Piece and Quilt with Precuts Quilt 6: Dot ‘n’ Dash

Are you enjoying seeing the quilts from Piece and Quilt with Precuts so far? I don’t know about you, but I love all of the color options that everyone is sharing! If you are just now joining the hop, click here for the full schedule of bloggers so you don’t miss a thing!

Take a look at Dot ‘n’ Dash, my version of a modern jelly roll quilt!

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

Dot’n’Dash Photography courtesy of Martingale/That Patchwork Place and Brent Kane.

Piece It

This quilt is made from two sets of 2 1/2″ strips and I opted to use one Jelly Roll by Franny and Jane for Moda along with a nice contrasting gray background. Although my designs are a bit more on the modern side, hopefully by seeing them in other colorways you’ll be able to apply the techniques I teach to any quilt, no matter the style!

Quilt It

When quilting the majority of my quilts, I like to quilt two or more two different motifs to add interest to the quilt. I’ll usually try to combine a curvy motif with a linear one to create contrast within the quilting. Like all of the patterns in the book, Dot ‘n’ Dash includes a detailed quilting plan for you to follow so you can work your way across the quilt quickly and efficiently.

Dot 'n Dash quilting detail

Try combining two or more quilting designs for texture and contrast.

For the batting, I chose Hobbs Tuscany Wool. It’s light and soft, yet gives a bit more “poof” to the quilt which really helps the quilting stand out a bit more. Wool is one of my favorite battings for show quilts because it won’t show fold lines when it’s displayed vertically. I love it!

More Dot’N’Dash inspiration

You are in for a treat when you check out my friends’ finishes below. Be sure and visit their blogs for more details on the making of the quilts. And be on the lookout for additional giveaways when you visit!

Laura Piland – Slice of Pi Quilts

Laura Dot 'n Dash

The bold colors pop against the crisp white!

I love Laura’s fabric combo for this quilt. It’s fresh and bold and modern! The quilt calls for two full jelly rolls, but gives the option to use leftover strips in the binding. This means you can pick and choose just in case there are a couple of strips in your bundle that don’t contrast well enough in the background.

The patterns are so versatile and easy to follow that you can substitute other precuts as well. Laura actually made her quilt from a fat quarter bundle that she had on hand, and was able to quickly cut all the pieces she needed.

Pieced backing

Laura used her leftovers to create a beautiful pieced backing – I love it!

Pop on over to Laura’s blog to see gorgeous closeup pics of her quilting. She chose one of the designs in the walking foot section and you’ve got to see how she picked which threads to work with!

Can you believe she made this entire quilt in a weekend?? Be sure to read what she has to say about her quilt- making process. It will give you the confidence to tackle any quilt!

Cheryl Brickey – Meadow Mist Designs

Cheryl Brickey Dot n Dash from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

A simple stipple design can be an effective machine quilting choice!

Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs was one of the original bloggers back in 2015 when I did a similar blog hop for my first book. (Click here to see those quilts for even more inspiration!) She was also my roomie at QuiltCon in 2015 and we’ve both come a long way since then. I’m sure you’ll be seeing more great things from her in the future!

Cheryl named her version of the quilt “Morse Code” which is awesome because I nearly named it that myself, LOL!! I love how Cheryl made her quilt a bit smaller and the fabric she chose give an improv vibe to the quilt. My hope is that you will take these designs and really make them your own! Visit Cheryl’s blog to see which Aurifil thread she quilted with (hint – it’s NOT white), and how she was able to achieve the improv look from ONE fabric!!

Jen Frost – Faith and Fabric

Dot 'n Dash by Jen Frost

Check out Jen’s version of Dot ‘n Dash using cheerful novelty prints! She chose a jelly roll from Me + My Sister for Moda, along with a jelly roll of white. She’s still contemplating which design and thread to quilt it with so pop on over to her blog to let her know what you think and see more pretty pics of this fabulous “flimsy” – (aka unquilted top)!

Today’s Gift – Win More batting from Hobbs

Since I used Hobb’s batting in two of the quilts from the book, they’ve been generous enough to provide two giveaways for the hop! Click here to enter their first giveaway being hosted on my blog.

Hobbs batting

Then head over to their blog to enter the second giveaway. It’s double the fun and double your chances to win! People always asking me what my favorite batting is and I have a few. I love Hobbs Tuscany cotton when I want a warm, cuddly, crinkly quilt. It will shrink up a bit when you wash it, giving that soft antique look that’s perfect for hiding any quilting “irregularities!”

