Squiggles Quilt Along Schedule, Supply List + Get Your Kit!

I’ve been a busy bee planning for our quilt along next year. It will kick off January 8, 2017 and we will be making the Squiggles quilt from Piece and Quilt with Precuts (book required). See below for the QAL schedule:

Squiggles by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Original Squiggles Quilt from the Book – 50″ x 63″

2018 Quilt Along Schedule

  • Week 1 – January 15: Gathering Fabrics and Cutting
  • Week 2 – January 22: Making the Blocks
  • Week 3 – January 29: Assembling the Quilt Top
  • Week 4 – February 5: Backing and Basting
  • Week 5 – February 12: Machine Quilting
  • Week 6 – February 19: Binding

Supply List

  • Two – 5″ charm packs of background solid or tonal fabric (or a total of 77 squares)
  • Four – 5″ charm packs of print fabric (or a total of 154 squares)
    • (Note – you can also substitute one 10″ square pack if needed, and cut to size)
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for binding
  • 3 1/4 yards of fabric for backing
  • 56″ x 70″ piece of batting (I recommend Hobbs batting)
  • Approx. 1200 yards (or one large spool) of fabric for quilting (I recommend Aurifil)
  • Sewing Machine with new needle and basic sewing supplies
  • Rotary cutting equipment (6″ acrylic ruler, mat, standard cutter with new blade)

Piece and Quilt Collection Aurifil Thread by Christa Watson

I’ll be using my Aurifil thread collection to piece and quilt my version of Squiggles!

Pre-Order Your Squiggles Quilt Kit With Black or White

The kit includes everything you need for the quilt top including fabrics + binding. By popular request, I’m offering it in two choices of backgrounds: either black or white. I’m making mine in black just to change things up, but I think it looks great in either choice!

Click here to preorder your squiggles quilt kit. On the item description, you’ll be given the option to select which background you’d prefer. These will ship Approximately Nov 3rd (after I return home from quilt market.)

Squiggles recolored in Modern Marks

I’m remaking my version using my Modern Marks collection with Black.

Squiggles from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

 

I’m also offering a kit with a white background.

Modern Marks Collection

Take a look at all the prints included in the Modern Marks precuts that are coming soon! It includes the 26 Modern Marks Prints, plus 5 Color Weave coordinates. (Shout-out to my hubby Jason for taking the digital images and arranging them into a pretty grid!!)

Modern Marks Fabric

26 Modern Marks and 5 Color Weave coordinates are included in the precuts that are coming soon!

Optional Backing Kits Available for a Limited Time

For a limited time, I’m also offering a kit of coordinating backing fabric to go with the quilt top. It will include a total of 3 1/4 yards of quirky triangles in Navy/blue.

Click here to preorder the Squiggles backing kit.

Note: This fabric is sold out, but you can click the link above for a couple of other choices, sold as 2 yard pieces (while supplies last.)

Modern Marks Quirky Triangles Navy Blue

Sharing is Caring

Be sure to join my Facebook group:  Christa Quilts. It’s a great community of fun folks like you who would love to see your progress during the quilt along and cheer you on! You’ll be able to share pics of your progress during the quilt along as well as anything else you are working on.

I can’t wait for the quilt along – it’s going to be fun!!

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Piece and Quilt Hop Along Week 3 and 4

My friends Kristin, Vicki, and HollyAnne are doing such an amazing job remaking quilts from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. Let’s check out what’s been happening with them the last couple of weeks:

Kristin Esser

Squiggles by Kristin Esser, from Christa Watson's book Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Kristin created a fabulous finish with her version of Squiggles from the book. Her walking foot quilting looks fantastic and she also shares a bit of free-motion quilting practice she did as she gets ready to create a second quilt from the book! You’ll need to hop over to her blog to see which one she’s going to make next!!

