Optical Illusion: Supply List, Schedule and Color Combos

Are you ready to join me for the adventure of a lifetime? Or at least a fun sewing escapade over the next several weeks? I’m excited to guide you as we make my Optical Illusion quilt from start to finish.  All you need is a copy of the Optical Illusion quilt pattern and a can-do attitude!

Optical Illusion Quilt

Optical Illusion made from Geo Pop, 67″ x 88″
Scroll this image to see the lines move!

My original version was sewn up in bold black, white and gray from my Geo Pop fabric line. I had requests to see how it would look in other colorways, so thank goodness for EQ8 software which allowed me to quickly recolor lots of fun combinations!

I made some of them into quilt kits which you can pick up if you desire, or just use them as a color guide and pick something similar from your stash.

Color Play: Choose Light, Medium and Dark

The trick to making the design work is the interplay of the values. Value is just the lightness or darkness of a fabric compared to its neighbors. For this design to work you need three fabrics that read as light, medium and dark.

So take a look at these color combos and scroll your screen up and down to see the illusion of the lines waving back and forth. Pretty trippy right?

The illusion works because the medium fabric is ALWAYS used for the skinny strips whereas the light and dark color combos are used for the squares.

Here’s another group of colors that also showcases the illusion with some interesting color combos:

Solids, or fabrics that read as a solid look best for the bold, graphic design, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use prints. Just be sure you choose something that is mostly one color or color family per print. Here’s another color grouping that works well:

Remember, for best results, use the lightest and darkest fabrics are for the squares, with the medium for the skinny strips. To test the value of your fabrics, take a picture set on gray scale from your camera phone. Then you can easily tell which should be classifued as light, medium or dark.

That’s a dozen different combinations that WORK! (Many are available as kits for the Quilt Along.) I have no idea why our brains read it this way, but it sure is cool, don’t ya think??

Now…

Watch what happens when the skinny strips are LIGHTER or DARKER than the two colors in the squares. It creates too much contrast and doesn’t give the illusion.

These 4 colorways above and below still make a nice looking modern quilt, so don’t despair if your color combos don’t work exactly as you thought. Part of the fun is learning new things, right??

For further discussion and some more examples, check out this video from my Facebook Live “Ask me Anything” series. Click the image below to play. It’s just under and hour and I go through color combinations as well as other quilty tips and advice asked by the audience. (I do these live sessions each wee k and have started posting them on YouTube so be sure to subscribe!)

In my examples, I’ve used mostly prints that read as one color for the best results. But don’t worry—the modern quilt design looks cool whether the illusion works or not!

Optical Illusion Supply List

Start thinking about the colors and fabrics that you would like to use, and gather up the needed supplies. The quilt pattern comes in three sizes. Click the pattern image below to expand.

Optical Illusion Quilt Pattern

Here’s what you need for the Twin size quilt top (67″ x 88″), which is what I made:

Get the Optical Illusion Quilt Kit, while supplies last!

Optical Illusion Quilt with Good Vibes Fabric

I can’t wait to show you how to quilt the walking foot spiral design!

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.

Optical Illusion Quilt

SHARing is caring

If you’re an Instagram junkie (like me!), please tag me at @christaquilts and use the hashtag #opticalillusionquilt so I can see what you are doing and cheer you on!

If you’d like to ask questions or need additional help, please participate in my Christa Quilts Group on Facebook. It’s a great place to encourage your fellow makers and get additional ideas for fabric choices and a quilting plan!

Sign up for Email Notifications

Be sure to enter your email address in the box on the sidebar of this blog. If you are viewing this on your phone or tablet, scroll aaaaaaaallllllllllllll the way down to the bottom of the page to find the email address box.

Save $2 Per Yard on Modern Marks Fabric – Now Just $8.95 Per Yard

During these crazy times, sewing is such great therapy! Nothing warms my heart like seeing so many of you sewing masks (especially from my fabrics), making beautiful quilts, and sharing and encouraging each other! I’m currently working behind the scenes on quilts made from my next fabric collection coming later this summer. (See the sneak peek below!)

good vibes by christa watson for Benartex

My next fabric line is called Good Vibes and will be available in July 2020!

