Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Voting Begins Today!

Don’t  forget to vote for your favorite quilts in the Spring 2014 Blogger’s Quilt Festival!

Spiraling out of Control is in the Original Design category and Modern Trees is listed in the Home Machine Quilted category. You can vote for one quilt per category, and there are a total of 11 categories in which to vote.

Modern Quilt

Spiraling out of Control by Christa Watson, 70″ x 70″

You can vote for Spiraling Out of Control here.

Modern Trees

Modern Trees by Christa Watson 43″ x 50″

You can vote for Modern Trees here.

Have fun and good luck to all who entered!

Blogger’s Quilt Fest Entry – Modern Trees (Home Machine Quilted)

I’m excited to share another entry into the online Blogger’s Quilt Festival. It’s called Modern Trees. I finished it in December of 2013, and I’ve entered it into the Home Machine Quilted category.

You can view my other entry here.

Modern TreesModern Trees, 43″ x 50″ by Christa Watson, Home Machine Quilted

Modern Trees was made as one of my free quilt alongs and you can still access all of the tutorials to make your own version of this quilt here.

Because I love to encourage and teach others how to free-motion quilt on their home machines, I’ll tell you a little bit more about the machine quilting on this quilt.

Quilting Modern TreesI think free-motion quilting on a domestic machine is super fun and relaxing!

I knew that I wanted to evoke the feeling of snow, but wanted to mix up the background quilting to make it a little more modern. I usually have better results if I plan out my quilting first. Rather than sticking with one motif, I roughly divided the quilt into 3 sections as shown in my diagram below:

20131022_trees_quilt_sketchThe swirls in the top section represent the sky full of billowing clouds ready to burst! The middle section shows snowflakes and snow clusters gently falling to the ground; and the bottom section evokes snowdrifts piling up on the ground. I also decided to throw in a few words just for a touch of holiday whimsy – it’s fun to doodle!

I don’t always stick exactly to the plan, but sketching out my quilting designs gives me a rough guideline to follow.

20131120_quilting_modern_trAs you can see, I used a washable blue marker to write the words, and to draw the larger snowflakes and the star. I quilted the rest of it without marking, adding lots of yummy texture and varying the size of the motifs for interest.

Quilting SwirlsQuilting the swirls was definitely my favorite part  – they are so fun and forgiving! It’s interesting to see how much “poof” is created when quilting so densely.

20131105_aurifil_threadsAnother fun part of any quilt is picking out matching threads for each section. After a couple of years of trial and error and testing on numerous quilts, Aurifil has become my go-to thread for piecing and quilting.

I like to match my threads as closely as possible so you see the texture of the quilting rather than the thread. 🙂 I tried to quilt each tree with a different motif to “decorate” it.


Here’s a closeup of the quilting after the blue marks have been removed – so yummy! (Forgive the lighting – this was taken before I got better lighting in my sewing room!)

20131120_fmq_detail_1And one more, just for fun… (with more bad lighting….)

FMQ Trees DetailThe quilting on this piece actually went very quickly. It took a total of 13 hours and I only worked on it for a couple of hours a day. I think that’s a reasonable amount of time, considering the density of the quilting and customization of the designs. Can’t you just imagine how tactile all this texture feels?

If you like Modern Trees, you can vote for it in the Home Machine Quilted category, starting May 23rd. Entries will appear randomly each time, so you may need to scroll through to find the picture of Modern Trees.

You can also click here to get all the free tutorials to make your own version! 🙂

Modern Trees

Modern Trees by Christa Watson 43″ x 50″

Thanks for stopping by!

Blogger’s Quilt Fest Entry – Spiraling Out of Control (Original Design)

I’m excited to participate in the Blogger’s Online Quilt Festival with my first of two entries, Spiraling Out of Control. I am entering it into the Original Design category and voting begins May 23rd.

You can view my other entry here.

Modern Quilt

Spiraling Out of Control, 70″ x 70″ by Christa Watson, Original Design

Those of you who follow my blog on a regular basis will have seen this quilt before. However since I’m entering it into the Original Design category, I thought I’d share with you a little bit about the design process that went into making this quilt.

Parallel Lines

I started with this block I had created in EQ7 for a modern design competition. After being selected as a finalist, I held onto the design for a bit, thinking I might do something more with it later. When the MQG’s first fabric challenge of 2014 was announced, I started playing around with my design again, seeing how it could evolve by changing a few lines.

Improv String BlockI kept the light background, added more lines, and drew them at odd angles rather than parallel. I digitally colored the strips using the challenge fabric we were to work with. I liked where this was going, but thought it needed something more dramatic.

So I pieced two sample blocks using two different backgrounds – dark and medium grey. I wanted to see which colorway would provide the most visual impact.


I used the lighter grey block as a sample to test various machine quilting designs.

