The Fandangle Precuts are Here (At The Precut Store)

I’m excited to announce that the Fandangle Precuts have now made their way to our Precut Store which means that most orders qualify for Amazon prime and free 2 day shipping – whoo hoo!!

The Precut Store

Click here to check out The Precut Store

For those that don’t know – my husband started The Precut Store back in 2012 as separate site to sell precuts exclusively, plus some Aurifil thread. Thanks to your support it’s been tremendously successful and has allowed me the free time I’ve needed to develop my professional quilting career. (Prior to him taking over, I used to cut and ship fabric orders all day long which was fun but left very little time for quilting!)

Fandangle Precuts Available

The Fandangle Strip-pie is of course the most popular precut and you can pair it up with other fabrics to make quilts from many of my patterns, or any jelly-roll friendly design.
I really like how Benartex has packaged it to lie flat and separated it into warm and cool colorways. You get 2 strips of each of the prints in the line.

Fandangle Jelly Roll by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase Fandangle Strip-pies

Charm Packs are the second most popular precut and very versatile! You can whip up a small baby quilt from one Fandangle charm pack with the squares sewn together edge to edge and set 6 x 7. Or you can combine them with a background or multiple charms for a larger quilt.

Fandangle Charm Pack by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase Fandangle Charm Packs

In fact, I’m playing around with the idea of making another version of my popular Charming Chevrons quilt pattern using charm packs from both Modern Marks and Fandangle.

Charming Chevrons Quilt pattern with Christa Watson Fabric

On my wish list – remaking Charming Chevrons with Modern Marks + Fandangle Charms

10 x 10’s (aka Layer Cakes) are also a popular precut. You get 42 squares just like in the 5″ charms, but the squares are twice as big. This allows versatility to make a super fast and fun throw size quilt. It also provides enough fabric to make a scrappy quilt without breaking the bank.

Fandangle Layer Cake by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase the Fandangle 10×10.

Just like the 5×5’s, the 10×10’s include two squares of each fabric in the line, plus 2 bonus squares for a total of 42 pieces. I specifically created 20 prints for the collection so that the math works out nicely.

Fandangle fabrics

All 20 Fandangle Prints

I’m super excited that we are now able to offer Fandangle Fat Quarter bundles, too. We are working on convincing the folks over at Benartex to offer fat quarter bundles for all of their lines. (They currently offer 80 FQ boxes of every collection which include duplicates and are meant for brick and mortar stores to display – but they don’t work so well for online sales.)

Fandangle Fat Quarters by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase 20 piece fat quarter bundles of Fandangle.

And remember, if you make anything with my fabric, I’d love to see. You can share your projects and progress any time in my Christa Quilts facebook group. On Intagram, be sure to use the hashtag #fandanglefabric so I can see what you are creating!

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

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

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

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

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

Fandangle Fabric by Christa Watson

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

Step 1 – Cutting the Strips

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

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

Strips of Fandangle Fabric

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

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

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

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

Fandangle Strippie by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

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

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

Step 2 – Subcut the Units

Fandangle fabric subcut units for Dot 'n Dash qal

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

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

Homework – Get Ready to Sew!

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

Piece and Quilt Collection Aurifil Thread by Christa Watson

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

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

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

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

Perfect Piecing Seam Guide

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

Remember: Sharing is Caring

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

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

Dot n Dash Quilt Along

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

Quilt Shops that Carry Modern Marks

Here’s a list of stores that purchased  Modern Marks.

Modern Marks by Christa Watson

Modern Marks by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio

Please know that there are many, many more stores that carry my fabric – these are just the shops that I personally know about. Also, since the line has now been out for about a year, some shops may be sold out – so check with them for current availability.

If you see my fabric at any shop not listed below, please leave a note in the comments and I’ll be glad to update the list!

If the shop sells online, their name below will be a clickable link.
Copy and paste each shop name into google for additional contact info and/or website.

Modern Marks by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here for free patterns using my fabrics.

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Last Call for Modern Marks Fabric Yardage

It’s so fun to think it was just a year ago that I released my first fabric line and my second one is in stores now. It’s been wonderful to work with Benartex (Contempo Studio) and they’ve given me wide latitude to design what I want – fabrics that I would actually put in my quilts!

Modern Marks by Christa Watson

Click here to grab some Modern Marks by the yard.

I recently got the notice that Modern Marks is on its last print run which means that once Benartex sells out of their current stock, that’s it. So I went ahead and grabbed a bit of everything left in stock to share with you all in 2 yard increments for just $18 each (plus shipping.)

