Free Quilt Pattern – Connections by Charisma Horton in Modern by the Yard Ezine from Benartex

One of the things that I love about working with Benartex on fabric design is that they produce a fantastic free digital magazine called Modern by the Yard. In each issue, they share inspiring projects that you can make from their fabrics. So each time I have a new line that comes out, one of my amazing designer friends creates a fabulous pattern for you for free!!

Connections Quilt in Modern by the Yard

Click here to download Modern by the Yard for free from Benartex.

In the current issue of Modern by the Yard, my talented designer friend Charisma Horton has created and shared her amazing quilt  pattern called Connections, which is right up my alley!! She made it using my latest fabric line, Good Vibes from Benartex.

Good Vibes by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here to get your hands on Good Vibes yardage, precuts and bundles.

Here is what Charisma has to say about her latest project:

 “I am a big fan of Christa’s fabrics. I have made a few projects with her collections. They are fun, colorful and diverse. I actually designed Connections years ago before I was a professional designer.

I have learned that sometimes you have to wait for the designs to speak and decide when they should be released and where. I have always been a fan of quilts with negative space. This quilt decided that it was time and she is shining in all her glory.

 If you’d like to check out some of my other patterns you can visit my shop here:Charismas Corner on Etsy

Thanks so much for letting me share! I can’t wait to design with Christa’s next line of fabric. We make a great team.”

Connections Quilt by Charisma Horton

Connections Quilt made by Charisma Horton from Good Vibes fabric.

Thanks Charisma!!!
Click here to see other beautiful quilts and projects that Charisma has made from my fabrics.

I can’t wait to see what she makes next!

Color Weave Quilt Kit, Gray Fabrics Back in Stock!!

I know it’s been a minute since I posted but I have lots of exciting behind-the-scenes stuff happening right now. But I had to come up for air to let you know the fabulous news that my Confetti Crosshatch fabrics are now back in stock.

Confetti Crosshatch by Christa Watson

Click here to get Confetti Crosshatch by the yard in light or dark grey.

These are my most popular prints of all time and you can see why – because they are the PERFECT grays that go with just about anything!!

And there’s even more great news to share – my Color Weave quilt kit is now back in stock, too. This has been my best selling kit and pattern EVER!! I’m not sure if it’s the rainbow effect that folks love, or the magic of the piecing, but it’s one of my favorites, too!!Color Weave quilt by Christa Watson

Click here to get the Color Weave quilt kit, while supplies last.

In case you missed it the first time around, you can learn how to make this quilt from start to finish by checking out my step-by-step Color Weave Quilt Along. The quilt along itself is free – all you need is a copy of the Color Weave quilt pattern to follow along.

Click here for the Color Weave Quilt Along

Color Weave Quilt Pattern

I love seeing everything you all have made with my quilt patterns and fabric. Keep sharing them with me and making my day!!!

Color Weave Quilt by Christa Watson

Featured Designer: Heather Black of Quiltachusetts

Today I’m happy to have a guest post from my friend Heather Black of Quiltachusetts. Heather is a talented designer of modern quilts and when you visit her blog, you’ll recognize some of the designs on her published page.

Heather Black

Her most recent adventure is fabric design, and I know you’ll enjoy hearing about that. Take it away, Heather!


I’m so honored that Christa asked me to be a guest on her blog. Christa was one of the first quilters I met online and she’s been a mentor as well as a friend through the years. 

She encouraged me to follow my own sensibilities when it came to designing quilts and gave me the courage to branch out into fabric design when Paintbrush Studio came calling.

Fat quarters of Sketchbook by Heather Black for Paintbrush Studio

Earlier this year my first fabric line, Sketchbook for Paintbrush Studio, was released. I don’t know what I would have done without Christa’s support and guidance. The fabric line was inspired by a quilt I designed called Swatches.

Swatches by Heather Black

When I designed this quilt, I wanted the pink swatches to look like paint cakes, but the quilting is where I really found inspiration for the fabric line. 

I liked the black outline quilting around the paint cakes. It reminded me of doodling or sketching, and from there I began playing with shapes and textures that had the same feel and look.

