Color Weave Quilt Along Week 6 – Stitching in the Ditch

Now we’ve reached my favorite part of the quilt-making process – machine quilting!! Quitling will be broken up into 2 parts so that it won’t feel so overwhelming. The quilting design I’ve chosen – random crosshatch, is actually very easy to do, but it can be a bit time-consuming if you like your quilting to be as dense as mine.

Random Crosshatch quilt plan

My favorite designs to quilt are those than can go all the way across the quilt without starting and stopping. That way I don’t have to worry about tying off and burying my threads. The random crosshatch above is basically a series of straight lines quilted across the quilt in both directions with a walking foot. You start and end each line of quilting in the batting, and that will get all trimmed up later once you add the binding.

Thread Choices

I also don’t want to stress too much over thread color. I prefer to use 1-2 colors for the whole quilt, if possible. My thread of choice is Aurifil 50 weight cotton because it comes in any color I need. It’s thin but strong and blends into the quilts I make rather than being the star of the show.

Because this quilt has so much color in it, I chose to use threads from my new Variegated Thread Collection. I used #4650 Leaves for the top of the quilt. Although it will show up on the gray sections, by the time I add lots of texture, it won’t be that noticeable.

Aurifil variegated thread

I like to “audition” my thread choices before I begin quilting.

For the bobbin, I used #3852 Liberty since it reads more pink. For 95% of my quilts, I use the same thread in top and bottom. But every now and then I’ll use two different colors when it makes sense.

The thread will still be visible on both sides, but with so many different colors (in the fabric and thread), these were the best choice. I made a practice piece with leftover scrap fabrics and tested both threads to make sure I’d be happy with the results before I started quilting my quilt.

Aurifil Variegated Thread

 #3852 Liberty and 4650 Leaves can both be found in my Variegated Thread Collection from Aurifil.

Machine Quilting – Stitch in the Ditch

To break the quilting into easier, doable steps, this week we’ll focus on just stitching in the ditch in both directions. This will secure the quilt for further quilting later, and will also evenly distribute the bulk of the quilting across the quilt. You can also decide at any point how lightly or densely you’d like to quilt the rest of the lines.

Here’s a short video clip showing how I deal with the quilt as I stitch in the ditch. I’m using my BERNINA dual feed foot which works the same way as a regular walking foot. I have an open toe so I can see what I’m doing and I reposition the quilt a lot so that my quilting lines are smooth the entire time. Also, pressing my seams open makes it sooo much easier to stay in the ditch!!

Notice in the video below that when I quilt an area without seams, I just eyeball the straight-line I’m stitching. Because it’s never more than 2″ that I have to eyeball, it works pretty well.

First, I started quilting from the right side of the quilt towards the middle. I quilted in the ditch every 2″ since that’s the finished size of my strips. I quilted all of the vertical seams first, then rotated the quilt and quilted all of the horizontal seems to create a quilted grid.

It’s easier to work from the side of the quilt towards the middle, because that’s less bulk to deal with at the beginning. By the time it gets too bulky, you’ll be halfway across the quilt and you can rotate the quilt, continuing from the center to the other side.

Here’s another video of me quilting from a wider angle. I really just scrunch and smoosh the quilt however I can, re-shifting whenever necessary.

Once I “anchor” or stabilize the quilt with ditching in both directions, I go back in and quilt randomly spaced lines, using the edge of my foot as a guideline for spacing. That will be our goal for next week, so I’ll see ya then!

IMPORTANT LINKS

Click here to purchase the Color Weave Quilt Pattern – paper version
Click here to purchase the Color Weave Quilt Pattern – digital download
Click here to purchase the Abstract Garden strip roll
Click here to get my Aurifil thread collections
Click here for links to the previous quilt along posts
Click here to share your progress in my Facebook group

Quilt in Progress: Color Weave Blocks in Fandangle

I’m currently working on a second version of Color Weave using my Fandangle strip roll (2 1/2″ precut strips). This is what the finished layout will look like:

Color Weave Fandangle

I’m loving how it’s looking so far. Here are my finished blocks in color order waiting for quilt top assembly:

Color Weave by Christa Watson

Color Weave by Christa Watson

Color Weave by Christa Watson

Color Weave by Christa Watson

Color Weave by Christa WatsonColor Weave by Christa Watson

Color Weave by Christa Watson

Color Weave by Christa Watson

Color Weave by Christa Watson

If you are making this quilt along with me, be sure to share your progress on social media with the hashtag #colorweavequilt so I can see what you are doing. You can also share in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group along with many others. Happy sewing!!

