Virtual Trunk Show of 63 Quilts from My Books

While I’m away teaching in Australia this week, I thought I’d share a virtual trunk show with you, so you can pretend that you are right here with me! I’m including all the quilts from all three of my books along with the book covers from each, so you can easily reference where to find them. Be sure to click the bonus links for more details about each quilt. So grab a treat and enjoy the show…

Quilts from Piece and Quilt with Precuts (2017)

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

All of the quilts in this book are precut friendly and each pattern includes piecing instructions and a quilting plan with diagrams and quilting suggestions. You can mix and match pieced patterns and quilting motifs to your heart’s content!

Squiggles – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Squiggles by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Squiggles Remake using Modern Marks Fabric

Click here for the Quilt Along for this quilt.

Squiggles by Christa Watson

Gridwork – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Gridwork by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Gridwork Remake by Vicky Holloway Using Modern Marks

Click here for Vicky’s blog post about this quilt.

Gridwork by Vicki Holloway

Frequency – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Frequency by Christa Watson for Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Frequency – Mini remake using Modern Marks

Click here to read more about this collaboration between me and Leah Day.

Mini Frequency wiht Modern Marks

S.W.A.K

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

SWAK from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Starstruck – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Starstruck by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Starstruck remake using Modern Marks

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Modern Starstuck by Christa Watson

Dot ‘n’ Dash – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

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

Dot ‘n’ Dash remake using Fandangle

Click here for the Quilt Along for this quilt.

Dot 'n Dash quilt by Christa Watson

Twinkling Diamonds

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Twinkling Diamonds by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Windows

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Windows from Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Kites

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Kites Quilt from Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Arrows

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

Arrows from Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Spools – Original Version from the Book

Click here for the blog post about this quilt.

QuiltCon reject 2
Spools Remake by Hollyanne Knight Using Modern Marks

Click here for Hollyanne’s blog post about this quilt.

Spools from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Quilts from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting (2016)

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Angela Walters and I each made the same ten quilts in our own choice of fabrics and quilting motifs. There are 10 different patterns presented along with over 50 different machine quilting designs. Below are each of the 20 quilts we made showcasing different color combos and machine quilting suggestions.

Choosing Colors

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Choosing Colors by Christa Watson

Christa’s version – in rainbow order.

Choosing Colors made by Angela Walters

Angela’s version – mix it up and throw in a scrappy binding!

Swirling Butterflies

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Swirling Butterflies Wholecloth Quilt

Christa’s version – bold and contemporary.

Swirling Butterflies Angela Walters

Angela’s version – white and traditional.

Plumb Lines

Click here to read more about this quilt.

My version of Plumb Lines won 2nd Place, Modern at HMQS in 2016.

Plumb Lines Quilt

Christa’s version – free-motion alternatives to straight line quilting.

Plumb Lines Quilt

Angela’s version – peachy keen!!

Cornered

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Corned quilt by Christa Watson

Christa’s version – pretty in pink!

Cornered by Angela Walters

Angela’s version – make your friends green with envy when you learn how to quilt these motifs!

Directionally Challenged

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Directionally Challenged by Christa Watson

Christa’s Version in shades of blue with walking foot quilting and FMQ.

Directionally Challenged by Angela Walters

Angela’s version in red showing how to break down large blocks for quilting success.

Migration

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Migration Quilt

Christa’s version – grid quilting in warm earthy tones.

Migration by Angela Walters

Angela’s version – jewel box quilting with lots of negative space fillers.

Exploding Star

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Exploding Star by Christa Watson

Christa’s version using Angela’s fabrics with walking foot continuous spiral quilting.

Exploding Star by Angela Walters

Angela’s version quilted with multi-sized spirals.

fractured squares

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Fractured_Squares_Christa

Christa’s version – completely quilted with a walking foot.

Fractured_Squares_Angela

Angela’s version – having fun with improv borders!

Quatrefoil Applique

Click here to read more about this quilt.

Quatrefoil-Applique_Christa

Christa’s version – it’s a machine quilting sampler!

Quatrefoil-Applique_Angela

Angela’s version – bold and dramatic.

U-Turns

Click here to read more about this quilt.

U-Turns_Christa

Christa’s version – cool teal solids with a touch of print.

U-Turns_Angela

Angela’s version – perfect for practicing turning a corner!

Quilts from Machine Quilting with Style (2015)

Click each highlighted link below each image for more about that quilt.