At this point my gut was telling me to go with the darker background fabric, but just to be sure, I started recoloring my original digital layout. Once I got this far with the coloring, I knew the darker fabric was the right choice. 🙂

spiraling_color_choicesSince I knew I wanted each block to be different, I had to figure out a way to sew the blocks without using traditional paper-foundation piecing methods. I solved the problem by cutting long strips of fabric in various widths and lengths, and sewing them together improvisationally, keeping the overall diagonal line intact. I then trimmed up the blocks using a large square ruler so they were all the same size.


The hardest part was making sure the shorter strips were longer than the ruler!

So that’s how this quilt design came to be. In addition to design, machine quilting is one of my favorite steps of the quilt-making process. Here are some detailed shots of the machine quilting and thread choices:

aurifilYummy Aurifil threads in matching colors!

straight_line_quiltingStraight-Line Quilting in the Negative Space

 quilting_zig_zagsQuilting zig-zags in matching thread colors – lots of threads to tie off later!

color_backColorful Thread-play on the Back

spiraling_detailQuilting Detail – Front

Spiraling Out of Control measures 70″ x 70″ and it has been one of my most fun quilts to make! You can vote for it as your favorite in the Original Design category of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival starting May 23, 2014.

Please note: quilts will show up randomly in each festival category, and they will not be numbered or named. You may need to scroll through to find my quilt on the category page. 🙂

As always, thanks for your support!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival is Coming!!

The semi-annual Blogger’s Quilt Festival is coming! Are you ready? I will be sharing my entries at the end of the week and I hope you’ll do the same!

20140510_bloggersquiltfestAmy Ellis – blogger, quilt author, fabric designer, podcaster, and all around great gal is hosting another round of her very popular Blogger’s Quilt Festival. This is a chance for all creative bloggers to share their fabulous quilts that they’ve made in the last 6 months as they compete for fun fabric-y prizes!

But it’s more than just that. It’s also a great place to be inspired and share your work with your peers. Find fun new blogs to follow, and followers who will find you! Voting is open to the public and there are even prizes to win for those who comment. 🙂

Click here for complete details and I hope you participate, either as an entrant, or a viewer (or both!) It will be super fun!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival (Fall 2013) Begins This Week!

The online Blogger’s Quilt Festival kicks off this week, on Friday, October 25th to be precise. Hosted by Amy Ellis, it’s an online quilt show open to anyone who loves to quilt and enjoys blogging about their creations.

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Rather than stressing about making perfect quilts, it’s a chance to share and connect with others who share the same passion. There were over 600 entries in last spring’s show and it was like inspiration overload! My two entries from last spring’s festival are shown below:

Charming Chevrons, one of my early quilt along tutorials:

Viewer's Choice

Charming Chevrons, awarded Viewer’s Choice Spring 2013

Roses for Katelyn, made for my sweet sister’s baby girl:

Roses for Katelyn

French Rose Buds Pattern, Blogger’s Quilt Festival Spring 2013


If you have a recent finish, I encourage you to enter. It’s a great way to find new blog followers and fantastic blogs to follow! Plus it’s pretty fun to get positive feedback on your quilts. And you might even win a prize, either for entering your own quilt, or nominating your favorites. You just can’t go wrong by participating in this fun event.

Here’s an idea – show off one of your quilt along quilts, or finish up a current WIP!

For complete details including the festival schedule and rules, be sure to visit the Blogger’s Quilt Festival Main Page.

Be sure to check out last spring’s winners. You may even recognize some of the quilts from people you know (wink, wink)!

I Won a Viewers’ Choice Award – Thank You All So Much For Your Support!

I just found out the great news – my Charming Chevrons quilt won one of the viewer’s choice prizes from the Blogger’s Quit Festival for Spring 2013. Click below to enlarge:

Viewer's Choice

Viewer’s Choice – Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons Back

Charming Chevrons Backing

This is beyond surreal! Words cannot begin to express the appreciation I feel not only for all those who liked my quilt enough to vote for it, but the generous sponsors, Amy Ellis for organizing the event, and the hundreds of other fabulous bloggers who participated.

Viewer's Choice

Viewer’s Choice – Together in a Friendship World
By Geta from Romania

There were a total of 3 viewer’s choice winners (out of nearly 700 total entries!) with some fabulous prizes. I won a $100 Gift Certificate to Shop Martingale! Just in time, too, as I need to stock up on some quilt books that are on my list!

Geta from Romania won a $75 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop for her gorgeous 3-D looking quilt above, Together in a Friendship World. Fabulous, indeed!

Viewer's Choice

Viewers Choice
Daisy a Day by Di from Snippets ‘n Scraps

And Di who blogs at Snippets ‘n Scraps won a Stash Pack of hand-dyed fabrics from Vicki Welsh and a large pack of Mystyfuse. Isn’t her photography lovely, too?

Of course there were a total of 15 other winners who also won fabulous prizes from a variety of generous sponsors. You can see pictures of all of the winning quilts here.

I’m sending out virtual hugs to all who entered and all who were inspired by such lovely quilts!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Vote Now Through May 30, 2013

Bloggers Quilt FestivalHave you had a chance to visit the Blogger’s Quilt Festival yet?

