Machine Quilting Tutorial: How to Quilt a Continuous Spiral (Optical Illusion Quilt Along Part 5)

I love it whenever we get to the machine quilting part of any quilt along! In case you missed it, click here to view all previous Optical Illusion Quilt Along posts. Today, I’m showing how to quilt the continuous spiral design.

Machine Quilting Continuous Spirals

Above is a sample I made for my in-person quilting classes. Notice that I used a blending thread so that you don’t see the imperfections.

Below is the sample I quilted for you on video this week so you can see how the process works. I quilted with black thread on white fabric which shows ALLL the imperfections, LOL!!

Machine Quilting Continuous Spirals

For my Optical Illusion quilt, I used a black/white thread from my Aurifil Variegated thread collection.  I love using 50 weight cotton thread for both piecing and quilting, because I’m able to use any leftover bobbins when piecing my next quilt!

Christa Quilts Variegated Thread

Click here to get my Aurifil Variegated Thread collection

Spiral Quilting Video Tutorial

Click the image below to watch my spiral quilting video tutorial on my YouTube channel. It’s just over 9 minutes long and will demo how to quilt the basic spiral.

If you’d like to learn how to quilt additional spirals, be sure to grab a copy of my machine quilting books.

In my first book, Machine Quilting with Style, I show how to do the basic spiral, plus a wonky spiral variation. Then I expand on that with overlapping spirals in The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. Finally, I teach how to quilt a continuous square spiral in my third book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Get My Books on Sale – Just $19.95 Each

Machine Quilting Books by Christa Watson

Click here to get my books on sale for just $19.95 each, while supplies last.

All 3 of my books are currently on sale for just now on sale for just $19.95 each until they sell out!
So grab 1 (or all 3) today! And who knows – you may find a completely different design you want to quilt on your version of Optical Illusion.

Optical Illusion Detail

Optical Illusion Quilt Detail

Optical Illusion Quilt

Remember to share your version of Optical Illusion in my ChristaQuilts Group on facebook. I love seeing everyone’s progress and the variations with all the different fabric colors are amazing!!

FOR MORE ABOUT THIS QUILT ALONG

My New Good Vibes Fabric for Benartex Contempo

Debut day is here!

This is my sixth fabric line for Benartex Contempo Studio and I’m thrilled with it! There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your name on the selvage!!

good vibes by christa watson for Benartex
Good Vibes: saturated prints on the left, low volume prints on the right.

Good Vibes consists of 10 colorful, saturated prints and 10 low-volume prints, all with a geometric theme. The fresh citrus colors of orange, lemon, lime, and turquoise are going to look great in so many kinds of projects!

And of course there are a few neutrals thrown in to make the line super useful as well as happy and beautiful!

This group is all about nostalgia for me. As a child of the 80s, it reminds me of good vibes and happy times with my family and friends. 

I spent my summers running through sprinklers, exploring my crafty side, watching TV with friends, and tinkering with computers—all while practicing my bubblegum-popping skills.

Would you like to hear the story behind each print? I hope this will jog happy memories for you, too!

Gumballs

This print reminds me of gumballs, jawbreakers and all sorts of “juicy” fruits! The colors make my mouth water for those sweet tastes that were a part of the past.

My most prized possession was an authentic gumball machine of my own that I could fill with whatever I wanted!

The scale of this print adds movement and interest, and I know you’ll find creative ways to use it in your quilts and bags and more.

Good Vibes by Christa Watson
Click here for Gumballs yardage

Circuit Board

This low-volume geometric print comes in four delicious colors, and it’s all about computers. When I was growing up, we were the first people on our block to get an Apple II-E computer. We thought that machine was amazing!

I loved tinkering with computers and video games back then, and even now, the computer is a workhorse for my business.

TIP: If the right side of a fabric is too intense for your project, flip it over and use the back side for a lovely muted effect.

Good Vibes by Christa Watson for Benartex
Click here for Circuit Board yardage

Slippin’ Slide

What is childhood without some slippin’ and slidin’? My siblings and I kept cool in the Las Vegas heat for hours on that classic plastic strip in our front yard.

