Block Chain QAL Week 3 – Sewing the Quilt Top

How are your Block Chain quilt blocks coming along? Be sure to share pics of your progress in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group or instagram #blockchainquilt and ask any questions you have. I love to cheer you on!

Block Chain quilt pattern

Click here for my free tutorial on how to make a design wall.

This week it’s time to finish up those blocks and sew them into a completed quilt top, also knowns as a “flimsy.” Refer to the Block Chain pattern pages 5-7 for the step by step instructions.

The easiest way to arrange your blocks is to use a design wall so you can stand back and play around with the color placement of your blocks. Just don’t overthink it since they will look great no matter what!

If you don’t have a design wall, you can use a design floor, or maybe even a design bed! No matter where you lay them out, be sure to take a picture of them with your camera phone, so you can refer back to the layout again and again as you sew.

I was in a hurry to make this quilt so I don’t have a lot of in-progress pics, but I want to point out a little thing I like to do when sewing the blocks. You can see a closeup of the pattern layout here in this diagram:

block layout

Rotate every other block so that the background seams don’t intersect. This will make it faster and easier to sew the rows together. Pin generously for best results and press each row as you go. In fact, I like to sew pairs of blocks, then press them, then sew them into larger pairs. It’s easier to press smaller chunks of blocks so the whole process isn’t so overwhelming.

Sew a Victory Lap!

When the quilt top is complete, you’ll want to “stay-stitch” the edges by sewing all the way around the edges of the quilt (called the perimeter.) Do this about 1/8″ away from the edge so it will get hidden when you put on the binding. If you add borders to your quilt, you can skip this step since the borders will stabilize the edges instead.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK:

After we are done with the top, it will be time to piece the backing, prep our backing and get ready to baste. This is a quick process so you can take a little extra time to finish your quilt top if needed.

My finished quilt top is ready to baste!

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFO ABOUT THIS QAL?

Make More Quilts from Your Favorite Precuts: My Stop on the Benartex Precut Hop!

Today is my stop on the Benartex Precut Project Hop and I have a load of fun ideas for you! I’ve rounded up a collection of precut-friendly quilts I’ve made from my 5 Benartex fabric collections, including a mix of free patterns, paid patterns, and remakes from my books. I hope this will inspire you to put those precuts to use!

The Freebies

Click here to download any of these free patterns shown below.

Rainbow Taffy Made from Charm PacksRainbow Taffy by Christa Watson made from Modern Marks

By using 4 Modern Marks Charm packs +  white background I was able to really show off the rainbow in my debut collection. You’ll get a different look when using scrappy charms, but it’s just as much fun to make!

Beaded Lanterns Made from Strip-Pies

Beaded Lanterns Finished Quilt

This quilt solved the dilemma of how to use precut 2 1/2″ strips + background all from the same collection. With the introduction of the gray print from my Fandangle line, I designed this quilt so that it uses 36 (out of 40) Fandangle precut strips. That gives you wiggle room to leave out a couple of fabrics if needed and still get a cohesive looking quilt.

Paid Patterns

Click here to purchase paper versions of my paid patterns
Click here to purchase PDF versions of my paid patterns

Improv Squares Made from 10″x10″ Squares

Improv Squares Quilt Pattern using Modern Marks Fabric

The original version of this quilt was made from 10″ squares of my Modern Marks line. Since the Modern Marks 10″ squares have long since sold out, I’ve been itching to remake this quilt using gone of my other fabric lines. All you need is a contrasting background fabric to really make those precuts pop!

Bling Made from Fat Quarters

Bling Quilts with Geo Pop

I love this quilt pattern so much I made it twice! Both of these versions hung in my trade show booth to showcase my Geo Pop fabric collection. I wanted to show what it would look like using the exact same block fabrics, but with a completely different background fabric in black or white. Which one is YOUR favorite??

Color Weave made from Precut Strips (or Fat Quarters)

Color Weave Quilt Abstract Garden Fabric

This has been BY FAR my most popular pattern ever. This rainbow-colored quilt was really quite satisfying to make. The pattern comes with instructions to make it from precut strips (I made my version from Abstract Garden). If you don’t have duplicate strips (2 of each color), you can also make it from fat quarters to get the rainbow gradation effect.

