a log cabin quilt in the 2-3 years I have been quilting; however you have intrigued me and I am going to re-look at the various log cabin variations in my stash of patterns.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s