Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Week 6 – Machine Quilting Part 1 SITD

Can you believe we are 6 weeks in to the quilt along?! The work you all are doing is fabulous and I’m excited to get to my favorite part – machine quilting!! This week we will Stitch in the Ditch (SITD) to secure the quilt for the jazzy free motion quilting we will do later. Many times, this crucial step is overlooked, and although it’s not the most exciting part of machine quilting it’s one of the most important steps for successful free-motion quilting.

Machine Quilting Detail on Dot n Dash Quilt

Machine Quilting Detail on Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt. Stitching in the ditch allows you to break down the quilting into sections, which makes for more successful free-motion quilting later.

My Fave Machine Quilting Supplies

First of all, let me tell you about the needles I prefer to use for machine quilting. They are from Superior Threads and are called Topstitch needles. Look at the image below to see the difference between a Topstitch needle and a Universal needle. The Topstitch has a slightly sharper point which is helpful for penetrating the fabric. But the most important feature is a slightly longer eye (the hole) so that your thread won’t shred. I love these needles so much that I use them for piecing as well.

Needle Closeup

I buy the needles in the blue package as they are most economical for my projects:

Next, the thread I use for piecing AND machine quilting is 50 weight 100% cotton from Aurifil. The 50 weight is thin, yet strong so that it will blend into your quilt. I’d rather see the overall texture of the quilting rather than the individual stitches, and quilting densely helps me mask any mistakes. After all, the easiest way to hide imperfect stitches is to surround them with more imperfect stitches!

Piece and Quilt Collection Aurifil Thread by Christa Watson

For this quilt, I’m using the medium gray #2605 from my Piece and Quilt Neutrals thread collection. (My neutrals box also includes a lighter gray and a darker gray so that you’re covered, no matter which shade of gray you like!)

Stitching in the Ditch

Whenever I do any custom quilting, I will always “anchor” the quilt by stitching in the ditch first, in key areas of the quilt. For Dot ‘n’ Dash, it made sense to stitch in the ditch between each long row. I recommend using a walking foot, or a machine that has a built in dual feed system (such as the BERNINA 770 QE that I’m using).

The nice thing about pressing seams open, is that you can actually stay in the ditch, and you don’t have to worry about switching thread colors for the low vs. high side of the ditch. Contrary to popular myth, stitching in the ditch with seams pressed open will NOT weaken your seams. I’ve been doing it for years with no problem, and I find it actually strengthens my quilts and adds more stability. (Just think about it – if stitching over a previous line of stitching would cut your threads, then you’d never be able to backtrack over a seam, right??)

Stitching in the Ditch on Dot n Dash Quilt

I use the terms walking foot quilting and dual feed quilting interchangeably.
Stitch slowly , so you can stay in the ditch as much as possible

The built in dual feed turns my 1/4″ patchwork “D” foot into a walking foot, feeding the quilt through evenly with no puckers. I recommend quilting with a slightly longer stitch length (3.0 instead of 2.5) to help compensate for any drag on the quilt. I also recommending reducing your presser foot pressure when doing walking foot/dual feed quilting (but not for FMQ).

Because you are making contact with the quilt on every stitch, this puts a lot of pressure on the quilt which can lead to tucks and puckers, especially when crossing seams. By reducing the presser foot pressure, it enables you to quilt with a lighter hand (or should I say foot?) on the quilt.

Modern Marks Quilt Backing

Look how nicely the gray thread blends into the blue Modern Marks print on the back.

When stitching long straight lines across the quilt with a walking foot, I recommend stitching in one direction only, from top to bottom, rather than going back and forth. This will keep the quilt flatter, with less torque on the quilt. Many times, “whiskering” – or lots of little creases will appear if you stitch lines back and forth.

Scrunch and Smoosh the quilt under the machine

Scrunching and Smooshing in Progress

To deal with the bulk of the quilt under the machine, I scrunch and smoosh it out of the way however I can, and only focus on one area of the quilt. I start on the right side of the quilt and work my way across the quilt, stitching one line at a time.

