Latest Finish – Nested Pinwheels Quilt and Podcast Interview

Earlier in the year, my friend Becky from Patchwork Posse invited me to design a small project exclusively for her subscription based online quilt group.


Nested Pinwheels 27″ x 27″ by Christa Watson

I came up with Nested Pinwheels, shown above. It’s a great design to practice one of my favorite walking foot quilting designs, the large continuous spiral. I teach how to do this design in both of my machine quilting books.

The trick is to mark the center spiral and then use your walking foot to quilt the entire thing – using the edge of the foot as your guide for consistent spacing.


Your starting spiral doesn’t have to look perfect!

Along with this project, Becky interviewed me for about 20 minutes talking about my adventures in quilting. You all know that  machine quilting is my favorite part of making a quilt!

photo-3I use the integrated dual feed on my BERNINA – it does the same thing as a walking foot!

Click the link below to learn more about my Nested Pinwheel quilt, read my interview and to listen to the podcast. (You can listen to it directly from your computer, about halfway down the page.)

Click here to listen to the Patchwork Posse guest designer podcast.


It’s Quilt Market Time! My Schedule of Events for Fall 2016

This week kicks off the “busy season” for the quilting industry. International Quilt Market, the semi-annual quilting industry trade show, will be held in Houston, Texas this coming FridayMonday.


Jason meeting with our Moda sales rep at Spring Market. What he ordered then is in stock now!

Jason and I will be attending together although we will have very different responsibilities. My job will be to promote my books, network with other industry professionals, and be on the lookout for future collaborations. His job is to scout out new products for The Precut Store and place orders with vendors for the next 6 months.

angela_christa_bookAngela Walters and I will be promoting our book this fall with a Live Quilting Demo!

Angela Walters and I will be reprising our role as “dueling quilters” to help promote our book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. We’ll do two live quilting demos: on Saturday at 11 AM in the Handi Quilter booth and at 3 PM in the BERNINA booth. Angela is a spokesperson for Handi Quilter, and I’m a BERNINA ambassador, so it will be fun to each quilt on
the other company’s machines, as well as the ones we are used to!


I will also be presenting a take and teach class on Saturday morning to Shop owners, sharing with them hands on machine quilting demos that they can use when teaching from my first book, Machine Quilting with Style. The class is full (which makes me super happy!) but there are plenty of classes taught by others that you can sign up for if you plan to attend.



Angela and Christa at Schoolhouse, Spring 2016 Quilt Market

Quilt Market officially opens to buyers on Saturday, but the day before is spent in “Schoolhouse” – a series of 15-30 minute sessions where authors, makers and designers will be sharing their latest and greatest up close and personal.


Leah Day and I first met in person at Quilt Market in 2014. She’s super fun and knowledgeable!

On Friday at 4:55 in Room 362 D, Leah Day, Stephanie Palmer and I have teamed up to present a session on book publishing for those interested in learning more about the process. Sponsored by Leah’s fabric company Island Batik, we’ll be sharing our varied experiences with both self-publishing and traditional publishing. It should be very informative!


Stephanie will be sharing her experiences on self-publishing The Quilter’s Planner.

Throughout the rest of the show I’ll be walking the floor, networking with other industry professionals, and meeting with other companies in the industry to collaborate on future ideas. It will be quite a whirlwind of activity, but I know I’ll come home ready to start on the next big idea!! If you happen to be there, be sure to grab me to say hi – I’d love to see you and chat!

Machine Quilting with Style: Focal Point Re-Imagined + A Secret Revealed

Focal Point was such a fun design to both piece and quilt! I made it specifically for my book Machine Quilting with Style as part of my quest to go more modern with my designs. I remember attending a lecture by Heather Grant at the very first QuiltCon in 2013. She gave us several great tips on how to go more modern. Two of my favorites used in this quilt are asymmetry and cropping your design. Later once I got to know Jacquie Gering, she reminded me to make sure my modern quilts always had a “focal point.”


Christa with Focal Point at QuiltCon 2016. Quilt Measures 45″ x 45″.

I was thrilled to be able to share Focal Point at QuiltCon earlier this year and of course, I had to take the obligatory “here’s the quilt from my book pic!”

More Neutrals

I used Amy Ellis’ fabric to make the original version of the quilt. Her debut line was called Modern Neutrals which I thought was so appropriate for the quilt. When her next line, Chic Neutrals came out around the same time as the book I thought it would be fun to recolor it using those fabrics. (She’s since released a third line which I think would be just as fab!)

