Color Blog Series – Black and White

Have you all read about the year-long Color Blog Series? It’s hosted by my friend Michelle Wilkie who blogs quite regularly over at Factotum of Arts. First a little background: Michelle and I got to be pretty good internet friends and finally were able to meet in person at QuiltCon 2015. We thought it was fate when two of our mini quilts were hung up next to each other during the show. I’m excited to see her again next spring when I’ll be presenting a workshop for her guild The Triangle MQG.

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Me and Michelle at QuiltCon 2015 – notice my black and white bag!!

I was excited to choose Black and White for my color this month.  I think one of the reasons I like using black and white so much is there’s not much color theory involved. You can’t get more opposite when pairing contrasting black and white together! So I thought I’d share a few quilts I’ve made using this graphic combo and talk a little bit about each.

Modern X

Modern X

Modern X was the first quilt I made using black and white. I created it for the Modern Quilt Guild’s pattern of the month series back in 2014 and after making it, was hooked on using this color combo. I used black and white Kona solids to create the highest amount of contrast possible, and created a focal point by coloring the X with a pop of yellow-green. Pattern available here.

Illusions

Christa Watson Illusions

The design of Illusions was on my mind for quite a few years before actually making it. I got the idea from the optical illusion known as “cafe walls” and wanted to see if the illusion would still work in quilt form. Again, I used solid black and white, with solid gray forming the skinny lines between the squares. To really see the optical illusion in action, scroll your screen up and down a few times to see it wiggle.🙂

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Quilting detail on Illusions, using black, white and gray threads to match.

Illusions hung at QuiltCon in 2015 and caught the notice of the editors of Modern Quilts Unlimited, where the pattern was subsequently published in the Spring 2016 issue.

Lightning

lightning

Ahh Lightning!! This time I used prints to create the strong contrast. The thing I learned in working with black and white prints is that you need to separate them into piles of white prints on mostly black background and the opposite: black prints on a mostly white backround. If too many of the prints have equal amounts of both colors, the contrast will be lost when mixed with other fabrics. I love throwing in a bit of gray when working with black and white prints to give the composition a bit of extra interest.

Again, I chose to accent part of the design using yellow-green solids. I guess I have a thing with black, white and green! Lightning is patterned in mybook Machine Quilting with Style, and I used leftovers to make a fun pieced backing!

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Click here for a tutorial on making the pieced backing.

HRT’s

hrt

Lately I have been having a thing for HRT (half-rectangle triangle) designs. Usually when I design in EQ7, I start out with solid black and white. That’s where this design is now. I’m sure I will tweak it quite a bit before coming up with a final layout. I may even completely change the colors, too. But for now, using black and white while designing allows me to create the most graphic impact I can, allowing me to focus on the design, rather than the colors I will eventually use. The funny thing is, each time I’ve started a design in black and white, I want to make that version, too!

Double Star Quilt

Double Star Quilt

I designed this Double Star Block for a friend’s monthly block tutorial series (The Beehive from Blossom Heart Quilts) and I love secondary pattern that emerges when the blocks are placed together side by side. This is one of those ideas that I designed in gray scale first, and then just decided to keep it that way! Although I only made one block for the series, I’m dying to make a whole quilt from these!

doublestar_finished

Click here to get my double star block tutorial.

How about you? I’m curious to know what your favorite color, or color combination is. Please leave a comment and let me know! The be sure to follow along with the color series to see other fabulous combos.

Click here to read all of the color series posts on Factotum of Arts.

Machine Quilting with Style: Color Crystals Re-Imagined

I’m so excited to share additional colorways of the third quilt from my first book, Machine Quilting with Style. Color Crystals is my modern version of a jelly roll quilt! In practically any bundle you buy, you can separate the solids or prints into distinctive colorways, and then use the leftover strips on the back.
Here’s the original quilt using a bundle of bright Kona Solids:
color-crystals
 Rain 54″ x 62″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Color Crystals, Re-imagined

Here’s an alternate colorway I designed in EQ7 using Amanda Herring’s Desert Bloom collection for Riley Blake. This pretty group is divided into three colorways of red, aqua, and gray with two whisper soft background prints that I alternated in the background strips. I repeated some of the fabrics to create cohesion in the design.
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I was having so much fun playing around with these fabrics, that I decided to flip the positive/negative space in this version below. I placed the strips randomly in the background to create a  sense of movement and paired them with solid red “crystals” for a bolder, more dynamic design.
color-crystals-desert-bloom-red
Now can you just imagine all the possibilities??

