Block Chain Quilt Finish – Ta Da!

I had so much fun making my Block Chain quilt, and I love seeing all the variations out there that others have made. I enjoyed experimenting around with the quilting on this quilt, and am excited to share this “Finish” post as a way to record all the details about this quilt!

Block Chain by Christa Watson

Block Chain QUILT STATS

Click here for the free quilt along to make this quilt.

Block Chain quilt by Christa Watson

Block Chain Quilt by Christa Watson

 

 

Block Chain Quilt Along Week 6 – Binding to Finish!

Thanks for joining me in this journey to make the Block Chain quilt. If you are still working on your quilt, scroll down to the end for links to all of the quilt along steps.

Block Chain by Christa Watson

This is the week to finish up your quilt with binding, but of course you can work at your own pace, and share your progress in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group anytime. And feel free to ask questions about this quilt. I want you to be successful from start to finish!

Quilt Binding

For my quilt, I used the Circle Grid print in black for the binding. I love the pop of interest it gives the quilt around the edges.

Gridwork Work Circle Grid Black

Here’s a roundup of quilt binding tutorials from other quilts I’ve made. I use the same process on all my quilts, whether I bind them by hand or machine. Check out these educational links below:

Click here for my Machine Binding Tutorial using a decorative stitch (YouTube Video)
Click here for my Machine Binding Tutorial using a straight stitch (Blog and Video)
Click here for my Hand Binding Tutorial (Blog Post with Pics)

Block CHain Quilt

If you’ve enjoyed this quilt along, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter for news about when the next quilt along will start. You can view all of my previous quilt alongs here.

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Block Chain Quilt Along Week 5 – Free Motion Quilting

This part of the quilt along is always my favorite!! I’m excited to share how I free-motion quilted my Block Chain Quilt with a fast, fun and forgiving modern design I call “Geometric Chains.”

Click here to get the optional Block Chain quilt kit, while supplies last.

The basic idea is to quilt an allover design, one line at a time across the entire quilt. Below is the basic motif diagram shown in the Block Chain quilt pattern.

To get a feel for how this design is stitched, draw a series of geometric lines, similar to those shown below on a blank piece of paper. Start with a straight-ish line, then sketch a series of geometric shape such as circles, triangles, squares, spirals, hearts, etc. The sky’s the limit when it comes to ideas!!

To get around each shape and make the next one, you can backtrack (stitch over a previous part of the design), or you can echo part of the design. There’s no wrong way to do it! To avoid marking, make the shapes roughly the size of a pieced block unit. Notice how the middle spiral chain above is roughly the width of the center of the block.

Once you’ve sketched out a few shapes you like, stitch them out on some practice scraps before quilting them on your actual quilt. Be sure to test out thread colors so you are happy with the results.

In the closeup image below, you can see I used a colorful thread from my Aurifil Variegated thread collection. Because the quilt has such a high contrast, I didn’t want to have to change threads as I quilted – so I made the colorful quilting a part of the final design!

When it comes to quilting the quilt, I use my “divide and conquer” method. I start on the right side of my quilt and begin stitching at the top of the quilt, in the batting sticking out around the edges. Then I quilt one “anchor” line of quilting through each block. This will hold each pieced row together so it won’t shift after basting. Then I go back and fill in all of the quilting in each row of blocks.

Click the play button below to watch a short, 2 1/2 minute video of me quilting a couple of the “chains” in this quilt. I’m only showing the closeups, but I’m just quilting one section at a time, and taking my time. I’m able to quilt an entire chain from top to bottom without having to tie off threads at either end.

Click here, or above to view my Block Chain quilting on YouTube. (Be sure to subscribe!)

The image below is a cross section details of the quilt. Notice how all that quilting adds a somewhat whimsical texture to the quilt. Click the image below to enlarge for detail.

Alternate Quilting Ideas

You can definitely apply the Geometric Chains quilting motif to any quilt, and there are several ways you can change it up, too! How about using ONE geometric design across the entire quilt? Or mix up each “chain” of quilting so it looks like a geometric sampler.