Machine Quilting With Style

13 friends each remade the 12 quilts + 1 of the backings. I have included their versions, too. Photography of my quilts courtesy of Martingale and Brent Kane. Here’s the order in which they are presented in the book:

ripplesRipples, made by me

ripples_melissa

Ripples, made by Melissa Corry and her MIL Barbara

mqws_rainRain, made by me
Juried into QuiltCon 2016
Shown at MQG Exhibit at Int’l Quilt Festival

rain_drizzle_cheryl

Drizzle, made by Cheryl Brickey

color crystals.Color Crystals, made by me

colorcrystals_vicki

Color Crystals, made by Vicki Ruebel
Honorable Mention, PIQF 2015
Faculty Award, MQX New England 2016

technicolor_backing

Technicolor backing made by me

technicolorbacking_ida

Urban sunrise, made by Ida Ewing
Best Machine Quilting, Pahrump Quilt Show 2016

Little Man's FancyLittle Man’s Fancy, made by me

littlemansfancy_tina

Little Man’s Fancy, made by Tina Guthmann

staticStatic, made by me

static_quilt_lee

Static, made by Lee Heinrich

square in a squareSquare in a Square, made by me
Juried into Road to California, 2016

squareinasquare_stacy

Square in a Square, made by Stacy Cooper

focal_point

Focal Point, made by me
Juried into QuiltCon 2016

Focal Point - Chic Neutrals no lines

Focal Point, recolored in EQ7 using Chic Neutrals fabric from Amy Ellis

focalpoint_amy

Focal Point, made by Amy Garro

Lightning and backing

Lightning, made by me
Bonus backing tutorial from Martingale
Juried into Road to California 2016

lightning_leannePink, made by Leanne Chahley

Candy_PopCandy Pop, made by me
Awarded 3rd Place, Applique at DQN 2016 Quilt Show

candypop_linda

Candy Pop, made by Linda Hungerford

BrokenVBroken V, made by me

brokenv_sharon

Broken V, made by Sharon McConnell

Facets_Kona

Facets, made by me
2nd Place Modern, AQS Paducah 2016
Juried into AQS Phoenix 2016
Quilt Along Blog Series 2016

facets_kristy

Facets, made by Kristy Daum

Finals B1324.inddPearl Gray, made by me
1st Place Large, Single Maker, DQN 2016 Quilt Show

pearl_gray_alyce

Pearl Gray, made by Alyce Blyth

Click Here for Signed Copies of All 3 Books

Books by Christa Watson

 

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.

Free Pattern for Fandangle in Modern by the Yard

The latest issue of Modern by the Yard was just published by Benartex. It’s a free quarterly online magazine published to help promote their fabric collections and it always features lots of amazing designs.

Free Quilt Pattern for Fandangle

My friend Vicki from Orchid Owl Quilts designed and made this gorgeous quilt, Teal Appeal from Fandangle, which is featured on the cover. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Get the Pattern and Fabric to make teal appeal

Click here to download issue #9 of Modern by the Yard
Click here to purchase Fandangle bundles and yardage while supplies last.

The pattern includes a complete materials list and step-by-step full color illustrations. I think it’s so clever that Vicki chose the teal confetti crosshatch print as the background. I’ve really been enjoying seeing what other designers have been making from my fabrics. It’s always fun to see how folks combine the prints and really make them sparkle!

Free-Motion Inspiration

Christa Watson and Amanda Murphy

In the issue, there’s also an interview with me and fellow fabric designer Amanda Murphy about how our machine quilting designs often influence our fabric lines, so be sure to read about that, too!

There’s also a really fun block-study in the ezine called “Modern with a Twist.” Three designers are each challenged with putting  a modern spin on a traditional block and this issue’s block is the drunkard’s path.

Chris Dodsley came up with this really cool variation that showcases some of the cool-colored Fandangle prints. She even went the extra step and created a fun layout which she talks about more in depth on her blog -click here to see more.

Block Study – Drunkard’s Path

Modern Drunkard's path by Chrissie D

I hope you check out Modern by the Yard from Benartex. I love that they offer a source of inspiration to make fun things from their fabrics, and can’t wait for the next issue!

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.

Finished Quilts – Surplus Strips in Warm and Cool

Click here to get the Surplus Strips quilt pattern – print version.
Click here to get the Surplus Strips quilt pattern – PDF version.