Lattice Work Made from Charm Squares

LatticeWork quilt by Christa Watson

This pattern is such a great design to show off a favorite bundle of precut squares! I love charm pack patterns because they are super versatile; if you don’t have enough charms, you can use 10″ squares instead and then cut them into 4 squares each.

Terrace Tiles Made from Fat Quarters

Terrace Tiles by Christa Watson

I loved this design I made it three times to show off 3 different colorways of my newest line, Gridwork. Fat Quarters are actually my favorite precut because they are the most versatile. You can cut ANY precut you like from fat quarters, and you’ll always have enough.

From My Books

Click here to get signed copies of my quilting books.
The patterns below are all included in my book Pieced and Quilt with Precuts

Star Struck Made from Fat Quarters

Modern Starstuck by Christa Watson

Dot n Dash made from 2 1/2″ Precut Strips

Dot 'n Dash quilt by Christa Watson

Squiggles Made from 5″ Squares

Squiggles by Christa Watson

I love precuts so much that I wrote an entire book on what to do with them!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this virtual trunk show and are inspired to put them to good use.

Enter My Giveaway!

To celebrate my love of precuts, I’m offering 3 lucky winners a PDF pattern of their choice from my current pattern line below. Most of them are precut friendly and they are all fun to make!

ChristaQuilts Patterns

To enter, first take a look at all of the projects that have been shared so far during the hop. (Click this link for all of the participants and check out their amazing projects.) Then leave me a comment on THIS POST letting me know which has been your favorite project (and who made it if you can remember)! The giveaway will run through the end of the month, March 31 and the winner will be notified via email.

Sneek Peek alert!!

I’m now in the midst of sewing up a plethora of new precut friendly projects and patterns fro a future fabric line… so stay tuned!!! There will be precuts-a-plenty later this summer. 🙂

good vibes by christa watson for Benartex

 

Block Chain QAL Week 2 – Sewing the Blocks

What a week it has been since we began! I know that many of you are home sewing and I hope this Block Chain quilt along is just what you need to make something beautiful when the world is in a bit of chaos! This week we will be sewing our chain blocks using the 5″ charm squares + black accent fabric.

Blockchain quilt blocks

My blocks above are made from Gridwork charm squares + square grid fabric in black

Follow the Block Chain pattern instructions on page 2 to trim down your black strips, and sew the center units shown above.

For the next step, I used the hourglass fabric in gray for my contrasting background because I love the texture, but I think it would look super cool with the black/white print also.

Click here to get the Gridwork hourglass prints by the yard in black/white or gray.

Continue with the pattern instructions on pages 3-5 to sew as many blocks as you need for your size. The contrast around the center squares really makes them pop!

Block chain blocks

Tip: when sewing all of the complete blocks above, I like to chain piece as much as possible. That means sewing all of the same unit to all of the blocks, one right after the other without clipping threads in between. I prefer to sew with a shorter stitch length (2.5 instead of 3.0) and press my seams open for nice, flat blocks.

Click here to get my Aurifil Neutrals Thread Box for just $99 while supplies last! 

Sewing with a shorter stitch length also hides the piecing thread so it doesn’t poke through in between the seams. I used my neutrals thread collection for piecing this quilt because they blend into all of the different colored fabrics.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK:

Next week we will start sewing our blocks into the quilt top. Just remember, you can work at your own pace, faster or slower as you wish. I’m here to cheer you on each step of the way!

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFO ABOUT THIS QAL?

Block Chain QAL Week 1 – Cutting the Fabric

Welcome to the Block Chain quilt along! This week we will be cutting all the fabric needed to make this quilt. It will be super easy because the center of each block features precut squares which are already cut for you (one of the reasons I love working with precuts)!

Gridwork Charmpack

My version uses 36 out of the 42 squares included in the Gridwork Charm Pack.

Sorting the Charm Squares

You will need one charm square for each block in your quilt. Because the throw size consists of 36 blocks and my  Gridwork charm pack includes 42 squares, I pulled out 6 squares of the black and gray prints. I like the random coloring below with just two of the black/white squares included for interest. Refer to the Block Chain pattern for the number of squares you’ll need for the smaller or larger sizes.

