New Blogger Hop Coming Your Way

Here’s a PSA to my bloggy friends:

If you are a relatively new blogger looking to grow your following, be sure to join the 2015 New Quilt Blogger’s Hop!


Click here for full details and signup (by 5/31).

If you’ve been around the blogosphere for awhile, I still encourage you to participate by checking out the new bloggers. You never know when you will find your next BQF (Bestest Quilting Friend) online!

Contain It! Blog Hop and Book Giveaway

It is with great pleasure that I get to share a new book I just came across. It’s called Contain It! English Paper Pieced Accessories by mother & daughter team Linda and Laura Chaney from Prairie Sewn Studios. First I’ll tell you about it, and then give you a chance to win your own copy!


Now, usually I don’t make 3-D items, but several containers in this fascinating book definitely have me tempted to make one! In reality, I will probably choose one or two and have my mom make them for me – she loves this type of sewing and there are some really great containers in here!

cubesPage from the book showing a gallery of cube containers.

The projects are arranged in order of difficulty including: flatwork practice projects like mug rugs and table mats, cube containers, concave & convex containers, scalloped bowls, heart containers & boxes, star containers and boxes.

starsPage from the book showing a gallery of star containers.

Linda and Laura are very thorough in their directions and each of the projects includes full sized templates. There’s also a great section in the front of the book that goes over suggested fabrics and needed supplies to successfully make the containers in the book. The containers can be sewn by hand or machine and layout/assembly diagrams (called an “octopus”) are given for each project.

Be sure to check out each of the blogs on the hop this week for more perspectives on Contain It!


The Giveaway

For your chance to win a copy of Contain It!, leave a comment below letting me know if you’ve ever made a quilted container before. Entries are open to US residents through this Saturday, April 18th at 6 PM Pacific Time. I’ll email the winner and update this blog post with the winner’s name.

My Newsletter

If you are new to my blog, don’t forget to sign up for Friendly Threads, my weekly email newsletter! I go a little more indepth and behind the scenes there, and it’s a great way to keep in touch. 🙂

The Pillow Collective – Amy Ellis’ Think Big Edition

Amy Ellis has just released her 4th (yes 4th!) book with Martingale. 🙂 It’s called Think Big and to celebrate she’s hosting the Pillow Collective – Think Big Edition.

Check out last year’s Pillow Collective here.

Think Big logoFor the blog hop, 15 different bloggers (including me) got a chance to read the book and make a pillow from one of the designs. Let me tell you right now, I have not made a quilted pillow since the early ’90s (I resist 3-D sewing) but boy did I have fun with this one.

I chose Amy’s  Downtown block and tweaked it a little by using solids for all of the rectangle pieces to create an interesting abstract design. I really like the look of it and definitely need to work more modern design into my decor!


For the quilting design, I went to town stitching a whole bunch of random straight lines, using painter’s tape to help establish a straight angle. I quilted on either side of the tape, then used the edge of my presser foot as a guide to add additional random parallel lines.


The best tip I picked up from Amy’s book was how to finish the pillow. There are excellent step-by-step instructions on how to assemble the pillow front and back together, creating an opening in which to stuff a pillow form.

pillow_bindingFrom the book I also learned that you can bind a pillow the same way you would for a regular quilt. I love the pop of color it adds! Now I’m not scared of pillows anymore and may just make another!


The pillow is currently sitting pretty in a corner of my very yellow dining room! If I get bored of using it as a pillow, it also makes a cute mini. 🙂


Think Big includes a beautiful assortment of ten 18″ finished blocks, each with projects in five different sizes! I love how graphic and modern they are, and I’m sure you will, too!

think big cover

Because Amy is so sweet as well as extremely generous, she’s also hosting a giveaway of several fabric bundles and a quilt featuring her Modern Neutrals fabric line!! To enter, simply pin a pillow to pinterest (say that 5 times fast) using the hashtags #ThinkBigBook and  #PillowCollective. Click here for Amy’s Pillow Collective Pin Board.


Today is the last day of the blog hop, so be sure to check out all of the previous stops to see all of the other beautiful pillows. I’ve linked to each blogger’s pillow post below:

Now, who’s in the mood to make a pillow?