So naturally, this means it’s time to clear off some shelf space to make room for the new arrivals! I’ve just reduced the yardage price on my first fabric line, Modern Marks. It’s now only $8.95 per yard, with no coupon required!

Click here get Modern Marks Fabric by the yard for $8.95 each.

I hope you are all staying safe and sound, and finding time to sew. 🙂

Stay At Home And Sew Sale! Free US Shipping On All Fabric Orders

Use Code SHIP at Shop.Christaquilts.com for Free US Shipping

We are living in uncertain times right now and as many of you know, quilting is my full time job that supports my entire family. To help us all feel better about being home bound, I want to do my part to help keep the quilting industry alive and well!

Geo Pop by Christa Watson

Therefore, starting today, and until further notice, I’m offering FREE US shipping on all orders, and reduced shipping on all international purchases. Enter code SHIP in the coupon box at shop.ChristaQuilts.com and click the + symbol to ensure it gets applied to your order. You’ll be able to confirm the correct total before finalizing checkout.

Abstract Garden by Christa Watson for Benartex

So if you are “quilting under quarantine” as may of us are, stock up, stay safe, stay home and sew!!

Modern Marks FQ

Click here to view my entire line of fabrics, patterns, books, bundles and kits! 
Remember to use code SHIP at checkout!

Benartex Precut Project Hop Starts Next Week!

Do you love working with precuts as much as I do? Well, I’m excited that my fabric company Benartex has decided to host a precut project hop to help you decide what to make with your collection of charm squares, strip-pies, 10x10s and fat quarter bundles. And the best part is, most (if not all) of the projects featured will include a free pattern or tutorial. How cool is that??

Benartex Precut Project Hop

Designer Schedule

Below is the schedule of fabric and pattern designers who have cooked up some fantastic ideas for you. Of course, we prefer to use Benartex precuts which is why we love working with this fabric company, but  these projects will look fabulous in any precut bundle you’re dying to use!

Bookmark the sites below, then follow Benartex and all the designers on their respective facebook pages and instagram accounts for more fun and inspiration. There just might be a giveaway or two thrown into the mix, so be sure to check in each day!

Monday 3/16:

Pat Sloan – https://www.patsloan.com/

by Annie – https://www.byannie.com/

Tuesday 3/17:

Debby Kratovil – https://debbykratovilquilts.blogspot.com/

Wednesday 3/18:

Modern Quilt Studio – https://www.modernquiltstudio.com/

Thursday 3/19:

Charisma Horton – http://charismascorner.com/

Friday 3/20:

Amanda Murphy – https://blog.amandamurphydesign.com/

Saturday 3/21:

Andy Knowlton – http://www.abrightcorner.com/

Sunday 3/22:

Shelley Cavanna – https://www.corasquilts.com/

Sandra Walker – https://www.mmmquilts.com/

Monday 3/23:

Wendy Sheppard – https://ivoryspring.wordpress.com/

Tuesday 3/24:

Cherry Guidry – https://www.cherryblossomsquilting.com/

Wednesday 3/25:

Nancy Halvorsen – http://www.arttoheart.com/

Nancy Scott – http://masterpiecequilting.blogspot.com/

Thursday 3/26:

Heidi Pridemore – https://www.thewhimsicalworkshop.com/

Friday 3/27:

Christa Watson – https://christaquilts.com/

Lisa Ruble – https://lovetocolormyworld.blogspot.com/

Pieced Primrose Quit Along Week 7 – Machine Quilting

Can you believe we are almost to the end of our Paper Pieced Primrose Quilt Along? If you are just now hearing about it, scroll to the end for links to all of the other QAL posts. I’ll leave them up indefinitely so that you can make this quilt on your own time and schedule.

Paper Pieced Primrose

Click here to get the Pieced Primrose Quilt Kit made from Abstract Garden.

