Fandangle Fabric Blog Hop over at Sew in Love (Benartex’ Blog)

Exciting news! I just got word that Fandangle fabric stars shipping to stores this week, so those the pre-ordered fat quarter bundles and kits should from me should be getting them soon!! In other fun news, this week also kicks off the fun and inspiring Fandangle blog hop over on Benartex’ blog: Sew in Love with Fabric.

Fandangle Blog Hop

Today starts with an introduction of the fabric line over on the Benartex blog along with an interview I gave explaining some of my thoughts and inspiration behind the collection. Tuesday through Friday, nine talented designer friends will be sharing the projects they made from my fabric. Saturday will wrap up with a virtual trunk show of my patterns featuring Fandangle, again over on the Benartex blog.

There will be prizes and tons of beautiful projects!

Each of the stops will include a winner who will get a prize pack of 8 assorted Fandangle fat quarters (US shipping only due to high shipping costs.) So be sure to scroll to the end of this post for the complete schedule and bookmark each stop for your chance to win!

Fandangle Fabric Bundle by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase Fandangle fabric bundles.

And to make it even more exciting – I’m throwing in a bonus prize bundle, too. I’ll choose 3 winners who will each win a bundle of my three newest patterns: Sparkling Stars, Pearl Pendants, and Surplus Strips. Of course, these patterns will look great in any fabrics you choose!

To enter leave me a comment letting me know if you prefer PDF patterns, or print patterns – or both!!

US winner swill get their choice of PDF or print version. International winners will receive the PDF version. I’ll choose 3 random winners on Saturday at the end of the hop and announce their names here on the blog on Monday.

Fandangle Quilt Patterns

Click here to view all of my quilt patterns – print version
Click here to view all of my quit patterns – PDF version

Here’s the Full Blog Hop Schedule:

Monday

Benartex Blog: Sew in Love with Fabric Interview

Tuesday
Heather from Quilt-achusetts; IG: @quiltachusetts

Nancy from Masterpiece Quilting; IG: @masterpiecequilting

Wednesday
Thursday
Annie from By Annie; IG @patternsbyannie
Friday
Tina from Mod Geometry; IG: @sashikostyle
Paige from Quilted Blooms; IG: @quiltedblooms
Saturday
Sew in Love with Fabric Virtual Trunk Show
Fandangle Fabric by Christa Watson

I’ll be offering Fandangle fabric bundles for a limited time, so grab yours while they last!

I’m so excited to see what everyone makes from my fabric! Be sure and use the hashtag #fandanglefabric on socila media so I can see what you’re making, too!

On Fabric Design and Rejects – Those That Didn’t Make the Cut for Modern Marks

I’ve been getting a lot of positive support for the idea of sharing more of my behind-the-scenes work, so thank you for the enthusiasm!

Today I thought it would be fun to share something I don’t think many designers do – my fabric rejects, or those that didn’t make the cut when I designed my first fabric line, Modern Marks with Benartex/Contempo. I’m sure the reason designers don’t do this is because they know people would be clamoring for it, and be sad that they can’t buy the rejects LOL!!

Modern Marks Bundle

Modern Marks Swatches – It was hard to narrow it down to these final designs!
Contempo is Benartex’ modern/contemporary division.

Now before I get into it sharing some rejects, I’ll explain how I work with my fabric company since I’m sure many of you are curious about it. First – I create a mood board, with colors, ideas and styles I’m trying to achieve. I also draw out most of my designs by hand and select the colors I want to use.

Because I’m not computer savvy when it comes to creating repeats (the amount of distance between design elements so that a design can print continuously), I work with a fabric stylist and graphic designer at Benartex who help me with the technical work. Just as I utilize the services of a book publisher and graphic designer to make my books and patterns the best they can be, it’s been wonderful to collaborate with a fantastic company who has the same vision for fabric as I do.

Modern Marks Pinwheel from Benartex

I wanted Modern Marks precuts to be exciting and dynamic – and I love the results!

Since everything is finalized in the computer, it’s very easy to produce a LOT of different variations of the design in nearly unlimited colorways and print them out in color on paper before they go to the fabric mill for printing. However, because a fabric company is producing dozens of different lines each season, any particular designer is limited in the number of final designs that can actually be printed.

Hence the problem of narrowing things down. My rejects vastly outnumber those that I chose. Not only did several designs not make the cut, but I also had to narrow down which prints would be offered in what colorways. Those were some tough decisions to make, but I was pleased with the final result.

Fabric Design in Progress

Modern Marks fabric design in process – this group included too many lights, not enough mediums and several prints and colorways that I ultimately had to reject. You may see some of these ideas revisited in future fabric lines in a different way… so stay tuned!

