The Splendid Sampler Block – Scrappy Happy Heart

Welcome to my stop on the Splendid Sampler 100 blocks tour! Today is a very special day. Not only because I get to share my special block with you, but it is also my anniversary! 23 years ago I married my best friend and he’s supported my quilting habits ever since! Sharing my heart block with you now has extra special meaning and today I’m dedicating this block to Jason – the love of my life!

scrappy_heart_finished

Scrappy Happy Heart – for Jason –  the love of my life who’s also my #1 fan!

I love the “structured improv” look so I chose to paper piece this block, to contain the crazy pieced chaos. I took some step by step pictures while making this block that can help you with your paper piecing efforts.

Click here for Splendid tutorials on paper piecing.

I was very lucky to get to work with the Little Miss Sunshine collection by Vanessa Goertzen of  Lella Boutique for many of the fabrics. Click here to get the precuts to make a similar block.:-)

Step 1

Comb through your stash for pretty scraps that work well together.

scrappyheart_1

Thanks to Moda Fabrics for supplying me with such a sweet palette to work from!

Step 2

Cut the pieces according to the cutting chart given in the Splendid Sampler block pattern.

Step 3

Sew the first section of pieces starting with the white background square; press and trim after each piece. It will look somewhat like the hot mess below!

scrappyheart_2

 Step 4

Add the corner triangle to the first section. Remember, all this time you are sewing onto paper following the printed lines on the front of the paper.

scrappyheart_3

Step 5

Repeat the piecing, pressing and trimming process for the second section of the block.

scrappyheart_4

This is what the front looks like – I fold each line I am going to sew next and use an add a quarter ruler to trim off the excess smoothly and neatly.

scrappyheart_5

Step 6

Add the last section of heart in the same manner. It will look so good once it’s all trimmed!

scrappyheart_6

Step 7

Add the last two background corner triangles to complete the heart shape and trim to size. Now the best part – gently remove all the paper!

scrappyheart_7

Step 8

Stop and admire your beautiful handiwork. Now is a great time to start thinking about the threads you will use to machine quilt your beautiful blocks. My favorite thread for both piecing and machine quilting  is Aurifil – 50 weight cotton.

scrappy_heart_styled

All of that mess miraculously turns into a beautifully finished block!

Click here to go to the Splendid Sampler Block Page

Here’s my block in other colorways, made by some of the other Splendid Sampler designers.:-)

Splendid Sampler Heart Blocks

Made by Pat Sloan, Julie Karasek, Jane Davidson, Lynette Anderson, Joan Ford, Melissa Corry

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The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting – Migration

Angela Walters and I are at Quilt Market this weekend, sharing our new book with shop owners across the country, so it’s time to share another quilt from the book with you. (Click here to see all of the quilts from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.)

This one is called Migration which features tons of negative space for you to show off your quilting skills! Angela and I quilted our quilts so differently which gives you plenty of ideas to explore!

Migration Quilt by Christa Watson

In my version of migration, I played up the grid work with free-motion quilting.

Free Motion Quilting

We both tried to pack in as many machine quilting designs as possible!

Migration by Angela Walters

Angela quilted her rectangles so that they would look like sparkling jewels!

Click here to see all of the quilts from the book, as they are added each week!
All photography courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale.

Christa Watson Books

Click here to get your autographed copies of both of my books!

Simple Strips Quilt Along – The Finish

It’s time to put the finishing touches on Simple Strips with my quick and easy machine binding tutorial that can be found on the BERNINA blog at We All Sew.

Machine Binding

My machine binding method is very similar to my hand binding method all the way until the final finishing step. The nice thing about this method is that you can wait to decide how to finish until the end.

Super Simple Strips Quilt Along

Simple strips was made from Valley precuts from Moda.

I hope you have enjoyed quilting along! Be sure to share your progress in my Facebook group at Quilt with Christa and also on the BERNINA community site.

