Sneak Peek of My Newest Fabric Line – Geo Pop with Benartex!

Today I’m excited to share a quick sneak peek of my newest fabric line, Geo Pop from Benartex/Contempo Studio. It will debut at quilt market next week and I can’t wait!

Geo Pop by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here to pre-order Geo Pop 25 Fat Quarters – shipping Aug/Sept, 2019.

Geo Pop is my fourth fabric line and I was super stoked to add black, white and gray to the mix of fun, bright geometrics. It mixes well with my previous collections: Modern Marks, Fandangle, and Abstract Garden. More info and patterns to come, so stay tuned – I’d better go pack!!

Where to Buy – Shipping in Aug/Sept

Quilt Shop Owners:

Click here to view the entire line from Benartex. You can order directly online from Benartex, from your independent sales rep, or from most major distributors:

Fans and Friends:

Please ask your favorite local quilt shop to carry it. If you don’t have one nearby,
click here to preorder FQ bundles for a limited time (one per person, please).

Geo Pop Fabric

New Color Weave Quilt Pattern Now Available in My Etsy Shop!

I’ve had something under wraps that I’m finally excited to share! My latest quit pattern – Color Weave is now available as a PDF download from my Etsy shop.

Rainbow Weave Quilt

Click here to get the Color Weave quilt pattern PDF from my Etsy shop.

Color Weave is made from one Strip-pie of Abstract Garden plus about 3 yards each of my light and dark grays from Fandangle.  For a limited time, you can also grab a quilt kit to make one exactly as shown here.

Abstract Garden Strip-pie

Click here to get the Abstract Garden Strip-pie or Color Weave quilt kit.

I enhanced the original pattern and also included an option to make it from a single color instead. But of course it would look fabulous in any fabric combo! You just need two strips of the same fabric when working with precuts. That’s why I designed my Abstract Garden precuts with 2 of each!

Click the image below to enlarge so you can see the materials requirements.

Color Weave Quilt Pattern

I had an amazing time making this quilt! The instructions are easy to follow and I’ve included step-by-step full color diagrams for both versions shown above. I’ve also included a quilting plan to quilt one of my favorite walking foot designs – random crosshatch.

Machine Quilting Random Crosshatch

I’m here to cheer you on every step of the way when you purchase any of my patterns. I want you to have just as much fun making this quilt as I did!

Color Weave Quilt Pattern by Christa Quilts

Sharing is caring! While you are making your version, be sure to share your progress in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group or use the hashtag #colorweavequilt on instagram. I’m happy to guide you every step of the way!

Finished Quilt – Geese in the Garden made from Abstract Garden Fabric

I hope you enjoyed reading about the making of my Geese in the Garden Quilt:
Click here for part 1 of Geese in the Garden
Click here for part 2 of Geese in the Garden

Geese in the Garden with Abstract Garden fabric

Click here to purchase Geese in the Garden quilt pattern – print version.
Click here to purchase Geese in the Garden quilt pattern – PDF version on Etsy.
Click here to purchase the Geese in the Garden Quilt Kit

About Geese in the GArden

  • Size: 32″ x 40″ (Baby)
  • Pattern comes in 4 sizes
  • Completed: October, 2018
  • Machine used: BERNINA 770QE
  • Fabric used: Abstract Garden by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio
  • Batting used: Hobbs Tuscany Cotton/Wool
  • Thread used: Aurifil 50 weight cotton from The Variegated Collection by Christa Watson
  • Quilting Motifs: straight lines (cool), wavy lines (warm)

Geese in the Garden by Christa Watson

Geese in the Garden by Christa Watson

Tips for Making Geese in the Garden – Part 2 of 2

I’m excited to share with you how I quilted my Geese in the Garden quilts – using two different but super simple and fun walking foot quilting designs. These are designs that I teach in my quilting classes and they can also be found in my books Piece and Quilt with Precuts and Machine Quilting with Style.

Wavy Line Quilting on Geese in the Garden

Wavy Line Quilting on Geese in the Garden – Warm

Most people think that stitch in the ditch is the easiest thing you can do with your walking foot, but wavy lines “near” the ditch are much easier to accomplish. Then, when you are ready to tackle straight line quilting, embrace unmarked, uneven line spacing for a quicker finish!

