Modern Logs QAL Part 1: Cutting the Fat Quarters

Let’s dive in and cut out our Modern Logs fat quarters, shall we? I’m using Good Vibes fat quarters, but you can use anything with good contrast between light and dark. In case you missed it, click here for last week’s post on prepping your fabric and choosing colors.

Good Vibes Fat Quarters

Click here to grab Good Vibes fat quarters from my online shop.

Follow along in the Modern Logs quilt pattern on page 3 for the numbers and sizes of wonky strips to cut.

Fat Quarter Cutting Tips

Layer fabrics to cut them out faster! If you are cutting 4 layers at a time, cut each stack differently so no more than 4 strips are the same. Then when you are ready to sew, remember that each strip has a top and bottom, front and back so you’ll have more variety of angles and color intensity when you sew.

Next week when we start to sew the blocks we are doing what I call  “structured improv.” This means you want your strips to have straight edges, even though the angles themselves are wonky. Cut the wonky strips using a rotary cutter and ruler. This allows the blocks to lie flat when sewn, even if all the pieces are different shapes and sizes.

You can see above why it’s easiest to work with fat quarters and a long ruler for straight clean cuts.

After cutting, stack the same fabrics together.  Im going to use the front and back of the lights in this quilt to create more depth and sparkle. The number of strips you get per fat quarter will vary. You can cut a few strips to start, or go crazy and cut up the entire piece.

Don’t forget to cut the block centers. Each side will be straight but these may be more square in shape or more rectangular. The choice is up to you!

Once my strips and centers are all cut and sorted into lights and darks, I like to stack them up next to my machine so they are ready to sew. Warning: this will get a little messy as you sew! So give yourself plenty of room to spread out and work.

Do you see the Charming Chevrons quilt in progress on my design wall??
It’s made from Good Vibes precut squares.

Thinking ahead: it’s ok to cut some of your wider strips in half along the length if you need more pieces to go around the logs. Now it’s your turn – show me your wonky strips!! Share pics of your progress and feel free to ask questions in my ChristaQuilts Facebook Group.

HELPFUL LINKS

Good Vibes Quilts in the Wild – Quilts Made from by My Friends

It’s been exciting to see Good Vibes turning up in other people’s projects! One of the best parts of fabric design is discovering what others make with my prints from Benartex. I’m happy to feature several of those projects today.

Propeller by Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting

Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting  used the Slippin’ Slide print in all four colors for her propellers, nicely accented by the Gumballs prints in the corners. I like the secondary design formed by the Gumballs at the center—it’s another propeller!

Sherry took full advantage of the low-volume prints in Good Vibes and I could not love her background fabrics more. What a great soft look she achieved by using Circuit Board, Good Vibrations and Interconnected.

Click here to get Sherry’s Propeller pattern.

Groovy Chutes by Charisma Horton

Charisma Horton took full advantage of the Gumballs’ medium scale and graphic quality when she made her 80″ x 90″ Groovy Chutes quilt. This modern design shows off the saturated colors of Good Vibes beautifully! And didn’t she find the perfect spot for photography?

Click here to get Charisma’s Groovy Chutes pattern.

Dropping In by Sarah Vanderburgh of Sew Joy Creations

Dropping In by Sew Joy Creations

Sarah Vandenburgh of Sew Joy Creations designed this delightful quilt called Dropping In and ask if I’d offer kits for it. Of course I said yes and she’s also currently offering a quilt along for it.

Quilt Along in Progress!

Below is Sarah’s dropping in quilt in progress. Click here to join the quilt along fun!!

These are just a few of the fun projects I’ve seen online but I’m always on the lookout for more! If you make something with my fabrics, please let me know! You can use #goodvibesfabric on social media, or post pics in my ChristaQuilts Group on Facebook. I love to see them all!

Click here to shop my Good Vibes fabrics, bundles, precuts and kits.

Good Vibes by Christa Watson for Benartex

Building our Pool Part 2: We have a Huge Hole in the Ground!