Hobbs Wool Batting

For show quilts I love to use Tuscany wool because it will hang well and not show wrinkles. But lately I’ve been using the cotton/wool combo because it’s the best of both worlds!

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

It’s so exciting to see my book popping up on store shelves. Be sure and drop by your favorite local quilt shop to pick up your copy. Or you can click here to get a signed copy from me!

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Piece and Quilt with Precuts Quilt 5: Starstruck

In my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts, I teach how to quilt fun motifs using a walking foot, free-motion, or both! Today’s quilt, Starstruck is the first in the free-motion section. Just as in the previous walking foot section, the quilting designs build in complexity allowing you to gain confidence as you go!

Starstruck by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

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

Design It

All of the quilts in the book were designed using EQ7 software from The Electric Quilt Company. I’m the type of person who needs to have everything all planned out before I start cutting because I want to know what the final design will look like before I begin. I’ve tried designing on the fly as I create, but my brain just doesn’t work that way, LOL!! So take a look at what I was able to create in EQ7 before I made the quilt:

Starstruck Design in EQ7

Although I didn’t worry about putting the fabrics in the exact same position or rotating the stars the exact same way, I did use the same fabric swatches that were in the quilt. This allows me to really see if the design will work the way I want it to! Of course I could always go back into my EQ7 design and change it to match the finished quilt, but this was good enough for me!

Check out what the same design looks like when I switch out the fabrics for a more colorful palette! I love how easy it is to virtually recolor my quilts in EQ7. You may recognize this as my fabric collection that comes out this fall. Last week on my blog I shared my work in progress, and of course I’ll share the final finish once the fabric is available (in November.)

Starstruck using Modern Marks

The colors for Modern Marks are a little more vibrant on screen than they are in person.

Piece It

Starstruck is made from 24 fat quarters that can be separated into lights and darks like my neutrals version shown below. Or if you want it to be bright and cheerful like the one shown above, you can pair up fat quarters from your favorite colorful bundle to create contrast. Each fat quarter will make one center star, one background of another star, and part of the pieced border, so it’s fun to mix and match the prints!

Quilting Loops on Starstruck from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

An allover edge to edge design is the easiest way to practice free-motion quilting

Quilt It

When you want to learn a new free motion design, the best way to practice is on a real quilt. Start on one side of the quilt and meander your way across the quilt until you’ve covered every inch of it with your free-motion design. You’ll be a pro at that motif by the time you finish!

Machine quilting closeup on Starstruck

I chose Aurifil cotton 50 weight 2326 Sand for the machine quilting. It works well with neutrals.

I quilted a fun loop and star design on Starstruck but you could easily throw in other motifs like hearts, flowers and more. And if your stitches aren’t perfect, that’s ok. The best way to hide imperfect quilting is to surround it with more imperfect quilting, so all you see is the overall texture rather than the individual stitches.

More Starstruck inspiration

Isn’t it great to see the designs presented in different fabrics? Check out these three alternate versions below and be sure and visit each bloggers’ site for more about their process and more giveaways!!

Sherri Noel – Rebecca Mae Designs

Star Struck by Sherri Noel

Sherri Noel of Rebecca Mae Designs chose to go full color with a sprinkling of gold and gray. She was able to create good contrast with the bold busy fabrics, and her pretty picture makes me want to cuddle up on that comfy porch!!

Head over to Sherri’s blog to see more of her process including some closeups of her awesome quilting.

Lissa LaGreca – Lovingly Lissa

Starstruck by Lissa LaGreca

Here’s a view of Lissa’s gorgeous quilt top. I love the soft tan, brown, and gray neutrals she chose. I once heard that the hallmark of a great quilt design is that it will look good, no matter which fabrics you choose!

Hop on over to her blog at Lovingly Lissa to see how she quilted it. It’s a lovely finish!

Sandra Healy Designs

Sandra Healey Starstruck

Sandra of Sandra Healy Designs is working on two different projects using the Starstruck blocks. She’s working on a table runner using the fabrics with a white background above, and a pillow with a pretty pink background below.

In the book I recommend chain piecing all of the blocks at once and then lay them out into a pleasing arrangement. This allows you to finish your tops faster which leaves you more time for fun machine quilting.

Starstruck Pillow

Didn’t she do a fantastic job with the quilting on her cushion? She was able to get over her “fear of free-motion” with a little practice and I think she did an amazing job! Head over to Sandra’s blog to read more about her progress with the book!

