Christa’s Soap Box – Life After Social Media

A couple of months ago, I decided to decrease the amount of time I spent on social media. You can read that post here. This ties into my words for the year which are “simply and focus.”

I’m back with a quick update to let you know how it’s going. Now, just to reiterate, I’m not giving it all up, obviously since I’m still writing on my blog. But I did give up a lot. I paired my social media presence down to 3 places: the blog, instagram, and my facebook group. That’s still a lot for some, but it’s less than half the social media venues I used to keep up with.

In a word – it’s fabulous!

Boundless Bundle

Here are pretty pictures of fabric I’m currently working with so it’s not all just words!

At first I was having withdrawals, which quickly subsided after I finally allowed myself more time to contemplate and think. I was in several business Facebook groups that I had joined for networking purposes. It was a little hard to give them up in the beginning because I missed the daily interactions.

However, by getting in to the habit of checking them every day, multiple times a day, it pulled me into a constant timesuck because I didn’t have the fortitude to get in and get out. Now that I only have one place to go on Facebook, it’s a quick check in the morning, a couple pop-ins throughout the day to reply to comments, and I can focus on GETTING THINGS DONE!

Fat Quarters in Blues and Greens

I love organizing these fat quarters from light to dark  to see how they sparkle.

I also have so much less FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!! When I don’t know what I don’t know, it’s so liberating to not constantly be comparing myself to what others are doing. I was worried that I’d miss out on opportunities to do great things, by not being “out there” as much, but let me tell you – the work has NOT slowed down. I’m currently working on my 4th book proposal, my 3rd Craftsy class and my 2nd fabric line, not to mention preparing for a slew of in-person workshops.

Now it’s kinda nice when I get an email from someone wanting to collaborate on something. Yes, email is still a great way to communicate! For me, it’s so much more effective than trying to keep up with direct messages on Instagram or Facebook that I sometimes don’t even know are there!  I’m also not on a strict time schedule on my blog. Sometimes I’ll blog three times a week, sometimes just once and it feels great to have that flexibility.

Cut and labeled fabric pieces

Here’s a tip – label the pieces of fabric you are working with to stay organized. I use a “big board” to iron my fabrics and stay organized when piecing. It gives me a huge surface on top of my ironing board. Now I need to work on getting prettier furniture that matches in my sewing room…

By not being constantly sucked into social media, I have a more realistic time frame for how long it takes me to actually make a quilt. I think the constant barrage of New!New!New! on social media can give us unrealistic expectations of how much we need to accomplish or how fast we need to get it done. I prefer a slow and steady pace so that I can enjoy each step of the process, and by stepping back I’ve been able to enjoy more making without feeling like I have to crank out  a new project or tutorial each week. I’m definitely a person who prefers quality over quantity.

And now, so as not to spend all day writing this post, I’ll sign off with huge hugs to you, my readers who make this all possible. By continuing to support me,  you allow me to pursue my passion full time and I can’t thank you enough!! Now I’m off to continue working on the project I shared a few sneak peeks of above. More about that in a couple of months….

Squiggles Quilt Along Week 3 – Assembling the quilt top

How are you doing on the Squiggles Quilt Along? Some of you may have just started while others of you have already finished the quilt top, and that’s totally fine. With all of my quilt alongs I encourage you to work at your own pace and share progress. Share on instagram with the hashtag #squigglesqal and see the other amazing versions everyone is creating. Or join my Christa Quilts facebook group to post pics and get additional support!

This week it’s time to assemble the quilt top!

See the diagram and instructions. page 18 of Piece and Quilt with Precuts for the quilt top assembly. Here’s a tip from one of the members of my facebook group who recently completed her top:

“Try sewing the rows together vertically instead of horizontally – it’s easier to line things up that way.”

And a bonus tip from me: notice that when you sew the rows together it looks like the background triangles don’t match up and that’s correct. This gives the design a slightly more interesting look and makes it faster and easier to go together. I also recommend pinning generously for best results.

Squiggles Blocks

The centers of the Squiggles blocks don’t intersect. That’s correct.

Once the quilt top is complete, take a “victory lap!” Sew approximately 1/8″ in from the edge of the quilt to keep the seams from splitting open as you handle the quilt. I usually do this with a longer stitch length so it goes faster.

