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:

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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!!

Machine Quilting with Style: Rain Re-Imagined

Welcome back to week 2 of the 12 week celebration for Machine Quilting with Style! This week I’m excited to again share “Rain,” which I think is one of the most modern quilts I’ve ever made. My husband Jason was actually the one who inspired the design. He was doodling on his iPad one day and I thought his design would make an awesome quilt! So I translated his scribbles into this minimalist modern quilt:

rain

Rain 60″ x 80″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Jason and I went back and forth with ideas for naming this quilt (meteor shower, streaks of color colored rain, etc.), and the colorful strips for some reason brought to mind streaks of rain. Wouldn’t it be nice if rain really was colorful like this? Then I had the idea to quilt with heavier weight colorful threads matching each of the strips and extending the quilting lines off the ends, creating a streaked effect.

rain_detail

When you look closely, you can see that the parallel straight-line quilting isn’t exactly perfect and that’s okay. I truly believe that “perfectly imperfect” quilting adds to the beauty and hand-crafted look of the piece!

Purple Rain

I’ve been wanting to explore different colorways with this design and of course the first variation I thought of was Purple Rain. When Prince died earlier this year, the design became even that much more meaningful to me.

purple_rain

I think the light gray sets off the purple strips nicely, don’t you agree?

How about this black and gray version? It’s the same design but tweaked by using just two colors and letting the stripes go all the way across the quilt. The graphic movement it creates is very striking, and I love exploring design possibilities like this!

black_grey

Although I used solids for these versions, I’ve seen several of you remake this quilt using prints, which looks just as fabulous! In fact, when you click the link below to view all of the quilts from my book, you’ll see another variation of each finished quilt made by my friends. This should get the ideas flowing!

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

Weekly Giveaway

For this week’s celebration, I’m giving away a signed copy of my second book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, co-authored with Angela Walters. One US reader will receive a hard-copy, signed by both of us, and one international friend will get an e-copy from my friends at Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

To enter, leave a comment below letting me know if you’ve ever made a modern quilt before. For an extra bonus entry, you can share a picture of your favorite modern quilt in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. And just to clarify – what’s modern to you is modern to me. 🙂

Last Week’s WinnerS:

Congratulations to Lori M. and Jill B. who each won a copy of Machine Quilting with Style! I’ve sent message to both. I’ll pick this week’s winner next Thursday and post it with the next re-imagined quilt next Friday!

Machine Quilting With Style

Click here to purchase signed copies of either of my books.

Machine Quilting With Style: Ripples Re-imagined

Ripples is the first quilt presented in my book Machine Quilting with Style. The technique is what I call “structured improv.” The basic block shape is a traditional log cabin. However, each of the individual “logs” in the quilt are cut and pieced improvisationally so that no two blocks are alike! I selected teals and grays from my stash, plus leftovers from other projects. Here’s the original quilt as it appears in the book, my abstract representation of rippling water:

ripples_no_background

Ripples 66″ x 88″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Let’s Play!

Now it’s time to have some fun, discovering alternate looks for this design! Of course the layout possibilities are endless. Here’s a another version, showing the same color scheme, set in a more traditional “barn-raising” layout. I imported swatches of fabrics from some of my favorite fabric brands into EQ7 to create a “virtual stash” for this quilt.

ripples_bluegrey_barnraising

I design my quilts in EQ7 so that I know what they’ll look like before I make the first cut!

Here’s another layout, and another colorway, using Bonnie and Camille’s Ruby collection, plus coordinates  from my “virtual” stash. I selected reds and greens for one half of the block, with aquas, creams and light grays for the other half. I set the blocks slightly differently so that now the ripples go the other way and are more centered.

ripples_bandc_opposite

Here’s another graphic layout with very strong lines, called Zig-Zags, using the same fabrics. In all variations, the same number of blocks are made, but each block is rotated differently.

ripples_bandc_zigzag

Isn’t it fun to explore the possibilities? I hope you will enjoy seeing all of the quilts from Machine Quilting with Style re-imagined over the next few weeks. Perhaps you’ll discover that one of the designs speaks to you in a new colorway.

Celebration Giveaway

Each week as I share the re-imagined quilts, I’ll celebrate the one-year milestone of my book release with a giveaway. To start off, I’ll give away a signed physical copy of Machine Quilting with Style to one lucky reader here in the US! And my publisher will send an e-copy to one of my international friends!