Today’s Gift: EQ7 Education + Win Your Own Copy!

Because I’m so busy traveling and teaching machine quilting, I’m not able to share my knowledge of EQ7 in person as much as I’d like. So here’s the next best thing – click the links below to download  two PDF class outlines from my previous live classes.

EQ7

You can also click this link to peruse the EQ site for tons of self-study tutorials. I have to say, the folks at Electric Quilt give the greatest customer support I’ve seen. They’ll help you answer any and all questions you may have.

Then be sure and pop over to the EQ blog for your chance to win your very own copy of EQ7. I have to warn you though – you may spend more time designing than you actually do quilting!

Signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts

If you’ve been inspired so far, don’t forget to grab a signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.
I’m here to cheer you on in your quilt making journey, every step of the way!

Click here to view the blog hop schedule

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

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

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

Piece It

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

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

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

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

Quilt It

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

More S.W.A.K inspiration

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

Michelle Bartholomew

SWAK made by Michelle

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

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

Sherry Shish – Powered by quilting

SWAK by Sherry

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

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

SWAK by Sherry Shish

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

Allison Dutton – Allison Sews

SWAK by Allison sews

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

SWAK by Allison Sews

Look at all that yummy texture!!

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

Today’s Gift – Win Batting from Hobbs

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

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

Hobbs Batting

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

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

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

Update: Winner Selected and Comments Closed

Congrats to Peggy P. who has been notified via email.

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

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

Christa Watson Startup Library Quilting

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

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

WHAT YOU NEED

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

Startup Library Quilting

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

SETUP

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

MAKE IT

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

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

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

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

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

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

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

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

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

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

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

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

Christa Watson Machine Quilting Craftsy Class

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

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

Christa Watson Craftsy Class

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

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

Lily and Loom Fabric

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

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

Update: Winner Selected and Comments Closed

Congrats to Susan M. who has been contacted via email.

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Pat Sloan Book Tour – Teach Me to Machine Quilt

First of all, I have a question for you – how does one write 33 books and still stay sane? The answer of course, is if you are the amazing Pat Sloan – the Wonder Woman of the quilting world! I’ve been a big fan of Pat’s ever since I discovered her weekly quilting podcast with American Patchwork and Quilting. (I’ve been a guest a couple of times and it’s really top notch!)

pat_christa_market

Pat and me at Fall 2016 International Quilt Market

Pat does it all: she’s a pattern designer, book author, fabric designer, thread curator, fearless facebook leader, community quilting organizer, and more! Plus she’s knows anything and everything when it comes to quilting. And I literally think she knows the entire quilting community by name!!

So without further ado, let’s take a look at her latest book, Teach Me to Machine Quilt, published by (my favorite publisher) Martingale/That Patchwork Place. Photography courtesy of Brent Kane.

teach-me-to-machine-quilt

Whenever I teach machine quilting, I always recommend that students learn from as many different instructors as possible. We all have our own ways of teaching similar material, and sometimes it takes hearing the same thing presented in different ways before it really sinks in.

That’s why I highly recommend Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt. Not only does she cover both walking-foot quilting and free-motion quilting, but she shows them on real quilts so you can actually get a better feel for the process. Here are just a couple of my favorites from the book:

2-mini-charm-star-quilt

Mini Charm Star Quilt

3-checkerboard-hearts-quilt

Checkerboard Hearts Quilt

8-dresden-candy-dish-quilt

Dresden Candy Dish Mini

Aren’t those just fun?? I would say that my favorite part of the whole book is on page 7 where Pat says, “Yes, You Can Machine Quilt!” With her helpful advice, detailed stepouts and gorgeous photography, owning this book will really improve your machine quilting techniques.

Time for a giveaway!

And now, for the best news of all, Pat’s giving away 5 copies of her book over on HER blog.
Here’s the direct link to enter the giveaway:  blog.patsloan.com/pats-mega-fun-book-tour/

I’m one of the last stops on the tour that runs through Nov 30, so be sure to visit these other sites today:

Click here to see the entire blog hop schedule. Good luck and happy hopping!

Machine Quilting with Style: Candy Pop Re-imagined

Candy Pop is the 9th (out of 12) quilt patterned in my book Machine Quilting with Style. I was so happy to include a machine applique design. Truth be told, I really, really like machine applique and would love to one day do a book of modern machine applique designs. The problem? I can’t draw very well. But I can create easy geometric shapes like circles!

candy-pop

Candy Pop 45″ x 45″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane for Martingale.