Get the Supplies

Color Weave Quilt Along Week 5 – Backing and Basting

One of the secrets to successful machine quilting is basting your quilts properly. So today I will share with you my favorite way to baste a quilt using 505 basting spray and my design wall. You can definitely modify this technique and baste your quilts on a table, but I prefer the design wall because I can get up close to the quilt and make sure it’s nice and flat.

Christa Watson Quilt Studio

Click here for my bonus tutorial – how to build a design wall.
Click here to get the Color Weave pattern shown on the wall.

Pieced Quilt Backing

Before we get to the basting tutorial, let me share how I pieced the backing, from leftover Abstract Garden strips, and 5 yards of Abstract Garden Tracks in pink. (The quilt pattern calls for 5 1/2 yards of backing if it’s all one fabric.)

Abstract Garden Pieced backing

First I put up the finished quilt top on the design wall so I can see how much area to cover. I cut my 5 yards into 2 pieces that are NOT equal because I knew the strips would take up some of the room. One piece was about 94″ and the other piece was about 80″. Then I cut the shorter piece in half to create to rectangles, roughly 40″ x 40″ each. I placed the strips in the center gap between the two pink squares and sewed them together to create a strip set, then joined the two pink pieces on either side.

Abstract Garden Pieced backing

Once the left half of the backing was sewn, I attached it to the long piece, parallel to the selvage to create the finished backing. The important thing is to ensure that the backing is a few inches larger on all four sides for basting.

Abstract Garden Selvage

Because my name was on the selvage, I allowed the selvage to show instead of cutting it off first. And I wrote more info on the white part of the selvage to create a built-in label for the quilt.

WALL BASTING TUTORIAL

Ensure that all 3 layers of your quilt (top, batting, and backing) are nice and flat. The batting and backing should be a few inches larger than the quilt top on all sides.

Give the top and backing a final press and clip any stray threads. Relax the wrinkles in your batting by throwing it in a dryer with a wet towel for a few minutes, unrolling it from the package to “rest” for a few days, or pressing the batting with a hot dry iron. (For delicate batting, use a piece of fabric to cover it while you press.)

Hobbs Batting Cotton/Wool

I’m using Hobbs Cotton/Wool batting and I have a roll of it, so to measure how much I need, I keep the quilt top on the design wall and unroll enough of it so there’s extra around all 4 sides. I cut it with specialty batting shears.

STEP 1 – APPLY ADHESIVE TO BACKING AND QUILT TOP SEPARATELY

Lay a sheet on the ground or a table to protect your quilt and catch any over-spray. Outdoors is best so that the fumes can dissipate, but you can do it inside in a well ventilated room while wearing a dust mask. Be sure to shake the can and spray a few squirts on the sheet to ensure the nozzle is clean and the spray comes out evenly before you start.

Lay out the quilt backing wrong side up and apply a thin coat of 505 spray adhesive evenly across the surface of the quilt. Walk around the quilt backing as needed to reach all areas.

Basting Spray

Repeat the process for the quilt top, using the design of the quilt to help you keep track of which areas you’ve already covered. Don’t worry if the quilt top and backing have some give or are a bit wrinkly from movement. You will smooth it all out later.

Once the backing and quilt top are sprayed, fold them up and bring indoors to assemble the layers on a design wall. It doesn’t matter if you fold them right sides in or out. They will be sticky, but not stuck and you can easily unfold and the layers and peel them apart. You don’t need to baste right away, but I wouldn’t wait more than a few days to prevent the spray from drying out.