Paper Pieced Modern Book Tour & Giveaway!

You know, one of the things I love most about the online quilting community is getting to know amazing quilters. When one of my virtual quilting friends writes a book, of course I want to tell you about it. 🙂

Blog Hop copyMeet Amy Garro, the brilliant designer behind the book Paper Pieced Modern. (Remember, Amy was also the one who started the Quilty Little Secrets blog meme which made its rounds in blog-land awhile back).

Although all 13 designs from the book are fabulous, today I get to focus on one specific quilt, Apple Stars. Isn’t it stunning?

Apple Stars Flat Shot 2Apple Stars Quilt 50″ x 50″ by Amy Garro. Photography by C&T Publishing.

The blocks are a generous 14″ x 14″ and I love how they float on the background. That’s a great design aesthetic because you don’t have to stress about chopping off your points when piecing!

Here’s what Amy had to say about this specific design:

“I had been looking through Nani Iro’s fabrics and when I saw this spotted one, I just knew I had to use it for this project! It’s a double gauze, which I’ve never worked with before. I found it very tricky & shifty. I starched the heck out of it and really benefited from the paper foundations – they stabilized the blocks as I was sewing.”

Apple Stars Flat Shot 1Image courtesy of C&T

Amy continues,

“The other challenge I ran into with this fabric was the fact that the dots were very sparse along the outer edges of the print. I had to use modified cutting instructions and order extra yardage. I absolutely love how it turned out, but what you probably wouldn’t guess by looking at this quilt is that I spent $100 on just the dotted fabric alone! Crazy!”

Isn’t the quilting scrumptious? It was quilted by Emily Session of Emerson Quilting.

Apple Stars 3Image courtesy of Amy Garro.

 I for one think her efforts were worth it. I love the effect of the white fabric among the dots. Can you just imagine it in other colors? I did, so I jumped on the computer and quickly re-sketched the block in EQ using scrappy Sunprints from Alison Glass.

Apple Stars Alison GlasszWouldn’t this be a great way to use up your colorful scraps?

Be sure to check out the schedule below to see the rest of the quilts from the book. I know Amy is going to QuiltCon (and Apple Stars will be there, too!) so I can’t wait to hunt her down and chat in person. 🙂

And Now for the Giveaway!


One of my readers will win a copy of Paper Pieced Modern by Amy Garro (hard copy for US addresses, E-copy for international folks). To enter, simply jump through each of the stops on the hop to see of all the quilts from the book.

Then, come back here to tell me which one of the quilts is your favorite! Of course, they haven’t all been revealed at the time of this blog post, so if you want to come back and leave a comment later after you’ve seen them all, that’s great, too!

The giveaway on my blog will remain open through midnight on Monday, February 16th. I’ll draw a winner’s name at random on Tuesday morning.

Good luck and happy hopping!

Advice for New Bloggers – 6 Ways to Build a Better Blog

For the past two years, I have participated in the Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop for new bloggers hosted by Beth from Plum and June. This year I get to return as an alum and share some of my favorite tips and advice on how to build a better blog. 🙂

(You can read my previous blog hop intro posts here and here.)

20140505_new_blog_hopHere are 6 Ways to Build a Better Blog:

1. Figure out Your Persona

This is my take on the common advice, “Just Be Yourself.” I would add – be the best version of yourself. Do you want to give off a nice, friendly, helpful vibe? Do you want to come off as a bit out of the box and edgy? Or do you want to just “keep it real”? All of the above are fine, depending on who your audience is and what you want to accomplish with your blog.

I look at blogging as practice for the best version of myself I want to become. I can’t edit myself in real life, but on my blog, if I write something that sounds a bit goofy, I sure love that I can go back and clean it up before I hit publish (and sometimes, even after the fact, too!)

2. Decide on a Regular Schedule

This can be as general or as detailed as you like. Do you want to blog 3 times a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday for example? Or everyday? Or once a week on the weekends? Setting up a consistent schedule for yourself will make it easier to blog, knowing what to expect. Your followers will appreciate it, too. But of course, be flexible if you need to be and don’t beat yourself up if you need to skip a post every now and then. Life does get in the way sometimes!