I also grabbed enough for my personal stash so that I’ll be able to use it in future quilts, too!

Modern Marks Fabrics Available for Purchase

As of today, here’s a list of prints that are still available, first come first served.

Modern Marks Main Print by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio

Click here to purchase Modern Marks in Red or Lime.

Modern Marks by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase Half Ovals in Fuchsia, Orange, Turquoise, or Teal

Modern Marks by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase Herringbone in Red, Lime, Jade, or Navy

Modern Marks by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase Quirky Triangles in Pink/Orange, Green, or Blue

Modern Marks by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase Crosshatch in Lime or Blue

Modern Marks by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase Crossmarks in Pink, Jade, or Turquoise

Modern Marks by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase Boxes in Light Blue, Cream, or Orange

I’m happy to ship internationally and can fit up to 8 yards in a priority mail flat rate envelope. (Just leave me a note on your order to refund any excess shipping charge if applicable.)

Click here to see everything left in stock.

Modern Marks fabric scraps

What will you make with Modern Marks???

Creative Spaces Blog Hop Week 6 – Organizing Rulers

Can you believe that the Creative Spaces Blog Hop wraps up this week? (I’m posting a couple days late due to my Dot ‘n’ Dash quilt along which just stared on Friday). If you have missed any of the Creative Spaces posts, be sure to click the links of all the designers listed the end of this post, and scroll back through their feeds to catch them all.

Creative Spaces Blog Hop Week 6

Previous Creative Spaces Blog Posts

Here’s a link of the other 5 posts I wrote for the hop if you’d like to check them out:

How I Organize My Rulers

This week, we are chatting about organizing our rulers and tools. I’m not much of a gadget gal, but I do love me some acrylic rulers! I have a lot of them: short ones, long ones, various size squares and specialty shapes. In the past, I used to organize them with small wooden racks that had grooves cut in them like this:

Acrylic ruler holder

This worked for a time, but I found it to be a bit too clunky and it took up too much space. So recently, I’ve switched to storing the smaller rulers in a plastic drawer in my storage closet like this:

Storing small acrylic rulers in a drawer

A bin of plastic drawers works well for my small acrylic rulers.
You can see some of my Aurifil Thread spools peeking out from the other drawers.

I hang my larger rulers using small command hooks attached to the outside of my storage closets. I like the small 1/2 pound size because the silver hooks easily fit in the holes of my rulers. Each hook can hold up to 2 rulers with no problem.

command hooks for organization

Command hooks are an inexpensive and versatile storage solution.

I have two of these storage closets shown below, so it provides lots of space on the outside for my rulers. They are easy to reposition if I need to change my configuration. I also use the command hooks to store some of my show ribbons which bling up my space nicely. 🙂

Storing Acrylic Rulers

I’m in my sewing space 8-10 hours each day so I make use of every nook and cranny for storage!

I routinely purge my rulers and other tools if I find I haven’t used them in awhile. A general rule for decluttering I try to employ is this: if you aren’t sure you want to get rid of something, put it in a box in a closet for 6 months. If you haven’t touched it in that time, you probably never will, so get rid of it!

Be sure to check out the other blog hoppers for tips and tricks on how they store their rulers and other tools. And leave me a comment below letting me know how you control the clutter in your sewing room.

Creative Spaces Blog Hop Participants

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Creative Spaces Blog Hop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Schedule

Week 1 –  August 17: Schedule, Supply List and Introductions (You are here!)
Week 2 – August 24: Cutting the Fabric
Week 3 – August 31: Sewing the Blocks
Week 4 – September 7: Completing the Quilt Top
Week 5 – September 14: Backing and Basting
Week 6 – September 21: Quilting Part 1 – Stitching in the Ditch
Week 7 – September 28: Quilting Part 2 – Quilting Double Zig-Zags
Week 8 – October 5: Quilting Part 3 – Free Motion Quilting Double L’s
Week 9 – October 12: Binding

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

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

Materials List

Fandangle Strip-pieClick here to purchase Fandangle Precuts.

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

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

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

Fandangle fabric by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo

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

This Week’s Homework – gathering and Sharing

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

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

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

Fandangle fabrics for quilt along

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

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

Dot n Dash quilt by Christa Watson

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

Beaded Lanterns Quilt Along Starts Sept 10 with BERNINA

I know many of you are excited about the Dot ‘n Dash quilt along which starts on Friday!! But you know what? I love quilt alongs so much I’m starting another one a few weeks later!! My Beaded Lanterns Quilt Along will be hosted over on the BERNINA We All Sew Blog and it will run in a similar format: 6 weeks of start to finish tutorials to make an entire quilt!

