Happy New Year 2020 and New Blogging Goals!

It’s been a few years since I actually sat down and wrote some business goals. But finally feel like I’m catching up and have actually had time to think and plan again, LOL! One thing has really stuck out at me lately, and that’s how much I enjoy blogging (and sharing pretty quilt pics)!

Surplus Strips by Christa Watson made from Fandangle Fabric

Here’s a recent quilt finish you may have missed.
It’s called Surplus Strips made from leftovers or precut strips.

I’ve written several times over the past year about how I’m trying to nail down this social media stuff. I appreciate everyone’s support in ALL THE PLACES and I’m not going to abandon any of them. But no sooner had I decided that I should blog LESS that I realized that’s the wrong answer for me. I actually want to blog MORE!

So I was looking at my stats and I get a healthy number of people who visit my blog each and every day, whether they leave a comment or not. And I LIKE writing lots of words! And sharing lots of pics!

Surplus Strips Warm by Christa Watson

I made surplus strips in both warm and cool colorways of my Fandangle fabric line.

Don’t get me wrong – Facebook and Instagram are great for spur of the moment stuff. But sooo many people don’t see my content because of the 8#!@& algorithms! In fact I would say I have double the number of instagram followers than blog followers, yet my engagement and views here on the blog is about 2-3x higher than on Instagram.

So all of this is to say that going forward I plan to increase my blogging frequency to 3x per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Now to make this work, I’ll write up and schedule some of the content, like quilt alongs, ahead of time. Other days I’ll write a stream of consciousness “soapbox” post like today (but I’ll still include pretty pics).

Surplus Strips Warm Pieced backing

I love making pieced quilt backs from leftovers!!

And because this IS my business after all, I’ll still need to sprinkle in the occasional post about my latest & greatest fabrics, books or patterns for sale. But hopefully it will be inspiring content that will get you excited to make (and finish) more quilts!

Surplus Strips Cool by Christa WatsonClick here to get the Surplus Strips Quilt Pattern – PDF
Click here to get the Surplus Strips Quilt Pattern – in Print

So now I’m curious to know: how do you read this blog?

  1. Do you get instant email notices when a new post goes up?
    (You can add your email in the right side bar or scroll to the end below.)
  2. Do you use a blog reader service like Bloglovin’?
  3. Do you book mark this blog and come back to check it occasionally?
  4. Or do you get reminded about it when I share links to my posts on instagram/facebook/newsletter?

Surplus Strips quilts made from Fandangle by Christa Watson

Click here to get the Surplus Strips quilt kit.

I’m very data driven and geeky about this stuff, so I’d love to know. And feel free to leave me a comment letting me know what you’d love to see more of in the new year. Here’s hoping you have a fabulous 2020 and that all your quilty dreams come true!!! ūüôā

Paper Pieced Primrose Quilt Along Starts Next Week!!

Are you planning on learning to foundation paper piece in the new year? With my Pieced Primrose pattern, learning this skill is much easier than you’d think!! Be sure to let me know in the comments if you’ve done paper piecing before, or if this will be your first experience with it.

Pieced Primrose Quilt Pattern

The fun begins on Monday, January 6th with weekly posts to keep you on track for finishing by the end February. But you can still work at your own pace, and I’m here to cheer you on, no matter how long it takes!

Next week’s introductory post will talk a little bit more about the tools and supplies and general foundation¬† paper piecing tips. Then we’ll dive into cutting the following week, so you still have plenty of time to gather your fabrics and supplies.

Click here for the complete quilt along schedule and supply list.

Paper Piecing Notions

Click here to get my favorite notions for successful foundation paper piecing.

We’ll take extra time to piece the blocks and will finish up with basting, machine quilting and binding. After all, if you’ve done a quilt along with me before, you know how much I detest these three little words, “quilt as desired!”

Pieced Primose Quilt Abstract Garden Cool

Pieced Primrose shown in the Cool colorway of Abstract Garden above.
Pieed Primrose shown in the warm colorway of Abstract Garden below.

Pieced Primrose Abstract Garden Warm

My Pieced Primrose quilt pattern is super versatile and you can sew up as many blocks as you like with several different layouts. And it looks fabulous in ANY fabrics you choose to use. So I hope you’ll join the fun and consider me your cheerleader for “Start to Finish” quilting!!

“Best of” Quilt Alongs – Make a Quilt from Start to Finish

Just in case you missed it, here are some of my most popular quilt alongs from prior years. I still have kits available for many of them! Click this link and use code KIT at checkout to save 10%!

Color Weave – Made from Precut Strips or FQ’s

Color Weave Quilt from Abstract Garden

Click here for the Color Weave quilt along.
Click here to get the original Color Weave quilt kit.