When I get to the center of the quilt, I’ll rotate the quilt 180 degrees and keep going from the middle to the edge of the quilt. This allows you to deal with the least amount of bulk at a time, and by the time you get to center you know that the bulk will get less and less as you quilt the other side.

Stitching in the Ditch on Dot n Dash

Detail of stitching in the ditch

Once either side of the strips has been stitched in the ditch, your quilt is fully secure to add more quilting. Note that I’m only SITD along the long rows, not in between the smaller squares. That would be too much starting and stopping for my taste! And don’t worry, even if your ditching lines veer off a little bit, you won’t notice it once you add more quilting.

Quilting Homework

Finish stitching the rows in the ditch and then get ready for free-motion quilting next week! Because we are taking our time and spending 3 weeks on machine quilting, you’ll have plenty of time to ease into it.

Dot n Dash machine quilting

Next time we quilt, all we have to do is think about smaller sections, one row at a time.

You could always stop right here and call it finished, but I can’t wait to show you how to add more yummy texture next week! Be sure and share your progress and ask questions or get any trouble-shooting help over in my Christa Quilts Facebook group, or on instagram #dotndashqal.

Click here for the start of the quilt along with supply list and links to all of the QAL steps.

Beaded Lanterns Quilt Along Part 2 – Making the Blocks (on the BERNINA Blog)

Are you having fun with my quilt alongs? I know it’s kinda crazy that I’m doing two at once (Dot ‘n Dash on my blog and Beaded Lanterns over on the BERNINA blog). But seriously, if I didn’t have deadlines for my quilting, I wouldn’t get anything done, LOL!!

Fortunately – just so you know, I actually made both quilts ahead of time since I knew I would be out of the country teaching when they were scheduled to be shared. (More about my Australia trip later, so stay tuned!)

Beaded Lanterns Blocks

Click here to purchase Fandangle precuts, bundles and yardage while supplies last.

This week over on the BERNINA blog – We All Sew – I’m sharing the process of cutting the strips and making the blocks. So head on over there to check it out!

Remember – for any of my quilt alongs, I leave the posts up indefinitely so you can always come back to them later when you have time.

Dot ‘n Dash Quilt Along Week 5 – Backing and Basting

I love quilt alongs and the best part is seeing the variety you all are making! It makes my day. 🙂
This week we are getting down to the nitty gritty and getting the quilt ready for machine quilting next week. But don’t worry, if you aren’t to that point yet, that’s perfectly fine. These quilt along posts will stay up indefinitely and you can always refer back to the intro post for links to each specific QAL step.

Dot n Dash Quilt Along

Click here for the quilt along schedule and supply list.

Preparation is Key

Getting ready to machine quilt is a little like getting ready to paint a house. The actual painting isn’t hard – it’s all the prep work (ike moving furniture and taping down the windows) that takes time and gets in the way of the fun part. So take your time to prepare the quilt and baste it and don’t feel like you have to rush this part. In fact, I always set aside a separate day for backing and basting and then give myself a little reward when my least favorite part of the process is finished!

A tip on choosing batting: if you want to hide machine quilting “irregularities” and give your quilt that antique puckered look, choose a cotton batting like Hobbs or Quilter’s Dream. If you want to give your stitches more definition and a loftier look, choose wool. I usually stay away from polyester batting because it’s very slippery and usually causes me to get puckers on the back of my quilt. Cotton and wool cling to the quilt which gives you better control while quilting.

Quilt Batting Used in Dot n Dash Quilt

Take a picture of your batting with your quilt top so you can remember what you used.

Sewing the Backing Fabric

You want to ensure that the backing fabric is at least 3-4″ bigger on all sides of the quilt top, more if you plan to long arm quilt. The easiest way to do this is to cut two large pieces of fabric and sew them together. For example, my quilt measures 60 x 72. So If I cut 4 yards into 2 two -yard pieces that will give me one big rectangle approximately 72″ x 80″ to work with once the chunks are sewn together parallel to the selvage.

