Facets Quilt Along Winners – And Quilt Alongs Galore!!

Today’s the day I get to announce winners from those that participated in Facets Quilt Along!! If you are just joining us, you are welcome to go back to the beginning and get the Facets Introduction and Quilt Along schedule.


For those that are still quilting along, please keep up at your own pace, and don’t forget to share your progress in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. Although prizes are being awarded today, I still want to cheer you on and give you a virtual high-5!!

Here’s how the prizes were awarded – each week for 8 weeks, participants worked and shared their progress. For each step they shared, they got an entry into the drawing. At the end, I put all of the names into a bowl, and pulled out 3 random names (low tech, I know, but it works!). Each of these grand prize winners gets a signed copy of one of my books, a jelly roll of their choice and a spool of Aurifil thread from The Precut Store.

Quilt Along Prize Entries

Then I did another bonus drawing from those who had completed all 8 steps of the quilt along! Those two winners won a jelly roll of their choice from The Precut Store. Then, because I couldn’t help myself, I had do do another bonus for two more to win one of my Kona Designer charm packs.

Without further ado – here are the winners, totally chosen at random, with my eyes closed!!


And finally, because I want everyone to be a winner, everyone who shared their progress with me gets a free PDF pattern of their choice from my Craftsy Pattern Store!

All of the winners need to contact me at christa@christaquilts.com with their shipping address, choice of prizes, and email for PDF pattern download.


Thanks for quilting along with me. Now I have two special announcements to share:
(1) If you would love to try making another complete quilt from start to finish, be sure to check out my 9 Previous Quilt Alongs Here!!

(2) Stay tuned next week as I reveal details for my next Quilt Along!! Here’s just a snippet to get you excited – it’s super simple, super fast, and tons of fun!! Be sure to bookmark BERNINA’s blog We All Sew as that’s where the tutorials will be shared – I can’t wait!

New Quilt Along

My next quilt along will be coming up soon so stay tuned!!


Facets Quilt Along Week 7 – Free Motion Quilting

Free-motion quilting is probably the most exciting, but scary part of making any quilt! But never fear, help is here. I have written numerous times about machine quilting that can help you out as you make your Facets quilt.

facets_quiltingMachine quilting is my favorite part of the quilt-making process!

Read my articles about machine quilting here.
Purchase my machine quilting books here.

book-covers2Writing and teaching about machine quilting is just as much fun as doing it!

This week, we are free-motion quilting switchbacks and swirls. They make a great combo when quilted together!! 🙂 Notice how I quilted the switchbacks using white thread (Aurifil 50 wt cotton). I quilted the red swirls with red Aurifil thread and quilted the improv patchwork with a blending light yellow Aurifil thread.


Detail of Facets, from Machine Quilting with Style

In Machine Quilting with Style, I give you some practice exercises on how to quilt switchbacks and swirls on pages 69-70. Then, the Facets instructions include diagrams with a suggested free-motion quilting plan on page 95.

Take a peek at the beautiful Facets quilts being made by members of my facebook group:


 Renee gets a gold star for practicing on a sample first before quilting the full sized quilt!


Katherine’s quilt is dramatic and beautiful with the black sashing. Her switchbacks look great!!


Can you believe it’s Suzy’s first time doing FMQ? Way to go Suzy!! Keep it up!

If you are just finding this quilt along now, here’s the introductory post to get you started!

Facets Quilt Along Week 6 – Straight Line Quilting

This week it’s time for my favorite part of making a quilt – the machine quilting!! Seriously, whenever I design and create a quilt, I enjoy every step of the process. But there’s something about shoving the whole thing under the machine for quilting that is very therapeutic for me.

I prefer to quilt the heck out of my quilts, but contrary to popular opinion, it doesn’t make the quilt stiffer! Just wash it and use it, and it will soften up!


My Aurifil thread stash – I love thread as much as I love fabric!

My favorite thread is Aurifil 50 weight cotton because I love the simplicity of using it for both piecing and machine quilting (and binding, of course)!

So the biggest question people have when making their own quilts is, “how do I quilt it?” Not as in – “what quilting designs do I use?” but as in “how do I actually approach the quilting??”  I tackle this one step at a time. I start by “anchoring” the quilt – stitching in the ditch in key areas across the quilt to secure it for more decorative quilting later.