The original version of this was made using one strip roll of my Abstract Garden fabric plus background grays from my Fandangle line.

The Color Weave quilt pattern was so popular that I recently reprinted it and added bonus cutting instructions using fat quarters. Now I want to remake it using Geo Pop fat quarters:

Can you sense a theme here? I really do love working with precuts because it get to use lots of colorful prints in my quilts!

Squiggles – Made from Charm Packs & Background

Squiggles by Christa Watson

Click here for the Squiggles quilt along.
Click here to get the Squiggles quilt kit.

This pattern is from my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts. I had written and published the book before I started designing fabric. But once my first line, Modern Marks came out, I wanted to remake many of my earlier designs in my own fabric! Many of these fabrics are now out of print but I stocked up on the charm packs because I knew they’d be a hot commodity!!

Blooming Wallflowers

Click here for the Blooming Wallflowers quilt along.
Click here to get the Blooming Wallflowers quilt kit.

Blooming Wallflowers by Christa Watson QuiltCon 2019

This is another quilt I loved so much that I had to make it twice! I was thrilled that I got to showcase the Abstract Garden version of the quilt at QuiltCon 2019 and of course it’s always a great pic when I can match my outfit to my quilt!!

I made the first version from Modern Marks and as you can see the colors are very similar. I actually used the same blue background fabric for both (Modern Marks Herringbone Navy) but due to the lighting it can look very different! Blooming Wallflowers Modern Marks

Dot N Dash Quilt – From Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Click here for the Dot N Dash quilt along.
Click here to get the Dot N Dash quilt kit.

Dot 'n Dash quilt by Christa Watson

This is another quilt that I remade from my Piece and Quilt with Precuts book and and it is so fun and fast to make! It uses one jelly roll + background and of I used one Fandangle Strip-pie to make this one + the gray background again.

Facets  from Machine Quilting with Style РImprov Piecing

Click here for the Facets Quilt Along
Click here to get my book Machine Quilting with Style
Click here to get the Curated Solids Strip roll used in this quilt.

Facets Quilt

Facets was my first exploration of improv piecing and such a game changing quilt for me. It was the first time I placed in a national quilt show, and the very first pattern I designed for my very first book. It was also the first time I curated a collection of fabrics to achieve a certain look. I had collaborated with another fabric company at the time, not realizing that my penchant for bright colors and bold shapes would lead me to where I am today.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing just a few of the quilt alongs I’ve hosted. Click here for my entire quilt along archive.¬† Leave me a comment if there’s a particular design from one of my patterns or books that’s you’d like to make. I’m always planning for future QAL’s and would love to help you along the way!

Merry Christmas from the Watsons – 2019!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! And from the bottom of our hearts we thank you for supporting Christa Quilts and The Precut Store!

Merry Christmas 2019

We recently had the opportunity to be in charge of a fun pajama themed Christmas party for our church. We are just missing my other son who’s currently serving as a missionary in Hong Kong.

Star Wars posters are everywhere in Hong Kong right now!
Too bad our son will have to wait until he gets home to actually see the movie, though!!

At this time of year we want to give big thanks and huge hugs to all of you who support our family’s quilting business. You are supporting our flexible work schedule so that we can volunteer in our community.

You are supporting two of our children as they work in our business while attending high school and college. You are supporting our other son who’s currently serving a church mission in Hong Kong, China.

You supported us earlier this year when we needed to relocate our entire household and business in under month (without shutting down business). You’ve supported our crazy idea to see if we could raise our family while working full-time in the quilting industry!!

Christmas at the Watsons

First Christmas in our new place. It was fun to add touches of handmade to create a cozy home.

It definitely hasn’t been easy!! But through it all, I’ve been uplifted and inspired whenever you share something you’ve made from my books, patterns or fabric. And it brightens my day when I get a kind email or social media comment about how I’ve helped make your quilting life easier.

Merry Christmas

A friend of ours painted this window outside our home, welcoming all who pass by!

So thanks for a fabulous 2019, thanks for your friendship, and thanks for your continued support. I’m looking forward to an even better 2020!

My Christmas Wish: To Partner with a Sewing Machine Table Company

Almost a year ago we moved into our new home and I began looking for a new sewing table to replace this one that I’ve had for over 20 years.

Christa's Quilt Studio

The quilt shown on the design wall is my Color Weave Quilt Pattern.

The main reason I want to replace it is because every single time I share a picture of it on social media, everyone wants to know where I got it from, and I don’t have an answer for them. I bought it from a dealer who’s no longer in business and I don’t even know the brand of table it is. I’ve looked long and hard through ALL the current companies out there and have never been able to find it again.