Surplus Strips quilts made from Fandangle by Christa WatsonThis pattern is perfect for using up leftover jelly roll strips, or color-coordinated scraps!

I made two versions of Surplus Strips to showcase the warm and cool colorways of Fandangle, but this pattern would look great in any fabrics! The name of the pattern is a play on words. I’ve been enjoying seeing lots of plus quilts with a modern vibe and I wanted to design a pattern that could be easily made with 2 1/2″ precut strips.

Surplus Strips Warm by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase Fandangle fabric to make your own version of Surplus Strips.

You could use all new fabric like I did, or you could use your leftovers or the “surplus” from your scrap bin. The easiest way to pull fabrics is to select a couple of colors you like and pair them with a high-contrast background fabric.

Surplus Strips Cool by Christa WatsonIt only takes 9 different 1/3 yard cuts + background, but you can go as scrappy as you like!
One 2 1/2″ x 40″ strip will be enough for 2 blocks.

The inspiration for Surplus Strips came from some really cool looking hotel carpet I saw during one of my many travels last year. Whenever I see a great textural image or architectural design, I always snap a pic because you never know when inspiration is going to strike!

I love the asymmetrical plus shapes shown below. When I saw that, I immediately knew I wanted to make a quilt based on this design. Of course it took awhile to figure out the math and get the proportions and colors right, but it was a fun challenge to figure out!

Inspiration for my desing - hotel carpet

Some worn hotel carpet was the inspiration behind the design of my Surplus Strips quilts.

I quilted both versions of Surplus Strips with a different allover free-motion design similar to designs in the fabric line. On the warm colorway, I quilted “jagged stipple” which inspired the “Paper Cuts” design in the collection.

Free Motion Quilting on Surplus Strips Warm

My jagged stipple quilting motif inspired the “Paper Cuts” print, above, in orange and yellow.

Because I had a limited amount of fabric while making these quilts, I didn’t have enough of any one fabric for the backing of the warm version, so I created an interesting secondary composition, or “back art” instead!

I sewed a few extra plus blocks and used nice big leftover chunks of coordinating prints. I love making pieced backings when I have enough time, and it’s a great way to add interest to the quilt.

Surplus Strips Warm Pieced backingPieced backings are my favorite!! It’s almost like a two -sided quilt!

When quilting the cool colorway, I used another favorite free-motion motif which inspired another one of the prints in the collection:

Free Motion quilting detail on Surplus strips by Christa WatsonBe sure to click any of the images in this post to enlarge and see more details.

My arrowheads quilting design is a really dense echo triangle shape which is fun to quilt and adds tons of texture. It inspired the “Triangle Trinkets” print which you can see peeking out on the back and in the blue/green print above and below.

free-motion detail by Christa Watson

Don’t you love the refreshing ocean colors of blue and green??

I had so much fun making these quilts and now I want to make them in a rainbow of colors!! The quilt pattern makes it super easy to do and is written for both yardage or precut strips.

Surplus Strips Quilt PatternClick here to view all of my quilt patterns – print versions.
Click here to view all of my quilt patterns – PDF versions.

Surplus Strips Finished Stats

  • Designed and made by Christa Watson
  • Completed May, 2018
  • Finished sizes 67″ x 82″
  • Pieced and quilted on my BERNINA 770 QE
  • Quilt design: free motion jagged stipple (warm) and arrowheads (cool)
  • Fabric is Fandangle by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio
  • Quilting thread: Aurifil 50 wt #3660 Bubble Gum (warm) and #4662 Creme De Menthe (cool)
  • Batting is Hobbs Tuscany Silk (warm) Tuscany 100% Cotton (cool)

Surplus Strips quilts in warm and cool, made with Fandangle fabric by Christa WatsonClick here to get yardage of Fandangle for a limited time.

More About the Making of Surplus Strips

Introducing Tic-Tac-Toe on the Cover of Fat Quarter Favorites

I love it when I get to reveal a quilt that I worked on many moons ago! Meet Tic-Tac-Toe, a fat quarter quilt featured on the cover of Fat Quarter Favorites – a new collaboration book from my publisher Martingale/That Patchwork Place that releases today!

Fat-Quarter-Favorites

This was one of those “secret sewing” projects that I worked on last year. I shared a few sneek peeks on my Instagram account while making it so if you scroll back through a year’s worth of posts, you can see some of it in progress, LOL!!