The important thing to remember is that as long as there is contrast between the squares and the surrounding frames (black in my quilt), it will still look good. Here’s another tip: if one of your squares is the same color as your background, it will look like there’s a hole in your block, so avoid that if possible.

Block Chain by Christa WatsonClick here to get the Block Chain quilt kit wile supplies last.

Cutting the Black and gray Fabrics

Refer to the Gridwork quilt pattern on page 3 to cut out your accent, background, and binding strips. Here are closeup images of the fabrics that I used:

The black is called Square Grid. I included this one in the Gridwork line specifically for this quilt!!

Square Grid Black

There are several great grays in Gridwork but I really like the look of the gray Hourglass print for the background. It gives the quilt just the right amount of interest and texture!

gridwork Hourglass gray

I especially love using fun geometric bindings for my quilts, so I picked the black Circle Grid print to finish off the edges of the quilt.

Here’s a tip to save for the end: if you want a super narrow binding thats finishes exactly 1/4″ evenly on front and back, cut your strips 2″ and sew the binding on with 1/4″ seam allowance.

Circle Grid Black

Click here to stock up on yardage and bundles of your favorite Gridwork prints.

Looking ahead to next Week:

Next week we will start sewing all of our cut units into blocks. Just remember, you can work at your own pace, faster or slower as you wish. I’m here to cheer you on each step of the way!

Blockchain quilt blocks

Where Can I Find MORE Info about this qal?

Block Chain Quilt Along Supply List and Weekly Links

I’m excited to help you make my Block Chain quilt from start to finish over the next six weeks. All you need is a copy of the quilt pattern; cheerleading and moral support are free!!

Block Chain designed and made by Christa Watson

FINISHED SIZE SHOWN IS 69″ X 69″

Block Chain by Christa Watson

This colorful modern quilt is a remake of an earlier design I created before precuts became so popular (and before I was a fabric designer). Over the years, I’ve had numerous requests to reconfigure the design so that it can be made from charm packs:  5″ x 5″ squares of a favorite fabric line.

My quilt shown above was made from one Gridwork charm pack, plus contrasting black and gray Gridwork prints. As long as you have good contrast between your charm squares, accent fabric (black) and background (gray), it will look great no matter which colors you choose!

Block Chain quilt pattern

Supplies Needed For Throw Size as shown

Refer to the back of the pattern cover above for additional sizes. Click image above to enlarge. Feel free to substitute fabrics as desired to achieve the same colorful look.

Click here to purchase the optional Block Chain Kit, while supplies last!

Gridwork Charmpack

I loved designing all of the prints featured above in my Gridwork Charm Packs.

The throw size quilt calls for 36 charm squares. A standard size charm pack includes 40-42 squares, so that gives you some wiggle room to decide which squares you want to include in the quilt. Save the extra squares to make a matching pillow, sew them into the quilt backing, or use them to make a label when you’re finished with the quilt!

Quilt Along Schedule

Click each Hot Link below to See that step

Share and Interact with Other Makers!

So now it’s time to gather your supplies and share pics of which fabrics you’ll use. If you’re an instagram junkie (like me!), please tag me at @christaquilts and use the hashtag #blockchainquilt so I can see what you are doing and cheer you on!

If you’d like to ask questions or need additional help, please participate in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group. It’s a great place to encourage your fellow makers, and get additional ideas for fabric choices, and quilting ideas.

Block Chain Quilt

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Pieced Primrose Quilt Finishes – Ta Da!

I always like to post a final writeup of my quilt finishes (even when I’ve done a quilt along) so that I have a place where I can refer to the when I made the quilt, and keep track of the quilt details like fabrics & batting used. So hopefully you aren’t tired of seeing my Pieced Primrose quilts, yet. They were so fun to make!

