One of the things that I love about working with Benartex on fabric design is that they produce a fantastic free digital magazine called Modern by the Yard. In each issue, they share inspiring projects that you can make from their fabrics. So each time I have a new line that comes out, one of my amazing designer friends creates a fabulous pattern for you for free!!
Here is what Charisma has to say about her latest project:
“I am a big fan of Christa’s fabrics. I have made a few projects with her collections. They are fun, colorful and diverse. I actually designed Connections years ago before I was a professional designer.
I have learned that sometimes you have to wait for the designs to speak and decide when they should be released and where. I have always been a fan of quilts with negative space. This quilt decided that it was time and she is shining in all her glory.
This week I’m running a special sale on all of my instant downloadable digital patterns in my Etsy shop. This is a great time to stock up on those patterns on your wish list. Or grab the PDF versions of your favorite print patterns. Then you’ll always have access them to them right on your computer!
Her most recent adventure is fabric design, and I know you’ll enjoy hearing about that. Take it away, Heather!
I’m so honored that Christa asked me to be a guest on her blog. Christa was one of the first quilters I met online and she’s been a mentor as well as a friend through the years.
She encouraged me to follow my own sensibilities when it came to designing quilts and gave me the courage to branch out into fabric design when Paintbrush Studio came calling.
Earlier this year my first fabric line, Sketchbook for Paintbrush Studio, was released. I don’t know what I would have done without Christa’s support and guidance. The fabric line was inspired by a quilt I designed called Swatches.
When I designed this quilt, I wanted the pink swatches to look like paint cakes, but the quilting is where I really found inspiration for the fabric line.
I liked the black outline quilting around the paint cakes. It reminded me of doodling or sketching, and from there I began playing with shapes and textures that had the same feel and look.
I also designed three different quilts to go along with the fabric line. They’re Sketchbook Sampler, Office Daydreams and Topsy-Turvy. Two of the designs are fat quarter friendly, and they use Painter’s Palette Solids as the background.
All of the prints from the line and the patterns are now available in my shop, quiltachusetts.com.
I’m so thankful to Paintbrush Studio for taking the risk and giving me a chance to design fabric. I really love the process and the creativity of it all. My second fabric line, Road Trip, will be out before the end of the year. It’s all very exciting.
Again, this fabric line was inspired by a quilt I designed, and that quilt was inspired by all the road trips my family took and still takes. We’ve driven all over the USA and parts of Canada.
I really appreciate the memories and time spent with my parents and siblings. The Road Trip fabric line is a combination of bright cheery colors and geometric shapes.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading a bit about the inspiration behind my quilts and fabric. I love the design process and making quilts and I encourage all quilters to add their own personality to every quilt they create.
Isn’t it great to see that Heather has found her creative voice? She has a unique style all her own. It was fun to hear how her modern quilt designs inspired fabric designs! Be sure to visit Heather’s website and her blog, and follow her on Instagram: @quiltachusetts.
I’ve invited Nancy to come on the blog to tell you more about this fabulous quilt in her own words…..
From Nancy Messuri:
I am honored Christa gave me the opportunity to guest blog as I am a huge fan all her fabric lines, books, and easygoing teaching style, so I was very excited when she asked me to guest post, as there is lots to share about this quilt!
Hypnotica started off as a study in black and white and I had no intention of making it into a quilt. It was simply a personal design challenge in Electric Quilt 8 (EQ8). After playing with some initial coloring though, I found the design quite interesting. I saw it had potential to be very striking. My geometric quilt designs often mesh with Christa’s sense of line and color, so I placed a few of her fabrics into my design. And wow, did it ever come to life!
I started thinking about possibly piecing Hypnotica, but the fact that all 34 wedges meet at the center point was daunting. However, I continued playing with fabric placements in EQ8 using Christa’s fabrics. When I found a grouping that really stood out I decided I had to give this quilt a try.
Construction of the quilt center was actually easier than I expected it to be. The entire circle is made up of only two different wedges which alternate around the quilt. I printed patterns for the foundation paper pieced wedges from EQ8, then did a few test runs of sewing patches into wedges and sewing wedges together.
After I felt confident with the tests, I was ready to use Christa’s beautiful fabrics and pieced together the two semi-circles. I quickly learned not to sew too fast over multiple layers of fabric as wedges were added; especially when nearing the center of the quilt. Hypnotica is definitely a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of quilt!
The two background pieces are sewn to each semi-circle before sewing the two halves of the circle together. If you are new to curved piecing, this is an easy curve to start with as the seam is sewn in a long, gentle curve. A few test runs of curved piecing with scrap fabric can give lots of confidence!