Beaded Lanterns Quilt Along

Click here to grab a quilt kit to make this quilt using Fandangle fabric.

I’m using my Fandangle fabric to make my version of the quilt shown above, and I’m offering a limited number quilt kits over at shop.christaquilts.com if you want to make one just like it.

All you need to make this quilt are a jelly roll (set of precut 2 1/2″ srips) and 4 yards of background fabric. The pattern for this quilt along is a free pattern I created for with Benartex to help promote the fabric line.  Of course it would look fabulous in any fabrics you choose!

Beaded Lanterns by Christa Watson

Click here to get the free PDF pattern to make Beaded Lanterns.

Now I don’t want to stress you out with the idea of two quilt alongs overlapping for a few weeks at the same time. Both will be available indefinitely so you can do them at any time!

The hashtag for this quilt along on instagram is #beadedlanternsqal so be sure to share your progress so I can see how you are doing. When the QAL launches over on the BERNINA blog, you’ll be able to share over there, too, on their community site.

I can’t wait – it’s going to be fun!! And really, my quilt alongs are just an excuse for me to play with my new Fandangle fabric as much as possibile, LOL!!

Beaded Lanterns Quilt Along

Click here for full quilt along details on the BERNINA blog – we all sew.

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

Creative Spaces Blog Hop Week 5 – Organizing my Thread

Are you having a fun time getting organized with your creative space? Even if you are only virtually following along, that can be tons of fun, too! Be sure to scroll to the end of this post for links to all 16 creatives on the Creative Spaces Blog Hop. I’m getting inspired, and hope you are, too!

Creative Spaces Blog Hop

This week we are discussing ways to organize our embellishments: buttons, trims, thread, and what have you. Here’s a not-so-secret truth about my work: I’m a minimalist and I don’t really embellish my quilts. (FYI, that’s why I find it hilarious that I named my current fabric line Fandangle  – a real, but silly-sounding word that means excess embellishment or ornamentation, LOL!!)

But anyway, back to today’s post! I choose to decorate my quilts with quilting and thread rather than bling them up with buttons or beads, so I’ll share a bit about the thread I love to use.


I love being able to get an exact thread match, no matter which fabrics I choose! This is an in-progress shot when I was making my modern Abacus wallhanging – (PDF pattern available here).

My favorite thread is Aurifil 50 weight cotton and I use it for everything: piecing, quilting, binding and machine applique. It comes in every color of the rainbow and I love mixing and matching thread colors to the fabrics I use.

During my last huge quilting cleanup I decided that it was high time to organize my thread stash. I sold or donated anything that wasn’t Aurifil and I keep all of my threads in plastic drawers sorted by color. The drawers are located in a shelving unit with doors so that the threads are kept away from heat and light (just like my fabric).

I have drawers full of Aurifil thread to choose from, sorted mostly into warm and cool hues.

The picture above is actually an older image that shows a small collection of other weights, too. But since then, I’ve gotten rid of those, too. I really only use 50 weight now for everything.

Aurifil Thread Squiggles

I love taking the time to “audition” my threads to see which will work best. Above is an image from a recent quilt along I did to showcase my first fabric line, Modern Marks.
Quilting it was just as much fun as sewing the top!

One of the main reasons I chose to simplify my thread stash is for purely logistical reasons. I didn’t want to have to keep track of all the different types of thread, in all the different sizes, and worry about which bobbin matches which thread!

Once I find something that works, I tend to stick with it and don’t really need to veer outside my comfort zone. Besides, since I piece and quilt with the same thread, I know what to expect performance-wise in each and every quilt that I make.

Aurifil Cotton Thread

If I’m not sure which thread to pick, many times I’ll choose a soft neutral with just a hint of color!
This is a detail shot of Modern Puzzle, one of the free quilt patterns I offer.

The nice thing about being able to piece AND quilt with the same thread is that I can always use up leftover quilting bobbins whenever I piece my next quilt, especially if it’s scrappy.

In fact, I’m so gung-ho on thread being able to do double duty that I curated a collection of my favorite threads with Aurifil – the Piece and Quilt Collection in Colors and Neutrals.

Piece and Quilt Aurifil thread by Christa Watson

My threads with Aurifil have been hot sellers for several years now because they cover all the basics! Want to go wild and colorful? Choose the Colors collection.

Piece and Quilt Neutrals Aurifil Thread from Christa Quilts

If you prefer to tone it down, choose the Neutrals collection. I love storing these in the Aurifil thread boxes, because that helps keep the clutter under control when it comes to thread!