Click here to see Kristin’s Week 3 Progress
Click here to see Kristin’s Week 4 Progress

Vicki from My Creative Corner 3

Vicki Quilting Gridwork

Vicki finished up her Gridwork quilt top last week and has started quilting it this week. I just love the texture that quilting adds to a quilt!! She also shares more practice blocks she’s creating to make her own sampler from the book.

Click here to see Vicki’s Week 3 Progress
Click here to see Vicki’s Week 4 Progress

HollyAnne from STring and Story

Improv quilting

HollyAnne is adding some fabulous “free-motion improv” to her Spools quilt. She’s utilizing a technique that I first introduced in the book I wrote with Angela Walters which I call “improvisational” machine quilting. I revisited the idea with Spools because I thought that some improv piecing deserved a bit of improv quilting to go right along with it!!

Click here to see HollyAnne’s Week 3 Progress
Click here to see HollyAnne’s Week 4 Progress

If you are enjoying watching their progress, be sure and check out the earlier blog hop they did from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. These gals are proof positive that “Practice Makes Progress!!”

Click here for the Machine Quilting Blog Hop

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Catching My Breath and Call for #QuiltsforVegas

With all the craziness of this week, I’ve barely had time to process what has happened here locally. I just returned from a long teaching trip, received a huge shipment of my fabric, and then awoke to the news on Monday morning of the tragedy that struck my home town here in Las Vegas. So it’s been quite an emotional week. It’s now Thursday and it’s taken me that long to catch my breath. I’ll be blogging about happy quilty things shortly, but for now I wanted to share this announcement on how you can help:

Quilts for Vegas

My local guild, Las Vegas MQG is collecting finished quilts and quilt tops to pass out to those affected by the shooting. They are still finalizing details of where to ship, but here’s the basic info, copied directly from their website:

Hello Quilters! The outpouring of love and support we have received is nothing short of incredible and we are overwhelmed with it.  We have been struggling to put together words for what has happened in Las Vegas and have decided to put together quilts!

There have been a ton of people reaching out asking how they can help so we have put together a quilt drive for #quiltsforvegas.  We are requesting completed quilts and quilt tops but will also accept blocks and monetary donations to our efforts.  Monetary donations will cover shipping, fabric, thread and other quilt costs; any leftover donations will be donated to the GoFundMe that has already been set up.

The Block:

We would love to have quilts with grayscale blocks. 

in any arrangement along with one heart block somewhere on the quilt.

Both block patterns are from Cluck Cluck Sew, using the 10 inch finished block size.

We ask that you use 2 fabrics in each block; white and a happy contrasting color but feel free to mix it up however you like!  See our Instagram or Facebook for examples.

  1. Where do I send this stuff? 

We will update you on this as soon as we have it all nailed down!  For now, just start working on blocks and quilts!

Please include a full sized piece of paper with your name, guild if a member (even not modern guilds!), what you’ve sent, and location so that we can attempt to keep a record of everyone who helps.

  1. What if I can’t make a whole quilt?

We would love completed quilts or quilt tops but if you can’t; then make a block, even one block will help. Send in some binding, send some backing fabric, send some money to help us cover postage and other costs such as fabric.

  1. I already have a quilt that is made with love, can I send it?

Send it. Please send it, we need a lot of quilts!  We offered a specific block to give people an idea of what to create; if you have already created something else, please send it on; we are happy to have it!

  1. Can I use a block other than the one you showed?

Do whatever you feel led to create; we chose the grayscale block because it is a block that represents our guild.

  1. How big should my quilt be?

I’m asking for quilts no smaller than 48×60, and no larger than a twin sized. If you are making the grayscale blocks it comes out to 5 blocks by 6 blocks or 30 blocks in total.  If you are outside these sizes don’t fret; send it on!

  1. Whats the due date?

We are asking for quilts, blocks, binding, ect. to be delivered by November 15th.  If you need a little extra time that’s OK!  We just want to try and get quilts out ASAP.

  1. Where are these things going?

Our intention is to get quilts to the victims and first responders but in cases where this is not possible or we have a plethora of quilts, quilts may be given to first responders to give to victims of violence in our community.