The moment of truth arrived; matching up all the points of the two halves while dealing with all the layers meeting up at the center point. I listened to my own advice and sewed very slowly and I am happy to say I nailed it on the first try! (There may have been a happy dance or two after that.) At that point, I knew a pattern had to be created for Hypnotica.Click the image above to enlarge. Click here to order Hypnotica Quilt Pattern.
I would love to see your interpretations of Hypnotica on my Facebook page, Nancy Messuri Designs! The pattern is available on my website, NancyMessuriDesigns.com. There are new patterns in the works, so I hope you pop in from time to time. Or better yet, sign up for updates so you won’t miss a thing!
Thanks so much Nancy for sharing your beautiful quilt!! Now I can’t wait to see what she creates next. 🙂
To go along with the Modern Logs Quilt Along that just recently started, I’m hosting a weekly Facebook Live chat for the duration of the Quilt Along. This will allow me to share some bonus tips and tricks along with a chance for you to ask any questions you have while making this quilt!
I’ve found that many people have questions around improvisational piecing and of course the whole quilting process. I’m excited to answer your questions about this quilt during the entire process, and I think you’ll feel confident about your skills by the end of the QAL!
One of the things people like best about my FREE quilt alongs is the help I offer on machine quilting so that you can finish the quilt yourself.
It is the best feeling to make a quilt from the first stitch to the last! I really enjoy sharing the things I’ve learned about quilting on a home sewing machine so that you can be successful at it, too.
If you already have questions for me, please leave them here in the comments and I’ll answer them live on the air tomorrow, September 8 at 3 pm Pacific/6 Eastern in the Christa Quilts Group on FB. I can hardly wait!
Layer fabrics to cut them out faster! If you are cutting 4 layers at a time, cut each stack differently so no more than 4 strips are the same. Then when you are ready to sew, remember that each strip has a top and bottom, front and back so you’ll have more variety of angles and color intensity when you sew.
Next week when we start to sew the blocks we are doing what I call “structured improv.” This means you want your strips to have straight edges, even though the angles themselves are wonky. Cut the wonky strips using a rotary cutter and ruler. This allows the blocks to lie flat when sewn, even if all the pieces are different shapes and sizes.
You can see above why it’s easiest to work with fat quarters and a long ruler for straight clean cuts.
After cutting, stack the same fabrics together. Im going to use the front and back of the lights in this quilt to create more depth and sparkle. The number of strips you get per fat quarter will vary. You can cut a few strips to start, or go crazy and cut up the entire piece.
Don’t forget to cut the block centers. Each side will be straight but these may be more square in shape or more rectangular. The choice is up to you!
Once my strips and centers are all cut and sorted into lights and darks, I like to stack them up next to my machine so they are ready to sew. Warning: this will get a little messy as you sew! So give yourself plenty of room to spread out and work.
Thinking ahead: it’s ok to cut some of your wider strips in half along the length if you need more pieces to go around the logs. Now it’s your turn – show me your wonky strips!! Share pics of your progress and feel free to ask questions in my ChristaQuilts Facebook Group.
Have you been enjoying following along to make Bling? Scroll to the end for links to the entire quilt along. This week we will be binding our Bling to finish it up!
Roundup of binding tutorials
Because I pretty much bind my quilts all the same way (either by hand or machine), I have a LOT of binding tutorials that I’ve shared over the years. So here are 3 for you to try – use whichever method you like best!
When I first began my binding adventures, I cut my strips 2 1/4″ wide. However, that meant that if I attached my binding with 1/4″ seams, it would be bigger on the back than the front. So over the last couple of years, I’ve started cutting my strips 2″ wide and that gives me a more even finish on both sides.
To avoid ending up with a seam in the corner, I will roughly “walk” my binding around the quilt and if any seams fall in the corners, I will adjust the whole binding by and inch or two before I start sewing. If worse comes to worse and I STILL get a seam on the corner, I’ll simply cut off part of the binding and sew a new seam to move it!
Finish quilting and binding your version of Bling and share it in my ChristaQuilts Facebook Group. I can’t wait to see your fabulous finish!
And now we get to my favorite part of making a quilt – machine quilting! Because I made two versions of Bling, and quilted them with 2 different walking foot quilting designs, I’m excited to share both options with you over the next 2 weeks. And the best part is, you can use these tips and tricks on ANY quilt you wish to make.
For the version of Bling with the Black background, I used my walking foot/dual feed to quilt straight-“ish” lines in a crosshatch pattern following the design of the blocks.
But, before you dive into quilting your quilt, first you need to baste it. I use the same method to baste ALL of my quilts: spraying 505 adhesive on the wrong side of the quilt top and backing outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
Prepping the Quilt
Then, I assemble the quilt layers together on my design wall indoors. You can also use a table if you don’t have a design wall.
Basting in process on my design wall. I can’t wait to share more about the quilting of this version of Bling next week!
The “magic” part of my spray-basting method is ironing the basted quilt on both sides – front and back to squish it all together and set the glue.