My “other” hobby besides quilting is swimming and generally being outdoors. I love the Las Vegas heat, but I also like to stay cool, so earlier this summer we decided to get a pool in our backyard! (Click here to read part 1 if you missed it the first time around). So far we have a giant hole in the ground and it is HUGE!! So let me tell you more about that…

Excavation Begins!

Before they were able to start digging the hole for our backyard pool, they excavators had to first remove everything that was there to begin with. In order to get those tractors into the yard from our super skinny side yard, we had to have the gas meter removed because it stuck out too far.

The gas company came out and removed the meter for us which meant no hot water for 2 weeks while the excavators dug the hole!! But we are so excited about this project that we didn’t care. We had some very accommodating neighbors and family members that let us use their shower, and we ate out a lot so we didn’t have to do any dishes.

It took 3 days to completely destroy and level our backyard, including jackhammering the entire concrete patio that was there to begin with. It was fascinating to watch them work and I got a great view from my bedroom window on the second floor of our home.

Once the backyard was clear, the digging began!! It took a total of 8 days to dig a huge giant hole in the ground!! Here are some progress pics:

Pool Lines Drawn and Stakes placed

Digging Begins!
Expanding the Hole
Framing the Walls

My Daughter in the deep end (6′ Deep)

The Hole is Done!!

Plumbing and Steel Framing

While this was all going on, we got to choose our tile and flooring colors. I want a very neutral backdrop that will contrast with the pretty teal/blue water color that I want. My inspiration for for the “decking” areas surrounding the pool was a friend’s decking that she recently completed. It’s a very pretty gray/tan travertine tile and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it:

Just like choosing fabric colors, we took the samples outside to see what they’d look like in real daylight. The square below is the travertine tile that will be the outside flooring. The rectangle tiles will be along the water line and the raised wall along the back of our pool. I was deciding between the gray and the tan, and I decided to go with the tan because it seems to blend better.

For the “plaster” which is on the sides and bottom of the pool, we chose to go with a pebbletec finish which is very durable and can give the water a lot of color. We chose the deep blue/gray color (circled below) which will produce a very pretty deep blue/teal water color. Thanks to youtube and internet research, I was able to look at a LOT of example pools with different finishes!!

We also finalized the landscape plan which will be very simple: colorful vines and bushes along the back wall and a couple of tall bushes behind the spa. Not shown is the patio cover that will be replaced along the back of the house, giving us plenty of shade The yard will be mostly pool and decking, but it will give us plenty of room to relax and enjoy!

Now we are in a holding pattern, waiting for the rest of the equipment to arrive. Next, they will pour the concrete – called shotcrete – and then finish it all up hopefully by the end of next month. I can’t wait!!

Modern Logs Quilt Along Fabric Prep and Color Options

Modern Logs Quilt Along officially kicks off next week on September 2nd, but today I want to take a minute and discuss fabric selection so you’ll be ready to roll when we begin. In a nutshell, you want to use fat quarters that have good contrast between lights and darks. I’m using Good Vibes fat quarters shown below, but nearly anything you can think of will work!

Click here to get Good Vibes fat quarters while supplies last.

Remember you can use the front or back of your fabric if you need more contrast! I do this all the time. You can turn darker fabrics over to the “wrong” side for a more muted look, and you can use the back side of your low volume prints to make them a shade or two lighter. Take a look at a couple of these in-progress Modern Logs blocks below:

Notice how I’ve used BOTH the front and back of the low-volume prints in the block above. Every other fabric is light/dark but look at that light green. That’s actually the back of that print. The other low volume prints in this block are showing the front side of the fabric. Like I said, you can use either side, but this gives the block a little more variety and sparkle.

The low volume orange print on the outside of the block above is also used in the partial block below, but now I’m using the “wrong” side instead of the “right side.” All of these fabrics will look great together, no matter which side of the fabric you use!

Not only do these examples show good contrast, this gives more depth and interest to the quilt. So instead of 10 light fabrics, I actually have 20 in this quilt! After all, you paid for both sides of the fabric, so you might as well use it, right??