Hosted by Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side, it’s a semi-annual celebration of blogging and quilting.

Here are my two entries, Charming Chevrons and Roses for Katelyn.

Charming ChevronsRoses for Katelyn

I’ve already blogged about each one separately and they are entered into the Home Machine Quilted category and the Applique category, respectively. You can click the underlined links to vote for each one.

In fact, you can vote for your favorite quilts in a total of 15 different categories. Not only can the bloggers who entered win prizes, those who participate and leave comments during the festival can win prizes as well, so it’s a win-win!

But prizes aside, the best reason for participating is viewing all of the wonderful quilts and reading the stories behind the quilts. I’m off to vote!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Spring 2013 – Roses for Katelyn

I am entering my quilt, Roses for Katelyn, into the bloggers’ quilt festival this spring. I was excited to read that you can enter two categories! (See my other entry here.)

Roses for Katelyn was completely made by me and it measures 36″ x 43″. I used soft edge applique techniques and machine quilted it on my old Bernina 1630.

I am entering it into the applique quilt category and would love your vote!

Roses for KatelynThis is my first time entering something into the festival but after reading more about it in the latest issue of Modern Patchwork magazine I decided to give it a try.

This quilt is very special to me because I made it for my brand-new niece Katelyn.

Roses for Katelyn

Roses for Katelyn

My older sister and I have always been very close. When I had children she was such a terrific aunt and I felt so sad for her when she was not able to have children. After several years of trying she finally adopted her first baby boy, who’s now almost 8!

Alphabet Applique Quilt

Ethan’s Alphabet Applique

Monkeys Quilt

Jacob’s Monkeys

Then she adopted her second sweet son who’s nearly two. Finally, she adopted her little girl just two months ago.  I’ve made quilts for all of 3 them and it makes me very happy to visit and watch these little quilts get used and loved. 🙂

Quilting Plan

Original Quilting Plan

I blogged about Roses for Katelyn as I was making it, so I was able to show a lot of the in-progress work while I appliqued the blocks and decided how to machine quilt it. You can read the last blog entry here which gives links to all of the previous WIP posts.

Actual Quilting

Actual Quilting

I loved every stitch that went into this quilt and I’m especially pleased that both mom and baby are happy with the quilt and are doing well. 🙂

Roses for Katelyn

Roses for Katelyn, by Christa Watson

Bloggers Quilt FestivalBlogger’s Quilt Festival hosted by Amy Ellis

May 17 – 24 – Linkys Open & Nominate for Viewer’s Choice

May 24 – 30 – Vote for favorites in each of the categories

May 31 – Winners announced

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Spring 2013 – Charming Chevrons

Welcome to anyone visiting from the bloggers’ quilt festival this spring! My name is Christa and I’m excited to be a part of this fantastic shin-dig! 🙂

I am entering my quilt, Charming Chevrons, into the home machine quilted category and I would love to have your vote! (You can see my other entry here.)

Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons 46″ x 54″
Machine pieced and quilted by Christa Watson

It measures 46″ x 54″ and was pieced and quilted by me on my Bernina 1630. I used a double batting of wool and cotton which helps it hang straight and adds a lot of body to the quilt (though it was a little tough to quilt through!)

Marking the Straight Lines

Marking the Straight Lines

Quilted Chevron Block

Quilted Chevron Block

Charming Chevrons was my first “crossover quilt” which got me knee-deep into modern quilting and designing less than a year ago (although I have been a quilter for nearly 18 years).

When I started Charming Chevrons I’d just barely heard of the modern quilt movement and was wanting to go a little bolder with my quilts. I had just designed this quilt for one of my quilt alongs and it has led to some really great things.

Machine Quilting

Machine Quilting

Since finishing, Charming Chevrons was juried into QuiltCon, received a 2nd place ribbon at my local quild’s quilt show, and inspired me to submit a design idea to a quilting magazine. I’m also going to teach a class on it for my guild’s retreat this fall.  I love this little throw!

It took me 5 hours to quilt all of the straight lines in this quilt and nearly 23 more hours to quilt all the pebbles. But you know what – I loved every single minute of it! For me, machine quilting is my zen. I can discard the cares of the world and really get into the rhythm of the stitching, creating wonderful texture on fabric with just thread and the machine.

Charming Chevrons Back

Charming Chevrons Back

I especially like the back of the quilt. I love how the expansive negative space really showcases all of the colorful quilting. I even considered entering the back side as the main part of the quilt, LOL!

No matter what happens with my sewing in the future, I know that modern quilting will now be a huge part of it!

Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons
Desert Quilts of Nevada Quilt Show

Bloggers Quilt FestivalBlogger’s Quilt Festival hosted by Amy Ellis

May 17 – 24 – Linkys Open & Nominate for Viewer’s Choice

May 24 – 30 – Vote for favorites in each of the categories

May 31 – Winners announced

Updated – 6/2/13  Thanks so much to everyone for your votes.

It was such an honor to receive a Viewer’s Choice Award for this quilt!