My Work in Progress

My mom helped me put together the quilt top earlier this summer so that I could display it along with the fabric at a company trade show. I only had a few days to complete the top, so my in-progress pics aren’t great. But here are the rows going up on my design wall. The rows were sewn together randomly and then I spent time arranging them until I was happy with the overall composition

Squiggles work in Progress

I called in the reinforcements to help me put together 5 quilt tops in 4 days! You can see one of my quilting buddies pressing Squiggles amidst all of the sewing chaos!

Sewing Party at Christa's

(Notice the other quilt going up on the design wall? You can get that free pattern here.)

Bonus Inspiration

Here are a few quilt tops in progress shared by some members of my facebook group. I’m just blown away by the creativity!!

Yellow and Gray Squiggles

Karen T. is working on this lovely yellow and gray combo. She’s currently deciding on her final layout, so you can pop over to the Facebook group and lend your suggestions!

Squiggles Gradation

I love this fabulous color gradated design that Maritza F is working on. It’s so clever and a great way to use up some of her older charm pack stash!

Modern Marks Squiggles

Marcia D recently finished her quilt top from one of the Squiggles Modern Marks kits. Because of the color placement, even kitted versions of Squiggles will each be unique!

Kits and books still available

Pick up a signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts from me book here.
Click here to grab a Squiggles quilt kit or Modern Marks Fat Quarter bundle.

(As of this writing I have 7 fat quarter bundles and 3 kits left – two with a white background/red binding, and one with a black background/blue binding. But of course you can use any fabric you like!)

Squiggles from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Click here for the complete Quilt Along Schedule with links to all of the previous posts.

Finished Quilt: Modern Puzzle + Quilting Tips

Meet Modern Puzzle – one of the quilts I made for quilt market this past fall. The quilt pattern is a free PDF download and it’s made from one Pinwheel (aka Jellyroll) of Modern Marks + one pinwheel of white/gray neutrals from Benartex.

Modern Puzzle Free Qult patter by Christa Watson

Click here to download my Modern Puzzle quilt pattern for free.
Click here to get the precuts to make this quilt.

I recently wrote up a spray basting tutorial using my design wall using Modern Puzzle as my example. Now I’m ready to share more about the quilting process. Because I was in a hurry to get this quilt done, AND I really wanted to show off the fabrics rather than the quilting, I used a simple wavy line design that I teach in my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Click the image below to enlarge it so you can see the quilting detail:

Machine Quilting detail - wavy lines

Making a Quilting Plan

Whenever I’m quilting an allover design using my walking foot (or dual feed system), I use a method I call “divide and conquer.” The basic idea is that I make one pass across the quilt, stitching near the ditch rather than IN the ditch.

This allows me to use my seam lines as a guideline for spacing so that I don’t have to mark anything. Once the quilt is stabilized, or “anchored,” then I’ll add additional wavy lines, one pass across the quilt at a time.

Quilting Plan for Modern Puzzle

Quilting plan for Modern Puzzle – I’ll fill in more lines on the quilt until it feels finished.

I introduced my audience to the concept of making a “quilting plan” in my first book, Machine Quilting with Style, and my first Craftsy class, The Quilter’s Path.  Now I love to seeing that so many have embraced this concept with their own quilts!

Quilting Modern Puzzle

Each time I quilt a set of wavy lines across the quilt, the space to fill gets smaller and smaller.

Whenever I quilt any quilt, I “scrunch and smoosh” it under the machine however I can. Having a wide area between the needle and the side of the machine is really nice, but not absolutely necessary. As long as you shove the quilt out of the way and only focus on one area at a time, it’s easy  to do!

Overlapping wavy lines

Once the lines got close enough, I overlapped a few of them for extra texture.

My philosophy when it comes to machine quilting is, “more is more.” For example, one individual line of stitching will stand out like a sore thumb. However, when you surround that line with additional quilting lines on both sides, all of a sudden, you notice the overall texture before you see the individual stitches.

Modern Puzzle Quilt by Christa Watson

When it comes to choosing thread color for a highly contrasting quilt such as this one, it’s best to use a lighter color thread rather than a darker one. A lighter thread will blend in more on darker fabrics, rather than the reverse.