The book features 13 original designs by a dozen different designers all based on fat quarters (plus additional background fabric where needed).

I was in such a hurry to make this quilt that I forgot to take many in-progress pics, but here’s a shot of me “scrunching and smooshing” the quilt through the machine as I quilt:

Scrunching and smooshing to machine quilt

It helps to have a wider throat space on my BERINA so there’s more room for the quilt!

I only saved on detail pic where you can see the quilting while I added and pressed the binding. I quilted it with a dense allover free-motion square spiral design – one of my favorite “modern machine quilting” designs! (It’s similar to “boxes” – another fave design but you go round and round a couple times to get the spirals.)

square spiral design machine quilting

For the pieced design, I played around with the idea of combining blocks that look like X’s and O’s. It took several tries to adjust the proportions so they felt right. The O blocks came pretty quickly, but it took awhile until I was happy with the X blocks. I originally started with bigger center stars and they evolved into the design shown here. I extended the gray lines all the way to the borders to give it a bit more movement and overall I’m pleased with how well it turned out!

Tic Tac Toe by Christa Watson from Fat Quarter Favorites

Tic-Tac-Toe by Christa Watson, 76″ x 76″

Once I have the basic design in place it also takes me a bit to refine the sizes so the fabric yardage is used more efficiently. That’s why a lot of times, you’ll see me do scrappy bindings, so I can use up a bit more of the fun prints in the quilt!

If you like my design click here to see images of all 13 quilts from the book – I’m sure there’s something for everyone!

A Plethora of Stepping Stones Quilts: Student Work from my Latest Workshop

Last week I taught a week-long class at John C. Campbell Folkschool on how to make a complete quilt from start to finish. Everyone made the same quilt from my Stepping Stones quilt pattern – but as you can see in the group pic below, they all look so different – and so fabulous!

Students' Stepping Stones Quilts

A Colorful Plethora of Stepping Stones Quilts

Last Saturday, I flew to Atlanta, Georgia along with my mom, Jason and two of my kids. My mom and the kids stayed with my aunt and uncle for the week while Jason and I drove over to the Folkschool. He took a photography class while I taught quilting, and we both had a fabulous time!

Fabric Cutting for Stepping Stones Quilt

Cutting in Progress. Each student chose their own fabrics and they were all fabulous!

My students got to work right away, cutting their fabrics to make their quilts. I love how most of them chose bright colors, but I’ve seen this design worked up in a wide variety of fabrics and it always turns out great!

Stepping Stones Quilt Blocks in Progress

Quilt blocks in progress – some students sewed theirs together randomly while others took time to carefully arrange each piece and either way works great!

It was fun to see the blocks going up on the design walls in the studio space. There was plenty of room to spread out and most students had their quilt tops pieced by the second day.

stepping stones quilt in progress

Quilts in progress decorated the walls beautifully all week!

They were excited to try out my spray basting technique and we had a gorgeous spot to baste, just outside the studio door in the lush green hills of Brasstown, NC.

spray basting

Can you imagine a more beautiful place to baste a quilt??

Once the quilt top and back are sprayed outside, we brought them in doors to assemble on a couple of work tables.

Basting: smooth the batting

The trick to good basting is to smooth out each layer of the quilt! A long acrylic ruler helps.

Although there were lots of quilts to baste, we made a party of it, helping everyone get theirs done so the process went very quickly!

Quilt Basting - pressing the quilt

Another trick is to iron the quilt once it’s basted to set the glue and smooth out wrinkles.

During class, I did a mini-lesson on both walking foot quilting and free motion quilting. and the students picked which techniques and designs they wanted to try, based on their skill level and ambition.

Machine Quilting in progress

Students learned how to “scrunch and smoosh” a real quilt underneath their machines.
Walking-foot quilting detail of the quilt above is shown below:

walking foot quilting detail on stepping stones

I was so proud of them for going outside their comfort zones and trying out different techniques. Those that wanted to do custom quilting practiced on a sample block like I suggested so they could see how the design would work with the thread and fabrics they chose.

custom quilting on stepping stones

One student’s custom quilting design. Although it’s taking her much longer to quilt this intricate design in each block, the results will be well worth it at the end!

Once the quilts were quilted, it was time to bind. I taught them how to apply an even 1/4″ binding by starting with 2″ strips. They were even willing to finish it by hand and most of them added the final stitches on the last morning before the closing ceremony.