Focal Point - Chic Neutrals no lines

Focal Point recolored in EQ7 with Chic Neutrals by Amy Ellis for Moda

For another color idea, I thought I’d take you behind the scenes a bit. Many times when I’m designing, I’ll go through tons of different color iterations until I find the one that’s just right. Focal point actually started out in this icy blue colorway, before I applied Amy’s fabrics to it:


Focal point in classic blue and white.

I once heard it said that you know you have a good design on your hands when it can look good in any fabrics. Hopefully that’s how you all will feel when making the quilts from my books!🙂

A Secret Revealed and a Giveaway!

It’s always fun to reveal secrets when sharing my books and patterns. Now I have another big announcement I can finally share. I’m an Aurifil thread designer! This week, Aurifil debuted my brand new line, The Piece and Quilt thread collection.


It’s a line of 24 threads in 50 weight cotton: 12 Neutrals and 12 Colors. These are my favorite threads that I use for every part of  quilt making: piecing, quilting and binding! In fact, the light gray that I used to quilt Focal Point is included in the neutrals collection.


To celebrate the one year birthday of my first book, and now my debut thread collection, you can win them before you can buy them!! To win a 12 pack of the neutrals, leave a comment here at my site, letting me know what your go-to thread colors are.

To win a 12 pack of the colors, head over to the Auribuzz blog and follow the intructions over there. Due to shipping limitations, this giveaway is open to all of my US friends. Be sure and ask for these by name at your favorite quilt shop – they’ll be arriving soon!

Last Week’s Winner

Last but not least, I’d like to congratulate Zina C. who won a copy of EQ Mini. I’m sure she’ll be able to put this software to good use!! Next week is quilt market so I won’t have another book post. But come back in 2 weeks for another winner and another re-imagined quilt!

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

Quilt As Desired Article 4: Handwork Makes a Comeback

Today I’m continuing to share the 5 part series of articles that I originally wrote for the National Quilting association as part of my Quilt as Desired column. This article first appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of the Quilting Quarterly.

Click here to read the other machine quilting articles I’ve written. Happy reading!



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.

Quilt As Desired Article 3: Filler Designs Add Texture

Today I’m continuing to share the series of machine quilting articles that I originally wrote for the National Quilting association as part of my Quilt as Desired column. This article first appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of the Quilting Quarterly.

Click here to read the other machine quilting articles I’ve written.

Happy reading!


Machine Quilting with Style: Static Re-Imagined

Static is by far the simplest quilt to make from my book Machine Quilting with Style. It’s my tongue in cheek version of a pixelated quilt design because there’s nothing to see in the “static.”🙂 Here’s the original version, created in a simple palette of pink, purple, and yellow. Although I used yardage for my version, it’s very jelly roll friendly since the blocks are all made from 2 1/2″ wide strips.


Static 56″ x 64″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Colorful Static

When it came time to recolor this graphic quilt, I decided to try out two extreme variations. The first is using Tula Pink’s True Colors, a line of basics meant to coordinate with her wilder print collections. The blocks are rotated haphazardly to give the random static-looking appearance as shown in the original pattern. I must say, I kind of like this version even better than the original; I’m a sucker for bright color!

Static Tula Pink

Colorful Static – Using Tula Pink’s True Colors for FreeSpirit

Black and White Static

No surprises here – I had to design a black and white version, too! For this one, I didn’t rotate the blocks and I like the subtle pattern it gives to the overall design. Now I must add this to my collection of black and white quilts! I used Thicket by Gingiber for Moda for this colorway.

Static Black and White

Black and White Static – Using Thicket by Gingiber for Moda

Isn’t it fun to play with extremes? You can find precut strips for both True Colors and Thicket (plus tons of other options) at my alter ego location:

Celebration Giveaway

It’s been so fun choosing winners and giving away yummy prizes each week as we celebrate the one year birthday of my first book. So let’s first congratulate last week’s winner Elizabeth R. who won a 3 charm pack prize pack from The Precut Store.


This week, two winners will each receive a copy of 180 Doodle Quilting Designs, (one physical copy, one e-copy) of which I’m pleased to be included along with 8 other contributors. Truth be told, after writing 2 books back to back, it’s been fun to participate in several compilation books with other fabulous designers. (Ahem – more about those coming soon!!)

To enter, leave a comment below telling me about the easiest quilt you’ve ever made. For a bonus entry, share a picture of it in my Facebook Group at Quilt with Christa.

