Machine Quilting with Style: Rain Re-Imagined

Welcome back to week 2 of the 12 week celebration for Machine Quilting with Style! This week I’m excited to again share “Rain,” which I think is one of the most modern quilts I’ve ever made. My husband Jason was actually the one who inspired the design. He was doodling on his iPad one day and I thought his design would make an awesome quilt! So I translated his scribbles into this minimalist modern quilt:


Rain 60″ x 80″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Jason and I went back and forth with ideas for naming this quilt (meteor shower, streaks of color colored rain, etc.), and the colorful strips for some reason brought to mind streaks of rain. Wouldn’t it be nice if rain really was colorful like this? Then I had the idea to quilt with heavier weight colorful threads matching each of the strips and extending the quilting lines off the ends, creating a streaked effect.


When you look closely, you can see that the parallel straight-line quilting isn’t exactly perfect and that’s okay. I truly believe that “perfectly imperfect” quilting adds to the beauty and hand-crafted look of the piece!

Purple Rain

I’ve been wanting to explore different colorways with this design and of course the first variation I thought of was Purple Rain. When Prince died earlier this year, the design became even that much more meaningful to me.


I think the light gray sets off the purple strips nicely, don’t you agree?

How about this black and gray version? It’s the same design but tweaked by using just two colors and letting the stripes go all the way across the quilt. The graphic movement it creates is very striking, and I love exploring design possibilities like this!


Although I used solids for these versions, I’ve seen several of you remake this quilt using prints, which looks just as fabulous! In fact, when you click the link below to view all of the quilts from my book, you’ll see another variation of each finished quilt made by my friends. This should get the ideas flowing!

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

Weekly Giveaway

For this week’s celebration, I’m giving away a signed copy of my second book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, co-authored with Angela Walters. One US reader will receive a hard-copy, signed by both of us, and one international friend will get an e-copy from my friends at Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

To enter, leave a comment below letting me know if you’ve ever made a modern quilt before. For an extra bonus entry, you can share a picture of your favorite modern quilt in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. And just to clarify – what’s modern to you is modern to me. 🙂

Last Week’s WinnerS:

Congratulations to Lori M. and Jill B. who each won a copy of Machine Quilting with Style! I’ve sent message to both. I’ll pick this week’s winner next Thursday and post it with the next re-imagined quilt next Friday!

Machine Quilting With Style

Click here to purchase signed copies of either of my books.

148 thoughts on “Machine Quilting with Style: Rain Re-Imagined

  1. Janet T says:

    I don’t think I have made a modern quilt as yet. At least not as modern as yours. I have one in mind that I love, and it is just the matter of getting everything together, including time to make it.

  2. Carol Lang says:

    I have made several modern quilts. One was from Victoria Findley Wolf’s “15 Minutes of Play” made fabric. I have also made some small quilts from the Jean Wells workshop. I love the Rain quilts you have shown. I would love to do one with a gray Cherrywood background!

  3. Pamela maxson says:

    I have made a modern quilt. It is king sized and was done without a pattern. I can’t sen a picture because my daughter has it. My second modern quilt is pieced. But, not yet quilted. I have your first book to inspire me.

  4. Cy Swendsen says:

    The closest thing to a “Modern” quilt that I have made is the “Jelly Roll Race”. I haven’t decided whether or not I like the modern quilt style. Though when you think about it the ladies of Gee’s Bend were doing “modern” way before the current trend.

  5. Jean B says:

    I haven’t yet made a very modern quilt, but I have a pattern set aside to pull fabrics for soon. I’m still learning how to top quilt my own quilts, so this book would be a great help.

  6. Laura says:

    I’ve made more than one modern quilt spurred on by my local modern quilt guild. I also make traditional quilts and art quilts. Depends on my mood and purpose of the quilt. Thanks for the giveaway,.

  7. Jocelyn Kerr says:

    I love modern quilts! So far, I have lots of fabric and design favorites, but nothing has made it to the sewing machine…too many works in progress that need to be finished, and I am a very slow quilter. Rain is my favorite from your first book…and being a Minnesotan, I love the Purple Rain variation. SO thrilled to hear you’ll be giving fabric design a try! Can’t wait to see the results…it takes time and patience…and a design house that fits you. Best wishes.

  8. Beth T. says:

    I have made a couple of large modern quilts, and I often make modern minis, because when I get an idea I can bring it to fruition quickly(ish) that way.

  9. kathy pfaltzgraff says:

    I have tried a couple small wall hangings that lean toward the modern style, I also attended a workshop; then cam home a started a large scrap traditional quilt and never finished my class sample. Thanks for the giveaway, Kathy in Colo

  10. Terri Jocham says:

    I have not made many modern quilts yet. Mostly baby quilts BUT I WILL be making your purple rain. I love it, to my surprise! I tend to be a traditionalist with the old patterns pushing through. I can honestly say that seeing your modern quilts has opened my eyes. Thanks for all you do!

  11. Janice King says:

    The only quilt that to me was modern was the Typography quilt pattern by Maureen Crack ell. It featured stark black and white fabric, with a bright splash of teal in the design. My granddaughter loved it!!! Really would love a copy of your book. Thanks for the opportunity.