Straight Line quilting on geese in the garden by Christa Watson

Irregular Parallel Lines on Geese in the Garden – Cool

Make a Quilting Plan

I originally developed the idea to make a quilting plan in my books, then refined my technique so that I could clearly teach it to others in my online video class – The Quilter’s Path. In a nutshell, I like to draw my designs out on an image of the finished quilt top to see how it will look before I quilt the quilt. Below is the quilting plan for both quilts, which is included in my Geese in the Garden quilt pattern.

Make a quilting plan

The reason I like to quilt irregularly spaced, imperfect lines is because I know I’m going to “mess up” anyway, so why not build it into the design? After all – you know what they say: do something once and it could be a “mistake.” But do it two or more times and it’s a design element! Plus, it’s a lot faster to quilt imperfect lines than perfect ones!

Thread Choice

I recently released my new thread kit with Aurifil – The Varigated collection and was super excited to try some of my new colors out on these quilts.

Variegated collection by Christa Watson

Click here to get my Aurifil thread collection.

Because the prints are so colorful and busy, a variegated thread looks great and helps blend everything together. I chose Stone Washed Denim #3770 for the cool version. Even though it looks like a solid colored thread, it has subtle color changes that will look great on this quilt. Because it’s more on the pastel side, it also blends in with the rest of the prints.

Aurifil thread

For the warm version, I selected #3840 French Lilac. The purply-pinks blend beautifully and add wonderful texture. When choosing colors, I lay the spool across the quilt and see which color disappears into the quilt the most. If I’m not using and exact matching thread, I’ll usually go a shade lighter rather than darker, as that seems to blend in the best.

Pink Variegated Thread from Aurifil

To do the actual quilting, first I quilt a series of “anchor” lines to secure the quilt. These can be lines in, or near, the ditch, randomly spaced across the quilt to prevent it from shifting. Then I fill in with additional lines as desired.

Check out this video of me quilting the warm version with a simple wavy line design, following the pieced design of the quilt. I’m using my BERNINA dual feed, which acts just like a walking foot, but allows me to use different feet on my machine.

For the cool version, I used painter’s tape in some of the areas to divid up the space and give me nice, crips lines. When stitching right next to the tape, I have to be careful not to stitch it to the quilt!

Geese in the GArden quilting

Once I’ve established a few anchor lines, I’ll fill in between the lines at random intervals, using the edge of my foot as a guideline for spacing. Here’s another short video of my quilting the cool version, adding more lines in between previously spaced lines:

Finally, I prefer to bind my quilts by hand because I love the clean look it gives to them. Here’s a final video showing how I make each stitch by hand, once it’s been sewn onto the quilt by machine. (See links at the end for my full binding tutorial.)

Binding a quilt

Here’s a short video showing how I stitch the binding by hand to finish:

I really enjoyed sharing more behind the scenes of making this quilt. To help support the time it takes to create these posts, please use the links below to purchase the pattern, or find my entire pattern and fabric line at shop.ChristaQuilts.com. Many thanks!!

Geese in the Garden Quilt Pattern

Helpful Links

Tips for Making Geese in the Garden – Part 1 of 2

Welcome to my new series where I explain a little more in depth about how I made a recent quilt and share tips to make your sewing and quilting faster and more fun! Today we’ll focus on my Geese in the Garden Quilts made from my Abstract Garden line with Benartex/Contempo.

Geese in the Garden Quilt Pattern

Click here to get the print version of Geese in the Garden pattern.
Click here to get the PDF version of Geese in the Garden pattern.

The “Geese” Design

When I designed Geese in the Garden with it’s radiating diamond-like shapes,  my first instinct was to write the pattern by making all of  the blocks from Half Square Triangles. However, that would have left a seam in the middle of each block which would have disrupted the fabric print.

I knew I could eliminate some of the seams using the “flip and sew” method but there would still be some seams I didn’t like, and it would have created a lot of waste. Here’s an early sketch of it in Electric Quilt with those unsightly seams (in the yellow seeds fabric and the pink roses fabric).

Geese in the Garden Sketch

So then I researched how to sew diamond shapes and discovered that these shapes are NOT true diamonds, but are rather “squished” or “elongated” diamonds. However, the traditional technique to make the diamonds would still work, but I’d have to recalculate the math.

Diamond Cutting

Diamond cutting in process. 

After a bit of testing I figured out an easy way to cut these elongated diamonds with a simple acrylic ruler that has a 45 degree line – no specialty ruler required! It’s all about the width that you cut them, and that information is included in detail in the pattern.

45 degree angle cutting

You’ll get a chance to use the 45 degree line on your ruler when cutting these diamonds.