Aurifil Cotton Thread

For Modern Puzzle, I chose a light gray/blue from my Piece and Quilt Collection – Neutrals from Aurifil. Even with dense quilting, one large spool was plenty of thread, and I like to use the same color in top and bobbin to help hide any tension issues.

Quilting Detail on Modern Puzzle

Dense quilting is my favorite way to hide quilting imperfections!

Behind the Scenes

Fun fact: when I got my fabric samples for Modern Marks back in July, I had about 4 days to whip up 5 quilt tops to display at a special event for BERNINA dealers taking place here in my hometown of Las Vegas. Because BERNINA owns Benartex, the dealers got to see sneak peeks of the fabric before it was debuted at quilt market in October.

Quilts in Progress

Honest sewing room and quilt top making frenzy: notice the fabric samples in the left corner rolled on a tube – this is how fabric comes from the factory before it’s folded onto bolts!!

This was my chance to introduce myself to shop owners who hadn’t heard of me yet, so it was a huge opportunity if I could finish the samples in time. So I called in the reinforcements – my mom and a few friends – and we sewed non-stop to get them done! It was a fun impromptu retreat and I’m thankful to say, the fabric was well received. Thank goodness I only needed to finish the tops and was able to quilt them over the next 3 months at a more leisurely pace!

Modern Puzzle Quilt by Christa Watson

I love how the bright pops of color in in Modern Marks contrast against my desert surroundings. This is one of my favorite quilts, and the dense quilting makes it so snuggly!!

Remember, if you make Modern Puzzle, (or anything else from my books, patterns, or fabric) I’d love to see your progress! Please share in my ChristaQuilts Facebook community. I’d love to cheer you on!!

Modern Puzzle Stats:

Modern Puzzle by Christa Watson

All outdoor photogrophy taken by my husband, Jason Watson. (C) 2017

Finished Quilt: Modern Starstruck + Quilting Details

Meet “Modern Starstruck” – a remake of my “Starstruck” quilt pattern included in my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. The original quilt from the book was made in black and white, but as soon as I released my new fabric line, I knew I had to remake this design to showcase the bold bright colors of Modern Marks.

Modern Starstuck by Christa Watson

Modern Starstruck, designed, pieced and quilted by Christa Watson

Starstruck is a fun fat-quarter quilt made from 24 different fabrics, one for each star in the quilt. Each fabric is used in the quilt twice – once for the star and once for the background. However, since there are 26 prints in Modern Marks, I wanted to showcase them all, so two of the fabrics are only included once.

Modern Starstruck

Click here to grab a fat quarter bundle of Modern Marks (while supplies last.)
Click here to get your signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

I had a LOT of fun quilting this one!! I quilted a different free-motion design in each of the stars and backgrounds. There are a total of 24 blocks which means I quilted 48 unique designs in this quilt. I think of it as a “machine quilting sampler” of sorts.

Machine Quilting Detail

You can really see the quilting when the light hits it just right. I tried lots of different swirl combinations in some of the blocks, and echoed each star a couple of times to separate it from the background quilting.

Modern Starstruck closeup

Modern Starstruck drapes really well due to the cotton batting I used, and the dense quilting gives it plenty of yummy texture.

In each block I quilted a combination of geometric and curvy lines to play around with different ideas. To minimize my starts and stops, I free motion echo quilted around each star shape, then traveled over a previous stitching line to get to the star. I filled in each star with a different design and then traveled back out of the top of the star to continue quilting the additional echo and background areas.

Machine quilting in progress

Here are a couple of closeups of the block quilting:

quilting detail

I quilted a geometric meander in the star above, with curvy woodgrain in the background. Many of the designs came from my books, while others were brand new experiments which may show up as stand-alone motifs in future quilts!

free motion quilting

In this star I quilted a dense echoed diamond design with curvy flowers in the background. I used a light yellow thread for the entire quilt. It blended in to most of the fabrics so I didn’t have to switch thread colors.

Pattern on pattern

In some of the blocks, I quilted a dense pattern on pattern design to add extra depth and dimension to the quilt.

Modern Starstruck detail

It was fun to choose fabric combinations for each block. Because this was a busy quilt with no unifying background fabric, it was important that each pairing allowed the stars to pop!