Christa's Sewing Table

Another view of my sewing room, before we installed the design wall.

But more to the point, this table has served me well, but there are a lot of features I wish it had. For example, when I first set it up in the middle of my new larger studio space, it actually doesn’t work well here because there’s no ledge on the back of the table to keep the quilt from falling off while quilting. I quilted a few quilts like this but struggled to keep the quilt on the table.

So I moved my table to the back wall of my space, underneath the window in my sewing studio.

Christa's Sewing Room

This is a current quilt pattern I’m working on, so stay tuned for details in a few months!

Pushing my table against the wall works better because the wall can block the quilt from falling off the table. However, I’ve had to add small tray table in front of the table to form an L and hold up the quilt to my left. Of course this isn’t pretty and it also blocks access to the drawer, but it works in a pinch!

Here’s a similar setup from my sewing space in my old house that we moved from. I used a plastic table or ironing board to hold the bulk of the quilt on the left. Again, this is practical, but not very pretty:

Sewing Table in Use

This quilt is Beaded Lanterns, a free pattern using precut Fandangle Strips.

I’ve gotten lots and lots of suggestions for other tables to try , but here’s the problem: They either aren’t all that pleasing to look at, or they are way too big. Or they have too many bells and whistles which jack up the price to be more than the cost of the machine!

Below is my setup again, and notice how I’ve also added another small table to the right of the machine, tucked into the corner. This is to hold notions and things that would fall off the side of the table. As you can see, when there’s nothing to hold up the quilt in the front of the machine, it falls off the table again!

Christa's Sewing Table

This quilt in progress is made from neutrals from several of my fabric lines.

So one of my goals in the new year (or next several years) is to try and find a table manufacturer that wants to work with me to design and create the PERFECT domestic machine quilting table. To be clear, I’m not just looking for a “custom” solution for myself. I want to be an ambassador for THE PERFECT TABLE so that I can endorse it and share it with thousands of fans, followers, and machine quilting students. After all, one of my main reasons in being a quilting educator is to make the process easier for YOU!!

So here is what I’m looking for:

  • The piece should be a table that stays up all the time, NOT an overpriced cabinet.
  • It should measure between 60-66″ inches at the longest side. Anything larger than that and it simply wont fit in most quilters’ sewing spaces.
  • The depth should be about 36″-40″
  • It should have some sort of extension forming an L on the left
  • It should include an optional fly out leaf on the right to hold notions
  • The hole for the machine should be positioned as far to the RIGHT as possible,
    not in the MIDDLE!
  • It should have a lip on the back to hold up the quilt if needed.
  • It should retail for $2,000 or LESS.

Machine Quiltin Scrunching and Smooshing

I’m “scrunching and smooshing” my Infrastructure Quilt through the machine on my table.

I’m putting this out there to the universe in the hopes that the right partner will see this, or someone out there has connections to a company who’d be interested in working with me as their spokesperson. If I can find the PERFECT domestic machine quilting table, I’ll be singing their praises all day long!!

So how about you? What’s your wish for the perfect sewing table, or other studio furniture??

Beautiful Quilts Made from Gridwork

I’m so excited that my newest fabric, Gridwork will be arriving in stores soon! To get you pumped up for some post holiday sewing, I’m sharing some gorgeous quilts made by my talented friends. Hopefully you’ll be inspired by one of these designs and put them on your “to make” list in the new year!

Why Knot by Heather Black of Quiltachusetts

Why Knot by Heather Black, Gridwork fabric by Christa Watson

Click here to get Heather’s Why Knot quilt pattern.

Whenever Heather Black designs a quilt, she really knocks it out of the park! She’s well-known for amazing modern curved piecing designs and she always makes my fabrics look great!! Check out her her new Why Knot quilt pattern, made from the Citron colorway of Gridwork fabric.

Heather is just as talented designing the machine quilting, too! I love how each section pops with the gorgeous custom quilting.

Why Knot Machine Quilting

Here’s a mini-sized version of the same quilt, made from Gridwork in Amethyst:¬†

Why Knot Quilt made from Gridwork fabric

The simple Gridwork quilting on this version gives it a completely different look, but it’s still very effective, don’t you think? And of course I love that it fits in with the theme of the fabric, too!

Why Knot Quilt in Amethyst Gridwork

Mid Mod by Charisma Horton

I’ve recently gotten to know Charisma Horton online and her work is just fabulous! She has a great eye for modern design and is a prolific long-arm quilter, too. I love this composition that she created from Gridwork, called Mid Mod.