Quilter’s Dream Prize Sponsor

When I make my quilts, the batting is just as important as the fabrics and thread. Therefore I’m delighted to announce that one of my favorite batting companies, Quilter’s Dream

will be giving away two prizes to help promote their new Dream 80/20.

Each winner will get a White Dream 80/20 queen and a Natural Dream 80/20 queen. This time around, winners we be selected from the US due to shipping limitations.

quilters_dream_80-20

To enter, just leave a comment letting me know your favorite way to use a jelly roll! For a bonus entry, you can share a picture of one of your jelly roll quilts in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa. We have a really fun community over there and everyone loves getting inspired by what everyone else is doing!

Last Week’s Winners

Congrats to Jane M. and Diane M. who each won a copy of my second book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting (co-authored with Angela Walters). I’ll pick this week’s winner next Thursday morning and post it with the next re-imagined quilt next Friday!

Christa Watson Books

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

*Note: this post contains affiliate links – thanks for your support!!

QuiltCon Article from NQA

I love being a cheerleader for modern quilting. When I stumbled upon the style in 2012 and attended the first QuiltCon in 2013, it really changed the course of my quilting career in so many positive ways. I was able to meet people making art that really resonated with me and I was able to find my voice within the larger quilting community.

Back in 2014-2015 I wrote a regular column about machine quilting for the National Quilting Association, which sadly, went defunct at the end of last year. During my time writing for them, I was also able to co-author an article about QuiltCon with Jacquie Gering for NQA’s magazine, The Quilting Quarterly.  Because I’ve grown my readership quite a bit since that time, I wanted to republish this article so that any of you who missed it the first time around get a chance to read it. This is especially important for those of you who may not have yet attended QuiltCon, or might be going for the first time in 2017. It will give you a better idea of what to expect when you go. I’m re-sharing it here with Jacquie’s permission as well as the former editor of NQA magazine. Enjoy!

QuiltCon Article page 1

QuiltCon Article page 2

QuiltCon Article page 3

QuiltCon Article page 4

Machine Quilting with Style: Rain Re-Imagined

Welcome back to week 2 of the 12 week celebration for Machine Quilting with Style! This week I’m excited to again share “Rain,” which I think is one of the most modern quilts I’ve ever made. My husband Jason was actually the one who inspired the design. He was doodling on his iPad one day and I thought his design would make an awesome quilt! So I translated his scribbles into this minimalist modern quilt:

rain

Rain 60″ x 80″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Jason and I went back and forth with ideas for naming this quilt (meteor shower, streaks of color colored rain, etc.), and the colorful strips for some reason brought to mind streaks of rain. Wouldn’t it be nice if rain really was colorful like this? Then I had the idea to quilt with heavier weight colorful threads matching each of the strips and extending the quilting lines off the ends, creating a streaked effect.

rain_detail

When you look closely, you can see that the parallel straight-line quilting isn’t exactly perfect and that’s okay. I truly believe that “perfectly imperfect” quilting adds to the beauty and hand-crafted look of the piece!

Purple Rain

I’ve been wanting to explore different colorways with this design and of course the first variation I thought of was Purple Rain. When Prince died earlier this year, the design became even that much more meaningful to me.

purple_rain

I think the light gray sets off the purple strips nicely, don’t you agree?

How about this black and gray version? It’s the same design but tweaked by using just two colors and letting the stripes go all the way across the quilt. The graphic movement it creates is very striking, and I love exploring design possibilities like this!

