Coming Up: More about the Making of My Latest Quilts from Abstract Garden

In between moving, hosting the Blooming Wallflowers quilt along, and planning out my next round of designs, I haven’t had a chance to tell you much about some of my latest finishes. So I thought I’d take some time over the next several weeks to share more in-depth about my process of making quilts from my latest fabric line, Abstract Garden.

Geese in the Garden

Geese in the Garden with Abstract Garden fabric

LatticeWork

LatticeWork Quilt Made from Abstract Garden

Pieced Primrose

Pieced Primrose Quilts Made from Abstract Garden

Just in Case you Missed it – Blooming Wallflowers

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

Abstract Garden Quilt Patterns

Click here to see my entire quilt pattern collection.

Think of the next several weeks as Do It Yourself quilt alongs. They won’t be as in-depth as my regular quilt alongs, but they’ll provide a little more insight into my quilt-making process and will help you have a smooth experience making your own version. I enjoy blogging about the process so that I can include some in-process photos, in addition to the full color diagrams and quilting plans I include in my patterns for sale.

It should be fun and inspiring, so stay tuned!

Designer Sampler – Free Quilt Block Tutorials for You from Benartex

One of the fun things I love about designing fabric for Benartex is being able to express myself creatively through fabric. I also love getting to know their other fabric designers and see the amazing things they make! Recently Benartex pulled together a fun collaboration to create this fun sampler quilt. Each block was designed by one of nine current fabric designers who participated, and there are instructions to make each block as well as the full quilt over on the Benartex blog.

Benartex Designer Sampler in Solids

Designer Sampler in Solids
Click here for the Sampler introduction
Click here for finishing instructions

As an inspiring bonus, the folks over at Benartex recolored the sampler quilt using each designers’ latest fabric line. Links to each block and fabric collection are below each image:

Jackie Robinson Festival of Roses

Click here to see Jackie Robinson’s “A Festival of Roses” collection
Click here for instructions to make Jackie’s Rose block

Amanda Murphy Thankful

Click here to see Amanda Murphy’s “Thankful” collection
Click here for instructions to make Amanda’s Octablock

Nancy Halvorson Home Grown

Click here to see Nancy Halvorsen’s “Home Grown” collection
Click here for instructions to make Nancy’s Home block

Cherry Guidry Hearty the Snowman

Click here to see Cherry Guidry’s “Hearty the Snowman” collection
Click here for instructions to make Cherry’s Hearty Gifts block

Modern Quilt Studio Warp and Weft

Click here to see Modern Quilt Studio’s “Warp and Waft” collection
Click here for instructions to make Bill & Weeks’ Jawbreaker block

Ann Lauer Catitude Christmas

Click here to see Ann Lauer’s “Catitude Christmas” collection
Click here for instructions to make Ann’s 8-Pointed Star block

Cheryl Haynes Harvest Berry

Click here to see Cheryl Haynes’ “Harvest Berry” collection
Click here for instructions to make Cheryl’s Pumpkin House block

Paula Nadelstern Piece and Joy

Click here to see Paula Nadelstern’s “Piece & Joy” collection
Click here for instructions to make The Big T block designed by Stephanie  Sheridan

Christa Watson Abstract Garden

Click here to see Christa Watsons “Abstract Garden” collection
Click here for instructions to make my Sunshine block

Isn’t it fun to see how unique a quilt looks made up in different fabrics? This is a great way to experience the variety of colors and styles that Benartex offers. Now I want to make them all!!

Blooming Wallflowers Week 10 – Binding to Finish

Can you believe we’ve come to the end of the Blooming Wallflowers quilt along? I’m so excited to see all of your finishes and encourage you to continue working at your own pace, even if you finish weeks (or months) later.

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

I was literally finishing the hand binding of this quilt on the way to quilt market last fall, so I didn’t get any pics of my binding in progress. However, I’ve written several other binding tutorials, and my process is exactly the same, no matter which quilt I’m making. So choose your favorite method – hand or machine, and enjoy this last step of the process!