Other Fabric Examples

Check out this gorgeous version of Modern Logs that Laina Lindsey made and shared in my Facebook group. She pulled together fat quarters from my Fandangle and Geo Pop fabric lines. Although these two are brighter and bolder than Good Vibes, with fewer “light” prints, it still totally works because of the CONTRAST.

Laina Lindsey's Modern Logs Quilt Top

So you really can pull together any fabrics you like! It’s all in how you combine them. Try lights versus darks, solids versus prints, or any other combos where you can get great contrast and you’ll have a fabulous looking quilt. And remember, color value is relative. One fabric might be a light, medium, or dark depending on the fabrics that are next to it.

Modern Logs Black White Yellow Red

Check out this fabulous version that my mom made for my aunt, shown above. She wanted a more subdued color scheme so she went with black/white prints with pops of red and yellow. Don’t you just love it?? Again, it’s all about the contrast.

But you don’t have to overthink it. When you gather your fabrics, just put them into piles of lights and darks and you’ll be good to go. If there’s some crossover with the two piles, that’s totally ok!!

Fabric Prep

I recommend working with fat quarters to make Modern Logs because it’s much easier to cut wonky strips from them. However, you can use yardage or scraps, or even precut strips. Just cut them into fat quarter length pieces (approximately 18″ – 22″ long.) We will do a deeper dive into that when we start cutting up the fabric next week.

Good Vibes Fat Quarters

I also like to prewash and starch my fabrics ahead of time, because these blocks will definitely have some  bias edges. (Another reason to work with fat quarters – they are super easy to starch!)

I recommend washing smaller cuts of fabric using a small garment mesh bag to keep them from getting tangled. The fat quarters might shrink up a little after washing, but as long as you have at least 16″ x 19″ of usable fabric per fat quarter, you’ll still be ok.

Here’s a video tutorial I created showing how I starch my fat quarters. I spray one side of the fabric and let it rest for a few seconds, then flip it over and iron from the opposite side. Then I repeat so that I’ve starched both sides and ironed both sides:

I hope you are inspired to gather your supplies and join me for the quilt along next week. I can’t wait!!

Other Helpful Links

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

 

 

Machine Quilting Tutorial: How to Quilt Wavy Lines on Puzzle Box, My Free Quilt Pattern

Have you downloaded my free quilt pattern yet? If not, click here to grab your copy of Puzzle Box, made from 2 strip rolls of my Good Vibes Fabric.

Free Quilt Pattern

When making this quilt, I used the back side of the low volume strips to create more contrast between the blocks. But you can use either side, depending on what you prefer. After all, you paid for both sides of the fabric, so you might as well use it!

Good Vibes Fabric

Click here to get the Good Vibes strip rolls.

And now I have even more more fun, free content to share with you. I took videos while quilting this quilt and I’ve put them together into this 8 minute long YouTube video tutorial. Just click the image below to view:

Press play above to see how I quilted “walking foot” wavy lines on Puzzle Box.

I love quilting wavy lines and It’s one of my go-to designs when I’m in a hurry. You can quilt the lines all in one direction like I did on Puzzle Box above; or you can quilt them in both directions to quilt a wavy line grid like I did for my Bling Quilt shown below:

I love seeing how many different ways I can quilt a wavy line! Here’s a closeup of the wavy lines quilting in one direction on Puzzle Box.

I used the yellow thread from my Piece and Quilt Collection – Colors to Quilt this quilt.

Piece and Quilt Aurifil thread by Christa Watson

Click here to get my Aurifil Thread collection.

Puzzle Box Quilt Made from Good Vibes

Puzzle Box by Christa Watson, 64″ x 80″
Finished July, 2020

Bling Quilt Along Part 5 – Binding to Finish and Ta-Da It’s Done!!

Have you been enjoying following along to make Bling? Scroll to the end for links to the entire quilt along. This week we will be binding our Bling to finish it up!

Bling Quilts with Geo Pop

Roundup of binding tutorials

Because I pretty much bind my quilts all the same way (either by hand or machine), I have a LOT of binding tutorials that I’ve shared over the years. So here are 3 for you to try – use whichever method you like best!