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Although I used solids for these versions, I’ve seen several of you remake this quilt using prints, which looks just as fabulous! In fact, when you click the link below to view all of the quilts from my book, you’ll see another variation of each finished quilt made by my friends. This should get the ideas flowing!

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

Weekly Giveaway

For this week’s celebration, I’m giving away a signed copy of my second book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, co-authored with Angela Walters. One US reader will receive a hard-copy, signed by both of us, and one international friend will get an e-copy from my friends at Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

To enter, leave a comment below letting me know if you’ve ever made a modern quilt before. For an extra bonus entry, you can share a picture of your favorite modern quilt in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. And just to clarify – what’s modern to you is modern to me.🙂

Last Week’s WinnerS:

Congratulations to Lori M. and Jill B. who each won a copy of Machine Quilting with Style! I’ve sent message to both. I’ll pick this week’s winner next Thursday and post it with the next re-imagined quilt next Friday!

Machine Quilting With Style

Click here to purchase signed copies of either of my books.

The Quilter’s Planner 2017 – Now Available for Pre-order

Let me tell you how I met my friend Stephanie Palmer, creator of The Quilter’s Planner. We both had been invited to tape a series of machine quilting demonstrations for QNNtv’s Quilt It – The Longarm show back in the summer of 2015.

We were picked up from the airport at the same time and immediately connected. By the end of our 30 minute car ride we had swapped life stories and become instant friends! She told me all about the creation of The Quilter’s Planner, and it was such fun to listen to her describe her project with such passion and enthusiasm.

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Stephanie shows me one of her projects in the large “green room” while we take turns being filmed.
Several quilts from my books  are laid out flat on the table beside her.

When Stephanie invited me to participate as one of the designers for the 2017 Quilter’s Planner, of course I jumped at the chance to participate. Not only is the Quilter’s Planner perfect for keeping track of day-to-day things like a regular planner, it has specialty planning pages just for quilters.

quilters-planner-2017-cover

The 2017 Quilter’s Planner features this awesome cover, which will also be included as a pattern!

And to top it off, The Quilter’s Planner comes with a pattern pack of 14 downloadable PDFs. I was thrilled to make Feathered Chevrons as my contribution. It’s a remake of my older Charming Chevrons design, updated with a new layout using my Kona Solids palette.

feathered_chevronsPhotography taken in scenic Maine by Kitty Wilkin of Night Quilter.

I was even more thrilled with the photography, beautifully taken by our talented friend Kitty Wilkin (who can photograph your quilts, too if you are interested.)

feathered_chevrons_styledPhotography taken in scenic Maine by Kitty Wilkin of Night Quilter.

I especially love how Kitty got some great closeups of the quilting on this quilt. I used two of my favorite machine quilting designs, “Switchbacks” and a variation of “Swirls ‘n Pearls.” As I do with all of my quilts, I love to include machine quilting suggestions with my patterns.

feathered_chevrons_quilting

Photography taken in scenic Maine by Kitty Wilkin of Night Quilter.

feathered_chevrons_swirls

To learn more about each of the featured designers, click each name below to go to their blog and follow them!! Many have already included pictures of their quilts that will be included.

Amy Friend of During Quiet TimeAmy Sinibaldi of Nana and Co., AnneMarie Chany of GenXQuiltersCheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs, Karen Lewis of Karen Lewis TextilesKari Vojtechovsky of Craft-HappyKatie Blakesley of Swim Bike QuiltLee Monroe of May ChappellLindsey Rhodes of LR StitchedRita Hodge of Red Pepper QuiltsStephanie Palmer of Late Night Quilter, Yvonne Fuchs of Quilting Jetgirl

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Order your copy of the quilter’s planner today!

 

Machine Quilting With Style: Ripples Re-imagined

Ripples is the first quilt presented in my book Machine Quilting with Style. The technique is what I call “structured improv.” The basic block shape is a traditional log cabin. However, each of the individual “logs” in the quilt are cut and pieced improvisationally so that no two blocks are alike! I selected teals and grays from my stash, plus leftovers from other projects. Here’s the original quilt as it appears in the book, my abstract representation of rippling water:

ripples_no_background

Ripples 66″ x 88″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Let’s Play!