Modern Starstruck Stats:

Modern Starstuck by Christa Watson

Modern Marks Inspiration and a Free Quilt Pattern!

To celebrate the release of my new fabric line, I have a free pattern for you, plus loads of inspiration on what you can make with my fabric! Take a look at Rainbow Taffy, a bright colorful quilt made from 5″ squares of Modern Marks, + white background:

Click here for the Rainbow Taffy pattern download.
Click here to get Modern Marks precuts.

Click here to get the free quilt pattern.

I knew I wanted to create a bright colorful quilt which would show off every fabric in this collection. In fact, when it came time to create the precut bundles for this line, it was fun to decide which fabrics would have duplicates (since there’s 31 in the line but 42 squares in the 5×5 pack). I designed Rainbow Taffy so that it would show case these cheerful fabrics in rainbow order, but of course the pattern would look great in other fabrics, too!

Boxes Quilting on Rainbow Taffy

Boxes quilting design on Rainbow Taffy

The pattern includes a detailed chart with color placement, plus machine quilting suggestions. I quilted it with one of my favorite geometric designs, “boxes” which is also the name of one of the designs in the collection!

Modern Marks Fabric by Christa Watson

Click here to grab a bundle of 26 Modern Marks fat quarters.

Be sure to ask for Modern Marks by name at your favorite local quilt shop! If there’s not one near you, I have a limited number of fat quarter bundles and kits availalbe at shop.christaquilts.com.

More Modern Marks Inspiration

Modern Marks

Be sure to check out the stops on the blog hop below for even more ideas of what you can make from Modern Marks!

Monday
HollyAnne @String & Story
 
Tuesday
 
Wednesday
Hilary @Aurifil
 
Thursday
 
Friday
I hope you are inspired to create something fun with Modern Marks!
Rainbow Taffy Quilt

Catching My Breath, a Few Updates – and a Fun Fabric Giveaway!

So right before quilt market my computer crashed. As in Dead. As. A. Doornail. Fortunately, my tech savvy hubby backed everything up so that nothing was lost. As you can imagine, the timing wasn’t great, but is it ever good timing for a hiccup like that?

Christa at Quilt Market 2017

One of my many demo’s at quiltmarket. My mom and I made the shirt I’m wearing from my fabric.

Now that at I’m back from quilt market and Jason has set me up on a new laptop, I can stop and breathe (for about 5 minutes) before it’s time to start working on the next fun quilty thing! (More fabric, more classes, more patterns, oh my!!)

So this post is a quick catch-up of what’s happening in real time along with a thank you giveaway for sticking with me and reading to the end!!

Quick Quilt Market Recap

Quilt Market was a blast! This is the industry trade show that takes place each fall in Houston, Texas, the week before Quilt Festival which is the consumer show. Many industry folks stay for both but that would be way too exhausting for me! Maybe once the kids are out of the house we’ll consider doing both…

Quilts from Modern Marks

One of the many quilts made from Modern Marks. Free & paid patterns coming soon!

I was in my booth most of the time at market showing my fabric line Modern Marks to quilt shops in the hopes that they decide to carry it in their shops. The response was really great as so many folks are attracted to the fun bright prints. I promised the shop owners a couple of free patterns coming soon, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t also share them with you. So be on the lookout as I’ll be sharing those as soon as my graphic designer has made them look pretty!

Machine Quilting Demo in the Aurifil Booth

Demoing machine quilting + wearing another top made from my fabric.

I also introduced new customers to my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts, and my awesome publisher set up several book signings and machine quilting demos while I was there.

My good friend Annie Unrein from By Annie made several bags and accessories for my booth and my mom help me sew up several shirts from my fabric to wear during the show.

Annie Unrein and Christa Watson at Fall Quilt Market 2017

The quilt on the left is a free pattern coming soon; the one one the right was remade from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts using my fabric! Notice the cute bag by Annie and my matching shoes!

Be on the lookout for more about the individual Modern Marks quilts and projects a bit later after I’ve had a chance to recover! Then save the date: Starting November 27th, Benartex will be hosting a blog hop to share even more ideas of what you can make from Modern Marks!

