Blooming Wallflowers Week 8 – Machine Quilting Part 2

How is your Blooming Wallflowers quilt coming along? Some of you have completely finished while others are just getting started and that’s perfectly fine. I love to encourage everyone to participate at their own pace. In cased you missed it, click here for quilting part 1 including 4 short You-Tube videos showing exactly how I quilted the blocks.

Blooming Wallflowers made with Abstract Garden and Modern Marks

Today I’ll go over how I quilted the background using one of my favorite filler motifs – jagged stipple. In the quilting plan below, I quilted jagged stipple in the background areas after all of the blocks were quilted. I love filling in a quilt this way: as long as you can trace an unbroken line around your quilt, you can quilt the design continuously without any starts and stops.

Blooming Wallflowers Block Quilting Plan

Quilting all of the blocks first is what I call “anchor quilting” which means that the quilt is secure and won’t shift as I scrunch and smoosh it under the machine to finish up the rest.

I recommend practicing drawing out the design freehand on a blank sheet of paper, and even quilting a practice block to get a flow for the design. The jagged stipple is very forgiving and is basically a series of abrupt jaggedy lines going in every direction.

Machine Quilting Jagged Stipple

I quilted Jagged Stipple on a larger scale for my Improv Squares Quilt Pattern.

There’s really no wrong way to do it! In fact, I love the jagged stipple design so much, that it inspired one of the prints from my previous fabric line – the “Paper Cuts” print from Fandangle.

Fandangle Fabric Paper Cuts

Click here to get yardage of the paper cuts print from Fandangle.

Here’s another short video showing how I move back and forth and all around to quilt this design. I especially love the look of texture on texture when I quilted the jagged lines on top of the navy blue Herringbone print from Modern Marks.

Because I’m using a matching blue Aurifil thread (from my Piece and Quilt Collection – Colors), it’s hard to see the actual stitching, which is usually a good thing so you won’t see all of the wobbles and bobbles as I quilt.

Here’s a detail shot where you can just barely see the quilting. I like quilting textural designs on busy quilts because I want my quilting to enhance the quilt rather than being the star of the show!

Blooming Wallflowers quilting detail

So give this fun design a try – whether you quilt it on this quilt or another WIP (work in progress).

IMPORTANT LINKS

Blooming Wallflowers Week 7 – Machine Quilting Part 1

Now we get to my absolute favorite part of the quilt-making process – machine quilting!!! I’m breaking this section into 2 posts so you’ll have plenty of time to get ‘er done! And thanks to all of you who keep sharing your progress, no matter what step you are on. It’s so inspiring to see all of the fantastic Blooming Wallflowers out there!! Remember to scroll to the end of this post for links to all of the quilt along steps and other important info.

Blooming Wallflowers Quilting

Above is my sewing machine setup. I have a drop in table so that my sewing machine lies flush with the table. I’ve also put another table to my left, forming an “L” so that the quilt has plenty of room and won’t fall off the table. I’ll sit in the chair and scrunch and smoosh the quilt out of the way as I quilt.

Make a Quilting Plan

I always have a plan when I’m going to quilt a quilt. That way there are no surprises and I can enjoy the quilting process. Here’s my basic quilting plan that’s included in the Blooming Wallflowers quilt pattern:

Blooming Wallflowers Block Quilting Plan

I’m quilting 3 different designs: chevrons in the print triangles, pebbles in the light blue triangles, and jagged stipple in the background. I can quilt all of the triangles per block at once without stopping; then I’ll go back and quilt the navy blue background later. I used a light blue thread from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt collection Neutrals on the triangles, and will use a darker blue thread from my Colors collection for the background.

Free Motion Quilting Blooming Wallflowers

Here’s what the back side of the quilt looks like after quilting all of the triangles. I always use the same color thread in top and bobbin so that if there are any tension issues, it won’t show. I don’t mind seeing the quilting on the back of the quilt. In fact, I actually like how it shows up!

Notice how my actual quilting deviated slightly from the plan. I decided to quilt a few more lines in the chevrons, and I embellished the chevrons with an extra row of pebbles and some zig-zags to jazz it up a bit.

Step by Step Quilting Videos

Here are a few short videos of me quilting the blocks so you can see how I did it. Be sure to enlarge the screen for a better view:

First, I stitched in the ditch very carefully around one light blue triangle.

Then I filled in the light blue triangle with pebbles. I’m using a thicker ruler foot because I’m doing the pebbles and ruler work all at the same time.

Next, I used a special acrylic ruler to quilt straight line chevrons. I didn’t worry about the lines being equal in distance or hitting the points exactly. I don’t actually love doing ruler work because it’s a little too fussy for my taste. But I’ll use it to quilt straight lines as long as they don’t have to be exact.