Hopefully any and everyone affected will receive a quilt if they want one. We are still making contacts, so if you are personally affected by this please email me at quiltsforvegas@gmail.com so we can work to get one to you!

  1. Anything else I should know??

We will continue to update as more information becomes available, so check back for the latest updates and feel free to email us at quiltsforvegas@gmail.com if you have a question!

Click here to bookmark the LVQMG website for updated information.

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Piece and Quilt Hop Along Week 2 with Vicki, HollyAnne and Kristin

Vicki, HollyAnne and Kristin are back for week 2 of their blog hop from my new book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts. Each of these talented gals is making a different quilt from the book and sharing tips and videos about their progress over a 5 week period.

Piece and Quilt with Precuts

So let’s check out what they’ve been up to this week!

Vicki Holloway from My Creative Corner 3

Gridwork blocks

Vicki is making progress on her version of Gridwork using my Modern Marks fabric. For the finished quilt she’s going to make it completely out of my fabric. However, in her blog post, she’s made a few bonus blocks incorporating some solids to show how that can change up the look.

Modern Marks Frequency blockVicki took some of her leftover scraps and pieced a Frequency block (also from the book). Her plan is to make one block from each of the quilts in the book to make a sampler quilt. I think that’s such a clever idea and can’t wait to see it!

Click here to read more about Vicki’s progress this week.

HollyAnne Knight from String and Story

For her version of Spools, HollyAnne is doing something I recommend in all of my books and classes – make a quilting plan to audition possible design ideas. I love how she’s combined different quilting designs from all three of my books for the spool blocks:

Quilting Design Ideas for Spools

Here’s her finished quilt top, also made from my Modern Marks fabric.  Don’t you just love how she reversed the color placement? Now they look like empty spools!

Spools from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Compare it to the original version that’s in the book, to see how different a quilt can look when you switch the color placement. I really love it when quilters take my ideas and make them their own!!

Spools by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Spools quilt, made by Christa Watson, from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Click here to read more about HollyAnn’s progress this week.

Kristin Esser From Kristin Esser.Com

Kristin whipped up her Squiggles quilt top in record time. It’s easy when you start with most of the cutting already done for you!

Squiggles from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

She quilted the wavy lines as shown in the book, using my “divide and conquer” process. In a nutshell, you quilt wavy lines “near” the ditch (rather than in the ditch) and then you subdivide each section, adding more lines until you are happy with the spacing. It’s organic, liberating, and adds lots of yummy texture to the quilt!

Squiggles quilting

Kristin also quilted several of the free-motion quilting motifs on practice blocks.
Click here to see her progress this week, plus bonus free-motion inspiration.

Remember – if you are working on any of the quilts from my books and patterns, please share them in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. I’d love to see!

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Get Modern Marks Fabric Bundles For a Limited Time!

Awesome news! I just found out my shipment of Modern Marks yardage will be arriving much earlier than anticipated! This is my debut fabric collection with Benartex and I can’t wait to share it with the world!! My fabric delivery is scheduled to come while I’m teaching at MQX Quilt Festival next weekend, but you can pre-order custom bundles now in these four sizes: Fat Eights, Fat Quarters, Half Yards, and Yard bundles.

Click here to purchase Modern Marks fabric bundles. They’ll ship Oct 3rd.

Modern Marks Fabric by Christa Watson

Modern Marks by Christa Watson for Benartex – 26 Bright Graphic Prints

The cutoff for pre-orders will be on Saturday, September 30th, or until they sell out, whichever comes first, and once they’re gone, that’s it. So don’t delay – put in your pre-order now so you’ll be among the first to get your hands on my fabric!

Now here’s the catch – I’m not selling any of the fabric by the yard, because honestly that would be too much for me to manage. But you can ask your favorite quilt shop to stock it if you are wanting yardage of a particular print.

