Book Review – Intentional Piecing by Amy Friend

I’m excited to tell you about a brand new book by one of my quilting buddies, Amy Friend of During Quiet Time. It’s called Intentional Piecing: From Fussy Cutting to Foundation Piecing. As the title implies, it’s all about making thoughtful choices to make truly dynamic quilts.

Intentional Piecing

“Fussy Cutting” is isolating a specific motif in your fabric and intentionally cutting around the motif so as to place it exactly where you want it in your quilt or block.

Amy’s quilt, Tell Me a Story, is the perfect design to showcase a favorite collection of fussy cut pieces. To get you excited to make this quilt, or even a block or two, Amy is hosting a fun contest on Instagram to celebrate the release of her book. To enter, make a block, or group of blocks using this pattern in the book and then share them using the hashtags #intentionalpiecingbook and #tellmeastoryquilt. Then share the fun story behind your blocks!

Tell Me a Story Blocks

Each instagram post with those hashtags will be entered into a drawing for two fabric bundles, and Amy will randomly choose a winner on June 1st – so you have plenty of time to make and enter your blocks. Above is a sampling of just a few blocks that are currently being shared on Instagram. They are so fabulous!

The rest of the book includes patterns for 6 additional quilts, 6 smaller projects, and 10 paper pieced blocks that you can play with to create an infinite variety of designs! All of the needed templates are included in a 40+ page section at the back of the book indicating enlargement percentages.

Circuitry Quilt

I think my favorite quilt in the book is actually one made from selvages. Something about the arrangement and color-blocking of the selvages really appeals to me. It’s called Circuitry and comes with helpful tips on working with selvages.

In fact, the entire book is sprinkled with helpful hints throughout, including a section on paper piecing essentials and tips on what to stash and how to work with the fabrics you already have.

Intentional Piecing Blocks

Finally, even if you are the type that usually likes to design your own projects, the beautiful photography in the book is sure to inspire you! Shot on location in New England, this book can also serve as a coffee table book, ensuring a visual treat each time you peruse it.

Pick up your copy of Intentional Piecing today!

Craftsy Class Review: Next Steps with Your Walking Foot

I was so excited to get the opportunity to review Jacquie Gering’s new Craftsy Class: Next Steps with your Walking Foot. This is a followup class to her earlier class, Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot, which I previously reviewed here

title

Although Next Steps with your Walking Foot is meant to follow the earlier class and Jacquie references it quite a bit, I think there’s so much good information in this class that it can stand on its own, even if you haven’t taken the first class yet.

The entire class runs for approximately 3 hours, and I had a great time watching it, coincidentally while doing my own walking-foot quilting for an upcoming quilt along!

decorative_stitching

Decorative stitches are so quick and easy to do – here’s my current WIP using them!

The class is broken down into 8 segments running anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes in length. I love watching a video this way because there are plenty of good stopping points. Jacquie is very thorough in this class, including many supplemental class materials which are a  handy reference as you are going through the class.

Twigs

Twigs – one of the designs Jacquie teaches using reverse quilting. So clever!

Here are the basics of what you will learn in Next Steps with your Walking Foot including what I enjoyed most about each section:

