Design challenge alert!! I’ve partnered with Electric Quilt and Benartex, LLC. to bring you a fun design contest. Download swatches of my Good Vibes fabric, design an original quilt using EQ, and enter to win a bundle of my fabric. This is a great way to stretch your creativity and you don’t even have to make the quilt.
You DO have to use Electric Quilt to enter this contest, but you DO NOT have to make the quilt! 2 lucky winners will each win a Bundle of my Good Vibes fabric.
The exciting part about this design challenge is that I get to pick one of the winners! My friends over at Benartex will pick the other. I’ve done this contest for most of my fabric lines so far and I just LOVE seeing what you all create!!
I’ve invited Nancy to come on the blog to tell you more about this fabulous quilt in her own words…..
From Nancy Messuri:
I am honored Christa gave me the opportunity to guest blog as I am a huge fan all her fabric lines, books, and easygoing teaching style, so I was very excited when she asked me to guest post, as there is lots to share about this quilt!
Hypnotica started off as a study in black and white and I had no intention of making it into a quilt. It was simply a personal design challenge in Electric Quilt 8 (EQ8). After playing with some initial coloring though, I found the design quite interesting. I saw it had potential to be very striking. My geometric quilt designs often mesh with Christa’s sense of line and color, so I placed a few of her fabrics into my design. And wow, did it ever come to life!
I started thinking about possibly piecing Hypnotica, but the fact that all 34 wedges meet at the center point was daunting. However, I continued playing with fabric placements in EQ8 using Christa’s fabrics. When I found a grouping that really stood out I decided I had to give this quilt a try.
Construction of the quilt center was actually easier than I expected it to be. The entire circle is made up of only two different wedges which alternate around the quilt. I printed patterns for the foundation paper pieced wedges from EQ8, then did a few test runs of sewing patches into wedges and sewing wedges together.
After I felt confident with the tests, I was ready to use Christa’s beautiful fabrics and pieced together the two semi-circles. I quickly learned not to sew too fast over multiple layers of fabric as wedges were added; especially when nearing the center of the quilt. Hypnotica is definitely a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of quilt!
The two background pieces are sewn to each semi-circle before sewing the two halves of the circle together. If you are new to curved piecing, this is an easy curve to start with as the seam is sewn in a long, gentle curve. A few test runs of curved piecing with scrap fabric can give lots of confidence!
The moment of truth arrived; matching up all the points of the two halves while dealing with all the layers meeting up at the center point. I listened to my own advice and sewed very slowly and I am happy to say I nailed it on the first try! (There may have been a happy dance or two after that.) At that point, I knew a pattern had to be created for Hypnotica.Click the image above to enlarge. Click here to order Hypnotica Quilt Pattern.
I would love to see your interpretations of Hypnotica on my Facebook page, Nancy Messuri Designs! The pattern is available on my website, NancyMessuriDesigns.com. There are new patterns in the works, so I hope you pop in from time to time. Or better yet, sign up for updates so you won’t miss a thing!
Thanks so much Nancy for sharing your beautiful quilt!! Now I can’t wait to see what she creates next. 🙂
It’s a new month, so let’s have a fabric sale!! As our minds turn toward cooler temps and we start thinking about new snuggly projects to sew, I want to make that easier for you! So I’ve reduced the price on all of my Abstract Garden fabrics by the yard, while supplies last. Stock up on these bright, cheerful fabrics for borders, backings and more. And the best part is – there’s no coupon required!
Here’s another deal that’s automatically applied to your order – just pay $5 shipping to the US, no matter how much you buy. International orders are also discounted by $5 and any excess shipping charges will be promptly refunded.
So stock up now on Fandangle fabrics, my other collection that’s currently on sale for less than $10 bucks a yard and be sure to keep in touch to let me know what you are making!!
Why you are shopping, be sure to check out my entire sale section for great prices on my books, my Aurifil thread collections, and a few of my patterns on sale. My hope is to inspire you with lots of fun projects to make without breaking the bank!
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!
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!
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!
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!
I always recommend finding my fabrics at your favorite independent quilt shop first. With lots of fabric and stores out there, the best way to get your favorite shop to carry my fabrics is to ask them to do so – they LOVE listening to their customers!