STEP 2 – ASSEMBLE THE LAYERS INDOORS

Pin the quilt backing wrong side up to the top of the design wall (mine is made from foam insulation board covered with a white flannel sheet). Let gravity pull the weight of the fabric down.

Wall Basting

Gently un-stick any of the fabric sticking to itself and spend some time smoothing it all out with your hands or a long acrylic ruler. Your hands will get a bit sticky, but the residue easily washes off with soap and water. Spend as much time as you need to straighten the backing so that it’s nice and smooth and flat on the design wall.

Basting Smooth Back

Repeat the process above with the batting. It can take awhile to smooth out all of the lumps and bumps so give yourself time and don’t rush the process.

Quilt Batting for Basting

Notice that I didn’t cut my batting perfectly straight on one edge and that’s okay. As long as the batting is larger than the quilt top, it’s easy to trim off any excess.

Wall basting - batting

Add the quilt top right side up in the same manner as the backing and batting. Pin generously and let gravity pull on the weight of the quilt top to get it to hang straight. This is why it’s so important for the batting and backing to be larger than the quilt top. Then you don’t have to make sure it’s lined up perfectly in the middle – you’ll have a bit of “wiggle room” to maneuver.

Adding the quilt top for basting

Spend a lot of time smoothing out the top layer once it’s on the wall. Use the acrylic ruler to help you work out any bubbles and ensure that the seam lines are nice and straight. Once your basted quilt is flat, smooth and straight, machine quilting it will be a breeze!

Adding the quilt top for basting

After the layers are nice and smooth, I trim off much of the excess batting and batting, leaving only about an inch all the way around. I don’t want a ton of excess around the edges that could flip and get caught under the machine as I quilt. I use the leftover fabric/batting pieces when I’m practicing my machine quilting.

Trim Batting

STEP 3 – IRON THE BASTED QUILT

Here’s where the magic happens! Once the quilt is basted, I take it to the ironing board and press both sides of the quilt. This does two things: (1) it’s a final chance to press out any wrinkles and work out any fullness in the quilt. (2) It sets the glue and ensures that all 3 layers will stay together without shifting, eliminating the need to add any pins. You can still pull apart the layers if needed, but this process will ensure that every inch of the quilt is sticking to every other inch of the quilt.

Iron the basted quilt to set the glue

I use a “big board” which sits on top of my regular ironing board and gives me more room!

If you prefer to use a table, check out my table basting tutorial here, using similar steps.

IMPORTANT LINKS

Click here to get the Color Weave Quilt Pattern – paper version
Click here to get the Color Weave Quilt Pattern – PDF version
Click here to purchase the Abstract Garden Strip Roll
Click here for links to the previous quilt along posts
Click here to share your progress in my Facebook group

Color Weave Quilt Along Week 4 – Quilt Top Assembly

How are your Color Weave quilt blocks coming along? Now it’s time to sew them together to complete the quilt top. You’ll want to refer to the quilt top assembly diagram in the quilt pattern often to ensure proper block placement based on color.

Rainbow Weave Blocks

The easiest way to sew this quilt top together if you are doing the Rainbow version is to first sew all of the same colored blocks into long columns (aka vertical rows), and then join the columns together to complete the quilt top. If you are doing a single color for the weave, then you can sew them together into horizontal rows.

Rainbow Weave Block Rows

Notice that there is one of each colored block that has a dark gray strip across the top. This is for the top block of each column so that it appears that the design is “floating” on the dark gray background.

Rainbow Weave Blocks

When joining two blocks together, don’t worry if the print doesn’t like up exactly like in the pair of purple blocks below. Because these are busy prints, you’ll still get the woven effect as long as your seams line up well.

Rainbow Weave Blocks

In the turquoise pair, the join is not as obvious because of the print.

Rainbow Weave Turquoise Blocks

Not all of the prints will have obvious joins, so let the seams fall where they may and the overall design will still look great.