If you cut carefully while making this design, you’ll have several pieces leftover that you can throw on the back. I love making artful pieced backings whenever I can!

candypop_back

I love it when you can see the machine quilting on the back of the quilt!

Not only does Machine Quilting with Style include 12 beautiful modern quilt patterns. It also includes step by step instructions on how to quilt them. I think it is so important to show all aspects of making a quilt, from start to finish!

Candy Pop Re-imagined

I think I could recolor every design I’ve ever made into black and white and be a happy camper! For some reason, this version of candy pop reminds me of Chinese lanterns:

candy-pop_lanterns

Candy Pop, recolored in black, white and red using EQ7 software.

View the Rest of the Quilts

Click here to see the rest of the quilts from the book, along with more optional colorways made by my friends!

Machine Quilting With Style

Click here to get your signed copy of Machine Quilting with Style.

Giveaway Time!

First congratulations to Sherry C. and Laura M. for winning some Hoffman Batik fat quarters.
This week, I’m giving away a 4 pack of my individual quilt patterns. These are written in the same helpful style as the patterns in my books, and they also include machine quilting suggestions!

4collage_patterns

Christa Quilts Patterns are available in print or PDF.

I’ll choose 2 winners: one person in the US will receive a printed version of each pattern, and one international winner will receive PDF’s of all 4 quilts patterns. To enter, leave a comment letting me know your favorite way to quilt your quilts – by hand, sit-down machine, long-arm machine, or even by check!

No matter how you finish, I’d love for you to share your quilting progress with me in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa.

**I have to give a huge thanks to those of you who continue to support me and my family by purchasing my products. This post contains affiliate links. XOXO**

 

Blog Hop – Quilts for Scrap Lovers by Judy Gauthier

Today I’m excited to tell you about a new book from author Judy Gauthier, owner of Bungalow Quilting and Yarn in Wisconsin. I first met Judy when we were both panelists for a discussion about how to store your stash at QuiltCon earlier this year. (You may notice recognize a few of the people in the pic below – it was quite the panel!!)

panel_fabricstash

Left to right: Judy Gauthier, Rossie Hutchinson, Mary Fons, and me at QuiltCon 2016

During the discussion Judy mentioned how much she loved working with scraps. This all makes sense to me now, with the release of her book, Quilts for Scrap Lovers.

cover

Quilts for Scrap Lovers by Judy Gauthier

I never really considered myself much of a scrap quilter until I realized that I loved color-blocked quilts. A good example of color-blocking is shown on the cover quilt – Sunshine and Shadows, where a block is made from scraps of the same color. In order for scrap quilting to work effectively, Judy states that, “there must be a high degree of contrast between the colored and neutral fabrics.” I totally agree with that sentiment and Judy has done a fabulous job creating contrast in the 16 beautiful scrap quilts  contained in her book.

Let’s take a look at a few more of the lovely quilts from Quilts for Scrap Lovers:

house-divided

House Divided, 72″ x 82″

I think House Divided is a really clever design. Notice how the blocks can either look like houses, or  like modern arrows!I love it when negative space is used in the border, creating more white space around a design. This is definitely my favorite quilt in the book. I bet it was so fun to gather the scraps for this one!

modern-anvil

Modern Anvil, 53″ x 69″

Modern Anvil really floats my boat, too. Just look at all that low-volume scrappy goodness in the backgrounds! Those brightly colored anvil blocks with pops of color in the borders give this quilt lots of movement. It’s another effective example of high contrast fabrics.

chevron

Chevron, given in Three Sizes

Judy’s Chevron quilt is another great example of color blocking. It’s also shows that you can make an effective scrappy quilt even when you don’t have any background at all. Her clever placement of color provides contrast in between each of the chevron stripes so that the design doesn’t get lost.

The golden rule of book-buying is that if you like at least three of the projects in a book, then it’s worth the price. Trust me, you will like ALL of the quilts in Judy’s book! I think my favorite part is in the front of the book where she includes lots of great tips on how to combine fabrics together.

The last thing I want to share with you is the introduction, set against the backdrop of another lovely house quilt included in the book. (Click the image for a larger view that’s easier to read):

introduction

Pick up a copy of Quilts for Scrap Lovers today!

Giveaway Time!