But if you aren’t able to visit your favorite shop during this crazy time, I do also sell all of my fabrics in my online shop too – and I’m happy to ship anywhere in the world.
Of course my personal favorite precut to work with is the fat quarter bundle. I love working with fat quarters because I think they are the most versatile. I can cut them down into any size or shape and it’s usually enough fabric of each print for most of the quilts I like to make.
I used 2 fat quarter bundles to make my newest Modern Logs quilt – more info about that coming soon!!
Jelly rolls, strip-pies, roll ups, or whatever you call them are a definite favorite among quilters. There are so many great patterns out there for them, including my free Puzzle box pattern that is made from 2 of these beauties! The best thing I love about colorful precut strips is using the leftovers to make a scrappy binding. I love it when nothing goes to waste!
My fabric company likes to call these 10x10s because that’s exactly what they are. They include the exact same fabrics as the charm pack shown below, but in a larger size. I love the 10″ squares because they can be cut into 2 1/2″ strips or 5″ squares and the math places nicely with the other precuts. I’m excited to be remaking my Charming Chevrons pattern using these squares. It’s a larger quilt, with less work!
You can make a baby quilt in a day by sewing one set of charm squares in a 6×7 layout. If you’d like to make a larger quilt, be sure to check out my Charming Chevrons pattern in the lap or throw size. It’s a match made in heaven!
I’m thrilled that these fabrics are now out in the world and getting a good reception. If you make something using them, please let me know. You can use the hashtag #goodvibesfabric so I can see what you are working on. It’ll definitely make my day!!!
This is my sixth fabric line for Benartex Contempo Studio and I’m thrilled with it! There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your name on the selvage!!
Good Vibes consists of 10 colorful, saturated prints and 10 low-volume prints, all with a geometric theme. The fresh citrus colors of orange, lemon, lime, and turquoise are going to look great in so many kinds of projects!
And of course there are a few neutrals thrown in to make the line super useful as well as happy and beautiful!
This group is all about nostalgia for me. As a child of the 80s, it reminds me of good vibes and happy times with my family and friends.
I spent my summers running through sprinklers, exploring my crafty side, watching TV with friends, and tinkering with computers—all while practicing my bubblegum-popping skills.
Would you like to hear the story behind each print? I hope this will jog happy memories for you, too!
This low-volume geometric print comes in four delicious colors, and it’s all about computers. When I was growing up, we were the first people on our block to get an Apple II-E computer. We thought that machine was amazing!
I loved tinkering with computers and video games back then, and even now, the computer is a workhorse for my business.
TIP: If the right side of a fabric is too intense for your project, flip it over and use the back side for a lovely muted effect.
Another of the fun low-volume prints! Look closely and maybe you’ll see the interlocking roller skates in this design. I spent many Friday nights at the roller rink with friends, and I still get nostalgic when I hear those old songs. We were the original dance party!
Just like the Slippin’ Slide colors, there’s great movement in this print, and it will add zip wherever you put it!
Thanks for strolling down memory lane with me! I hope it made you smile, too!
All the Good Vibes prints are available as yardage and in bundles of half yards and full yards. I want to you to be able to get exactly what you desire!
The lap and throw sizes of Charming Chevrons are made from 5″ charm packs. (The thinking is done—so you just relax and sew!) This design has a lot of movement for great visual interest.
Twin-size Charming Chevrons in Good Vibes fabric by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio
The larger sizes of Charming Chevrons (twin and king) are made from 10″ precut squares, also called Layer Cakes or Ten by Tens.
Watch for Good Vibes 5×5 and 10×10 packs coming in July!
Right now, I’m taking pre-orders for the paper patterns of Charming Chevrons and Modern Logs, and I have a special offer for you. Please read on!
The cover quilts were made with my new Good Vibes line for Benartex Contempo Studio. I’m really pleased by the interplay of the modern low-volumes and the saturated bright prints. It’s just the look I was after! More thoughts on Good Vibes coming soon.
All of my patterns include step-by-step instructions and machine quilting suggestions so you’re never stumped when it’s time to finish. We have it covered!