Now it’s time to have some fun, discovering alternate looks for this design! Of course the layout possibilities are endless. Here’s a another version, showing the same color scheme, set in a more traditional “barn-raising” layout. I imported swatches of fabrics from some of my favorite fabric brands into EQ7 to create a “virtual stash” for this quilt.

ripples_bluegrey_barnraising

I design my quilts in EQ7 so that I know what they’ll look like before I make the first cut!

Here’s another layout, and another colorway, using Bonnie and Camille’s Ruby collection, plus coordinates  from my “virtual” stash. I selected reds and greens for one half of the block, with aquas, creams and light grays for the other half. I set the blocks slightly differently so that now the ripples go the other way and are more centered.

ripples_bandc_opposite

Here’s another graphic layout with very strong lines, called Zig-Zags, using the same fabrics. In all variations, the same number of blocks are made, but each block is rotated differently.

ripples_bandc_zigzag

Isn’t it fun to explore the possibilities? I hope you will enjoy seeing all of the quilts from Machine Quilting with Style re-imagined over the next few weeks. Perhaps you’ll discover that one of the designs speaks to you in a new colorway.

Celebration Giveaway

Each week as I share the re-imagined quilts, I’ll celebrate the one-year milestone of my book release with a giveaway. To start off, I’ll give away a signed physical copy of Machine Quilting with Style to one lucky reader here in the US! And my publisher will send an e-copy to one of my international friends!

Machine Quilting With Style

To enter, leave a comment letting me know if you’ve ever made a log cabin quilt – and if you want to share – how many?? For an extra bonus entry, you can share a picture of your favorite log cabin quilt you’ve made in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa.

Comments will be open through next Thursday at 6PM PST. I’ll  a choose two winners at random (one US, one Int’l.) and will announce their names in next week’s post on Friday, along with the next virtual quilt!

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

We’re Celebrating a Birthday This Week! (But It’s not What you Think)

It’s time for a birthday celebration, even though it’s not technically my birthday. Although my daughter did make me this lovely cake when it was my birthday last month.

cake

My favorite cake – German Chocolate with Coconut icing. The strawberries were a nice touch.

Happy Book-Birthday!

What I’m excited to celebrate is that it’s my first book’s first birthday, this Thursday, September 8th! (The fact that I published another one less than 9 months later makes them almost like twins right??)

But anyway… I can’t believe it was just a year ago that I released Machine Quilting with Style, with the help of my friends at Martingale/That Patchwork Place. Now, some might call this an “anniversary” celebration, but writing a book really did take as much time and effort as having a child, so I think “birthday” is an appropriate word.🙂 And what a fabulous year it has been!

MachineQuiltingwithStyle_coverClick the image above to see each of the quilts in the book, plus an alternate version.

I have to thank so many loyal friends and followers for helping this book be so successful! It really does mean a lot to me when you guys cheer me on.🙂 In the last year, I’ve met so many fabulous people, while Machine Quilting with Style has reached some milestones, too.

It’s consistently stayed in the top 100 for patchwork books on Amazon, and it’s been one of my publisher’s Top 20 bestsellers. Seven of the quilts have been in local and national quilt shows, and three have won ribbons. All of this furthers my goal of reaching a wider audience and helping people understand that it’s okay to make “perfectly imperfect” quilts!

Quilts ON Display from Machine Quilting with Style:

quilt_collage

In order above: Facets won 2nd at AQS Paducah, Candy Pop and String of Pearls won ribbons at my local show, Rain and Focal point hung at QuiltCon, Lightning and Square in a Square were juried into Road to California. The rest are: Little Man’s Fancy, Static, Ripples, Color Crystals, and Broken V.

If you haven’t yet seen the book, take a look at this awesome video review from the folks at Chatterbox Quilts. Honestly, it made me tear up a little. I mean, you love what you create, but when other people do, too, it can be quite a humbling experience!

