Piece and Quilt Hop Along Week 3 and 4

My friends Kristin, Vicki, and HollyAnne are doing such an amazing job remaking quilts from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. Let’s check out what’s been happening with them the last couple of weeks:

Kristin Esser

Squiggles by Kristin Esser, from Christa Watson's book Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Kristin created a fabulous finish with her version of Squiggles from the book. Her walking foot quilting looks fantastic and she also shares a bit of free-motion quilting practice she did as she gets ready to create a second quilt from the book! You’ll need to hop over to her blog to see which one she’s going to make next!!

Click here to see Kristin’s Week 3 Progress
Click here to see Kristin’s Week 4 Progress

Vicki from My Creative Corner 3

Vicki Quilting Gridwork

Vicki finished up her Gridwork quilt top last week and has started quilting it this week. I just love the texture that quilting adds to a quilt!! She also shares more practice blocks she’s creating to make her own sampler from the book.

Click here to see Vicki’s Week 3 Progress
Click here to see Vicki’s Week 4 Progress

HollyAnne from STring and Story

Improv quilting

HollyAnne is adding some fabulous “free-motion improv” to her Spools quilt. She’s utilizing a technique that I first introduced in the book I wrote with Angela Walters which I call “improvisational” machine quilting. I revisited the idea with Spools because I thought that some improv piecing deserved a bit of improv quilting to go right along with it!!

Click here to see HollyAnne’s Week 3 Progress
Click here to see HollyAnne’s Week 4 Progress

If you are enjoying watching their progress, be sure and check out the earlier blog hop they did from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. These gals are proof positive that “Practice Makes Progress!!”

Click here for the Machine Quilting Blog Hop

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Join Me at John C. Campbell Folkschool Next Year and Make a Complete Quilt from Start to Finish!

Next June I have the great pleasure of returning to John. C. Campbell Folkschool for the third time, to teach my popular start-to-finish quilting class. This is the one class I teach that walks you through every step of the quilt making process: cutting, piecing, basting, machine quilting, and binding. And we do it all in a one fun-filled week full of sewing, friendship, great food, and fun!

Registration Open Now

Click here to register for my class : Modern Quilting 101 – Stepping Stones.
Class dates are June 3-8, 2018

Stepping Stones quilt pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

Click here to purchase a print copy of Stepping Stones quilt pattern.
Click here to purchase a downloadable PDF copy of Stepping Stones quilt pattern.

Each year at the Folkschool, I’ve focused on a different pattern. Next year’s group will be making my Stepping Stones quilt pattern seen here. The best part about being the teacher is getting to see the beautiful quilts my students make. Although they are all working through the same pattern, they turn out so unique, based on the fabrics and quilting each person chooses.

Stepping Stones Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

I quilted a simple geometric free-motion design for my quilt. I’ll teach several options in class!

This is the most intense but satisfying class I teach. Think of it as an intimate week-long retreat with me where I’ll share all of my secrets and guide you every step of the way! Class size is limited to just 12 participants so that everyone has plenty of one-on-one instruction. Students have several housing options and I have to say, the food they serve is the best southern cooking I’ve had. Seriously, you could come JUST for the food!!

Folkschool Fiber Studio

This is the fiber studio where our classes take place. There’s tons of room for everyone!

Last Year, students made my Charming Chevrons quilt pattern. They were able to make the quilt in different sizes, according to their needs, and they all turned out beautifully! By the end of the week, we were all BFF’s and it’s been so great seeing their continued quilting success!

Charming Chevrons class

Click here to read more about last year’s fun quilt class!

Click here to purchase Charming Chevrons Quilt Pattern.

In 2015, Students made quilts using my Modern Logs Quilt Pattern. This was my first time teaching at the Folkschool. As you can tell, it was so fun I’ve simply had to return each time they’ve invited me back! At the end of the week, the quilts are always the star of the show during the student show and tell. While I’m teaching my class there are at least a dozen other folk arts and crafts being taught at the same time.

Folkschool 2015

Click here to read more about the class of 2015. It will give you an idea of what to expect.

Click here to purchase Modern Logs Quilt Pattern.

I can’t wait to return next summer and I hope you’ll join me. Several of my industry friends also teach there, so if you aren’t able to take a class from me, check out their online catalog to find another awesome class that will fit your schedule. It’s sure to be an amazing experience!

John Campbell Folk School

I can’t wait to return!