These four summery colors in a medium scale look great against the smaller prints!

Good Vibes by Christa Watson for Benartex
Click here for Slippin’ Slide yardage

Good Vibrations

This print is the namesake of the entire collection, and it reminds me of movies, mixtapes and everything that hi-fi had to offer!

Have you tried light gray as a neutral in your quilts? You might be surprised at how nicely it plays with bright colors!

Good Vibes by Christa Watson for Benartex
Click here for Good Vibrations yardage

Bedazzled

This small geometric print brings out memories of my crafty side! In the 80s I added bling to my jeans and jackets and made a big mess with all those baubles and bits, but look where it has led today.

Good Vibes by Christa Watson for Benartex
Click here for Bedazzled yardage

Interconnected

Another of the fun low-volume prints! Look closely and maybe you’ll see the interlocking roller skates in this design. I spent many Friday nights at the roller rink with friends, and I still get nostalgic when I hear those old songs. We were the original dance party!

Just like the Slippin’ Slide colors, there’s great movement in this print, and it will add zip wherever you put it!

Good Vibes by Christa Watson for Benartex
Click here for Interconnected yardage

Thanks for strolling down memory lane with me! I hope it made you smile, too!

All the Good Vibes prints are available as yardage and in bundles of half yards and full yards. I want to you to be able to get exactly what you desire!

Click here for the 20-piece fat quarter bundle.

Click here for the half-yard or one-yard bundles of low-volume prints.

Click here for the half-yard or one-yard bundles of saturated prints.

Gotta love the low volume and saturated prints—don’t they look great when they’re arranged so prettily?!

And it’s fun to see them in different combinations. Playing with fabric and seeing how it looks with different “neighbors” helps your color sense grow and mature!

Remember that you can use the lighter prints right side up or turn them over for a more subdued look. Any way you pair them, they are sure to dazzle!

I did a video to introduce Good Vibes to the world! See it here.

Good Vibes by Christa Watson

Since you can use the front OR back side, maybe the low-volume bundle would be a perfect addition to your fabric conservancy!

Since these arrived, I’ve been enjoying a rainbow of citrus hues!! My family often finds me with the fabric, happily stroking and dreaming and remembering all the happy times and the Good Vibes!

Love Your Creative Space Blog Tour with Lilo Bowman

Today I’m excited to tell you about a fabulous new book, from my friend Lilo Bowman.

Lilo Bowman

Lilo Bowman

Love Your Creative Space: A Visual Guide to Creating an Inspiring & Organized Studio Without Breaking the Bank is Lilo’s new title from C&T Publishing. It’s full of ideas, solutions, and creative ways to set aside and love your personal space for making.

Love Your Creative Space book

Click here to buy Love Your Creative Space on Amazon. 

So backing up a little, I first met Lilo when I was a guest on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. She’s used to working behind the scenes as a producer for the show but now I’m excited for her to be the star of the show with her new book and blog tour.

The Quilt Show Set

Click here to see the trailer for my Quilt Show episode.
Lilo helped keep me organized and ready to roll on filming day!

Love Your Creative Space is divided into My Stuff (we all have it!), My Space (tiny or large) and My System. It addresses the common needs of needlecrafters, but also covers many less common topics.
Love Your Creative Space
For example, how do you stay organized when you head out for a class or a retreat? How can or should your space be altered when life itself changes because of a move, an illness or just getting older? There are many ideas and suggestions, along with questions to help you analyze your own stuff, space and system.
 
I especially enjoyed the gallery of artist studios. One space has been adapted for its owner’s special needs after a stroke left her with partial paralysis. One space is especially compact. A third artist requires both dry and wet work spaces!
 
If you work in more than one medium, you’ll find ideas to organize, separate and combine your supplies. The book’s photography might even inspire you to try something new!
 