In my excitement when I started growing my blog, I put up new posts 6 days a week. I’ve now cut that down to 4 days a week, which is still a lot by some standards. I take the weekends off and I force myself to skip at least one weekday so that I can spread my content out over a longer period of time.

3. Brainstorm Blogging Topics

Whenever I have an idea for a blog topic I want to explore, I’ll add it to an ever-growing list. That way, whenever I’m stumped about what to write, I look at my list and pick what sounds interesting to me at the moment. I’ve also set up categories of things to write about. Some of my regulars are: my soap box posts, books and product reviews, tutorials, works-in-progress, and sew and tell. Sew and tell is one of my favorites because it’s not necessarily stuff I’m working on. If something catches my interest, I love to tell my readers all about it!

It’s also OK to schedule out posts ahead of time. I will often think of things to write that are not time sensitive. So if I get the urge to write, I’ll jot down a few thoughts and edit it over time, sometimes days or even weeks ahead. Then I feel like I’m on top of my game!

4. Take Your Camera Everywhere!

I always keep a camera on hand, whether it’s my digital camera, or my phone. You never know when inspiration will strike. So often I’m always thinking, “that would make a great blog post!” so I try to capture things in the moment when they happen. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so if I have a couple of great photos, that can generate a lot of blog content.

5. Keep it Brief and Stick to One Topic

In my free-lance writing work, I’ve learned that an average magazine-length article is only about 1000 words, and the average blog article should be around 500-600 words. So if you start getting a little too wordy, your followers may lose interest. If you have a lot to say (like I often do), break it up into 2 or more blog posts. That will keep your readers coming back for more, and will give you more coverage!

Moreover, unless you are doing a “roundup” type post, try to keep your blog post to one main idea. If you are excited to show us your latest 5 finishes, only show one or two per post. It will be much more interesting that way, and you can share more details!

6. Make it Easy to Find and Follow Your Content

This goes without saying, but at a minimum, make sure you have a link to your home page at the top of your blog and a search button somewhere on the blog. When you have more time, create a nicely organized menu at the top of your page so followers can browse your content. Although pretty buttons on the side of your blog are nice, they don’t show up when someone is viewing your blog on their phone, but menus do. And by all means include a link to follow via email and/or a blog reader like bloglovin’.

These are just a few of my top tips and this post is already getting long, so I will stop right there. If you have any advice to add, please do so in the comments!

Coming Soon – 2014 New Blogger Blog Hop

I always love to share fun things with you guys that are happening in blog land. 🙂 My friend Beth from Plum and June is going to be hosting the 3rd annual New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop later this month. Click here for details on how you can participate.


I’m happy to promote this hop because I was the recipient of a lot of great info and traffic when I participated as a new blogger in previous years. It really helped me grow my blog and meet such other fabulous friends and people to follow. 🙂 I will be back this year as an “alumni” sharing some advice that I’ve learned along the way!

20140505_pj_adviceBeth is doing something really cool with this. She’s going to kick off the hop with a series of advice posts about blogging. Hopefully, the newer bloggers can put some of this into practice before they participate in the hop.

Be sure to check out advice from previous years’ bloggers here. There’s a wealth of info for you to explore!

Let’s Get Aquainted Blog Hop Hosted by Plum and June

Hi all! Welcome to my stop on the blog hop tour hosted by Beth of Plum and June. I’m Christa and I have to say I’m committing modern quilt blasphemy by stating that I don’t like making hexagon quilts!

Christa QuiltsOh, no! Why not, you say?? Well I have a good reason. Nearly 17 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child and experiencing horrible morning sickness, I tried to take my mind off things by cutting out hundreds of hexagons for a hand pieced grandmother’s flower garden quilt.

I ended up getting an aversion to hexagons and even had to throw away all the fabric I had used to cut them out or it would make me sick just looking at it. Now, whenever I even think about touching this shape, it reminds me of morning sickness. How unfair is that??Baby Bears QuiltI was able to make my son’s baby quilt shown above once I felt better. (He’s now 16 and just got his driver’s license – boy how time flies!)