  • Lesson 1 – Walking Foot Basics
    Jacquie explains the anatomy of a walking foot along with how you can adjust your foot to work best for you. IDF (integrated dual feed) works basically the same as a walking foot. This is what I use on my BERNINA and I like that she affirms that what I’m doing is correct!
  • Lesson 2 – New Linear Designs
    Jacquie goes beyond straight line quilting by adding decorative elements to her straight lines to “fancy” them up a bit. It’s all about the amazing texture!
  • Lesson 3 – Decorative Stitches
    Jacquie explores many of the decorative stitches built into her machine. She also keeps a stitch journal with detailed notes on which stitches to use and what the settings are. I thought it was very clever of her to use something as simple as a blind hem stitch in a new way!
  • Lesson 4 – Concentric Shapes
    This was my favorite lesson of all! I loved learning Jacquie’s trick for quilting concentric geometric shapes by traveling in the ditch. I already have several great ideas brewing for how to incorporate these ideas into my quilts!
  • Lesson 5 – Spirals
    She shares her magic formula for marking guidelines when quilting geometric spirals like squares and octagons. She also shows how mistakes can often turn into happy accidents!
  • Lesson 6 – Designs with Reverse Stitching
    Jacquie shows how to combine reverse stitching with regular stitching for some really unique quilting effects. I have played around a bit with this myself and it was great to get validation that yes, this is an okay thing to do!
  • Lesson 7 – New Curved Designs
    With a bit of marking and planning, she shows how to come up with some really cool curved effects, building off of ideas she has taught in her previous class. Although I’m not one to mark much, this section gave me some ideas to branch off from. 🙂
  • Lesson 8 – Curved Remixes
    Clamshells, flowers, and circles, oh my! By the time you get to the last lesson you will be blown away by the sheer number of ideas of how to quilt with your walking foot!

spirals

I love Jacquie’s approach to teaching geometric spirals – it make so much sense!

Special Discount – Just for You!

For a limited time, my friends at Craftsy are allowing me to share this class with you at up to 50% off the regular price. It expires in exactly one week, at the end of the day on March, 30, 2016 so if you are thinking about it, don’t wait – enroll now. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. 🙂

Click here to preview Next Steps with your Walking Foot by Jacquie Gering.

 

Save

Save

Lines by Design Quilts by Debbie Grifka – Blog Hop

I’m still recovering from the awesomeness that was QuiltCon 2016 and one of the amazing quilts I fell in love with was Clerestory by Debbie Grifka of Esch House Quilts. FYI I hadn’t heard this word before, so I looked it up. It’s an architectural term that refers to a section of wall that contains windows. Since many modern quilt designs are inspired by architecture, the name makes total sense. 🙂

clarestory

Clerestory – 64″ x 74″

Well, today, I’m excited to let you know that you can get the pattern for this awesome quilt, plus 16 others in Debbie’s brand new book, Lines by Design Quilts.

cover

Fault Line – 52″ x 52″

I have always admired Debbie’s original quilt designs, and now I really like the premise of her new book book: patterns that explore the clean lines often found in architecture, furniture and clothes.

Lines by Design Quilts is organized into four pattern sections: squares and rectangles, diamonds and hexagons, circles and curves, and pictorial. I think the pictorial section is my favorite! Just look at a couple of the dynamic designs patterned in that part of the book:

deep_blueDeep Blue – 36″ x 45″

In the book Debbie explains how she uses bias tape applique to “draw” some of the shapes in her book. That is such a clever idea for those of us who are lacking certain artistic skills!

cureall

Cure-All – 30″ x 30″. I imagine some yummy hot cocoa as a cure-all for myself!

Lines By Designs Quilts has a nice mix of both pieced and applique quilt patterns – something for everyone! I love how Debbie encourages you to either make these quilts as given in the book, or to use them as a jumping off point to create something new and unique.

The book  includes plenty of clear illustrations, full size applique patterns and well written text, along with beautifully styled photography. I can totally imagine each of the quilts from this book in my home!

Your chance to win!

Each of the bloggers on Debbie’s book tour will be featuring  a different quilt (or 3) on their stop, so be sure to view them all. You’ll also be able enter for your chance to win a copy on each stop (hard copy for US winners, digital for non-US).