Love Your Creative Space
 
This book recognizes that budgets for creative spaces come in all sizes, and Lilo gives helpful advice for saving, economizing and reimagining or repurposing. It’s clear that she wants makers to love and enjoy their spaces regardless of the size or financial constraints. That’s a win!

It’s a Giveaway!

This week’s blog tour includes a giveaway of the ebook Love Your Creative Space: A Visual Guide to Creating an Inspiring & Organized Studio Without Breaking the Bank. For your chance to win, leave a comment here by Tuesday, June 30. Tell me what kind of space you’d like to plan, or how you’d improve your current space.

There are other great stops on the blog tour. I hope you’ll follow these folks and check out their posts for more insight into Love Your Creative Space by Lilo Bowman.
 
LoveYourCreativeSpaceBookLaunchBlogTour

The Love Your Creative Space Blog Tour:

Friday, June 26:
Christa Watson/Blog –christaquilts.com
C&T Publishing/Blog-https://www.ctpub.com/blog/

Saturday, June 27:

Bonnie K. Hunter/Blog-quiltville.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 28:

Heidi Proffetty-heidifproffetty.com/blog
 
Monday, June 29:
 
Tuesday, June 30:
 

Be sure to follow the entire tour for much more inspiration around creative spaces large and small!

Preorder Good Vibes Paper Quilt Patterns: Buy 2, Get 1 Free

I am so excited about my two newest patterns, Charming Chevrons and Modern Logs. I’ll be doing quilt alongs for both later this year, and I can’t wait!!

Charming Chevrons by Christa Watson

Lap-size Charming Chevrons in Good Vibes fabric by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio

The lap and throw sizes of Charming Chevrons are made from 5″ charm packs. (The thinking is done—so you just relax and sew!) This design has a lot of movement for great visual interest.

Charming Chevrons by Christa Watson

Twin-size Charming Chevrons in Good Vibes fabric by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio

The larger sizes of Charming Chevrons (twin and king) are made from 10″ precut squares, also called Layer Cakes or Ten by Tens.

Watch for Good Vibes 5×5 and 10×10 packs coming in July!

Right now, I’m taking pre-orders for the paper patterns of Charming Chevrons and Modern Logs, and I have a special offer for you. Please read on!

Charming Chevrons by Christa Watson

The cover quilts were made with my new Good Vibes line for Benartex Contempo Studio. I’m really pleased by the interplay of the modern low-volumes and the saturated bright prints. It’s just the look I was after! More thoughts on Good Vibes coming soon.

Click here to browse Good Vibes modern prints. 

All of my patterns include step-by-step instructions and machine quilting suggestions so you’re never stumped when it’s time to finish. We have it covered!

Choose from four handy sizes in Charming Chevrons: Lap, Throw, Twin or King! See the pattern’s back cover below for the dimensions.

Charming Chevrons by Christa Watson

Maybe you have some charm packs around just waiting for the right project. Or have you been looking for the perfect quilt to use a special layer cake? Look no further than Charming Chevrons!

Maybe Modern Logs will suit your fancy! It’s made from 1, 2 or 3 fat quarter bundles, depending on the size you want to make. The pattern gives instructions for making crib, throw and queen sizes, but the improvisational technique means you can adjust the size of your quilt by making more or fewer blocks. That’s a great design bonus!

Click here to get Good Vibes fat quarter bundles.

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

Maybe you’d want to get some Good Vibes and then supplement from your stash for a unique project that’s totally you! You can go with a coordinated look or be super scrappy. I think you’ll really have fun with the improv nature of these blocks!

Modern Logs Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson

I’m putting the finishing touches on both of these quilts now and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Seeing your excitement when you like my fabric or fall in love with a quilt design is a real boost for me. And I always meet some wonderful people during a quilt along, so I’m really looking forward to that, too!

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

Remember…

  • Patterns include multiple sizes
  • Step-by-step easy to follow instructions
  • Machine quilting suggestions
  • A great deal when you preorder!
  • I’ll host Quilt Alongs for both designs later this year.

I’m offering a special preorder bargain through the end of June for paper patterns of Charming Chevrons and Modern Logs. Buy two, get one free! Here’s how it works:

.   

