The Making of Diamond in the Rough Part 2 – The Quilting

Click here to read about Part 1 – My design process for Diamond in the Rough.

Meeting up with Craftsy Acquisitions Editor at QuiltCon

Diamond in the Rough hanging at QuiltCon 2017. I’m with Linda Permann, my editor at Craftsy. I credit her with helping me put a name to the process I use to figure out how to quilt each quilt. It’s called “The Quilter’s Path.” Click here to register for my class of the same name.

Now I’m excited to tell you about how I quilted Diamond in the Rough, since that’s my favorite part of making any quilt! First of all, I printed off a copy of the EQ7 design on a regular 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper. (You can do the same thing by taking a picture of your quilt top and printing it onto paper – black and white is perfectly fine!!)

Machine Quilting Plan

This is the actual sketch I submitted to QuiltCon Magazine when it was accepted.

I always, always make a quilting plan before I quilt so that I can figure out the quilting path I’ll take to get it done. It’s like a puzzle – figuring out what designs I want to put where and how to maneuver around the quilt with the fewest stops and starts. I’m not too worried about scale here. I’m more interested in seeing how the texture of the quilting will look and where I may need to switch thread colors.

Of course, I have to sketch with black ink to see my design, so my quilting plan is pretty rough and quite stark when you look at it. However, from experience I know that I prefer to use a blending thread so that all you see is the overall texture, rather than the individual stitches.

Diamond in the Rough quilting detail

Overall, I’m really happy with how the quilting turned out. I’m just a little bummed that you can’t see the quilting in the black areas. I quilted a textural pebble design in the black triangles. Although I love the contrast of black and white, each time I quilt on black, I remind myself that it doesn’t show up as well as I would like. So I may need to use less black fabric in the future!!

I’m really happy with how the “Switchbacks” and “String of Pearls” quilting turned out in the white areas of the quilt. I teach how to quilt both of those designs in my book Machine Quilting with Style. It was super fun to combine them together in this quilt!

Quilting Detail on Diamond in the Rough

I used very dark gray, red, and white 50 weight cotton thread from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt collection for the machine quilting which I did all on my BERNINA. You can sort of see the pebble quilting on the top row of black diamonds in the image above.

Here’s a view from the back of the quilt where you can see the pebbles better. I normally use the same color thread in the top and bobbin so that any tension imperfections are not noticeable. However, since I didn’t want the dark gray thread showing up too strongly on the light back, I used an invisible thread in the bobbin when I quilted the pebbles. Here’s a tip: wind your bobbin slowly and only fill it half full!

Managing the quilt bulk while machine quilting

First I stitch in the ditch with the BERNINA dual feed before adding free-motion quilting.

Here’s the quilt in progress underneath my machine. I use a very technical process I call “scrunching and smooshing” to wrestle the bulk of the quilt. It’s really no more complicated that twisting and shoving enough of it out of the way so I can see what I’m doing. Here’s another tip: when working with a large quilt on a small machine, just remember you are only quilting about 5-6 inches of the quilt at any time, so it’s normal to stop and shift a LOT!!

QuiltCon 2017 Cover

Right now you can get a digital copy of my Diamond in the Rough quilt pattern in QuiltCon magazine. It includes the instructions for the piecing only, but when the rights revert back to me next year, I’ll release it on my own, most likely in multiple sizes with quilting suggestions.

I was pleased with the comments I received from the QuiltCon judges about the quilt:

  1. Strong offset focal point.
  2. Varied quilting motifs were well chosen and fit areas well.
  3. Strong geometric shapes create graphic visual appeal.

I’ve had at least one quilt in each QuiltCon and have yet to win a ribbon, but it’s still fun to get them accepted. In fact, the main reason I submitted this design for the magazine was that it was a guaranteed entry into the show. Since the other 5 I entered didn’t get in, I was really happy that this one did.

Diamond in the Rough by Christa Watson, at QuiltCon 2017

Making this quilt reminds me what I love most about the modern aesthetic: strong geometric forms, minimalist designs, and plenty of negative space for fun machine quilting. Although I love ALL quilts, making those on the modern end of the design spectrum truly make my heart happy!

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Registration is Open for Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival – And I’m Teaching!

The next big show/event I’ll be teaching at is the Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival in Utah, June 7-10, 2017. I really enjoy mixing it up when I teach: traveling to guilds, shops and larger events to meet as may of you as I can!

Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival

Last year was the first time I taught there and when they asked me to return, I couldn’t turn it down because it was so much fun!

Click here to register for my classes

This year, I will be teaching three classes and and giving a trunk show. Here’s my schedule:

Modern Lanterns: Wednesday, June 7th, 2-5 PM

Modern Lanterns Quilt

We will learn how to piece this fun, modern quilt top, made from one Jelly Roll of my Kona Solids palette plus one Jelly Roll of Gray solid. Of course it will look great in other fabrics, too! It’s from a collaboration book with my publisher that releases the week of class, so my students will be the first to get their hands on a copy!

Click here to register for Modern Lanterns class.

Trunk Show: Thursday June 8, 12:15-1:45 PM

There will be trunk shows each day – Thursday through Saturday at lunchtime and they are free to all registered attendees. I’m excited to share the latest quilts I’ve been making!

free-Motion Fillers, Thursday June 8, 2-5 PM (Sold OUt)
2nd Session Has Been Added from 6-9 PM

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

I’ll be teaching free-motion quilting from mine and Angela’s book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. Students can purchased signed copies of the book from me ahead of time at ChristaQuilts.bigcartel.com, or during the class.

Click here to register for the second session of Free-Motion Fillers

Walking Foot Quilting, Fri. June 9, 8:30-11:30 AM (Sold Out)
2nd Session Added Sat. June 10 8:30-11:30

Machine Quilting With Style

I’ll be teaching walking-foot quilting from my book Machine Quilting with Style. Students can purchased signed copies of the book from me ahead of time at ChristaQuilts.bigcartel.com, or during the class.

Click here to register for the second session of Walking Foot Quilting

In addition to the workshops and trunk shows there are all sorts of other fun events like a silent auction and chocolate fest, pioneer home tours, a parade and races, plus dinner theatre which reenacts the story of the famous Panguitch Quilt Walk. It’s great fun for the whole family!

Workshop with Christa Watson

Students in my Charming Chevrons workshop last year.

Click here for the complete workshop schedule. Classes are so reasonably priced that you could fly in and stay at a hotel for the price of workshops at other venues. I hope to see you there!

My Trip to QuiltCon 2017

QuiltCon 2017 which took place in Savannah, GA, was such a flurry of activity and excitement! I taught 5 classes, gave 1 lecture and had 2 book signings, not to mention multiple meet ups and business brunches. It was a fantastic experience, although quite exhausting. The only thing I regret was not having more time to see the show. I could have spent days staring at all of the amazing quilts and reading all of the artists’ statements. One thing is for sure, I returned home on fire, ready to make some more modern quilts! Here are just a few of the highlights for me…

Meeting up with Craftsy Acquisitions Editor at QuiltCon

Linda and I took a picture in front of my Diamond in the Rough Quilt at QuiltCon.
I’ll share more detailed pics about this quilt in a future blog post.

One of the fabulous people I ran into was Linda Permann, the acquisitions editor for my Craftsy class. We discussed how well my current class is going and talked about future collaborations as well. I’ll be sure and keep you posted as that unfolds! Oh yeah, and she totally made her top. Isn’t it cute???

Machine Quilting Practice, student work from a class by Christa Watson

Student work from “Free-Motion Alternatives to Straight Line Quilting”

I taught three machine quilting classes and was so thrilled watching my students unlock the power of domestic machine quilting. Each time one of them would tell me how much fun they were having, I made sure to let them know it’s just as much fun for me, too!

Student work from Christa Watson machine quilting class at QuiltCon

Student work from “Free-Motion Improv” class

In each class, I shared inspiration images and a mini trunk show so they could see how I apply the motifs I quilt onto actual quilts. Then we practiced drawing out each design so the students could get a feel for how to quilt each shape. The most fun part of any class is when a student takes one of the designs and really makes it their own. I also love it when I hear comments like “I think I can DO this!!” Yes – you definitely can!!! 🙂

View from the stage at QuiltCon

View from the stage before my lecture. I love how everyone chats and makes  friends!!

I gave a lecture about tips and tricks for quilting on your home sewing machine. My #1 tip is to make a quilting plan and find your path so that you know what you are going to do before you get there. It was really fun to speak to an audience full of enthusiastic quilters and I even brought a few of my quilts so they could come up afterwards and see them “in the cloth.”

Student Work in EQ7 Class

Caroline from Sew Can She attended my EQ class and wrote up a really nice blog post about it.

I also taught 2 Electric Quilt classes plus had a book signing in their booth. The best moment of class for me was when a student said “Now I don’t need to actually sew quilts any more. I can just make them virtually in EQ!!
The Gals of EQThese gals that work for EQ are so amazing! From left to right it’s Jenny, Sara, Christine and Ann. They helped me out in the booth during my book signing as well as during my class. If you ever need technical support for the software, they are happy to give it! (That’s my Square in a square quilt from Machine Quilting with Style that was hanging in their booth.)

Pam and Lynn from The Stitch TV Show

While getting ready for my book signing in the EQ7 booth,  I ran into some friends of mine, Pam and Lynn from TheStitchTVShow.com. They ended up helping me set things up and they hung around for a bit, so I always had someone to talk to, LOL!! Lynn is the one that is the same height as me so we decided to put Pam in the middle and create a “Pamwhich.” 🙂

Angela Walters, Christa Watson, Tula Pink at QuiltCon 2017

Tula and I both agree that Angela is the best co-author ever!

Probably the funniest moment of the show came when Angela and I were signing copies of our book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. Tula Pink heard that we were there so she ended up crashing the party and it turned into the 3 of us signing both our books we wrote with Angela.

While Angela and I were writing our book, she was also working on the book with Tula. I joked around with everyone that I totally didn’t mind that she “quilts around” LOL!!! 🙂

Stephanie and Stephanie, the Quilting Podcasters

Two quilting podcasters, both named Stephanie

I personally think that QuiltCon is the most interactive quilt show out there. Not only could you hear squeals of delight as internet friends met each other for the first time, but you could take part in the show even if you weren’t there. QuiltCon set up a podcast booth right on the show floor where they invited 4 well-known podcasters to record interviews during the show. I was fortunate enough to be invited to chat for a few minutes with Stephanie from Sit and Sew Radio.

Sit and Sew Radio Podcast

Click here to listen to Sit and Sew Radio – the first QuiltCon edition.

You can also check out thousands of pics on instragram with the hashtags #quiltcon and #quiltcon2017. Plus the MQG has posted images of all the winners.

Machine Quilting Detail from Best of Show at QuiltCon 2017

Machine Quilting detail of Bling, the best of Show winner by Kat Jones.

QuiltCon 2018 will be Pasadena, California with keynote speaker Carolyn Friedlander, then in 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. So far, I’ve attended every show, and I plan to keep going to it every year because I personally think it’s the best party around!

QuiltCon 2018

For further reading, check out my experiences from:
QuiltCon 2016
QuiltCon 2015
QuiltCon 2013

New PDF Pattern Release – Stepping Stones (on Sale)

After the success of my most recent pattern launch for Positive Direction, I’m back again with my second new release of the year. I’d like to introduce you to Stepping Stones, available as an instant PDF download through my Craftsy pattern shop.

Stepping Stones quilt pattern by Christa Watson of Christa QuiltsClick here to get Stepping Stones on sale now for just $5.95!

Stepping Stones was originally patterned as “Easy Going” in Quilts and More magazine and available in one size only. Now I have expanded the pattern to include 4 sizes from Crib to Queen. It’s super fast to make and is perfect to use up that favorite fat quarter bundle you’ve been hoarding. Or bust your stash by cutting each block from 2 different fabrics!

Stepping Stones Quilt Pattern in 4 Sizes

Make Stepping Stones in 4 sizes: Crib, Throw, Twin or Queen!

Stepping Stones fabric requiremenets

Stepping Stones Fabric Requirements – It’s Fat Quarter Friendly!

I used Me + You Hoffman batiks which gives it a bit of a modern vibe. I chose cool colors of teals, blues, and greens with a bit of yellow and tan to create some warm pops of color. I used leftovers to make a whimsical scrappy binding.

Machine Quilting Boxes on Stepping Stones

I also include quilting suggestions so that you can quilt it the same way I did, if you are so inclined. I quilted Stepping Stones using one of my favorite geometric motifs – boxes. This quilting motif looks great on both modern and traditional quilts.

Machine Quilting Plan for Boxes

I love including quilting plans and machine quilting suggestions in my patterns!

Machine Quilting Detail

I used Aurifil 50 wt. 100% cotton thread from my Piece and Quilt Collection to make the quilt from start to finish. I’ve curated a rainbow of color that allows me to piece, quilt and bind any quilt I wish to make!

Stepping Stones Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

Jason and I had a great time taking pics out in the desert behind our home. I enjoy making the quits, and he enjoys photographing them so you can really see the details!

The key to making this quilt sparkle is by choosing several very light fabrics for the skinny strips between the blocks. Then, when it comes to choosing colors for this quilt, anything goes!

Stepping Stones by Christa Watson

Stepping Stones is on sale now at the intro price of just $5.95 through the end of the month, on Tuesday February 28th. After that, it will go back up to the regular price of $9.95 so grab it while you can! Then be sure to share your progress with me in my facebook group while you make it.

Click here to view my PDF pattern shop and stock up on your favorites!

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Three Pinwheel Quilts: From EQ7 Sketch to Finished Quilt

For my Craftsy class that launched last month, I made the same Pinwheel quilt three different ways, with different fabrics and quilting designs. Now I’m back to share a little more up close and personal about each quilt.

Walking foot quilting from The Quilter's Path Craftsy ClassDetail of Walking Foot Quilting on Pinwheels Quilt #1.

As an EQ ambassador and artist, I pretty much do all of my quilt designing in EQ7. So I thought it would be fun to show you each of the quilts along with their original sketches that I drew.

EQ7 Drawing of Pinwheels QuiltThis is my sketch of the first pinwheels quilt shown in my online class, using 1930’s repro prints. I didn’t worry about the prints being an exact match. This sketch just gave me an idea of how busy prints would look against a dark blue background.

Pinwheels quilt, machine quiltied with a wavy grid design using a walking foot/dual feed

When it came to making the first quilt with a navy background, I actually had enough fabric to make two quilts (using a jelly roll of Boundless 1930’s Delights along with a jelly roll of Boundless Solids Navy.) The version above was the finished sample shown in class. I made a second one shown below to stitch on during filming as I demonstrated one of the walking foot quilting techniques. Rather than making two of the exact same quilt, I divided the prints into two colorschemes – patriotic and pastel.

Contrasting thread on pinwheels quilt. Quilted with BERNINA dual feed during Craftsy filming.

You’ll notice I quilted both quilts with a different colored thread. The patriotic one was quilted with a medium blue thread while the pastel one was quilted with a light yellow, both from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt Collection of 50 weight cotton threads.

I wanted to show the difference of what “blending” thread looks like verses “contrasting” thread. I think they both look great, and it’s a personal preference of whether you want your thread to show, or be more subtle. In either case, the quilting adds great texture to the quilt, don’t you think?

Pink Pinwheels quilt designed in EQ7

For the second quilt shown in class, I chose a pretty pink and white color scheme, using the default solids in the EQ7 palette. Many times I’ll design my quilt in solids and then add prints later. But more often than not, I really like the solid version, too! Again, I didn’t worry about the colors being an exact match – using a variety of pinks gave me the scrappy look I was going for.

You’ll notice I left my lines in the sketch this time so you can see how the blocks fit together. One of the options I love in EQ is being able to turn the seam lines off and on, depending on whether or not I want to view the quilt design that way.

Pink quilt with allover loopy machine quilting. From The Quilter's Path Craftsy class by Christa Watson.

Here’s the finished quilt using Boundless Solids in Tickled Pink and Bright White. For this quilt, I demonstrate how to quilt an allover free-motion design using the blocks as a guide to travel around the quilt. I used some of the leftover precut strips for the binding to add a touch of whimsy!

EQ7 sketch of teal/gray pinwheel quilt by Christa Watson

Finally, for the teal/gray version it was easy to swap out the colors from the original design. I will usually draw one design in one colorway and then try out lots of options until I find something I’m happy with. Sometimes I will start with a specific color scheme or fabric collection in mind and design around it. Other times, I’ll come up with my design and colors and then find fabrics to match.

Either way, my all-time favorite function in EQ7 is being able to import colors and fabric swatches if needed, so I know what the quilt will look like before I start! I prefer to do all of my thinking and planning ahead of time so that all I have to do is enjoy stitching once it’s time to actually make the quilt!

Finished Teal Pinwheels quilt

As you can see, the final quilt is more teal and less green than the sketch but it was close enough for what I wanted! I used a precut strip roll of Bounders Blenders Aura Coastal Escape for the blocks with Boundless Solids in Nickel for the background and binding.

For this third version, I combined both walking foot quilting with free motion to create combined custom quilting. The trick is planning how to make your way around the quilt, also known as “finding your path!” In between each of the “real” quilts, I demonstrate many more quilting motifs on quilt blocks so you can see how to quilt around the seams.

When it came time to creating the Pinwheels pattern (included as a bonus freebie in the class materials), using EQ7 made it easy for me to isolate parts of the design to create the quilt pattern.

Free Pattern included in The Quilter's Path Craftsy Class by Christa Watson

Above is a sneak peek of one of the pattern pages using my EQ drawings as stepouts. I’d be lost without it! Machine quilting is definitely my favorite part of making a quilt, so I’m glad I have good tools that help me design faster so there’s more time for sewing!

Christa Watson's Craftsy Class: The Quilter's Path

Learn how to quilt these quilts and more in The Quilter’s Path: Plan It, Stitch It, Quilt It.

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Two Fun New Books To Share – I Have Quilts in Both

Like many of you I love making quilts! But what you may not know is that one of the reasons I love writing patterns and books is that the deadlines for completion motivate me to finish things! I’m excited to be part of two brand new books coming out in June, published by my favorite publisher, Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

I Love House Blocks from Martingale/That Patchwork Place

The first is called I Love House Blocks, and it’s part of Martingale’s “Block Buster Quilts” series where a ton of different designers each make their own interpretation of a quilt based on a traditional block. (Click here to see the last one I was a part of – I Love Churn Dashes.”)

I’m thrilled to have my house quilt shown on the cover! It’s the one on the left and it’s called “My Hometown.” I used bright and cheery by Moda fabric from Pat Sloan in my version, but think it would be just as cute your favorite fabric collection!

Click here to preorder I Love House Blocks.

Rock Solid book using Kona Solids

The second book I am thrilled about is called Rock Solid and it’s a collaboration between Martingale and Robert Kaufman. All 13 quilts in the book are made from Kona Cotton solids. I haven’t even seen the rest of them yet, but I can already tell I’m gonna love this book!

I’m excited to be a cover girl on this one, too. My quilt “Lanterns” is shown on the left, using my exclusive Christa Watson designer palette in 28 vivid shades of red, orange, yellow and green. My quilt is made from just two jelly rolls – My designer palette and Kona Coal.

Click here to preorder Rock Solid.

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Answers to Your Machine Quilting Challenges – Part 6

Welcome to part 6, the final post where I’ve been offering suggestions to some of my readers’ most challenging machine quilting issues. Get more tips by reading part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.

Craftsy Filming Behind the Scenes

On set during the filming of my Crafty class: The Quilter’s Path where I show you how to quilt many of the quilting motifs I write about on my blog and in my books and patterns!

Problem: I have a hard time getting ideas from my head into reality.
My suggestion: I used to have this same problem until I started creating a machine quilting plan for each quilt I make. I take a picture or make a printout of my quilt top and then I figure out the quilting path I need to take to work my way around the quilt. Below is the plan I made for my Positive Direction quilt pattern.

Positive Direction Machine Quilting Plan

Problem: I’m not sure which batting to use.
My suggestion: Try out a different batting for the next several quilts and see how each performs. Take note of the shrinkage, softness and what the quilting stitches look like. Some battings like cotton, will make the quilting appear more flat because it doesn’t have a lot of loft. Others, like polyester or wool will give a better stitch definition because they are more lofty, or puffy. My favorites are cotton, wool and soy.

Problem: Too much time passes between quilt projects and I feel like I’m losing my skills.
My suggestion: machine quilting is like learning a musical instrument: the more you practice, the more you’ll be able to “play.” If you are in between projects, keep a stack of small scraps of fabric and batting to stitch on for a few minutes each day. Just quilting for 5 min each a couple times a week will keep your quilting muscles in shape!

Machine Quilting Practice

Problem: I get discouraged whenever I compare myself to other quilters’ skills.
My suggestion:
Anyone who has just started their quilting journey will definitely go through this. It’s one thing to be inspired and another to feel inadequate. Just remember that it takes a lot of time and practice to get good at anything. I always encourage newer quilters to embrace walking foot quilting first because it’s pretty much fool-proof. Then, move onto tackling free-motion when you are more comfortable.

Walking Foot Quilting

I always teach walking foot quilting before moving onto free-motion. It’s virtually goof-proof!

Problem: How do I get out of the “stipple” rut?
My suggestion: I recommend collecting as many books as you can about machine quilting, taking a lot of classes, and seeing quilts up close and personal. Start sketching quilting motifs that appeal to you and try them on your quilts. If you have a toolbox full of 4-5 designs you really like, you can mix them up and quilt them in different areas of your quilt!

Problem: I want to try ruler-work quilting but I’m not even sure where to start.
My suggestion:
enroll in my friend Amy Johnson’s Craftsy classes on ruler work. She has two of them and pretty much covers all the basics. It’s amazing what you can do with specialty rulers on your domestic machine.

Quilting with Rulers on Your Home Sewing Machine

Click here to learn more about ruler work and see a class preview.

Problem: I don’t want to practice, because I hate wasting fabric on “learning.”
My suggestion: I don’t think “learning” is ever a waste. 🙂 However if you want to make something practical out of your practice sandwiches, create a stitch journal. Try out different quilting designs on similar sized practice pieces. Write on each which thread you used and other details like stitch length, batting etc. Then get some grommets or a key chain and punch a hole in the corners of each sample to link them together. Whenever you are stumped on an idea, refer to your journal for inspiration!

Problem: I’m not coordinated when it comes to machine quilting. It feels awkward.
My suggestion: when I started quilting it felt weird too, and I still can’t get the hang of longarm quilting (which is why I stick to a sit-down machine). Try to position your quilt and yourself a few different ways to see if you can get in a comfortable position. Quilting is a skill that requires a different muscle movement than anything else so it can take awhile for it to feel more natural. Don’t give up! Also try different hand positions when quilting. Try keeping your hands flat, raised, or gripping the edge of the quilt to see which feels more comfortable.

All Craftsy Classes on SaleClick here to see which classes are on sale, including mine!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips! If you haven’t already done so, be sure and enroll in my Craftsy Class, The Quilter’s Path. All brand new Craftsy classes are on sale for $19.99 or less this weekend only! Sale runs from today through Sunday, so stock up on this massive sale!!

Machine Quilting Tips

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New Pattern Release – Positive Direction

I’m excited to announce after a long hiatus that I am releasing individual patterns once again! The first one of the new batch is called Positive Direction, and it’s now available as a downloadable PDF through my Craftsy pattern shop.

Positive Direction quilt pattern by Christa Quilts

Positive Direction was originally featured in Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine and available in one size only. But whenever I re-release a pattern on my own, I offer it in four sizes which gives you a lot more options to customize it.

Positive Direction Pattern Cover by Christa Quilts

Positive Direction includes patterns for four sizes: Crib, Lap, Throw, and Full.

Positive Direction Quilt Pattern Requirements

Use up strips or scraps to make this fun, modern quilt!

Because I think machine quilting suggestions are just as important as piecing instructions, in the pattern, I’ve included a quilting plan along with directions on how I quilted it. I’ve also included several detailed photographs to inspire you on your quilting journey. In my patterns, I never include the words “quilt as desired.” I want you to have just as much confidence quilting it as you do piecing it, so I try to make it clear and easy to understand, if you want to re-create what I did.

Machine Quilting Straight Lines and Pebbles

I combined straight lines and pebble quilting to highlight the pieced design. I used Moda Scraps in shades of red, aqua and navy to create a modern Americana themed color scheme that looks great year-round. I quilted it using a light gray thread from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt Neutrals collection.

Positive Direction Quilt Pattern by Christa Quilts

Choose your favorite colors and prints to make this quilt uniquely your own! The key to effective contrast in this design is choosing a light background such as white, a medium neutral such as gray, and then three of your favorite colors in strong solids or prints.

Click here to purchase a PDF of Positive Direction.

Positive Direction Quilt Pattern by Christa Quilts

All photography taken by my talented husband Jason in the desert behind our home.

If you have any questions or want to share your progress while making this quilt, please share them in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa. I’d love to see!

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All of the Quilts from Both of My Books

I’ve been enjoying getting back to blogging on a regular basis, and I’ve also noticed an uptick in new followers – so I want to welcome all my new friends. I recently reorganized my blog so it’s easier to see the quilts I’ve made in the past. I decided to create one page where you can view all of the quilts from my current books. (I can’t wait until the fall when I’ll update it again for book 3, but more about that later…)

If you are new around here, please enjoy this bit of quilty eye candy, it’s very image heavy!

Quilts from Machine Quilting with Style

Machine Quilting With Style

13 friends each remade the 12 quilts + 1 of the backings. I have included their versions, too. Photography of my quilts courtesy of Martingale and Brent Kane. Here’s the order in which they are presented in the book:

ripplesRipples, made by me

ripples_melissa

Ripples, made by Melissa Corry and her MIL Barbara

mqws_rainRain, made by me
Juried into QuiltCon 2016
Shown at MQG Exhibit at Int’l Quilt Festival

rain_drizzle_cheryl

Drizzle, made by Cheryl Brickey

color crystals.Color Crystals, made by me

colorcrystals_vicki

Color Crystals, made by Vicki Ruebel
Honorable Mention, PIQF 2015
Faculty Award, MQX New England 2016

technicolor_backing

Technicolor backing made by me

technicolorbacking_ida

Urban sunrise, made by Ida Ewing
Best Machine Quilting, Pahrump Quilt Show 2016

Little Man's FancyLittle Man’s Fancy, made by me

littlemansfancy_tina

Little Man’s Fancy, made by Tina Guthmann

staticStatic, made by me

static_quilt_lee

Static, made by Lee Heinrich

square in a squareSquare in a Square, made by me
Juried into Road to California, 2016

squareinasquare_stacy

Square in a Square, made by Stacy Cooper

focal_point

Focal Point, made by me
Juried into QuiltCon 2016

Focal Point - Chic Neutrals no lines

Focal Point, recolored in EQ7 using Chic Neutrals fabric from Amy Ellis

focalpoint_amy

Focal Point, made by Amy Garro

Lightning and backing

Lightning, made by me
Bonus backing tutorial from Martingale
Juried into Road to California 2016

lightning_leannePink, made by Leanne Chahley

Candy_PopCandy Pop, made by me
Awarded 3rd Place, Applique at DQN 2016 Quilt Show

candypop_linda

Candy Pop, made by Linda Hungerford

BrokenVBroken V, made by me

brokenv_sharon

Broken V, made by Sharon McConnell

Facets_Kona

Facets, made by me
2nd Place Modern, AQS Paducah 2016
Juried into AQS Phoenix 2016
Quilt Along Blog Series 2016

facets_kristy

Facets, made by Kristy Daum

Finals B1324.inddPearl Gray, made by me
1st Place Large, Single Maker, DQN 2016 Quilt Show

pearl_gray_alyce

Pearl Gray, made by Alyce Blyth

Quilts from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Angela Walters and I each made the same ten quilts in our own choice of fabrics and quilting motifs. There are 10 different patterns presented along with over 50 different machine quilting designs.

Choosing Colors

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Choosing Colors by Christa Watson

Christa’s version – in rainbow order.

Choosing Colors made by Angela Walters

Angela’s version – mix it up and throw in a scrappy binding!

Swirling Butterflies

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Swirling Butterflies Wholecloth Quilt

Christa’s version – bold and contemporary.

Swirling Butterflies Angela Walters

Angela’s version – white and traditional.

Plumb Lines

Click here to read more about this quilt.

My version of Plumb Lines won 2nd Place, Modern at HMQS in 2016.

Plumb Lines Quilt

Christa’s version – free-motion alternatives to straight line quilting.

Plumb Lines Quilt

Angela’s version – peachy keen!!

Cornered

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Corned quilt by Christa Watson

Christa’s version – pretty in pink!

Cornered by Angela Walters

Angela’s version – make your friends green with envy when you learn how to quilt these motifs!

Directionally Challenged

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Directionally Challenged by Christa Watson

Christa’s Version in shades of blue with walking foot quilting and FMQ.

Directionally Challenged by Angela Walters

Angela’s version in red showing how to break down large blocks for quilting success.

Migration

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Migration Quilt

Christa’s version – grid quilting in warm earthy tones.

Migration by Angela Walters

Angela’s version – jewel box quilting with lots of negative space fillers.

Exploding Star

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Exploding Star by Christa Watson

Christa’s version using Angela’s fabrics with walking foot continuous spiral quilting.

Exploding Star by Angela Walters

Angela’s version quilted with multi-sized spirals.

fractured squares

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Fractured_Squares_Christa

Christa’s version – completely quilted with a walking foot.

Fractured_Squares_Angela

Angela’s version – having fun with improv borders!

Quatrefoil Applique

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Quatrefoil-Applique_Christa

Christa’s version – it’s a machine quilting sampler!

Quatrefoil-Applique_Angela

Angela’s version – bold and dramatic.

U-Turns

Click here to read more about this quilt.

U-Turns_Christa

Christa’s version – cool teal solids with a touch of print.

U-Turns_Angela

Angela’s version – perfect for practicing turning a corner!

Christa Watson Books

Click Here for Signed Copies of Both Books

 

Answers to Your Machine Quilting Challenges – part 3

As we continue on with this series of trouble shooting your machine quilting challenges, be sure to read part 1 and part 2 for more helpful advice. And now, onto more suggestions:

Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

My goal is to help you love machine quilting as much as I do!

Problem: keeping size consistent on large scale designs
My suggestion: I have found that when it comes to domestic machine quilting, it’s much easier to quilt smaller scale designs because you have less room to work on the bed of the machine, compared to a long arm. If you want to quilt a larger scale design, I suggest marking it. Or if you are quilting a large scale textural filler, keep something nearby that is roughly the same size (such as a drawing of the motif, or a 3D item) so you can constantly refer to it for scale.

Problem: maintaining good speed control
My suggestion: free-motion quilting requires you to balance the speed of two things at the same time: the rate at which you push the quilt through the machine, and how fast your machine stitches. It’s like driving a car with a manual transmission for the first time – it takes some getting used to. Work on starting with a slower speed and aim for smooth stitches. Be sure and take a few “test drives” on practice scraps before you head out on the highway (quilting the real quilt)! Once you are comfortable with the process, then try to increase your speed.

Problem: I can’t get smooth curves
My suggestion: try a more modern, geometric design such as square boxes, triangle texture, or a more jagged stipple. Some people seem to have a natural inclination to quilt either curving or geometric shapes. If you struggle with either, practice quilting one design on a large section of the quilt with blending thread and don’t criticize yourself too harshly. It will get better with practice. Also, spend time sketching out your design on paper so that you can practice drawing the smooth, fluid shapes.

Triangle Texture and Pebble Quilting by Christa Watson

Try quilting both curves and angles to see which you like best. This is detailed quilting of “Broken V” from my book Machine Quilting with Style.

Problem: skipping stitches, nesting issues, thread breakage
My suggestion: these problems are usually caused by one or more of these factors – wrong needle size for the thread you are using; bent, nicked, or dull needle; incorrectly threaded upper thread; tension too tight; bobbin inserted incorrectly; machine not oiled or delinted often enough. Be sure to always thread with the presser foot up and then trouble shoot each of these issues one by one. A tiny silicone disc called a Magic Genie bobbin washer can also help on machines that don’t have built in bobbin sensors.  If all else fails, it may be time to take your machine in for service.

Problem: I don’t like free motion quilting
My suggestion: that’s perfectly fine, you can quilt tons of designs using just a walking foot! In my Craftsy class and in my books, I show how you can quilt several differnt quilts completely using walking foot techniques. Also, Jacquie Gering just wrote a fantastic new book called Walk that goes deeper into this subject.

Walk by Jacquie GeringClick here to preview Walk by Jacquie Gering.

Problem: I don’t know how to quilt a quilt that has a lot of blocks, like a sampler.
My suggestion: I’d go either super custom or super simple. An allover design either quilted with a walking foot or free motion is the easiest and would be quilted regardless of the piecing or block designs. This type of quilting adds a layer of tecture to the piece, and if done with a blending thread, becomes secondary to the overall design of the quilt. However, if you want to draw attention to the individual blocks, then custom quilting each one and treating it as a separate element is the way to go.

Free Motion Quilting a Sampler

I’d suggest taking a look at Leah Day’s Craftsy class, Free-motion Quilting a Sampler as a great place to start!

Problem: getting stuck in corner, missing areas in allover designs, getting boxed in 
My suggestion: Contrary to what the quilt police might think, it’s reall okay to stitch over previous lines of quilting, or cross over your lines if needed. I usually like to sketch out a quilting plan on top of a picture of my quilt top. That allows me to plan out the direction I’ll take to quilt each section of the quilt.

I hope you are enjoying these machine quilting tips. I love being a cheerleader for “do it yourself” quilting and I try to make the process as approachable as possible. I’ll be back again next week with more suggestions!

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