Quilting on Busy Quilts

The first thing to think about when quilting a busy quilt such as my versions shown above, is that the quilting won’t be a focal part of the quilt. It’s more about the interplay of the fabric colors and the geometry of the pieced design. So a busy quilt is a great place to practice a new quilting design, or one that you want to get better quilting.

machine quilt from Pieced Primrose

In the Pieced Primrose quilt pattern, I give machine quilting suggestions (just like I do in ALL of my quilt patterns). Because I made two versions of the same quilt, I quilted them with two different allover edge to edge free-motion designs: round spirals and square spirals.

When quilting an edge to edge design – I start on one side of the quilt and work my way across the quilt in a methodical fashion, block by block.

Variegated collection by Christa Watson

I used my Aurifil Variegated Thread Collection in blue and pink for each of the respective colorways. They blend into all of the fabrics and added a little bit of sparkle to the quilts. Here are a few detail shots below:

Abstract Garden Warm – click images to enlarge

Free Motion Swirls

Free Motion Swirls

Abstract Garden Cool – click images to enlarge

free motion boxes

free motion boxes

My favorite thing about quilting an allover edge to edge design is that it adds yummy texture to the quilt and is sooo forgiving! Your motifs don’t have to be perfect because you won’t see the individual stitches. And the best way to hide imperfect quilting is to surround it with MORE imperfect quilting!!

See Me qulting on Video!

I recently quilted 3 different versions of another quilt – Terrace Tiles using 3 different free-motion designs in the same way. I stitched Swirls and Boxes (similar to Square Spirals) on two of them and other fun design – Jagged Stipple – on the third.

Click play below to see  me quilting 3 different free-motion designs on Terrace Tiles:

LINKS AT A GLANCE

Click the links below for supplies needed to make Pieced Primrose

Next week we will bind our quilts to finish!

Pieced Primrose Warm
Pieced Primrose Abstract Garden Warm
Pieced Primrose CoolPieced Primose Quilt Abstract Garden Cool

Terrace Tiles Quilts: Ta Da! They are Finished!

This is the final part of my “making of” series for Terrace Tiles. I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey and are inspired to make your own version! See below for info about these quilts and the previous progress posts.

Terrace Tiles by Christa Watson

Terrace Tiles Finished Quilt Stats

  • Finished sizes: Amethyst and Citron 38″ x 57″; Breeze 57″ x 76″
  • Designed using Electric Quilt 8 software
  • Pieced and quilted by Christa Watson on my Bernina 770QE
  • Fabric collection: Gridwork by Christa Watson for Benartex
  • Pattern: Terrace Tiles by Christa Watson
  • Batting used: Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 cotton/polyester
  • Thread used: Aurifil 50 weight cotton from The Variegated Collection by Christa Watson
  • Quilting designs: edge to edge swirls, boxes and jagged stipple
  • Completed: October of 2019

Terrace Tiles Amethyst

Terrace Tiles Amethyst

Terrace Tiles Amethyst

Terrace tiles Breeze

Terrace Tiles Breeze 1500

Terrace Tiles Breeze

Terrace Tiles Citron

Terrace Tiles Citron

Terrace Tiles Citron

Kits and Patterns Available

MakinG of Terrace Tiles

Terrace Tiles pattern front cover

Terrace Tiles pattern back cover

Win It Wednesday From Benartex – Your Chance to Win my Fabric and Patterns!

This week, Benartex is promoting my new Gridwork fabric on their social media channels. Along with that, they run a weekly Win-it Wednesday promotion. Today is your chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Gridwork + 2 of my quilt patterns made from it.

Gridwork by Christa WatsonClick here to get fat quarter bundles or yardage of Gridwork.

3 lucky winners will each win one of the color ways: Amethyst, Breeze, or Citron along with my Block Chain and Terrace Tiles quilt patterns.

Christa Quilts Patterns

Click here to get my quilt patterns – printed paper version.
Click here tog et my quilt patterns – PDF download version.

To enter, head over to @benartex_fabrics on instagram and leave a comment there. You must follow both Benartex and me @christaquilts on instagram to win. Contest is open until Tuesday, February 18th at 11:59 pm EST. Three winners will be announced on Wednesday, February 19th on the Benartex social media account.

Good luck and happy sewing!