Mid Mod Gridwork Fabric

Click here to get Charisma’s Mid Mod quilt pattern.

She quilted it with a fun allover geometric motif that I think adds great texture to the quilt without overpowering the pieced design.

Mid Mod by Charisma Horton

Doesn’t Charisma’s quilt look great on the side of this colorful building??

Meet Nate & Tate made From Leftover Scraps!

Check out what Charisma made from her Gridwork leftovers. Aren’t her Gnomes the cutest?

Noel Gnome by Charisma Horton

Home Gnome by Charisma Horton

Get the pattern to make your own Noel Gnome and Home Gnome here.

Paintbox by Linda Sullivan of Colourwerx

If you love jelly roll quilts as much as I do – check out the new Colourwerx¬†Paintbox quilt below. It’s made from one “Strip-pie” of Gridwork plus background fabric – easy peazy!!

PaintBox by Colourwerx

Click here to get the PaintBox quilt pattern.
Click here to grab the Gridwork strip roll to make it.

Gridlocked by Jenifer Dick of Everyday Stitches

This striking design is made from Gridwork fat quarters + background fabric. I love how it shows off the prints and they look great all mixed up together!

Gridlocked by Jenfier Dick

Click here to get the Gridlocked quilt pattern.

I sure do love having talented friends that create some amazing patterns with my fabric!!

Now it’s your turn. Once you grab your favorite Gridwork prints and start sewing with them, please share your progress with me. You can post pics in my Facebook group, or you can share on instagram with the hashtag #gridworkfabric. I can’t wait to see what you make!

And don’t forget to preorder your favorite Gridwork bundles by colorway. They’ll ship in January!

Preorder Gridwork Fabric – It Ships in January 2020

With all of the holiday preparations at this time of year, I’m also getting excited for my best gift of the year – my new fabric line Gridwork from Benartex, which should be arriving at shops starting in January of next year. For your viewing pleasure I’ve included pretty pics of all 3 fabrics by colorway below:

Gridwork Amethyst by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio

The Amethyst colorway includes 9 coordinated fabrics in gray, lilac, pink and plum.

Gridwork Breeze by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio

The Breeze colorway includes 9 coordinated fabrics in lime, cloud, aqua and teal.

Gridwork Breeze by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio

The Citron colorway includes 9 coordinated fabrics in Black, White, Navy, & Citron

Of course, I always encourage you to ask for my fabrics from your favorite local quilt shop first. And if you ARE a quilt shop who’s reading this, feel free to use these images in your marketing efforts.

However, if you don’t have a shop nearby, you can also preorder Gridwork directly from me while supplies last. I like to keep a healthy stock of all my fabric lines one hand, not only for my own use, but also to share with others so it gets into as many hands as possible.

You can preorder your favorite colorway from me in your choice of 9 fat quarters, half yards, or full yard increments.

Gridwork by Christa Watson in AmethystClick here to get the Amethyst colorway in fat quarters, half yards, or full yard bundles.

Gridwork by Christa Watson in Breeze

Click here to get the Breeze colorway in fat quarters, half yards, or full yard bundles.

Gridwork by Christa Watson in Citron Colorway

Click here to get the Cirton colorway in fat quarters, half yards, or full yard bundles.

Nothing beats seeing a project “in the wild” made from one of my fabric lines. And I escpecially love seeing how well it plays with other fabrics, too.¬† Be sure to share your makes on social media using #gridworkfabric. Whenever I see your projects made from my fabric or patterns, it totally makes my day!!

Make the Rounds Quilt Pattern and Kit Available

Did you see this amazing quilt, designed and made by my friend Heather Black? She used my Geo Pop fabric and it’s in the current issue of American Patchwork and Quilting (February 2020).

Make the Rounds by Heather Black

Click here to get the quilt kit for Make the Rounds.

Before the issue went to print, APQ magazine contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to offer kits for this quilt since it’s so eye catching. I immediately said yes and they were kind enough to mention my fabric and include a link to my shop in the magazine pattern.

Here’s a photo of the magazine cover, so you know which issue has the pattern:

American Patchwork and Quilting Cover Feb 2020

It’s no secret that I simply adore all of Heather Black’s quilt designs. She really makes my fabric look good, don’t you think??

This is what she had to say about the design of this quilt, “When making a quilt, I like to choose a theme, either literal or figurative to help guide my choices while picking fabrics and quilting. I wanted to convey a sense of movement, and the name of this quilt [Make the Rounds] helped me pair colors and choose how to quilt the top.”Make The Rounds Quilt by Heather BlackDesigned by Heather Black. Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting¬ģ magazine. ¬©2020 Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The kit includes the same fabrics shown here for blocks, borders and binding. The background behind the blocks consists of all one fabric.