Hand binding stepping stones

You can get a LOT of binding done while chatting hanging out!!!

Although class time went for 6 hours a day Monday-Thursday and 1/2 day class on Friday, most of the students took advantage of bonus sewing time in the evenings. I also worked on an upcoming project during that time (which I’ll reveal shortly) and we all had a grand time! It really was like an intimate quilting retreat. None of the students knew each other before class but were BQF’s (best quilting friends) at the end of the week!

It really felt like quilt camp for adults and I have to say I had just as much fun as they did!!

Finished Stepping Stones Quilt

First quilt!! It’s never too late to learn!!

It’s rare that I get to teach an intense in-person class like this but it’s such a joy to see them all do such a fabulous job. We even had one sweet quilter that had never made a quilt before and hadn’t even touched a sewing machine in over 30 years. But with help and encouragement of the class, she had a fabulous finish and was so proud of it!!

Fiber Arts Studio at John C. Campbell Folkschool

The Fiber Arts Studio wouldn’t be complete with out a Barn Quilt Block!!

We were very lucky to call the Fiber Arts Studio at the Folkschool our home away from home for a week. This is the third time I’ve been able to teach here, and it just gets better and better! (See my previous two classes here and here.)

Students' Stepping Stones Quilts

Folkschool Quilt Class, June 2018

Just remember – if you decide to have fun making your own version of Stepping Stones quilt – I’m here to cheer you on!!

The Patterns are Here! The Patterns are Here!

I got some happy mail this weekend – a shipment of my latest print pattern releases. The quilts below are all made from my Fandangle fabric which ships to stores in July, but I’ve written the patterns so that they will look fabulous in any fabrics you choose! I’ve blogged a lot about the quilts already (see links below each image in case you missed it), but now I’m excited to tell you what makes the patterns themselves extra special.

Sparkling Stars Quilt

Sparkling Stars quilt by Christa Watson made from Fandangle fabric

Sparkling Stars designed and made by Christa Watson, 70″ x 70″

For starters, all of my patterns are full color throughout. They are professionally printed, folded into a half-sheet size booklet, and staple-bound by GotPrint.com. I select high-quality glossy paper for the insides and the covers are slightly thicker which makes them a little more sturdy.

Because I purchase them in a higher volume, I’m able to get a quantity discount which I pass on to you all in the form of a lower price point. The MSRP for my print patterns is $9.95 which is much lower than the $12-$14 price I’ve seen for similar quality patterns.

Sparkling Stars PatternSparkling Stars Covers – Click above image to enlarge
Click here to purchase the Sparkling Stars Quilt Pattern

For Sparkling Stars, I included a very detailed materials list so that you could replicate the look in similar colors even if using different fabrics than I did. I also included detailed diagrams and charts by colorway so that it’s easy to follow along and not get lost.

Here’s an example of one of the many full-color illustrations that are included in the pattern:

Sparkling Stars Blocks

If there’s enough room in the pattern, I’ll usually throw in a closeup image of the quilting for inspiration. As an FYI, patterns need to be formatted so that they use up 8 or 12 sides (4-6 full pages). Most of mine tend to be on the longer end so that I can put in as much detail as possible.

I work with my graphic designer Lindsie to lay out the text, photos and illustrations, and if there’s extra room, I’ll throw in an extra diagram, tip, or quilting suggestion. I want you to have as much fun making these quilts as I did, and I try to pack as much helpful info into each pattern as I can!

Spiral quilting detail from Sparkling Stars

Quilting detail included in the pattern – inside front cover.

Surplus Strips Quilts

Surplus Strips Quilt Warm

Surplus Strips Quilt in the Warm Colorway of Fandangle
Designed and Made by Christa Watson, 67″ x 82″

Surplus Strips Cool Colorway of Fandangle

Surplus Strips Quilt in the Cool Colorway of Fandangle
Designed and Made by Christa Watson, 67″ x 82″

Surplus Strips Quilt PatternSurplus Strips Covers – Click above image to enlarge
Click here to purchase the Surplus Strips Quilt Pattern

For Surplus Strips, I wanted to show how you could use up leftover 2 1/2″ strips sorted by colorway to create a dynamic, scrappy looking quilt. In my patterns, I’ll try to include different methods of using your fabric (either yardage, scraps or precuts) whenever possible so you can make the best use of your stash!