Pieced Primrose Quilt Along Week 6 – Basting

And now we come to everyone’s least favorite part of making a quilt – basting!! But really, if you just set aside the time to do it’s not that bad! Here’s what both versions of Pieced Primose look like up on my design wall that also doubles as my basting area. Read on for helfpul ways to tackle this part of the quilt-making process. It’s easier than you think!

Pieced Primrose Quilts Basted

Get the Pieced Primose kits here – in cool or warm, large or small.

Because I wanted to include all 10 warm or cool fabrics from Abstract Garden in both colorways of Pieced Primrose, I used 9 fabrics for the blocks, and then the multicolor print “Raised Beds” for the backing and binding. The wall size kit includes the backing; for the larger size you’d need 6 yards of either color.

Abstract Garden by Christa Watson Raised Beds

Click here to get yardage of the Raised Beds print from Abstract Garden

I’ve basted my quilts many different ways over the last few years, and I try to share as much about the process as I can. So take a look at the different tutorials below from prior quilts I’ve made. I’m sure one of them will make your quilting life easier!!

Spray bastinG Video Tutorial

Click here (or the image below) for my spray basting video tutorial.

This is the first full-fledged basting tutorial I’ve created for my YouTube channel. I filmed and edited it while making my Infrastructure quilt. In reality it takes about an hour to do, but with the magic of edting, you can watch on super speed which only takes about 7 minutes. Too bad I can’t baste that quickly in real life, right??

Spray basting photo tutorial

Here’s the step by step process shared in my video above, but will still photos on my Modern Puzzle quilt made from Jelly Rolls.

Click here for my spray basting tutorial using a design wall.

Wall Basting Quilt Tutorial for Modern Puzzle Free Quilt Pattern

Table basting photo tutorial

If you don’t have a dedicated design wall, no problem! You can still do my spray basting method using a table. It’s the method I used when making my Improv Squares quilt:

Click here for my table basting tutorial.

Spray Baste

Safety Pin Basting Tutorial

Finally, here’s the way I USED to baste my quilts until about 5-6 years ago – using safety pins! It’s still a good method if basting spray isn’t your thing.

Click here for my safety pin basting tutorial.

Basted

If you have another method you prefer, feel free to share you tips or links in the comments for others to see. Until next week – happy piecing and basting!!

LINKS AT A GLANCE

Click the links below for supplies needed to make this quilt:

Next Week – Machine Quilting Ideas for Pieced Primrose

Swirls quilting

Making of Terrace Tiles Part 4: Machine Quilting & Binding

Today I’m excited to share some machine quilting tips and videos for all 3 versions of my Terrace Tiles quilts. My thought is why make one quilt when you can make 3 in almost the same amount of time, right?? LOL!!

Choosing Thread colors

Aurifil Variegated Thread by Christa Watson

The variegated thread color above is actually a combo of red, white and blue but it looks pink and purple when quilted on the Amethyst quilt!

Because these quilts are so bright and colorful, I decided to quilt them using 3 different colors from my Aurifil Variegated Thread Collection. I’ve really been enjoying quilting with them because they add a bit of whimsy and sparkle to my busy quilts! Whenever I pick colors, I audition the thread by placing the spool on top of the fabrics to see how it will blend in.

Aurifil Variegated Thread by Christa Watson

Variegated thread on the Breeze colorway in progress!

It’s often surprising how well a thread will blend in even if the colors aren’t an exact match to the fabric. I normally use the same color it top and bobbin and don’t worry about whether or not the same colors will line up perfectly – that’s an impossible task. But with the variegated colors, any imperfections are hard to see and that makes for stress free quilting!

Aurifil Variegated Thread by Christa Watson

The black and white will add an extra dimension to this modern color palette!

Choosing the Quilting Designs

Because I was in a hurry to make these quilts for quilt market last fall, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to finish them. I pride myself on quilting my own quilts because (1) that’s my favorite part and (2) I’m a little bit of a control freak. So I knew I had to choose designs that would look great and wouldn’t take too much time.

free motion swirls

Swirls in progress on the Amethyst colorway. Don’t stress about the imperfections!