You’ll notice many designs in the photo above that didn’t make the cut – including those super light boxes prints and the tossed triangles on the right. Although I loved the boxes, these versions were too light for the rest of the group. I ended up adding color to the backgrounds to make them read as a light-medium so that they could mix better with the other prints when using them all in the same quilt. But not to worry, I’ll be re-visiting the idea of adding more background prints in future fabric  lines.

Although the triangles above were very close to my original vision for them, once I saw them in repeat, the style didn’t fit with the rest of the group. They were a bit too whimsical and not quite the retro-modern look I was going for. Fortunately, since then I’ve been able to tweak the triangles into something I like better, and they’ll be appearing in a totally different way in my next fabric line coming out later this summer. So it just goes to show an idea is never wasted!!

Modern Marks

Finalizing the Modern Marks print selections on my design wall and grouping them by colorway. I numbered them and made a bunch of notes for the fabric company so we’d both be on the same page when it came time to print them. Needless to say, I was thrilled with the end result.

So now that you’ve had a bit of a sneak peek into my process, here are a few more examples of certain prints that I loved and why I ultimately rejected them. I’ve grouped the images below into the “reject” and the final versions and explained why I made each decision.

Modern Marks Design in Progress

Heartbeat vs. Herringbone

I really, really liked both of these – Heartbeat and Herringbone. They both started from the same original concept – a zig-zag line on a saturated background. However, I felt that the image on the right was more versatile and dynamic.

I design fabric in much the same way that I design quilt patterns – I start with one basic idea (zig zags, triangles, lines, etc.) and then brainstorm all the different ways that I can explore that concept. It’s a fun way to work and it ensures I’ll never run out of ideas!!

Modern Marks Design in Process

Plus vs. X

The two designs above were the hardest to finalize. If I’d had room in the collection I would have included them both. While I actually like the Plus design more than the X design, I ultimately decided to go with the simpler and more versatile X design, which I named “Crossmarks.” By this point, I already have enough directional prints and needed something that could act as more of a blender print. So Crossmarks it is!

In a well-rounded collection, you need a good ratio of dynamic vs simple designs; directional versus allover/tossed prints, with a nice variety of color and scale. Although each fabric line is limited to about 18-25 prints and has to stand on its own, I’m actually taking the long view and making sure that each fabric line that comes next will still work with the one before.

Modern Marks Half Ovals

Half Ovals – Reject colorways on top, final versions underneath.

The Half Ovals is probably my favorite print of the group. I knew I wanted to include a circle or dot print and so we mocked up this design in All. The. Colors! It was very difficult to narrow them down to the final 4 above.

Although I really really loved the lime green/blue versions on top, this is another case where less is more. Besides, by this point I knew that the one of the colorways of the main print would use similar colors, so I chose the more tone-downed blue on blue half-ovals to round out the collection and add another “blender” print to the mix.

Circles and Triangles in Modern Marks

Donuts vs. Quirky Triangles

When trying to brainstorm the “dot” or “circle” print for the line, I also came up with “donuts” above, left. I may or may not have been hungry when it came time to name this design, LOL!!

But… since I knew that I wanted to include the half-ovals instead, this one had to get the axe. However, I kept the color combo of orange and fuchsia and applied it to one of the Quirky Triangles prints instead.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this behind the scenes look at how I made some of these decisions to design Modern Marks. With this being my first fabric line, it was a huge learning curve but a fun and educational experience for sure!

Modern Marks by Christa Watson for Benartex

I so enjoyed having my first booth at Quilt Market last fall.

If you can’t find Modern Marks in your local quilt shop, click here for a list of shops that also sell it online. Please leave a comment if you know of any other stores that carry it. My list is very  small so far, but based on the sales data, it’s in many more stores than I know about, so please help me update my list.

I’m excited that Modern Marks has been well received so far, and that I get to design more collections for Benartex. In fact, as soon as I returned from Fall Quilt Market last year, I got right to work on the next fabric line that comes out this summer. My sample yardage should be here soon, and then I’ll get right to work making quilts and finalzing patterns in time for Spring Market. Based on the kind feedback you all have been sending me, I’ll be happy to share more about that too – so stay tuned!

A Crazy Sewing Weekend (and a Bit of a Back Story)

I was a little MIA last week due to a crazy sewing weekend a few days before. Crazy, but fun!! So it all has to do with my latest big project which will officially be revealed later this year: I designed a line of fabric for Benartex!! Say what???

So here’s a (not-so) quick back story and then onto my latest sewing adventures….