I’ve been quilting with Aurifil exclusively since around 2013. I’ve tried many brands in the past, but none of them gave me satisfactory results. I tried other brands that friends raved about, only to be disappointed with how they performed in my machine. So my biggest piece of advice when figuring out what you like is to get a small spool, quilt it on a real quit and see what you and your machine like best!

How do you like to store YOUR threads, or other embellishments? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Writing Book 4 – Part 2: Contract Accepted, Work Begins

If you are new to my blog, I’ve begun documenting my progress as I write a book from start to finish. In my last post, I discussed the book proposal process, so be sure to check that out! I’m currently working on my fourth book, and kinda maybe sorta know more about what I’m doing this time around. Just kidding about the “sorta” part, but it’s always a learning process, for sure!!

Christa Watson Books

I’ve written 3 books on my own and have been featured in numerous collaborations with my publisher Martingale/That Patchwork Place, a few of which are shown here.

So here’s what’s happened so far. After I submitted my proposal back in April of this year, I met with my publisher in person in May at Spring Quilt Market 2018 in Portland, OR. I had an in-depth meeting with the acquisitions editor and content editor to nail down the specifics of what the new book will be about (machine quilting – duh!!)

I had originally wanted to go in one direction with the book, but when they pointed out that some of the content I wanted to include was already covered in my first three books, they helped me narrow down my focus and solidify the overall direction for this new book.

Martingale Collaboration Books

Two new Martingale titles that debuted at Spring Quilt Market include Fat Quarter Favorites, featuring my quilt on the cover, and Lunch Hour Patchwork which includes my modern mini.

A couple of months after our meeting at market, Martingale offered me the formal contract in writing, which of course I accepted, and I made myself a time line/to do list of all the steps I’ll need to finish on time.

The first section of the book isn’t due until the next February and the final manuscript, instructions, and samples are due by the end of summer 2019. I’m thrilled because this will give me plenty of time to create the book along with other new and exciting projects I have in the works.

The most wonderful part about working with a publisher is that although I create all of the content, including “placeholder” photos and illustrations, Martingale has a team of professionals who photograph and illustrate everything based on my images. I love it when they take what I create and make it look even more beautiful!

Publishing Agreement for my Next Book

Happy mail! Getting the contract in the mail is always an exciting day!

Book 4 (as I will be calling it until the cover art is finalized) is slated to be 96 pages which is the same length as my most recent book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. Of course that can change depending on final editing, and it’s due to be published in September of 2020 (also subject to change). I have a working title for the book, but even that can be tweaked.

As an example, for my first three books, the publisher named the first two while I titled the third. I have a feeling that the title for Book 4 is something we both are in agreement on! (Sorry for all the teases, but I’m giving away only as much as I can at this point.)

I can’t say enough about how excited I am to work on this new book. It’s actually something that many of my students have been asking for, so I love being able to meet their needs. And the best thing about machine quilting is that it’s timeless: the ideas I create now will be just as relevant in two years when the book is available for sale. Even though that seems like a long way off right now, I know that time is going to fly!

Christa at Quilt Market 2015

Doing a demo for my first book at quilt market in 2015

While I can’t discuss the specifics of my contract, I can tell you that royalties are based on the wholesale price of the book, and I will also have the opportunity to purchase them wholesale myself. In fact, most authors who sell their own books make more from direct sales of their books than they do in royalties, so it’s something to keep in mind if you are considering writing a book, or purchasing a book directly from the author.

Now the real work begins. The toughest part for me is balancing out my workdays so that I work on my book a little each week, rather than trying to cram in everything right before the deadline. I’m currently planning in detail everything that needs to be done, and my publisher was fabulous to work with on the timing, since I let them know I wouldn’t really be able to start on it in earnest until after Fall Market later this year.

Machine Quilting Demo

Machine quilting demo to promote my latest fabric and book at Spring Quilt Market 2018. I will be doing lots and lots and lots of quilting over the next few months. I can’t wait!

I have to be honest and say it’s been nice to have a two year break from book writing, since work on my previous book was completed in 2016, a full year before the publish date. But now I feel refreshed, re-energized, and excited to dive into the new work! I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my progress, and will share a few sneak peeks as I can, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you have questions about the book writing process, please ask away in the comments below. If there’s enough interest, I’ll be glad to do a separate blog post devoted to answering your questions about anything I haven’t covered so far. I love sharing what I know and inspiring others to reach their goals, no matter how big or small!