If you are new around here, click here for the Simple Strips Quilt Along tutorials.

 

My Spring 2016 Quilt Market Schedule

I’m so excited to attend Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend. This is the twice-yearly trade show for the quilting industry. Even though it’s not open to the public, you can still feel like you are part of the action by following along via social media.

Quilt Market 2016

I will be attending to help promote my new book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting with co-author Angela Walters. Our publisher, Martingale/That Patchwork Place has scheduled 3 fun events for us. If you happen to go, please come by and say hi!

On Thursday, Angela and I will present a schoolhouse session for our new book at 4:40 PM in room 255A. We will be going on just before the Moda All-stars book debut so I’m kinda hoping we’ll capture some of the audience who wants to come in early for a great seat!😉

Quilt Marke 2016

On Friday, May 20th at 11 AM in Martingale’s booth 422, Angela and I will be doing a fun Q&A session. We will answer your most pressing machine quilting sessions and may even show you how we sketch out our designs on paper ahead of time.

Machine Quilting

 

 

Finally, on Saturday, May 21 we’ll cap off the weekend with two live machine quilting events. At 10 AM we’ll be at the Handi Quilter booth and at 1 PM we’ll be at the BERNINA booth, showing how we actually machine quilt in person! We will also have a booksigning at each event, for the first 50 people in line – so be sure to arrive early!!

The rest of the time, I’ll be hanging out with Jason, purchasing new products for The Precut Store. It’s always exciting to see what’s new!

The Precut Store

If you can’t attend, be sure to follow me on Instagram at @christaquilts and @theprecutstore!

Join Me at the Folkschool for a Week of Quilty Fun!

Please join me this summer at the John C. Campbell Folkschool in Brasstown, North Carolina! From July 31-August 6, 2016 I will be teaching a week-long class: Modern Quilting 101, featuring my Charming Chevrons Pattern.

John C. Campbell Folkschool

Click here to register for the rare opportunity to learn from me for an entire week!

What to Expect

I had such an amazing time teaching last year that when they invited me to return, I immediately said yes! Let me tell you a little bit about what to expect, if you’ve never been:

You’ll arrive on Sunday afternoon and get a chance to meet me and the other students. You’ll receive an orientation to the program along with a yummy home-cooked meal. Then on Monday morning, the week-long event will kick off with the best breakfast you’ve ever had!

Class sessions will run for 6 hours a day Monday-Friday with breaks for scrumptious family-style meals 3 times a day. Seriously, it’s worth it to come just for the food!

Folkschool Fiber Studio

This is the fiber studio at the Folkschool. Don’t you just love the barn-quilt block??

In the evenings, students can choose to spend additional additional free-time in the sewing studio, attend evening performances, or just relax in their rooms after a fun day!

The on Friday night, students will have a chance to present what they’ve made to the other classes that have met during the week. Trust me, seeing the handwork of makers from many different disciplines under one roof is incredibly inspiring!

Folkschool 2015

2015 Modern Logs quilts on stage behind the beautifully handcrafted Windsor chairs

Classes and Registration

I’ll be upfront and tell you that it’s a big investment of time and money to take a week out of your busy life for this amazing event. But it’s so worth it to escape to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina so you can enjoy this magical experience.

Class sizes are limited to 12 students so you will get plenty of personal interaction with me and the other students. (At of this writing there are just 6 spots left – so register soon!) In fact, you’ll meet fantastic like-minded quilters that will most likely turn into life-long friends.

You can also bring along a friend or spouse who can take a different class at the same time. During my week, there will be 14 classes going on at the same time including spinning, weaving, photography, cooking, woodworking, clay-working, print-making, and more!

Click here for the complete class catalog.
Click here to register for my week-long class: Modern Quilting 101.

20140702_folkschool_housing

The Folkschool offers a variety of lodging packages to suit your budget. My mom was part of my class last time around, and we stayed in this beautiful historic home that has been updated with modern amenities! This year I’m taking Jason along for the ride, and he’s going to take either cooking or photography while I teach. (He can’t quite decide yet!)

