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. Mary Freeman says:

    My first big quilt was a color study log cabin…quite a challenge in the 70’s. There were not many available cotton prints in every color family. It turned out pretty for a first attempt!

  2. Jan Beasley says:

    I’ve made one log cabin wall hanging, with improvisationally pieced centers. I would love to try some more log cabin variations.

  3. Becky Banet says:

    I have never made a log cabin quilt…although, I’ve seen many beautiful ones. I have so many quilts on my bucket list that I just haven’t gotten to it yet. 🙂

  4. Lori Morton says:

    Love your Quilts & the Quilting!! Would be so very delighted to WIN your Book (which has been on my Wish List for waaaay tooooo long!) Thank you for the chance! 😀

    I did make a Log Cabin once..was small wallhanging size, for a gift. Haven;t made more love em..

  5. Pam says:

    I haven’t made any log cabin quilts yet but they are on my “To Do” list. After seeing all of your samples of log cabin ideas, I would love to try one!

  6. Summer says:

    I’ve made one log cabin quilt, and I’m in the process of another. Log cabins are so fun and versatile, I know it won’t be my last!

  7. Linda Jones says:

    I have made one log cabin quilt so far! It is a Christmas quilt with a star where the corners of four blocks meet. Very adventurous for someone who had only made one quilt previously. Needless to say I learned a lot. It was a gift or I would have a picture. I have a second log cabin that my mother but out and gave me to see many years ago. I will be finishing it soon as my mom is now 92 and under Hospurus care. They say we should prepare ourselves for her passing soon. She has been my inspiration for quilting as I can’t count the number of quilts she made over the years. I hope to carry on and hopefully teach one of my daughters her love for quilting.

  8. Lynn Mathers says:

    My very first quilt project was a small log cabin wall quilt with an appliqued snowman in the center. I still love that little quilt!!

  9. Janice S. says:

    I have made one log cabin block but never got around to making more! 😱 Seems I got distracted by other projects, but one day I will get back to it.

  10. LindaK says:

    Making a log cabin quilt is on my to do list! They’re a quilting tradition and they look great although I really like the more modern looking log cabin blocks.

  11. bookgal7 says:

    I haven’t yet made a log cabin quilt but I have it on my list! I want to start with a table runner in Halloween colours with buttons at the centre of each block, and I will soon be assisting in making a log cabin raffle quilt for my guilds next exhibition. Sew many quilts, sew little time!

  12. Lesley warren says:

    Fantastic use of scraps for community quilts…I love the maiden twist you have given it using these colours though…am inspired….I wonder what I’ve got in the stash………

  13. marg f says:

    I haven’t made a log cabin quilt yet but I am inspired by your designs. As a very new quilter, I haven’t yet built up a stash so I would have to buy the fabrics to complete the blocks. Up until now I wasn’t sure how to put together prints and plains to make a balanced design. Many thanks for all the inspiration and now I have to decide which design I prefer. Would love to win the book as I think it will be a fantastic resource so thank you also for the opportunity in the giveaway.

  14. SusanG says:

    My first quilt was a log cabin. Before rotary cutters and rulers! It’s had a lot of use and abuse and is on my bed right now. The kitties seem to prefer it!

  15. Mary Freerks says:

    Log cabins are my favorites. I have used them over and over again. I just finished a quilt that has a log cabin block incorporated in the pieced back. My logs are not even, I call it wacky log cabin. I see that you also used uneven logs. Think that might be my next quilt.

  16. Pat Draa says:

    I have never made a complete log cabin quilt. I got bored after doing a few blocks. I’d like to try again, maybe using brighter fabrics.

  17. 3 no 7 says:

    I have only made a few quilts, and NOT a log cabin. The “unstructured design looks like even me, as a beginner, could do it and not have it turn out to be a mess, That may be my next quilt.

  18. Eileen says:

    I made a great red burgundy and blue log cabin quilt for one of my sons…a real beauty!
    Would love to make another…your quilts give us inspiration!

  19. Kelli Fellows says:

    I am new to quilting and was told that a person is not a quilter until they’ve made a log cabin quilt. So I am so very anxious to make one someday soon.

  20. Julie says:

    I have made a Barn Raising log cabin and loved it! Made from 1700’s reproduction fabric purchased in Amsterdam. Can’t wait to do more!

  21. Barbara J. Frangella says:

    Hi, The Log Cabin is my favorite pattern, although because I tend to be more Modern, I really like all the variations, both in design and fabric.

  22. Sally Heath says:

    I haven’t made a log cabin quilt but I am inspired to do so after seeing your brilliant designs above. Really love that you can create the designs in a computer program and play with it. The possibilities…

  23. Beth T. says:

    I am working on a log cabin right now. It is possibly my favorite quilt, made with leftover fabric from all of the other quilts I’ve made. I made it for my dear, dear dog. He passed away before I finished it, but that did not stop him from sleeping on it through the process–while I was cutting the strips, laying out the blocks, basting it, you name it. He knew it was his, so it eases the guilt I have over not finishing it in time. I’ve made other log cabins, but this is the best, the best ever.

  24. Deborah Herold says:

    I’ve not made a traditional or wonky log cabin quilt, but I am going to in the near future. I love the wonky ones best, but the traditional with a red center is always a thought provoker.

  25. Linda Noon says:

    I have only just started quilting after decades of other sewing. I haven’t made a log cabin yet but after seeing your amazing pictures showing how versatile this block is, i am inspired to have a go.

  26. Laura says:

    I’ve made 3 or 4 log cabin quilts. I have a bunch of scraps which I will use to make an improv version. Love the visual impact of this block. Sadly I don’t have any photos of the older quilts.

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