Modern Marks binding strips

I cut matching binding strips from my Modern Marks Navy Herringbone print.

Here’s a bonus tip for binding: I like to cut my strips out at 2″ wide and attach them with an exact 1/4″ seam using my BERNINA dual feed (which acts like a walking foot but I can use skinnier feet on it). This gives me a precise finished binding of 1/4″ and it’s even on both the front and back. Many times, I like to use the same background fabric as the binding so that it looks like the design is floating on the surface, rather than being interrupted by a contrasting fabric.

Here’s Blooming Wallflowers hanging in my booth at quilt market last November, along with the other quilt patterns I made to showcase my Abstract Garden fabric.

Christa Watson Abstract Garden

My booth with Benartex at fall quilt market in Houston, November 2018
Other quilts shown are LatticeWork and Geese in the Garden.

And just for fun, below the is the original Blooming Wallflowers quilt I made a couple of years earlier for a quilt magazine to promote my first line, Modern Marks. As you can see, this quilt is fun to make no matter which fabrics you choose!

Blooming Wallflowers in Modern Marks

Blooming Wallflowers Modern Marks

The Modern Marks Navy Herringbone print is one of my all-time faves!

I hope you’ve enjoyed making this quilt with me. And if you are worried about having quilt-along withdrawal, stay tuned for the next quilt along, coming soon!! It features a brand new quilt that I haven’t shared on the blog yet, and I’m sure you’ll love it just as much!

IMPORTANT LINKS

Blooming Wallflowers Week 8 – Machine Quilting Part 2

How is your Blooming Wallflowers quilt coming along? Some of you have completely finished while others are just getting started and that’s perfectly fine. I love to encourage everyone to participate at their own pace. In cased you missed it, click here for quilting part 1 including 4 short You-Tube videos showing exactly how I quilted the blocks.

Blooming Wallflowers made with Abstract Garden and Modern Marks

Today I’ll go over how I quilted the background using one of my favorite filler motifs – jagged stipple. In the quilting plan below, I quilted jagged stipple in the background areas after all of the blocks were quilted. I love filling in a quilt this way: as long as you can trace an unbroken line around your quilt, you can quilt the design continuously without any starts and stops.

Blooming Wallflowers Block Quilting Plan

Quilting all of the blocks first is what I call “anchor quilting” which means that the quilt is secure and won’t shift as I scrunch and smoosh it under the machine to finish up the rest.

I recommend practicing drawing out the design freehand on a blank sheet of paper, and even quilting a practice block to get a flow for the design. The jagged stipple is very forgiving and is basically a series of abrupt jaggedy lines going in every direction.

Machine Quilting Jagged Stipple

I quilted Jagged Stipple on a larger scale for my Improv Squares Quilt Pattern.

There’s really no wrong way to do it! In fact, I love the jagged stipple design so much, that it inspired one of the prints from my previous fabric line – the “Paper Cuts” print from Fandangle.

Fandangle Fabric Paper Cuts

Click here to get yardage of the paper cuts print from Fandangle.

Here’s another short video showing how I move back and forth and all around to quilt this design. I especially love the look of texture on texture when I quilted the jagged lines on top of the navy blue Herringbone print from Modern Marks.

Because I’m using a matching blue Aurifil thread (from my Piece and Quilt Collection – Colors), it’s hard to see the actual stitching, which is usually a good thing so you won’t see all of the wobbles and bobbles as I quilt.

Here’s a detail shot where you can just barely see the quilting. I like quilting textural designs on busy quilts because I want my quilting to enhance the quilt rather than being the star of the show!

Blooming Wallflowers quilting detail

So give this fun design a try – whether you quilt it on this quilt or another WIP (work in progress).