Instead of quilting straight lines with each shape, try wiggly lines, or do an allover meander with the shapes instead. No matter how you quilt it, I’d love to see your variations! Be sure to share them in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group. Or tag me on instagram @christaquilts and use #blockchainquilt so I can see your progress.

Next week it’s time to bind this quilt and then it will be complete! Be sure to check out my Quilt Along landing page for past quilt alongs and new ones coming in the future!

For MOre INfo ABOUT THIS QAL

Block Chain QAL Week 4 – Batting, Backing and Basting

Now we come to everyone’s least favorite part of quilt-making: the basting! But if you take it one step at a time and prepare the layers of the quilt properly, this part will be a breeze, and you’ll be on to quilting in no time.

Block Chain quilt bating

The Batting Should be Several Inches Larger that the Quilt Top

The most important step in basting a quilt is to ensure that the batting and backing are several inches larger than the quilt top all the way around. Sometimes I can get away with less If I’m careful.

For me, the easiest way to measure the batting is to buy a roll of it, then unroll it across the width of the quilt top and roughly trim off the amount I will need. In the photo above, I’m using Hobbs Tuscany cotton/wool batting which is one of my favorites. It’s 90″ wide and folded double on the bolt. So after I trim off a chunk from the bolt, I’ll lay the quilt top out and trim of several inches from the top of the batting. I save those chunks to make practice quilt sandwiches later.

For my backing I used the same gray Hourglass print that I used for the background because I really like it! The busy print will help hide any quilting imperfections!

gridwork Hourglass gray

Click here to get the Gridwork Hourglass print by the yard.

Piecing the Backing

Refer to page 7 of the Block Chain quilt pattern for how big to cut your backing pieces. The backing should be a few inches larger than both the quilt top AND the batting so you have plenty of room for basting. The extra will get trimmed off later. I like to sketch out a diagram of my quilt backing so I know how to piece it together.

For my size quilt (69″ x 69″) I want to piece together a square that’s approximately 76″ – 80″ square. Once I trim off the selvages, the width of the diagram below will be about 80 wide. I can cut my backing (4 1/2 yds total for this size) into two equal pieces, about 80″ each (2 1/4 yds x 36″, rounded down an inch). I sew my backing together with 1/2″ seam and press the seams open.Pieced quilt back

Time to Baste!

I didn’t take step by step pics when I basted this quilt. However, I used my fast and easy spray basting technique that I use on each and every quilt. You can click here for a step by step photo tutorial of the process, or click the image below for a speedy YouTube video of the process (on my Infrastructure quilt:

Click here (or the image above) to see my speeded up spray basting video.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK:

My favorite part of making any quilt is machine quilting it and I can’t wait to share some video snippets on how I actually quilted this quilt!! It’s a modern, geometric design that is fast, fun and easy to do! So join me again next week, and don’t worry if you aren’t to that point yet. I’ll keep these quilt along tips on my site indefinitely so you can refer to them any time you need to!

block chain quilt

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFO ABOUT THIS QAL?

Block Chain QAL Week 3 – Sewing the Quilt Top

How are your Block Chain quilt blocks coming along? Be sure to share pics of your progress in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group or instagram #blockchainquilt and ask any questions you have. I love to cheer you on!

Block Chain quilt pattern

Click here for my free tutorial on how to make a design wall.

This week it’s time to finish up those blocks and sew them into a completed quilt top, also knowns as a “flimsy.” Refer to the Block Chain pattern pages 5-7 for the step by step instructions.

The easiest way to arrange your blocks is to use a design wall so you can stand back and play around with the color placement of your blocks. Just don’t overthink it since they will look great no matter what!

If you don’t have a design wall, you can use a design floor, or maybe even a design bed! No matter where you lay them out, be sure to take a picture of them with your camera phone, so you can refer back to the layout again and again as you sew.