Because these are not true diamonds, they have a definite left and right side. You can create some really cool designs with “mirror image” units. Here’s a tip to cut them correctly: Cut at least 2 stacked strips at a time. Make sure one strip is right side up, while the other is wrong side up. Or fold the strip in half and you’ll automatically get mirror image pairs.

Mirror Image Diamond Units

Mirror image units – and no pesky seams in the middle of the fabric!

Abstract Garden Fabric Choices

My Abstract Garden collection includes a total of 20 fabrics arranged into warm and cool colorways. However, I wanted fabric selection to be easy for this quilt pattern, so that you could use any fabrics you like.  So it only takes a total of 5 prints to create the design.

Since I was making two quilts (warm and cool), I decided to cut and piece them both at the same time. I starched the fabrics ahead of time before I cut, to help control the diagonal bias edges.

Abstract Garden UnitsClick here to get the Geese in the Garden Kit – in warm or cool.

The fun part about choosing fabrics is creating a radiating, glowing look with your color choices. Because the center diamonds of the design are interchangeable, I played around with them to make sure I was happy with the color arrangement.

Geese in the Garden Units

I love pretty stacks of cut units – don’t you?

Sewing the Geese Rows

Technically, this is a “row” quilt, meaning it’s sewn together into rows, rather than blocks. The super easy thing about this pattern is that each row is exactly the same! To make sewing go even easier, I recommend laying out all of the units, and sewing them into pairs on either side of the center triangle.

Geese in the Garden Rows

Although these are for 2 separate quilts, how fun would it be to alternate the rows?

My tip for sewing units with a 45 degree angle is that you need to offset the triangle tips by the same amount on both sides as you sew. The triangle tip will stick out about 1/4″ inch on either side. Notice the tips sticking out in the image below when the fabrics are matched up, right sides together:

Geese Triangle Tips

Sew an accurate 1/4″ seam, using the point where the two fabrics intersect in the corner. This detail image below shows the sewn seam (stitched with my favorite 50 weight Aurifil thread). Notice it’s been rotated to show the angle at which I sew each unit under the machine. (Make sure to chain piece all the units at once for speed and efficiency.)

Sewing Diamond Units

You’ll know you’ve sewn them correctly when you’ve created a nice smooth edge along both pieces. Don’t forget to trim the triangle tips! I also press all of my seams open so that my blocks will lie nice and flat.

Sewn Diamond Units

Remember, this technique works for ANY units with a 45 degree angle. Below is what the center triangle looks like when I lined it up with the rest of the sewn pairs. It looks a little awkward, but notice how both tips are sticking out about 1/4″. Once the pieces are flipped over right sides together and sewn, everything will come out even, just like the diamond pairs.

Sewing 45 degree angles

I often get asked how I press seams open without burning my fingers. The answer is that I open them up with my fingers ahead of the iron, and I never use steam. Here’s a 20 second video clip showing how I press my seam open, once I’ve sewn my rows:

Here’s the backside of the cool version with all of the rows sewn and those nice, flat, pressed open seams. Doesn’t it look just as pretty as the front??

seams pressed open

Although the pattern comes in 3 sizes, I chose to make the smallest size. But the best thing about this pattern is that it’s the same number of pieces to cut and sew, no matter which size you make. They just get larger as the quilt gets bigger. It only took me a few hours to piece each quit top, so it’s a great design to make when you are in a hurry, and it’s fun to show off your favorite fabrics in the diamonds.

One final tip to share today: don’t stress too much about perfection. Do your best to line up the seams as you sew the quilt, but notice the lower left corner of the image below. The turquoise and blue corners don’t match up perfectly in all the rows,  but that’s ok. Once the quilt is quilted – you won’t even notice it!!

Geese in the Garden quilt featuring Abstract Garden by Christa Watson

Very few of my points line up perfectly – but it still looks great!!

If you found this post helpful, you can help support my blogging efforts by purchasing my Geese in the Garden pattern or any of my other quilt patterns or fabrics at shop.ChristaQuilts.com. They’ll come infused with a little “Christa Quilts” magic, ensuring your success while I cheer you on!

In the next post, I’ll share tips on how I quilted each quilt with two quick and easy walking foot designs, so stay tuned!

Coming Up: More about the Making of My Latest Quilts from Abstract Garden

In between moving, hosting the Blooming Wallflowers quilt along, and planning out my next round of designs, I haven’t had a chance to tell you much about some of my latest finishes. So I thought I’d take some time over the next several weeks to share more in-depth about my process of making quilts from my latest fabric line, Abstract Garden.