Bonus Binding Tips

When I first began my binding adventures, I cut my strips 2 1/4″ wide. However, that meant that if I attached my binding with 1/4″ seams, it would be bigger on the back than the front. So over the last couple of years, I’ve started cutting my strips 2″ wide and that gives me a more even finish on both sides.

To avoid ending up with a seam in the corner, I will roughly “walk” my binding around the quilt and if any seams fall in the corners, I will adjust the whole binding by and inch or two before I start sewing. If worse comes to worse and I STILL get a seam on the corner, I’ll simply cut off part of the binding and sew a new seam to move it!

Homework

Finish quilting and binding your version of Bling and share it in my ChristaQuilts Facebook Group. I can’t wait to see your fabulous finish!

Bling Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson

QUILT ALONG LINKS

Bling Quilts White or Black

Bling Finished Stats

  • Finished size: 67″ x 83″
  • Designed using Electric Quilt 8 software
  • Pieced and quilted by Christa Watson on my Bernina 770QE
  • Fabric collection: Geo Pop by Christa Watson for Benartex
  • Pattern: Bling  by Christa Watson
  • Batting used: Hobbs Cotton/Wool
  • Thread used: Aurifil 50 weight cotton in black/white variegated and bright pink
  • Quilting designs: wavy grid (white) and straight line grid (black)
  • Completed: May of 2019

Modern Logs Quilt Along Schedule and Supply List

Modern Logs has been one of my most requested quilt alongs ever and I’m so excited for it to begin! To get you ready, I’m sharing the full supply list and schedule today; then next week I’ll include a bonus post on choosing fabrics. The QAL will kick off on Wednesday, September 2nd.

For a limited time, I’m offering Modern Logs Quilt kits in all 3 sizes including the pattern!

Click here to get the Modern Logs Quilt Kit while supplies last.

Modern Logs: Scrappy Improv Front and Back

As part of the quilt along, I’ll include bonus tips and tricks on how to make a pieced backing if you so desire. But I’ll include a tutorial on sewing a regular back if that’s your preference too. For my Throw size, I paired up a couple yards of the Good Vibes Gumballs print with my leftover strips plus a few other pieces from my scrap stash.

Pieced Quilt Backing

I love using up lots of leftover scraps on the back. It’s a unique piece of art every time!

Modern Logs is the perfect pattern to learn a little bit of improv piecing, but in a structured way. I continued that theme by using up as many scraps as I could on the back. Although it’s a bit of improv, there’s a method to my madness that keeps everything under control.

Modern Logs Pattern and Materials List

Modern Logs Quilt Pattern

Click the image above to enlarge for details.

This quilt is really easy to chose fabrics for. All you need is an equal number of lights and darks. You can select fat quarters as shown in the pattern above (10 of each light/dark for crib, 20 each light/dark for throw and 30 each light/dark for queen). Or you can use leftover precut strips and other scraps. Pretty much any cut of fabric will work, and no two quilts will end up looking exactly the same.

Good Vibes fat quartersClick here to view all Good Vibes fabrics.

I’m using Good Vibes fat quarters for my quilt shown above, and I’ll be using duplicates so that I have enough fabric for the larger size. But this pattern is extremely flexible in which fabrics you choose (more about color selections next week).

Other Recommended Supplies

  • Sewing machine in good working order. We will do an easy free-motion quilting design, so make sure you have a free-motion foot to fit your machine. Of course I love my BERNINA 770 QE with its wider throat space and lots of bells and whistles.

BERNINA 770QE

Click here to see all the features I love on my BERNINA 770QE

  • Brand new sewing needles. Always, clean, de-lint and oil your machine before starting a new project, and change the needle. My favorite needles are Superior Titanium Coated needles, size 80/12. I use these for both piecing and quilting:

Superior Threads Needles

  • Quality thread for both piecing and quilting. My preference is Aurifil 50 weight 100% cotton. This pairs well with my favorite needles above. And if you piece and quilt with quality cotton thread, your quilt will NOT get stiff when you quilt it. I’m using my Piece and Quilt Collection Colors for the entire quilt:

Piece and Quilt Aurifil thread by Christa Watson

Click here to view my favorite threads and supplies.