Detail, Swatches by Heather Black

I also designed three different quilts to go along with the fabric line. They’re Sketchbook Sampler, Office Daydreams and Topsy-Turvy. Two of the designs are fat quarter friendly, and they use Painter’s Palette Solids as the background.

All of the prints from the line and the patterns are now available in my shop, quiltachusetts.com.

I’m so thankful to Paintbrush Studio for taking the risk and giving me a chance to design fabric. I really love the process and the creativity of it all.  My second fabric line, Road Trip, will be out before the end of the year. It’s all very exciting.

Again, this fabric line was inspired by a quilt I designed, and that quilt was inspired by all the road trips my family took and still takes. We’ve driven all over the USA and parts of Canada. 

I really appreciate the memories and time spent with my parents and siblings. The Road Trip fabric line is a combination of bright cheery colors and geometric shapes.

Road Trip by Heather Black

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading a bit about the inspiration behind my quilts and fabric. I love the design process and making quilts and I encourage all quilters to add their own personality to every quilt they create.

Detail, Road Trip by Heather Black

Isn’t it great to see that Heather has found her creative voice? She has a unique style all her own. It was fun to hear how her modern quilt designs inspired fabric designs! Be sure to visit Heather’s website and her blog, and follow her on Instagram: @quiltachusetts.

Featured Designer: Charisma Horton

I’m having a ball seeing what everyone makes from my fabrics so I thought I’d share some of the amazing quilts my good friend Charisma Horton from Charisma’s Corner has made from my prints. She’s a prolific and talented pattern designer and chances are, you have one of her patterns in your stash! I’ll let Charisma tell us a little bit more about these beauties in her own words….

Charisma Horton

Hi Everybody! I am so excited to share a little about the quilts I have designed using Christa’s fabrics. I met Christa a few years ago in a design group. She has always been so generous with sharing information and collaborations.

I was a really new designer when I originally contacted Christa to use her fabrics. Since then I have designed several quilts using her lines of fabric. I love working with her lines because they are so versatile. You will find that many of my designs are based upon color as a feature design element.

Check out The Hive made from geo pop:

Click here to get The Hive quilt pattern from Charisma’s Corner on Etsy

“The Hive” was designed and waiting for the perfect line of fabric to come along and bring it to life. That was Geo Pop.  I was so excited that Christa loved my design & displayed it in her booth at quilt market last year:

The Hive made from Geo Pop

The Hive pattern with the white background looks great next to Christa’s Bling pattern in Black!!

All the rest of the quilts that I have designed using Christa’s fabrics were a direct result of seeing her lines. Meaning that I designed the quilts specifically after seeing her fabric swatches.

Mid Mod was designed with Gridwork:

Mid Mod by Charisma Horton

Click here to get Mid Mod quilt pattern from Charisma’s Corner on Etsy

First of all, I have to say that I LOVE-LOVE Gridwork. I made 2 published projects with this line and I have another coming out in a magazine that I can’t share yet. But it’s a very special quilt and I can’t wait to share that one as well. I am a HUGE fan of this line because I love the colors, the grids and all of the lovely textures.

Mid Mod is my take on Mid Century modern art. I wanted to create a quilt that was easy to complete but looked random and freeform. I think many people are pleasantly surprised when they make this pattern. It’s WAY easier than it looks. I also have these blocks mocked up in several different layouts. There are so many ways to arrange these blocks and make the quilt your own.

Before I was a pattern designer, when I bought patterns, I treated them as a jumping off point. I wanted to make them my own. This pattern can easily be changed to fit your own style.

Nate and Tate Pillows Made from Gridwork

I am one of those quilters that loves all styles. This next pattern looks vastly different than the Mid Century modern one that I just shared!

Nate and Tate PillowsClick here to get Nate & Tate pillow pattern from Charisma’s Corner on Etsy

Can you get any more cutesy than these gnome bench pillows? I had some scraps left from my Mid Mod project and I didn’t waste one inch! LOL. I keep my Christa fabrics in separate bags, away from the rest of my scraps so that I can save them for something special.

Who else does that? Haha! I can’t help it!  I just knew I could use them for something else and I whipped out these pillows. They have been a great addition for the seasons. They are also great gifts.