Wed, Mar 2     Christa Watson         (You are here)
Th, Mar 3        Casey York      https://studioloblog.wordpress.com/
Fri, Mar 4        Heather Jones http://www.heatherjonesstudio.com/blog/
Mon, Mar 7     Kate Colleran  http://seamslikeadream.com/blog/
Tues, Mar 8     Rossie Hutchinson      http://www.rossiecrafts.com/blog
Wed, Mar 9     Amanda Jean Nyberg http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.com/
Th, Mar 10      Amy Ellis         http://www.amyscreativeside.com/blog/
Fri, Mar 11      Lynn Krawczyk            http://smudgeddesignstudio.com/blog/
Mon, Mar 14   Debbie Grifka  http://eschhousequilts.com/blog

Then leave a comment below telling me if you’ve ever done bias tape applique before. I haven’t, but now I’m inspired to try! Winners will be chosen on March 14th, at the close of the hop.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Lines by Design Quilts!

New around here? Sign up for my email newsletter and get my exclusive PDF pattern for free!

Book Review – Stash Lab by Tonya Alexander

I’m wrapping up my slew of book reviews (for now) with Stash Lab – Simple Solutions for Scrap Quilts by Tonya Alexander. If you are a scrapaholic, then this is the book for you!

cover

Stash Lab images courtesy of Martingale. Photography by Brent Kane.

Stash Lab opens with a wonderful introduction on using your stash, with an easy to understand simplified color theory and explanation of Tonya’s 3 “equations” for scrappy success!

stash_lab_equations

Tonya’s Stash Lab Equations – so clever!

The thing I love about any Martingale/That Patchwork Place book is that the quilts are beautifully photographed from a straight on angle so that you can see the whole quilt. The illustrations are in full color and the book is laid out so that it is very easy to read and follow.

sample_illustrations

Sample page with step by step, clear illustrations to follow.

Each quilt in Stash Lab lists dimensions and finished block sizes along with a complete materials list with plenty of helpful tips sprinkled throughout each pattern. The book also includes a very thorough techniques section before you get started making the quilts.

Let’s dive in and take a peek at some of my favorite quilts from the book!

FINALS B1335.indd

Kaffe’s Garden at Night, 52″ x 65″

FINALS B1335.indd

Sunny Side Up, 76″ x 78″

FINALS B1335.indd

Loose Change 48″ x 64″

Stash Lab includes a range of styles from traditional to modern, showcasing a variety of techniques from traditional piecing to paper piecing to  applique. I recently learned a rule of thumb in the publishing industry – if you like at least 3 quilts in any book, it’s worth it to purchase. Well, I can say without a doubt that I could see myself making all 11 quilts from the book!

I recently heard an interview with Tonya on the American Patchwork and Quilting podcast. It was so fun to hear her story about how she fell into quilting. Give it a listen the next time you are quilting, and be sure to pick up your copy of Stash Lab today!

 

Craftsy Class Review – Disappearing Blocks with Precuts

My friend Angela Pingel recently released her first Craftsy Class and I just love it! It’s called Simple to Stunning: Disappearing Blocks with Pre-cuts.

titleCard

You all know I’m a huge fan of working with precuts, so this class is right up my alley! You’ve heard of disappearing 9 patch blocks right? Angela’s class explores that concept in great detail with many other starter blocks besides the simple nine patch.

The class runs just over 100 minutes so it’s a little on the shorter side compared to some of the other Craftsy classes, but it was the perfect length of time for me. I often get excited about a new class, then lose a little steam and don’t make it through the entire thing. Well, that didn’t happen with Angela’s class. She had me engaged from start to finish!

watching

I watched Angela’s class while working on a secret quilting project. So fun!!

Here’s a breakdown of the six lessons that are included in the class:

  1. Precuts and Disappearing Blocks – Angela introduces you to a variety of pre-cuts. You’ll also get started on your first block and practice cutting and sub-cutting techniques.
  2. Disappearing Blocks with Charms – Create three beautiful blocks: a disappearing nine-patch, a disappearing four-patch and a disappearing diagonal four-patch.
  3. Disappearing Blocks with 10 Inch Squares – Cut triangles, then find out how to sew gorgeous pinwheels and hourglass blocks that look complex but come together quickly.
  4. Disappearing Blocks with Rolls – Learn Angela’s method for accurate strip-piecing as you make a disappearing strips block and a disappearing strip triangles design.
  5. Double Disappearing Blocks – Learn how the addition of more fabric and cutting can transform 5″ squares into incredible, dimensional nine-patch and whirligig blocks.
  6. Designing Your Own Blocks – Angela shows you how to turn your new skills into inspiration for future projects and how to customize pre-cut color palettes.

