Machine Quilting with Style: Square in a Square Re-Imagined

Square in a Square is my second favorite quilt from my book Machine Quilting with Style. (Click here to find out which one is my favorite.) I really tried to play with alternate grids and negative space when I designed this quilt. I combined two of my go-to motifs when quilting it: free-motion boxes and walking foot square spirals. I love that it includes a bit of both methods I teach in the book.

Square in a Square is currently being exhibited in the modern category of the Pacific International Quilt Festival and it hung at Road to California earlier in the year. I love entering my quilts into shows so they can be seen by a wider audience. 🙂


Square in a Square 60″ x 60″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane for Martingale.

Imagine the Possibilities

My BQF (Best Quilting Friend) Stacy from Farm Road Quilts made this fun version which is is just perfect for Halloween! During the original blog hop a year ago, a bunch of my friends each remade one of the quilts from the book. Click here to see all of the variations – they are so fun!


Square in a Square made by Stacy Cooper of Farm Road Quilts.

I design all of my quilts in EQ7 and I have embraced my inner control freak that needs to know exactly what it’s going to look like even before I begin, LOL!! So here are a couple more fun variations that I came up with, using Amanda Murphy’s playful Sewing Room collection for Benartex.


I think using the light gray background is probably more my style, but I wanted to push the envelope and see how fun and it would look using the sewing machine fabric as the background combined with funky bright solids.

Click here to get some of this fun fabric!!


Do you recognize what kind of sewing machine that is? Amanda is a BERNINA ambassador just like me, so I’m sure that influenced her artwork. Hmmm. maybe a smaller version of this would make a perfect sewing machine cover for my BERNINA!! 🙂

Giveaway Time! Win EQ Mini!!

Speaking of designing in EQ7, my good friends at The Electric Quilt Company recently released their latest software, EQ Mini. It’s a scaled down, less expensive version of EQ. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to get their feet wet designing their own quilts, but isn’t sure where to start.


One winner will receive either a boxed physical copy or an email code to download directly from the website, so that means this giveaway is open to everyone! To enter, leave a comment letting me know if you’ve ever designed your own quilt. For a bonus entry, share a picture of it in my Facebook group at Quilt with Christa.

And now it’s time to congratulate last week’s winner’s, Bec B. and Sharon T. who each won a copy of 180 Doodle Quilting Designs. It’s been so fun to read all of your comments each week and see the quilts you are making!

Machine Quilting With Style

Click here to purchase a signed copy of Machine Quilting with Style.
Click here to see all of the quilts from the book.

159 thoughts on “Machine Quilting with Style: Square in a Square Re-Imagined

  1. Carol says:

    I’ve designed one on graph paper!
    Assembled the fabrics, it was put aside
    to make kitchen curtains (complete with
    machine embroidery) for my Mom. Been
    thinking about starting it this winter…

  2. Mary D says:

    I have designed my own quilts using a pencil in a spiral bound notebook. I have also tried using an Excel spreadsheet with the painting feature.

    Giving EQ mini a try sounds like a game changer. I would love to see how my quilts would look after my ideas on put in.

    tushay3 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  3. Amy Hiusser says:

    I have been thinking about starting to design my own quilts and have actually been looking at EQ Mini to get my feet wet.

    I have designed a grand total of one quilt that I have actually started making. It is not complete, but it is also a square in a square quilt, but king size, made in black, red and white and arranged in a trip around the world kind of design.

    The pattern made its debut as a scribble on some graph paper and that is where it has stayed. A copy of EQ Mini would sure help it see the world! 🙂

  4. Sharon Smith says:

    Have not designed one yet but would love to move in that direction. Enjoy learning the new possibilities that are available with this software.

  5. Terri L says:

    I have designed one quilt that I gave as a gift so…no picture. It was a scrappy block that ended up making a second pattern when sewn together.

  6. Heather says:

    I have designed a couple of quilts using paper with colored pencils. I would love to try a more complicated design using a software program.

  7. Lillian K (TX) says:

    I designed a quilt for my husband. It was a “motorcycle themed” quilt. Using the quilt software, I was able to easily design a layout for this quilt.

  8. LeAnn says:

    I think designing on the computer would really reduce my “re-design opportunities”, a consequence of my very fluid style. Thank you for the give away op!

  9. oldeksaw says:

    I am fairly new to quilting and still learning a lot. I have tried creating a few designs on graph paper, but calculating the piece sizes and amount of fabric needed is beyond my skill at this point in time. Won’t give up, but would love to try the EQ Mini!