I was in a hurry to make this quilt so I don’t have a lot of in-progress pics, but I want to point out a little thing I like to do when sewing the blocks. You can see a closeup of the pattern layout here in this diagram:

block layout

Rotate every other block so that the background seams don’t intersect. This will make it faster and easier to sew the rows together. Pin generously for best results and press each row as you go. In fact, I like to sew pairs of blocks, then press them, then sew them into larger pairs. It’s easier to press smaller chunks of blocks so the whole process isn’t so overwhelming.

Sew a Victory Lap!

When the quilt top is complete, you’ll want to “stay-stitch” the edges by sewing all the way around the edges of the quilt (called the perimeter.) Do this about 1/8″ away from the edge so it will get hidden when you put on the binding. If you add borders to your quilt, you can skip this step since the borders will stabilize the edges instead.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK:

After we are done with the top, it will be time to piece the backing, prep our backing and get ready to baste. This is a quick process so you can take a little extra time to finish your quilt top if needed.

My finished quilt top is ready to baste!

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFO ABOUT THIS QAL?

Block Chain QAL Week 2 – Sewing the Blocks

What a week it has been since we began! I know that many of you are home sewing and I hope this Block Chain quilt along is just what you need to make something beautiful when the world is in a bit of chaos! This week we will be sewing our chain blocks using the 5″ charm squares + black accent fabric.

Blockchain quilt blocks

My blocks above are made from Gridwork charm squares + square grid fabric in black

Follow the Block Chain pattern instructions on page 2 to trim down your black strips, and sew the center units shown above.

For the next step, I used the hourglass fabric in gray for my contrasting background because I love the texture, but I think it would look super cool with the black/white print also.

Click here to get the Gridwork hourglass prints by the yard in black/white or gray.

Continue with the pattern instructions on pages 3-5 to sew as many blocks as you need for your size. The contrast around the center squares really makes them pop!

Block chain blocks

Tip: when sewing all of the complete blocks above, I like to chain piece as much as possible. That means sewing all of the same unit to all of the blocks, one right after the other without clipping threads in between. I prefer to sew with a shorter stitch length (2.5 instead of 3.0) and press my seams open for nice, flat blocks.

Click here to get my Aurifil Neutrals Thread Box for just $99 while supplies last! 

Sewing with a shorter stitch length also hides the piecing thread so it doesn’t poke through in between the seams. I used my neutrals thread collection for piecing this quilt because they blend into all of the different colored fabrics.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK:

Next week we will start sewing our blocks into the quilt top. Just remember, you can work at your own pace, faster or slower as you wish. I’m here to cheer you on each step of the way!

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFO ABOUT THIS QAL?

Block Chain QAL Week 1 – Cutting the Fabric

Welcome to the Block Chain quilt along! This week we will be cutting all the fabric needed to make this quilt. It will be super easy because the center of each block features precut squares which are already cut for you (one of the reasons I love working with precuts)!

Gridwork Charmpack

My version uses 36 out of the 42 squares included in the Gridwork Charm Pack.

Sorting the Charm Squares

You will need one charm square for each block in your quilt. Because the throw size consists of 36 blocks and my  Gridwork charm pack includes 42 squares, I pulled out 6 squares of the black and gray prints. I like the random coloring below with just two of the black/white squares included for interest. Refer to the Block Chain pattern for the number of squares you’ll need for the smaller or larger sizes.

The important thing to remember is that as long as there is contrast between the squares and the surrounding frames (black in my quilt), it will still look good. Here’s another tip: if one of your squares is the same color as your background, it will look like there’s a hole in your block, so avoid that if possible.

Block Chain by Christa WatsonClick here to get the Block Chain quilt kit wile supplies last.

Cutting the Black and gray Fabrics

Refer to the Gridwork quilt pattern on page 3 to cut out your accent, background, and binding strips. Here are closeup images of the fabrics that I used:

The black is called Square Grid. I included this one in the Gridwork line specifically for this quilt!!