Quilt Kits for Sale

Squiggles recolored in Modern Marks

Get the Squiggles Quilt Kit

I’m continuing to sell quilt kits for the upcoming Quilt Along I’ll be hosting here on the blog in January. Click here for the QAL schedule. Most folks voted for us to make Squiggles from my new book for the QAL, but I know several of you really wanted to make Gridwork as well.

Gridwork recolored in EQ using modern marks

Get the Gridwork Quilt Kit

I’m now offering kits for each quilt, along with optional backing kits. You’ll need a copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts for the patterns, but hey – if you want to make BOTH quilts, you just need ONE copy of the book. I really like it when you can get more bang for your buck!

And of course either of these quilts would look fabulous in other fabrics, too!!

Click here to purchase Modern Marks quilt kits and bundles.

Upcoming Teaching

I head to St. George, Utah this weekend to do a trunk show on Friday and machine quilting class on Saturday for Dave’s BERNINA. Then on December 1-2, for my last gig of the year, I’ll be flying out to visit my friend Stephanie who runs Quilt Addicts Anonymous in Illinois. I’ll be sharing a lecture and full day free-motion class at her shop, so if you are in the area, be sure and join us!

I’ll be super busy in January, and it’s the last time I’ll be in driving distance of Las Vegas for awhile. On January 3-5 I’ll be teaching one day of machine quilting and 2 days of improv piecing at Quilting at the Lake. Click here for registration info.

Then, January 15-18, I’ll be teaching four different machine quilting classes at Road to California. At last check, two of my classes at Road had sold out with waiting lists, but there are still spots open in my Monday and Tuesday classes. Click here for class schedule info.

How Do I Quilt it MQG

If you aren’t near where I’m teaching, you can catch my live webinar for the Modern Quilt Guild next week! On Wednesday, November 8th at 6 PM Pacific Time, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks for quilting on a home machine, answering the most asked question, “How Do I Quilt It?”

Click here to register for the webinar/or join the MQG.

If you aren’t yet an MQG member, be sure and join now so you don’t miss the fun! Members have access to all of the MQG webinars, so you can also catch it later.

The GiveawayS – Win my Fabric!

I have 3 fabric giveaways for you today, as a thanks for your continued support! First, I’m giving away a box full of fabric scraps which is mostly Modern Marks plus a few misc. pieces. These are leftovers, large and small of all the projects I’ve been making from Modern Marks over the last few months. It also includes some nice chunks of funky shapes that were the cutaways from the shirts I made, plus tons of small to medium scraps that frankly I’m just too lazy to sort through! But I know one of you will love them!

Modern Marks Scraps

Win my Modern Marks scraps!

The second and third giveaways are Modern Marks precuts. At Quilt Market, there’s a night of shopping frenzy called Sample Spree where attendees can purchase bundles before they are available in shops. I wasn’t there, but apparently all of my precuts sold out except for one 2 1/2″ strip bundle (Benartex calls them Pinwheels) and one charm pack (aptly named 5×5’s) that were held back for promotion, so I snagged those puppies to give to you all!

Modern Marks Precuts

Modern Marks precuts coming soon! Ask your local quilt shop to stock them.

I’ll make this easy – just leave any comment to enter. I’ll give the scrap box and the Pinwheel to two separate US winners, and send the charm pack to an international friend. So be sure to mention in your comments which prize you’d like to win and where you are from!

I’ll pick the winners first thing Monday morning and notify them via email.

Whew! I think that’s all for now!! Now it’s time to unpack and sew!

Piece and Quilt Hop Along Week 2 with Vicki, HollyAnne and Kristin

Vicki, HollyAnne and Kristin are back for week 2 of their blog hop from my new book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts. Each of these talented gals is making a different quilt from the book and sharing tips and videos about their progress over a 5 week period.

Piece and Quilt with Precuts

So let’s check out what they’ve been up to this week!

Vicki Holloway from My Creative Corner 3

Gridwork blocks

Vicki is making progress on her version of Gridwork using my Modern Marks fabric. For the finished quilt she’s going to make it completely out of my fabric. However, in her blog post, she’s made a few bonus blocks incorporating some solids to show how that can change up the look.

Modern Marks Frequency blockVicki took some of her leftover scraps and pieced a Frequency block (also from the book). Her plan is to make one block from each of the quilts in the book to make a sampler quilt. I think that’s such a clever idea and can’t wait to see it!