Important Folk School Links:

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Newest Quilt Patterns Now in Print

I have fun news to share today. In between unpacking for one trip and getting ready for the next, I managed to get my latest two patterns printed for those of you who like working from a physical copy. To make it easier to buy them directly from me, I also set up a store at shop.christaquilts.com where you can pay with a credit card or paypal and I can ship anywhere in the world! I’ve also set a flat US shipping rate for the patterns so you only pay one small fee, no matter how many patterns you order. ūüôā

Christa Quilts Patterns

Click here to order a printed pattern of Positive Direction or Stepping Stones.

In both quilt patterns I’ve included 4 sizes along with machine quilting suggestions. After all, I want to help you beyond “Quilt as Desired!”

Positive Direction Quilt Pattern by Christa Quilts

If you are a shop looking to order wholesale, please email me at christa@christaquilts.com and I’ll help you access the wholesale section of my site.

Stepping Stones by Christa Watson

Outdoor photography take by my husband Jason in the desert behind our home.

Click here to order any of the 6 print patterns I currently have in stock.
Now it’s time to go work on the next one!

Modern Triangle Quilts by Rebecca Bryan

I’m so excited to be part of Rebecca Bryan’s blog hop for her brand new book Modern Triangle Quilts. It includes patterns for 70 different triangle blocks set into 11 different samplers.

“Becca” and I first met at QuiltCon in 2013 before either of us had dreams to become authors and we hit it off right away. We got to know each other pretty well since then and solidfied our friendship when we both got the opportunity to film a quilting segment for QNNtv back in 2015. She’s one of those go-to people I can message at any time and she’ll offer a kind word of support when I most need it!

Christa Watson and Becca Bryan

Becca and I enjoying dessert together after QNN taping back in 2015.

Modern Triangle Quilts is actually her second book. (I highly recommend her first book, Modern Rainbow, too!) I was so excited for her when her quilt Equilateral Sampler won 2nd place in the Minimalism category at QuiltCon. This is definitely my favorite quilt in her book, but they are all so fab!

Rebecca Bryan Equilateral Triangle quilt at QuiltCon

Don’t you just love that expression on her face? She was freaking out, just a little!!

I really like this one, too, called “Twilight.” The modern triangle blocks are grouped together into four types: equilateral triangles, right triangles, and isosceles triangles, with a sampler for each.

For the blog hop, Becca asked each of us who participated, to make one of the blocks from her book that she assembled into a beautiful quilt for a charity fundraiser. First, here’s the block that I made:

And here’s the gorgeous quilt that Becca put together will all of our block contributions. Isn’t it just stunning? But wait.. there’s more!!

Modern Triangle Quilt by Becca Bryan

Becca is offering the pattern to make this quilt for a limited time and all proceeds go to the Living Water International charity that focuses on bringing water wells to communities without a safe place to get clean¬†water. If that isn’t reason enough to get the pattern, here’s one more reason: she’ll be giving the quilt away to one lucky person who supports this worthy cause. For complete details on the contest and pattern fundraiser, visit Bryan House Quilts.

And because Becca is so giving, here’s another thing, just for you! She’s also offering a separate freebie for all of her newsletter subscribers! Bright, shown above, was cut from the book due to space limitations, but you can get this pattern free!

Click here to read more about this fabulous design and get the pattern.

Then, be sure to pick up your copy of Modern Triangle Quilts from Amazon, or from your favorite quilt shop or book retailer! And now, for more inspiration be sure to visit the rest of the blog tour participants to see how they were inspired by the book!

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Quilt Las Vegas 2017 is this weekend: come watch me quilt!

If you will be in or near the Las Vegas area March 30-April 1, be sure and check out Quilt Las Vegas, put on by the Desert Quilters of Nevada, my local quilt guild.

Quilt Las Vegas 2017

Quilt Las Vegas

I will be at the show on Saturday, April 1 from 10-1 in the Sew Yeah Quilting booth, signing books and machine quilting live and “in the cloth!” Be sure to stop by for a chat and watch me demo some free-motion quilting on a beautiful new BERNINA!

Christa Quilts Show Entries

I will also have 4 quilts hanging in the show. Clockwise from top: Fractured Puzzle, Churn Dash Slide, Quatrefoil Applique and Swirling Butterflies. (Click on each of the names for more detail about each quilt.)

It’s always exciting to see if any of them will pick up a ribbon. But even if they don’t, this show gives some of the best feedback which always helps me improv my quilts for next time. ūüôā

Christa Quilts Machine Quilting Demo

If you don’t already have my books, you can grab a copy of either at the show and I’ll be glad to personalize it for you. If you plan on attending, please let me know – I’d love to see you there!