Once the chevrons were quilted, I embellished one section with free-motion zig-zags. I quilted each section of triangles (the Abstract Garden prints and the light blue background) in one pass, with only one start and stop for the whole block.) In other words, I did all of the pebbles in one triangle and then went straight into the chevrons.

To start and a line of stitching, I take about 6-8 teeny tiny stitches and then start quilting normally. When I’m done, I end with 6-8 teeny tiny stitches to hold it in place and cut off the excess threads. Starting and stopping in a seam makes it less noticable.

Next week, we’ll quilt the background! I recommend trying out the quilting designs on a scrap of fabric and batting first, before applying them to your quilt.

IMPORTANT LINKS

Tips on How to Plan Your Quilting, Sewing Room Update

Hi all – I’ve been super quiet on the blog this week because getting my new sewing room up and running has been an all-consuming process! For those following the Blooming Wallflowers Quilt Along, the next post will be up soon, I promise!!

Plan Your Quilting

In the meantime, be sure to check out this informative post about planning your quilting. I shared it over on my buddy Amy Smart’s blog at Diary of a Quilter. It’s an inside look to how I plan my quilting. This will be helpful for those of you quilting along with me, or wishing to figure out how to plan your own quilts!

This week I’m getting my Ikea Sewing room cabinets installed and I can’t wait until they are finished! They are actually from their custom kitchen department but they will work wonderfully for my space! The whole unit will have covered doors with sleek handles so that I can keep the mess out of sight.

Sewing Room Ikea Cabinets

Once the cabinets are finished, the flooring will be installed and then I can start moving my sewing stuff into the space. I can’t wait to share the final reveal! I have to say that working with Ikea, and their authorized partner Traemand installation has been wonderful. There have certainly been hiccups along the way, but they’ve handled everything with such professionalism that I would highly recommend them! Here’s hoping I have room for all my stuff, LOL!

Blooming Wallflowers Week 6 – Catch up Break & Inspiration

I’m adding in another “catch-up” break so that those of you following along will have plenty of time to work on your quilts. But just remember, you can work on Blooming Wallflowers on your own schedule, too! Scroll to the end for links to all of the previous QAL posts.

Blooming Wallflowers by Christa Watson QuiltCon 2019

Of course I had to match my shoes to my quilt!!
Click here to get a Blooming Wallflowers kit (while supplies last).

It was exciting for me to see Blooming Wallflowers hanging in the show at QuiltCon last week! The biggest comment I got was how much nicer it looked in person (probably due to my inadequate photography skills, LOL!)  and how much everyone loves the Navy Herringbone background from Modern Marks.

Now it’s your turn to show off what ya got so far! Take a look below at these fabulous works in progress being shared on Instagram #bloomingwallflowersquilt and in my Christa Quilts Facebook group. Then be sure to share your progress, too!

Student Work - Sandra C's version of Blooming Wallflowers

Sandra C aka @thebiasedge on Instragram shared her gorgeous quilt top that she’s getting ready to load on her long-arm. I can’t wait to see her quilting in progress!

Michelle H Blooming Wallflowers

I love how Michelle H made hers bigger by adding more blocks. Her print fabrics are fantastic!

Robin P's Blooming Wallflowers quilt

Robin P (aka Palm Beach Quilter) chose a light green background for her version. She made the baby size which is the exact same layout, except the blocks are smaller! I’ve included 3 different sizes in the quilt pattern so you can customize it to fit your needs.

Blooming Wallflowers top by Gayle S

Who says you have to use a dark background? Gayle S is creating a stunning version with white background and a fun polka dot accent fabric. Isn’t it so fun??

Next week I’ll start sharing tips for fun and interesting machine quilting – I can’t wait!

IMPORTANT LINKS

Home Update #8 and Fabric News

I’m still recovering from my awesome trip to QuiltCon last week, so more about that later. But I wanted to give you all an update of what I was able to accomplish in the new house before I left. We’ve now been in our home for nearly 2 months and it’s coming along nicely. My busy traveling season has now begun so most of the remaining work will need to happen in chunks of time in between teaching trips! Here’s the latest and greatest:

Watsons New House

My living room area is nearly put together. We started with the teal green leather sofas and I had ordered some upholstered swivel chairs with a really fun print to create enough seating. Because it was a really large U-shape, I knew we needed an oversized coffee table that could be reached on all sides. I found one online and took a risk buying it without seeing it in a a store first. But when I found out it was called the “Watson” table I knew it was meant to be!! It fits the space perfectly and I’m very pleased.

We purchased contrasting red barstools to give the kitchen area a pop of color and added in some yellow pillows to get away from the green monochromatic color scheme. Now I need to add in a few more red/yellow accents to complete the look and of course find the perfect area rug to pull it all together.