Judy’s publisher is generously giving away a copy of her book for each of the blogs on the book tour below. For your chance to win, leave a comment letting me know if you’d ever made a scrap quilt (or three). Winners will be chosen at the end of the week. Happy reading friends!

Nov 1 Christa Watson – You are here

Spiral Flower Machine Quilting on Maggie’s First Dance BOM

My good friend Jacquelynne Steves has been hosting a gorgeous free Block of the Month program she started over the summer, and I finally have a free minute to tell you about it! It’s a 6-part series called Maggie’s First Dance featuring 5 adorable blocks plus border and finishing instructions.

Maggies First Dance

Click here to sign up and get all of the blocks that have been shared so far.

This month’s  design is the setting block, and I thought it would be perfect to showcase one of my favorite free-motion quilting designs: spiral flowers. So I decided to make a cute mini from one of the blocks and take pictures of my process so I can walk you through how I did it. This block uses my no-mark method for free-motion quilting that I teach in both of my machine quilting books.

Aurifil Thread

Step 1 – choose your thread

Look at your beautiful finished block and think about how you want to quilt it. I always like to audition several thread choices to see which one will look the best. In this case I chose to go with a light yellow, 50 weight cotton Aurifil. White or light gray would have looked nice, too. I’m going to quilt it with one color thread only so that I can custom quilt the entire block without starting and stopping.

Quilt Design Sketch

Step 2 – Sketch Your Design

Print out a color copy of your block on paper and sketch out some design ideas. This allows you to plan out how you will move around the block quickly and efficiently before you try it on the real thing. I chose  a large spiral flower in the center of the block surrounded by pebbles.  I’ll repeat the flower petal design in the white areas, and add some more pebbles in the corners. This will allow me to quilt the entire design in one pass, traveling (backtracking) in the seams if needed to quilt each section of the design.

I only sketched enough of the design to give me a general idea of what I was going to quilt. Of course, you can draw the design over the whole block if you prefer. Doesn’t it look like I drew right on the block? Don’t worry, it really is just a color printout of the block. 🙂

Free Motion Center Spiral

Step 3 – Start the Center Spiral

Starting in the middle of the block, pull up the bobbin thread to the top and move it out of the way for now. You can go back and tie off the knot later and bury the thread within the batting. Or just start with a series of teeny-tiny stitches to lock your beginning threads in place.

Quilt a small spiral to start and then immediately turn the spiral into a series of small, irregular flower petals. It doesn’t matter which direction to stitch in, or how many petals you quilt as you spiral around. Aim for nice, smooth stitches, but they don’t have to be perfectly uniform in length.

Spiral Flower Quilting

Step 4 -Complete the Center Block

As you echo back out around the center spiral, quilt a series of petals that don’t quite touch each other. Fill in all of the space, backtracking in the seam if needed to get to any areas you missed. Again, notice that each petal is not perfect or uniform. You are aiming for texture over perfection.

Pebble Quilting

Step 5 – Fill in the Rest of the Block

I quilted the area around the flower with pebbles, a dense texture that would allow the floral quilting to really pop. Because I used the same color thread, I was able to easily switch back and forth between quilting motifs as needed. To create interest in the block, I repeated the petal shapes in the outer portion of the block, with an extra pop of pebbles in the corners.

Although I’m only showing one block as an example, you can easily apply this design to all of the setting blocks. I like dense textural motifs that lend themselves well to any size block or quilt!

Ta-Da! Enjoy Your Finish

Machine Quilted Block

If you are new to machine quilting, I recommend making one or two practice blocks like I did to get the hang of it, or to try out different quilting ideas. You can always refer to your practice blocks as a stitch journal of your progress. I turn mine into class samples, so I don’t have to pack up a suitcase full of quilts when I teach. 🙂

Let’s Have a Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of Jacquelynne’s latest BOM installment, 7 other bloggers and I have teamed up to give away a fun prize pack of my PDF patterns, perfect for practicing your machine quilting skills! So that means that 8 people will win, one for each stop on the blog hop below.

Pattern Giveaway

Visit each of these blogs to increase your chances of winning. Leave a comment at each for your chance to win! The giveaway is open to everyone and runs through October 10th.

Farmhouse Quilts

My Go-Go Life

The Crafty Quilter

LilyPad Quilting

Grey Dogwood Studio

The Quilting Nook

EvaPaige Quilt Designs

Christa Quilts – You Are Here!

New Around Here? Everyone’s a Winner!

Puzzle Box Pattern

Click here to get my free Puzzle Box quilt pattern.