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New PDF Pattern Release – Stepping Stones (on Sale)

After the success of my most recent pattern launch for Positive Direction, I’m back again with my second new release of the year. I’d like to introduce you to Stepping Stones, available as an instant PDF download through my Craftsy pattern shop.

Stepping Stones quilt pattern by Christa Watson of Christa QuiltsClick here to get Stepping Stones on sale now for just $5.95!

Stepping Stones was originally patterned as “Easy Going” in Quilts and More magazine and available in one size only. Now I have expanded the pattern to include 4 sizes from Crib to Queen. It’s super fast to make and is perfect to use up that favorite fat quarter bundle you’ve been hoarding. Or bust your stash by cutting each block from 2 different fabrics!

Stepping Stones Quilt Pattern in 4 Sizes

Make Stepping Stones in 4 sizes: Crib, Throw, Twin or Queen!

Stepping Stones fabric requiremenets

Stepping Stones Fabric Requirements – It’s Fat Quarter Friendly!

I used Me + You Hoffman batiks which gives it a bit of a modern vibe. I chose cool colors of teals, blues, and greens with a bit of yellow and tan to create some warm pops of color. I used leftovers to make a whimsical scrappy binding.

Machine Quilting Boxes on Stepping Stones

I also include quilting suggestions so that you can quilt it the same way I did, if you are so inclined. I quilted Stepping Stones using one of my favorite geometric motifs – boxes. This quilting motif looks great on both modern and traditional quilts.

Machine Quilting Plan for Boxes

I love including quilting plans and machine quilting suggestions in my patterns!

Machine Quilting Detail

I used Aurifil 50 wt. 100% cotton thread from my Piece and Quilt Collection to make the quilt from start to finish. I’ve curated a rainbow of color that allows me to piece, quilt and bind any quilt I wish to make!

Stepping Stones Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

Jason and I had a great time taking pics out in the desert behind our home. I enjoy making the quits, and he enjoys photographing them so you can really see the details!

The key to making this quilt sparkle is by choosing several very light fabrics for the skinny strips between the blocks. Then, when it comes to choosing colors for this quilt, anything goes!

Stepping Stones by Christa Watson

Stepping Stones is on sale now at the intro price of just $5.95 through the end of the month, on Tuesday February 28th. After that, it will go back up to the regular price of $9.95 so grab it while you can! Then be sure to share your progress with me in my facebook group while you make it.

Click here to view my PDF pattern shop and stock up on your favorites!

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The Splendid Sampler – The Journey Continues and a Celebration Giveaway

Happy Valentine’s Day! Have you been following along with The Splendid Sampler? The 100th and final block was released earlier in the week and to mark this tremendous milestone, there’s a huge giveaway to celebrate!

Splendid Sampler - Scrappy Happy Heart

My block contribution to The Splendid Sampler – Scrappy Happy Heart

The New Book

But before I get to the giveaways, there’s some exciting to share. Although the first stage of the quilt along has wrapped up, the journey isn’t over! The Splendid Sampler book releases in April!

Splendid Sampler Book

Click here to pre-order your copy of The Splendid Sampler.

Then in May, authors Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson will embark on phase two – encouraging new Splendid sewists to create one block a week from the book. So it’s never to late to join in – or if you started the quilt along and then set it aside to work on other things, you can re-join the fun!

Pat Sloan Hearts Aflutter from the Splendid Sampler

Pat Sloan’s Splendid Sampler Block #1 – Hearts A Fluttter

The Giveaways

Whenever Pat and Jane do something, it’s a huge production and that includes the giveaway celebration! Head over to The Splendid Sampler website to enter Pat & Jane’s giveaway for 7 fabulous prizes! While you are there, click on each of the 25 designer links for your chance at 25 more!!

Christa Quilts Patterns

Click here to view all of my PDF patterns in my Craftsy shop.

For my stop, I’m giving away PDF copies of my latest pattern releases: Positive Direction and Stepping Stones.¬† (If you already own these, you can pick two others from my Craftsy pattern shop.)

To enter, leave a comment letting me know how many Splendid Sampler blocks you’ve made so far! (And yes, it’s okay to say “zero!”) Next Monday at the end of the day, I’ll randomly choose 2 lucky winners – one from the US and one International. I’ll email the winners and will update this blog post with their names on Tuesday.

Lots of Love Splendid Sampler Block by Melisa Corry

Melissa Corry’s Lots of Love Splendid Sampler Block

Please share your blocks in The Splendid Sampler Facebook group!

You can also share your progress in my group: Quilt with Christa.

Splendid Sampler Heart Blocks

Remember – heart blocks don’t always have to be red and pink!