Rainbow Weave Blocks

The easiest way to sew the rows together is to sew them into pairs, then sew the pairs into larger units: 1 set of 3 blocks and 2 sets of 4 blocks. Then sew the sets into each row by color.

Rainbow Weave Blocks

Be sure to use lots of pins to keep your rows straight and organized. In the photo below, the pin at the top is to keep that edge together while I pin the long row along the side. I like to pin perpendicular to the edges, and line up the seams. You can see that I use a lot of pins and this really helps with accuracy.

Pinning rows

I also continue to press EVERY seam. I press all of the long seams open in addition to the individual block seams. The trick is to open the seam ahead of your iron with your fingers and don’t use steam so you won’t get burned.

Here’s a short video showing how I press the seams open:

Because you are sewing long strips together, they have a tendency to bow or warp out of shape. To prevent this from happening, switch sewing directions each time you add a new row.

When you are finished sewing the quilt top, there will be a lot of seams left on the outside of the quilt that have a tendency to split apart due to handling. To prevent this, do what I call a “Victory Lap” around your quilt: stitch the edges with a 1/8″ wide seam all the way around the perimeter of the quilt. This is also known as “top-stitching” or “stay-stitching.”

Color Weave Quilt Top – Abstract Garden

Rainbow Weave Quilt Top by Christa Watson

My finished quilt top made with Abstract Garden strips and Fandangle background.
Click here to get the Abstract Garden Strip-pie.

Color Weave Recolored With Fandangle in EQ8

Color Weave Fandangle

Click here to get a Fandangle Strip-pie.

Just for fun, I recolored the design using Electric Quilt 8 software and my Fandangle fabric line. (plus the black from Geo Pop) I wan’t sure if it would work, but I absolutely love how it turned out! The key was figuring out the order of the colors so I’d still get the rainbow effect. There are 20 prints in both lines (Fandangle and Abstract Garden) and you need 17 to make the quilt (2 strips of each), so that gives a little wiggle room to decide which strips to leave out.

I can’t wait to see how your quilts are turning out, especially if you chose different fabrics. Be sure to click the link below and add your progress to my Facebook group.

In the next step, we’ll do everyone’s LEAST favorite part of the process: basting! But not to worry, with my method, it’s not as hard as you think!

IMPORTANT LINKS

Click here for links to the previous quilt along posts
Click ere to share your progress in my Facebook group
Click here to purchase Abstract Garden precuts and backing yardage
Click here to get the Color Weave quilt pattern – paper version
Click here to get the Color Weave quilt pattern – digital download

Color Weave Quilt Along Week 3 – Completing the Blocks

Now that you have your Color Weave units sewn, you can join them into blocks. The key to the woven design is careful color placement as you sew your blocks. Be sure to refer to the block chart in the quilt pattern that shows you exactly which piece goes where in each block. Although the block structure is the same for all of the blocks in the quilt, the color placement varies for each column of blocks.

Rainbow Weave Blocks

Color Weave blocks in progress

Notice that some of the blocks have darker gray strips across the top whereas others have a lighter gray strip across the top. Pay close attention to the pattern so that you make the correct number of each type of block. If you are using different fabrics, make notes in your pattern so that you can substitute your fabrics in the correct location.

Rainbow Weave Blocks

I love stacking up the blocks into pretty piles!

The key to the success of the design is seam accuracy. Because the woven lines are made up of smaller pieces of fabric, accurate fabric joins will ensure that the design flows smoothly across the quilt. You want the finished size of each strip to be 2″ after sewing together, so it’s a good idea to make a test block to check your seam accuracy and pin generously.

Rainbow Weave Quilt Block

It’s important to keep the seam lines straight across the entire quilt to create the woven look.

To ensure that the fabric pieces line up across from each other, layer the pieces wrong sides together, then flip up the top piece to ensure that the lines match up across the piece. Once you are happy with the seam alignment on both sides, pin (or use a stiletto) to keep everything in place as you sew.