Groovy Chutes from Good Vibes

Groovy Chutes by Charisma Horton

Click here to get Groovy Chutes quilt pattern from Charisma’s Corner on Etsy

Since Christa and I have been working together on these projects we have become great friends, even though we’ve never met in real life!! We realized we were about the same age and we are both 80’s kids. So when she released her next line, Good Vibes, it was like totally, radically, awesome! Haha!

I immediately channeled my spiral perm, mall bangs, watermelon Bubblicious and thought about the times I carried my boom box to the playground to listen to my tunes. Yes! I actually did that! D batteries were in high demand in the 80’s!

Groovy Cutes is clean, simple and takes us back to simpler times. Little things made us happy or maybe I was just intoxicated from all of the aqua net? Haha! Either way, good times.

I am so blessed to get to work with Christa. Whether her fabrics help bring my designs to life or whether her designs spark creative designs from me I feel like we are a great team! I am anxiously waiting for the next set of swatches! *hint-hint*

From Christa:

Thanks Charisma – I sure hope everyone loves your fun, colorful quilts as much as I do. And here’s a hint… I’m working on my next fabric line right now – you’ll be one of the first to see it before anyone else!!

EQ Design Challenge Call for Entry: You Could Win Good Vibes Fabric

Design challenge alert!! I’ve partnered with Electric Quilt and Benartex, LLC. to bring you a fun design contest. Download swatches of my Good Vibes fabric, design an original quilt using EQ, and enter to win a bundle of my fabric. This is a great way to stretch your creativity and you don’t even have to make the quilt.GoodVibes-Challenge

You DO have to use Electric Quilt to enter this contest, but you DO NOT have to make the quilt! 2 lucky winners will each win a Bundle of my Good Vibes fabric.

The exciting part about this design challenge is that I get to pick one of the winners! My friends over at Benartex will pick the other. I’ve done this contest for most of my fabric lines so far and I just LOVE seeing what you all create!!

Good Vibes fat quarters

To enter

Design your own, original quilt in EQ using the Good Vibes fabrics then submit an image of it to EQ by 11:59pm ET on October 31, 2020. Download the free Good Vibes fabrics for EQ here.

For other rules and to submit, click here to visit the Electric Quilt Blog.

I can’t wait to see your entries!!

 

Modern Logs QAL Part 5 – Spray Basting

It’s time to baste your Modern Logs quilt – are you excited?? I’ve developed my spray basting method using a design wall and it cuts the basting time in half!! I made a YouTube video below explaining the entire process. Hit play to watch and let me know if you have any questions!

HELPFUL LINKS

Sneak Peek of My Next Book; Grab my Current Books on Sale!

I’m so excited to share with you the cover art for my brand new book, 99 Machine Quilting Designs, coming soon! I don’t have a release date yet, but once I do, I’ll open up pre-orders with some bonus incentives and freebies for those who order early. So stay tuned for more info!!

99 Machine Quilting Designs

Get my Current Books for just $19.95 Each!

While supplies last, I’m giving you a chance to stock up on my previous books to complete your machine quilting library. I’m offering these for a price way below the retail price, AND I’m happy to sign a personal message to you – just leave me a note with your order!

Click here to purchase my other 3 books on sale, while supplies last!Machine Quilting Books by Christa Watson

Over the years, I’ve hosted several quilt alongs from my books to help you gain confidence in making a quilt from start to finish. Here’s a roundup of some of them that you can still access anytime, on your own schedule. All you need is a copy of the book for the pattern and I’m here to cheer you on every step of the way!

Facets from Machine Quilting with Style

Facets Quilt

Get the pattern for Facets from my book Machine Quilting with Style.

If you loved trying out Improv Piecing while making Modern Logs, you will love this take on it, too! Use up your smallest scraps to create this gorgeous quilt! I was thrilled that it won a ribbon in a national show a few years ago, and it’s still one of my favorite quilts!

Click here for links to the Facets Quilt Along

Dot ‘n’ Dash from Piece and quilt with Precuts

Dot 'n Dash quilt by Christa Watson

Get the pattern for Dot’n’Dash from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Dot ‘n’ Dash is my modern version of a jelly roll quilt! I used precut strips of my Fandangle fabric line for this remake version, but you’ll find a different inspiring colorway in my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts. No matter how you slice it, it looks great every time!

