Modern Marks Fabric Swatches Archive

Modern Marks was my first fabric line that I designed for the Contempo division of Benartex Fabrics. They released in September of 2017, and because Benartex reprints fabrics as long as they are selling, most of them are still available. Although I’m now promoting my second fabric line, Fandangle, (which ships to stores this month), I realized that I need to archive all of the Modern Marks prints in one place so that I can link back to them as needed.

Modern Marks Fabric by Christa Watson

Fat Quarter bundles of Modern Marks are available while supplies last.
Click here for Modern Marks Precuts.
Read my blog post about the fabric design process and fabric rejects.

Modern marks was inspired by many of the marks I like to make – whether by hand or machine. Several of them are based on machine quilting designs and they all incorporate graphic geometry which I love so much! I wanted them to work well when cut up into quilts and add a spark of color to any project.

Modern Marks

Modern Marks by Christa Watson

The main print comes in four colors: Red, Orange, Lime, and Turquoise

The namesake print is mashup of many of the coordinates, and even includes a few motifs which didn’t make the final cut of the collection. I’m definitely revisiting some of the shapes in future fabric lines as my goal is for all of my fabrics to work seamlessly between collections.

Half Ovals

Modern Marks Fabrics Half Ovals Print by Christa Watson

Half Ovals comes in four colors: Dark Fuchsia, Orange, Light Turquoise and Teal

I knew I wanted to include a “dot” print in this line but wanted it to be more interesting than the standard polka dot. I also wanted to make sure that with this coordinate, it would cut up nicely no matter which way you rotated the print.

Herringbone

Modern Marks Fabric Herringbone Print by Christa Watson

Herringbone comes in four colors: Red, Lime, Jade, and Navy

This print is one of the blenders in the line that’s based on one of my machine quilting designs – a simple zig-zag. The beauty of fabric design is that the lines don’t have to be continuous like my machine quilting is!

Boxes

Modern Marks Fabric Boxes Print by Christa Watson

Boxes comes in three colors: Light Blue, Cream/Lime, and Light Orange

Boxes is based on one of my favorite modern machine quilting motifs of the same name. The quilting design is a continuous/allover design, but I wanted the print to not be so obvious that it was a quilting design, so the squares are less dense than the quilting design with just a few of them overlapping. These fabrics also read a little lighter so that they can provide contrast to the darker, bolder prints.

Crossmarks

Modern Marks Fabric Crossmarks Print by Christa Watson

Crossmarks comes in five colors: Pink, Gold, Green, Turquoise and Jade.

This is the simplest print of the bunch but very effective. It serves as the blender, basic, or tone-one-tone of the group.

Quirky Triangles

Modern Marks Fabric Quirky Triangles Print by Christa Watson

Quirky Triangles comes in three colors: Pink/Orange, Green/Blue, and Navy/Blue

I knew I wanted to include a triangle print but something a little more unexpected than the usual tossed triangles. Adding a pop of color emphasizes the asymmetry and irregularity of the print which I really like.

Crosshatch

Modern Marks Fabric Crosshatch Print by Christa Watson

Crosshatch comes in three colors: Tangerine, Light Lime, and Royal

Crosshatch is another basic/blender print. Adding the random pops of filled in squares gives it a little more quirkiness and originality to your basic crosshatch/plaid design.

Modern Marks with Color Weave

The full Modern Marks line includes the 26 prints I designed above, plus 5 coordinating Color Weave basics in Cobalt Blue, Fuchsia, Citrus, Kelly Green, and Electric Blue.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane for my first collection. Click here to see current list of shops that carry my fabric and feel free to email me if you know of a store that carries it that’s not on the list. I’ll be glad to add them!

My Week at BERNINA University 2018

I just got home from a fabulous week in Chicago, attending the 125th Anniversary of BERNINA. What a legacy for this fantastic company!! Each year, BERNINA hosts an industry only event exclusively for BERNINA dealers, select quilting industry vendors, and BERNINA owned companies (Brewer Sewing, Benartex Fabrics and OESD embroidery.)

The Main Event

BERNINA 125th Anniversary

BERNINA University (BU for short) kicks off with an opening reception and announcement of new products.  A new 4 Series was introduced this year, aimed at making BERNINAs more affordable to the “casual” quilter with many of the same bells and whistles of the high-end machines.

BERNINA Sewing Machines at BERNINA University

Beautiful 125th Anniversary quilts on display made by Amanda Murphy

BERNINA dealers and their employees attend four days of classes aimed at getting them familiar with the new product line as well as supplemental classes taught by industry experts, ambassadors, and BERNINA educators. During the time between classes, they get an opportunity to shop the vendor mall, full of booths aimed at helping them bring fresh, new products to their stores. Think of it as a mini-version of quilt market that’s more focused and engaged.