Create the center block unit from the subunits sewn last week along with a colorful center rectangle for each block. (See the pattern instructions for the exact number to make.) Here’s a short video showing how I line up the rows of each block so that the seams will align:

Once the center block units are all sewn, join the outer pieces to complete each block, ensuring that the gray units continue to align accurately.

Rainbow Weave Block

Ensure accurate fabric placement according to the Color Weave pattern.

Continue to press your seams open and sew with a smaller stitch length (or backstitch) to secure the seams. What I like to do is chain piece a whole bunch of sections, then stop and press them all at once. It gives me a sense of accomplishment that I’m actually getting something done.

Seams Pressed Open

Pressing Seams open gives more accurate results and a smooth, flat block.

Keep sewing and pressing all of the blocks in the same manner until they are finished. In the next step, we’ll sew them together into rows and assemble the quilt top.

Rainbow Weave Quilt Blocks

IMPORTANT LINKS

Click here for links to the previous quilt along posts
Click here to purchase the Abstract Garden strip roll
Click here to purchase Color Weave pattern – paper version
Click here to purchase Color Weave pattern – PDF version
Click here to share your progress in my Facebook group

Color Weave Quilt Along Week 2 – Sewing the Subunits

This week we are sewing our cut pieces into larger units, following the instructions and diagrams as given in the Color Weave quilt pattern. Next week, we will assemble the units into blocks. Be sure to scroll to the end for important quilt along links you may have missed!

Several people have asked why I cut out all of the individual units rather than using strip piecing and I’m happy to explain why: because it’s much more accurate!

Rainbow Weave blocks in progress

When you sew long skinny strips of fabric and then cut them, you have a much greater chance of stretching your fabric as you sew. So if I know the units are cut to the correct size to begin with, the blocks will turn out the right size, and won’t warp or stretch out of shape. However, I’m happy for you to continue using any method or technique that you are comfortable with and works for you, because after all, you are the boss of your quilt!!

Triple Square Units

Once you’ve cut out all of the pieces according to the chart in the pattern, it’s time to sew them into larger units. You CAN sew one block at a time if you like, but I find that very tedious and time consuming.

Triple Square Blocks from Rainbow Weave Quilt Pattern

First sew together ALL of the triple square units, then press the seams open when you are finished so your blocks will lie nice and flat. In order to prevent the edges of your seams from splitting open I recommend sewing with a shorter stitch length (like 2.0 instead of 2.5) or backstitching at the start and end of each unit.

Chain Piecing Video Clip

Take a look at this short (slient) video showing how I chain piece 2 units together at a time. I use a stilleto for accuracy and make sure I’m sewing with an accurate 1/4″ seam. Take care that you don’t veer off at the end of the square while sewing. I also engage the “hover” feature on my machine (a BERNINA 770QE). This automatically raises the foot up slightly when I stop sewing, so it’s much easier to slide the next set of units to be sewn under the machine.

In this next video, I’m using a Triangle Thread Cutter to quickly clip the threads in between each chain pieced unit. Once I’m through, I’ll sew the other square to the other side to complete my triple square units.

Side Units

Once you’ve completed the triple square units,  you can also construct all of the longer units that will be sewn on to the left side of each block. This unit consists of 2 small squares and a rectangle. If you make 11 each of the following units, you’ll be in good shape to finish all of the blocks after next week’s post. If you are using different fabrics, make a note in your pattern and substitute your fabrics for those shown below.

Be sure to refer to the Color Weave quilt pattern as you sew.

Rainbow Weave Units

Next week we will complete the blocks!

Important Links

Click here to purchase my Abstract Garden Strip roll
Click here to get the Color Weave quilt pattern – PDF version
Click here to get the Color Weave quilt pattern – print version
Click here to buy additional Abstract Garden Quilt Fabric
Click here for links to the previous quilt along posts
Click here to share your progress in my Facebook group

Color Weave Quilt Along Week 1 – Cutting

Welcome to the Color Weave quilt along! Cutting and color placement is the key to the success of this design. There is definitely a lot of cutting involved, but just take it step-by-step and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the process!