Sew Pro 2016

Discussing the value of joining professional associations at Sew Pro in 2016

Last fall I attended Sew Pro, an industry event for those wanting to make quilting their business. Although it was mainly geared toward those that are just getting their feet wet in the industry, I thought I would attend in order to decide whether or not I wanted to add fabric design to the list of things I do. Tula Pink was one of the keynote speakers along with other fabric designers like Alison Glass and Pat Sloan. After listening to them share more about their process (and seeing their joy in loving what they do), I decided that yes, I wanted to give fabric design a try – so I set about trying to learn how to make that happen, thinking it would likely take a long time to break into that area of the industry.

Benartex Contempo

But then – literally two days after I arrived home from Sew Pro – I got a call from Benartex asking if I wanted to design fabric for their Contempo division. (“What the what??” was my initial response, LOL!!)  I’ve never had such a case of the universe listening to me and acting so quickly. For those that don’t know, BERNINA owns Benartex, and since I’m a BERNINA ambassador I guess I was already on their radar. But getting that phone call so soon after I decided I wanted to design fabric was really uncanny. Had they contacted me a week before, it very well could have been a different answer…

So to make a long story even longer… I’ve spent the time from then until now (in between other projects) working with Benartex on my debut line which will be in stores this November.

Designing and producing fabric is such a huge process that revolves around creating the images, translating them into digital printable files, finalizing them on paper, and then getting samples from the overseas mill to make sure it all looks good. The timing is always tricky and it’s hard to plan long term until you are on a regular designing schedule. (In anything new I do, there’s always stuff I don’t know that I don’t know, LOL!!) So that brings us to my crazy sewing weekend.

Modern Marks Swatches

Finalizing fabric swatches on paper before they go to the mill for printing…

While images were being sent to the printer and strikeoffs (small samples from the mill) were sent to me, I was also coordinating with BERNINA to teach a couple of machine quilting classes at their annual flagship event for dealers, BERNINA University. This year it was happening right in my backyard here in Las Vegas (again – thanks, Universe!!)

As luck would have it, my sample yardage arrived 4 days before the start of BU. Benartex told me that if there was anyway I could get a few sample quilt tops made in time, they’d be happy to hang them up in their booth at the event, and allow shop owners to order early.

Modern Marks by Christa Watson

Sample yardage for me to work with…

Now, I usually do all my own “stunts” – priding myself in creating every stitch of my quilts myself. But with just a 4 day lead time, I knew I’d need to call in the reinforcements. Thank goodness for a mom who sews and was willing to drive the 3 1/2 hour drive to my house on a moment’s notice. Between the two of us, we were also able to wrangle a few more sewing friends who took shifts throughout the weekend sewing, pinning, pressing, and helping us keep our sanity.

Sample Sewing Sweatshop!

With the help of 8 friends over 4 days, we were able to sew up 5 quilt tops!!

All in all, we were able to complete 5 tops just in the nick of time, and the feedback I received from attendees at the event made all the craziness worth it! Needless to say, I’ll have a bit more time to quilt them in time for fall quilt market, thank goodness.

Now, I know I run the risk of spoiling the surprise by sharing so much so early, but I just can’t help it – I hate keeping secrets!! If you happen to run your own shop, or you want to recommend my collection to your favorite local shop, please let them know they can contact Benartex directly for more info about Modern Marks by Christa Watson. The collection images won’t be up on Benartex’ website for a few more months, but shops “in the know” can pre-order now (wink…. wink…)

Modern Marks at BERNINA University

I enjoyed sharing sneak peeks of my fabric with attendees at BERNINA University.

Click here see the promotional flyer showing off digital images of the 5 quilt tops I made. I was in such a rush that I didn’t even photograph them when they were done, but I’m sure I’ll share a few more sneak peeks as I finish quilting them over the next few months. So stay tuned!

And now… I’m off to enjoy a much-anticipated family vacation at the beach. After the crazy busy (but fun) year I’m having, I’m looking forward to unplugging for a few days…

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Fabric Friday – Michael Miller Modern Basics

The good news today is that I’m going to share some pretty pictures of mouthwatering precuts from Michael Miller. That bad news is, these are a limited run. Back when Jason and I decided to focus on selling precuts, patterns, and thread, we knew that meant we wouldn’t be able to carry all fabric brands. So we met with all of our vendors to let them know we were eager to carry whatever precuts they had to offer.