Geese in the Garden

Geese in the Garden with Abstract Garden fabric

LatticeWork

LatticeWork Quilt Made from Abstract Garden

Pieced Primrose

Pieced Primrose Quilts Made from Abstract Garden

Just in Case you Missed it – Blooming Wallflowers

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

Abstract Garden Quilt Patterns

Click here to see my entire quilt pattern collection.

Think of the next several weeks as Do It Yourself quilt alongs. They won’t be as in-depth as my regular quilt alongs, but they’ll provide a little more insight into my quilt-making process and will help you have a smooth experience making your own version. I enjoy blogging about the process so that I can include some in-process photos, in addition to the full color diagrams and quilting plans I include in my patterns for sale.

It should be fun and inspiring, so stay tuned!

Designer Sampler – Free Quilt Block Tutorials for You from Benartex

One of the fun things I love about designing fabric for Benartex is being able to express myself creatively through fabric. I also love getting to know their other fabric designers and see the amazing things they make! Recently Benartex pulled together a fun collaboration to create this fun sampler quilt. Each block was designed by one of nine current fabric designers who participated, and there are instructions to make each block as well as the full quilt over on the Benartex blog.

Benartex Designer Sampler in Solids

Designer Sampler in Solids
Click here for the Sampler introduction
Click here for finishing instructions

As an inspiring bonus, the folks over at Benartex recolored the sampler quilt using each designers’ latest fabric line. Links to each block and fabric collection are below each image:

Jackie Robinson Festival of Roses

Click here to see Jackie Robinson’s “A Festival of Roses” collection
Click here for instructions to make Jackie’s Rose block

Amanda Murphy Thankful

Click here to see Amanda Murphy’s “Thankful” collection
Click here for instructions to make Amanda’s Octablock

Nancy Halvorson Home Grown

Click here to see Nancy Halvorsen’s “Home Grown” collection
Click here for instructions to make Nancy’s Home block

Cherry Guidry Hearty the Snowman

Click here to see Cherry Guidry’s “Hearty the Snowman” collection
Click here for instructions to make Cherry’s Hearty Gifts block

Modern Quilt Studio Warp and Weft

Click here to see Modern Quilt Studio’s “Warp and Waft” collection
Click here for instructions to make Bill & Weeks’ Jawbreaker block

Ann Lauer Catitude Christmas

Click here to see Ann Lauer’s “Catitude Christmas” collection
Click here for instructions to make Ann’s 8-Pointed Star block

Cheryl Haynes Harvest Berry

Click here to see Cheryl Haynes’ “Harvest Berry” collection
Click here for instructions to make Cheryl’s Pumpkin House block

Paula Nadelstern Piece and Joy

Click here to see Paula Nadelstern’s “Piece & Joy” collection
Click here for instructions to make The Big T block designed by Stephanie  Sheridan

Christa Watson Abstract Garden

Click here to see Christa Watsons “Abstract Garden” collection
Click here for instructions to make my Sunshine block

Isn’t it fun to see how unique a quilt looks made up in different fabrics? This is a great way to experience the variety of colors and styles that Benartex offers. Now I want to make them all!!

Blooming Wallflowers Week 10 – Binding to Finish

Can you believe we’ve come to the end of the Blooming Wallflowers quilt along? I’m so excited to see all of your finishes and encourage you to continue working at your own pace, even if you finish weeks (or months) later.

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

I was literally finishing the hand binding of this quilt on the way to quilt market last fall, so I didn’t get any pics of my binding in progress. However, I’ve written several other binding tutorials, and my process is exactly the same, no matter which quilt I’m making. So choose your favorite method – hand or machine, and enjoy this last step of the process!

Modern Marks binding strips

I cut matching binding strips from my Modern Marks Navy Herringbone print.

Here’s a bonus tip for binding: I like to cut my strips out at 2″ wide and attach them with an exact 1/4″ seam using my BERNINA dual feed (which acts like a walking foot but I can use skinnier feet on it). This gives me a precise finished binding of 1/4″ and it’s even on both the front and back. Many times, I like to use the same background fabric as the binding so that it looks like the design is floating on the surface, rather than being interrupted by a contrasting fabric.

Here’s Blooming Wallflowers hanging in my booth at quilt market last November, along with the other quilt patterns I made to showcase my Abstract Garden fabric.