IMPORTANT LINKS

Blooming Wallflowers Week 7 – Machine Quilting Part 1

Now we get to my absolute favorite part of the quilt-making process – machine quilting!!! I’m breaking this section into 2 posts so you’ll have plenty of time to get ‘er done! And thanks to all of you who keep sharing your progress, no matter what step you are on. It’s so inspiring to see all of the fantastic Blooming Wallflowers out there!! Remember to scroll to the end of this post for links to all of the quilt along steps and other important info.

Blooming Wallflowers Quilting

Above is my sewing machine setup. I have a drop in table so that my sewing machine lies flush with the table. I’ve also put another table to my left, forming an “L” so that the quilt has plenty of room and won’t fall off the table. I’ll sit in the chair and scrunch and smoosh the quilt out of the way as I quilt.

Make a Quilting Plan

I always have a plan when I’m going to quilt a quilt. That way there are no surprises and I can enjoy the quilting process. Here’s my basic quilting plan that’s included in the Blooming Wallflowers quilt pattern:

Blooming Wallflowers Block Quilting Plan

I’m quilting 3 different designs: chevrons in the print triangles, pebbles in the light blue triangles, and jagged stipple in the background. I can quilt all of the triangles per block at once without stopping; then I’ll go back and quilt the navy blue background later. I used a light blue thread from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt collection Neutrals on the triangles, and will use a darker blue thread from my Colors collection for the background.

Free Motion Quilting Blooming Wallflowers

Here’s what the back side of the quilt looks like after quilting all of the triangles. I always use the same color thread in top and bobbin so that if there are any tension issues, it won’t show. I don’t mind seeing the quilting on the back of the quilt. In fact, I actually like how it shows up!

Notice how my actual quilting deviated slightly from the plan. I decided to quilt a few more lines in the chevrons, and I embellished the chevrons with an extra row of pebbles and some zig-zags to jazz it up a bit.

Step by Step Quilting Videos

Here are a few short videos of me quilting the blocks so you can see how I did it. Be sure to enlarge the screen for a better view:

First, I stitched in the ditch very carefully around one light blue triangle.

Then I filled in the light blue triangle with pebbles. I’m using a thicker ruler foot because I’m doing the pebbles and ruler work all at the same time.

Next, I used a special acrylic ruler to quilt straight line chevrons. I didn’t worry about the lines being equal in distance or hitting the points exactly. I don’t actually love doing ruler work because it’s a little too fussy for my taste. But I’ll use it to quilt straight lines as long as they don’t have to be exact.

Once the chevrons were quilted, I embellished one section with free-motion zig-zags. I quilted each section of triangles (the Abstract Garden prints and the light blue background) in one pass, with only one start and stop for the whole block.) In other words, I did all of the pebbles in one triangle and then went straight into the chevrons.

To start and a line of stitching, I take about 6-8 teeny tiny stitches and then start quilting normally. When I’m done, I end with 6-8 teeny tiny stitches to hold it in place and cut off the excess threads. Starting and stopping in a seam makes it less noticable.

Next week, we’ll quilt the background! I recommend trying out the quilting designs on a scrap of fabric and batting first, before applying them to your quilt.

IMPORTANT LINKS

EQ Design Challenge – Win a Fat Quarter Bundle of Abstract Garden

I’ve partnered up with my friends at Electric Quilt once again to offer free digital images of my latest fabric line, Abstract Garden. You can use the images in Electric Quilt software to design lots of fun quilts!

Abstract Garden Digital Images

Click here to download Abstract Garden digital images for EQ.
(You must have the software installed on your computer for it to work.)

In fact, that’s how I designed my newest quilt patterns made from my fabric. Once I design a fabric line and the digital images are sent off to the mill for printing, I import them into EQ8 to use as a palette while designing. That way I can see exactly how the finished quilt will look before I ever cut into my fabric!

Abstract Garden Fat Quarter Bundle

2 random entrants will each win a fat quarter bundle of Abstract Garden!