Click here for links to Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along

Squiggles from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Squiggles by Christa Watson

Get the pattern for Squiggles from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

I really enjoyed remaking Squiggles from charm packs of my bold and colorful prints. The original pattern in the book uses a softer color palette which just goes to show this design looks great no matter which fabrics you choose!

Click here for links to the Squiggles Quilt Along

I sure enjoy being a cheerleader for do-it-yourself quilting and can’t wait to share more about the new book. In the meantime, I hope the projects above will keep you busy!!

Modern Logs QAL Part 4: Optional Pieced Quilt Backing

Whenever I make a super scrappy looking quilt like Modern Logs, I often have a lot of leftovers that I love to incorporate into the back of the quilt. This allows me to use up more fabric, personalize the quilt a bit, and make the back (almost) as interesting as the front! If you prefer to use a plain pieced back, this week will give you more time to finish your quilt top.

Modern Logs pieced quilt backing, made from leftover Good Vibes fat quarters, 2 yards of Gumballs print in Coral and a few leftover odds and ends from previous fabric lines.

Set aside the Binding Strips

Before you begin the pieced backing, be sure you’ve set aside enough of the straight strips for a scrappy binding. See the note in the pattern on page 3. Or you can use all of one fabric for binding and use up ALL of the leftovers on the back. The choice is up to you. We will come back to binding at the end of the QAL so stay tuned.

The image above shows half of the binding strips I cut from one set of Good Vibes fat quarters. I decided to double the size of my quilt so in reality I had twice as many. Notice how a couple are shorter – that’s because I ended up using a few extra chunks of fabric for my blocks.

There’s also 20 fabrics in the group, but only 18 strips here because I used a couple of them to finish some blocks. I still had plenty of leftovers for binding, and if for some reason you ever run short, just grab a similar color from your stash and no one will ever know!!

Now, let’s get on with sewing the pieced back!

Sew Scraps into Larger Pieced Chunks

When making a pieced backing from leftovers, think of it like a puzzle. You want to cover the quilt top with enough extra fabric on all sides (about 5-6″) and you want each of the “chunks” of the puzzle to be rectangular or square in shape so it all fits together.

First I sorted all of my leftover strips in similar lengths.

Then I sewed similar length strips into pairs and joined those into bigger complete chunks. Be sure to alternate seams when sewing so that the strips don’t warp or bend out of shape.

Now, your sizes and numbers of leftovers will vary so don’t overthink it too much. I sewed these together randomly and it was fun, mindless sewing! You can even do this anytime you have leftovers!

Once the leftover bits are sewn, it will look pretty messy and uneven. But not to worry, just trim off the ends and you’ll have a nice piece of “made” fabric that you can treat just like you would a regular piece of fabric with evenly trimmed sides. It doesn’t matter how long or wide this pice is. It’s just one of the “chunks” in your puzzle piece!

Repeat this process until all of your leftover bits are sewn into larger pieced chunks. You get to decide how small of a piece you want to use. I think my smallest pieces were about 4″-6″ long and the longest ones were full sized strips.

If you want to, you can sew some of the smaller pieced chunks into larger chunks, filling in with bits and pieces of other fabrics – leftover charm pack squares or jelly roll strips, odd shaped pieces that are too big to go in your stash, but too small to throw away.

When making these improv pieced blocks, the size doesn’t matter because it all depends on what you have to work with. Just square up the pieced chunk once you join the pieces together. When it’s finished, trim all sizes so that you have a pieced rectangular or square in shape. Make as many of these as you can, or save some of the improv patchwork to fill in the holes in your puzzle.

Piecing the Puzzle

Now comes the really fun part! Using your “puzzle” pieces, start covering up your quilt top! You can do this on the design wall, floor, bed, or anyplace you can lay out the quilt nice and flat. You can calculate all the math ahead of time, or just let it take shape randomly, which is what I did. Just like sewing your quilt blocks, it’s important to always sew straight edges together.