Christa Watson Abstract Garden

My booth with Benartex at fall quilt market in Houston, November 2018
Other quilts shown are LatticeWork and Geese in the Garden.

And just for fun, below the is the original Blooming Wallflowers quilt I made a couple of years earlier for a quilt magazine to promote my first line, Modern Marks. As you can see, this quilt is fun to make no matter which fabrics you choose!

Blooming Wallflowers in Modern Marks

Blooming Wallflowers Modern Marks

The Modern Marks Navy Herringbone print is one of my all-time faves!

I hope you’ve enjoyed making this quilt with me. And if you are worried about having quilt-along withdrawal, stay tuned for the next quilt along, coming soon!! It features a brand new quilt that I haven’t shared on the blog yet, and I’m sure you’ll love it just as much!

IMPORTANT LINKS

Dress Sewing Journey Part 1

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared my sewing journey in real time, so while I’m working on some projects behind the scenes that I can’t show you, I’ll share my process in learning to attempt to sew a dress. I’ve always wanted to learn to sew clothing, and now that I have my own fabric, I’m even more inspired to make something to wear from it!

Terrace Dress by Liesl & C0

My first real attempt will be to try the Terrace dress from Liesl and Co. It looks like an easy enough pattern and I’ve met Liesl several times and think she’s an amazing clothing designer. My goal is to sewing clothing made from my fabrics that I can wear at quilt market and other industry events, so I’m ready to dive right in.

I also picked up the Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting which is full of great info on how to alter patterns to fit. The basic premise is that you “tissue fit” the pattern, meaning making alterations in the pattern itself before you begin sewing.

Guide to Fitting

I know that this will be a huge learning curve for me, and I plan to make several practice versions of the dress, a so-called “wearable muslin” until I get it right. For my first attempt, I’m going to use Crossmarks in pink from my Modern Marks line. I figure that if it doesn’t turn out well, I can always throw the fabric back in my stash, right??

Modern Marks Crossmarks Pink

So far I’ve printed out the basic pattern onto paper and taped it together and chosen a size that mostly corresponds to my measurements. I could just dive in and cut out the fabric, but the Fit guide recommends tracing it onto soft tissue paper to adjust. So that will be the next step. I’ll keep you posted in real time and let you know how it goes!

Terrace dress pattern pieces

Blooming Wallflowers Week 8 – Machine Quilting Part 2

How is your Blooming Wallflowers quilt coming along? Some of you have completely finished while others are just getting started and that’s perfectly fine. I love to encourage everyone to participate at their own pace. In cased you missed it, click here for quilting part 1 including 4 short You-Tube videos showing exactly how I quilted the blocks.

Blooming Wallflowers made with Abstract Garden and Modern Marks

Today I’ll go over how I quilted the background using one of my favorite filler motifs – jagged stipple. In the quilting plan below, I quilted jagged stipple in the background areas after all of the blocks were quilted. I love filling in a quilt this way: as long as you can trace an unbroken line around your quilt, you can quilt the design continuously without any starts and stops.

Blooming Wallflowers Block Quilting Plan

Quilting all of the blocks first is what I call “anchor quilting” which means that the quilt is secure and won’t shift as I scrunch and smoosh it under the machine to finish up the rest.

I recommend practicing drawing out the design freehand on a blank sheet of paper, and even quilting a practice block to get a flow for the design. The jagged stipple is very forgiving and is basically a series of abrupt jaggedy lines going in every direction.

Machine Quilting Jagged Stipple

I quilted Jagged Stipple on a larger scale for my Improv Squares Quilt Pattern.

There’s really no wrong way to do it! In fact, I love the jagged stipple design so much, that it inspired one of the prints from my previous fabric line – the “Paper Cuts” print from Fandangle.

Fandangle Fabric Paper Cuts

Click here to get yardage of the paper cuts print from Fandangle.

Here’s another short video showing how I move back and forth and all around to quilt this design. I especially love the look of texture on texture when I quilted the jagged lines on top of the navy blue Herringbone print from Modern Marks.

Because I’m using a matching blue Aurifil thread (from my Piece and Quilt Collection – Colors), it’s hard to see the actual stitching, which is usually a good thing so you won’t see all of the wobbles and bobbles as I quilt.

Here’s a detail shot where you can just barely see the quilting. I like quilting textural designs on busy quilts because I want my quilting to enhance the quilt rather than being the star of the show!

Blooming Wallflowers quilting detail

So give this fun design a try – whether you quilt it on this quilt or another WIP (work in progress).

IMPORTANT LINKS