Keep most of the quilt to your left, and add a small table forming an L shape to hold the weight.

In Machine Quilting with Style on page 95, I’ve included quilting diagrams that show you the order in which to stitch in the ditch on Facets to make it easier to accomplish. Then we go a step further and add straight lines of quilting away from the seams, echoing the ditches to add a pop of texture to the quilt.

Here’s a great detailed shot of Suzy K’s quilt, stitched-in-the-ditch and echoed, and ready for free-motion quilting next week!


To see more fabulous quilts in progress – pop on over to my Facebook Group: Quilt With Christa

Click here for all of the Quilt Along posts. You are welcome to jump in anytime!

Facets Quilt Along – Catch Up Week

I decided to throw in an extra week for Facets Quilt Along, to give those following along a chance to catch up, and to invite any new followers  to join us! Just grab a copy of my book, your favorite fabrics or scraps, and jump on in. 🙂


Click here for the supply list and complete quilt along schedule (with links to each Quilt Along Post).

Enjoy these gorgeous work in progress pics from members of my facebook group:


I love Gina’s color combos so far and can’t wait to see more!


Jan is auditioning possible background fabrics. What do you think?


Suzy has finished basting and is ready to quilt!


Don’t you just love Paula’s rainbow colored version?

Just remember, whether you are following along each week, or are just getting started, work at your own pace and enjoy the process. There will be prizes for all who participate and share their progress in my Facebook group: Quilt With Christa.

Facets Quilt Along Week 5 – Baste Your Quilt

I can’t tell you much it tickles me each week to see so may of you making your own version of Facets. My version was recently on display at the AQS Quilt Show in Phoenix, and it was so fun to share it with a wider audience who may not have seen it before.


Thanks to Susan Voight for sending me this pic of Facets at AQS Phoenix!

This week’s assignment is to get your quilt top basted in preparation for machine quilting which starts next week! Whoo hoo – my favorite part (the machine quilting, NOT the basting!)

In my book Machine Quilting with Style, I’ve included some tips on basting at the back of the book. You can also take a look at these tutorials I have put together from previous quilts I’ve made:

Don’t forget to share!

Share your progress in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa
Or on Instagram #facetsqal

New to my blog? Click here to catch up on all of the Facets Quilt Along blog posts.

Facets Quilt Along Week 2 – Improv Piecing

Welcome to week two of Facets Quilt Along. Last week we gathered fabrics and started cutting. This week we will make our own crazy-pieced fabric. The fun thing about this is that even if you are using the same fabric as me (Kona Solids Christa Watson Palette), your quilt will still look different from mine!

kona_improvA piece of improv fabric made from my Kona Cotton Designer Palette

Follow the instructions page 93 of Machine Quilting With Style to make your fabric pieces. Then share your progress and ask questions in my facebook group Quilt With Christa.

Here are a couple more fun examples:


A sample piece I made using a bunch of scrappy prints. It looks great in any fabrics!


This beautiful piece was made by G from my facebook group. She’s sewing along with her sisters!


Jocelyn from the facebook group chose a more muted, modern palette. I love it!


Paula’s festive blue and green combo is so fun – perfect for a Seahawk’s fan!

Seeing everyone’s pictures is half the fun of a quilt along. It’s amazing how the different fabric combinations are coming together to create individual works of art. Be sure to pop over to my facebook group to see more amazing improv in process!


Jan is using lots of leftover scrappy bits – no size is too small!

If you are sharing your progress via social media be sure to hashtag it #facetsqal. Remember, everyone who participates will be entered to win prizes. I just love seeing your progress!

Click here for the complete QAL schedule.

Announcing My Fall 2014 Quilt Along: Abacus

Ok guys, I’m super excited to bring you another fun quilt along! With my new quilting schedule, I’ve decided I can still fit in a couple of quilt alongs twice a year – one in the fall and another in the spring. As with all of my Quilt Alongs, I will post tutorials for each step of the quilt-making process from start to finish. Abacus features simple machine applique and fun machine quilting that anyone can do!