Here are just  three of the fun blocks that Angela shows you how to make in class:

DisappearingStripTriangles_1

Disappearing Strip Triangles

DisappearingStripDiamonds_1

Disappearing Strip Diamonds

DisappearingFourPatchBlock_1

Disappearing 4-Patch Block

During each teaching session, Angela includes illustrations of what each block would look like when set into an entire quilt. There are some pretty cool combinations that I’m itching to try!

Just like each and every Craftsy class, there are additional class materials to use when making your own blocks, plus tons of teacher support. You can ask questions during class and Angela is very prompt about answering. One of my favorite things in any class is reading through the comments during each lesson. I highly recommend this class and will definitely watch it again!

Click here to purchase Disappearing Blocks with Precuts

Click here to stock up on your favorite precuts! (And thanks for your support!)

Book Review – Desert to Sea

Let me tell you about my friend talented Jane Davidson, aka Quilt Jane. I’m sure may of you already know her. She’s the brilliant designer of the Nested Churn Dash pattern that has helped fuel the current Churn Dash block craze. She’s also launching a brand new community project with Pat Sloan – The Splendid Sampler Sew Along. (More about my involvement with that later!)

The-Splendid-Sampler-Sew-Along-big-button

Well today I want to tell you about Jane’s fabulous book. It’s called Desert to Sea, a collection of 10 fabulous modern and contemporary quilts from Australian designers.

covertrimmedfinaltrim31mar-pg2-2015

The really cool thing about this book (other than the awesome quilt patterns) is that fact that she’s professionally self-published it and it’s easily available through Amazon, although Jane lives in Australia. Let’s take a look at a few of the lovely quilts:

CaloundraBeachQuilts

Some of the scenic photography from the book.

RockPoolsPatternPhoto

Rock Pools by Jane Davidson

DesertSands_Art1

Desert Sands by Jane Davidson

LLQuiltHanging

Love Letters by Jeannette Bruce

OpalEssence_4_1024

Opal Essence detail, by Lorena Uriarte

The projects themselves are beautiful and so is the photography. The book is really easy to follow, too. Each pattern includes the overall quilt size and block size (if applicable) which makes it super easy to change the dimensions of the quilt if desired. Materials requirements are given in both imperial and metric units and the instructions are written in inches, with a handy conversion chart in the beginning of the book.

Complete step-by-step instructions are included as are enough illustrations and templates so that you can successfully make any of the quilts. I also enjoyed the tips and closeup details that are sprinkled throughout the book.

Although I rarely tend to make quilts from other people’s patterns, I sure enjoy collecting quilting books purely for their inspiration and aesthetic value.

Be sure to grab a copy of Desert to Sea today!

My Stop on the Sister Sampler Quilts Blog Hop

Welcome everyone, to my stop on the Sister Sampler Quilts blog hop tour! If you are new around here, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter, and get a free PDF quilt pattern. 🙂

Today I get to share my thoughts and sample blocks from AnneMarie Chany’s brand new book, Sister Sampler Quilts.

Sister Sampler Quilts Book Cover
Sister Sampler Quilts: 3 Modern Sampler Quilts with Paired Sister Blocks
By AnneMarie Chany
Fons & Porter/F+W; $19.99
http://www.sistersamplerquilts.com

So what are sister sampler blocks you ask? They are two of the same block within a quilt that make a visually interesting design when they are arranged within the sampler setting. Each time you make a block, you learn about color and fabric placement, value, tone, scale, etc.  By making two of each block, you can play, improve upon your selections, or try out something different.