Once you’ve got your images, it’s time to play! You can enter your design for a chance to win one of 2 Abstract Garden fat quarter bundles, courtesy of Benartex Fabrics. The contest runs the entire month of February so you have plenty of time to design to your heart’s content!

Electric Quilt Design Contest for Abstract Garden

Click here to get the digital images for EQ and enter the contest. I can’t wait to see your entry!

I’m the Guest Curator For February’s Quilty Box!

I have some super fun and exciting news to share: I’ll be the guest curator for February’s Quilty Box. And even better news: click here to get $10 off your first Quilty Box subscription!

Quilty Box February 2019

Here’s the way this fun subscription service works: choose a 1 month, 3 month, 6 month or one year subscription and received a fabulous box of quilt goodies curated by some of your favorite designers. They usually include fabrics, a brand-new pattern, and several awesome notions, all for an amazing lower price over what you would pay for them separately. And the more months you sign up for, the better the deal gets!

February 2019 QuiltyBox with Christa Watson

Click here to get $10 off your first subscription of QuiltyBox.

Each monthly box is like getting a fun surprise in the mail, so be sure to up by Feb 9th! It will ship approximately February 11, and as a special bonus for subscribers of my box, I’ll be offering an exclusive quilt along in March with a brand new pattern that will be revealed in the February box. I can’t wait for you to see it! and I can’t wait for the big reveal, coming soon!!!

Blooming Wallflowers Week 1: Cutting

Are you ready to dive in and make this dynamic looking quilt? All you need is a copy of the Blooming Wallflowers quilt pattern and you can jump in anytime! See the end of this post for all relevant links.

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

Blooming Wallflowers can be made in three sizes: Crib, Throw, or Queen

Cutting the Center Triangles

The triangles used in this pattern are a specific shape and require either the use of the full-size templates included in the pattern, or a specialty ruler. Tri recs is recommended for the smaller sizes or Creative Grids Triangle Squared AND Perfect Rectangle for the larger size. Of course you can use the larger rulers for the smaller blocks, too.

Cut Pieces for Blooming Wallflowers Quilt

These are all of the cut pieces used to make Blooming Wallflowers.
I used my Abstract Garden fabric line for the “flowers.”

Stack and layer the fabric strips for faster cutting. Follow the chart on page 6 of the pattern to cut the center triangles from the colorful prints. Here’s a quick 1 minute video demo showing how I used the specialty ruler. Notice the position of the blunt end on the ruler.

Corresponding diagrams can be found on page 2 of the quilt pattern.

Cutting The Triangle Pairs

The background triangle pairs s are cut in the same way except you will want to make sure to cut one left and right triangle at the same time. The easiest way to do that is to make sure the background fabric strips are folded in half. Then you’ll get one pair per cut. See the step by step cutting diagrams on page 3 of the pattern.

Here’s another short video showing how I cut the triangle pairs. Don’t forget to trim off the little triangle tip at the top to ensure proper matching when sewing them together next week. I used the ruler to trim off the left edge of the fabric strip first, and didn’t worry about the direction of the print while cutting.

The background fabric is Navy Herringbone from my Modern Marks fabric line.

Cutting the rest of the background

The rest of the background is pretty straightforward. Follow the chart in the pattern on page 6 to cut extra background squares that allow the design to float, plus the side and corner triangles and the binding strips. See the diagram on page 3 to cut the corner and side triangles.

Blooming Wallflowers cut pieces

I love a pretty stack of cut pieces, don’t you?

Once everything is cut, you’ll be ready to sew the blocks together next week! Don’t forget to share pics of your progress in my Facebook group, or on Instagram using the hashtag #bloomingwallflowersquilt.

Important Links

Blooming Wallflowers Quilt Along Supply List and Schedule

All you need to get started is a copy of the quilt pattern and a few supplies listed below:

Scroll to the end for links to all of the quilt along posts.