This was one of my very early quilts and I learned a lot from it. I learned that I love applique – but not by hand! I also learned that I love tons of quilting on a quilt, though this one was all straight line quilted because that’s all I knew how to do at the time.

I’ve come a long way since then! I’ve recently celebrated a finish, only the back of which I can share now. For the full reveal, be sure to subscribe to Quilty magazine in time to receive the November/December issue. 🙂Quilt Back

I love tons of quilting on a quilt and this one took a whopping 38 hours just for the quilting. But machine quilting this baby was pure zen for me, every moment of it!

I really like the negative space on the back and may play around with this design a bit more for a future quilt… Sometimes the backs of my quilts are more interesting than the fronts, LOL!

I do all my own quilting and my machine of choice is a Bernina which I blogged about recently. My mom calls my new machine the “Klingon Battle Cruiser.” 🙂

Quilty QuiltThis was about 5 hours into quilting and I knew I had bought the right machine for the job. I love all the extra throat space!

My current project is my String of Pearls Quilt. This just may be my favorite modern quilt. I love the strong bold colors and graphic design of modern quilting. I realized I’m not into embellishing or working with lots of tiny fussy pieces so modern quilting suits me to a “T”!

String of Pearls Quilt Top

I usually try to host a quilt along when I want to make a new quilt because it forces me to plan ahead and keeps me on schedule. Plus it’s fun to see how everyone else interprets my design.

Coming up later this fall I plan on attending Sewing Summit so I look forward to getting to know more bloggers and making new friends. 🙂

Here are this week’s blog hop stops:

ChristaQuiltsBlog.comYou are here!

Happy hopping!

Click here for the complete blog hop schedule.

Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop – Complete Schedule

Hey guys, check this out – a fun blog hop hosted by Beth from Plum and June:

Lets Get AcquaintedPlum and June was one of the first “modern” blogs I started following when I first got into it. I participated in her blog hop last year and it really opened my eyes to the world of blogging. I’ve learned so much since then and will be participating again in July.

Beth also hosts a weekly linkup where you can share your stuff and be inspired by others!

Here is the complete blog hop schedule, happening every Friday through the end of July. Be sure to click on the links that have already passed. They are wonderful to read and are “sew” inspiring!

Friday, June 7th

Nancy @ Owen’s Olivia
Amy @ 13 Spools
Ashley @ Wasn’t Quilt in a Day
Casey @ StudioLo
Nanette @ Yeah I Made That
Ange @ Heart of Charnwood
Kim @ Robot Mom Sews
Erica @ Kitchen Table Quilting

Friday, June 14

Julie @ Jolie Maxtin
Melissa @ Melia Mae Quilting
Adrianne @ On The Windy Side
Molli @ Molli Sparkles
Laura @ Little And Lots
Sarah @ Duck Egg Threads
Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation
Cari @ There’s A Thread
Valerie @ Between Quilts

Friday, June 21

Leigh Anne @ Ella’s Cottage
Stacey @ The Tilted Quilt
Sarah @ Quilt Candy
Jackie @ NW Patchwork
Liz @ Beadqueene’s Bits And Baubles
Erica @ Happy Fabric
Stephanie @ Simple Sewendipity
Lauren @ Seraphym
Amy @ Cloud CouCou Crafts

Friday, June 28

Green @ So Sew Green
Gwendellyn @ The Rainbow Revolts
Jessica @ Stitched In Thyme
Amira @ Little Mushroom Cap
Kathy @ Kayak Quilting
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts
Paula @ The Sassy Quilter
Kris @ Sew Sunshine
Camilla @ Faffling

Friday, July 5

Christa @ Christa Quilts! (Here I am!)