  • Acrylic rulers: 6″- 8″ wide by  24″ long ruler, and 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ square ruler. These rulers will really come in handy. I use the long ruler for cutting an entire length of a fat quarter. The square rulers are for squaring up your blocks so they are all a consistent size.

Modern Logs Quilt Along Schedule

The links below will go live as each part is posted. Bookmark this page and refer back to the schedule anytime in the future to work on this quilt at your own pace. So gather your supplies and get ready to sew!

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

Get your Modern Logs Pattern and Supplies below:

Modern Logs Quilt Detail

Bonus Help!

For any questions, sharing your progress, and bonus help and support of your fellow makers, be sure to join my ChristaQuilts Group on Facebook. You can also share your makes on social media using #modernlogsquilt.

Want to get notified each time the quilt along step is posted? Enter your email address in the sidebar to automatically follow my blog. This can be found either to the right of your screen on a computer or laptop. Or scroll allllll the way down to the bottom of this page to see it on your mobile device.

I can’t wait to see what YOU create!!!

It’s Mid August – Let’s Have a Fabric Sale!

Well, in a normal year, these would be called the “Dog Days” of summer, which are named so because of the star Sirius which is was the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (which means “large dog”). But in THIS pandemic, it’s hard to know what day you are on, let alone which month, LOL!! So to break up the monotony, let’s have sale!!

Gridwork Fabric & Fluevog Shoes

My Gridwork fabric line on display at International quilt market, fall 2019. 
Quilt Market was cancelled this year for both fall and spring.
I can’t wait until next year when it (hopefully) picks up again!!

From now through the end of the month, use code GRIDWORK to save 20% off my entire Gridwork line over at Shop.ChristaQuilts.com. You MUST enter the code at checkout to get the discount, so be sure to click the + and make sure it gets applied before you finalize payment.

This bold, bright, colorful collection came out earlier this year and is a perfect complement to my previous collections. Now that I’ve got 6 fabric lines under my belt, it sure has been fun to watch others mix and match fabrics among my various groups.

Gridwork by Christa Watson for Benartex

Gridwork includes a total of 27 prints in 3 pretty colorways of Amethyst, Breeze and Citron.

The sale applies to EVERYTHING in my Gridwork category: fabric by the yard, fat quarters, kits, and precuts too. So stock up on your faves and make the most of this crazy time!!

Click here to view my entire Gridwork line. Use code GRIDWORK at checkout for 20% off!

Gridwork Fabric by Christa Watson

Gridwork in Amethyst by Christa Watson for Benartex

Gridwork in Amethyst

Gridwork Breeze by Christa Watson for Benartex

Gridwork in Breeze

Gridwork Citron by Christa Watson for Benartex

Gridwork in Citron

Bling Quilt Along Part 4: Machine Quilting Option 2: Wavy Grid

This week I’m super excited to give you additional options for machine quilting your Bling quilt. I quilted both of my versions with two different walking foot quilting designs. Last week, I shared my basting tutorial along with option 1; and I wanted to add one more plug for pressing your seams open:

When you press your seams open, not only will the quilt lie flat and make it much easier to quilt, but you wan’t get any “shadowing” of the seams, which is when a darker fabric shows up under a lighter fabric seam. The darker fabric always goes to the darker side, and the lighter fabric always goes to the lighter side.

But here’s a bonus tip when working with lighter background fabrics such as in this version of Bling: be sure to clip off any excess darker threads underneath so you don’t see them from the front of the quilt. If this does happen, you can always use a needle or tiny crochet hook to grab any pesky threads that show underneath the quilt top.

Machine Quilting Wavy Grid

To recap both both machine quilting options mentioned in the Bling quilt pattern, check out this short video below which shows me quilting wavy lines on the white version and a straight-line grid on the black version:

Check out more fun tutorials on my YouTube channel.