Many well-known BERNINA experts and spokespersons were there, too, such as Amanda Murphy, Lisa H. Calle, Tiffany Pratt (a crafting TV personality from Canada) and Ricky Tims, just to name a few.

BERNINA spokesperson Lisa H. Calle

Lisa H. Calle is such a ham!! I met her at BU last year (in Las Vegas) and got to know her better over dinner this year. She’s as kind and generous as she is talented.

Ricky Tims at BERNINA

Ricky Tims entertained us with his beautiful musical talent at the closing gala.
(Spoiler alert!! I’m heading to Colorado later this summer to do a taping with him and Alex Andersen for The Quilt Show – can’t wait!!)

My Booth

Fandangle Fabric Booth

My Sparkling Stars Quilt got quite a good reception at the show.
Stay tuned for the Dot ‘n Dash Quilt Along coming up in August!

I was able to set up a booth at BU to show shop owners my brand new Fandangle Fabric collection with Benartex, along with new quilt patterns to help support the line. I was very pleased with the reception that I received. Although I had attended quilt market back in May, many of the quilt shops and dealers who attend BU don’t actually make it to market so most of them were seeing it for the first time.

Fandangle Fabric Surplus Strips Quilts

Everyone loved seeing the cool and warm colors of Fandangle in Surplus Strips.

As a designer, one of the best things about attending BU is getting to engage more with the shops and dealers one-on-one. Because it is a much smaller event than quilt market, there’s enough time to talk with them in-depth to explain how my new products will help their quilt shops be more successful (and of course sell more sewing machines!)

Pearl Pendants
Pearl Pendants quilt on display. I scattered squares of Modern Marks and Fandangle together on the table so that folks could see how well both collections work together.

It’s All About the Education!

Everyone attending at BU is either a serious buyer, seller, or educator. Although there’s certainly nothing wrong with the more casual, social environment of quilt market, BERNINA University is a different type of industry trade show. It’s much more focused and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I sold more books, fabrics, and patterns there than at quilt market.

Machine Quilting Workshop at BERNINA University

Workshop attendees got to practice free-motion quilting on either the Q20 sit-down longarm or the B770 QE (which is my personal machine of choice.)

I also taught a couple of workshops while I was there: two sessions of my 3 hour class, “ Conquer Your Fear of Free-Motion.” It was a little different than my regular classes that I teach for shops, guilds, and at quilt shows because I was basically teaching other teachers and shop owners how to teach my techniques from my books.

Free Motion Quilting on teh BERNINA Q20

Sharing my teaching methods with shop owners at BU had two main purposes:

  • It allows my methods to reach a larger audience. Since there’s no possible way I can travel to every quilt shop, the dealers can share my methods and get their own rock-star staff to share them with their customers instead.
  • It helps me sell more books. Although it’s exciting for me to meet enthusiastic students when I travel or interacting with them online, there are plenty of quilters out there excited to learn how to machine quilt that haven’t yet been introduced to my easier, stress free (and fun!) way of doing things.

Quilted Samples at BU

Student work quilted on the BERNINA 770 QE. My designs work well on any machine!

One of the best things about having a professional quilting career is getting to make new friends and solidfy relationships with people you only see at industry events. Once such person is Cherry Guidry from Cherry Blossoms Quilting Studio, a fellow Benartex Contempo designer.

Cherry Guidry of Cherry Blossoms Quilting Studio

Click here to see swatches of Cherry’s adorable fabric lines.

Cherry been a fabric designer with the company since about 2014 I think and her style is simply adorable. It’s much different than mine but many of our colors and fabrics are very compatible. We are both passionate about business and quilting and started hatching plans for ways that we can work together in the future so stay tuned for more on that front!!

The Big BERNINA

Big BERNINA at BU

And you thought YOUR BERNINA was big??

It wouldn’t be a BERNINA event without fun props! This larger than life BERNINA was on display in downtown Chicago as well as at the closing reception. Although I did not take any pics with it, you can check out the hashtag #BU2018 on Instagram for many hilarious and animated candids of folks with the machine!

Fandangle Fabric and Matching Shoes

I love wearing clothing made from my fabric and pairing it with fun matching shoes. Now it’s time to work on more fabulous fabric designs and quilt patterns to go along with them!
Since I know you’ll ask – the shoes are Fluevogs – my favorites!!

Next Year’s Show

I had a fabulous time teaching and sharing my work with fellow BERNINA enthusiasts at BU and am pleased to share that I’ve already been invited back to next year’s show. BERNINA University is an annual event that will take place again next June in Jacksonville, Florida. So stay tuned for more great things from BERNINA in the future!

Kits for and fabrics for my Craftsy Classes are now Back in Stock

Many of you have asked me when Craftsy will offer more kits for my beginning class: Startup Library – Quilting. The good news is that they are available once again! The first round of kits performed so well, that they finally ran out of fabric using the original prints so they decided to re-kit it with a similar collection with the same look and feel of the original.