Sewn Quilt Backing

I basted this quilt at a recent teaching retreat I participated in. All you need is one table for basting – work on the middle and then the sides as needed.

Spray Basting the Quilt

If you prefer to pin baste, click here for an alternate tutorial.

My basic method for spray basting is to spray the wrong side of the top and bottom layers of the quilt outside, then bring them inside for assembly. For a slight variation of this technique, click here for my wall basting tutorial.

My favorite basting spray is 505. Be sure to shake the can before you use it and spray a little on a scrap to make sure the nozzle isn’t clogged. If the spray doesn’t flow out evenly, some of the chemical can accumulate and leave a stain on your quilt, so always test it first.

Spray Basting the Quilt

At first I tried an off brand that a friend had but I didn’t like it because it wasn’t sticky enough. Fortunately one of the other retreaters had some 505 which they let me use for my quilt!

The basting spray does not cause any problems with machine quilting, and if you notice it starting to gum up the needle at all, just wipe it away and you’ll be all set!

Lay out all 3 layers of the quilt – backing, batting, and quilt top on a large table (or design wall). Spend time smoothing out each layer with a long acrylic ruler before adding the next layer. This can take awhile but is worth it so that the quilt is nice, flat and smooth.

Quilt Basting

Notice the leftover batting – most of it will get trimmed away after basting. I like enough extra batting and backing so that I don’t have to worry about getting my quilt top perfectly centered.

You can also use the acrylic ruler to scooch any quilt blocks back into place and straighten out any wonky seams as needed. Smooth out any bubbles as needed so that the quilt is nice and flat.

The last step is to iron the quilts on both sides – front and back. This helps set the glue and allows you to work out any wrinkles one last time before you quilt. I use a hot dry iron ,with no steam. You can iron the quilt on an ironing board, or on a table to give you more room. Because there’s batting inside, the quilt acts as it’s own pressing surface.

Iron the basted quilt to set the glue

My quilt is basted and ready to quilt!

Now it’s your turn! Get your quilt basted and we’ll start machine quilting next week. We’ll have extra time for quilting since it’s my favorite part!

Show Your Work

Don’t forget to share your progress in one of 3 ways (or all of them if you like):
(1) In my Christa Quilts Facebook group
(2) On Instagram, #dotndashqal
(3) Share a link to your blog, or leave a comment about your process on this post.

Dot n Dash Ready to quilt

Trim the batting so that there’s only 1-2 inches sticking out on all sides of the quilt. This will prevent the excess from flipping under the quilt and getting caught in the machine.

Beaded Lanterns Quilt Along Part 1: over on the BERNINA Blog

This week kicks off another fun quilt along that I created to help promote my Fandangle fabric collection. Over the next 7 week’s I’ll be sharing step by step tutorials over on BERNINA’s Blog – We All Sew. We will make my Beaded Lanterns quilt – a free pattern I designed that is precut friendly.

Beaded Lanterns Quilt

Of course, all of the patterns I design would look fabulous in any fabrics you choose, but I really love the excuse to design and make quilts with my own fabric lines.

All you need is one jelly roll or Fandangle “strip-pie” plus 4 yards of background fabric. The two grays I’ve been using from the line – Confetti Crosshatch – have been so popular that they’ve already sold out of the first printing. But fortunately Benartex reprints fabrics that sell well, so more of those will be coming in October thank goodness!

Fandangle Strippie

Click here to get the Fandangle Strip-pie while supplies last.

In the meantime, you can check out my where to buy page for a list of shops that carry Fandangle. I have a note on there indicating which shops carry the full line as well as which shops sell online so you can track it down for yourself.

Click here to visit BERNINA’s blog – We All Sew.
The Quilt Along will be shared there each Wednesday. Happy quilting!

Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Week 4 – Sewing the Quilt Top

Did you finish your quilt blocks from last week? How is it going? Be sure to share your progress over in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group and/or on instagram using the hashtag #dotndashqal.