Let’s Celebrate!

To celebrate this huge milestone, I thought it would be fun to re-color each of the quilts in EQ7 (the software I originally used to design the quilts), and then showcase them side by side along with the original quilt so you can compare the two. I’ll share one new colorway each week, starting this Thursday. After all, sometimes a quilt can look completely different just by changing up the fabrics.

And of course, no birthday celebration would be complete without gifts! So along with helping you imagine what the designs would look like in different fabrics, I’ll be hosting 12 weeks of giveaways, one for each quilt. Won’t that be fun??

machine_quilting_detail

I love all of the detailed photography in the book, shot by the talented Brent Kane for Martingale.

Sharing is Caring

As I re-share the quilts each week, I hope you’ll also share your versions of them in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa. This will provide loads of inspiration for those just starting out on their quilt-making journey. Many times, I end up liking my friends’ versions even better than the originals!

facebookgroupClick the image above to join my facebook group and share your quilts, finished or not!

Where to Buy

So I’ll meet you back here on Thursday to get this party started!! In the meantime, you can purchase Machine Quilting with Style from your favorite local quilt shop, or these locations:

Signed Copy from Me
Amazon (lowest price)
Martingale/That Patchwork Place (free e-copy with purchase)

MQWS_signed

The very first copy I received is the most special because it was signed by all those who helped produce this book. It really does take a village to write a book!

Meet my friend Annie Smith

Vegas friends! My good friend and fellow BERNINA ambassador Annie Smith is coming to town! She’s made up a flyer below with all the details, and my good friends at Sew Yeah Quilting have offered up a special discount! code. Use the code COLOR to get $20 off her two day class. Plus, her Thursday night lecture and trunk show is free. How cool is that?
Annie Smtih Ad-for-Color-Sense-class

If you’ve never met Annie before, she’s such a fun person! She hosts a long-running fun podcast called Annie’s Quilting Stash which is the first podcast ever for quilters. In fact I was a guest on her show back in February of this year. Click here to listen.

Annie also the author of The Ultimate Applique Guidebook which I think is such a definitive work on the subject!

applique_guidebook

Click here to learn more about Annie’s Free Trunk Show

Click here to register for Annie’s 2-day class

If you don’t get a chance to catch her live  in person, she has online videos, too. Click here to go to her blog and find out more about it. Happy quilting, friends!

My Local Teaching Schedule, Fall 2016

I enjoy traveling around the country at various quilt shows, guilds and events to teach. But I can’t neglect my local friends and fans, so I’ve made sure to schedule a few classes around here, too. If you live nearby, or plan to drop by for a fun Vegas weekend, be sure to sign up for my machine quilting classes this fall, taught at three fabulous quilt shops in town:

Upcoming Machine Quilting Classes in Las Vegas:

Quatrefoil-Applique_Christa_detail

Sept 8, 5:30-8:30 PM at The Christmas Goose
Ultimate Free-Motion Fillers

Learn 12 fun fillers in just 3 hours! This class will walk you through a dozen of the free-motion motifs from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. This will be a fast paced class, so students should be comfortable working with their machines and have a little bit of experience with machine quilting. Class size is limited to 10 students. Call the shop at 702-877-1158 to register, or stop by the shop at 2988 South Durango #109.

improv_machine_quilting_image

October 14, 2:30-5:30 PM at Quiltique
Improv Machine Qujilting

Liberate yourself from traditional quilting symmetry by combining your favorite machine quilting motifs in a seemingly random way. Add amazing texture to the negative spaces in your quilts and create your own unique combinations.

The class will cover basic free-motion filler designs such as pebbles, swirls, leaves, paisleys, triangles, and more. Learn how to improvisationally combine them for stunning results. Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.