Modern Marks Bundles

Modern Marks bundles include all 26 fabrics shown above in these sizes:
Fat Eights – 9″ x 21″ pieces (3 1/4 yards total) – $34.95
Fat Quarters – 18″ x 21″ pieces (6 1/2 yards total) – $69.95 (Less than $3 per FQ!!)
Half Yards – 18″ x 42″ pieces (13 yards total) – $139.90
Full Yards – 36″ x 42″ pieces (26 yards total) – $249.95 (Best value – under $10 bucks per yard!!)
SPECIAL PRE-ORDER PRICING IS VALID THROUGH 9/30!!

Click here to purchase your Modern Marks bundle.

Modern Marks FQ Bundle

Modern Marks photos by HollyAnne Knight from String and Story

I’m happy to ship anywhere in the world (just know that overseas shipping is super spendy and sadly there’s not much I can do about it). If you get a bundle and start working with it, be sure and use the hashtag #modernmarksfabric on social media. I’d love to see what you are creating!

Modern Marks Strips

I hope you love Modern Marks as much as I do!

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Bonus Blog Hop for Piece and Quilt With Precuts!

Remember the gals who did the Machine Quilting Blog Hop for my book with Angela Walters, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting? Well, they are at it again, blog hopping their way through Piece and Quilt with Precuts over the next 5 weeks!

Piece and Quilt with Precuts

My fabric will make an appearance in several of the quilts my friends are re-making!

Be sure to hop on over to Kristin, Vicki, and HollyAnne’s blogs below for their first posts! Then join them each weeks as they continue their progress. I’m sure you’ll be inspired and learn a few things along the way!

Kristin Esser From Kristin Esser.Com

Squiggles WIP by Kristin

Check out Kristin’s post this week as she works on her version of Squiggles. I love the fabrics she chose and her in-process photography is pretty inspiring, too! When I wrote the book, I wanted the piecing designs to look good with any fabrics you choose, and seeing alternate colorways makes me want to remake ALL the quilts!!

Kristin's quilting practice

Click here to see more of Kristin’s progress with Squiggles.

Kristin is taking my advice about practice to heart. She’s trying out a few possible quilting motifs on scraps of fabric and batting before she decides how she wants to quilt it. The two designs shown above are actually quilted on different quilts in the book, but I wanted the quilting designs to be interchangeable, no matter which quilt you are working on!

Vicki Holloway from My Creative Corner 3

Vicki Gridwork in progress

Vicki is creating her favorite quilt from the book, Gridwork, using my Modern Marks fabric collection. Yes, I have to admit she was a bit special to get some of it before it’s available in stores. Benartex so generously printed up a bit of fabric early to share with a few quiltmakers so that they could play with it and share about it online before it hits the stores in November!

I’m really excited to see her remake this quilt because so many of you voted for it as your choice for my quilt along coming up in January. So even though it came in second place in the voting, you can still virtually quilt along with Vicki as she makes the quilt! (And don’t worry, soon I’ll offer kits so you can make one of your own from my fabric!)

Vicki Gridwork in progress

I love how Vicki is arranging the fabrics so that each block has enough contrast between the two fabrics. This is super important when working from one line of fabric without adding any extra background.

Click here to follow along with Vicki’s progress on Gridwork from start to finish!

HollyAnne Knight from String and Story

HollyAnne Spools Sketch

Click here to see more of HollyAnne’s WIP (work-in-progress.)

I absolutely love HollyAnne’s creative take on Spools. She’s planning on reversing the color placement of the blocks, placing color in the background rather than the spool blocks themselves. I love it!

HollyAnne Spools in Progress

HollyAnne is also using my Modern Marks fabric. Don’t you think her first block is looking great so far? Click on over to her blog to see more blocks in progress, and follow her journey. I know it’s going to be epic!

Watching these gals quilt along and encourage each other in their progress is so gratifying! If you are currently working on your own version of any of the quilts from my book, please share pics of your progress, too! Head over to my Facebook group, Quilt with Christa to share! I’d love to see and get excited all over again!!