Here are a few examples from the book:

Susannah

grandmother's frame

schoolgirlpuzzle

Sister Sampler Quilts contains 3 samplers of 25 interchangeable blocks given in 2 finished sizes. All sampler blocks are made in pairs so that you make 2 of each block instead of just one. The block pairs can be the same or different, allowing you to explore different ideas within the same block!

My favorite sampler from the book is the modern Vice Versa Sampler shown below. I’m not usually a big fan of traditional sampler quilts which is why Sister Sampler Quilts really appeals to me. All blocks are traditional blocks with fun modern layouts.

ViceVersa

My favorite sampler from the book – Vice Versa

I chose to make a pair of Rising Star blocks because I love the inverse design that’s created when you swap the fabric placement. I used some scraps from my  Kona designer palette to make my blocks and I loved being able to whip up two blocks at the same time!

star_blocks

9″ finished Rising Star blocks – these were so fun to make!

I simply love the fact that AnneMarie also chose to include plenty of quilting suggestions and closeup details of her machine quilting. I don’t know about you – but I when I spend my money on a book, I want to think about finishing the darn thing, not just making another top, LOL!! This book is a great value because it’s 126 pages long and priced under twenty bucks (or less when you buy it from Amazon).

back_cropped

 

Win a copy of Sister Sampler Quilts

Have you ever made a sampler quilt? Leave a comment below and tell me all about it. Plus, you can share pics of your sampler quilts, or blocks made from this book in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa. I’d love to see!

Be sure to stop by all of the stops below for additional chances to win a copy of Sister Sampler Quilts. Winners will be chosen at the end of the hop.

Sister Sampler Quilts Blog Hop Schedule
Monday, January 18  
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters – Introduction
Sara Lawsom / Sew Sweetness
Tuesday, January 19 
Leah Day / Free Motion Project
Brenda Ratliff / Just A Bit Frayed
Wednesday, January 20
Faith Jones / Fresh Lemons Quilts
Angela Pingel / Cut To Pieces
Thursday, January 21
Lynne Goldsworthy / Lily’s Quilts
Amy Friend / During Quiet Time
Friday, January 22
Christa Watson / Christa Quilts — You are here!
Violet Craft
Monday, January 25
Lee Heinrich / Freshly Pieced
Melissa Corry / Happy Quilting
Tuesday, January 26
Karen Lewis / Karen Lewis Textiles
Wednesday, January 27
Sherri McConnell / A Quilting Life
Melissa Mortensen / Polka Dot Chair
Thursday, January 28
Heather Valentine / The Sewing Loft
Friday, January 29
Cindy Wiens / Live A Colorful Life
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters – Wrap Up

 

Book Review – Every Last Piece by Lynn Harris

I’m working my way through my new stash of quilt books and am excited to share Every Last Piece by Lynn Harris from The Little Red Hen.

Every Last Piece Cover

Lynn and I have known each other for awhile online but we got to meet in person at QuiltCon last year, and then got a chance to be roommates at the BERNINA ambassador reunion in December.

BERNINA_reunion

BERNINA ambassador friends: Nancy Mahoney, Lynn Harris, Me, Mandy Leins, Kari Carr.

I love Lynn’s concept for the book: using the tiniest pieces and scraps to create unique, fabulous designs. The cool thing about scrap quilts is that no two quilts are ever alike! Let’s take a look at just a few of the beautiful quilts in this book (images courtesy of Lynn and F&W)):

nancy_quilt

The Nancy Quilt – definitely my favorite. That green!! Those feathers!!

Wind farm

Wind Farm – I love it when a quilt can use teal as a neutral!!

circular_reasoning

Circular Reasoning is such a clever name for this quilt!