Abacus_EQ7Abacus, designed in EQ7 by Christa Watson – 32″ x 32″

Below I have listed the supply list, and I’ll post the full quilt along schedule next week.

I’ve also lined up a few sponsors who are going to give away some fabulous prizes. But don’t worry – you don’t have to quilt along to enter the giveaways – they will be open to all followers of my blog. 🙂 Check back tomorrow for the first one!

I will officially launch the quilt along on Wednesday, September 24th, so that should give you plenty of time to start planning your colors and fabrics. If you’d like to help spread the word, please grab the quilt along button below and share it on your blog!

<div align="center"><a href="http://christasquiltalong.com" title="Christa's Quilt Along" target="_blank"><img src="https://christaquilts.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/christas-quilt-along-175-2.png" alt="Christa's Quilt Along" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Abacus Supply List

  •  1 – 5″ x 40″ strip of 4 different fabrics (solids 1-4 above, blue through teal)
  • 1 – 5″ x 20″ strip of 4 different fabrics (solids 5-8 above, burgundy to pink)
  • 1 3/8 yard background fabric (grey above)
  • 3/8 yard fabric for binding (I will probably use the same grey)
  • 1 1/8 yard of fabric for backing
  • 36″ x 36″ square of batting
  • Thread for machine quilting (I recommend Aurifil 50 weight cotton)
  • 2 yards of 17″ wide light paper backed fusible web. Note: you can use (9) –  9″ x 11″ sheets instead, but there will be a lot of waste.
  • Sharp Scissors for cutting through paper and fabric
  • Optional: 4″ circle die cutter (only if you have one – otherwise you will trace and cut out the circles by hand)

Fabrics and Threads Used

Because I know some of you are going to ask, these are the Kona Solids fabrics and Aurifil 50 weight cotton threads I will be working with (going left to right from blue to pink):

  • Kona Solid 1243 Navy; Aurifil #2785
  • Kona Solid 1376 Turquoise; Aurifil #2810
  • Kona Solid 1010 Baby Blue; Aurifil #5007
  • Kona Solid 1183 Jade Green, Aurifil #4093
  • Kona Solid 1016 Berry, Aurifil #4030
  • Kona Solid 1066 Cerise, Aurifil #2535
  • Kona Solid 24 Petunia, Aurifil #2560
  • Kona solid 1295 Pomegranate #Aurifil #1100
  • And the grey background is Kona Solid 1223 Medium grey, with Aurifil #2610

 Who’s ready to have some fun?


A Stack of Finishes – What I did on my summer vacation.

I have been busy all summer finishing this stack of quilts. It’s been such a pleasure to work on them! Although it will be quite a while before I am ready to reveal them in public, I can truly say I’ve grown as a quilter while creating them. It’s been a little tricky blogging and sharing on Instagram (@christaquilts) when there’s nothing to show, but I’ve been enjoying posting a few little sneaky peeks now and then.

20140827_quilt_stackWhat I did over summer vacation. Now it’s time to get busy on the design wall again!


Christa’s Quilt Along 5.3 – Hugs and Kisses Bow Tie Blocks

Hugs 'N Kisses

Hugs ‘N Kisses 48″ x 64″

Welcome to part 3 of my Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Along!

This week we will cut our strips into pieces and sew the bow tie units that make up the hugs and kisses blocks. Today’s post is pretty lengthy but I want to remind you to work at your own pace. Making this quilt is not a race; rather it is about enjoying the process.

I timed each step as I completed it to give you an idea of how long it will take to sew (total of 9 hours).  Rather than try to hurry and finish it all at once, I completed 1-2 steps per day so I never felt rushed.

Before cutting into segments, I starched my strips.

I also replaced a few jelly roll strips with a couple from my stash. (That’s because I borrowed them to make a previous Valentine’s Table Runner last month, LOL!!)

Hugs 'n Kisses Strips

Kissing Booth Jelly Roll Plus Stash Strips

Optional Step 1 – Starching the Strips (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)

I sprayed a light mist on the backside, let it soak in, then gently pressed from the front. Take care not to stretch your skinny strips out of alignment. It’s not mandatory, but I do get better results by starching. You can read my previous post about using starch here.