Use code PATTERN to get a free paper pattern of your choice when you preorder both Modern Logs and Charming Chevrons paper patterns. Add three patterns to your cart, enter the code in the coupon box and then remember to hit the + to make sure the discount is applied. Offer expires end of day June 30, 2020. 

Thanks so much for being here!

How to Prepare Your Quilt Backing, Batting and Basting – Optical Illusion Quilt Along Part 4

Welcome to Part 4 of the Optical Illusion Quilt Along! You’ve made it through the piecing, so congratulations! Now we come to what may not be your favorite part of the process: prepping the backing and batting, and basting the layers together in preparation for quilting.

Above is one of the alternate colorways for Optical Illusion. You can make something similar with red, light blue, and white fabric from my online shop.

But if you’ll let me guide you through the next steps, I’ll share some tips to make it less painful and move you along to the quilting that much sooner.

Prep the Batting

The most important step in basting a quilt is to ensure that the batting and backing are several inches larger than the quilt top all the way around.

If you look at the back of the pattern, you’ll see that for the batting size, I have added 6″ to the length and width of the quilt top. For example, the lap-size top is 45″ x 66″. The batting needed is 51″ (45″ + 6″) x 72″ (66″ + 6″).

Example of measuring batting from a previous Quilt Along:

The batting should be several inches larger than the quilt top all the way around.

Click here for the Block Chain Quilt Along shown above.

For me, the easiest way to measure the batting is to buy a roll of it, then unroll it across the width of the quilt top and roughly trim off the amount I will need. In the photo above, I’m using Hobbs Tuscany cotton/wool batting which is one of my favorites.

It’s 90″ wide and folded double on the bolt. So after I trim off a chunk from the bolt, I’ll lay the quilt top out and trim off several inches from the top of the batting. I save those chunks to make practice quilt sandwiches later.

Prep the Backing

I used Geo Pop Tiny Hex in black for the backing. Get Geo Pop Tiny Hex for your backing. 

Geo Pop Tiny Hex in black by Christa Quilts for Benartex/Contempo

Piece your backing so that it is a few inches larger than the batting size given on the back of the pattern.

For example, for the lap size, I would cut my three yard piece of backing fabric in half crosswise. This gives me two pieces about 40″ x 54″. I need backing a bit larger than 51″ x 72″.

Backing, pieced horizontally.

I’ll sew the two pieces together for a backing that’s roughly 54″ x 80″. The seam will be horizontal across the quilt.

Now you are ready to baste!

Basting the Layers: Quick Overview

I baste using my design wall and 505 basting spray. I make sure my batting and batting are bigger than my quilt top and I trim away some of excess after it’s been basted. I spray the top and backing outside separately, then assemble all the layers on my design wall, taking care to smooth each layer as I go.

Once everything looks nice and flat, I’ll roughly trim the edges so that only and inch or two remain around all 4 sides. I cut off as much extra as I can to prevent it from tucking under the back and quilting the quilt to itself!!

The final basting step is to iron the quilt on both sides to set the glue and smooth everything out one final time.

I didn’t have a chance to take pictures of this process while making Optical Illusion, but here are links and tips from previous quilt alongs.

I spray outdoors but assemble the layers indoors.

Click here for a step-by-step photo tutorial of how I spray baste my quilts.

If you’d prefer a video, watch my video quilt basting tutorial instead. The video below was made as part of my Infrastructure Quilt Along.

See the same process on my Color Weave quilt. I love sharing a  few different photos and tips, which sometimes helps!

And if you have any more specific questions, you can alway post pics and ask questions in my Christa Quilts Facebook Group!

Next week I’ll include a video showing spiral walking foot quilting practice to get you ready for the most fun part of making this quilt!! I can’t wait!!

Optical Illusion Detail

Spiral Quilting on Optical Illusion can be done with a Walking Foot or Dual Feed system.