Follow the Folkschool

I sure would love for you to join me in this amazing adventure!

Local Trunk Show and Book Signing Events

If you are in or near the Las Vegas area, be sure to catch my trunk show and book signing events coming up at these two fabulous locations below.

  • Saturday, May 14th, Sew Yeah Quilting, located at 3690 N. Rancho Drive, Las Vegas NV 89130.
  • Thursday, May 26th, at Quiltique, located at 213 N. Stephanie Ste. E, Henderson NV 89074.

Christa Watson Books

My books – The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting and Machine Quilting with Style will be available from both shops. I’ll be happy to personally sign them for you!

At Sew Yeah, I’ll be sharing quilts from both books and what makes them modern. Stick around afterward for a fun and free sew-in. Sign up online or call (702) 586-8687.

At Quiltique, I’ll be sharing my quilts along with a hands on free-motion quilting demonstration. Plus, I’m happy to answer your most pressing questions about machine quilting.

I hope to see you there!

Book Review – Intentional Piecing by Amy Friend

I’m excited to tell you about a brand new book by one of my quilting buddies, Amy Friend of During Quiet Time. It’s called Intentional Piecing: From Fussy Cutting to Foundation Piecing. As the title implies, it’s all about making thoughtful choices to make truly dynamic quilts.

Intentional Piecing

“Fussy Cutting” is isolating a specific motif in your fabric and intentionally cutting around the motif so as to place it exactly where you want it in your quilt or block.

Amy’s quilt, Tell Me a Story, is the perfect design to showcase a favorite collection of fussy cut pieces. To get you excited to make this quilt, or even a block or two, Amy is hosting a fun contest on Instagram to celebrate the release of her book. To enter, make a block, or group of blocks using this pattern in the book and then share them using the hashtags #intentionalpiecingbook and #tellmeastoryquilt. Then share the fun story behind your blocks!

Tell Me a Story Blocks

Each instagram post with those hashtags will be entered into a drawing for two fabric bundles, and Amy will randomly choose a winner on June 1st – so you have plenty of time to make and enter your blocks. Above is a sampling of just a few blocks that are currently being shared on Instagram. They are so fabulous!

The rest of the book includes patterns for 6 additional quilts, 6 smaller projects, and 10 paper pieced blocks that you can play with to create an infinite variety of designs! All of the needed templates are included in a 40+ page section at the back of the book indicating enlargement percentages.

Circuitry Quilt

I think my favorite quilt in the book is actually one made from selvages. Something about the arrangement and color-blocking of the selvages really appeals to me. It’s called Circuitry and comes with helpful tips on working with selvages.

In fact, the entire book is sprinkled with helpful hints throughout, including a section on paper piecing essentials and tips on what to stash and how to work with the fabrics you already have.

Intentional Piecing Blocks

Finally, even if you are the type that usually likes to design your own projects, the beautiful photography in the book is sure to inspire you! Shot on location in New England, this book can also serve as a coffee table book, ensuring a visual treat each time you peruse it.

Pick up your copy of Intentional Piecing today!

So I did a crazy thing this week….. (HMQS 2016)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a type A – plan it like I mean it type of person. I live and sleep by my daily to do lists and am the last person in the world who has time to be spontaneous! But when I got the email earlier in the week, that I had won an award for one of my quilts at HMQS (The Home Machine Quilting Show), I knew I had to drop everything to drive 6 hours to Utah to attend the awards ceremony!

HMQS quilt show

Plumb Lines, 2nd Place Modern at HMQS, from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.

I’ve had a bit of good luck lately (winning 2nd places at Paducah and MQX), but after gut-wrenchingly replying that no, I could not attend those awards ceremonies, when opportunity came knocking the 3rd time around, I just couldn’t say no!!