Also, I wanted these quilts to do double duty. Not only do they showcase my Gridwork fabric and Terrace Tiles quilt pattern, they also are examples of 3 different motifs I teach in my machine quilting workshops: Swirls on the Amethsyt colorway, Boxes on the Breeze colorway, and Jagged Stipple on the Citron colorway.

modern free motion

Boxes on the Breeze colorway is one of my favorite modern machine quilting designs.

The fastest and easiest way to finish a quilt with free motion is to choose one design and quilt it from edge to edge across the quilt regardless of the pieced quilt design. It’s also a forgiving way to hide wonky or irregular seams. Just focus on one block at a time, and before you know it, the whole thing is finished! Another way to speed up the process is to quilt the motifs on a larger scale, because that takes up more space in less time.

Jagged stipple by Christa Watson

Jagged stipple is my modern, angular version of it’s traditional cousin, smooth curving stipple.

Just to give you an idea of how fast these designs are to stitch out, it took me about 3 hours to quit swirls on the baby size Amethyst version, 5 hours to quilt boxes on the throw-sized Breeze version, and 2 hours to quilt jagged stipple on the baby sized Citron version. Although the Citron quilt is the same size as the Amethyst, jagged stipple is a much looser design than swirls, so it was a bit faster.

Scrunching and Smooshing the Quilt

Because I do everything on a sit down machine, it’s important to control the weight and bulk of the quilt. I still have yet to find the perfect quilting table, so this is what my hacked together set up looks like below:

Christa Quilts Studio

I got this table for a song 20+ years ago and sadly I don’t even remember the brand!

My sewing machine is flush with the bed of the table so it can hold most of the weight. It’s pushed against the wall so the quilt won’t fall off the back of the table. Most of the bulk is to my left, and I’ve placed a TV tray forming an L shape to hold more of the quilt as I scrunch and smoosh it through the machine. I also have a comfortable ergonomic chair that I can roll around easily.

Christa Quilts Studio

A larger throat space on my machine makes a huge difference when managing the bulk!

On a bright sunny day I like to look out the window which gives me lots of natural light while I’m sewing and quilting! When the quilt falls into my lap, I just scrunch and smoosh it out of the way as needed while I quilt.

I hope this helps you overcome your fear of free motion when choosing and allover textural design like this. The key is to fill in all the spaces, so your eye doesn’t notice any of the imperfections.

See it on Video!

Here’s a YouTube video I made showing me actually fee motion quilting each quilt. The video is just under 8 minutes and it’s packed with tips as I quilt each of the 3 quilts shown above. I’m stitching in real time with the volume on my machine so you can see and hear what it looks like “in real life.” Notice how much I stop and reposition my hands:

Scrappy Binding

gridwork fabric scrappy binding

Sew the leftovers together randomly for a fun, scrappy binding!

I love a scrappy binding, especially when making quilts from fat quarters. For Terrace Tiles, you just use up the leftovers and piece them together randomly to carry the colorful chaos all the way to the edges of the quilt.

scrappy binding gridwork fabric

You can join the ends on an angle or edge to edge!

I prefer to cut my binding strips 2″ wide so they finish nice and narrow and are even on both sides. I press each of the seams open to reduce bulk and make sure the binding  is long enough to go around the entire quilt with a few inches extra.

gridwork scrappy binding

Another great thing about scrappy binding  is you can always add more strips!

Although I prefer the look of hand binding, machine binding is a great way to finish fast! Here are my two favorite ways to bind, either by hand or machine:

Remember, if you make your own version of this quilt, please share. You can use #terracetilesquilt on instagram, or you can share your progress in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group. I’d love to see it!!

Terrace Tiles by Christa Watson

LINKS AT A GLANCE:

Click here for the making of Terrace Tiles, Part 3
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt pattern – paper version
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt pattern  – PDF version
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt kits + Gridwork by the yard
Click here to get my Aurifil thread collections: colors, neutrals, or variegated
Click here for my binding tutorial (on a previous quilt)

Paper Pieced Primrose Quilt Along Starts Next Week!!

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

Pieced Primrose Quilt Pattern

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

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

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

Paper Piecing Notions

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

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

Pieced Primose Quilt Abstract Garden Cool

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

Pieced Primrose Abstract Garden Warm

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