The basic idea for either quilting plan is to “divide and conquer” – quilt one pass of lines in both directions all the way across the quilt. Then quilt additional passes across the quilt until you like the density. You can do this with straight lines, or irregular wavy lines. I’ve even used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine using the same process!

Choosing Thread

For the white version of Bling, I went with a more subtle thread than the hot pink I chose for the black version. I like to take a picture of the thread I’m using on the quilt so I can document it to know which one I used. This black/white/gray thread is included in my Variegated Thread Collection from Aurifil. 

I prefer to quilt with 50 weight, 100% cotton thread from Aurifil.

1st pass across the quilt

So let me break it down for you a little bit in photos. In the first pass across the quilt, you can barely see any quilting. I’m quilting an organic wavy line “near” the ditch rather than “in” the ditch and it really blends in. The lines are really widely spaced apart, in between each of the block rows.

Click the image above to enlarge. Can you spot the quilting lines?

To quilt wavy lines, my machine is set up for regular straight line stitching, but I gently move the quilt from side to side to form the organic looking wavy lines.

2nd pass across the quilt

The next quilting pass is roughly through the center of the blocks. I use the seam lines as a guide for where to quilt. The wavy lines are fast and easy to quilt because you can eyeball where you are going and the lines don’t have to be perfectly spaced.

It helps to have a large work surface and a drop in table to hold the weight of the quilt.

The wavy lines are actually must faster, and it’s my go-to design when I’m in a hurry! In fact, by quilting wavy lines “near” the ditch, instead of “in” the ditch, it’s a great choice when your ditches (seams) don’t line up perfectly.

Quilt in both directions

To keep the wavy grid as evenly spaced as possible, you will want to quilt in both directions – horizontally and vertically with each pass. Just rotate the quilt in the direction you need to go!

Now the yummy quilted texture is starting to appear!!
Just remember, the more lines you quilt, the less your imperfections will show!

use the seamlines as a guide

Here’s a really good example where you can see how I lined up the wavy lines with the pieced seams in both directions. The block design is a little off center so the lines aren’t all evenly spaced, but that’s hardly noticeable. This allows me to avoid marking because much easier to eyeball the wavy lines rather than straight ones.

Keep Quilting more lines!

By the time I’m finished, my lines will be quilted about 3/4″ to 1″ apart in both directions. This is completely a personal preference and it’s up to you how dense you’d like to quilt. Just remember, if you are using natural fiber materials (ie cotton fabric, cotton thread, cotton batting), the quilt will NOT get stiff the more you quilt it. And the more you love it, use it and wash it, the softer it will become!

I eventually lost track of how many passes I quilted, but I kept going until I liked the results!

Additional QAl resources for Bling

New Paper Patterns are Here and Sneak Peek Quilt Along News!

I’m happy to finally announce that my 2 newest patterns – Modern Logs and Charming Chevrons, (both made from Good Vibes) are now available in print! Due to the virus, shipping delays at the printer caused these to come a little later than expected, but they were worth the wait!Modern Logs Quilt

But now for the best news! I’ll be doing quilt alongs for both coming up this fall. First we will kick off the Modern Logs quilt along in September.

To make Modern Logs exactly as shown above, all you need is the quilt pattern plus 2 Good Vibes fat quarter bundles. The patter includes a total of 3 sizes and it’s super easy to scale up or down as needed.Charming Chevrons

For the lap size Charming Chevrons shown above, all you need is the quilt pattern plus 4 Good Vibes charm packs (5″ squares).

For the twin size shown below, pick up a copy of my Charming Chevrons quilt pattern, plus  2 layer cakes (10″ squares) of Good Vibes.

Charming Chevrons

My Charming Chevrons quilt along will begin in October (once Modern Logs ends), allowing you to finish these fun and fabulous quilts just in time for the holidays! Stay tuned for schedules and more info to follow. In the meantime, stock up on your quilt along supplies below:

Get the Quilt Patterns

Charming Chevrons Modern Logs by Christa Watson

Get the Fabric

Good Vibes fat quarters

Good Vibes Charm Squares

Good Vibes Layer Cake