For More about this quilt along

My Fabric Design Process – An Ask Me Anything Discussion

In one of my early Ask Me Anything episodes in the Christa Quilts Group on Facebook, lots of folks were interested in my fabric design process. So I’ve put together some images and files to share a peek into how the process works for me, and my experience in designing fabrics for Benartex.

GRIDWORK at Quilt Market Fall 2019

Quilt Market Fall 2019 GridworkMy Gridwork fabric line, shown at fall market last year.

About five years ago, I decided to get serious about designing fabric. As part of that goal, in 2016 I went to an industry event sponsored by Sara Lawson @sewsweetness and Brenda Ratliff @pinkcastlefabrics. It was called Sew Pro and it was only held that one time.

It was geared to helping people understand the different ways you could get involved behind the scenes of the industry. After that event, I decided to give myself five years to figure it all out, find a fabric company, pitch my ideas, learn the technical aspects and so on.

Two days later, the most unusual thing happened. (Really and truly, this almost never happens.) Benartex called and said they wanted to produce some modern-type fabrics under their Contempo label, and would I be interested in designing for them.

“Um…YES!”

But in the same breath I said, “I don’t really know how to do that.”

Now before I tell you the rest of the story, I should explain that I had already established myself as a Martingale author and a Bernina ambassador. I’d spent years developing a network in the industry, so while it was completely out of the blue for them to call me, it also wasn’t completely out of the blue for them to call me.

Bernina actually owns Benartex as well as a distributor called Brewer Sewing, so my connections in other parts of the industry helped me break in to the fabric design arena. 

Now Back to the rest of the Story:

 

As it turns out, there are at least three different ways to design fabric.

  1. 100% of the work is done by the designer
  2. Designer collaborates with a team at the fabric company
  3. Design work done by a team at the fabric company, designer’s name is attached to the fabric

 

My work with Benartex falls under #2 above: It’s a design collaboration.

When I told them I didn’t know how to design fabric, their response was, “No problem!” They assured me they had people skilled in the technical aspects and that we could work together.

So I jumped in, and Good Vibes (out in July) is my sixth collection for Benartex! (Cannot wait to show you all the fun things we’ve made with it!)

 

The Design Process

Before anything else can happen, I come up with ideas for prints and make rough sketches with notes. (Side note: Ideas are everywhere! One print in Gridwork was inspired by a bath mat in a hotel.)

 

The first thing we did with Modern Marks was to establish a “look.” (And by the way, that look is something I have continued through all of my lines.) When the first samples (below) came back to me, I thought they were beautiful, but they were not the look I was after. They were blendy and batiky and I wanted a flat, geometric, modern feel.

 

The first paper swatches that came back from Benartex

 

I got more descriptive about what I wanted, and we worked our way closer. This is how it happens.

A more evolved concept for Modern Marks on paper—we were getting closer!

 

We go back and forth as I share my ideas and vision, and they continually refine it and bring it closer and closer to what’s in my mind.

They create the repeats and together we work on getting the colors just right. The stylist and the graphic designers have the technical expertise and they help me bring my ideas to life!

 

Then comes The hard part…

 

Quirky Triangles made the cut, but Donuts did not.

Eventually we have prints and colors I’m happy with and then comes a really difficult part: narrowing it down. My collections are usually from 20 to 25 prints, which means I always have to weed out a few.

Heartbeat was cut from Modern Marks, but Herringbone stayed in.

It is so much fun when the final swatches are done! I usually only see the line on paper until I get the actual fabric months later. But this is the culmination of much hard work, many twists and turns and a few tricky decisions! It’s all worth it when you see the collection together!

Final swatches for Modern Marks

The Good News

Fortunately, just because an idea doesn’t work for one collection doesn’t mean it won’t ever work. I tuck all of the rejects away, literally (in a drawer) and figuratively (in my head) because they make great starting points down the road. More on that a little later.

My first computer drawings for Fandangle were reminiscent of Spirograph as a kid.

 

For Fandangle, I had the childhood concept of Spirograph in my mind and wanted to do a little more of the computer work myself. Above are the early images I created in Illustrator.