Of course I’m biased because it’s using my fabric, but I just love the bold design and energy in this quilt! I think Heather did a fabulous job with color placement, and I love how she fussy cut the Mosaic Dots print to create a frame in the borders. Heather is an expert with modern pieced curved designs, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Machine Quilting by Heather BlackQuilting detail on Heather’s quilt.¬†

Let’s Learn to Foundation Paper Piece with My Paper Pieced Primrose QAL

I just love hosting quilt alongs, and better yet, I love it when you all quilt along with me! Here’s all the info you need to get started on my Paper Pieced Primrose Quilt Along:

Paper Pieced Primrose

Paper Pieced Primrose Kits Available

The image above shows the 35″ x 35″ wall size in two colorways, made from 16 paper pieced blocks. The images below show the 68″ x 84″ throw size in both colors, made from 80 paper pieced blocks.

For your convenience, I’m offering kits in both colorways, and both sizes – so you can pick and choose what works best for you! All four versions are made from my Abstract Garden fabric for Benartex. And for one week only, you can save 10% off the kit when you enter code KIT at checkout!

Click here to get the Paper Pieced Primrose Kit in Warm or Cool, Wall or Throw.

Paper Pieced Primrose Throw Size  РWarm ColorwayPaper Pieced Primrose Abstract Garden
Paper Pieced Primrose Throw Size  РCool Colorway

Paper Pieced Primrose in Abstract Garden

Of course you can make this quilt using any fabrics you like! Part of the fun will be seeing all of the different variations! Click the quilt pattern image below to enlarge the materials list:

Paper Pieced Primrose

Supplies Needed to Make this Quilt

Paper Piecing Notions

Click here to get the recommended notions shown above. 

Quilt Along Schedule:

If you want to follow along, we’ll make this entire quilt from start to finish in just 8 weeks!!
Click the links below for each step of the quilt along:

So don’t worry if you’ve never tried foundation paper piecing before. I’m going to walk you through every step of the process with detailed photos and explanations. The pattern includes the master foundation paper pieced template that you can photo copy as many times as you’d like. It will be a fun new adventure for a new year!

Abstract Garden Fabric

If you can cut the shapes above, you’ll have no problem foundation paper piecing – I promise!! Abstract Garden fabric shown is for BOTH colorways of Pieced Primrose.

So who’s with me? All you have to do is follow my blog each week! You can subscribe to my blog by entering your email in the box in the sidebar (either on the right if you are viewing on a laptop, or scroll all the way down to the bottom on your phone). You can also use the hashtag #piecedprimrosequilt on instagram so I can see what you are making!

More Infrastructure Inspiration

Earlier this week, I shared my Infrastructure quilt finish, along with links to all of the quilt along tutorials. Today I’m back with more inspiring versions of this quilt made by others. I love to see the same design made up in different fabric, don’t you??

Infrastructure Quilt with Geo Pop fabric by Christa Watson

My version of Infrastructure quilt made with Geo Pop fabric.

Heather Black’s Version Made from Solids

Heather Black originally designed this quilt for me to show off my Geo Pop fabric line. But then she made her own version using Benartex Superior Solids. The color placement is basically the same, but the solids really allow her amazing machine quilting to shine!

Infrastructure Made from Superior Solids

Click here to read more about Heather’s fabulous machine quilting on Infrastructure.

Here’s a view of the Heather’s quilt hanging in the Benartex booth at quilt market earlier this fall:

Infrastructure Solids by Heather Black

Click here to get the solids color chart that Heather used for her quilt.

Other Gorgeous Finishes!

Whenever I do a quilt along, I always emphasize that I want everyone to work at their own pace. But it was really fun to follow two of the participants on Instagram as they kept up each and every week. Check out their beautiful versions of Infrastructure  below:

Infrastructure Quilt

This lovely quilt top was made and shared by Margaret Fleisher on Instagram. I love her color choices and clever use of fabric. Now I’m excited to see how she quilts it!

Infrastructure Quilt

This one was made by Crystal, aka The Cozy Little Goblin on Instagram. Not only did her quilt top turn out beautifully, her photography is pretty amazing, too!

Want More Quilt Alongs?

If these have inspired you to make more quilts in the new year, be sure to check out my quilt along web page. It’s a roundup of all of the quilt alongs I’ve done so far. You may just find the perfect quilt you’ve been looking for!

Click here for all of my previous quilt alongs!
Click here to get the Infrastructure Quilt Pattern – Paper Version
Click here to get the Infrastructure Quilt Pattern – PDF Version