Choose from four handy sizes in Charming Chevrons: Lap, Throw, Twin or King! See the pattern’s back cover below for the dimensions.
Maybe you have some charm packs around just waiting for the right project. Or have you been looking for the perfect quilt to use a special layer cake? Look no further than Charming Chevrons!
Maybe Modern Logs will suit your fancy! It’s made from 1, 2 or 3 fat quarter bundles, depending on the size you want to make. The pattern gives instructions for making crib, throw and queen sizes, but the improvisational technique means you can adjust the size of your quilt by making more or fewer blocks. That’s a great design bonus!
Maybe you’d want to get some Good Vibes and then supplement from your stash for a unique project that’s totally you! You can go with a coordinated look or be super scrappy. I think you’ll really have fun with the improv nature of these blocks!
I’m putting the finishing touches on both of these quilts now and I can’t wait to share them with you!
Seeing your excitement when you like my fabric or fall in love with a quilt design is a real boost for me. And I always meet some wonderful people during a quilt along, so I’m really looking forward to that, too!
Use code PATTERN to get a free paper pattern of your choice when you preorder both Modern Logs and Charming Chevrons paper patterns. Add three patterns to your cart, enter the code in the coupon box and then remember to hit the + to make sure the discount is applied. Offer expires end of day June 30, 2020.
In one of my early Ask Me Anything episodes in the Christa Quilts Group on Facebook, lots of folks were interested in my fabric design process. So I’ve put together some images and files to share a peek into how the process works for me, and my experience in designing fabrics for Benartex.
About five years ago, I decided to get serious about designing fabric. As part of that goal, in 2016 I went to an industry event sponsored by Sara Lawson @sewsweetness and Brenda Ratliff @pinkcastlefabrics. It was called Sew Pro and it was only held that one time.
It was geared to helping people understand the different ways you could get involved behind the scenes of the industry. After that event, I decided to give myself five years to figure it all out, find a fabric company, pitch my ideas, learn the technical aspects and so on.
Two days later, the most unusual thing happened. (Really and truly, this almost never happens.) Benartex called and said they wanted to produce some modern-type fabrics under their Contempo label, and would I be interested in designing for them.
But in the same breath I said, “I don’t really know how to do that.”
Now before I tell you the rest of the story, I should explain that I had already established myself as a Martingale author and a Bernina ambassador. I’d spent years developing a network in the industry, so while it was completely out of the blue for them to call me, it also wasn’t completely out of the blue for them to call me.
Bernina actually owns Benartex as well as a distributor called Brewer Sewing, so my connections in other parts of the industry helped me break in to the fabric design arena.
Now Back to the rest of the Story:
As it turns out, there are at least three different ways to design fabric.
100% of the work is done by the designer
Designer collaborates with a team at the fabric company
Design work done by a team at the fabric company, designer’s name is attached to the fabric
My work with Benartex falls under #2 above: It’s a design collaboration.
When I told them I didn’t know how to design fabric, their response was, “No problem!” They assured me they had people skilled in the technical aspects and that we could work together.
So I jumped in, and Good Vibes (out in July) is my sixth collection for Benartex! (Cannot wait to show you all the fun things we’ve made with it!)
The Design Process
Before anything else can happen, I come up with ideas for prints and make rough sketches with notes. (Side note: Ideas are everywhere! One print in Gridwork was inspired by a bath mat in a hotel.)
The first thing we did with Modern Marks was to establish a “look.” (And by the way, that look is something I have continued through all of my lines.) When the first samples (below) came back to me, I thought they were beautiful, but they were not the look I was after. They were blendy and batiky and I wanted a flat, geometric, modern feel.
The first paper swatches that came back from Benartex
I got more descriptive about what I wanted, and we worked our way closer. This is how it happens.
A more evolved concept for Modern Marks on paper—we were getting closer!
We go back and forth as I share my ideas and vision, and they continually refine it and bring it closer and closer to what’s in my mind.
They create the repeats and together we work on getting the colors just right. The stylist and the graphic designers have the technical expertise and they help me bring my ideas to life!
Then comes The hard part…
Quirky Triangles made the cut, but Donuts did not.