Machine Quilting With Style

To enter, leave a comment letting me know if you’ve ever made a log cabin quilt – and if you want to share – how many?? For an extra bonus entry, you can share a picture of your favorite log cabin quilt you’ve made in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa.

Comments will be open through next Thursday at 6PM PST. I’ll  a choose two winners at random (one US, one Int’l.) and will announce their names in next week’s post on Friday, along with the next virtual quilt!

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

A Splendid Celebration!

Are you following along with The Splendid Sampler? If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s the most epic, “sew-lebrity” filled sew along (of all time), consisting of 100+ free block patterns, designed by 83 pattern designers, shared twice week, for an entire year!!!

Silly_Designers

 

Just a few of the 80+ Splendid Sampler designers at Spring Quilt Market 2016.

For those of you making blocks either physically with the group (or virtually in your head), the 50th block releases this week! Isn’t that exciting?? Although I’m not going to spoil tomorrow’s surprise, the designer of block #50 is Joanna Figueroa of Figtree Quilts. I’ve seen the block, and let me tell you – it is Splendid!!

The-Splendid-Sampler-Sew-Along-big-button

My Splendid Block

You may recall my block, Scrappy Happy Heart, below, which was released back in May. Click here to learn more about my block! It’s been exciting watching so many people making my paper pieced block design and sharing their work. The biggest comment I’ve seen on Instagram (#scrappyhappyheart) and in the Splendid Sampler Facebook group is that my block is the perfect block for those who have never paper-pieced before and want to try out an easy block. That warms my heart!!

scrappy_heart_styled

My Scrappy Happy Heart Block

To celebrate The Splendid Sampler halfway point, hosts Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson are teaming up with many of the Splendid Sampler designers with bonus blocks, fun giveaways, free patterns, and maybe even a little “behind the scenes” of the project.

Click here to see the complete blog hop celebration schedule!

Free Pattern for Splendid Friends

For anyone new to my blog, I invite you to get this free PDF quilt pattern of my Puzzle Box design just for stopping by and signing up for my email newsletter.

Click here to get the free pattern.

But wait…. there’s more!!

Puzzle Box Pattern

Book Giveaway for Splendid quilters

I’m also giving away a copy of the brand new collaboration book, 180 Doodle Quilting Designs. This book was compiled by Martingale/That Patchwork Place, the same folks who will be publishing The Splendid Sampler book once the blocks are all complete! (They have also published both of my quilting books, so I might just be a little bit biased!!)

b1381_cover

180 Doodle Quilting features designs from several talented friends, including Splendid Sampler designers Melissa Corry, April Rosenthal, and yours truly! Perhaps this book will help you decide how you want to quilt your blocks when they are all finished!

For your chance to win, just leave a comment below letting me know if you’ve ever participated in a block of the month/week/day type program before. If so, tell me what you loved about it!

This contest is open to everyone worldwide. I’ll pick one US winner who will win a physical copy signed by me, and one international winner who will receive an e-copy.

The contest will close Aug 15th and I’ll ship it to you by the end of the month. Thanks for stopping by!!

Aurifil Designer of the Month – March 2016 (That’s Me!)

It is with great pride and honor to announce that I was chosen to be the Aurifil Designer of the Month for March. I’ve designed this exclusive “Improv Star” block as part of the Aurifil Designer Series, hosted by Pat Sloan.

Each month in 2016, you’ll get free access to a brand new blue and white 12″ finished block pattern. Make them each month, share them on Pat’s website and enter for your chance to win a box of thread – 12 large spools for your creating pleasure!

improv_star_styled

My 12″ Improv Star block – click here for the free pattern.

I have to tell you what a whirlwind of a journey it’s been, falling in love with Aurifil threads and using them exclusively for all of my sewing and quilting. I first discovered Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread just a few years ago and it was love at first stitch! Like any other aspect of quilting, at first I struggled to know which materials to use, what threads to try and how to put them all together.

20140909_aurifil

This is just one of my drawers full of Aurifil thread – I love all that color!

I soon realized that being a prolific quilter, Aurifil satisfied my need to keep things simple and organized. Rather than buying ALL the threads in ALL the colors in ALL the different fibers and weights out there, I could do everything I needed with Aurifil cotton! (And yeah, I still do own almost ALL the colors!!)

aurifil-2016-design-team-photo

If you are an Aurifil thread fan like I am, you can find all your favorite colors and kits at The Precut Store.

New around here?

Be sure to sign up for Friendly Threads, my email newsletter, and get a free PDF quilt pattern!