Finished Dot n Dash Quilt Blocks

Today we will be laying out our blocks and sewing them together to make the quilt top. The most important thing to remember is that each row in the quilt goes in opposite directions, so separate your blocks into two piles, A and B.

See pages 53-54 of Piece and Quilt with Precuts for specific directions.

It’s super helpful to lay out all 30 blocks on a design wall or other larger surface area. If you have a design floor or a design bed, that will work, too! Take as much time as you need to orient your blocks in the correct position with a nice color distribution of prints.

Dot 'n Dash Quilt Along

All blocks are laid out in order on the design wall, and ready to sew.
Take a picture with your camera phone to refer to as you piece the rows.

Pinning and Pressing

The key to a really nice flat quilt top is pinning and pressing. I prefer to press all seams open for the entire quilt and sew with a shorter stitch length (2.0 instead of the default 2.5.) However, if you choose to press to the side, that’s ok, too. Just be sure to press each and every seam as you go with a hot, dry iron.

Dot n Dash piecing detail

My corners match up nicely because I pressed each seam, and pinned each intersection.

Here’s a tip for managing the bulk of the quilt top while sewing and pressing: Sew the block rows together into pairs of two. Then press each pair of rows before joining larger sections together. The quilt to will shrink up a bit once it’s all joined, but you can always add more blocks or a border to make it larger if you like.

Dot 'n Dash finished quilt top made from Fandangle Fabric

My finished quilt top – ready to baste in next week’s lesson!

Take a Victory Lap!

Whenever I’m making a quilt top with blocks that go all the way to the edge (no borders), there is a chance that the edge seams could split open. To prevent this, I take a “victory lap” around the edges – sew with a larger stitch length approximately 1/8″ in from the edge of the quilt around the entire perimeter. It feels like a great way to celebrate the finished top!

Here’s what the edge stitching looks like from another quilt I recently made:

Victory lap around the quilt to secure the edges

By sewing with a larger stitch near the edge of the quilt, the stitching line will get covered by the binding. This secures the edge seams from splitting open during all of the rough handling that will occur with basting and quilting.

Jump in any time!

If you are just joining the quilt along, remember you can work at your own pace. Please don’t ever feel like you are “behind” as that’s never the case. And if you want to work ahead, that’s great, too! I’m just glad you are following along, either on your own version of the quilt, or virtually in your head!

Dot n Dash Quilt Along

Click here for the Dot ‘n Dash Quilt Along Schedule and Supply List
Click here to purchase the Fandangle Strip-pie or other precuts.
Click here to purchase a signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Week 3 – Sewing the Blocks

It’s been fabulous getting to know everyone who’s participating in the Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along. I love seeing all the fabric choices you are all sharing. And getting to know everyone over in my Christa Quilts Facebook group is so much fun. If you are just joining us, grab a jelly roll of fabric & some background and you’re all set!

Dot n Dash Quilt AlongClick here to purchase yardage & bundles of Fandangle fabric.
Click here to purchase just the Fandangle Strip-pie (jellyroll).
Click here to grab a signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Pressing and Piecing Tips

Before we get into sewing the blocks, I’d like to share a couple of general sewing tips.
I prefer to sew with a shorter stitch length (2.0 instead of the default 2.5). This helps ensure that the seams won’t split open at the ends during sewing.

I also press ALL of my seams open. I use a hot dry iron for pressing with NO steam. (Steam can distort the blocks, and adding water to your iron is one of the easiest ways to break it!!)

Seams pressed open.

I press all of my seams open for 2 reasons: (1) it makes the blocks super flat which makes machine quilting on a home sewing machine sooooo much easier to do. And (2) I don’t have to think about which way the seams need to go from block to block so it makes joining the blocks together much, much easier.

I gently press each seam open with my fingers as then follow it up with the iron. After each seam is pressed, I press the whole block on both sides to make a flat, crisp block!

Closeup of Seams Pressed Open

I use a lot of pins when joining my blocks and I make to sure to sew a little bit slower than normal so that I don’t veer off the end of each piece while sewing.