The quilts range in style from traditional to contemporary to modern, so there truly is something for everyone in this book!

bar_scene_closeup

Detail of the quilting on Bar Scene – I love it!

Lynn gets bonus points from me for quilting all of the quilts in her book, and there are tons of gorgeous closeup photos so you can see what she did!

The book includes patterns for 12 beautiful designs, plus a fabulous gallery of scrap quilts Lynn has made over the years – perfect inspiration for creating your own unique quilt! Templates, where needed, are given in full size and there are plenty of alternate layouts given to show you multiple options.

beach_balls

I love the combination of piecing, applique and quilting on Beach Balls!

Every Last Piece is a scrap quilter’s dream, and I highly recommend it for your bookshelf.  I’ll leave you with this final beauty shot – a closeup of the cover quilt that Lynn slept under during our ambassador reunion stay. I love it when quilts get used!!

stardust_detailpng

Stardust detail – those stars are so tiny at just 2″ each!!

What quilting books are you currently reading?

Book Review – Sew Sweet Baby Quilts

Yay – it’s time for another book review! Probably one of the things I love most about being an author with Martingale/That Patchwork Place is getting to know many of their other fabulous authors, like Kristin Roylance, author of Sew Sweet Baby Quilts.

Sew Sweet Cover

Sew Sweet Baby Quilts is a fun little 48 page book, packed with 7 adorable quilts that are fun to make and simple to sew! The book includes plenty of shortcuts including using precuts and utilizing strip piecing methods for several of the quilts.

Here are a few of my favorites (all photography courtesy of Martingale and Brent Kane):

B1349 FINALS.indd

I love the striking simplicity of Fast and Frilly.

B1349 FINALS.inddThis quilt is perfectly named – Sweet as Can Bee!

B1349 FINALS.inddHook, Line and Sinker is too adorable!

Kristin’s quilts are simply fresh and fun and totally something I would make! Sew Sweet Baby Quilts is quite a deal at less than $20 for 7 unique designs. Just think how much it would cost if you purchased each pattern individually!

cutequilts

Kristin has made her book super easy to use. She includes full-sized pattern pieces for each of the applique pieces, plus there’s a section on quiltmaking basics. And, if you like her style (like I do), you can still get your hands on her first book, Cute Quilts for Kids!

Learn more about Kristin at her site: CuteQuiltPatterns.com.

Book Review – On the Go Bags

I accumulated a bunch of fun sewing and quilting books over the holidays and I’m excited to share them with you over the next few days. My hope is that you’ll find something that resonates with you and add it to your crafty library!

Today I’ll start with On The Go Bags by Lindsay Connor and Janelle MacKay.

onthego_bags_cover

On the Go Bags by Lindsay Conner and Janelle MacKay

First off, this is a great book for people like me, who want to get over their fear of 3-D sewing!! It contains sewing patterns for a total of 15 projects including purses, totes, organizers and more.

onthego_laptopkeeper

 

For sure, I need to make this laptop keeper and I love the fact that it’s one of the easiest projects in the book! In fact, I appreciate how each project includes the difficulty level right at the start of the instructions. On the Go Bags includes 5 easy projects, 6 intermediate projects and 5 advanced projects. There’s something for everyone in this book!

Here’s a pic of the table of contents so you can get a feel for the range of projects included.

toc

I love all of the great sewing designers they included, too. I’m not as involved in the sewing community as I am in the quilting community. However, there are several names I recognize and I can attest that the quality of their patterns in this book is just as good as the material that they produce individually.

Here’s another project I want to make, again from the easy section:

purse_pockets
I need lots and lots of purse and tote pockets!!

For those like me that haven’t sewn too many functional items besides quilts, I really enjoyed the beginning sections of the book which includes things like how to work with interfacings, and how to make bag straps. There’s even a section on bias binding and piping (which could be applied to making quilts).

I think On the Go Bags is a great book to add to your sewing library!

I’m curious, what kinds of non-quilty items do you like to sew?