Eventually we have prints and colors I’m happy with and then comes a really difficult part: narrowing it down. My collections are usually from 20 to 25 prints, which means I always have to weed out a few.
Heartbeat was cut from Modern Marks, but Herringbone stayed in.
It is so much fun when the final swatches are done! I usually only see the line on paper until I get the actual fabric months later. But this is the culmination of much hard work, many twists and turns and a few tricky decisions! It’s all worth it when you see the collection together!
Final swatches for Modern Marks
The Good News
Fortunately, just because an idea doesn’t work for one collection doesn’t mean it won’t ever work. I tuck all of the rejects away, literally (in a drawer) and figuratively (in my head) because they make great starting points down the road. More on that a little later.
My first computer drawings for Fandangle were reminiscent of Spirograph as a kid.
For Fandangle, I had the childhood concept of Spirograph in my mind and wanted to do a little more of the computer work myself. Above are the early images I created in Illustrator.
The design starts to evolve for the main Fandangle print.
Just above are some of the paper swatches that came back to me as we collaborated.
The final design of the main or “hero” print for Fandangle
And these are the final look for the main print in Fandangle. There are many steps that happen between these images, but you’re getting the idea of how it works.
Let’s circle back to the idea of rejects being useful down the road. On the right in the photo above is my upcoming line called Good Vibes. On the left are some low-volumes I wanted for Modern Marks that didn’t work out.
The main idea for Good Vibes was soft and loud: low-volume prints and bold, saturated prints together. The low volume idea was something I had to scrap from Modern Marks, but I held on to it and half a dozen collections later, it’s going to be one of my very favorites! Good Vibes will ship to stores in July; ask for it at your local quilt shop!
Mockup of the promotional folder for Modern Marks
One of the last things that happens is the creation of the promotional materials. The Benartex people send me a mockup (above) and later the final folder, which is used to show the fabric to potential buyers during quilt market, and by sales reps visiting quilt shops around the country.
It’s still amazing to me that from my simple drawings such a beautiful thing can appear! If you’ve read this far, I want to offer you a deal.
This custom color bundle includes 20 fat quarters in light, medium and dark neutrals. These blacks, whites, and grays include fabulous patterns and interesting textures that will draw your viewers’ eyes deeper into any project you create!
Aren’t these all just so delicious??? One of the main reasons I love being a fabric designer is so that I can create colors, patterns and textures for my own personal stash! I’m so happy that I’ve been able to fill out a rainbow of color with my fabrics and I can’t wait to show you what’s yet to come!
I’m excited to be a part of Virtual Quilt Market June 2–4, a brand new event from Quilts Inc. Traditional quilt market has been reimagined in light of current events and it’s going to be so interesting to see everyone’s creativity come shining through!
I’ll debuting my 6th fabric line for Benartex called Good Vibes which is a nod to good vibes and happy times of my childhood as a kid growing up in the 80s!
There are 10 low volume prints and 10 saturated colors, all featuring my signature, colorful geometrics. Here’s a sneak peek for now – I can’t wait to tell you more about them!
Here’s a short, seven-minute video I put together for Benartex to introduce the line. I’m still working on quilts and patterns, and everything will begin shipping to stores in July of 2020.
I will be sharing more about this collection during my virtual Quilt Market Schoolhouse at 10:40 AM Central on Wednesday, June 3. This event is for registered, paid attendees. To view the Schoolhouse sessions during Virtual Quilt Market, register for General Access or All Access. Find complete details at VirtualQuiltMarket.com. There are also business webinars and of course, tons of new quilty products of all kinds.
If you can’t catch the live presentations, all registered attendees will have access to the content for one month after the event. There will be so much to see! I hope you’ll take advantage of this great chance to get the latest scoop on what’s happening in the quilting industry.
You can’t imagine how much fun it was to name the prints in Good Vibes. My memories of Gumballs, Slippin’ Slide, Bedazzled, Good Vibrations, Interconnected and Circuit Board are all immortalized in fabric. They bring a smile to my face!
Benartex has put together this handy guide for shops. Feel free to download and save the Good Vibes Lookbook and tell your favorite shop owners to contact their Benartex sales rep to order. The best part of designing any collection is seeing what others make with it – and I can’t wait!!