And don’t worry if you make a hot mess while you are sewing. The image below is what my actual process looks like when chain piecing. Fortunately, once the threads are clipped between units and everything is pressed as I go, I can quickly calm this unruly chaos:

Dot n Dash sewing in progress

The instructions and tips I offer during the quilt along are just suggestions and ideas that work for me. Remember – you are the boss of your quilt, so feel free to use your own favorite methods if you are happy with them and getting good results!

Sewing the Dot ‘n’ Dash Blocks

Follow the instructions in the book on pages 52-53 to make the blocks. Take care to make both versions of the block as shown in the diagrams. They are similar and easy to confuse but the layout for both is slightly different.

Dot n Dash Block Layout

To speed things up, I’ll lay out all of the block parts in order on a mat next to my sewing machine. Because we are going for a random scrappy look, don’t overthink the fabric placement. Just try not to have the same fabric repeat in each block and you will be fine.

Stack up a whole bunch of units at once so that you can assembly line sew.

Dot n Dash blocks in progress

As you are piecing, keep the background rectangles (gray in my image above) on top as you sew. This will ensure that you are sewing the long skinny strips in opposite directions each time. This is so the blocks won’t warp or skew as you make them.

Also, use pins if needed to ensure that your pieced units and gray strips match up on both ends. If for some reason they are not the same size, you can trim them down, but be sure that all units are the same length so your blocks will go together correctly.

Dot n Dash Blocks in progress

Notice how the units in the A & B blocks go in different directions. Be sure to pay close attention to the block assembly diagrams in the book and make the correct number of each.

For those of you making Dot ‘n Dash with the light gray Fandangle fabric kit, here’s what your finished A block may look like:

Dot n Dash Block light gray

Once you’ve finished piecing all 30 blocks (15 A + 15 B), give them a final press if desired and admire your pretty handiwork!

Homework

Finish sewing all of the blocks. Then share pictures of your progress in my facebook group and/or on instagram #dotndashqal. I love to see how you are doing!!

If you are blogging about your progress, be sure to add a link to your blog post in the comments below so we can all head over there and cheer you on!!

Finished A Blocks for Dot n Dash QAL

Don’t you just love a pretty stack of finished blocks??

Click here for the Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Schedule and Supply List.

Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Week 2 – Cutting the Fabric

Welcome to week 2 of the Dot ‘n’ Dash quilt along. In case you missed it, click here for the QAL schedule and supply list. And don’t worry – if you are starting late, there’s plenty of time to catch up! The quilt along posts will stay up indefinitely so you can work at your own pace.

Dot n Dash light or dark backgroundMy Dot ‘n’ Dash design is based on 2 1/2″ precut strips.
It looks great with any fabrics and contrasting background.
The pattern is in located in my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Today we’ll dive in and start cutting. The best thing about working with precuts is that a lot of the cutting has been done ahead of time, so we can get this quilt top finished fast!

We will be following the cutting instructions on page 51 of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Fandangle Fabric by Christa Watson

I love a pretty pile of cut fabric stacks, don’t you?

Step 1 – Cutting the Strips

If you are working with a jelly roll (strippie, rollup etc.), double check the width of your strips to ensure that they are exactly 2 1/2″. If they aren’t, you can compensate by cutting your background strips the same width.

Because I made my quilt before the precuts were available in stores, I cut my own strips from yardage, so they don’t have pinked edges. But you can mix and match straight cut strips and pinked edge strips in the same quilt with no problem. Most precuts strips measure 2 1/2″ from edge to edge (the “peaks”) but if they don’t, you can always “fudge” the seam allowances if needed.

Strips of Fandangle Fabric

I cut 2 strips from each of the 20 Fandangle prints to get the total of 40 strips needed for the quilt. The leftovers will make a fun scrappy binding!

You can also cut strips from fat quarters that measure 18″ x 21″. Just cut twice as many (80 instead of 40). If you want to work with scraps, make sure that each print scrap is at least 10″ long and that each background strip is at least 13″ long.