Update with Winners!!!

Congrats to Leslie F. and Christine C. for winning the PDF patterns!!

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New Pattern Release – Positive Direction

I’m excited to announce after a long hiatus that I am releasing individual patterns once again! The first one of the new batch is called Positive Direction, and it’s now available as a downloadable PDF through my Craftsy pattern shop.

Positive Direction quilt pattern by Christa Quilts

Positive Direction was originally featured in Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine and available in one size only. But whenever I re-release a pattern on my own, I offer it in four sizes which gives you a lot more options to customize it.

Positive Direction Pattern Cover by Christa Quilts

Positive Direction includes patterns for four sizes: Crib, Lap, Throw, and Full.

Positive Direction Quilt Pattern Requirements

Use up strips or scraps to make this fun, modern quilt!

Because I think machine quilting suggestions are just as important as piecing instructions, in the pattern, I’ve included a quilting plan along with directions on how I quilted it. I’ve also included several detailed photographs to inspire you on your quilting journey. In my patterns, I never include the words “quilt as desired.” I want you to have just as much confidence quilting it as you do piecing it, so I try to make it clear and easy to understand, if you want to re-create what I did.

Machine Quilting Straight Lines and Pebbles

I combined straight lines and pebble quilting to highlight the pieced design. I used Moda Scraps in shades of red, aqua and navy to create a modern Americana themed color scheme that looks great year-round. I quilted it using a light gray thread from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt Neutrals collection.

Positive Direction Quilt Pattern by Christa Quilts

Choose your favorite colors and prints to make this quilt uniquely your own! The key to effective contrast in this design is choosing a light background such as white, a medium neutral such as gray, and then three of your favorite colors in strong solids or prints.

Click here to purchase a PDF of Positive Direction.

Positive Direction Quilt Pattern by Christa Quilts

All photography taken by my talented husband Jason in the desert behind our home.

If you have any questions or want to share your progress while making this quilt, please share them in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa. I’d love to see!

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Answers to Your Machine Quilting Challenges – part 4

Welcome to part 4 of my series that helps you solve your most challenging machine quilting issues.  You can read part 1, part 2 and part 3 for more helpful advice.

Christa Watson shares tips and advice for domestic machine quilting

Publicity image for my Craftsy Class: The Quilter’s Path where I share more quilting tips!

Problem: I have health issues that don’t allow me to quilt as much as I¬† would like.
My suggestion:
I totally understand! I recently had a bad fall and injured my left arm, so I haven’t been able to touch a machine in weeks. When my health is not up to par, I try to do other things that don’t wear me out such as playing with new designs on the computer, or getting inspiration from reading quilting books and magazines.

When I’m able to sew but feel like I don’t have the time or energy to do much, I set a timer for 15 minutes and get right to the machine. Even sewing one or two seams can give me a really satisfying feeling. Finally, if you can’t quite do the things you used to, that’s okay. See what you are able to do and don’t be timid about asking for help from others.

Problem: I do not like basting and always get puckers.
My suggestion:
Basting is definitely the least fun part of the process. It’s taken me many years to figure out how to baste without getting puckers. The key is to get all 3 layers of the quilt really flat before putting them together, and taking time to smooth them out as you layer them.¬† I prefer to use 505 basting spray and then iron the whole quilt after basting to smooth it out and set the glue. I’ve also had success with pin basting, too.

Tutorials on quilt basting for machine quilting

Students basting in a recent class I taught. Use a long ruler to help smooth out the quilt.

Click here to find several different tutorials I’ve written about the basting process. I’m sure one will work great for you! If all else fails, you can actually pay a longarmer to quilt long basting stitches on your quilt and then skip the process all together!

Problem: I don’t know how to use my new fancy machine.
My suggestion: I would say that’s a nice problem to have, LOL!! Whenever I teach newer quilters, I always recommend that they get acquainted with their machines right away. I know it’s kind of boring to do, but reading through the owner’s manual is really the best thing to do to get to know your machine. If you purchased it from a dealer, they should offer new owner’s classes for free. Another tip is to google, “how do I _______ on my _______ (make and model) machine” and fill in the blanks. I’m sure you’ll find a wealth of videos and tutorials to help you out!

Problem: I need help making pretty spirals (or other designs).
My suggestion:
Practice, practice, practice! It may not make perfect, but practice will make progress. Part of my teaching method is to have students draw out their motifs onto paper ahead of time to learn how the shapes are created.

Practice Drawing for free motion quilting

My drawings don’t look nearly as good as my quilting, but they are important to practice!