Click here to check out Startup Library: Quilting

Friendship Stars quilt by Christa Watson

Click here to get the Friendship Stars Quilt Kit

Although you can certainly get the kit without the class (it comes with a detailed pattern), you can also get the class and make your own version using any fabrics you choose.

This quilt was super fun and fast to make because the blocks are simple to piece and the quilting is easy enough for a beginner to handle. I quilted the remake using the same quilting plan as the original and the class includes step by step tutorials on how to quilt it the same way shown here:

Friendship Stars quilt by Christa Watson

In the class I go over how to quilt gentle wavy lines with your walking foot, plus two fun and easy to learn free-motion designs: stipple and continuous curves.

As a recap, here’s what the projects look like for my other two classes:

Click here to check out Startup Project: Starry Path

If you’ve already tackled Friendship Stars and want to go to the next level, kits are also available for my followup class: Startup Project – Starry Path Quilt. It was fun to try out a completely different color scheme and expand my repertoire of star blocks!!

Starry Path Quilt by Christa Watson

Click here to get the Starry Path Quilt Kit

Click here to check out The Quilter’s Path

I made three versions for this class to show how to quilt with a walking foot, free motion – or both! It’s fun to see how the same design looks in different fabrics, with different quilting!

Pinwheel Quilts from The Quilters PathFabric selection for this class is super easy – just pick two jelly rolls in colors that you like.

Enroll in My Classes at Your Convenience

My Craftsy classes are available for you in two ways – either a la cart where you own it forever, or you can sign up for Craftsy Unlimited which gives you 24/7 access to all three of my classes as long as you continue with your subscription. Either way you view – you have unlimited access to me when you take any of my classes, and each one comes with a free pattern to make the projects featured in the class! Here are the relevant links below:

And remember – I’m here to help you each step of the way so you can enjoy making a complete quilt from start to finish as much as I do!

Friendship Stars Quilt by Christa Watson

Click here to get the new Friendship Stars Quilt Kit

Save the Date – Next Quilt Along for Dot ‘n Dash Launches in August

Earlier this year in my Facebook group we were discussing the idea of doing another quilt along this summer/fall. Well guess what – after organizing my schedule for the remaining year, I have room to squeeze one in and I’d love for you to join me!

Dot ‘n Dash recolored in Fandangle Fabric

Dot 'n Dash Quilt

Starting on August 17 and each Friday for several weeks (to be determined) we’ll make my Dot-n-Dash quilt pattern from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. The best thing about this quilt along is that many of you already have the book from my previous Squiggles quilt along.

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy of the book, you can get a signed one here! The other best thing is that just like my previous quilt alongs, we’ll make the whole quilt from start to finish.

I’ll be re-making my version of Dot-n-Dash using my brand new Fandangle fabric and am offering kits for a limited time. Click here to pre-order your Dot-n-Dash Fandangle kit and I’ll ship it out as soon as the fabric arrives – hopefully by the end of June/early July.

Original Dot ‘n Dash from the Book

Dot 'n' Dash by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Above is the original version made by me as shown in the book. Check out these other fabulous versions that friends of mine have made. I just love seeing the same pattern made in a variety of fabrics!!

Dot ‘n Dash made by Cheryl Brickey

Cheryl Brickey Dot n Dash from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Dot ‘n Dash made by Laura Piland

Laura Dot 'n Dash

Dot ‘n Dash made by Kristin Esser from Modern Marks

Dot n Dash by Kristin Esser

Materials List for Dot ‘n Dash

I’ll be posting the complete schedule on Friday, August 17 but in the meantime, here’s what you need to get started:

  • A copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts
  • One jelly roll (or 40 precut 2 1/2″ strips of assorted prints – includes binding)
  • 3 yards of background fabric (or a light colored jelly roll – all one fabric, or a mix is ok)
  • 4 yards of backing
  • 67″ x 79″ piece batting

Click here to get the optional kit made from Fandangle fabric.

Fandangle Fabric Strips

I can’t wait to dive into these! I cut my own strips using sample yardage, but the Strippies (Jelly Roll Strips) will be precut and neatly packaged by the manufacturer.

Share Your Work in Progress

I’ll be posting weekly stepouts of my progress with the quilt along with some bonus tips as I make the quilt. I’d love for you to share your progress so I can cheer you on, too. You can do that in several ways:

  1. In my Christa Quilts Facebook group
  2. On Instagram #dotndashqal
  3. Leave a comment and include a link to your own blog or social media images

Dot 'n Dash Quilt

I can’t wait to make this quilt and hope that you’ll join me!

Click here to get the optional kit made from Fandangle fabric.