 

The design starts to evolve for the main Fandangle print.

 

Just above are some of the paper swatches that came back to me as we collaborated.

 

The final design of the main or “hero” print for Fandangle

 

And these are the final look for the main print in Fandangle. There are many steps that happen between these images, but you’re getting the idea of how it works.

Let’s circle back to the idea of rejects being useful down the road. On the right in the photo above is my upcoming line called Good Vibes. On the left are some low-volumes I wanted for Modern Marks that didn’t work out.

The main idea for Good Vibes was soft and loud: low-volume prints and bold, saturated prints together. The low volume idea was something I had to scrap from Modern Marks, but I held on to it and half a dozen collections later, it’s going to be one of my very favorites! Good Vibes will ship to stores in July; ask for it at your local quilt shop!

Mockup of the promotional folder for Modern Marks

One of the last things that happens is the creation of the promotional materials. The Benartex people send me a mockup (above) and later the final folder, which is used to show the fabric to potential buyers during quilt market, and by sales reps visiting quilt shops around the country.

 

It’s still amazing to me that from my simple drawings such a beautiful thing can appear! If you’ve read this far, I want to offer you a deal.

Use Code Gridwork for 10% off GRIDWORK BUNDLES

There are bundles of Breeze and Citron Gridwork fat quarters in the shop. Use the code GRIDWORK to get 10% off. And thank you for being here!

Click here to get the Gridwork Citron Bundle (shown above). 

Click here to get the Gridwork Breeze Bundle (shown below). 

Use the code GRIDWORK to get 10% off.

 

For a little more of an in-depth discussion of fabric design from my perspective, watch Ask Me Anything on video below.

And join me every Tuesday in the Christa Quilts Group on Facebook for “Ask Me Anything” at 3 pm Pacific time.

Here are links to several of the quilts/patterns/fabrics mentioned in the video below:

Click here for the free quilt pattern Rainbow Taffy.

Click here for the paper version of Surplus Strips.
Click here for the instantly downloadable pdf of Surplus Strips.

Ask Me Anything: Fabric Design Discussion on Video

Thanks for being here! I’m so grateful for you guys!

How to Sew Optical Illusion Quilt Top – Quilt Along Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of the Optical Illusion Quilt Along! I hope you are enjoying your fabric choices and feel confident in your cutting and sewing skills. Now I’m excited for you to start sewing the quilt top. It’s easy and fun!

Do you need a kit? The black, white and gray version is still available!
(Pattern is included with the kit.)
Do you need the pattern?
Get the paper pattern. 
Get the pattern instantly as a pdf.

If you haven’t already, please go through your pattern and highlight or circle the number of units to make for your size on pages 3 and 4. You’ll be so glad you did. 

Begin with Step 1 on page 3 of your Optical Illusion pattern. Remember to sew with the gray on top for each sashed square. If you do, you’ll automatically alternate the direction in which you’re sewing, which helps prevent your strips from warping.

I press all of the seams open on this quilt. Whether you press seams open, to the side or toward a specific fabric is up to you. The seams don’t have to match up with anything, which is one of my favorite things about this design.

Continue with each Step as given in the pattern, referring carefully to the diagrams in the pattern for each unit. I use sticky notes to label each little pile of units as I finish them.

Optical Illusion Quilt Detail

Get the quilt kit for Optical Illusion. while supplies last!

When you’ve completed all the Steps, move on to Sewing the Rows on page 5.

Sewing the Rows

As I am making the rows, I keep them oriented horizontally so they match the diagrams. Be sure and notice that there are different diagrams for the Lap Size than for the Twin and Queen size. It will help to circle the diagram for your size!

Label the rows with their letters to help you stay organized. 

When your rows are finished, give yourself a high five!! Great job!

Quilt Top Assembly

Moving on to Quilt Top Assembly: In last week’s post, I mentioned alternating your sewing direction by keeping the long skinny strips on top. This will be helpful as you assemble the top.