Dark grey strips for background
Choose a contrasting light or dark fabric for the background.

To save time in cutting the background, you can select a jelly roll made from all of one light or dark fabric. Or you can cut your own like I did. If you are working with a Strip-pie of Fandangle (that’s what Benartex calls their Jelly Rolls), you’ll notice that it includes 2 strips of dark gray and 2 strips of light gray.

Fandangle Strippie by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

Click here to get the Fandangle Strip-pie which include 2 strips of each fabric in the line.

You can pull out the grays and set them aside for something else and you’ll still have enough fabric for the quilt top. Or you can include either the light or dark gray in the blocks. (Just use whichever one is NOT the same as your background.)

Step 2 – Subcut the Units

Fandangle fabric subcut units for Dot 'n Dash qal

Follow the instructions on page 51 of the book to cut the print strips and the background strips into smaller squares and rectangles. I recommend putting on some nice music or an audio book while you work and have yourself a little cutting  party!

Just remember to measure twice, cut once and use a smaller acrylic ruler to trim the strips into smaller units. Line up the lines on your ruler with the lines of your mat for accuracy and cut with most of the fabric held underneath the ruler.

Homework – Get Ready to Sew!

Finish cutting your strips into units and clean your sewing machine so you’re ready to start piecing next week. Oil your machine (if needed, according to manufacturer’s instructions) and change your needle. Select the thread you’ll use for piecing.

Piece and Quilt Collection Aurifil Thread by Christa Watson

Might I recommend a blending thread from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt Collections??

Aurifil is strong, yet thin, and it won’t take up any bulk in the seams. If you are working with 50 weight thread for piecing (my favorite), I recommend a size 80/12 Sharp or Topstitch needle. For crisp seams and straight stitches, you want a nice pointy needle with a hole that’s appropriate for your thread size.

My favorite needles are Titanium Coated Topstitch needles from Superior Threads. I actually use them to piece and quilt so one 5-pack will be plenty for this project!

If your machine has a 1/4″ patchwork foot I recommend using one. If not, you can set a perfect seam guide with the help of this nifty tool from my friend Celine Perkins.

Perfect Piecing Seam Guide

For bonus points, do a seam test to check your seam allowance accuracy: Sew two 2″ wide scrap rectangles together and press, then measure the width. If the unit doesn’t measure exactly 3 1/2″ wide, adjust your seam allowance until it does.

Remember: Sharing is Caring

Don’t forget to share this week’s progress and let us know how it’s going. Share pictures of your pretty piles of cut fabric over in my Christa Quilts Facebook group, and/or on instagram #dotndashqal.

See ya next week – same bat time, same bat channel!!

Dot n Dash Quilt Along

Click here for the Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Schedule and Supply List.

Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Week 1 – Schedule and Introductions

Guess what today is? It’s my birthday – whoo hoo!! It’s also the launch of the Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along where we will make an entire quilt together from start to finish.

Dot n Dash Quilt AlongThis remake showcases Fandangle, my second fabric line from Benartex.

My third book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts was published around my birthday last year, so I thought it would be fun to celebrate both me and my book being one year older by hosting a quilt along and remaking one of the fun quilts from the book!

I’m sure as many of you know, as we age it’s actually more fun to give than to receive them so I’m excited to share my gift of quilting knowledge with you during the quilt along. As the name of my book implies, I don’t just want to teach you how to piece a fun quilt, I also want to help you quilt it, too!

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa WatsonClick here to get your signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts for the Quilt Along

So without further ado, here’s the quilt along schedule that we’ll follow over the next 8 weeks. All posts will go live on Fridays which will be a great start to your weekend!

Links will go live each week as we quilt along so bookmark this page so you can refer back to it time and again as needed.

Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Schedule

Week 1 – Schedule, Supply List and Introductions (You are here!)
Week 2 – Cutting the Fabric
Week 3 – Sewing the Blocks
Week 4 – Completing the Quilt Top
Week 5 – Backing and Basting
Week 6 – Quilting Part 1 – Stitching in the Ditch
Week 7 – Quilting Part 2 – Quilting Double Zig-Zags
Week 8 – Quilting Part 3 – Free Motion Quilting Double L’s
Week 9 – Binding

Dot ‘n’ Dash with light gray background recolored in EQ8

Remember – you can use any fabrics you like to make this quilt. Choose a jelly roll of your favorite prints and pair them up with a contrasting background: light gray, dark grey, black, white, or any other color you like. It will be fun to see all the variety!

Materials List

Fandangle Strip-pieClick here to purchase Fandangle Precuts.

Click here to purchase the optional kit and yardage for backing, while supplies last.

Here’s a list of everything you’ll need to make this quilt:

  • A copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts
  • One jelly roll (or 40 precut 2 1/2″ strips of assorted prints – includes binding)
  • 3 yards of background fabric (or a light colored jelly roll – all one fabric, or a mix is ok)
  • 4 yards of backing fabric
  • 67″ x 79″ piece batting (I recommend natural fiber like cotton, wool, or silk)
  • Rotary cutter with fresh blade and mat
  • Long 24″ acrylic ruler for cutting strips, shorter ruler or square for cutting smaller pieces
  • Thread for piecing (I recommend 50 weight Aurifil cotton in a neutral color)
  • Thread for machine quilting (1-2 large spools depending on the density of your quilting)
  • Sewing machine in good working order with 1/4″ seam allowances
  • Walking foot (or dual feed) and free motion foot to fit your machine
  • Brand new needle to match your thread (size 80/12 for 50 weight thread)
  • Sewing notions: thread snips, pins, dry iron for pressing, etc.
  • Optional: Machingers Gloves and Supreme Slider
  • A “can-do” attitude because this is going to be fun!

Fandangle fabric by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo

You can either use precut strips, or select yardage to cut your own!

This Week’s Homework – gathering and Sharing

Did I mention there will be homework each week? But don’t worry – it’s the fun kind!!

This week, gather your material and supplies, share pictures of the fabrics you’ll be working with, and introduce yourself over in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group, or on instagram using the hashtag #dotndashqal.

Part of the fun of any quilt along is getting to know each other and cheering each other on. So feel free to share pictures of your sewing space and be sure to interact with each other as we go. If you want to blog about your process, you can share a link to your blog post in the comments so everyone can check it out!

Fandangle fabrics for quilt along

I can’t wait to see the fabrics everyone chooses.
Even if you choose the same fabric as me, your quilt will still look totally unique!

And remember, it’s okay to work at your own pace. If you want to work ahead or need more time, that’s perfectly fine. Just remember to share as that’s half the fun! I’ll meet you back here next week where we’ll dive into cutting. I can’t wait!!

Dot n Dash quilt by Christa Watson

Dot ‘n’ Dash Finished Size is 60″ x 72″ but can easily be made larger.

Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Begins August 17

Are you ready? The Quilt Along for Dot ‘n’ Dash kicks off next week on Friday, August 17th!

Dot 'n Dash quilt by Christa Watson

We had fun photographing the finished quilt at the beach.
Dot ‘n’ Dash Finished Size 60″ x 72″

On that date, I’ll share the complete quilt-along schedule and there will be plenty of time to gather your materials, share the fabrics you’ll be working with and get to know everyone else who’s participating.

Kits Available for a Limited Time

Dot n Dash with Fandangle Light Gray

I’m offering two versions of the Dot ‘n Dash Quilt Kit – with either a light or dark grey background. Both will look fantastic, but I only cut a limited number, so grab one before they’re gone!

And don’t forget to grab a copy of my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts for the instructions you’ll need to follow along.

Click here to purchase the Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Kit while supplies last.

Dot n Dash quilt with Fandangle Dark grey

You’ll notice in my finished version I didn’t include any of the light gray strips in the blocks as shown above. I think it looks great either way. There’s enough fabric that you can customize it however you like!