Whether you’re a brand-new quilter or have been creating for a long time, I’d love for you to join me in this journey! Be sure to sign up to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live by entering your email address in the box on the right hand side-bar (or scrolling ALLLLLL the way down to the bottom of the page if viewing this on a mobile device.) I can’t wait to get started!!

What Really Happens at Quilt Market: My Experience at Spring 2018 in Portland, Oregon

Quilt Market wrapped up a couple weeks ago but I finally feel settled enough to blog a little bit more about my experience as I debuted my second fabric line and my latest batch of quilt patterns.

(Click here for my latest post all about the newest quilts and patterns.)

Christa Watson Contempo booth Quilt Market 2018

My booth was next to Cherry Guidry,another Benartex Contempo designer – she introduced a beautiful collection of neutrals called “Words to Live By.” A friend made four skirts from me from my fabric and I paired them up with a fun pair of shoes each day!

Here’s a shot of the full booth where you can see all five quilts that were on display. Sparkling Stars took center stage and got quite a lot of attention. You can see the cool version of Surplus Strips on the ladder with Heather Black’s gorgeous Pearl Pendants quilt.

Fandangle by Christa Watson for Benartex

The warm version of Surplus Strips (on the right above, near the Contempo sign) did double duty: it added color to the side of the booth, and also covered up a functional bookcase full of fabric samples for the sales associates.

The table was decorated with Sylvia Schaefer’s fabulous Pinwheel Rings quilt, and it served as an overflow sales station for those sales reps who “worked the floor” rather than staying in the Benartex area the whole time. Although I mostly took pictures when no one was around, just imagine people milling through the booths entire time, talking shop, placing orders and oohing and ahhing over all the beautiful new things.

Bags by Annie Unrein made from Fandangle

By Annie bags and containers were scattered throughout the booth showcasing her latest patterns and adding a colorful touch while being very functional for me. I used them to hold business cards, pattern giveaways and hidden items like snacks and my phone – stuff I need easy access to but don’t want to have sticking out in public!

Annie and I have a great deal going – I send her sample of my newest fabrics, and she makes up a bunch of samples showcasing her new patterns and my new fabric. I get to use them in my booth when they debut at market and then she takes them when she travels, and sets up for trunk shows. My mom has even spotted things made from my previous line, Modern Marks in some of her newer videos so it’s fun to see them “out in the wild!”

What Really Happens at Quilt Market

2 Days Before Show Time

So now that you’ve seen my booth, I’ll give you a play by play of my experiences each day. Two days before the show opens is booth setup. Fortunately the amazing folks at Benartex have a team that designs, builds and decorates the booths. The pics below are during setup: crates are shipped in, flooring is laid down, curtains are hung on poles and furniture is arranged.

For two days, the show floor looks like a disaster zone in everyone’s booth and then it all comes together magically at the last minute! That’s my hubby Jason in the shot below looking on and being so grateful he doesn’t have to build my booth!!

Quilt Market Booth Setup

1 Day Before Show Time

Below – I’m wearing my first day outfit – a skirt made from the red colorway of Baubles and bits. I stopped by to check up on booth setup and they were pretty much done with everyone but my corner.  My quilts were the last to be hung because I had to share them at a few pre-opening marketing events first.

Christa with Fandangle outfit

The day started off with a breakfast meeting with the Benartex sales reps. The designers attending were able to show our quilts and tell the reps a little bit more about the inspiration behind the designs as well as talk about the patterns we created to help support the line. They have much of this information already in their sales books that they show to shop owners, but getting to present to them in person allows them to get to know us better and tailor their visits to quilt shops to better meet their needs.

Many of the sales team represent several different fabric companies, so it’s a lot of information for them to take in and remember. Although shops can stop by any booth they like and place orders at quilt market, most buying and selling happens through fabric company sales reps, so anything we fabric designers can do to help our collections stand out will give us a better chance of quilt shops purchasing them for their shops.

Showing Fandangle to Benartex Sales Reps

After meeting with the sales team, it was time to prepare for schoolhouse. This is a set of 15-30 minute education sessions aimed at helping shop owners understand the benefits of carrying our products in their shops. My session was teaching how to host a quilt along to help shops sell more patterns and fabric. Of course the hope is that they’ll decide to carry my things, but I make sure my tips will work for anything they choose to carry in their shops.

Schoolhouse Schedule

I was a little nervous that no one would show up for my session since it was the second to last one of the day. By this time, everyone’s been on their feet all day and it can start to be a little tiring. Plus there are about 15-20 sessions happening during the same timeslot, so attendees really have to pick and choose which ones they want to see.

Fortunately every seat filled up and it was standing room only. Everyone who attended got a little goody bag with a free pattern to entice them to carry my fabric. I won’t know how the first round of sales for Fandangle went until I get my first royalty report after the fabric ships, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a good number of shops decide to carry it!

Quilt Market Schoolhouse

Show Time!