As an extra bonus for anyone new to my blog, be sure to check out Friendly Threads, my weekly email and get this free PDF pattern instantly. My Puzzle Box pattern uses two Jelly Rolls and goes together super quick!

Machine Quilting with Style: Little Man’s Fancy Re-Imagined

Are you enjoying seeing alternate colorways of the quilts from my book, Machine Quilting with Style? I’m having a blast recoloring them all. Sometimes I think making “virtual” quilts is just as much fun as the real thing, but a lot faster!! 🙂 This week, let’s take a look at Little Man’s Fancy:

Walking Foot Quilting

Little Man’s Fancy 36″ x 36″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Baby Boy Blue

The quilt design is my riff on a traditional block called “Gentleman’s Fancy,” hence the similar name. In addition to the original layout shown above in the book,  I also shared how you can just flip a couple of rows to make a really cool oversized star design, a great size for that little fella in your life:

Fancy Star

Fancy Star – designed in EQ7.

Pretty in Pink

But what I’d really love to do is remake it in a pretty pink version, perfect for a little princess! This time I chose pink, red and gray swatches from Deb Strain‘s latest line for Moda. It’s actually a Valentine’s collection but works just as well for this version!

pink-star

Pretty Pink Star

What if you wanted to make a bigger quilt? Just make more blocks and multiply the yardage requirements by four to make this cuddly throw. Isn’t it fun to play around with the possibilities??

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink 72″ x 72″ made from 4 blocks.

Giveaway Time!

Congratulations to Jamie N. and Kris L. They each won  a White Dream 80/20 queen batting and a Natural Dream 80/20 queen batting, courtesy of Quilter’s Dream.

The Precut Store

This week, I’m giving away a mystery bundle of 3 Moda charm packs, courtesy of The Precut Store. They are so brand spankin’ new, they aren’t even in stores yet. But trust me, you will love them!

To enter, leave a comment telling me about the favorite baby quilt you have made. For an extra chance to win, share a picture of it in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa. This giveaway is open to everyone with the stipulation that an international winner will pay 1/2 of the shipping (we’ll split it to keep it fair, K??)

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your makes – it gets me all excited to keep on quilting!!

Machine Quilting with Style

Click here to see all of the quilts from Machine Quilting with Style.

Machine Quilting with Style: Color Crystals Re-Imagined

I’m so excited to share additional colorways of the third quilt from my first book, Machine Quilting with Style. Color Crystals is my modern version of a jelly roll quilt! In practically any bundle you buy, you can separate the solids or prints into distinctive colorways, and then use the leftover strips on the back.
Here’s the original quilt using a bundle of bright Kona Solids:
color-crystals
 Rain 54″ x 62″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Color Crystals, Re-imagined

Here’s an alternate colorway I designed in EQ7 using Amanda Herring’s Desert Bloom collection for Riley Blake. This pretty group is divided into three colorways of red, aqua, and gray with two whisper soft background prints that I alternated in the background strips. I repeated some of the fabrics to create cohesion in the design.
color-crystals-desert-bloom-white2
I was having so much fun playing around with these fabrics, that I decided to flip the positive/negative space in this version below. I placed the strips randomly in the background to create a  sense of movement and paired them with solid red “crystals” for a bolder, more dynamic design.
color-crystals-desert-bloom-red
Now can you just imagine all the possibilities??

Quilter’s Dream Prize Sponsor

When I make my quilts, the batting is just as important as the fabrics and thread. Therefore I’m delighted to announce that one of my favorite batting companies, Quilter’s Dream

will be giving away two prizes to help promote their new Dream 80/20.

Each winner will get a White Dream 80/20 queen and a Natural Dream 80/20 queen. This time around, winners we be selected from the US due to shipping limitations.

quilters_dream_80-20

To enter, just leave a comment letting me know your favorite way to use a jelly roll! For a bonus entry, you can share a picture of one of your jelly roll quilts in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa. We have a really fun community over there and everyone loves getting inspired by what everyone else is doing!

Last Week’s Winners

Congrats to Jane M. and Diane M. who each won a copy of my second book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting (co-authored with Angela Walters). I’ll pick this week’s winner next Thursday morning and post it with the next re-imagined quilt next Friday!

Christa Watson Books

Click here to see all of the quilts from Machine Quilting with Style.
Click here to see all of the quilts from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.

*Note: this post contains affiliate links – thanks for your support!!