Quilting Detail of Triangle Trinkets

Detail of the Triangle Trinkets motif quilted on the cool colorway.

I’m really excited that I was able to include machine quilting diagrams and detailed images in this pattern. Because many of the prints in my fabric lines are based off of my favorite machine quilting motifs, it was fun to include a different allover quilting design for each colorway.

Machine quilting detail of Surplus Strips

Do you see how the quilting design is the same as the Paper Cuts print? So fun!!

Pearl Pendants Quilt

Pearl Pendants Quilt by Heather Black

Pearl Pendants, designed and made by Heather Black, 60″ x 72″
Click here to read more about Heather and this gorgeous quilt.

It was really fun to collaborate on Pearl Pendants with my talented friend Heather Black of Quilt-achusetts. She designed and made the quilt using Fandangle plus Contempo Colorweave coordinates.

We both co-wrote the pattern and it was fun to go back and forth to ensure that the pattern was easy enough to understand and follow. My husband, Jason, who is NOT a quilter was very helpful in proof-reading to make sure even a novice could understand how to make this stunning quilt!

Pearl Pendants Quilt Pattern by Heather Black and Christa WatsonPearl Pendants Covers – Click above image to enlarge
Click here to purchase the Pearl Pendants Quilt Pattern

My favorite illustration included in the pattern is the very detailed chart of blocks which specifies exactly how many of each unit to make to get the same look. We included plenty of step by step diagrams so that you’ll have no problems making this fun quilt while practicing your curved piecing. Of course you can easily substitute the colors below for completely different fabrics, and it will still look great!!

Pearl Pendants Chart of Blocks

The pattern also includes full-sized templates to make the blocks in two different sizes, or you can use a specialty curved ruler if that’s your preferred method.

Heather has become quite proficient at quilting on her longarm and she loves to combine hand-guided work with a bit of computerized work in the quilting detail shown below:

Quilting Detail for Pearl Pendants

How to Purchase Christa Quilts Patterns

(1) Anyone can purchase my complete line of print patterns at shop.christaquilts.com.

(2) PDF versions of my entire pattern line are available in my Craftsy shop (click here).

(3) Quilt shops and other retailers can contact me via email christa@christaquilts.com for wholesale pricing information and exclusive specials.

(4) My fabrics and select patterns are also available wholesale through Checker Distributors and Brewer Sewing.

If you are a quilting instructor and wish to teach a class from any of these patterns, please contact me to get the wholesale pricing discount. I’m happy for others to teach from my patterns (or books) as long as each student purchases their own copy.

Sparkling Stars in the Benartex Contempo Booth at Quilt Market

Here’s Sparkling Stars hanging in my booth at Spring 2018 quilt market. Be sure to catch my next post where I’ll share all about my quilt market experience!

Sparkling Stars Quilt Part 3 – Spiral Quilting

Today I’m finishing up the making of Sparkling Stars, one of the brand new quilt patterns made from my brand new Fandangle fabric collection. Fandangle means embellishment or ornamentation and rather than embellishing my quilts with baubles and beads, I do it with fabric and thread!

Spiral quilting detail

Spiral Quilting Detail on Sparkling Stars

Marking the Center Spiral

Because I was on a tight deadline to finish this quilt, I chose a really fun walking-foot quilting design that looks great and is easy to do. I went with the large continuous spiral which is one of the designs I teach in my quilting classes and also in my book with Angela Walters, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.

Marking the Center Spiral

The trick to this design is to mark the center spiral, and then follow it around with the edge of your walking foot until the entire thing is quilted. I like to use a small circle shape to start. A spool of Aurifil thread works great by the way!!

Aurifil Variegated Thread

Speaking of Aurifil thread, I used  variegated 50 weight cotton #4650 Leaves for the quilting. I’ve really been enjoying using variegated threads on colorful quilts because they add an extra bit of texture and dimension to my quilts. In this case, it really emphasizes the “sparkling” effect.

Spiral Quilting

Machine quilting detail variegated thread

Yes, I had to rotate the quilt about a bazillion times, but once you get past the first few spirals it goes very quickly. It really helps to use a hands free system (knee-lift) or hover feature if you have one so that you can keep your hands on the quilt at all times.

I don’t ever stress too much about perfection in my quilting. If it wobbles a bit while quilting, I know that once my face isn’t two inches away from the quilt, it won’t be noticeable. Another walking foot quilting tip is to lower the presser foot pressure while quilting (not all machines can do this so check your manual). I also increase the stitch length to 3.0 to help compensate for friction and drag on the quilt.