The show floor of quilt market is open for 3 days so it can be a bit of a blur! That sounds like a lot of time but it goes by very quickly, especially when it’s spent talking about fabric non-stop! But because quilt market is also a very social event, its great when some industry legends stop by to chat, too. Below I was able to catch up with Luana Rubin, the amazingly talented owner of eQuilter.com. We first got acquainted at a BERNINA ambassador reunion and I love following her work and travels on instagram.

Luana Rubin of EQuilter

In this photo I wore a skirt made from the cool colorway of Sparkling Squares.

During this whirlwind time of hanging out in the booth and talking to folks as they stopped by, I had a few meetings (more about that later…) and several machine quilting demos. During my demos I explained how several of my designs from Fandangle were actually inspired by some of my favorite machine quilting designs in my latest book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts. And here’s a hint to file away for now – although swirls didn’t make the cut for Fandangle, they’ll definitely make an appearance in the future…. so stay tuned!!

Machine Quilting Demo

It’s always great to meet up with fellow designers and see what they are working on, too. On the last day of the show, Aurifil organized a group picture for some of the designers who were attending that also have Aurifil thread collections. I’ve been chatting with Aurifil about my next thread collection and I’m really excited about what we’ve come up with so far. If all goes well, I’ll be debuting that one at fall market so there’s always fun stuff happening behind the scenes!!

Aurifil Thread Designers

Just a few of the Aurifil thread curators – Aurifil got a ribbon for best notions booth!!
On the last day of market I wore my Baubles and Bits skirt in the teal colorway.
It was fun to wear my fabric each day!

I’ll end this post with some pretty shots of my fellow Contempo designers’ booths that were in the same quad area. It was fun to see their pretty quilts hanging up all weekend and getting to know some of them better! In order below they are Cherry Guidry of Cherry Blossom Studio, Amanda Murphy, Amy Friend of During Quiet Time and Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle of Modern Quilt Studio.

The next big industry event I’ll be attending is BERNINA University in Chicago at the end of June. It’s like a mini-version of quilt market but exclusively for BERNINA dealers. I’m excited to meet many of the shop owners who didn’t attend quilt market, and I’m looking forward to teaching some hands on BERNINA classes while I’m there. I can’t wait!

The Patterns are Here! The Patterns are Here!

I got some happy mail this weekend – a shipment of my latest print pattern releases. The quilts below are all made from my Fandangle fabric which ships to stores in July, but I’ve written the patterns so that they will look fabulous in any fabrics you choose! I’ve blogged a lot about the quilts already (see links below each image in case you missed it), but now I’m excited to tell you what makes the patterns themselves extra special.

Sparkling Stars Quilt

Sparkling Stars quilt by Christa Watson made from Fandangle fabric

Sparkling Stars designed and made by Christa Watson, 70″ x 70″

For starters, all of my patterns are full color throughout. They are professionally printed, folded into a half-sheet size booklet, and staple-bound by GotPrint.com. I select high-quality glossy paper for the insides and the covers are slightly thicker which makes them a little more sturdy.

Because I purchase them in a higher volume, I’m able to get a quantity discount which I pass on to you all in the form of a lower price point. The MSRP for my print patterns is $9.95 which is much lower than the $12-$14 price I’ve seen for similar quality patterns.

Sparkling Stars PatternSparkling Stars Covers – Click above image to enlarge
Click here to purchase the Sparkling Stars Quilt Pattern

For Sparkling Stars, I included a very detailed materials list so that you could replicate the look in similar colors even if using different fabrics than I did. I also included detailed diagrams and charts by colorway so that it’s easy to follow along and not get lost.

Here’s an example of one of the many full-color illustrations that are included in the pattern:

Sparkling Stars Blocks

If there’s enough room in the pattern, I’ll usually throw in a closeup image of the quilting for inspiration. As an FYI, patterns need to be formatted so that they use up 8 or 12 sides (4-6 full pages). Most of mine tend to be on the longer end so that I can put in as much detail as possible.

I work with my graphic designer Lindsie to lay out the text, photos and illustrations, and if there’s extra room, I’ll throw in an extra diagram, tip, or quilting suggestion. I want you to have as much fun making these quilts as I did, and I try to pack as much helpful info into each pattern as I can!

Spiral quilting detail from Sparkling Stars

Quilting detail included in the pattern – inside front cover.

Surplus Strips Quilts

Surplus Strips Quilt Warm

Surplus Strips Quilt in the Warm Colorway of Fandangle
Designed and Made by Christa Watson, 67″ x 82″

Surplus Strips Cool Colorway of Fandangle

Surplus Strips Quilt in the Cool Colorway of Fandangle
Designed and Made by Christa Watson, 67″ x 82″

Surplus Strips Quilt PatternSurplus Strips Covers – Click above image to enlarge
Click here to purchase the Surplus Strips Quilt Pattern

For Surplus Strips, I wanted to show how you could use up leftover 2 1/2″ strips sorted by colorway to create a dynamic, scrappy looking quilt. In my patterns, I’ll try to include different methods of using your fabric (either yardage, scraps or precuts) whenever possible so you can make the best use of your stash!