Click here to read more about Vicki’s progress this week.

HollyAnne Knight from String and Story

For her version of Spools, HollyAnne is doing something I recommend in all of my books and classes – make a quilting plan to audition possible design ideas. I love how she’s combined different quilting designs from all three of my books for the spool blocks:

Quilting Design Ideas for Spools

Here’s her finished quilt top, also made from my Modern Marks fabric.  Don’t you just love how she reversed the color placement? Now they look like empty spools!

Spools from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Compare it to the original version that’s in the book, to see how different a quilt can look when you switch the color placement. I really love it when quilters take my ideas and make them their own!!

Spools by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Spools quilt, made by Christa Watson, from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Click here to read more about HollyAnn’s progress this week.

Kristin Esser From Kristin Esser.Com

Kristin whipped up her Squiggles quilt top in record time. It’s easy when you start with most of the cutting already done for you!

Squiggles from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

She quilted the wavy lines as shown in the book, using my “divide and conquer” process. In a nutshell, you quilt wavy lines “near” the ditch (rather than in the ditch) and then you subdivide each section, adding more lines until you are happy with the spacing. It’s organic, liberating, and adds lots of yummy texture to the quilt!

Squiggles quilting

Kristin also quilted several of the free-motion quilting motifs on practice blocks.
Click here to see her progress this week, plus bonus free-motion inspiration.

Remember – if you are working on any of the quilts from my books and patterns, please share them in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. I’d love to see!

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Get Modern Marks Fabric Bundles For a Limited Time!

Awesome news! I just found out my shipment of Modern Marks yardage will be arriving much earlier than anticipated! This is my debut fabric collection with Benartex and I can’t wait to share it with the world!! My fabric delivery is scheduled to come while I’m teaching at MQX Quilt Festival next weekend, but you can pre-order custom bundles now in these four sizes: Fat Eights, Fat Quarters, Half Yards, and Yard bundles.

Click here to purchase Modern Marks fabric bundles. They’ll ship Oct 3rd.

Modern Marks Fabric by Christa Watson

Modern Marks by Christa Watson for Benartex – 26 Bright Graphic Prints

The cutoff for pre-orders will be on Saturday, September 30th, or until they sell out, whichever comes first, and once they’re gone, that’s it. So don’t delay – put in your pre-order now so you’ll be among the first to get your hands on my fabric!

Now here’s the catch – I’m not selling any of the fabric by the yard, because honestly that would be too much for me to manage. But you can ask your favorite quilt shop to stock it if you are wanting yardage of a particular print.

Modern Marks Bundles

Modern Marks bundles include all 26 fabrics shown above in these sizes:
Fat Eights – 9″ x 21″ pieces (3 1/4 yards total) – $34.95
Fat Quarters – 18″ x 21″ pieces (6 1/2 yards total) – $69.95 (Less than $3 per FQ!!)
Half Yards – 18″ x 42″ pieces (13 yards total) – $139.90
Full Yards – 36″ x 42″ pieces (26 yards total) – $249.95 (Best value – under $10 bucks per yard!!)
SPECIAL PRE-ORDER PRICING IS VALID THROUGH 9/30!!

Click here to purchase your Modern Marks bundle.

Modern Marks FQ Bundle

Modern Marks photos by HollyAnne Knight from String and Story

I’m happy to ship anywhere in the world (just know that overseas shipping is super spendy and sadly there’s not much I can do about it). If you get a bundle and start working with it, be sure and use the hashtag #modernmarksfabric on social media. I’d love to see what you are creating!

Modern Marks Strips

I hope you love Modern Marks as much as I do!

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Piece and Quilt with Precuts Quilt 11 – Spools

Can you believe it? Today I’m sharing the last quilt from my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts. Be sure and stick around for tomorrow’s blog hop wrap-up as I announce an epic giveaway (hint – it’s a QUILT!!!) and something fun to look forward to in the future!

Meet Spools, which is possibly my favorite quilt in the book. (I know – just like children you can’t really have a favorite, right???)

