Aurifil Designer Block of the Month 2016 – A Finished Quilt!

I’m pleased to share this beautiful quilt finish by Pat Sloan, an all around amazing person and coordinator of the Aurifil Designer of the Month Series.

Aurifil Designer of the Month 2016 Quilt

If you are just now finding out about this, you can get each of the free block patterns here including those for 2017!

Pat has also created instructions to make the layout here.

My block is the improv star shown on the first row on the right.
Improv Star block for Aurifil

Click here to get the free download to make this block pattern.

I am a huge fan of Aurifil thread. In fact, I use 50 weight cotton thread for everything I do – piecing, quilting and binding. I released my first thread collection with Aurifil at the end of last year. It’s appropriately named the Piece and Quilt Collection.

Piece and Quilt Aurifil thread by Christa Watson

I’m super excited to be working with Aurifil on an exciting adventure coming up next year. I hate to be a tease, but I’ll let you know more about it soon, so stay tuned!!!

Click here to get my Piece and Quilt Collection in Colors or Neutrals.

Piece and Quilt Neutrals Aurifil Thread from Christa Quilts

When you make the Aurifil Designer of the Month quilt, click here to share it on Pat’s site!

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The Splendid Sampler Block – Scrappy Happy Heart

Welcome to my stop on the Splendid Sampler 100 blocks tour! Today is a very special day. Not only because I get to share my special block with you, but it is also my anniversary! 23 years ago I married my best friend and he’s supported my quilting habits ever since! Sharing my heart block with you now has extra special meaning and today I’m dedicating this block to Jason – the love of my life!

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Scrappy Happy Heart – for Jason –  the love of my life who’s also my #1 fan!

I love the “structured improv” look so I chose to paper piece this block, to contain the crazy pieced chaos. I took some step by step pictures while making this block that can help you with your paper piecing efforts.

Click here for Splendid tutorials on paper piecing.

I was very lucky to get to work with the Little Miss Sunshine collection by Vanessa Goertzen of  Lella Boutique for many of the fabrics. Click here to get the precuts to make a similar block. 🙂

Step 1

Comb through your stash for pretty scraps that work well together.

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Thanks to Moda Fabrics for supplying me with such a sweet palette to work from!

Step 2

Cut the pieces according to the cutting chart given in the Splendid Sampler block pattern.

Step 3

Sew the first section of pieces starting with the white background square; press and trim after each piece. It will look somewhat like the hot mess below!

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 Step 4

Add the corner triangle to the first section. Remember, all this time you are sewing onto paper following the printed lines on the front of the paper.

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Step 5

Repeat the piecing, pressing and trimming process for the second section of the block.

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This is what the front looks like – I fold each line I am going to sew next and use an add a quarter ruler to trim off the excess smoothly and neatly.

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Step 6

Add the last section of heart in the same manner. It will look so good once it’s all trimmed!

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Step 7

Add the last two background corner triangles to complete the heart shape and trim to size. Now the best part – gently remove all the paper!

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Step 8

Stop and admire your beautiful handiwork. Now is a great time to start thinking about the threads you will use to machine quilt your beautiful blocks. My favorite thread for both piecing and machine quilting  is Aurifil – 50 weight cotton.

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All of that mess miraculously turns into a beautifully finished block!

Click here to go to the Splendid Sampler Block Page

Here’s my block in other colorways, made by some of the other Splendid Sampler designers. 🙂

Splendid Sampler Heart Blocks

Made by Pat Sloan, Julie Karasek, Jane Davidson, Lynette Anderson, Joan Ford, Melissa Corry

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Simple Strips Quilt Along – The Finish

It’s time to put the finishing touches on Simple Strips with my quick and easy machine binding tutorial that can be found on the BERNINA blog at We All Sew.

Machine Binding

My machine binding method is very similar to my hand binding method all the way until the final finishing step. The nice thing about this method is that you can wait to decide how to finish until the end.

Super Simple Strips Quilt Along

Simple strips was made from Valley precuts from Moda.

I hope you have enjoyed quilting along! Be sure to share your progress in my Facebook group at Quilt with Christa and also on the BERNINA community site.

If you are new around here, click here for the Simple Strips Quilt Along tutorials.

 

So I did a crazy thing this week….. (HMQS 2016)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a type A – plan it like I mean it type of person. I live and sleep by my daily to do lists and am the last person in the world who has time to be spontaneous! But when I got the email earlier in the week, that I had won an award for one of my quilts at HMQS (The Home Machine Quilting Show), I knew I had to drop everything to drive 6 hours to Utah to attend the awards ceremony!