Stop by Quiltique’s class sign up day event in August to register, located at 213 N. Stephanie Street, Suite E, Henderson, NV 89074. Or call the shop after Sept. 1 at 702-563-8600.

spirals_swirls_classimage

October 15, 1-4 PM at Sew Yeah Quilting
Machine Quilting spirals and swirls

Learn how to quilt modern, geometric spirals and swirls using both walking foot and free-motion motifs. Students will learn how to quilt stunning designs from Machine Quilting with Style, such as large continuous spirals, geometric spirals, and several swirl variations. Spirals can be quilted in different areas of your quilts, or used as an allover design. Combine motifs for even more possibilities! Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.

Click here to register online. You can also register in person at the shop, located at 3690 N Rancho Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89130, or call the shop at (702) 586 – 8687.

fmq_straight_line_alternatives

November 16, 6-9 PM at THE CHRISTMAS GOOSE
Free-Motion Alternatives to Straight Line Quilting

Go beyond the straight line and use your free-motion quilting skills to their fullest. In this workshop, students will learn how to turn basic shapes into linear free-motion quilting designs. Quilt them as allover designs across the surface of your quilt, or use them sporadically to create custom quilting motifs. Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.

Class size is limited to 10 students. Call the shop at 702-877-1158 to register, or stop by the shop at 2988 South Durango #109.

My Traveling Schedule

If you live outside of the Las Vegas area, be sure to check out my traveling and teaching schedule here. My schedule is currently booked through the end of 2017 but I’m now accepting offers for 2018, so I may be visiting a place near you!

My Week at John C Campbell Folkschool 2016

I had the most fabulous time teaching a group of students how to make a modern quilt at the John C. Campbell Folkschool last week. We used my Charming Chevrons pattern and it was so fun to see all of the variations!

charming_chevrons_class

I had a wonderful group of 8 students who made 9 quilts in 5 days!!

The Folkschool has been around since 1925, offering classes on dozens of different arts and crafts disciplines. For a week long class, students arrive on Sunday and get settled in, then work for 5 days straight in 6 hours of classes per day, with breaks for yummy meals 3 times a day!

My students started cutting and sewing on Monday, and by the time of the student presentation on Friday afternoon, every single one of them had a finished quilt top, two had completely finished quilts, and most of the rest of them had their quilts basted and ready to finish at home.

Gerry_Basting

Gerry smooths out her quilt after it has been spray basted, while Fran is ironing one of two charity quilts she was able to complete during class. Check out those mountain views!!

I taught a similar class last year, using my Modern Logs pattern. This year I encouraged the students to work at their own pace, and several of them took advantage of open sewing time in the evening to get a little more done. We covered all aspects of making a quilt: cutting, piecing, basting, machine quilting and binding.

Pam_Modern_logs

Pam Howard is the resident Weaver at the Folkschool. She took my modern logs class last year and brought back her completed quilt! Her Charming Chevrons blocks are on the wall behind her.

It was so fun to see the students’ faces light up when they realized that yes, they can make an entire quilt on their home sewing machines!!

Susan_quilting

Susan was so excited to quilt her chevron quilt in class! Each student had their own table and design wall – plenty of space in which to work! That’s Barb’s top hanging on the wall.

Each students’ quilts were so unique. Whether it was their first quilt, or they had been quilting for decades, all had fun and created a beautiful work of art!

Lucy_quilting

First-time-quilter Lucy quilted an easy wavy plaid design with her walking foot. I brought along copies of my machine quilting books so students hand plenty of designs from which to choose!

While I was teaching quilting, my husband Jason took a photography class. In fact, he told me he hopes I teach there on a regular basis, so he can take a class each time I teach.

jason_folkschool

Jason poses beside the welcome sign on the first day of class.

The good news is, I’ll be back again in the summer of 2018. (My 2017 teaching calendar was already full.) We haven’t set an exact date yet, but I’m thinking sometime in June would be great.

jason_photography

One of the landscape pictures Jason took during his photography class. The folkschool is nestled in the mountains and the views are just spectacular!

Each Folkschool instructor has their own specialty, and I love that mine is teaching how to make a complete quilt from start to finish, while emphasizing the modern aesthetic.  I’ll repeat this format in 2018, albeit with a different pattern. Several of the students have already said they plan to come again, so it will be a fun reunion!!