Sewing Room Lights

Sewing room renovation in progress: flooring and electrical

Upstairs, my sewing studio is a bit of a mess. We had additional lighting installed in the ceiling and it makes such a huge difference! I’m currently waiting on getting cabinets installed from Ikea and then we can finish the flooring. We added a floor plug in the center of the room for my sewing machine table, and moved a couple of electrical outlets so the space will function how I’ve envisioned it. Cabinet installation is scheduled for next week, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it all goes smoothly!

Get My Fabric By the Yard

Fabric Storage

My yardage for sale is stored in the guest room which was most recently used by my son Ryan before he left for his mission. My older son Jason is moving back from Idaho to live here and work for us for awhile, so now I’m glad I have the extra room!

In getting my house organized, I realized I needed to re-arrange my little Christa Quilts store, too. This is where I offer all of my own designed patterns, threads, books and fabrics for sale. I’ve been getting requests to purchase my fabrics in one-yard increments so now you can!

Click here to order yardage of any of my collections: Modern Marks, Fandangle, and Abstract Garden. To purchase more than one yard, select the color you want, and click “add to cart” for each yard. Then I’ll cut it into one continuous length.

Now I need to go plan which room to work on next! So much to do, so little time!!

Blooming Wallflowers Week 5 – Basting

Welcome to everyone’s LEAST favorite part of making a quilt – basting! But hopefully with my methods and tips, it will be less painful of a chore for you. My #1 tip is to take your time with basting and don’t rush the process. If you have a nice and flat quilt while basting, it will make machine quilting sooo much easier!!

Spray Basting - smoothing the quilt

The key to successful basting is ensuring smooth, flat layers.

I use 505 Basting Spray to baste my quilts. It allows me to avoid pins while quilting and it ensures that every single inch of the quilt is sticking to every other inch. I have already created complete photo tutorials of my step by step process using either a design wall or a table. See the links below the image check them out:

Spray Baste

Below is a short 25 second video of me smoothing out the layers on the design wall, using a long acrylic ruler. Once I do this over the whole quilt, I take it to the ironing board and iron it, first from the back side and then from the front. The iron sets the glue and it’s ready to quilt!

If you would like to see the entire basting process on video (using a table), be sure to check out my Craftsy/Bluprint Class – Startup Library: Quilting. It walks you through the entire process of making a quilt from start to finish – over 6 hours of video content!!

Startup Library Craftsy Class by Christa WatsonClick here to enroll in my Startup Library Quilting Class

Hopefully between my videos and written tutorials, the entire basting process won’t seem so scary!

Next week will be another catch up break as I head to QuiltCon, so remember to share pics of your progress on Instagram #bloomingwallflowersquilt or in my ChristaQuilts Facebook Group. If I share your pic on my next blog post, you’ll win a free PDF pattern of your choice as my way of saying thanks for quilting along!

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

IMPORTANT LINKS

Come See Me at QuiltCon 2019 in Nashville! (And a fun personal update)

I can’t believe it’s already time to get packed and ready for QuiltCon which is happening next week! It’s been a whirlwind of a year for our family so far – moving into a new home and getting ready for our younger son leave for his mission to China this week. The older one will be moving back home for awhile to work for us, and we are sooo glad we got the bigger house with an extra room! During all the chaos, we were even able to sneak in a last minute Disney vacation over the weekend. It was a great way to celebrate all the changes happening this year!

Watsons at Disney 2019

Disneyland is truly our happy place!! Although it was a chilly weekend, I kept nice and toasty warm with my MQG Hoodie I got at last year’s QuiltCon!

But now, it’s time to transition back into quilting mode big time!! And I’m so excited to do that with my first teaching event of the year! If you are planning on attending QuiltCon but didn’t make it into my sold-out workshops, I have great news for you: there’s still room in my lecture, plus I’ll be doing several free events on the flow show all weekend long. So be sure to come up and say hi – I’d love to chat with you!

BERNINA demos at QuiltCon

Here’s my schedule of events:

Christa’s QuiltCon Schedule

  • Friday 1:00 PM Stage Demo – Free Motion Quilting with BERNINA
  • Friday 1:30 PM Meet ‘n Greet – Booth 712 Designs by Sarah J.
  • Friday 5:00 PM Stage Demo – Electric Quilt 8
  • Saturday 11:00 AM Stage Demo – Walking Foot Quilting with BERNINA
  • Saturday 11:30 AM Meet ‘n Greet – Booth 712 Designs by Sarah J.
  • Sunday 10:15 AM Lecture – Modern Machine Quilting

Click here to register for my lecture.