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Join Me at John C. Campbell Folkschool Next Year and Make a Complete Quilt from Start to Finish!

Next June I have the great pleasure of returning to John. C. Campbell Folkschool for the third time, to teach my popular start-to-finish quilting class. This is the one class I teach that walks you through every step of the quilt making process: cutting, piecing, basting, machine quilting, and binding. And we do it all in a one fun-filled week full of sewing, friendship, great food, and fun!

Registration Open Now

Click here to register for my class : Modern Quilting 101 – Stepping Stones.
Class dates are June 3-8, 2018

Stepping Stones quilt pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

Click here to purchase a print copy of Stepping Stones quilt pattern.
Click here to purchase a downloadable PDF copy of Stepping Stones quilt pattern.

Each year at the Folkschool, I’ve focused on a different pattern. Next year’s group will be making my Stepping Stones quilt pattern seen here. The best part about being the teacher is getting to see the beautiful quilts my students make. Although they are all working through the same pattern, they turn out so unique, based on the fabrics and quilting each person chooses.

Stepping Stones Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

I quilted a simple geometric free-motion design for my quilt. I’ll teach several options in class!

This is the most intense but satisfying class I teach. Think of it as an intimate week-long retreat with me where I’ll share all of my secrets and guide you every step of the way! Class size is limited to just 12 participants so that everyone has plenty of one-on-one instruction. Students have several housing options and I have to say, the food they serve is the best southern cooking I’ve had. Seriously, you could come JUST for the food!!

Folkschool Fiber Studio

This is the fiber studio where our classes take place. There’s tons of room for everyone!

Last Year, students made my Charming Chevrons quilt pattern. They were able to make the quilt in different sizes, according to their needs, and they all turned out beautifully! By the end of the week, we were all BFF’s and it’s been so great seeing their continued quilting success!

Charming Chevrons class

Click here to read more about last year’s fun quilt class!

Click here to purchase Charming Chevrons Quilt Pattern.

In 2015, Students made quilts using my Modern Logs Quilt Pattern. This was my first time teaching at the Folkschool. As you can tell, it was so fun I’ve simply had to return each time they’ve invited me back! At the end of the week, the quilts are always the star of the show during the student show and tell. While I’m teaching my class there are at least a dozen other folk arts and crafts being taught at the same time.

Folkschool 2015

Click here to read more about the class of 2015. It will give you an idea of what to expect.

Click here to purchase Modern Logs Quilt Pattern.

I can’t wait to return next summer and I hope you’ll join me. Several of my industry friends also teach there, so if you aren’t able to take a class from me, check out their online catalog to find another awesome class that will fit your schedule. It’s sure to be an amazing experience!

John Campbell Folk School

I can’t wait to return!

Important Folk School Links:

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Quilt Along Announcement – See the Winning Quilt Design!

Thanks so much to all of you who voted for which quilt along you wanted to make from my new book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts. And without further ado, the design with this most votes is:

Squiggles Starting in January!!

Squiggles recolored in Modern Marks

EQ7 design of Squiggles, recolored in my Modern Marks Fabric

Gridwork was the second most popular, followed by Dot ‘n Dash and then Arrows. I really wish I had time to make them all!!

Coming up soon, I’ll announce the blog hop schedule (starting in January) but here’s what you can expect. It will run for several weeks, giving you plenty of time to complete your quilt while I’m cheering you on. I’ll be remaking the quilt, too, so I’ll include some extra hints and tips along the way.

I’ll do a blog post for every step of the quilt-making process, including basting, machine quilting and binding. So even though you need to purchase the book to quilt along with me, you’ll get even more valuable bonus content, just by following along!

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Click here to get your signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Kits coming soon!

And now for the most exciting news (at least for me anyway), is that for the first time in my history of quilt alongs, I’m going to offer kits, made from my Modern Marks fabric! The beautiful thing about a kit is that although the fabric is the same in each kit, no two quilts will be alike because of your choice of color placement for the blocks. I love designs that work that way.