Quilting Detail of Triangle Trinkets

Detail of the Triangle Trinkets motif quilted on the cool colorway.

I’m really excited that I was able to include machine quilting diagrams and detailed images in this pattern. Because many of the prints in my fabric lines are based off of my favorite machine quilting motifs, it was fun to include a different allover quilting design for each colorway.

Machine quilting detail of Surplus Strips

Do you see how the quilting design is the same as the Paper Cuts print? So fun!!

Pearl Pendants Quilt

Pearl Pendants Quilt by Heather Black

Pearl Pendants, designed and made by Heather Black, 60″ x 72″
Click here to read more about Heather and this gorgeous quilt.

It was really fun to collaborate on Pearl Pendants with my talented friend Heather Black of Quilt-achusetts. She designed and made the quilt using Fandangle plus Contempo Colorweave coordinates.

We both co-wrote the pattern and it was fun to go back and forth to ensure that the pattern was easy enough to understand and follow. My husband, Jason, who is NOT a quilter was very helpful in proof-reading to make sure even a novice could understand how to make this stunning quilt!

Pearl Pendants Quilt Pattern by Heather Black and Christa WatsonPearl Pendants Covers – Click above image to enlarge
Click here to purchase the Pearl Pendants Quilt Pattern

My favorite illustration included in the pattern is the very detailed chart of blocks which specifies exactly how many of each unit to make to get the same look. We included plenty of step by step diagrams so that you’ll have no problems making this fun quilt while practicing your curved piecing. Of course you can easily substitute the colors below for completely different fabrics, and it will still look great!!

Pearl Pendants Chart of Blocks

The pattern also includes full-sized templates to make the blocks in two different sizes, or you can use a specialty curved ruler if that’s your preferred method.

Heather has become quite proficient at quilting on her longarm and she loves to combine hand-guided work with a bit of computerized work in the quilting detail shown below:

Quilting Detail for Pearl Pendants

How to Purchase Christa Quilts Patterns

(1) Anyone can purchase my complete line of print patterns at shop.christaquilts.com.

(2) PDF versions of my entire pattern line are available in my Craftsy shop (click here).

(3) Quilt shops and other retailers can contact me via email christa@christaquilts.com for wholesale pricing information and exclusive specials.

(4) My fabrics and select patterns are also available wholesale through Checker Distributors and Brewer Sewing.

If you are a quilting instructor and wish to teach a class from any of these patterns, please contact me to get the wholesale pricing discount. I’m happy for others to teach from my patterns (or books) as long as each student purchases their own copy.

Sparkling Stars in the Benartex Contempo Booth at Quilt Market

Here’s Sparkling Stars hanging in my booth at Spring 2018 quilt market. Be sure to catch my next post where I’ll share all about my quilt market experience!

Sparkling Stars Quilt Part 3 – Spiral Quilting

Today I’m finishing up the making of Sparkling Stars, one of the brand new quilt patterns made from my brand new Fandangle fabric collection. Fandangle means embellishment or ornamentation and rather than embellishing my quilts with baubles and beads, I do it with fabric and thread!

Spiral quilting detail

Spiral Quilting Detail on Sparkling Stars

Marking the Center Spiral

Because I was on a tight deadline to finish this quilt, I chose a really fun walking-foot quilting design that looks great and is easy to do. I went with the large continuous spiral which is one of the designs I teach in my quilting classes and also in my book with Angela Walters, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.

Marking the Center Spiral

The trick to this design is to mark the center spiral, and then follow it around with the edge of your walking foot until the entire thing is quilted. I like to use a small circle shape to start. A spool of Aurifil thread works great by the way!!

Aurifil Variegated Thread

Speaking of Aurifil thread, I used  variegated 50 weight cotton #4650 Leaves for the quilting. I’ve really been enjoying using variegated threads on colorful quilts because they add an extra bit of texture and dimension to my quilts. In this case, it really emphasizes the “sparkling” effect.

Spiral Quilting

Machine quilting detail variegated thread

Yes, I had to rotate the quilt about a bazillion times, but once you get past the first few spirals it goes very quickly. It really helps to use a hands free system (knee-lift) or hover feature if you have one so that you can keep your hands on the quilt at all times.

I don’t ever stress too much about perfection in my quilting. If it wobbles a bit while quilting, I know that once my face isn’t two inches away from the quilt, it won’t be noticeable. Another walking foot quilting tip is to lower the presser foot pressure while quilting (not all machines can do this so check your manual). I also increase the stitch length to 3.0 to help compensate for friction and drag on the quilt.