Square Grid Black

There are several great grays in Gridwork but I really like the look of the gray Hourglass print for the background. It gives the quilt just the right amount of interest and texture!

gridwork Hourglass gray

I especially love using fun geometric bindings for my quilts, so I picked the black Circle Grid print to finish off the edges of the quilt.

Here’s a tip to save for the end: if you want a super narrow binding thats finishes exactly 1/4″ evenly on front and back, cut your strips 2″ and sew the binding on with 1/4″ seam allowance.

Circle Grid Black

Click here to stock up on yardage and bundles of your favorite Gridwork prints.

Looking ahead to next Week:

Next week we will start sewing all of our cut units into blocks. Just remember, you can work at your own pace, faster or slower as you wish. I’m here to cheer you on each step of the way!

Blockchain quilt blocks

Where Can I Find MORE Info about this qal?

Block Chain Quilt Along Supply List and Links

I’m excited to help you make my Block Chain quilt from start to finish over the next six weeks. All you need is a copy of the quilt pattern; cheerleading and moral support are free!!

Block Chain designed and made by Christa Watson

FINISHED SIZE SHOWN IS 69″ X 69″

Block Chain by Christa Watson

This colorful modern quilt is a remake of an earlier design I created before precuts became so popular (and before I was a fabric designer). Over the years, I’ve had numerous requests to reconfigure the design so that it can be made from charm packs:  5″ x 5″ squares of a favorite fabric line.

My quilt shown above was made from one Gridwork charm pack, plus contrasting black and gray Gridwork prints. As long as you have good contrast between your charm squares, accent fabric (black) and background (gray), it will look great no matter which colors you choose!

Block Chain quilt pattern

Supplies Needed For Throw Size as shown

Refer to the back of the pattern cover above for additional sizes. Click image above to enlarge. Feel free to substitute fabrics as desired to achieve the same colorful look.

Click here to purchase the optional Block Chain Kit, while supplies last!

Gridwork Charmpack

I loved designing all of the prints featured above in my Gridwork Charm Packs.

The throw size quilt calls for 36 charm squares. A standard size charm pack includes 40-42 squares, so that gives you some wiggle room to decide which squares you want to include in the quilt. Save the extra squares to make a matching pillow, sew them into the quilt backing, or use them to make a label when you’re finished with the quilt!

Quilt Along Schedule

Click each Hot Link below to See that step

Share and Interact with Other Makers!

So now it’s time to gather your supplies and share pics of which fabrics you’ll use. If you’re an instagram junkie (like me!), please tag me at @christaquilts and use the hashtag #blockchainquilt 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 ChristaQuilts Facebook group. It’s a great place to encourage your fellow makers, and get additional ideas for fabric choices, and quilting ideas.

Block Chain Quilt

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Save the Date: Block Chain Quilt Along Coming Next Month!

I’m so pleased with how many of you have said you love doing my quilt alongs! So this year I’m thrilled to be sharing more quilt alongs than ever before! Now don’t feel like you have to do every single one – but I like to share a variety so that there’s something for everyone. I recently took a vote in my Facebook group and the overwhelming majority wanted to make Block Chain next and I can’t wait!
Block Chain by Christa Watson

Fabric requirements are super easy this time around: just one charm pack plus 2 contrasting background fabrics (black and gray or other combo). The quilt shown above and on the Block Chain pattern cover is Throw size, but you can make it in any sizes listed on the pattern, or easily adapt it to any size you like. The secret? Just make more blocks or add borders.

All you need is a copy of my  Block Chain quilt pattern to follow along. The quilt along itself is free!! Here’s the materials list sown on the back of the pattern cover – click to enlarge:

Block Chain Quilt Pattern

The fun will begin March 16 and just like all of my quilt alongs, we will go over every step of the quilt-making process: fabric selection, cutting, piecing, basting, quilting AND binding. If you follow me on the entire journey – you’ll have a fully finished quilt by the end, whoo hoo!!

So who wants to make this one with me?