The fabric won’t arrive in stores until November, but once I get an idea of the pricing and delivery dates, I’ll offer Squiggles kits for pre-order.  Watch the blog for that announcement soon!

Modern Marks Kit Options from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Other kit possibilities – Gridwork, Dot’n’Dash, Arrows (Navy or Aqua)

That brings me to my next idea. Please let me know if you are interested in kits for any of the other 3 quilts: Gridwork, Dot’n’Dash and Arrows (Navy or Aqua). There’s no obligation of course, but if I can get a rough idea of the interest, I may be able to offer kits for those, too. Just leave me a comment letting me know which kit you might be interested in, or you can always shoot me a private email at christa@christaquilts.com.

And just to reiterate, you can still quilt along with any fabrics you want to use! The kits are just a convenience for those who are interested. I’ll be selling them through my store at shop.christaquilts.com and I’ll be able to ship them internationally, too. I’ll make another announcement once they are available for preorder.

Summary Thoughts

So just to recap, I’ll be posting the Squiggles quilt along schedule later this month and will offer kits for 4 different quilts if there’s interest. And remember – there’s nothing that says you can’t make one of the others while we are making Squiggles. I love seeing your progress on any quilt you make!

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Top 10 Tips for Quilting on a Domestic Machine

Welcome to Day 24 of the Back to School Blog Hop organized by Sam Hunter of Hunters Design Studio. If you are new to the hop, check out the end of the post for links to all of the “back to school” sewing tips!

Back to School Blog Hop - sewing tips

Top 10 Domestic Machine Quilting Tips

1. Baste Well

This is the least fun part of the quilt-making process but probably the most important. All three layers of the quilt (top, batting, backing) should be flat and smooth. I press seams open so they lie flat, and I also take the time to iron my batting. Spray basters can press the quilt after basting to set the glue and iron out any wrinkles; pin basters should double the amount of pins they would normally use.

2.  Use a Large Work Surface

Sewing Room

Buy a large sewing desk with a drop in table if you can. If not, put up an extra table behind your sewing machine and off to the left to hold the weight of the quilt. In my table above (which I bought 20 years ago from a company no longer in business) I added a couple of books under the machine to get it to the right height. You can also get a custom insert made to fit your machine. (Just google “custom sewing machine insert). Some companies also make large extension beds that go around your machine, giving you extra surface on any table.

3. Get tools that will help you grip and slip!

Machingers Quilting Gloves

Machingers quilting gloves help grip the quilt, and a supreme slider will make the bottom of the quilt slip and slide more easily under the machine.

Supreme Slider 2 Sizes

Two sizes of Supreme Slider are shown above, on my older sewing machine: the regular size (that I accidentally stitched through years ago) and the larger, queen size.

A word of caution – the Supreme Slider is only for free-motion quilting, NOT walking foot quilting. If you use a walking foot, you may stitch through the slider (ask me how I know….)!

4. Choose the Proper Needle and Thread

Here’s a general rule of thumb for matching thread weight and needle size: use a size 80/12 needle with a size 40-50 weight thread, and a size 90 needle with a 28-30 weight thread. Sharp or topstitch needles will have a sharper point, which will allow better penetration of the layers. A “machine quilting” needle is fine, too, but it’s usually more expensive and I don’t notice a difference. A “universal” needle is ok, but it’s not as sharp as the others and is better meant for all purpose applications.

Piece and Quilt Collection Aurifil Thread by Christa Watson

My Piece and Quilt Collection is available at The Precut Store, or your favorite retailer!

You can use nearly any thread you like for machine quilting, but I my favorite is Aurifil 50 weight cotton. You can use it for BOTH piecing and quilting, and it’s strong yet lightweight so it really blends in nicely. Rather than owning ALL the threads in ALL the different weights, I like simplicty – 50 weight cotton for EVERYTHING I do: piecing, quilting, and binding.