Rainbow Weave Quilt

Click here to purchase the Color Weave Kit

This Week’s Homework – Subcutting the Strips

Although my Abstract Garden Strip Roll includes 20 different fabrics (2 of each), you will only need 17 of them (34 strips total) to get the glowing rainbow effect. Set aside the gray strips and the pastel “tracks” prints for another project, or use them on the back of the quilt.

In my Color Weave pattern, the strips are listed and cut in rainbow order, making it easier to keep track. Cut the strips into the subunits listed in the pattern cutting chart. Keep all of the same piles together and remember to measure twice, cut once!

Abstract Garden by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here to purchase additional Abstract Garden fabric.

If you are using a different set of rainbow colored strips, you will need 2 of each fabric to get the rainbow effect. You could also make it super scrappy, or coordinated scrappy (same color, different fabrics for each rainbow strip).

The background grays will be quicker to cut since it’s only two additional fabrics. These can either be cut from yardage or from a strip roll of each. Because I cut mine from yardage, I starched them before cutting, so they curled up a little in the corners. But they have a little more body to them now which will make lining up the pieces for sewing much easier.

Starching tip

I prefer to only starch yardage (not precuts or finished blocks). I use inexpensive starch from the grocery store (my favorite is Faultess Premium). The trick to avoid flaking is to starch on one side of the fabric and let it rest for about 30 seconds, then flip the fabric over and iron from the other side. If you want crisper, stiffer fabric, repeat the process for both sides of the fabric.

Fandangle Gray Confetti Crosshatch by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here to purchase yardage of  the Confetti Crosshatch grays from my Fandangle collection.

Bonus Tips

If you are comfortable cutting through multiple layers accurately, you can cut through two folded strips (4 layers of fabric) at a time. Just keep track of how many units you need to cut per fabric and the number of units you need to cut from each strip. There’s not much room for error, so remember to measure twice, cut once!

If you do make a boo-boo when cutting, you can get additional Abstract Garden fabric at shop.ChristaQuilts.com. Or substitute a similar color in your stash for a scrappier, custom look!

Next week we’ll start sewing the pieces into blocks, but remember – you can work at your own pace so feel free to jump ahead if you are an eager beaver, or slow down and enjoy the process.

Remember to share your progress on social media using the hashtag #colorweavequilt. Not only will others cheer you on, but you can see lots of other ways to make this quilt and change things up to make it uniquely your own!

Rainbow Weave Quilt blocks

IMPORTANT LINKS: Supply List & Schedule, Where to buy

New Color Weave Quilt Pattern Now Available in My Etsy Shop!

I’ve had something under wraps that I’m finally excited to share! My latest quit pattern – Color Weave is now available as a PDF download from my Etsy shop.

Rainbow Weave Quilt

Click here to get the Color Weave quilt pattern PDF from my Etsy shop.

Color Weave is made from one Strip-pie of Abstract Garden plus about 3 yards each of my light and dark grays from Fandangle.  For a limited time, you can also grab a quilt kit to make one exactly as shown here.

Abstract Garden Strip-pie

Click here to get the Abstract Garden Strip-pie or Color Weave quilt kit.

I enhanced the original pattern and also included an option to make it from a single color instead. But of course it would look fabulous in any fabric combo! You just need two strips of the same fabric when working with precuts. That’s why I designed my Abstract Garden precuts with 2 of each!

Click the image below to enlarge so you can see the materials requirements.

Color Weave Quilt Pattern

I had an amazing time making this quilt! The instructions are easy to follow and I’ve included step-by-step full color diagrams for both versions shown above. I’ve also included a quilting plan to quilt one of my favorite walking foot designs – random crosshatch.

Machine Quilting Random Crosshatch

I’m here to cheer you on every step of the way when you purchase any of my patterns. I want you to have just as much fun making this quilt as I did!

Color Weave Quilt Pattern by Christa Quilts

Sharing is caring! While you are making your version, be sure to share your progress in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group or use the hashtag #colorweavequilt on instagram. I’m happy to guide you every step of the way!