Scrunching and smooshing the quilt

Rather than using a walking foot, I use the BERNINA dual feed that’s built into my 770 QE. It allows me to get the same result, but I can use different feet. I use the 20D foot – the open toe embroidery foot – for straight line quilting, and the 37D – 1/4″ patchwork foot – for attaching my binding.

Binding the Quilt

I use skinnier strips cut at just 2″ for my binding so that they finish at 1/4″ on both sides of the quilt. Click here for my binding tutorial for a previous quilt.

Attaching the Binding

I will press the binding to the back of the quilt and then keep it in place with about 200 binding clips all the way around the perimeter. I know some people like to use just a few clips and that works too!

Securing The Binding

When I bind, I keep the quilt away from me and bind from right to left. I use a thimble to protect my finger and push the needle through with the middle finger of my left hand. I think it’s interesting that there’s no one right way to do it. Some people do it holding the quilt in the opposite direction, while others stitch from left to right. As long as you are comfortable stitching, that’s the important thing!

Binding a Quilt

I know that binding by machine goes a lot faster, but there’s something I love about snuggling with the quilt at the end for a little hand-stitching. It’s like my reward after all the work it takes to make a quilt! Plus, I just really really like the way hand binding looks.

The final step in my quilt making process is to photograph the quilt. Thankfully Jason does that for me since I do NOT like that part, LOL!! We use my design wall to take flat shots that will be used for the cover of the quilt pattern. The hardest part is getting the lighting right! Later on, we’ll do pretty styled shots outside, but that’s a completely different process.

Photographing Sparkling Stars Quilt

I hope you’ve enjoyed the making of this quilt! You can now purchase the pattern by using any of the links below. And if you make one, be sure to share and use #sparklingstarsquilt on social media so I can see your progress!

See Previous “Making Of” Posts

Sparkling Stars Part 2 – The Quilt Top

I recently made Sparkling Stars to help promote Fandangle, my brand new fabric line at spring quilt market. The pattern is currently available now in print or PDF.

Sparkling Stars in Progress

I decided to name this quilt Sparkling Stars as a nod to one of the prints I call “Sparkling Squares.” The collection name Fandangle means embellishment or ornamentation so I thought it would be fun for the fabric and quilt names to go with that theme.

Once the quilt blocks were sewn and pressed, it was time to sew them together to make the quilt top. This process went together rather quickly because I was able to refer to the image of the quilt top I had created in EQ8 for color placement, shown below.

Sparkling Stars Quilt Design

Here’s a tip when sewing lots of blocks into rows: sew the seams in opposite directions between blocks so that your blocks and rows don’t warp or bow to one side.

For example, refer to the top row in the image above. When sewing block pairs together, I kept the turquoise or teal blocks on top as I sewed the row together. There are a total of 4 vertical seams to sew per block row. By keeping the teal/turquoise on top, it ensured that I switched directions each time I joined the blocks.

Sparkling Stars by Christa Watson

After I completed the rows and added the borders, I pressed the entire top again from the front and back. Pressing often really helps ensure a nice flat top which is essential for successful machine quilting.

Hobbs quilt batting in cotton and wool

Whenever I make a quilt, I like to take a picture of the batting I’m using in the quilt so that I can remember what I used. For Sparkling Stars I chose Hobbs batting in cotton/wool.

This is one of my favorite battings for quilts that will be on display. The cotton gives the quilt drape and stability while the wool allows for good stitch definition and it doesn’t hold crease lines. I basted the quilt using basting spray and my design wall.

Click here for my spray basting tutorial.

Sparkling Stars Quilt PatternClick on the image above to enlarge

You can now purchase a copy of the Sparkling Stars quilt pattern. The PDF is available as an instant download through my Craftsy shop. The print version can be purchased now and will ship by the end of the month – once the boxes arrive from the printer. I can’t wait!!

Click here to purchase the PDF version of Sparkling Stars quilt pattern.
Click here to purchase the print version of Sparkling Stars quilt pattern.

Variegated Thread on Sparkling Stars

I chose Aurifil 50 weight variegated thread #4650 Leaves to quilt it since there was so much color. I’ve been experimenting with using variegated threads for machine quilting and really like them.

Stay tuned for part 3 where I show how I quilted it!