5. Match the top and bobbin threads

When quilting on a domestic machine, I also prefer to use the same color thread in the top and bobbin. It will hide any tension issues, and avoid the problem with a contrasting thread color poking through on the top or back of the quilt. This means you need to think about which fabric you are choosing for the backing of your quilt.

Christa Watson free-motion quilting

Current quilt in progress – this is the back using the same thread in top and bobbin.

If you are are a beginner, choose a busy back that will hide mistakes and allow different thread colors to blend in. If you want to show off your quilting, use a solid colored back so you can really see the stitches.

6. Practice Sketching

Warm up before you quilt by sketching your quilting design on a piece of paper or on a photo or printout of the quilt top. If you understand the flow of the quilting path, you can mimic that motion on your actual quilt. I like to develop a quilting plan for every quilt so that I’m not stuck wondering what to quilt next.

Possible Quilting Plan for HST Remix

Here’s a real life quilting plan for a quilt I’m in the process of remaking. It’s pretty messy with notes and thoughts as I figure things out, but I can print off multiple copies if needed until I’m satisfied and ready to quilt. Sometimes I will sketch out an entire quilting plan, while other times, I’ll just dooddle the quilting design to get the flow for how I’ll stitch it.

Check out my Craftsy Class – The Quilter’s Path to learn more about this method!

Diagrams

Practice diagrams for “swirls and pearls” – one of my favorite designs to quilt!

7. Practice Stitching

If you practice your “daily quilting exercise,” you’ll be a pro in no time! I always give my students homework when I teach – they are to make up a stack of quilt sandwiches (scrap fabric and batting) to practice on for 10 minutes a day for a week. After about 3-4 days of practice, they can see a noticeable improvement!

Free motion quilting practice

Fill up a scrap practice piece each day until you get the hang of the design!

Although I’ve been quilting for over 20 years, I still warm up every quilting session with a practice sandwich to test my tension for the day. I’d rather mess up on a scrap then on the real quilt!

8. Embrace both walking foot and free-motion techniques

Books by Christa Watson

In all of my books, I include ideas for BOTH walking foot  AND free-motion quilting!

Many quilters think they’ll never be able to quilt because they expect to free-motion quilt perfectly the first time! In my books, video classes and live classes, I always have the students start off with walking-foot quilting first because it’s hard to mess up! Once they are confident that yest they CAN quilt, then we move onto free-motion. By using both techniques in the same quilt you can really achieve some interesting designs. Some students prefer to use the walking foot exclusively while others are more comfortable with free-motion work. Many times, you don’t know what you like (and don’t like) until you try!

9. Quilt on Real Quilts and Give Them Away

Practice may not make perfect, but it does make progress! What better way to learn than by practicing on a “real” quilt as a gift for someone else? The recipient won’t notice your imperfections and you won’t have to be constantly reminded of how far you’ve come! I’ve given away dozens and dozens of “perfectly imperfect” quilts over the years and never would have gained the level of experience I have now, if not for tons of gift-giving!

10. Your Most Important Tool: A Can Do Attitude!

Start to finish quilting

Yes – you CAN quilt it! And I’m here to help!
Image is from my comprehensive start-to-finish quilting class on Craftsy.

I started teaching others to quilt in the late 90’s and I noticed that the students who had the most success, weren’t necessarily those with the most expensive sewing machines and tools. (Shhh! don’t let my industry partners know I said that!!) What they lacked for in experience or top of the line equipment, they more than made up for with their determination to get ‘er done!

You know the old saying “whether you think you can or can’t, you are right”?  That applies to quilting as well. My goal since becoming a professional teacher, author and designer just a few short years ago (with 20 years of “practice” under my belt) has been to get others to realize that quilting on a domestic machine can be both fun and rewarding if you stick to it and just take it one step, (or stitch) at a time!

Check out These “Back to School” Basics:

Check out each of these stops on the back to school sewing blog hop. There’s so much information contained in these posts that you are well on your way to learn everything you need to know to make your sewing and quilting experience more enjoyable. Happy reading!!