Materials List

Click here to get coordinating yardage of Fandangle

I can’t wait to cheer you on as we make this quilt from start to finish. I’m going to cover all the basics from cutting, to pressing and piecing to sewing the backing. And then we’re going to baste, quilt and bind it. So if you follow along each week, you’ll have a finished quilt by the end of the quilt along!

Machine Quilting detail on Dot n Dash

I’m excited to teach you two fun new quilting designs based on the designs in my book!
Click here to get your signed copy of Piece and Quit with Precuts, shipped asap.

And not to worry if you join later: you can work at your own pace, and the quilt along posts will stay up indefinitely! To follow along, make sure you are subscribed to my blog so you get an email each time a new post have gone live.

(To subscribe – add your email in the box on the side bar on the right. If you are viewing this from a mobile device, you’ll need to scroll ALLLL the way to the bottom of the screen to find the subscribe box.)

Machine Quilting on Dot n Dash

Be sure to join my Christa Quilts Facebook group to share pictures of your quilt in progress, and use the hashtags #fandanglefabric and #dotndashqal on instagram to share your work!

Save the Date – Next Quilt Along for Dot ‘n Dash Launches in August

Earlier this year in my Facebook group we were discussing the idea of doing another quilt along this summer/fall. Well guess what – after organizing my schedule for the remaining year, I have room to squeeze one in and I’d love for you to join me!

Dot ‘n Dash recolored in Fandangle Fabric

Dot 'n Dash Quilt

Starting on August 17 and each Friday for several weeks (to be determined) we’ll make my Dot-n-Dash quilt pattern from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. The best thing about this quilt along is that many of you already have the book from my previous Squiggles quilt along.

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy of the book, you can get a signed one here! The other best thing is that just like my previous quilt alongs, we’ll make the whole quilt from start to finish.

I’ll be re-making my version of Dot-n-Dash using my brand new Fandangle fabric and am offering kits for a limited time. Click here to pre-order your Dot-n-Dash Fandangle kit and I’ll ship it out as soon as the fabric arrives – hopefully by the end of June/early July.

Original Dot ‘n Dash from the Book

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

Above is the original version made by me as shown in the book. Check out these other fabulous versions that friends of mine have made. I just love seeing the same pattern made in a variety of fabrics!!

Dot ‘n Dash made by Cheryl Brickey

Cheryl Brickey Dot n Dash from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Dot ‘n Dash made by Laura Piland

Laura Dot 'n Dash

Dot ‘n Dash made by Kristin Esser from Modern Marks

Dot n Dash by Kristin Esser

Materials List for Dot ‘n Dash

I’ll be posting the complete schedule on Friday, August 17 but in the meantime, here’s what you need to get started:

  • A copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts
  • One jelly roll (or 40 precut 2 1/2″ strips of assorted prints – includes binding)
  • 3 yards of background fabric (or a light colored jelly roll – all one fabric, or a mix is ok)
  • 4 yards of backing
  • 67″ x 79″ piece batting

Click here to get the optional kit made from Fandangle fabric.

Fandangle Fabric Strips

I can’t wait to dive into these! I cut my own strips using sample yardage, but the Strippies (Jelly Roll Strips) will be precut and neatly packaged by the manufacturer.

Share Your Work in Progress

I’ll be posting weekly stepouts of my progress with the quilt along with some bonus tips as I make the quilt. I’d love for you to share your progress so I can cheer you on, too. You can do that in several ways:

  1. In my Christa Quilts Facebook group
  2. On Instagram #dotndashqal
  3. Leave a comment and include a link to your own blog or social media images

Dot 'n Dash Quilt

I can’t wait to make this quilt and hope that you’ll join me!

Click here to get the optional kit made from Fandangle fabric.

Whether you’re a brand-new quilter or have been creating for a long time, I’d love for you to join me in this journey! Be sure to sign up to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live by entering your email address in the box on the right hand side-bar (or scrolling ALLLLLL the way down to the bottom of the page if viewing this on a mobile device.) I can’t wait to get started!!