Step 1 – establish a framework

In the image above, I first started with a big chunk of fabric. I had 2 yards of Good Vibes Gumballs in Coral so I cut it into a few random pieces. I wanted these to be big chunks but none of them was large enough to go across the entire quilt. I’m establishing a framework here of 3 big areas to piece: left, middle and right.

Look how the edges are hanging over a few inches all around. I also left the selvages intact on both pieces on the left side. Because it’s my fabric with my name on it, I thought that would be a fun addition to the quilt!

Now it’s time to fill in the gaps!

Step 2 – fill in the gaps

I used two leftover chunks of fabric from my Gridwork line in coordinating colors to fill in 2 of the holes. These will give a pop of color to the back and keep things interesting. The piece looks more dynamic with the seams placed at different eye levels. Just remember that anything placed around the borders will get trimmed off so keep any border pieces nice and big.

I also started filling in the middle section with a bit of pieced patchwork near the bottom. I made it the same length as the chunk of Gumballs fabric below it so the edges wold match up nicely. This meant trimming off the selvage on one edge of the Gumbals print in the center bottom section.

Step 4 – add more pieced chunks

Keep in mind that the entire center section will need to be the same pieced width, so use a round number that’s easy to remember. My center section is somewhere around 36″ wide if I remember correctly. That math works nicely with leftover 40″ long pieces since they are quick and easy to trim up.

I filled in the center section with the rest of my pieced patchwork chunks. Trim them down, or add more pieces to make them all the same length. The fun part is deciding how far apart to space them and what else to use as fillers. Once I have an idea of where the patchwork units will go, them I trim them to size and treat them like regular pieced blocks.

Don’t forget to press as you go!

Be sure to use good technique while sewing: accurate 1/4″ seams and lots of pressing. I pressed seams open for all of the patchwork improv chunks and to the side when the chunky seams were sewn next to a plan flat piece of fabric. Press each seam just like you would when sewing blocks and rows together.

Step 5 – add pops of color  between the pieced units

I wanted to separate the pieced chunks a little so that I could admire the patchwork and allow my eyes to move around the piece. It was fun to add pops of color to tie it all together. Once the 3 sections were finalized, I sewed them together to finish the backing.

At this point, it’s ok that the outside edges aren’t even because that will get trimmed off after quilting. As long as the pieced backing covers the quilt a few inches on all 4 sides, it’s good to go!

Next week we will baste the quilt!

Helpful Links

Introducing Nancy Messuri Designs and Her Hypnotica Quilt Pattern!

You all know I love to see what you create using the fabrics I’ve designed for Benartex. Well every now and then a quilt comes along that really makes my heart sing! So today I wanted to share more about this fabulous quilt called Hypnotica by my talented friend Nancy Messuri who is a relatively new quilt pattern designer.Hypnotica Quilt by Nancy MessuriClick here to get Nancy’s Hypnotica Quilt Pattern PDF

I’ve invited Nancy to come on the blog to tell you more about this fabulous quilt in her own words…..

From Nancy Messuri:

I am honored Christa gave me the opportunity to guest blog as I am a huge fan all her fabric lines, books, and easygoing teaching style, so I was very excited when she asked me to guest  post, as there is lots to share about this quilt!

Hypnotica Black and White

Hypnotica started off as a study in black and white and I had no intention of making it into a quilt. It was simply a personal design challenge in Electric Quilt 8 (EQ8). After playing with some initial coloring though, I found the design quite interesting. I saw it had potential to be very striking. My geometric quilt designs often mesh with Christa’s sense of line and color, so I placed a few of her fabrics into my design. And wow, did it ever come to life!

Hypnotica in progress

I started thinking about possibly piecing Hypnotica, but the fact that all 34 wedges meet at the center point was daunting. However, I continued playing with fabric placements in EQ8 using Christa’s fabrics. When I found a grouping that really stood out I decided I had to give this quilt a try.

Fabrics in the quilt are a mix of Geo Pop, Gridwork, Abstract Garden and Fandangle

Construction of the quilt center was actually easier than I expected it to be. The entire circle is made up of only two different wedges which alternate around the quilt. I printed patterns for the foundation paper pieced wedges from EQ8, then did a few test runs of sewing patches into wedges and sewing wedges together.