Paper Pieced Primrose

Pieced Primrose FINISHED QUILT STATS

  • Finished sizes: 35″ x 35″
  • Designed using Electric Quilt 8 software
  • Pieced and quilted by Christa Watson on my Bernina 770QE
  • Fabric collection: Abstract Garden by Christa Watson for Benartex
  • Commercial Pattern : Pieced Primrose by Christa Watson
  • Batting used: Hobbs Tuscany 50/50 cotton/wool
  • Thread used: Aurifil 50 weight cotton from The Variegated Collection by Christa Watson
  • Quilting designs: edge to edge boxy spirals on cool, swirls on warm
  • Completed: October of 2018

Click here for the free quilt along to make this quilt.

Pieced Primose Quilt Abstract Garden Cool

Pieced Primrose Abstract Garden Warm

Quilting detail on PIeced Primrose cool

quilting details

Stock up on My Books Before the Next one Releases!

Can I share a secret with you? I’ve been working behind the scenes on my next book and I can’t wait to share it with you! However, before I give any sneak peeks, I want to offer  signed copies of my current books at a discount when you enter code BOOK at checkout . It’s my way of encouraging you to update your machine quilting library with any of my current titles that you don’t yet own.

Books by Christa Watson

Click here to get your signed copy of my books while supplies last.

I really enjoyed writing Machine Quilting with Style, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, and Piece and Quilt with Precuts, one right after the other! Then I took a break from book writing to start designing fabric. Now that I’ve been able to successfully work that into my busy life, it’s time to get back to books once again.

All 3 of my current books teach you how to make a complete quilt from start to finish, with thorough piecing instructions, plus step by step machine quilting diagrams which you can mix and match among all of the projects. Here’s a favorite quilt from each book:

Facets from Machine Quilting with Style

Facets Quilt

This was the very first quilt I ever designed for the book and I loved making my own fabric using solid scraps and improv piecing! I was thrilled when it won a ribbon in the modern category at Paducah – even though it’s far from perfect. But it’s full of yummy quilting goodness which gives it that special wow factor!

PlumB Lines from The Ultimate guide to Machine Quilting

Plumb Lines Quilt

This is the most modern quilt in the book and it was designed by my co-author Angela Walters. We each made the same 10 quilts using different fabrics and completely different machine quilting designs. So there’s loads of inspiration for all types of quilts from modern to traditional and everything in between!

Star Struck from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Starstruck by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Above is the original version in black and white as shown in the book. Below is my remake of the exact same quilt using  my Modern Marks fat quarters in bright bold colors. Isn’t amazing how different the same quilt can look, depending on the fabrics you choose? Modern Starstuck by Christa Watson

See All of the Quilts from my books

I created a gallery of all the quilts from my books including remakes of many of them in other color. I included a total of 64 images to inspire and delight.

Click here to view them all!

Christa Watson trunk show of quilts

A recent display of quilts from my books and patterns – I pieced and quilted every single one!

I hope you are excited to stock up on my books to complete your set, or buy an extra copy for a friend who’d would like to develop their machine quilting skills.

Click here to purchase any of my books while supplies last.

Pieced Primrose Quilt Along Week 8-Binding to Finish

I sure have enjoyed making my Pieced Primrose quilts and I hope you have, too. Now it’s time to put the finishing touches on the quilt with binding- either by hand or machine. Just remember, if you are still working on your quilt, I’m here to cheer you on – no matter how long it takes!

Pieced Primrose Warm Colorway

Because I wanted to include all 10 prints of warm or cool from my Abstract Garden line, I used 9 fabrics for the blocks and then the focal print “Raised Beds” for the backing and binding of both Pieced Primrose quilts.

Pieced Primrose in the Cool Colorway

When I first started quilting, I used to cut my binding strips 2 1/4″ wide, but recently I’ve started cutting them 2″ wide which makes for a nice, narrow finish that’s 1/4″ wide on both sides of the quilt. To figure out how many strips to cut, take the perimeter of the quilt (length of each side of the quilt) and add 10″. Then divide that number by your width of fabric and that tells you how many strips to cut.

For example, the Pieced Primrose wall size is 35″ on each side, so (35″ x 4) + 10 = 150″ of binding needed. I divide that by the usable fabric width of 40″ to which I round up to 4 strips to cut. (150/40 = 3.75). This simple quilt math works for any size quilt you need to make!