Christa EQ and QuiltCon

So far I have attended every QuiltCon since the event began in 2013. This will be my third time teaching there and it’s my favorite show of the year! I always get inspired when I go and I love learning more about the modern quilting aesthetic. Plus, it’s super fun to meet up with friends, many of which I’ve met because of my involvement with QuiltCon!

Christa and Sarah J

I’m excited to hang out in my pal Sarah J’s booth next week. She’ll have many of my fabrics, patterns and of course my books! Stop by to say hi and I’ll be happy to sign anything you like… (a book, a pattern, your arm, a blank check… just kidding!!)

QuiltCon 2019

Are you planning to attend? If so – I’ll see you there!!

Abstract Garden Blog Hop and Fabric Giveaways!

What a fun week this is going to be! I have blog posts going up later this week about QuiltCon  and the Blooming Wallflowers quilt along and I can’t wait. To top it off, Benartex is hosting a blog hop for Abstract Garden all week over on their blog at Sew in Love with Fabric. You’ll be able to see fabulous projects made by the amazing lineup of makers below. Plus, each one will be giving away a fat quarter bundle, so there’s tons of chances to win, whoo hoo!!

Abstract Garden by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio

Blog Hop Participants and Schedule

Click each of the links below to visit the blog and bookmark it for later in the week when they’ll be sharing. It’s going to be Sew. Much. Fun!!

Monday 
Benartex Blog – Intro & inspiration about my designs

Tuesday
Sherry Shish from Powered by Quilting
Lee Monroe from May Chappell

Wednesday
Annie Unrein from Patterns by Annie
Pam and Lynn from The Stitch TV Show

Thursday

Friday
Abstract Garden by Christa Watson for Benartex

Blooming Wallflowers Week 4 – Sewing the Quilt Top

I love seeing everyone’s progress on their Blooming Wallflowers quilts! Whether you are making it from my fabrics, or something completely different, they are looking so fabulous! Check out the hashtag #bloomingwallflowersquilt on Instagram or in my Facebook group to see how everyone is doing. This week we will sew our completed blocks from last week to make the quilt top.

Blooming Wallflowers Quilt Pattern

Blooming Wallflowers Quilt Top – Throw Size

This quilt top is sewn together in diagonal rows, so it’s much easier to assemble than it looks. The trick in getting it right is to pay attention to the placement of each individual block. When I made mine, I constantly referred to the pattern cover and the quilt top assembly diagram on pages 8-9 of the pattern for proper color placement.

If you have the space, I recommend laying out the entire top on a design wall or large area and then working on sewing one diagonal row at a time. When you sew the blocks together, you’ll have little triangle tips sticking out that you’ll want to trim up once each row is complete.

Tips for Sewing the Top

My number 1 piecing tip for accuracy is to sew slowly and keep an accurate quarter inch seam. I also like to use a stiletto which allows me to get right up into the seam I’m sewing together. In the short video below, notice how I’m joining the blocks so that I get a perfectly crisp point. I sew with a shorter stitch length (2.0 instead of 2.5) and I’ve pressed my seams open so that everything lies flat and the intersections are easy to see. I also slow down and ensure that the ends will match. You can also use pins if needed.

Remember to chain piece for speed and efficiency. That means to start sewing two blocks together and then without clipping threads in between, add the next two pieces to be joined. Whenever I start and finish a section of sewing I use a scrap of fabric as a “leader” or “ender” to catch my threads and prevent things from become a big mess!

Your “homework” for this week is to complete the quilt top. But remember, if you are just starting, that’s ok.  This quilt along will stay up indefinitely so you can work at your own pace.

IMPORTANT LINKS

EQ Design Challenge – Win a Fat Quarter Bundle of Abstract Garden

I’ve partnered up with my friends at Electric Quilt once again to offer free digital images of my latest fabric line, Abstract Garden. You can use the images in Electric Quilt software to design lots of fun quilts!

Abstract Garden Digital Images

Click here to download Abstract Garden digital images for EQ.
(You must have the software installed on your computer for it to work.)

In fact, that’s how I designed my newest quilt patterns made from my fabric. Once I design a fabric line and the digital images are sent off to the mill for printing, I import them into EQ8 to use as a palette while designing. That way I can see exactly how the finished quilt will look before I ever cut into my fabric!

Abstract Garden Fat Quarter Bundle

2 random entrants will each win a fat quarter bundle of Abstract Garden!

Once you’ve got your images, it’s time to play! You can enter your design for a chance to win one of 2 Abstract Garden fat quarter bundles, courtesy of Benartex Fabrics. The contest runs the entire month of February so you have plenty of time to design to your heart’s content!

Electric Quilt Design Contest for Abstract Garden

Click here to get the digital images for EQ and enter the contest. I can’t wait to see your entry!