HMQS quilt show

Plumb Lines, 2nd Place Modern at HMQS, from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.

I’ve had a bit of good luck lately (winning 2nd places at Paducah and MQX), but after gut-wrenchingly replying that no, I could not attend those awards ceremonies, when opportunity came knocking the 3rd time around, I just couldn’t say no!!

So I corralled the troops, hopped in the car and picked up my good buddy Cory Allender on the way, who also received the news that she had won an award. I tried to convince my other friend Vicki Ruebel into going with us since she also won an award, but she had a little more sense of responsibility than I did!

Quilting Room
Mom just moved and showed me her new place – including the biggest sewing room ever!

Thank goodness my mom actually lives halfway between here and the show so we were able to crash at her place for the night and add her to our crew. We got up bright and early the next day to continue the trek to HMQS and got there just in time to check out the show and get a good seat for the ceremony.

And thank goodness for Cory who agreed to drive most of the way there and back so that I could get a little computer work done in the car (including writing up this blog post!)

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It’s quite an experience riding in the back seat of my own car. It was quite cozy!

Just before the ceremony started, the anticipation was killing me. I had entered 3 quilts, (all from my new book) in the show, in two different categories, and had no clue as to which one won, or what placement it took. When they announced that Plumb Lines had taken 2nd in Modern, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

Honestly, it was the last one I had expected to place. Not that I don’t love these quilts and pour my heart and soul into them, but this quilt was made in a hurry, and on a deadline, rather than specifically FOR a show.

Plumb Lines 2nd Place

I was so excited to finally be able to collect my award in person at the show!!

My smart friend Cory once told me that you’ll have more fun entering shows if you don’t STRIVE for it, and make quilts that please you, rather than trying to please any judge. Wise words indeed.

Cory Allender

Elizabeth’s Butterflies by Cory Allender, 2nd Place Utah’s Own, HMQS

Probably the most fun thing about this whole experience was being able to walk on stage and say thanks to a wonderful organization that puts on such a tremendous show. That, and being able to tell them that it was my BQF (best quilting friend) who had won 3rd!

Vicki and I have this thing going where we are okay to leapfrog our quilts. She beat me recently at a local show and we have sort of a friendly competition going on here – all in good fun, of course!

Bullesye quilt 3rd

Bullseye by Vicki Ruebel – 3rd place Modern, HMQS

So my whole point in sharing this with you is to encourage you to be a little more spontaneous with your quilting, too. Whether that means going to a show you didn’t plan on, or entering a quilt show, maybe for the first time ever – go ahead and do it. I mean – what have you got to lose?? (Except maybe a little time and sleep!) 🙂

My Other Entries in the Show

HMQS Modern Entry

Directionally Challenged in the Modern Category. Read more about this quilt here.

hmqs entry

Swirling Butterflies in the Conventional Machine Category.
See a better picture and learn more here.

Simple Strips Quilt Along – Machine Quilting

I have to say, we’ve now reached my favorite part of my Simple Strips Quilt Along – machine quilting! Because I’m sharing these tutorials over on the BERNINA blog at We All Sew, I wanted to really show what these machines can do, and how anyone can have success quilting on a home sewing machine!

BERNINA machine quilting

This week focuses on using a decorative stitch to create incredible machine quilting texture. I also how teach how to achieve this type of look in both of my books. It’s that important to me to spread the word that yes, you can, make a “professional” looking quilt using the machine you currently have. 🙂

Click here for the latest quilt along tutorial.
Click here to share your progress in my facebook group: Quilt with Christa.

Simple Strips Quilt Along – Spray Basting Tutorial

Pop on over to  We All Sew (BERNINA’s blog), where I am sharing my Wall Spray Basting Tutorial. This is an idea I’ve had for quite some time and I’m so excited that it works!!

Spray Basting Tutorial

My absolute favorite way to baste a quilt is by using 505 adhesive spray. My best tip is to spray the quilt top and quilt backing (rather than the batting) and then iron the whole thing when you are done. That way the whole quilt sticks together and you don’t have any shifting when machine quilting on a regular home sewing machine!

Click here for the full tutorial, and feel free to adapt it to your sewing-room setup. 🙂

Sharing is Caring

If you are quilting along, be sure to share your work in progress over in my Facebook group at Quilt with Christa. You can also hashtag it on instagram #simplestripsqal. love to see how you are doing!