Scrunching and smooshing the quilt

Rather than using a walking foot, I use the BERNINA dual feed that’s built into my 770 QE. It allows me to get the same result, but I can use different feet. I use the 20D foot – the open toe embroidery foot – for straight line quilting, and the 37D – 1/4″ patchwork foot – for attaching my binding.

Binding the Quilt

I use skinnier strips cut at just 2″ for my binding so that they finish at 1/4″ on both sides of the quilt. Click here for my binding tutorial for a previous quilt.

Attaching the Binding

I will press the binding to the back of the quilt and then keep it in place with about 200 binding clips all the way around the perimeter. I know some people like to use just a few clips and that works too!

Securing The Binding

When I bind, I keep the quilt away from me and bind from right to left. I use a thimble to protect my finger and push the needle through with the middle finger of my left hand. I think it’s interesting that there’s no one right way to do it. Some people do it holding the quilt in the opposite direction, while others stitch from left to right. As long as you are comfortable stitching, that’s the important thing!

Binding a Quilt

I know that binding by machine goes a lot faster, but there’s something I love about snuggling with the quilt at the end for a little hand-stitching. It’s like my reward after all the work it takes to make a quilt! Plus, I just really really like the way hand binding looks.

The final step in my quilt making process is to photograph the quilt. Thankfully Jason does that for me since I do NOT like that part, LOL!! We use my design wall to take flat shots that will be used for the cover of the quilt pattern. The hardest part is getting the lighting right! Later on, we’ll do pretty styled shots outside, but that’s a completely different process.

Photographing Sparkling Stars Quilt

I hope you’ve enjoyed the making of this quilt! You can now purchase the pattern by using any of the links below. And if you make one, be sure to share and use #sparklingstarsquilt on social media so I can see your progress!

Purchase the Pattern, See Previous “Making Of” Posts

 

Sparkling Stars Part 2 – The Quilt Top

I recently made Sparkling Stars to help promote Fandangle, my brand new fabric line at quilt market. The fabric will ship to stores at the end of June, and the pattern is currently available now in print or PDF.

Click here to read part 1 – making the quilt blocks.

Sparkling Stars in Progress

I decided to name this quilt Sparkling Stars as a nod to one of the prints I call “Sparkling Squares.” The collection name Fandangle means embellishment or ornamentation so I thought it would be fun for the fabric and quilt names to go with that theme.

Once the quilt blocks were sewn and pressed, it was time to sew them together to make the quilt top. This process went together rather quickly because I was able to refer to the image of the quilt top I had created in EQ8 for color placement, shown below.

Sparkling Stars Quilt Design

Here’s a tip when sewing lots of blocks into rows: sew the seams in opposite directions between blocks so that your blocks and rows don’t warp or bow to one side.

For example, refer to the top row in the image above. When sewing block pairs together, I kept the turquoise or teal blocks on top as I sewed the row together. There are a total of 4 vertical seams to sew per block row. By keeping the teal/turquoise on top, it ensured that I switched directions each time I joined the blocks.

Sparkling Stars by Christa Watson

After I completed the rows and added the borders, I pressed the entire top again from the front and back. Pressing often really helps ensure a nice flat top which is essential for successful machine quilting.

Hobbs quilt batting in cotton and wool

Whenever I make a quilt, I like to take a picture of the batting I’m using in the quilt so that I can remember what I used. For Sparkling Stars I chose Hobbs batting in cotton/wool.

This is one of my favorite battings for quilts that will be on display. The cotton gives the quilt drape and stability while the wool allows for good stitch definition and it doesn’t hold crease lines. I basted the quilt using basting spray and my design wall.

Click here for my spray basting tutorial.

Sparkling Stars Quilt PatternClick on the image above to enlarge

You can now purchase a copy of the Sparkling Stars quilt pattern. The PDF is available as an instant download through my Craftsy shop. The print version can be purchased now and will ship by the end of the month – once the boxes arrive from the printer. I can’t wait!!

Click here to purchase the PDF version of Sparkling Stars quilt pattern.
Click here to purchase the print version of Sparkling Stars quilt pattern.

Variegated Thread on Sparkling Stars

I chose Aurifil 50 weight variegated thread #4650 Leaves to quilt it since there was so much color. I’ve been experimenting with using variegated threads for machine quilting and really like them.

Stay tuned for part 3 where I show how I quilted it!

Sparkling Stars Quilt Part 1 – The Design and Sewing the Blocks

Now that I’m back home from quilt market, I have time to share about the process of making Sparkling Stars, one of the quilts from Fandangle, my new fabric line from Benartex/Contempo.