Spools by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Spools Photography courtesy of Martingale/That Patchwork Place and Brent Kane

Piece It

My favorite thing about this quilt is that it expands on a concept that I introduced in my first book. (Remember Facets from Machine Quilting with Style? Similar piecing concept, totally different design!!)

Spools uses many leftovers from other quilts in the book as well as scraps from my scrap bin. It was so fun to combine any sized pieces to create my own “made” fabric, and then cut them up into recognizable shapes – a process I call “structured improv.”

Original spools design in EQ7

Original EQ7 design concept  for Spools. I made each spool a different color instead.

When I originally designed this quilt I had thought of mixing up a bunch of different scraps to make each of the spool blocks along with a scrappy border. The image above was my original EQ7 design for the quilt. But as I was getting ready to make the quilt I had a last minute stroke of inspiration to make them color blocked instead. And instead of a scrappy border, I made a scrappy binding around the edges that matches the color of the spool blocks!

I much prefer the quilt I ended up making, where each spool is a different color of “thread” – don’t you?? Now after making this quilt, I feel like any scrap can work its way into a future improv-pieced quilt!

Quilt It

Machine Quilting on Spools

I used a combination of two quilting designs. In each of the spool blocks I quilted wavy textured lines using a matching Aurifil thread. Then in the background I combined another fun free-motion technique I teach called “free-motion improv.”

You basically combine several of your favorite free-motion motifs and mash them all up together in the same quilt, changing designs every 2-3 motifs. It’s a fun way to quilt that adds tons of interest and texture to the design.

Free Motion Improv on Spools

Machine quilting details on Spools.

One of the reasons I quilt my quilts so densely is to hide my mistakes. After all, when you quilt one line of imperfect stitches it really stands out like a sore thumb. However, if you surround it with more imperfect quilting, all you notice is the beautiful texture rather than the individual stitches!

More Arrows inspiration

Check out the bloggers below for their takes on Spools, and be on the lookout for giveaways! I hope you’ve enjoyed traveling to all of the stops on the hop for more ideas on how to make any of the quilts in my book!

Sandra Starley: Textile Time Travels

Sandra Starley Halloween Quilt -Spools

Who says you have to make rainbow colored blocks? Sandra decided to make mini-sized Halloween themed spools, complete with spooky background prints. Now this makes me want to make one for all the holidays! I mean, how cool would it look in reds and greens for Christmas, or red, white and blue for a patriotic quilt? This opens up a world of ideas for you to explore!!

Be sure and keep an eye on Sandra’s blog in the future to see how she quilts it!

Jen Shaffer: Patterns by Jen

Spools made by Jen

I love how Jen made her quilt similar to the original, but she totally changed up the quilting. She used a combination of “modern zig-zags” in the sashing which I introduce earlier in the book. Plus she combined it with “triangle texture”, a motif I teach in my first book.

Visit Jen’s blog to see some really great process pics showing how she approached the improv piecing. I’m proud of her for going outside her comfort zone! While there, you’ll even see the coordinating pillow she made with another machine quilting design from the book!

Today’s Gift: Win Scraps of My new fabric

Since we’ve been talking about how to use up your scraps, I thought it would be fun to offer a unique giveaway today. Many of you know I’ve been sharing sneak peeks of my new fabric line, Modern Marks, which releases this November from Benartex. Well, I’ve been working behind the scenes, making a bunch of quilts from the new fabric to show it off a bit later. That means that I’ve accumulated a ton of scraps, so I’ve decided to give them away to one of you!

Modern Marks fabric scraps

This bundle of scraps could be yours! It’s Modern Marks by Christa Watson for Benartex.

This means that one lucky winner will be the first (other than me) to get their hands on my fabric, before anyone can even buy it!!! Now that you know what you can do with scraps, the sky’s the limit when it comes to using them.

To enter, leave me a comment letting me know which quilt from the book is your favorite. If you haven’t had a chance to see them all, click here for the blog hop schedule, with links to each of the quilts. I’ll choose a winner’s name at random on Monday morning and notify them via email. I’m happy to ship your box of scraps anywhere, with the understanding that an international winner will pay shipping (less the cost of shipping it to the US).

Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop

And finally, if you’ve enjoyed the blog hop, be sure to pick up a signed copy of my book. It’s been a joy to write, and even more satisfying to share all of the quilts with you. Be sure and stop by tomorrow to see what’s coming up next!