Simple Strips Quilt Along Update at We all Sew

Be sure to pop on over to We All Sew, BERNINA’s blog for the next step of my Simple Strips Quilt Along! This week’s tutorial is all about making the pieced quilt top.

simple strips qal

If you are just joining me, be sure to check out the materials list and cutting for Simple Strips. It’s so easy, you can catch up in no time! Then share your progress on instagram #simplestripsqal or in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. 🙂

Simple Strips Quilt Along Over at We All Sew

Want to make a quick and easy Jelly Roll quilt? Then be sure to join me for my Simple Strips Quilt Along which just launched over on the BERNINA blog at We All Sew.

Super Simple Strips Quilt Along

This quilt along will work a little differently than my previous quilt alongs, since I’m sharing it over at BERNINA, but it will be just as fun! I will be sharing 5 weeks of step-by-step tutorials showing you how to make a complete quilt from start to finish. I am proud to be a BERNINA ambassador and I do all of my piecing and quilting on my B770 QE.

New Quilt Along

Super Simple Strips – Piecing in Progress on the BERNINA 770 Quilter’s Edition

But of course, you can use your favorite machine to make this quilt! I’m going to show you how to do some very easy decorative machine quilting, plus we’ll even finish it by machine. 🙂

To get started pick up a jelly roll of your favorite fabric. Either choose a Jelly Roll that has half light/half dark strips; or grab a smaller bundle in a nice solid background color to go with your regular sized roll (you need a total of 40 strips for the quilt).

Super-Simple-Strips-Jelly-Rolls

I chose to go with half a Jelly Roll of Valley by Sherri and Chelsi for Moda, plus a Jelly Roll Junior of Bella Solids in Ivory.

The complete supply list and quilt along schedule are posted at We All Sew – so please follow along each week, then share your progress in my Facebook group Quilt with Christa, or on instagram, #simplestripsqal.

 

Facets Quilt Along Winners – And Quilt Alongs Galore!!

Today’s the day I get to announce winners from those that participated in Facets Quilt Along!! If you are just joining us, you are welcome to go back to the beginning and get the Facets Introduction and Quilt Along schedule.

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For those that are still quilting along, please keep up at your own pace, and don’t forget to share your progress in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. Although prizes are being awarded today, I still want to cheer you on and give you a virtual high-5!!

Here’s how the prizes were awarded – each week for 8 weeks, participants worked and shared their progress. For each step they shared, they got an entry into the drawing. At the end, I put all of the names into a bowl, and pulled out 3 random names (low tech, I know, but it works!). Each of these grand prize winners gets a signed copy of one of my books, a jelly roll of their choice and a spool of Aurifil thread from The Precut Store.

Quilt Along Prize Entries

Then I did another bonus drawing from those who had completed all 8 steps of the quilt along! Those two winners won a jelly roll of their choice from The Precut Store. Then, because I couldn’t help myself, I had do do another bonus for two more to win one of my Kona Designer charm packs.

Without further ado – here are the winners, totally chosen at random, with my eyes closed!!

Facets-QAL-Prize-Winners

And finally, because I want everyone to be a winner, everyone who shared their progress with me gets a free PDF pattern of their choice from my Craftsy Pattern Store!

All of the winners need to contact me at christa@christaquilts.com with their shipping address, choice of prizes, and email for PDF pattern download.

FacetsQALbig

Thanks for quilting along with me. Now I have two special announcements to share:
(1) If you would love to try making another complete quilt from start to finish, be sure to check out my 9 Previous Quilt Alongs Here!!

(2) Stay tuned next week as I reveal details for my next Quilt Along!! Here’s just a snippet to get you excited – it’s super simple, super fast, and tons of fun!! Be sure to bookmark BERNINA’s blog We All Sew as that’s where the tutorials will be shared – I can’t wait!

New Quilt Along

My next quilt along will be coming up soon so stay tuned!!

 

Quilt Las Vegas – A Nice Showing of Modern Quilts

I had such a great weekend, attending Desert Quilters of Nevada‘s annual quilt show! This is an event I have participated in nearly every year since I joined the guild. This year I entered 4 quilts and was stunned to learn that every single one got a ribbon. It’s the first time that has ever happened! My most validating moment was getting a 1st place ribbon for Pearl Gray, one of the cover quilts from Machine Quilting with Style.

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Pearl Gray, 1st Place Single Entrant Category

Judge’s comments: strong representation for modern quilting; good control of value and contrast; machine quilting pattern adds great texture and is simple and effective; very good binding technique.

One of the fun things my traditional guild does is hand out buttons corresponding to the ribbons you win. It’s so cool to walk around the show and bump into other ribbon-winners and congratulate them on a job well done. Everyone can use a little quilt bling, right?