  12. Ellen says:

    I have at least two in progress, one in the machine-quilting stage, but haven’t finished one yet. The first I designed myself according to my daughter’s exacting specifications and fabric choices–the other is the one I started as part of the Facets QAL, but I wasn’t able to keep up, and ended up going back to my daughter’s quilt. So, hopefully soon, the answer to this question will be “YES!”

  13. Rosemary says:

    I love your Purple Rain quilt. I have made a somewhat “modern quilt.” I took a class from Peggy True who used the book, “Curves in Motion,” by Judy Dales. I designed my quilt to be a color wheel for my daughter who’s an aspiring Kitchen and Bath Designer as her graduation present. It was a complicated quilt and probably not a straight line in it. Since I had come to quilting by way of garment sewing, it was not as difficult for me as it was for others in the class. I was really motivated and the first one in my class of about ten to finish. My daughter had it hanging in her apartment when she was going to school because my husband put it up, but recently she hasn’t displayed it and I urged her husband to do so as her newest residence needs some spicing up and I feel the quilt would do that!

  14. Denise says:

    I am just beginning to find interest in the modern and abstract quilts. I have quilted in the traditional style for 30 years, but started to lose interest. I went online and began researching new ideas and discovered the modern and abstract world. I am in the planning stages of my first one now.

  15. Diane M says:

    I have made modern quilts before – so far following other people’s patterns. I love seeing all the variations to your designs. Thanks for the chance to win your book. It’s on my wishlist but I haven’t had a chance to buy it yet.

  16. Karen Addleman says:

    I’ve made quilts that are traditional,but using modern fabrics. And I have made some improv.blocks using traditional fabrics. That is about as “modern” as I get.

  17. Janet D says:

    I think my first foray into modern quilts was using your Modern Trees tutorial – it actually won 2nd place at our guild’s quilt show this past spring! It was the most detailed machine quilting I’ve done so far- and I loved it! Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Nancy Ridder says:

    I designed and made a modern quilt of nested circles in a swirl to mimic a bike wheel, for a niece’s wedding quilt. I lean towards modern quilts rather than traditional

  19. MARY D says:

    I have made several modern quilts: pixelated hearts, scrappy trips with all modern fabrics, a couple of plus quilts, working on John Adams Glimmerglass for my sister, jelly roll quilts. Yes I would say I have made several modern quilts, at least in my heart and creative mind.

    tushay3 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  20. Judy Young says:

    Always uncertain about what is a modern quilt, but have tried to do a mix of styles. Made a quilt of children’s drawings bordered by gray and black. Guess that might qualify.

  21. Becky Banet says:

    I haven’t made any modern quilts, but have seen a few that I really like. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book! 🙂

  22. Paula Hedges says:

    I recently completed the top of my first modern quilt, a quilt-a-long with Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl. Being much more a traditional block/pattern person, this was way outside my norm, however it is growing on me! The one thing I loved about this enormous quilt is how quickly it was cut and pieced – 7 hours total! I think I had more time in choosing the fabrics than I did in the construction. I will post a photo.

  23. Sandy says:

    I haven’t made many modern quilts, but I love looking at them for inspiration and hope to make more in the future. My favorite is actually one that surprised me with how much I enjoy it!

  24. Keri Rowland says:

    I made a a semi modern quilt, blacks and grays and squares. It has a bear claw block in it but I changed it a bit. It’s one of my favorites!

  25. Janet M says:

    I’m putting the binding on my first modern quilt. When I first ran across your blog I was interested in machine quilting and your guidance there, but really didn’t think I liked modern quilting at all….I’m an antique lover and like the traditional quilt blocks. However….due to you…..Modern Quilting has really grown on me, and I have made my first one! It is a QOV that I’ve fallen in love with and am going to have a hard time giving away. I’ll take a picture and post. Thanks Christa for expanding my quilting world to include modern ones.

  26. Judy says:

    I have made one modern quilt and since I don’t really have a preference for modern or traditional I will probably make more in the future.

  27. Sherry. Chambers says:

    I don’t many “modern” quilts, but I am posting one, a table runner, and have plans for a red, black and white one soon

  28. Elizabeth Ray says:

    I have made The Rain quilt, which is my most modern too! I have some more in progress that I would call modern. I do mostly use modern fabrics in all my quilts too. I will share my Rain quilt again in the group 🙂

  29. Teresa Cina says:

    Love your rain quilts. My first modern quilt is called Beach Balls in the Sand. I used bright Hawaiian style prints and other beachy prints and cut out large circles in all different sizes. Then I appliquéd them to sand colored whole cloth and quilted it with wavy sand lines. Each ball size is quilted with different patterns.. It’s our RV camping quilt.

  30. MargueriteNamdar says:

    I haven’t made s modern quilt before. However, I am getting interested in modern fabric and have made a casserole tote which turned out really nice. Modern is a long way from where I come from (civil war and fall fabrics). I’m enjoying the process of freeing myself

  31. Debra Reber says:

    I think I have made a modern quilt!! Kind of depends of your definition of modern–I kind of like to combine some traditional with some modern.

  32. capepetrel says:

    After attending Empty Spools and seeing Gwen Marston’s students’ amazing work, I came home and started doing small modern studies. I have continued doing more simple and abstract work mixed in with more traditional quilts.

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