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

Supply List

(1) Blooming Wallflowers Quilt Pattern

(2) Fabric Needs – see materials list in the image below. I will be making the throw size.

Blooming Wallflowers Supply List

(3) A set of Tri Recs rulers for the Crib or Throw Size.

Please get these exact tools. Anything else won’t be the correct angle for cutting. Tri Recs makes blocks up to 6″ finished. For the Queen size quilt, you will need the Creative Grids Triangle Squared AND Perfect Rectangle rulers that make up to 9″ finished size blocks.

If you don’t have access to these rulers, you can use the full-size templates included in the quilt pattern.

Tri Recs Tools

(4) Batting for your quilt size
(5) Basic rotary cutting equipment – mat and rulers, and cutter with new sharp blade.
(6) Basting supplies – either safety pins or 505 basting spray. (I will spray baste)
(7) A “can-do” attitude and willingness to share – this is going to be fun!!

Quilt Along Schedule

The quilt along will run for a total for a total of 10 weeks which includes 3 scheduled breaks to catch up. If you follow along each week, you’ll have a completely finished quilt at the end!!
Once each post has been published, the links below will become clickable so you can navigate to any post you need as you follow along.

Sharing is Caring

As you are gathering your supplies and getting ready to start, please share pics of the fabrics you’ll use – I’d love to see! Also, anytime during the quilt along, I encourage you to share your progress in any of these ways:

  1. On Your own blog – share links in the comments section of any of the QAL posts
  2. On Instagram – use hashtag #bloomingwallflowersquilt so others can see your progress
  3. In my Christa Quilts Facebook group – this is also a great place to ask questions and interact with other quilt along participants.

Blooming Wallflowers Quilt Along

I’m so excited to get started!! Who’s with me?? As always, it’s totally OK to follow along virtually, or save the blog posts for later and make this quilt any time, on YOUR schedule.

Abstract Garden Fabric is Here – Hooray!

First a quick thanks to all of the kind comments I received last week on our new home, AND this week on my QuiltCon entries. It’s been a bit hectic around here so I wasn’t able to respond individually like I usually do, but I so appreciate your kindness and support! And now for the best news: Abstract Garden yardage has finally arrived and is shipping to stores, whoo hoo!!

Abstract Garden Fabric

Click here to purchase Abstract Garden Fabric

Soon, I’ll be posting a list of which shops I know of are carrying it. In the meantime, I bought some for myself and some to sell as yardage, precut bundles, and kits. Really, it’s just an excuse to fondle my fabric as much as possible and imagine what you all will make with it!

In fact, please be sure to use the hashtag #abstractgardenfabric on instagram so I can see your beautiful creations! You can also share them over in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group.

Blooming Wallflowers Kit

Click here to purchase the Blooming Wallflowers kit, while supplies last.

I’ve also been busy cutting out more Blooming Wallflowers kits to get ready for the upcoming quilt along next month – click here to sign up for free.

Of course you can use any fabrics you like for any of my QAL’s and I’m super excited about the extra interest now that the quilt will be hanging at  QuiltCon. I had a nice surge in Blooming Wallflowers pattern sales once the news went out, so that definitely made my day!

Abstract Garden Fabric

Click here to purchase Abstract Garden precuts, bundles, or kits.

Don’t forget about the pre-cuts, too. Abstract Garden comes in fat quarters, 5″ charm packs, 10″ squares and 2 1/2″ precut “strip-pies”. I’ve already set aside room in the new house to display my precuts on a shelf, because I’ve finally realized that fabric collecting is its own hobby just like quilting, right???

Thank You Bonus – Score a Free Pattern!

For everyone who places a fabric order with me now through the end of the year, I’ll throw in a bonus surprise pattern as my way of saying thanks. I ordered it all before we decided to move, so needless to say, the more I can ship off before we have to pack up, the better!!

Click here to visit shop.ChristaQuilts.com for all of my fabrics, patterns, and books.