The layout diagram below is included in the pattern. Refer to pages 6 and 7 of the pattern for more info as you assemble, including a method for trimming. Use your design wall to stay organized, or snap a quick picture on your phone for a helpful reference point as you progress.

Optical Illusion LayoutI pin generously during this process. I match and pin at each end, at the middle and at several points between. Remember to sew with the skinny strip on top each time so that your sewing direction will automatically alternate.

TIP: If you have a row or a sashing strip that is longer than its neighbors, sew with the longer strip on the bottom, next to the feed dogs. This helps to ease in the fullness.

Press the quilt top gently to wrap up the piecing.

SEW A VICTORY LAP!

When the quilt top is complete, you’ll want to “stay-stitch” the edges by sewing across the top and bottom of the quilt. Do this about 1/8″ away from the edge on the top and the bottom so it will be hidden when you add the binding. Just a note: When you make a quilt with borders, you can skip this step since the borders will stabilize the edges instead.

Congratulations! Your Piecing is complete.

Next week we’ll cover how to prepare your backing and batting, and how I baste a quilt. Here is the back of the pattern with info that you’ll need. Click the image for an enlarged view.

Optical Illusion Pattern Cover spread

You know how much I enjoy machine quilting. Just a few more weeks and we will quilt walking foot spirals—I can’t wait!! Being able to finish your quilt on your own sewing machine because you’ve built the skills to do it is a great feeling. You’re going to love it!

Optical Illusion Detail

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFO ABOUT THIS QAL?

Check out my Custom Color Bundles: Fat Quarters from ALL of My Fabric Lines!

I’ve been working hard over the last few weeks, creating 11 gorgeous color bundles spanning all of my fabric lines for Benartex. A few weeks ago I got a request from some followers in my Facebook Group to create these custom color bundles, and I’m pleased to say they are now finally ready!

So let’s take a look at these beauties:

Reds: 12 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 12 fat quarters in pretty reds and pinks with a touch of other colors for added sparkle. Each fat quarter measures approximately 18″ x 21″.

Oranges: 10 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 10 fat quarters in warm shades or orange.

Yellows: 10 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 10 fat quarters in yellow with a touch of orange, white and gray for added depth.

Limes: 10 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 10 fat quarters in shades of luscious lime and chartreuse.

Greens: 10 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 10 fat quarters in shades of luscious green from mint to kelly.

Teals: 8 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 8 fat quarters in rich teal and turquoise with a hint of lime.

Light Blues: 8 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 8 fat quarters in light blues and aquas.

Dark Blues: 8 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 8 fat quarters in cool blues from sky to royal and navy.

Pinks: 9 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 9 fat quarters of pinks including lilac and fuchsia.

Purples: 12 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 12 fat quarters in sparkling purples from lilac and grape to magenta and plum.

Neutrals: 20 Fat Quarters in Black, White and Gray

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 20 fat quarters in light, medium and dark neutrals. These blacks, whites, and grays include fabulous patterns and interesting textures that will draw your viewers’ eyes deeper into any project you create!

Aren’t these all just so delicious??? One of the main reasons I love being a fabric designer is so that I can create colors, patterns and textures for my own personal stash! I’m so happy that I’ve been able to fill out a rainbow of color with my fabrics and I can’t wait to show you what’s yet to come!

Click here to see all color bundles at a glance.

Which colorway is *YOUR* favorite??

You’re Inspiring Me! See More Quilts Made from my Fabrics and Patterns

One of the best things about designing fabric is seeing how people use it. It’s absolutely inspiring for me when I notice your work using my fabric out in the world. It makes my day! Here are some recent examples.

Geo Pop Beaded Lanterns

Beaded Lanterns by Leesa Burr-Bates; pattern by Christa Watson.

Leesa Burr-Bates shared her Beaded Lanterns quilt top in the Christa Quilts Group on Facebook. If you’re not yet a member of the Group, you’re invited to join us!

Leesa used my Geo Pop fabrics from Benartex. I think she did a great job, and I can’t wait to see this one quilted up!