Alyce @ Wonderland By Alyce
Anna @ The Crooked Banana
Rachel @ Sew Happily Ever After
Stephanie @ Quarter Incher
Shayla @ Sassafras Lane Designs
Caroline @ Carolines Craftiness
Lisa @ Hilltop House Creative Works

Friday, July 12

Leona @ Leona’s Quilting Adventure
Karen @ Karen, {Novice} Quilter
Anne @ PlayCrafts
Rachel @ Let’s Begin Sewing…
Jan @ Sew And Sow Farm
Anna @ Quilting Along The Grain
Cath @ Wombat Quilts
Sarah @ {No} Hats In The House

Friday, July 19

Karen @ Little Birdie Quilting Studio
Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures
Katie @ Snuggle Up With A Dish From Karma
Alison @ Making Happyness
Ella and Nesta @ Ella & Nesta’s Little Room
Adrienne @ Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
Nicole @ Modern Handcraft
Aylin @ AyliN-Nilya
Kelsey and Amanda @ Everyday Fray

Friday, July 26

Vicki @ A Quilter’s Mission
RobinSue @ RobinSue Quilts
Elisa Lea @ Lovelea Designs
Elizabeth @ In The Boon Docks
Jenny @ A Note To Follow Sew
Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Sonia @ Fabric & Flowers
Emily @ Sew E.T.
Em @ Sewing by Moonlight

The Holly Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt

The project I am featuring today is called the Jolly Jelly Roll quilt, using Kate Spain’s In From the Cold fabric line from Moda. I came up with this design last year for my very first Quilt Along, where I show how to make a complete quilt from start to finish.

In From the Cold

In From the Cold Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt

This is such a quick and easy quilt to make, requiring just one jelly roll and a yard of solid fabric.  I hope to finish this quilt in time for Christmas. Why don’t you join me and make one of your own?

Jelly Roll Strips

In From the Cold Jelly Roll Strips

So far I’ve sewn together all of my jelly roll strips and have cut them into pieced squares. Aren’t they pretty? Be sure to follow my blog so you can see the updates as I work on this quilt. I’ll probably do a couple of tutorials as I work on it including how to quilt it. 🙂

In From the Cold Blocks

In From the Cold Blocks

Click here for my free pattern and step by step tutorial instructions to make this quilt.

Kate Spain Blog Hop Starts June 3 – With Prizes

Save the date:  join me and fellow bloggers on a Kate Spain Blog Hop tour starting next Monday, June 3rd.

Kate Spain Blog HopHosted by Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts, the hop will feature interviews with Kate Spain, inspiring projects from fellow blog hoppers, giveaway prizes, and a chance to link up past or current Kate Spain projects. Did I mention prizes?

For those that participate, you can win prizes for sharing previous projects made using Kate Spain fabric, or quilts worked on during the hop.

In From the Cold

Jolly Jelly Roll Kit – In From the Cold

Here’s the project that I will work on during the hop. It’s my Jolly Jelly Roll quilt along pattern redone in Kate Spain’s In From the Cold line. Kits are available here.

Did I mention prizes, LOL?? As an added bonus, I will be giving away one of these kits during my stop on the blog hop tour so be sure to come back and visit me on my blog hop day. 🙂

Here is the tentative blog hop schedule, subject to change:

Monday June 3rd – Interview with Kate Spain at Blossom Heart Quilts
Tuesday June 4th – Jane at QuiltJane
Wednesday June 5th – Christa at Christa Quilts
Thursday June 6th – Kimberly at Fat Quarter Shop
Friday June 7th – Laura at Quokka Quilts

Monday June 10th – Chrissy at Sew Lux
Tuesday June 11th – Lynne at Lily’s Quilts
Wednesday June 12th – Julie at The Intrepid Thread
Thursday June 13th – Kristy at Quiet Play
Friday June 14th – Link up your favourite Kate Spain project!

Monday June 17th – Gemma at Pretty Bobbins
Tuesday June 18th – Heidi at Fabric Mutt
Wednesday June 19th – Melissa at Ms Midge
Thursday June 20th – Jess at The Elven Garden
Friday June 21st – Janice at Better Off Thread

Monday June 24th – Diane at From Blank Pages…
Tuesday June 25th – Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts
Wednesday June 26th – Kara at Me And Elna
Thursday June 27th – Readers’ Q&A with Kate Spain at Blossom Heart Quilts
Friday June 28th – Link up your blog hop projects!