Abstract Garden by Christa Watson Raised Beds

Click here to get the Abstract garden “Raised Beds” fabric by the yard.

I was in a hurry to make my quilts on a deadline for quilt market when this fabric line was first released,  so I don’t have any step by step pics of my binding.  However, I click the links below to for several binding tutorials from previous quits:

LINKS AT A GLANCE

Click the links below for supplies needed to make Pieced Primrose

Pieced Primrose Quilt Throw Size

Pieced Primrose quilts show in the the throw size above.

Save the Date: Block Chain Quilt Along Coming Next Month!

I’m so pleased with how many of you have said you love doing my quilt alongs! So this year I’m thrilled to be sharing more quilt alongs than ever before! Now don’t feel like you have to do every single one – but I like to share a variety so that there’s something for everyone. I recently took a vote in my Facebook group and the overwhelming majority wanted to make Block Chain next and I can’t wait!
Block Chain by Christa Watson

Fabric requirements are super easy this time around: just one charm pack plus 2 contrasting background fabrics (black and gray or other combo). The quilt shown above and on the Block Chain pattern cover is Throw size, but you can make it in any sizes listed on the pattern, or easily adapt it to any size you like. The secret? Just make more blocks or add borders.

All you need is a copy of my  Block Chain quilt pattern to follow along. The quilt along itself is free!! Here’s the materials list sown on the back of the pattern cover – click to enlarge:

Block Chain Quilt Pattern

The fun will begin March 16 and just like all of my quilt alongs, we will go over every step of the quilt-making process: fabric selection, cutting, piecing, basting, quilting AND binding. If you follow me on the entire journey – you’ll have a fully finished quilt by the end, whoo hoo!!

So who wants to make this one with me?

Pieced Primrose Quit Along Week 7 – Machine Quilting

Can you believe we are almost to the end of our Paper Pieced Primrose Quilt Along? If you are just now hearing about it, scroll to the end for links to all of the other QAL posts. I’ll leave them up indefinitely so that you can make this quilt on your own time and schedule.

Paper Pieced Primrose

Click here to get the Pieced Primrose Quilt Kit made from Abstract Garden.

Quilting on Busy Quilts

The first thing to think about when quilting a busy quilt such as my versions shown above, is that the quilting won’t be a focal part of the quilt. It’s more about the interplay of the fabric colors and the geometry of the pieced design. So a busy quilt is a great place to practice a new quilting design, or one that you want to get better quilting.

machine quilt from Pieced Primrose

In the Pieced Primrose quilt pattern, I give machine quilting suggestions (just like I do in ALL of my quilt patterns). Because I made two versions of the same quilt, I quilted them with two different allover edge to edge free-motion designs: round spirals and square spirals.

When quilting an edge to edge design – I start on one side of the quilt and work my way across the quilt in a methodical fashion, block by block.

Variegated collection by Christa Watson

I used my Aurifil Variegated Thread Collection in blue and pink for each of the respective colorways. They blend into all of the fabrics and added a little bit of sparkle to the quilts. Here are a few detail shots below:

Abstract Garden Warm – click images to enlarge

Free Motion Swirls

Free Motion Swirls

Abstract Garden Cool – click images to enlarge

free motion boxes

free motion boxes

My favorite thing about quilting an allover edge to edge design is that it adds yummy texture to the quilt and is sooo forgiving! Your motifs don’t have to be perfect because you won’t see the individual stitches. And the best way to hide imperfect quilting is to surround it with MORE imperfect quilting!!

See Me qulting on Video!

I recently quilted 3 different versions of another quilt – Terrace Tiles using 3 different free-motion designs in the same way. I stitched Swirls and Boxes (similar to Square Spirals) on two of them and other fun design – Jagged Stipple – on the third.

Click play below to see  me quilting 3 different free-motion designs on Terrace Tiles:

LINKS AT A GLANCE

Click the links below for supplies needed to make Pieced Primrose

Next week we will bind our quilts to finish!

Pieced Primrose Warm
Pieced Primrose Abstract Garden Warm
Pieced Primrose CoolPieced Primose Quilt Abstract Garden Cool