Click here to get Beaded Lanterns on my free quilt pattern page.
Click here to get the Geo Pop strip roll to make this quilt.

Made from Gridwork Strips

Sheila @mysteryquilter in New Zealand made this top from 2.5″ Gridwork strips.

Over on Instagram, Sheila from New Zealand made a snazzy top from a roll-up of Gridwork strips. This one keeps your eyes moving, doesn’t it?

Check out my Instagram feed.
Find a Gridwork bundle to treat yourself!

Blooming Wallflowers Quilt!

Bonnie Eicher’s Blooming Wallflowers piecing progress.

Bonnie Eicher pieced Blooming Wallflowers from a kit, and it turned out really well! Then she used a simple drawing app on her tablet to try out ideas for quilting.

Bonnie’s auditions for quilting.

Can’t wait to see her finish!

Find the Blooming Wallflowers quilt kit (throw size, 59″ x 76″).
Get the Blooming Wallflowers pattern instantly as a downloadable pdf.
Get the Blooming Wallflowers paper pattern.

Colourful Mod Cats

If you’re a friend of felines, check out these Mod Cats made from a variety of my fabrics. Mod Cat was designed by Linda and Carl Sullivan of Colourwerx in Palm Desert, CA. If you’d like to make one-color cats, my brand new bundles would make it easy: 

Try green or red! 

There are bundles of Turquoise/Teal, Yellow and Orange, too. 😊

And how about this beauty? 

New York Lattice in Geo Pop

New York Lattice by @sewjess, from a kit in Geo Pop from @timefliesquiltandsew

Jess @sewjess posted her New York Lattice quilt top recently.

The fabrics are from my Geo Pop line. Jess made the shop sample for @timefliesquiltandsew. I appreciate it when a shop puts my fabrics into a kit, thank you very much! 

Get a kit from Time Flies Quilt & Sew.

Geo Pop Zip Cases

Quick Zip Cases in Geo Pop fabrics, pattern byAnnie.com

These Quick Zip Cases are so handy for storing all kinds of items. And aren’t they cute in Geo Pop fabrics? The contrasting zippers are a nice added pop. The pattern for Quick Zip Cases is from byAnnie.com, and it’s just five dollars!

When you use my fabrics from any collection, please post it to your social media with the @christaquilts tag and #christaquilts, or send photos my way using christa@christaquilts.com. I’d love to see what you’re making!

How to Sew Optical Illusion Blocks: Quilt Along Part 2

Are you having fun making your Optical Illusion quilt? This week it’s time to sew our cut units into the blocks. Follow along in the quilt pattern on pages 3-4 and pay close attention to what goes where. It’s simple to sew but the key is to follow the diagrams precisely for proper fabric placement.

Optical Illusion Quilt

Click here to see the Optical Illusion Quilt Kit in other colors.

In a nutshell, the interplay between the dark/light squares and the medium skinny strips is what causes the illusion to appear. Because you are working with long skinny strips, your pieces can stretch if you aren’t careful. In the previous post I mentioned starching your fabric before cutting as this will help.

Piecing Tips

Optical Illusion Quilt Detail

To prevent the rows from bowing or warping out of shape, I like to sew all of my units with the medium, skinny rectangles on top at all times. This will automatically switch the sewing direction for you each time you assemble a unit, which helps keep things nice and square.

I also sew with a shorter stitch length (2.0mm instead of 2.5; about 13 stitches per inch) and press my seams open. This will ensure crisp, flat blocks that are easier to work with so that things line up properly. I always start and end a session of sewing with a “leader or ender” – scraps of fabric that catch my starting and ending threads. Then I don’t lose my thread and chain piecing is a breeze!

Optical Illusions subunits

Example of Subunits in Progress

Stack up similar units that will all be sewn at one time so you can assembly line sew, or chain piece as you go. Pay particular attention to the number of units specified in the Optical Illusion quilt pattern on pages 3-4 and make sure everything is in the right place. Once all of your pieced units are complete, you are ready to assemble them into rows and complete the quilt top next week!

More Quilt Along Info: