Piece and Quilt with Precuts Quilt 4: S.W.A.K.

Today it’s time to share the fourth quilt that’s presented in my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. Here’s, “S.W.A.K.” featuring a colorful X+O themed design. This is the last quilt in the first section of the book that’s all walking-foot quilted. Of course you can mix and match any of the pieced and quilted designs in the book, and there’s tons of options for you to choose from!

SWAK from Piece and Quilt with PrecutsS.W.A.K Photography courtesy of Martingale/That Patchwork Place and Brent Kane.

Piece It

Of course if you look closely, you’ll see that this quilt is constructed entirely from one of my favorite units – the half-square triangle (or HST for short). I could literally design a book full of quilts based on this versatile building block!

The trick that makes this design work is the color placement of the blocks. The pattern actually includes two sizes for the quilt. You can start with fresh fabrics, or you can do what I did and use leftovers from another quilt in the book (coming up later on the hop). Whichever way you choose to make it, I’m sure you’ll have as much fun with it as I did!

Machine quilting on S.W.A.K from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

For the thread, I chose a shade of blue from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt Collection It’s just the right shade that blends into all of the fabrics, but you can still see it on the navy print. The stitches sink in nicely to the quilt because I’m using one of my favorite battings from Hobbs – 80/20 cotton/poly.
See the end of the post below for a fabulous batting giveaway!

Quilt It

In each of my books so far, I’ve taught different ways to quilt spirals with your walking foot (or dual feed). For S.W.A.K. I figured out how to quilt a continuous square spiral. The secret is to count your stitches when you quilt the starting square! Of course I go into a much more detailed explanation in the book and include plenty of diagrams and closeup photography so you can follow along. I also include which fabrics and precuts I chose, along with which batting and thread I used for each quilt. I wanted you to have all the details for each quilt!

More S.W.A.K inspiration

Check out the amazing color options below. Head to each blog to read more about their fabric and quilting choices and be on the lookout for more giveaways! Whether you like to piece, or quilt, or both, we’ve got you covered with loads of inspiration!

Michelle Bartholomew

SWAK made by Michelle

Who says you have to make the quilt exactly as shown in the book? I love how Michelle Bartholomew made fewer blocks and turned them into this lovely table runner. And her straight line quilting adds incredible texture to the piece. Visit her blog to see more stunning pics and read what she has to say about her version of S.W.A.K.

If you plan to attend at QuiltCon next year, you’ll definitely want to take her photography workshop. Isn’t her picture so fab?? I always admire those who can style and shoot a beautiful beautiful image!

Sherry Shish – Powered by quilting

SWAK by Sherry

Sherry from Powered by Quilting chose stunning black, white and gray prints with a pop of blue and red. Here’s a bonus tip: If you want to skip all the triangle trimming, you can, as long as all of your blocks are the same size. It will make your quilt slightly bigger but since it’s made from the same unit throughout, they’ll all fit together.

If you do choose to trim, here’s any idea on what to do with the waste: stuff them all into a pillowcase. When it’s full, simply stitch the end closed and donate it to an animal shelter to use as a pet bed. It’s an eco-friendly way to recycle even the tiniest of scraps!

SWAK by Sherry Shish

Didn’t Sherry do such a fantastic job with her version of S.W.A.K? The color scheme gives it a sort of modern patriotic vibe and she did an amazing job with her quilting! Head over to Sherry’s blog to see more gorgeous pics and read about her interaction with the book.

Allison Dutton – Allison Sews

SWAK by Allison sews

As you can see by all of these examples including Allison from Allison Sews, this is such a fun design to make from your favorite scraps or coordinated precut bundle!

SWAK by Allison Sews

Look at all that yummy texture!!

I’ve enjoyed watching Allison share her in-progress videos on Instagram. Now you can pop over to her blog to see how she chose to quilt this beauty, along with her fabulous finish!

Today’s Gift – Win Batting from Hobbs

In the book I made nearly each quilt from a different batting so I could try them out, and I listed which batting was used so you can try them out, too. My #1 piece of advice when choosing batting is to use a different batting on your next few quilts and see which ones you like best!

My preference is for natural fiber battings and I love that Hobbs offers such a wide assortment. Today’s lucky winner will receive a Hobbs batting of your choice, so you can experiment, too!

Hobbs Batting

Natural fiber battings cling to the quilt, helping you to prevent shifting and puckers!

To enter, leave me a comment on this blog post letting me know how you prefer to buy batting – do you like to get it by the yard, in pre-sized packages, by the bolt, or some other way? I’m curious to know! This giveaway is open to all, and a winner will be chosen at the end of the hop.

Box of Books - Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson
If you haven’t yet purchased your copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts,
I have a fresh box of them waiting to ship, and I’m happy to sign one for you!

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Piece and Quilt with Precuts Quilt 3: Frequency

I got a really nice comment on Instagram earlier this week saying “I love how you show real life ordinary quilting that doesn’t require a super fancy machine.” That made me happy because my goal in writing and teaching is to empower you to be able to quilt your own quilts, no matter what type of machine you use!

Without further ado, here’s quilt #3 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts. It’s called “Frequency” because it reminds me of those pulsing lines you see on your electronic device while your music is playing. Yes, I’m easily amused…

Frequency by Christa Watson for Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Frequency Photography courtesy of Martingale/That Patchwork Place and Brent Kane.

Piece It

Frequency is made from 2 1/2″ strips of lights and darks. You could either use one bundle if it’s split up evenly, or a smaller 20-strip bundle of each. Or use up leftover strips from other projects!  This design is a good one to get your feet wet with improvisational piecing because your strips don’t have to look exactly like mine. There’s a lot of variety in how you can trim the length and join the strips. Part of the fun of making this quilt is arranging the strips, which you can do randomly or with intent.

For a completely different look, rotate the blocks so that the strips are stacked horizontally. Now it kind of looks like stacked books, don’t you think??

Frquenecy Rotated

Quilt It

I used my “divide and conquer” method to easily quilt Frequency with a walking foot (or dual feed). The pattern includes step by step instructions and diagrams, but here’s the simple version: Step 1: Stitch in the ditch between each of the rows to stabilize the quilt. Step 2. Quilt a fun zig-zag design in each of the strips.

I personally prefer to quilt my lines randomly, rather than trying to be too “matchy-matchy.” It’s a LOT easier to do and I think makes for a much more interesting design! Although I quilted them using walking foot techniques in the book, you could totally free-motion quilt them instead!

Frequency Quilting

Thread tip: When quilting with one thread color over a variety of contrasting fabrics, a lighter thread color looks better on darker fabrics, rather than darker thread on lighter fabrics.

More Frequency inspiration

Check out some amazing work in progress using different fabrics and quilting designs. Click on each blogger’s site for their their in-progress photos, awesome giveaways, and more!

Nancy Scott – MasterPiece Quilting

Nancy Scott's Version of Frequency

Isn’t it amazing how different a quilt can look by just changing the fabrics? Nancy from Masterpiece Quilting created a warm, earthy version of Frequency using cheerful red and green Christmas prints. I just love how those pops of gold really add some sparkle to her quilt!

Visit her blog to read more about her process in making this quilt. Nancy was able to easily quilt the same design I did, but she did it on her long arm machine instead of a domestic and it looks just as great!

Martingale/That Patchwork Place

Frequency Progress

Karen Johnson is heading of marketing over at my fabulous publisher, Martingale/That Patchwork Place and she decided to take on the challenge of recreating a mini-Frequency along with a matching pincushion that you just have to see! I love how she chose some of the other quilting designs presented later in the book and applied them to her project. It just goes to show how versatile the quilting motifs are!

 Check out this fun blog post all about Karen’s process, with tons of step-by-step photos, plus sneak peeks of some of the quilts coming up later on the hop. Plus, you won’t believe the fabulous giveaway s they are hosting!!

Christa's book, signed by Martingale

A priceless copy of my book, signed the awesome team at Martingale that helped produce it.

I have to tell you, after writing three books with Martingale, they’ve really become like family to me. I’m sure you can imagine how much work it takes to write a book, and I couldn’t have done it without a fantastic team of people! And what’s even better is that most of them are quilters who love making projects from the books they help produce. No wonder their books are so well loved!! 🙂

Lorinda Davis – Laurel Poppy and Pine

Frequency Quilting by Lorinda

Just look at all that yummy texture quilted by Lorinda of Laurel Poppy and Pine!! I love seeing closeup shots where you can really see the quilting. Lorinda chose a modern fall palette for her quilt and it always amazes me how different a quilt can look just by changing up the fabrics. Just remember, you can either use a precut bundle to make this quilt, or you can create your own custom bundle just like Lorinda did!

Head over to her blog to see the entire quilt, and read more about her process. My hope is that by seeing all of these fabulous finishes, you’ll feel inspired that you, too can achieve amazing results with my simple techniques!

Today’s Gift – Win All of My Books

Yes, you read that right, ALL of my books!! Today’s giveaway is being generously sponsored by my friends over at Martingale/That Patchwork Place and they are going to send them to 3 lucky winners!!

Christa Watson Books

Now, here’s the fine print – not only are they giving away a copy of all three books authored by me, they are also throwing in a copy of every book I’ve ever collaborated on with them. If I counted correctly, it’s a total of 7 so far, enough to keep you stocked with plenty of projects on your “have-to-make” list!

And here’s a hint, I’ll be in at least two more books they are curating coming up next year. So be sure to keep an eye on all the fun inspiration Martingale has to offer! Head over to their blog now for your chance to win.

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Piece and Quilt with Precuts Quilt 2: Gridwork

The second quilt featured in my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts is called “Gridwork.”

Gridwork by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Gridwork Photography courtesy of Martingale/That Patchwork Place and Brent Kane.

Piece It

Gridwork is made from one set of 5″ squares and one set of 10″ squares. In traditional quilting, blocks are usually laid out in a “grid” format. However, modern quilters like to break up the grid or present blocks in an alternate grid layout. In this case, you can see that this quilt is arranged in a 6×7 traditional grid layout (6 blocks across by 7 blocks down). But the blocks themselves are rotated in a haphazard fashion to obscure the grid and make it a bit more interesting.

Gridwork from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

We took this quilt on a recent camping trip to get some pretty shots of it in nature.

The secret is to piece the blocks in a few similar, but slightly different ways and then rotate them to trick the viewer into thinking there’s much more variation in the blocks. In my book, step by step instructions are given on how to create the different blocks. Plus, a full color layout is included with each quilt pattern so there’s no guesswork when it comes time to assemble the quilt!

Machine Quilting on Gridwork

Wavy Grid is one of my go-to machine quilting designs! I quilted this quilt in a light gray-blue thread from my Piece and Quilt collection with Aurifil.

Quilt It

The first four quilts in the book are quilted completely with a walking foot (or in my case, the BERNINA dual feed which performs the exact same function.) Each quilt build skills as you go, so you’ll be a machine quilting pro in no time! Plus, with my “divide and conquer” method, you can quilt a few lines to stabilize the quilt, then decide at any point how densely you want to quilt it, without locking yourself into an overwhelming task!

More Gridwork inspiration

Check out these alternate versions below. Head to each blogger’s site for more about their process, see their finishes, and enter their giveaways!

Sandy Maxfield – Sandy Star Designs

Sandy's version of Gridwork

I’ve been hoarding my own bundles of Karen Lewis’ Blueberry Park line and I’m jealous at how easily Sandy from Sandy Star Designs was able to break into her precuts!! Here’s a hint – she actually cut the 10″ and 5″ prints from fat quarters, which is a great example of being able to use what you have on hand for successful results.

Don’t you think Sandy did a fantastic job combining the prints into a pleasing combination? The trick is to make sure there’s contrast in each block so none of them gets lost. You can do that by combing lights with darks, solids with prints or a myriad of other ways!

Gridwork quilting by Sandy

She did a fantastic job quilting wavy grid on her quilt. Don’t you just want to cuddle up with all that yummy texture? Be sure to pop over to Sandy’s blog to read more, and to enter her giveaway!

Joanne Harris – Quilts by Joanne

Gridwork by Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris from Quilts by Joanne really made this design look great with her fabulous yellow and gray color scheme. I once heard that the hallmark of a great quilt design is that it will look good in any fabric combination!

Don’t you just love that elephant print?? Now take a look at her blog to see how she decided to quilt it!

Teresa Mairal-Barreu – Sewn Up

Teresa M Gridwork

Teresa aka Teresa Down Under chose to make a smaller smaller version of Gridwork and I just love it! This goes to show that you don’t always have to use up an entire precut bundle, or make your quilt the exact same size.

Head over to Teresa’s blog to see a video of this “flimsy” (aka unquilted top) flapping beautifully in the breeze. Seriously, it will inspire you to want to make one right away!

Today’s Gift – Win a Bundle of 5″ or 10″ Squares

Christa Watson Designer Palette

My designer palette was originally created for Facets, from Machine Quilting with Style.
I’ve now used it to create several colorful quilts!

Today I’m going to give 2 lucky winners a fun prize! One person will win a layer cake of my Christa Watson designer palette and a second person will win a charm pack of the same fabric. Now the trick will be for both winners to find another layer cake or charm pack to go with them to make their own version of Gridwork! But isn’t a challenge fun?? (And in reality of course the winner can do whatever they’d like to with their fabrics!!)

To enter, leave me a comment letting me know what’s your favorite precut to work with. Me personally – I love fat quarters because I think they are the most versatile. But as a designer, I love coming up with creative ways to use these fun fabric bundles!

The giveaway is open to all (int’l winners just pay shipping) and I’ll choose a winner on Aug 31 which is the last day of the hop. Be sure and check in again tomorrow for the next quilt I’ll share along with more fabulous color options!

Griwork from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

If you make your own version of Gridwork, or any of the quilts from my book, please share your progress in my Facebook Group, Quilt with Christa. I’d love to see!

Click here to see all of the stops on the blog hop tour – you’re sure to be inspired!

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Piece and Quilt with Precuts Quilt 1: Squiggles

Today I get to share the first quilt presented in my brand new book! Meet “Squiggles” from Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Squiggles by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Squiggles Photography courtesy of Martingale/That Patchwork Place and Brent Kane.

Piece It

I designed Squiggles so that it can be made from either four bundles of 5″ squares, or one bundle of 10″ squares. My favorite tip for working with precuts is to use a super light or super dark background, so that it will contrast with any precut bundle you choose! I love working with precuts because the math always works out nicely. For the background, you can either use 5″ squares or 2 1/2″ strips, giving you tons of versatility based on what you have on hand.

Quilt It

You can see why I named the quilt Squiggles – because of the fun squiggly lines I chose to quilt. This is usually the first quilting design I teach my students to do with a walking foot (or integrated dual feed) because they can achieve instant success from the very first stitch!

Squiggles Quilting Detail

I used my favorite shade of  Aurifil gray (Aluminium) because its blends with all the fabrics!

In the book, I include detailed instructions on how to piece this quilt as well as diagrams on how to actually quilt it to achieve a similar look. It’s so much easier than you might think!

More Squiggles inspiration

Now let’s take a look at what 3 of my blogging friends chose to do with this design. Be sure to click on the links to each of their blogs for more pics,  an explanation of their process, and to see who’s including a bonus giveaway!

Kate Colleran – Seams Like a Dream

Squiggles quilting by Kate

Here’s a sneak peek of the gorgeous colors and quilting that Kate from Seams Like a Dream chose for her version. Be sure and take a look at the beautiful color gradation she did with her blocks, along with an excellent explanation of her quilting process.

Although Kate usually send her quilts out to be quilted, I’m so proud of her for quilting this one herself. If she can do it – so can you! Pop on over to her blog to see the whole quilt, plus more inspiring “in progress” pics. You’ll love it!

Kathy Bruckman – Kathy’s Kwilts and More

Squiggles Blocks by Kathy B

I love the aqua and green color scheme that Kathy from Kathy’s Kwilts and More chose for her version of squiggles. Here’s a small sneak peek of some of her blocks!

Squiggles Pillow

I’m impressed that she hand pieced her blocks and then turned them into a pretty pillow sham. Then Kathy took some of her leftovers and turned them into a matching pillow cushion. Isn’t it adorable!! Head over to her blog to see more!

Sharon Parcel – Yellow Cat Quilt Designs

Gridwork in Progress

Sharon from Yellow Cat Quilt Designs was able to find the same charm packs I used in my quilt, and I like how she chose to quilt the wavy grid design that appears later in the book. She took my advice to quilt loosely across the quilt and then fill in with more quilting with each pass across the quilt. This allows you to decide at any point how dense you want your quilting to be.

I designed the quilting plans so that they can be interchangeable throughout the book, and they will work on nearly any quilt you can imagine! Stop by Sharon’s blog to read more about her process and see more helpful pics!

Today’s Gift – Free Pattern with book purchase

Christa Quilts Patterns

Today’s “present” is from me, for those who haven’t yet purchased their copy of the book. I’m extending my offer for a free pattern with book purchase by one more day. That is, when you order the book directly from me, I’ll throw in a bonus printed pattern with your order.

You can either specify the pattern you want in the notes at checkout, or I’m happy to surprise you. Originally, this offer expired yesterday at the start of the hop, but due to such overwhelming demand, I decided to extend it for one more day!

Piece and Quilt with Precuts signed by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase your signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

And of course, I’ll sign your book, too! Just leave me a note if you want me to personalize it. Be sure to check back here tomorrow to learn more about the next quilt, see more inspiring pics, and enter the next giveaway!!

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Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop Celebration!

Guess what today is? It’s my birthday!! Whoo hoo! I’m of the opinion that things just get better with age, and each passing year is cause for celebration. So I thought, what better day to kick off my epic blog hop for Piece and Quilt with Precuts than today??

So to get us started, today I want to share links to each of the 30 fantastic bloggers that are joining me on this fun and inspiring journey, plus give a couple of sneak peeks of what’s coming up on the hop!

Inspiring Quilts From Me and My Friends

Each day starting tomorrow, I’ll share more details about each of the quilts in the book, and you can see how others interpreted the designs to make them their own. For example, check out this sneak peek of the beautiful quilts in progress from (clockwise) Sherri, Teresa, Nancy, and Jen.

You just may end up liking their versions better than the originals, and that’s totally ok!!  Hopefully once you see the versatility and variety of looks that can be made from my fun designs and your favorite precuts, you’ll be inspired to make them, too!

Sneak Peeks of Remakes from Piece and Quilt wtih Precuts

Stay tuned for the “final reveal” from 30 talented bloggers including these shown above!!
(The list of participating bloggers is at the end of this post.)

Gifts and Giveaways Galore!

Throughout the hop, we’ll celebrate by giving away tons of gifts! After all, what fun is a party without presents?? Some of the giveaways will be hosted here on my blog while others will be given away by the participating bloggers or other industry friends. So be sure and check back here each day as I send you on a fun scavenger hunt to score prizes and get inspired!

Giveaways for Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop

Just a few of the many “gifts” that will be given away during the hop!! Yes, it even includes a quilt – so check here every day for your chance to win some fabulous prizes!

A Present From me – Baby Geese Quilt Pattern

Let’s kick off this party with a present for all of you, since since you are ALL winners in my book!! The quilt shown below is called “Baby Geese” and it was made from scraps and leftovers of many of the other quilts in the book.

Click here to get the Baby Geese quilt pattern.

Baby Geese Quilt by Christa Watson

Because I included so many detailed instructions for each of the 11 quilts in the book, we didn’t have room to include this one. So think of it as bonus quilt pattern #12, just for you!!

If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing Piece and Quilt with Precuts, take a look at the layout and instructions given for Baby Geese. Just like all of the quilts in the book, the instructions are clear and easy to understand, with plenty of machine quilting eye-candy and step by step diagrams for you to follow. Chances are if you like this one,  you’ll love the rest!

Baby Geese Quilting

Click here to download the bonus pattern for Baby Geese.
I’ll be giving this quilt away at the end of the hop so stay tuned!

Blog Hop Schedule

Here’s the schedule of bloggers to follow with their names, links to their blogs, plus their Instagram handles so you can follow them there. After all, this is a talented bunch who you will want to get to know better!

Friday August 18 – Squiggles

Kathy Bruckman Blog: Kathy’s Kwilts and More IG: @kathyskwiltsandmore
Kate Colleran Blog: Seams Like a Dream IG: @seamslikeadreamquilts
Sharon Parcel Blog: Yellow Cat Quilt Designs IG: @punkydoodle53

Click here to see Christa’s version of Squiggles.

Saturday August 19 – Gridwork

Sandy Maxfield Blog: Sandy Star Designs IG: @sandystardesigns
Joanne Harris Blog: Quilts by Joanne IG: @turtlequilterjo
Teresa Mairal-Barreu Blog Sewn Up: IG: @teresadownunder

Click here to see Christa’s version of Gridwork.

Monday August 21 – Frequency

Nancy Scott Blog: Masterpiece Quilting IG: @masterpiecequilting
Martingale’s Blog: Stitch This! IG: @martingaletpp
Lorinda Davis Blog: Laurel Poppy & Pine IG: @laurelpoppyandpine

Click here to see Christa’s version of Frequency.

Tuesday August 22 – S.W.A.K.

Sherry Shish Blog: Powered by Quilting IG: @poweredbyquilting
Michelle Bartholomew Blog: Michelle Bartholomew IG: @michellebartholomew
Allison Dutton Blog: Allison Sews IG: @allisonsews

Wednesday August 23 – Starstruck

Lissa LaGreca Blog: Lovingly Lissa IG: @lovinglylissa
Sherri Noel Blog: Rebecca Mae Designs  IG: @rebeccamaedesigns
Sandra Healy Blog: Sandra Healy Designs IG: @sandrahealydesigns

Thursday August 24 – Dot’n’Dash

Laura Piland Blog: Slice of Pi Quilts IG: @sliceofpiquilts
Cheryl Brickey Blog: Meadow Mist Designs IG: @meadowmistdesigns
Jen Frost Blog: Faith and Fabric IG: @faithandfabric

Friday August 25 – Twinkling Diamonds

Jessee Maloney Blog: Art School Dropout IG: @jessee_artschooldropout
Jessica Caldwell Blog: Desert Bloom Quilting IG: @desertbloomquilting
Anjeanette Klinder Blog: Anjeanette Klinder IG: @anjeanetteklinder

Saturday August 26 – Windows

Terri Vanden Bosch Blog: Meanderings Along Lizard Creek IG: @lizardcreekquilter
Suzy Webster Blog: Webster Quilt IG: @websterquilt
Katie Joy Church Blog: Wild Prairie Studio IG: @katie_joyquilts

Monday August 28 – Kites

Pam Cobb Blog: The Stitch TV Show IG: @thestitchtvshow
Jen Rosin Blog: A Dream and a Stitch: IG: @adreamandastitch
Rashida Khanbhai Blog:  No. 3 Quilt Studio IG: @no3quiltstudio

Tuesday August 29 – Arrows

Lynn Kline Blog: Monkey Needle IG: @monkeyneedle
Kathy Bruckman Blog: Kathy’s Kwilts and More IG: @kathyskwiltsandmore

Wednesday Aug 30 – Spools

Jen Shaffer Blog: Patterns by Jen IG: @patternsbyjen
Sandra Starley Blog: Textile Time Travels IG: @textiletimetravels

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Whew! That’s a whole lot of great people who will be participating! Be sure to follow their blogs and Instagram accounts. After all, part of the fun of quilt-making is the community behind it. And when you join us on this blog hop journey, you’ll get to know more fun quilting friends!!

Click here to purchase your signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts

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Quilt in Progress – Exploring Ruler Work

I’m currently remaking one of my quilts from Piece and Quilt with Precuts while trying out something new at the same time. After all, if I’m not constantly pushing myself to try new things, the hobby that I love can get really old, really fast!! I’m creating another version of “Starstruck” from my new fabric so that I can showcase it at quilt market in the fall right before the fabric releases. (FYI  – it’s called Modern Marks from Benartex – available in November!)

Christa Watson Machine Quilting - Modern Marks Fabric

To keep a densely quilted quilt soft, I use cotton fabric, thread and batting. I’m using one layer of Hobbs Tuscany cotton and it is the softest ever. I love it!

I’m also trying out free-motion quilting straight lines using rulers rather than marking or using a walking foot. I have to say up front that it’s been a bit of a struggle and a HUGE learning curve! It’s a whole new movement for me, holding onto the quilt while also holding onto the ruler.

It’s also a bit awkward because where you stitch is actually 1/4″ away from the edge of the ruler to account for the width of the ruler toe. Like I teach my students, practice makes progress, so I’m not taking out any wobbles or wiggles in this quilt – it’s all part of the learning process!

Christa Watson Ruler Work Practice

I love combining straight lines with curvy motifs to create contrast in the quilting.

Right now I’m trying out two different rulers – one has handles on it to help better grip the quilt but the posts can get caught up on the back of the foot when I move it, causing tiny stitches to occur. I find that I get much better results if I keep the ruler on the front or side of the toe while I stitch.

Leah Day Ruler work template

Don’t you love how Leah’s template matches my fabric??? Serendipity at it’s best!!

The other rulers I’m trying out are from Leah Day’s set of Dresden Plate acrylic templates. She gave me a set to try out when we met for lunch at QuiltCon earlier this year, and I love how she so cleverly designed them to double as rulers for ruler work! I seem to get smoother lines without the handles. The smaller size is also ideally suited for a domestic machine since there’s not a lot of room on the bed of the machine.

Working on this quilt gives me renewed appreciation for any of my beginning students as they try free-motion quilting for the first time! Just as I teach my students that they will get better with practice, quilting on “real quilts” is the best way to learn and improve!

Christa Watson ruler work practiceI’m having fun trying out lots of different quilting motifs in the stars!

In this quilt, I’m outlining each of the starts by first stitching in the ditch. Then I quilt the middle of each star, then quilt two lines around each star. To make the quilting continuous I’m traveling over a small line after I complete each pass around the star, rather than starting and stopping.

Then I’m quilting a different free-motion design on the outside of each star to add more texture. Most of the quilting motifs I’m stitching come from my books, and a few are new ideas I’m trying out.

Christa Watson free motion quilting Starstruck from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

I love the “pattern on pattern effect!”

To keep it somewhat organized, I’m alternating with a pairing of curvy and geometric free-motion designs in each block. I chose to use a shade of yellow 50 weight cotton Aurifil thread from my Piece and Quilt Collection. It blends in nicely with most of the fabrics and adds a fun layer of pattern on pattern in some of the contrasting areas.

There are definitely some areas of the quilt that look better than others, but I love being a “perfectly imperfect quilter!” (I’m also a perfectly imperfect photographer, but I’d rather show real in-progress pics than nothing at all!)

I’ve learned by trial and error that the best way to hide imperfect stitches is to surround them with more imperfect stitches. 🙂

Yummy Texture created with free motion quiltign by Christa Watson

Can we say “yummy texture?!”

Because I have a longer time frame in which to complete this quilt, I’m really enjoying the process of quilting just a couple of stars each day, without feeling rushed.

I’m liking how this block below is turning out, using the ruler to free-motion quilt my “wonky square spiral” design that I usually teach using a walking foot. I definitely prefer quilting straight lines when they don’t have to line up perfectly!

Ruler work practice

(If you want to improve your ruler work skills check out Amy Johnson’s Craftsy classes on the subject: Quilting with Rulers on a Home Machine, and Creative Quilting with Rulers.)

I’ll be sure and share the final reveal later in the fall, so stay tuned!! Now I just have a few more blocks to finish and then I can relax and enjoy one of my favorite steps beside machine quilting – the hand binding….

What’s your favorite part of the quilt-making process? I’d love to know!

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Your Chance to Win the Kit from my Craftsy Class – Startup Library: Quilting!

It’s just been a month since the launch of my new Craftsy class, Startup Library: Quilting, and already I’ve taught hundreds of students how to make a complete quilt from start to finish!! I love how the Craftsy platform allows me to interact with my students and see their progress, even though we might be thousands of miles apart! For those of you who are new to the blog, or Craftsy, let me tell you a little more about this class. Then see the end of this post for a giveaway to get you started!!

Christa Watson Startup Library Quilting

Click here to get 50% off Startup Library: Quilting (valid thru 10/8/17)

In class, you’ll explore a range of key tools and techniques as you learn to make a quilt from start to finish. I’ll guide you step-by-step through preparing your fabric, cutting out the pieces and sewing them into blocks, as well as basting, machine quilting, and binding to help you finish your quilt with ease. Plus, when you learn with Craftsy you can work at your own pace and ask me questions as you go. By the end of my class, you’ll be quilting with confidence in no time!

WHAT YOU NEED

Lesson 1: Fabrics & Tools (28 min)
It’s every quilter’s favorite part of project prep: shopping! In this first lesson, I’ll explain the fundamentals of quilting and what to keep in mind when shopping for supplies.

Startup Library Quilting

Lesson 2: Know Your Machine (24 min)
Understand what type of sewing machine best suits your needs, including the features worth splurging on (or not!). Then, get familiar with your machine as you learn to thread it, wind a bobbin and keep an accurate seam allowance.

SETUP

Lesson 3: Working with Patterns (9 min)
Follow along as I go over the information included in your quilting patterns. Find out how to work with patterns as you piece your tops, plus get tips for successfully choosing projects.

MAKE IT

Lesson 4: Cutting the Pieces (38 min)
Before you begin sewing, you’ll need to cut the pieces for your blocks. Learn to work with a rotary cutter and mat as you cut yardage, fat quarters and more.

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

Lesson 5: Chain Blocks (24 min)
Get right into action by sewing up your first quilt block, the Chain! Find out how to keep track of all nine pieces as you sew and press the first block, then make quick work of the piecing by sewing several blocks together at once.

Lesson 6: Star Blocks (32 min)
Ready to throw some half-square triangle units into the mix? Here, you’ll sew the second block of your quilt. Find out how to tame stretchy edges and ensure all of your star points face the right direction.

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

Lesson 7: Assembling the Quilt Top (27 min)
Now, it’s time to have some fun! Arrange and organize your quilt blocks before you sew them together. Then, sew blocks into rows and rows into the inner top – you’ll love my method for keeping blocks in order as you sew!

Lesson 8: Borders (27 min)
Your quilt top is almost done! All you need to do is add the solid and scrappy borders to set off the design. Learn how to piece and add each border, and fix it if it’s slightly too long for your quilt.

Lesson 9: Backing & Batting (11 min)
In this lesson, you’ll prepare the remaining layers for your quilt. Learn how to choose and prepare batting — the center layer of the quilt — and piece the backing fabric.

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

Lesson 10: Basting (8 min)
The secret to quality quilting? Basting, which holds all of the layers together securely. I’ll teach you how to spray-baste the layers and assemble your quilt, explaining why pressing helps you ensure solid results.

Lesson 11: Find Your Quilting Path (38 min)
Quilting — the stitching that holds layers together — can really accentuate your piecing work. Discover different ways to accomplish this, from working with a long-arm quilter to using your domestic machine. And, see how to stitch-in-the-ditch and apply decorative wavy lines using your walking foot.

Lesson 12: Free-Motion Quilting (23 min)
Ready to dip your toes into free-motion quilting? This method allows you to move your needle in any direction. If you’d like, stitch a stipple and continuous curve design on your quilt, or practice for your next quilt project.

Christa Watson Machine Quilting Craftsy Class

Lesson 13: Binding (13 min)
Finish the edges of your quilt by applying a binding. I’ll show you how to prepare for this step. Learn to cut and piece the strips to create the binding, calculate the length you need for any quilt, and square up — or trim — your quilt.

Lesson 14: Binding the Quilt (37 min)
You’re almost there! In this final lesson, find out how to sew the binding to the quilt and finish it by hand. Easily turn with the corners and join the tails with my expert instruction, then get ready to enjoy your quilt!

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

For a limited time, you can get 50% off the regular price of my class when you use this link. The regular price will show on the home screen, but once you click “add to cart” you’ll see the discount. Just for comparison, this class is approximately 2-3 times longer than a “regular” Craftsy class, so it’s a tremendous value, especially when you get it on sale!

GIVEAWAY TIME!
Here’s a behind the scenes secret to share: as I was making the quilt, Craftsy sent me extra fabrics just in case. I ended up with enough fabric for an extra kit. Since I’ve already made the quilt twice (once ahead of time to test it, and a second time on video) – I don’t need to make a third, so I’d rather pass the extra fabric along to you! The kit includes one fat quarter bundle + background to make the quilt top and binding as shown in the class.

Lily and Loom Fabric

This giveaway is open to all (int’l winner just pays shipping). To enter, leave me a comment letting me know how many UFO’s (Unfinished Fabric Objects) you currently have! Once you take my class, you’ll be armed with the skills to finish them up! The giveaway will remain open through Sunday night, Aug 13, 2017 and I’ll choose a winner first thing Monday morning.

Click here to learn more and watch a preview video for Startup Library: Quilting

Last Chance to Get a Free Pattern with Book Purchase

First of all, thanks so much to those of you who have supported me in this fun quilting journey!! Many of you pre-ordered my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts sight unseen and I’ve now been getting lots of fun notes and comments about how much you all are enjoying it. That gives me the warm fuzzies!!

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa WatsonBecause of your tremendous support, the number of sales of my third book from my own site have already surpassed the other two and I couldn’t be more thrilled!!

I’m also realizing how heavy it can be to load up a box of packaged books to take to the post office every couple of days, LOL!!

Shipping Books

Just a reminder that from now through the start of my book blog hop next week, I’m throwing in a bonus pattern when you get your signed copy from me. It’s my way of saying thanks for purchasing direct!

Currently I have six stand alone patterns in print, and each one includes instructions for 4 sizes. Just like my books, I want to help you finish your quilts, so each individual pattern includes machine quilting suggestions, photos or diagrams to help you finish the job! When you place your order for the book simply comment in the notes letting me know which of the 6 patterns you’d like to receive. If you don’t leave a note, I’ll pick one at random for a fun surprise!

Christa Quilts PatternsI released the first four patterns shown above before I wrote Piece and Quilt with Precuts. Then I released two more shown below, once the bulk of the manuscript was complete. Now that I’m not in the middle of a huge deadline and have a little more breathing room, I’m looking forward to releasing the next batch of patterns this fall. There are so many ideas!!

Christa Quilts Patterns

I’m super excited about the blog hop which starts on my birthday, August 17th! During the hop, I’ll be sharing images of each of the quilts in the book along with friends who have remade them in their own colors and fabric choices. It will be so fun to see all of the variety!! Plus, there will be plenty of gifts (aka giveaways) to celebrate!

Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop

Now it’s time to go sign and ship another stack of books!! And start dreaming up possibilities for the next round of fun ideas….

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Click here to browse my books and patterns

Scrap Happy Quilt on the Cover of American Patchwork and Quilting

It’s time to share another fun finish! This is Scrap Happy, patterned in the October issue of American Patchwork and Quilting (available now) and I’m pleased that it happened to make the cover!

Scrap Happy by Christa Watson in American Patchwork and Quilting

Photograph used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

One of the things I love best about American Patchwork and quilting is the photography. Even those this quilt is about the piecing, I love how well you can see the quilting on the cover shot and in the pattern directions themselves.

The quilting on Scrap Happy is a good example of my “divide and conquer” method I teach in my quilting classes. First I stitched in the ditch around each row of blocks (vertically on each side). Then I outlined the ditch using the edge of my walking foot/dual feed as a guide for spacing. Once the straight line quilting was done, I moved onto the free motion motifs.

Here’s a closeup shot of my own camera-phone photo that I took while making the quilt:

Free Motion quilting detail

I love combining walking foot quilting with free motion in the same quilt! Fabric selection tip: flip over the back of many medium prints to get more variety of lights.

In the scrappy blocks I quilted “woven switchbacks”, which is basically rounded back and forth lines that go in alternate directions in each square. Finally, I quilted “swirls and pearls” in the light backgrounds, combining elongated swirls with pebbles for an interesting design.

Here’s another beauty shot of the whole quilt as photographed in the magazine:

Scrap Happy American Patchwork and Quilting

Photograph used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

As you can see – this is a BIG quilt, and yes I actually quilted it on my regular home sewing machine. The key is to “scrunch and smoosh” the bulk of the quilt out of the way as you go, rather than trying to fold it or roll it. Just remember that you are only working with a small part of the machine at any time and if you can keep that area nice and flat, you won’t have any problems.

The design for this quilt is based on a traditional block called “Mock Log Cabin” because of it’s half light/dark coloring. Just like a log cabin, you can set the block a million different ways. I originally designed and made a quilt from similar (but larger) blocks back in the 90’s when I was going through my dusty pink and blue phase, but I prefer the newer version with updated scrappy bright prints. It’s also perfect for using up precut scraps! (In fact, I actually threw in many of the leftovers from my latest book when making this quilt!)

Mock Log Cabin Alternate Layout

An alternate layout for the blocks (not included in the pattern).

Thanks to EQ7, I was able to play around with many different settings before I chose the final layout. Here’s another tip: when working in EQ7, I don’t always have to color the quilt exactly how it will appear. If I’m making a scrappy quilt, I might just mock it up in one colorway as shown in these two examples, knowing it will look great in any color scheme.

Alternate Layout for Mock Log Cabin Blocks

Another alternate block layout – it’s so fun to play!

When working on this design I thought I would make it smaller – but when I realized how many scraps I had, I ended up making it much larger! I really like quilt designs that are easy to size up or down, simply based on the number of blocks that can be made.

Scrap Happy in American Patchwork and Quilting MagazinePhotograph used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

The best tip I can give when making this quilt is to just make a few blocks at a time as your scraps accumulate. It’s quite a lot of pieces and you’ll go a little stir crazy trying to make all of the blocks at once. Plus if you use your scraps as you go, you’ll get a really fun scrappy look that will add to its charm.

Click here to see more patterns in the October issue of American Patchwork and Quilting and pick up your copy if you don’t already have a magazine subscription. If you end up making this quilt, do let me know!

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The Books Are Here! Piece and Quilt with Precuts Ships Ahead of Schedule

I have some exciting news to share today! My third book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts has arrived ahead of schedule! That means that all of you who have pre-ordered my book directly from me should be getting it in the mail over the next few days.

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Click here to order Piece and Quilt with Precuts – and get a free bonus pattern!

Needless to say, I plan to spend all day signing and shipping them off. This is always such an exciting day!! Huge thanks to those of you who pre-ordered directly from me. Not only will you get your book ahead of schedule, you are helping me to break a record for pre-sales compared to my other two books. Wowza and thanks!!

Squiggles Quilt from Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Sneak peek of Squiggles, the first quilt shown in the book. I start off with super simple walking foot quilting like gentle wavy lines. They are such a fun and easy design to quilt!
Photo credit Brent Kane for Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

Now, if you ordered the book from somewhere else, that’s totally fine. I just can’t guarantee when it will arrive since that’s out of my control. But I’m grateful for your support wherever it comes from!

If you haven’t yet ordered Piece and Quilt with Precuts, now is your chance to get your hands on a signed copy ASAP, plus a special bonus. For each book you order directly from me, I’ll throw in one of my printed patterns for all orders placed through my birthday August, 17th! You all have given me the best gift by being my loyal friends and fans – now it’s my turn to give something back. 🙂

Now is a great time to announce that August 17th also kicks off my epic blog hop for the book. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate and party with you all!! The blog hop will run through the end of August, featuring 30 different talented bloggers I met through the Quilt Pattern Designers Facebook group.

You’ll be able to check out each of the quilts I made, plus you’ll be able to see how 30 other “real quilters” were able to easily follow my tips and techniques for piecing and quilting success!

Spools from Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Spools, is the final quilt shown in the book. It utilizes both improv piecing AND quilting – my favorite combo! Photo credit Brent Kane for Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

And you can’t have a party without presents, so I’ve rounded up some special giveaways throughout the event, plus an extra freebie for everyone who participates!! So save the date and plan to join the fun! It all starts here on August 17th!

Box of Books - Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

It was so exciting to get back from vacation and find several boxes of my books waiting!!

Click here to get your copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts, signed by yours truly.

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