On a whim, I decided to enter Candy Pop, another book quilt into the applique category. I didn’t expect an award for such a simple design, but it really is one of my favorite quilts. In fact, my daughter has already claimed it as hers, once it “retires” from the public circuit.

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Candy Pop, from Machine Quilting with Style, 3rd Place – Applique

Judge’s comments: dots and circles create a really dynamic piece; outside pieced binding creates a lovely frame, all techniques are well handled; back art is noted and appreciated.

I love how the judge commented on the back of the quilt, too. I love making pieced backs, especially when I can use up leftover blocks. You can really see the quilting, too:

candypop_backing

For the last 3 years there has been a modern category in the show and I think this year’s showing of modern quilts was the best yet! In fact, there were so many entries that the category was split into two – large and small. I had entered two quilts in the modern category and lucked out that each went into a different subcategory!

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Illusions – Honorable Mention for Modern, Large

Judge’s comments: piecing is skillfully done; thread color changes are appreciated, causing no distraction from this graphic quilt; machine quilting is well done.

You will be hearing more about Illusions, shortly. It’s been patterned in one of my favorite magazines, and the editor was so kind to ship it back to me quickly, just in time to put it in the show. I’m so glad she did!! Don’t worry – I’ll let you know when and where as soon as it’s published!!

woven_ribbonsWoven Ribbons – 3rd Place Modern, Small

Judge’s comments: masterful use of color; beautiful glow from your use of deep color and contrast; use of variegated thread gives an organic feel to the stripes.

I was especially thrilled to get a ribbon for Woven Ribbons, which I made for Issue 9 of Make Modern Magazine. Most of my quilts are made for publication these days, but I try to do the best job I can while constructing them. The fact that I get to share them at quilt shows is just icing on the cake!

In addition to entering my quilts in the show, I was invited to present a trunk show and lecture on modern quilts. I shared several quilts from both of my books, plus a variety of modern quilts from members of the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild and DQN. It was so fun to see the audiences’ faces light up when they finally realized how amazing modern quilts can be!

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I love spreading the word about modern quilting in my little corner of the world! Many of the larger quilts were piled on a full-sized bed and helpers held them up while I spoke.

Here are some of other other fabulous modern quilts from the show:

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Modern “strip” quilt by the Las Vegas MQG: 2nd place, group quilt and show chair’s choice.
I contributed 2 blocks and helped with the binding. Quilting by Vicki Ruebel.

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My BQF (best quilting friend) Vicki from Orchid Owl Quilts swept the Modern, Small category with 1st and 2nd place! Above left is her version of Color Crystals, from Machine Quilting with Style, and right is Bullseye, an original design that was also hung at QuiltCon this year.

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Modern Logs by Suzanne Shull Mayfield, 1st Place Modern Large, quilted by Linda Natale

My friend Suzanne got a blue ribbon with her fabulous rendition of my Modern Logs pattern. She took my class at the quilting retreat last year and I love that she made the largest size! In all the excitement of picture taking, I forgot to get a closeup view of the pink ribbon, but it a special award which means someone behind the scenes really liked it, too!

This is one of my favorite pictures, LVMQG member Melissa standing in between her award winning quilt and a beautiful diamond quilt made by LVMQG member Mandy. I love all that pink!

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Glitz Sparkle Punch was Melissa’s QuiltCon reject, but it just goes to show that perseverance and entering quilts in different shows pays off in the end! Now I want to make a pink quilt!

I absolutely loved this design by Jeanne – a longtime traditional quilter who has recently dabbled in making modern quilts. She knocked it out of the park with this one! I love the juxtaposition of the image below – Jeanne’s modern quilt on one row with a very beautiful and very traditional quilt behind it on the next row!

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Serenity by Jeanne Spala – 3rd place Modern, Large

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Resonate pieced by Margaret Illions and quilted by Cory Allender – 2nd place Modern, Large

Margaret and Cory’s quilt above was a definite crowd pleaser. In my talk I mentioned negative space and asymmetry quite a bit. This effective design incorporates both!

I’ll end with this duo of gorgeous gray quilts made by longtime DQN members Ann P. (left) and Kathy M. (right). One of the best things about being part of a quilt guild community is knowing the makers behind the quilts and being able to celebrate their success!

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There were several more fabulous quilts that I didn’t get pictures of, both in the modern category and others. There were a total of over 250 quilts, dolls, and clothing items which made for a very well-rounded show. Although I gravitate towards the modern quilts in any show, I am so thankful for the volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to pull it off. Now I can’t wait for next year’s show!