In all of my quilt patterns, I like to include quilting suggestions and a quilting plan. It’s very easy to “divide” and conquer the straight line quilting by first quilting in the ditch between each of the blocks in both directions. This will create a grid that’s equal to the size of the quilt blocks. This will anchor or stabilize your quilt for additional quilting.
Once you have anchored your quilt, you can quilt lines randomly across the quilt in both directions. You can quilt as light or as dense as you would like.
At first I thought I would quilt my quilt more densely, but once I quilted a few passes in both directions, I was happy with how it looked so I stopped. That’s the beauty of “divide and conquer” when it comes to quilting. You can stop whenever it feels finished!
Here’s a bonus tip: if you want your lines to stay straight, but you don’t have seam lines to follow, use a piece of painter’s tape as your guide.
YouTube Quilting Videos
I have a super short video below where you can see how I used the tape while quilting this version of Bling, plus a sneak peek of how I quilted the white version, too:
If you would like to quilt your quilt more densely, continue quilting lines in both directions, one pass at a time until you like how it looks. You can see a densely quilted version of random crosshatch on my Color Weave quilt.
Nothing makes my day more than seeing what you all are making with my fabrics! And I love seeing when you’ve used one of my patterns for your latest project. With so many options, it’s an honor to see these beautiful quilts and works in progress “in the wild!” 🙂
So today I thought it would be fun to do a little roundup of what you all have been making with my designer products. It makes my day to see these pop up on social media 🙂
This gorgeous photo shows Kathleen Hetzler Riordan with quilts on her beautiful white fence. She says, “My street had a pop-up quilt show today and four of us who are quilters put our quilts out on our picket fence, and neighbors walked, drove and golf carted by to see them! It was very impromptu but lots of fun! Christa’s Puzzle Box is on the far left!”
I love this outdoor image—it shouts “Summertime!” Kathleen lives in Virginia and the quilt show took place on May 24, 2020. I’m sure it was a source of joy for many people during the pandemic.
Sally J. is currently working on a baby quilt with my Color Weave pattern and Abstract Garden prints. This design is great for 2.5 strips—maybe you have a favorite sitting around just waiting to be used?! Or maybe you’d like to treat yourself to one of my colorful modern strip sets!
Megan G. used purple for her Optical Illusion quilt and I love it! This design works in so many great combinations. Pay attention to the instructions for the values of each fabric so that your illusion shows up nicely.
Here are links to all of the steps in the Optical Illusion Quilt Along that we recently wrapped up! My QAL blog posts stay up indefinitely so you can sew on your own timeline.
The lap and throw sizes of Charming Chevrons are made from 5″ charm packs. (The thinking is done—so you just relax and sew!) This design has a lot of movement for great visual interest.
Twin-size Charming Chevrons in Good Vibes fabric by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio
The larger sizes of Charming Chevrons (twin and king) are made from 10″ precut squares, also called Layer Cakes or Ten by Tens.
Watch for Good Vibes 5×5 and 10×10 packs coming in July!
Right now, I’m taking pre-orders for the paper patterns of Charming Chevrons and Modern Logs, and I have a special offer for you. Please read on!
The cover quilts were made with my new Good Vibes line for Benartex Contempo Studio. I’m really pleased by the interplay of the modern low-volumes and the saturated bright prints. It’s just the look I was after! More thoughts on Good Vibes coming soon.
All of my patterns include step-by-step instructions and machine quilting suggestions so you’re never stumped when it’s time to finish. We have it covered!
Choose from four handy sizes in Charming Chevrons: Lap, Throw, Twin or King! See the pattern’s back cover below for the dimensions.
Maybe you have some charm packs around just waiting for the right project. Or have you been looking for the perfect quilt to use a special layer cake? Look no further than Charming Chevrons!
Maybe Modern Logs will suit your fancy! It’s made from 1, 2 or 3 fat quarter bundles, depending on the size you want to make. The pattern gives instructions for making crib, throw and queen sizes, but the improvisational technique means you can adjust the size of your quilt by making more or fewer blocks. That’s a great design bonus!
Maybe you’d want to get some Good Vibes and then supplement from your stash for a unique project that’s totally you! You can go with a coordinated look or be super scrappy. I think you’ll really have fun with the improv nature of these blocks!
I’m putting the finishing touches on both of these quilts now and I can’t wait to share them with you!
Seeing your excitement when you like my fabric or fall in love with a quilt design is a real boost for me. And I always meet some wonderful people during a quilt along, so I’m really looking forward to that, too!
Use code PATTERN to get a free paper pattern of your choice when you preorder both Modern Logs and Charming Chevrons paper patterns. Add three patterns to your cart, enter the code in the coupon box and then remember to hit the + to make sure the discount is applied. Offer expires end of day June 30, 2020.