So I corralled the troops, hopped in the car and picked up my good buddy Cory Allender on the way, who also received the news that she had won an award. I tried to convince my other friend Vicki Ruebel into going with us since she also won an award, but she had a little more sense of responsibility than I did!

Quilting Room
Mom just moved and showed me her new place – including the biggest sewing room ever!

Thank goodness my mom actually lives halfway between here and the show so we were able to crash at her place for the night and add her to our crew. We got up bright and early the next day to continue the trek to HMQS and got there just in time to check out the show and get a good seat for the ceremony.

And thank goodness for Cory who agreed to drive most of the way there and back so that I could get a little computer work done in the car (including writing up this blog post!)

ontheroad

It’s quite an experience riding in the back seat of my own car. It was quite cozy!

Just before the ceremony started, the anticipation was killing me. I had entered 3 quilts, (all from my new book) in the show, in two different categories, and had no clue as to which one won, or what placement it took. When they announced that Plumb Lines had taken 2nd in Modern, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

Honestly, it was the last one I had expected to place. Not that I don’t love these quilts and pour my heart and soul into them, but this quilt was made in a hurry, and on a deadline, rather than specifically FOR a show.

Plumb Lines 2nd Place

I was so excited to finally be able to collect my award in person at the show!!

My smart friend Cory once told me that you’ll have more fun entering shows if you don’t STRIVE for it, and make quilts that please you, rather than trying to please any judge. Wise words indeed.

Cory Allender

Elizabeth’s Butterflies by Cory Allender, 2nd Place Utah’s Own, HMQS

Probably the most fun thing about this whole experience was being able to walk on stage and say thanks to a wonderful organization that puts on such a tremendous show. That, and being able to tell them that it was my BQF (best quilting friend) who had won 3rd!

Vicki and I have this thing going where we are okay to leapfrog our quilts. She beat me recently at a local show and we have sort of a friendly competition going on here – all in good fun, of course!

Bullesye quilt 3rd

Bullseye by Vicki Ruebel – 3rd place Modern, HMQS

So my whole point in sharing this with you is to encourage you to be a little more spontaneous with your quilting, too. Whether that means going to a show you didn’t plan on, or entering a quilt show, maybe for the first time ever – go ahead and do it. I mean – what have you got to lose?? (Except maybe a little time and sleep!):-)

My Other Entries in the Show

HMQS Modern Entry

Directionally Challenged in the Modern Category. Read more about this quilt here.

hmqs entry

Swirling Butterflies in the Conventional Machine Category.
See a better picture and learn more here.

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting – Directionally Challenged

I have to say, Directionally Challenged was my second favorite quilt to make from mine and Angela’s new book! (Click here to find out which quilt is my favorite – and yes, it’s totally okay to have favorites!!)

This quilt pattern is paper pieced, and it’s probably one of the easiest paper pieced designs you can make – it only looks complicated.

Directionally Challenged by Christa Watson

Christa’s version of Directionally Challenged in blue.

I love combining walking foot quilting with free-motion work.

Directionally Challenged quilting detailIt’s amazing what you can quilt with a simple line!

Directionally Challenged by Angela Walters

Angela’s version of Directionally Challenged in Red.

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Click here to get your autographed copy of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.
Click here to see all of the quilts from the book, as they are added each week!
All photography courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale.

Simple Strips Quilt Along – Machine Quilting

I have to say, we’ve now reached my favorite part of my Simple Strips Quilt Along – machine quilting! Because I’m sharing these tutorials over on the BERNINA blog at We All Sew, I wanted to really show what these machines can do, and how anyone can have success quilting on a home sewing machine!

BERNINA machine quilting

This week focuses on using a decorative stitch to create incredible machine quilting texture. I also how teach how to achieve this type of look in both of my books. It’s that important to me to spread the word that yes, you can, make a “professional” looking quilt using the machine you currently have.:-)

Click here for the latest quilt along tutorial.
Click here to share your progress in my facebook group: Quilt with Christa.