Update: Winner Selected and Comments Closed

Congrats to Brandy F.  who has been contacted via email.

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Piece and Quilt with Precuts Quilt 10: Arrows

I’ve been having such a fabulous time sharing all the quilts from my new book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. In fact, once the blog hop ends, I’m going to be at a loss for what to do next! (But not for long I hope!) Take a look at Arrows, one of my favorite designs from the book, which just so happens to be on the cover!!

Arrows from Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Arrows Photography courtesy of Martingale/That Patchwork Place and Brent Kane

Piece It

I had two goals when designing this quilt: I wanted to make it with a scrappy background, and I wanted to create a design that would use a fat eighth bundle for the focus design. While designing the quilt in EQ7, I also wanted to see what the quilt would look like if you decided to use just one fabric for the background, rather than going scrappy.

Check it out using a black background – doesn’t it make the colors pop?

Arrows Alternate Colorway designed in eq

Here’s what it would look like with a white print background and bright colors:

Arrows alternate colorway designed in eq7

As you can see, it’s such a versatile design! Whenever I make a quilt, I usually want to remake it using other fabrics because it ends up looking so different!

Quilt It

I actually designed Arrows just so that I’d have lots of negative space to quilt a dense free-motion design I named Arrowheads. I first taught this motif during a class at QuiltCon, and knew I had to use it in a real quilt!

Detail quilting of Arrows Quilt - design is called Arrowheads from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

I quilted a contrasting design called “Cursive L’s” in the arrows blocks. It’s easy to create contrast in the quilting when one of the motifs is a curved design and the other is linear or geometric. Cursive L’s is one of my “go-to” designs because it’s easy to stretch or shrink to fill any space!

More Arrows inspiration

Take a look at two more ideas for how you can change up the fabrics. I’m sure this will get your creative juices flowing to make your own version! And don’t forget to visit each blog looking for more fun giveaways!!

Lynn Kline: Monkey Needle

Arrows made by Lynn

For her version, Lynn used the same Arrowheads and Cursive L’s quilting as taught in the book. I also include a suggestion to echo quilt around the blocks to make the blocks pop even more, and I love how it looks on Lynn’s quilt!

Arrows made by Lynne Kline

Doesn’t Lynn’s version look great with the scrappy white background? Be sure and visit her blog to read more her progress and to find out which fabrics she chose. Plus she’s hosting 2 giveaways!!

Arrows quilting detail by Lynn

Look at all of that scrumptious quilting texture!! In her post, Lynn even mentions how long it took her to quilt – along with more gorgeous pics where you can really see the quilting. I know that if Lynn can do it – so can you!

Click here to read more about Lynn’s version of Arrows and enter her giveaways.

Kathy Bruckman: Kathy’s Kwilts and More

Kathy’s name should seem familiar since she was one of the first stops on the hop when she made Squiggles. After I shared the first quilt, Kathy made a coordinating Squiggles pillow from her leftovers of the first quilt!

Squiggles Pillow made by Kathy

Click here to read more about Kathy’s bonus pillow project.

She had so much fun making that first quilt that she wanted to make another one from the book. So pop on over to her blog to see her version of Arrows in progress.

Arrows in progress by Kathy

Don’t you love the crinkly goodness of a fresh batch of bright batik fabrics?
These will look so good once they are quilted up!

Today’s Gift: A Free PDF Pattern for all, plus Win The Set!

Christa Quilts Patterns

Just a few of the patterns I currently have available through Craftsy.

Although I currently have 6 patterns available in print, I offer a total of 10 PDF patterns in my Craftsy store, including one that’s totally free!! So pop on over there to get the freebie and check out the other 9. I’ll choose two winners at the end of the hop on Aug 31. Because these are delivered electronically, this giveaway is open to everyone around the world!

Click here to get the free Craftsy pattern and see the whole collection.

To enter, leave me a comment about your favorite way to quilt. Do you prefer walking foot, free-motion, or both? Or maybe you like to hand quilt, or even quilt “by check!” I’d love to know. 🙂

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

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

Click here to see all of the stops on the hop.

Update: Winner Selected and Comments Closed

Congrats to Pat T. and Lynn T. who have been contacted via email.

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