  10. Cindi says:

    I am fairly new to quilting and have altered. a quilt pattern or two, but have not tried to create my own design. Would be nice to have a quilting program to try ideas out on.

  11. Joan Baylor says:

    I like to take a pattern and change it to meet my needs. Just used an idea and resized, reordered, and recolored it to make a quilt for my grandson in his favorite colors to fit his bed. I can see how the software would make the whole process much easier.

  12. Gina says:

    Hi Christa! Thank you so much for this awesome giveaway! The EQ Mini would be so great to win! I have designed a quilt recently, but I didn’t create a pattern for it. I made my boyfriend a photo memory quilt featuring a copy of the auction poster we found in the attic from when his parents sold their farm in 1969, and photos of his parents and siblings when they lived on the farm. I created the quilt to resemble an old scrapbook, using black fabric for the background and fabric pieces to look like masking tape holding the corners of many of the photos. The entire quilt is 100% cotton, even the photos and the “tape”. My boyfriend is making a frame for the quilt out of old barn board and we have a spot in our living room where it will be displayed on the wall. My quilt was finished on time to display it at our local quilt show in July. I believe I’ve already shared a photo of it on your FB page a few months ago, but will reshare it again in order to get the bonus drawing. 🙂

  13. Sandy Trachsel says:

    I have designed simple quilts runners containing quilt panels, rag quilts, and a disappearing nine patch. I have followed many quilt patterns. I am interested in getting quilt software as a next step. Thanks!

  14. Karen H. says:

    I have attempted to design my own quilt but not much success. I use patterns and do pick my own colors. I would love to win EQ mini, need help to design all my quilted projects. Thank you for the chance to win!

  15. dser28 says:

    I designed a modern and simple quilt pattern with Heather Ross Mendocino fabric. I can’t wait to get back to it after I finish all my Christmas sewing.

  16. Julie says:

    I did cobble one design together from various patterns and enlarged / deleted / changed commercial patterns to work. It was fun! And I won first place Viewer’s Choice at our quilt show on Saturday!

  17. Sandra b says:

    I have designed my own quilts, the old fashioned way…with pencil and graph paper….would love to be able to use EQ to speed up this process….thanks for the great giveaway!!

  18. Marilyn says:

    I have designed several quilts as I feel it is an important part of participating in the challenges held by the 3 guilds I belong to. I use graph paper and crayons.

  19. Carol Lang says:

    I designed a few baby and youth quilts to suit the young person. My grandson loves football so I designed a quilt that flattered the football fabric. I also designed an abstract art quilt of the river as I live on the Mississippi River.

  20. Linda S says:

    I did try to design a quilt. I drew it out on graph paper and colored it in, then changed it a couple of times. Still not sure if this one will ever be brought to ‘life’ in an actual quilt yet, or if will remain just a dream. Only time will tell. Thanks for the chance!
    dragonfly9716 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  21. Kathy A L says:

    My quilts have been made using pencil drawings, I might like a border or something from a couple quilts that I’ve seen and I combine them for the look I want; using graph paper I come up with the measurements needed. So freehanded drawings is how I quilt.

  22. Sandy Allen says:

    I have designed a couple of quilts but nothing fancy. I would love to design a variation on a storm at sea quilt so this would be fun to have

  23. Dawn says:

    Once I joined the Modern Quilt Guild local chapter I started to sketch designs in a sketchbook specifically for quilting to chronicle my progress, ideas and inspirations. The next step for me would be to input some of these ideas into design software and see what happens! This EQ Mini would be a great way to try quilt design before making a bigger investment. Thank you for the opportunity.

  24. Barb says:

    I have never designed a quilt but winning this would be an amazing tool to help me get started. I am thinking of the possibilities right now

  25. Rose B says:

    I have tried to make my own design using graph paper. I have not succeeded in working out all the ‘kinks’. Software may be the answer.

  26. Zina Clark says:

    I have designed several quilts, but the old-fashioned way with pencil and paper. I would love to give EQ a try! Thanks for the chance to win!

  27. Pam NZ says:

    I have designed but on the fly… like topsy it just grew! Playing with my ideas on the computer would have made it so much easier!

  28. DJ Weston says:

    I have been designing my own quilts for about 20 years. T was great to get the EQ7 several years ago. My granddaughter is showing interest in designing and would love the miniEq

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