One thing to keep in mind is that most people will draw designs from left to right (if they are right handed), but quilting is usually done from right to left (starting on the right edge of the quilt). So keep that in mind and draw in many directions to get comfortable with the movement.

Problem: How do I get over my lack of confidence and fear of failure?
My suggestion: Just remember that you are learning a brand new skill and it takes time to learn a new muscle movement. Diving in and getting started is the best way to tackle any problem. If you are a brand new quilter, start with walking foot quilting first, and the move on to free-motion when you are most comfortable. Then remember this advice: the best way to hide imperfect stitches is with more imperfect stitches! One line of quilting will stand out like a sore thumb. But surround that line of quilting with more (imperfect) lines and all of a sudden you notice the overall texture, not the individual stitches.

Problem: I don’t know which thread to use for machine quilting.
My suggestion:
Grab my Piece and Quilt Collection from Aurifil! It’s 50 weight low-lint cotton that is perfect for sewing and machine quilting, as the name implies. The best thing about only using one type/brand of thread for everything I do is that I can stock up on tons of colors, without breaking the bank. Plus, any leftover bobbins from machine quilting can be used when piecing my next quilt!

Piece and Quilt Aurifil thread by Christa Watson

My Colors collection includes every color of the rainbow. The Neutrals group is versatile and includes way more than just black, white and gray. These two collections will provide blending thread colors for virtually any quilt you are going to make!

Click here to see which colors are included in each group.

Piece and Quilt Neutrals Aurifil Thread from Christa Quilts

Ask for my threads at your favorite quilt shop, or purchase online from The Precut Store.

Problem: How do I get an even stitch length?
My suggestion: That’s one of those things that will develop over time. When you are quilting with a walking foot (or dual feed system) the stitch length setting on your machine will work with the feed dogs to provide even stitches. Some newer machines with free-motion quilting include an option to use a stitch regulator. I learned the old fashioned way on a machine without a regulator and the key is to balance the rhythm of your hands moving the quilt through the machine with the speed at which you are quilting. It’s more of an art than a science and it’s like learning how to drive a manual car. But if you practice for 10 minutes a day, every day for a week, you’ll definitely see some improvement!

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s trouble shooting session. There’s still a whole bunch of problems to get through, so keep checking back each week for more! If you enjoy these tips and advice, don’t forget to pick up a copy of my machine quilting books that will help you put this advice into practice on real quilts!

Click here to purchase signed copies of my books, Machine Quilting with Style
and The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.

Christa Watson Books

You can also find them on Amazon, from my publisher Martingale/That Patchwork place which offers a free e-copy with every print copy purchased, or from you favorite local quilt shop!

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My Rainbow Zigzags Quilt Pattern – Free from All People Quilt

I’m excited to reveal a quick and easy quilt I made as part of the Scrap Lab challenge in each issue of Quilts and More Magazine, a sister publication of American Patchwork and Quilting.Free Rainbow Zig Zags Quilt pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

It’s called Rainbow Zigzags and was created from a bundle of Moda Grunge fat eighths.

Moda Grunge Fat Eighths from The Precut StoreModa Grunge Bundle of F8’s is available from The Precut Store.

In each issue, three designers create three different projects using the exact same fabrics. You can see one of the other projects on the cover – a set of patchwork pillows made by Sheri McConnell. Jeni Baker made the third project, a cute patchwork bag.

Quilts and More Spring 2017 cover

Click here to see other projects from the issue. Photo courtesy of Meredith Corp.

I quilted my quilt using one of my new favorite quilting motifs, what I call “jagged stipple.” I think it’s a fun modern alternative to regular stippling and is easier, too!

jagged stipple free-motion quilted by Christa Watson on Rainbow Zigzags

I quilted each row of zig-zags using a matching thread color from my Piece and Quilt collection of Aurifil thread. It was super easy to do: I stitched in the ditch to anchor quilt each diagonal row, then free-motion quilted one row at a time starting and ending off the quilt so I didn’t have to tie off a single thread!

Piece and Quilt Aurifil thread by Christa Watson

Click here to get my Aurifil thread collection from The Precut Store.

Here’s a pretty image of all three scrap lab projects as seen in the Spring 2017 issue of Quilts and more. As a bonus, All People Quilt is offering my pattern for free when you register for their newsletter. I think that’s a pretty great deal, don’t you??

Scrap Lab projects featured in Quilts and More by Christa Watson, Jeni Baker and Sherri McConnell

Get the Rainbow Zig Zags pattern free. Image Courtesy of Meredith Corp.

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