View Even More Colorways

When I originally celebrated the release of Machine Quilting with Style, a dozen friends joined me by each remaking one of the quilts in the book in their choice of fabrics.

Click here to see them all!


The original quilts from Machine Quilting with Style, pieced and quilted by yours truly.

And hey, it’s totally okay if you like a some of the alternate versions better. Shh don’t tell, but I do, too, LOL!!!

Quilt As Desired Article 2: Embrace the Line

This week I’m sharing my Quilt as Desired article which was originally published in the winter 2014 issue of Quilting Quarterly magazine from the National Quilting Association. I’ve changed the original formatting to better fit the blog format. You can purchase a PDF pattern for Mini Churn Dash from my Craftsy store.

Mini_patternMini Churn Dash along with the pattern originally published in the magazine.
Click here to purchase Mini Churn Dash pattern  for just $4.95.

“Making a mini quilt is a great way to explore a new design style. It’s also a fun excuse to give machine quilting a try. The time and material investment are minimal, and it’s easy enough to quilt a mini on nearly any sewing machine you can think of.

“However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when quilting a mini: (1) the quilting should not overwhelm the piecing design and (2) the scale of the quilting should be in proportion to the rest of the quilt.

“When making my Mini Churn Dash  I knew I wanted to apply the two principles listed above, as well as include an element of modern machine quilting to the piece. Straight-line quilting has been an extremely popular way to add texture to full sized quilts, and I hoped this quilting design would look great on a modern mini. As with any quilt I make, I first drew up a practice sketch to audition my design:

Straight Line Quilting
“I quilted the parallel lines in an asymmetrical pattern, using tape as a guide to vary the width of the spacing between quilting lines, anywhere from 1/8” to 1/2” apart. I used a shorter than normal stitch length to keep the quilting in scale with the quilt.

Straight Line Quilting
I quilted additional straight lines using the edge of my even-feed (walking) foot as a guide, changing the needle position to vary the width of the spacing. I kept quilting until it felt “finished”. I used a thin cotton thread in a light grey color that seemed to blend in to the background rather than play a starring role.

Straight Line Quilting
“You can quilt asymmetrical lines using other designs such as wavy lines, or decorative stitches on your sewing machine. So the next time you are stumped when quilting a modern mini, just think of what kinds of textures you can create, starting with a simple line!

Click here to read the other machine quilting articles I’ve written.

Spiral Flower Machine Quilting on Maggie’s First Dance BOM

My good friend Jacquelynne Steves has been hosting a gorgeous free Block of the Month program she started over the summer, and I finally have a free minute to tell you about it! It’s a 6-part series called Maggie’s First Dance featuring 5 adorable blocks plus border and finishing instructions.

Maggies First Dance

Click here to sign up and get all of the blocks that have been shared so far.

This month’s  design is the setting block, and I thought it would be perfect to showcase one of my favorite free-motion quilting designs: spiral flowers. So I decided to make a cute mini from one of the blocks and take pictures of my process so I can walk you through how I did it. This block uses my no-mark method for free-motion quilting that I teach in both of my machine quilting books.

Aurifil Thread

Step 1 – choose your thread

Look at your beautiful finished block and think about how you want to quilt it. I always like to audition several thread choices to see which one will look the best. In this case I chose to go with a light yellow, 50 weight cotton Aurifil. White or light gray would have looked nice, too. I’m going to quilt it with one color thread only so that I can custom quilt the entire block without starting and stopping.

Quilt Design Sketch

Step 2 – Sketch Your Design

Print out a color copy of your block on paper and sketch out some design ideas. This allows you to plan out how you will move around the block quickly and efficiently before you try it on the real thing. I chose  a large spiral flower in the center of the block surrounded by pebbles.  I’ll repeat the flower petal design in the white areas, and add some more pebbles in the corners. This will allow me to quilt the entire design in one pass, traveling (backtracking) in the seams if needed to quilt each section of the design.

I only sketched enough of the design to give me a general idea of what I was going to quilt. Of course, you can draw the design over the whole block if you prefer. Doesn’t it look like I drew right on the block? Don’t worry, it really is just a color printout of the block.🙂

Free Motion Center Spiral

Step 3 – Start the Center Spiral

Starting in the middle of the block, pull up the bobbin thread to the top and move it out of the way for now. You can go back and tie off the knot later and bury the thread within the batting. Or just start with a series of teeny-tiny stitches to lock your beginning threads in place.