Sparkling Stars Design

Whenever I make an original quilt, I first create it in Electric Quilt Software using the actual fabric swatches I plan to use. If it’s a scrappy-looking quilt, I won’t worry too much about color placement while I design. However, for Sparkling Stars, I took quite a while re-arranging the colors until I was pleased with how they looked.

Sparkling Stars Quilt

Click here to purchase the Sparkling Stars PDF Quilt Pattern.
Click here to purchase the Sparkling Stars Print Quilt Pattern (Ships by 5/31).

I knew I wanted to use all 20 fabrics from Fandangle, but in a cohesive way. So I literally tried every fabric in the line in each part of the star blocks above until I was pleased with the final color arrangement. (I usually don’t save the “reject” versions because they are numerous and I don’t want to get confused by multiple images of the same file I’m working on.)

Fandangle Cut Units for Sparkling Stars

I love a pretty stack of cut units!

I planned the design months before I received fabric samples so that I could get the pattern written ahead of time. I knew time would be short in making the quilt so I tried to get as much work done ahead of time as I could. Once I start on a quilt, I’ll make it pretty quickly from start to finish since I’m usually working on a deadline.

Sparkling Stars HST's

Stacks and Stacks of HST’s in progress…

Making the Blocks

I try to assembly line my process, so I’ll cut everything ahead of time, then sew all the sub-units at once rather than constructing a quilt block by block. It’s much more efficient and I can pattern test as I go by doing it this way.

Sparkling Stars in Progress

I keep similar units together to stay organized.

As you can see, there are a lot of pieces that go into making this quilt so I try to be as careful as I can during every step of the process. I sew with a consistent quarter inch seam, press my seams open, and trim my units as needed to the correct size. By taking care during each step of the process, it ensures the final blocks will go together smoothly.

Sparkling Stars Quilt Blocks

Sparkling Star Quilt Blocks in Progress

When the sub-units are complete, I stack them up and lay them out in order next to my sewing machine so that I can chain piece as much as possible. I also take pictures as I go so I can look at a reduced view of the quilt blocks to make sure nothing is turned the wrong way before sewing together.

For these particular blocks, I made sure turn turn the “Beaded Curtain” print so that they were all facing the same direction. The rest of the prints are non-directional so they didn’t matter.

Seams Pressed Open

I sew with a shorter stitch length and press seams open as I go for best results.
Then I’ll pin the units together as I sew to get accurate seam joins.

Rather then sewing the blocks into rows, I sewed them into 4-patch units so they’d be easier to manage. It also allows makes me feel like I’m getting more done since it’s a lot of pieces to sew! The biggest tip is to just sew one step of ALL the blocks at a time and then take a break so it doesn’t get too monotonous.

Sparkling Stars Blocks in Orange

These blocks will sparkle and glow in the final quilt!

When the blocks are complete, I’ll press them with a hot, dry iron on both front and back. This ensures nice flat blocks which will be much easier to machine quilt!

Sparkling Stars Quilt Blocks

There are a total of 25 blocks in 6 different fabric combinations.

I wrote up the quilt pattern so that it would be extremely easy to follow along either using the same fabrics I did, or using similar colors to get the sparkling effect. Fandangle will start shipping to stores at the end of June, but you can pre-order bundles of the prints and yardage of the grays (along with the quilt pattern) over at shop.christaquilts.com for a limited time.

Sparkling Stars Quilt Blocks

While I’m not offering kits, you can get the enough fabric to make this quilt when you purchase 1/2 yard bundles of both the cool and warm colorways; plus 3 yards of the light gray, and 2 yards of the dark gray. There will be a little left over that you can use for other projects.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I show how I put the quilt top together!

Surplus Strips Quilt Pattern PDF Now Available

I’m having a great time at quilt market this week, sharing Fandangle with the wider quilting world! I was excited to get the PDF version of Surplus Strips finalized before I left, and it’s available for purchase now from my Craftsy shop.

Surplus Strips Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

Surplus Strips Materials List

The print version is being printed now and should be available by the end of the month.
If you missed my process posts about making these quilts, check them out by clicking the links below:

Surplus Strips Part 1 – The Blocks

Surplus Strips Part 2 – Quilt Top and Basting

Surplus Strips Part 3 – Machine Quilting and Binding

Surplus Strips Cool

Surplus Strips in the Cool Colorway

Machine Quilting Detail

It was so fun to make this quilt using both the warm and cool colorways of Fandangle. You can make this quilt using yardage like I did, or you can go super scrappy with leftover precut strips.

Surplus Strips Warm Colorway

Surplus Strips in the Warm Colorway

Machine Quilting Detail

The most fun part was quilting them using designs from the fabric, which were inspired by my quilting! How’s that for circular logic?? f you make this quilt, be sure and share on social media #surplusstripsquilt. I’d love to see your progress.

Click here to purchase an instant PDF download of Surplus Strips.
Click here to order the print version (ships by the end of the month.)

Click here for my complete pattern library.