Starch BackPress Front

If you decide to starch your background strips, take care that you don’t scorch them. I would suggest testing on a piece of white fabric first to make sure you don’t get any yellowing or flaking of the starch. Here’s a hint – cut some of your starched strips into units while you are waiting for other starched strips to dry in between pressing.

If you select any one of the layouts from last week’s post you can cut all of your fabrics according to the chart below. But feel free to modify your design further if it pleases you.

Step 2 – Cutting the Print Strips into Segments (2 Hours)

From each of 35 print jelly roll strips (2 .5″ x 42″), cut:

  • 8 – 2.5″ squares (2o inches so far)
  • 8 – 1.5″ squares (32 inches so far)
  • 1 – 2.5″ x 4.5″ brick (37 inches total)
Cut Squares

Cut Squares

Be sure to cut off the selvedges first and stack up to 4 layers of strips for cutting efficiency. Just remember – measure twice, cut once! I found it easiest to cut the 2.5″ squares, then the brick, then trim the rest of the strip down to 1.5″ before cutting the smaller squares.

You should have one stack of squares (8 large, 8 small) for every complete X or O block.

From 3 print jelly roll strips, cut:

  • a total of 19 more 2.5″ x 4.5″ bricks
Border Brick Units

Border Brick Units

You should have a total of 54 bricks that measure 2.5″ x 4.5″. Stack all of your bricks together and set aside for now. Keep your squares above sorted by color.

Step 3 – Cutting the Solid Background Strips (30 Minutes)

From 18 solid background strips (2 .5″ x 42″):

  • Cut a total of 280 – 2.5″ squares. Yes, this is a lot of background squares.
  • You need 8 squares per large block and will be making 35 blocks total.
  • You can get 16 – 2.5″ squares per strip.
Background Strip

Cut 4 stacks of squares per background strip.

Background Squares

280 Background Squares

Here’s a hint: fold one of your background strips into 4 layers so that it is at least 10 inches wide.

Cut one background strip at a time into 4 stacks of 4 squares each.

Continue cutting until you have a total of 280 squares. You will use a total 17.5 strips exactly for the squares.

Set aside 6 extra full strips for borders = 24 background strips total.

Step 4 – Sew and Trim the Bow Tie Corners (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)

  1. Layer one smaller print square in the corner of one larger background square.
  2. Sew diagonally from corner to corner on the print square.
  3. Trim off the corner, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.
  4. Press the print corner down to complete the square.
Bow Tie Corners

Bow Tie Corners

Chain Piecing

Chain Piecing

Practice making one bow tie corner unit so you get the hang of it.

I didn’t worry about marking my sewing line since it was such a small square.

Assembly line sew all of your squares until you have a total of 280 pieced corners (8 of each fabric).

This is also called chain piecing. Sew all of the squares before cutting in between each one.

Step 5 – Press All the Pieced Squares (45 Minutes)

Taking care not to scorch your fabrics, press all 280 pieced squares with the fabric towards the dark side. At this point, they can all face the same direction.

Bow Tie Corners

Bow Tie Corners

Step 6 – Sewing the Bow Tie Blocks (3 Hours, 15 Minutes)

It takes 2 print squares and two pieced background squares per bow tie unit. For efficiency, you can turn the pieces all the same way and join them together assembly line style. Be sure to sew one test unit first so you know you are putting it together correctly.

Bow Tie Squares

Bow Tie Squares

Bow Tie Piecing

Bow Tie Piecing

Sew two half units together to complete one bow tie unit.

Bow Tie Units

Bow Tie Units

Pressing tips: I like to “finger” press each half of the bow tie unit with a  wooden seam roller. Then, after sewing the halves to complete the bow tie, I will press open with an iron.

Seam Roller Press

Seam Roller Press

Press Seams Open

Press Seams Open

Sew a total of 140 bow tie units, 4 of each color. You may have 8 bow ties of some colors if you have duplicate strips. Next week we will sew them into blocks.

If you have any questions about this week’s homework, please be sure to join my flickr discussion or email me directly at christa@christaquilts.com.

Quilt Along Schedule – Links will go to each active post when published.