Quilt a small spiral to start and then immediately turn the spiral into a series of small, irregular flower petals. It doesn’t matter which direction to stitch in, or how many petals you quilt as you spiral around. Aim for nice, smooth stitches, but they don’t have to be perfectly uniform in length.

Spiral Flower Quilting

Step 4 -Complete the Center Block

As you echo back out around the center spiral, quilt a series of petals that don’t quite touch each other. Fill in all of the space, backtracking in the seam if needed to get to any areas you missed. Again, notice that each petal is not perfect or uniform. You are aiming for texture over perfection.

Pebble Quilting

Step 5 – Fill in the Rest of the Block

I quilted the area around the flower with pebbles, a dense texture that would allow the floral quilting to really pop. Because I used the same color thread, I was able to easily switch back and forth between quilting motifs as needed. To create interest in the block, I repeated the petal shapes in the outer portion of the block, with an extra pop of pebbles in the corners.

Although I’m only showing one block as an example, you can easily apply this design to all of the setting blocks. I like dense textural motifs that lend themselves well to any size block or quilt!

Ta-Da! Enjoy Your Finish

Machine Quilted Block

If you are new to machine quilting, I recommend making one or two practice blocks like I did to get the hang of it, or to try out different quilting ideas. You can always refer to your practice blocks as a stitch journal of your progress. I turn mine into class samples, so I don’t have to pack up a suitcase full of quilts when I teach.🙂

Let’s Have a Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of Jacquelynne’s latest BOM installment, 7 other bloggers and I have teamed up to give away a fun prize pack of my PDF patterns, perfect for practicing your machine quilting skills! So that means that 8 people will win, one for each stop on the blog hop below.

Pattern Giveaway

Visit each of these blogs to increase your chances of winning. Leave a comment at each for your chance to win! The giveaway is open to everyone and runs through October 10th.

Farmhouse Quilts

My Go-Go Life

The Crafty Quilter

LilyPad Quilting

Grey Dogwood Studio

The Quilting Nook

EvaPaige Quilt Designs

Christa Quilts – You Are Here!

New Around Here? Everyone’s a Winner!

Puzzle Box Pattern

Click here to get my free Puzzle Box quilt pattern.

As an extra bonus for anyone new to my blog, be sure to check out Friendly Threads, my weekly email and get this free PDF pattern instantly. My Puzzle Box pattern uses two Jelly Rolls and goes together super quick!

Machine Quilting with Style: Little Man’s Fancy Re-Imagined

Are you enjoying seeing alternate colorways of the quilts from my book, Machine Quilting with Style? I’m having a blast recoloring them all. Sometimes I think making “virtual” quilts is just as much fun as the real thing, but a lot faster!!🙂 This week, let’s take a look at Little Man’s Fancy:

Walking Foot Quilting

Little Man’s Fancy 36″ x 36″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Baby Boy Blue

The quilt design is my riff on a traditional block called “Gentleman’s Fancy,” hence the similar name. In addition to the original layout shown above in the book,  I also shared how you can just flip a couple of rows to make a really cool oversized star design, a great size for that little fella in your life:

Fancy Star

Fancy Star – designed in EQ7.

Pretty in Pink

But what I’d really love to do is remake it in a pretty pink version, perfect for a little princess! This time I chose pink, red and gray swatches from Deb Strain‘s latest line for Moda. It’s actually a Valentine’s collection but works just as well for this version!


Pretty Pink Star

What if you wanted to make a bigger quilt? Just make more blocks and multiply the yardage requirements by four to make this cuddly throw. Isn’t it fun to play around with the possibilities??

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink 72″ x 72″ made from 4 blocks.

Giveaway Time!

Congratulations to Jamie N. and Kris L. They each won  a White Dream 80/20 queen batting and a Natural Dream 80/20 queen batting, courtesy of Quilter’s Dream.

The Precut Store

This week, I’m giving away a mystery bundle of 3 Moda charm packs, courtesy of The Precut Store. They are so brand spankin’ new, they aren’t even in stores yet. But trust me, you will love them!

To enter, leave a comment telling me about the favorite baby quilt you have made. For an extra chance to win, share a picture of it in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa. This giveaway is open to everyone with the stipulation that an international winner will pay 1/2 of the shipping (we’ll split it to keep it fair, K??)

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your makes – it gets me all excited to keep on quilting!!

Machine Quilting with Style

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