After I felt confident with the tests, I was ready to use Christa’s beautiful fabrics and pieced together the two semi-circles. I quickly learned not to sew too fast over multiple layers of fabric as wedges were added; especially when nearing the center of the quilt. Hypnotica is definitely a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of quilt!

The two background pieces are sewn to each semi-circle before sewing the two halves of the circle together. If you are new to curved piecing, this is an easy curve to start with as the seam is sewn in a long, gentle curve. A few test runs of curved piecing with scrap fabric can give lots of confidence!

Hypnotica Quilt Center
The moment of truth arrived; matching up all the points of the two halves while dealing with all the layers meeting up at the center point. I listened to my own advice and sewed very slowly and I am happy to say I nailed it on the first try! (There may have been a happy dance or two after that.) At that point, I knew a pattern had to be created for Hypnotica.Hypnotica Quilt patternClick the image above to enlarge.
Click here to order Hypnotica Quilt Pattern.

I quilted Hypnotica with a continuous spiral that turned out wonderfully. It was quick, easy, and looks fantastic! If you have not tried this before, Christa has a great YouTube video tutorial, “How to Machine Quilt Continuous Spirals.”

Spiral Quilting on Hypnotica

Click here to view Christa’s spiral quilting tutorial.

Spiral Quilting Close Up

I would love to see your interpretations of Hypnotica on my Facebook page, Nancy Messuri Designs! The pattern is available on my website, NancyMessuriDesigns.com. There are new patterns in the works, so I hope you pop in from time to time. Or better yet, sign up for updates so you won’t miss a thing!

Hypnotica Quilt by Nancy Messuri

Thanks so much Nancy for sharing your beautiful quilt!!  Now I can’t wait to see what she creates next. 🙂

Modern Logs QAL Part 3 – Sewing the Quilt Top

Did you have fun sewing your Modern Logs improv blocks from last week? If you are still working on your blocks, that’s totally ok! Take as much time as you need to make this quilt; these helpful hints will stay here on my blog indefinitely and you can scroll to the end of the post for links to all of the previous QAL posts.

Modern Logs Quilt Top

Click here to get the pattern, fabric, or optional kit to make Modern Logs (while supplies last).

This week we are working on sewing the blocks together to complete the quilt top. In my image above, you can see how some light fabrics touch and some dark fabrics touch and that’s totally ok!! You won’t have an even number of blocks that end on a light or dark fabric and the more random it looks, the better! Just remember, you can rotate the blocks and lay them out however you like.

Sew the rows

Due to the offset nature of the design, the blocks will be joined together into vertical rows rather than horizontal rows. Notice that every row has a partial block added to it either on the top or the bottom of the row. Be sure to turn it the right way when sewing the blocks together.

Modern Logs Crib Size layout

I made 20 blocks for the crib size layout shown above. Then I decided I wanted to make the bigger throw size. That’s the beauty about this design – you can always make more blocks at any time!

I spent a lot of time arranging the blocks on my design wall until I was happy with their placement. Take a picture with your camera phone to help you stay organized.

Modern Logs Quilt in Progress

This quilt goes together super fast fast and easy because you don’t have to pin the individual blocks. As long as they are the same size everything will fit together nicely because there are no seams to match in each row!!

Just remember to use accurate 1/4 seams allowances, lower your stitch length, and press seams open to keep everything nice and flat:

Sewing in progress

When joining the rows, be sure to sew them in opposite directions so that everything stays nice and flat. Refer to the Modern Logs quilt pattern on pages 8-9 for size layout and quilt top assembly diagrams.

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

It’s a lot easier to handle the bulk of the quilt if you press your blocks after each pair sewn. Then press each of the finished rows, then pairs of rows etc. In general I like to press my work after each seem is sewn as part of the process.

Once the entire quilt top is finished, take a “victory lap!” Sew around the edges of the quilt to keep them from stretching out of shape and to secure the edge seams from splitting open.

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

Before you know it you’ll have a finished quilt top!! Next week we will prep the backing. You can either purchase all new fabric, or use up the leftovers with some yardage chunks depending on the size you are making. The choice is up to you but it’s easier (and more fun) than you think!

HELPFUL LINKS