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New Craftsy Class: Angela Walters’ Dot to Dot

As a Craftsy instructor, one of the privileges that I get is being able to watch any of the Craftsy classes from my fellow instructors. Of course, I don’t have time to watch all of the classes I’d like, but I’m always on the lookout for new classes that I think you all would benefit from. So when Angela Walters released her latest class, Dot to Dot: Quilting With Piecing as Your Guide, I knew I had to watch it as soon as I could.

Angela Walters Dot to Dot

Get Dot to Dot quilting for 50% off, through Friday September 8th.

I was even pleasantly surprised when she included one of the quilts from our book as an example, and even gave me a shoutout in class!! (Now you’ll really have to watch the class to see which quilt it is, LOL!!)

This class is fantastic and I found myself watching the entire thing in one setting. Although Angela uses specialty rulers to achieve the straight lines when quilting dot to dot, she also shows you a couple of other ways to accomplish the same task. I love it when there are options! The class includes a free pattern so that you can make the same quilt she’s working on, or you can practice her methods on your own quilt or practice blocks.

Angela Walters class quilt

Make this quilt to practice your dot to dot quilting. Free pattern included in class!

Here’s a quick breakdown of the class lessons, including the length of each segment:

1. Dot-to-Dot Quilting Overview (10:36)

Meet your instructor, stitch whisperer Angela Walters, and start class by finding the ‘dots’ on your quilt using the quilt top’s piecing. See how to stitch consistent straight lines whether you’re using a walking foot, free-motion foot or ruler foot and ruler.

2. Triangles (22:21)

Ready to try some basic dot-to-dot designs? Follow along with Angela as she stitches the simple V, triangle wedge and arrowhead in triangular shapes, showing variations along the way.

3. Squares (23:50)

Build on the designs you learned in the previous lesson with three more motifs that are perfect for square blocks, the most common shape in quilting. Watch as Angela reveals the square spiral, double V and double diamond designs. Then she shows you where to use them on your quilt to add the most impact.

4. Diamonds & Hexagons (15:35)

See how to quilt diamonds and hexagons as Angela shares three designs and variations: the spin wheels, alternating V’s and tumbling diamonds. You’ll learn how to find diamond shapes in your quilt, even if it wasn’t pieced with diamonds!

Angela Walters Quilting
 As Angela says – close enough is good enough!!

5. Uniquely Shaped Blocks (16:07)

Discover three ways to quilt uniquely shaped blocks such as polygons. Angela then shows you how to modify your designs, stitch a shape within a shape, and combine blocks so you know what to stitch next!

6. Borders & Corners (21:30)

Once you’ve gotten a handle on quilting within defined areas, you’ll tackle the borders. In this lesson, see how to quilt designs in areas with more negative space. Plus learn three ways to turn the corner without losing your design flow.

7. Dot to Dot Around the Blocks (17:50)

Finally, think outside the piecing and find out how to use dot-to-dot designs in any style of quilt. Angela demonstrates how to use the quilting to frame blocks, create secondary patterns and use wedge shapes as fillers to quickly quilt any space efficiently.

Dot to Dot: Quilting With Piecing as Your Guide really is a fabulous class. What I’ve really noticed in this class compared to her previous classes is that she’s really letting her personality show. If you are a fan of her Midnight Quit Show, you’ll see that she brings the same warmth and humor into her class. Even if you don’t even care to quilt, it’s just fun to watch and be entertained!
Dot to Dot Quilting with Angela Walters

This one is my favorite!!

Save 50% on This Class!

The best part about this class is that it’s on sale now, through Sept. 8th for 50% off the regular price. I love it that Craftsy makes their classes affordable and once you buy them, you own them forever!

Click here to get Dot to Dot quilting for 50% off the regular price.

Now, I’d better go practice my ruler work – it really is a fun way to quilt, once you get the hang of it!

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