Recently, Michael Miller produced a fabulous line of Modern Basics precuts, but then decided they weren’t going to stay in the precut business. I hope they change their mind in the future, but for now, consider these as hard to find and gobble them up while you can:

modern_basics_bloomModern Basics – Bloom includes 45 graphic prints in juicy shades of pink, purple, and orange. Precut bundles come in fat quarters, charm packs, strip rolls, and 10″ squares.

modern_basics_oceanModern Basics – Ocean, in cool shades of blues and greens, is available in 45 piece fat quarter bundles and 10″ precut squares. Aren’t they refreshing?

modern_basics_neutralModern basics – Neutral also comes in a 45 pack in your choice of fat quarters, charm packs, strip rolls, and 10″ squares. You gotta have plenty of neutrals in your stash!

crayon_boxModern Basics – crayon box is just as colorful as the name implies! These graphic bundles are available as charm packs, precut strips, and 10″ squares.

Click here for more details on all Michael Miller Modern Basics.

Christa’s Soapbox – On Destashing…

I surprised quite a few followers on Instagram recently when I posted a picture of what my current stash looks like. After 20 years of quilting I’ve dejunked, destashed and cleaned out my space to the point that I finally realized that I am just not a fabric hoarder.

tiny_stash

Now to be fair, the bottom shelves (shown empty in the pic above) are filled with a few WIP’s, but not many – only enough that I can count on one hand, and mostly stuff that I can’t show in public yet. I’ve opined on my minimalist tendencies before and have to say this wasn’t an overnight process. And, I do have a small personal stash of precuts in another unit. But scraps? Overflowing bins? Not happening!!

precut_stashMy precust stash – waiting to be made into quilts!

I started with about 2 storage units worth of piles of fabric, which by some standards, still isn’t a ton. I pared that down to 1 storage unit about a year ago, and then recently whittled it down to about half of a cabinet for fabric, half for wip’s, and then the second cabinet for tools, supplies, thread, magazines, etc. And a whole empty shelf that makes me proud!! I need negative space in my storage, too, it seems!

The reason I can live this way (nearly stash-less) is mainly because of the way I create. First, I design the projects I want to make in EQ. Then I import fabric swatches or colors I want to work with. Once I’m finished with my design, then I shop for fabric. I’ve tried it the other way around, trying to come up with a plan around a specific fabric and it just doesn’t work for me. I know this will invariably mean that by the time I’m ready to make a quilt, the fabric I want may not be available. But that’s okay, there’s always something else that will work, right?

precutsPrecuts in my garage workspace – awaiting shipment to Amazon.

Now I know some of you will say, “but that’s not fair – you have a whole store full of fabric!” Well, yes, that is true, but we don’t store it here. We process it when it comes in and then ship it off to the Amazon warehouses for storage.

The bottom line is, I realized that I would rather have the space than fabric that just sits on my shelves languishing. But don’t worry – I’m not trying to encourage others in my minimalist tendencies – it’s just what works for me. I’m just as happy to get excited for my friends when they show me pics of their amazing stashes because you know what? It works for them! 🙂

How do you like to store your stash? I’d love to see pics – please share them on my facebook group at Quilt With Christa!

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Last Call for Fabric Clearance – We’re Shutting Down the Old Site!

But first, I need to announce my charm pack winners. Congratulations to Peg H. who won the Moda charm pack blog giveaway, and @fedewala who won the instagram bundle. Thanks so much for your input on my newsletters, too. Monday was the preferred day, so I’ll take a week off and start sending them again on a regular schedule. That works better for me, too. 🙂

Just in case you missed it, you can sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

Now for the bigger news, we are downsizing and shutting down the old website at the end of the day tomorrow, Wednesday, June 25th and everything remaining is now 50% off.

ChristaQuiltsThis is so we can concentrate our efforts on our new leaner (but in no way meaner) precut store where we sell fat quarter bundles, charm packs, jelly rolls, layer cakes, and just about any precut you can think of from all the major manufacturers. We also carry a large selection of Aurifil thread by the spool or by the bundle. It’s been so fun to seek out new precuts and new ways to use them!

APQRAnd thanks to those of you who listened and cheered me on during my interview on Pat Show’s quilting podcast yesterday. I was super nervous to go on, but she instantly put me right at ease. What a fun lady and a great host! If you missed it live, you can listen to all of Pat’s archived podcasts here, and you can subscribe to the show via Itunes (search for American Patchwork and Quilting Radio).

Sew and Tell – More Quilty Love and My Latest Feature Article

I wanted to share a little more Quilty magazine love today and give a little plug for my latest article in the hopes that you will check it out and pick up a copy for yourself!

The Quilty team did such a fantabulous job editing and presenting my latest feature article called “Digital Printing – an Evolution in Fabric.” It’s on pages 86-88 in the March/April 2014 issue. It was a fun topic to write about and I actually learned a lot in the process.

Quilty March 2014

Quilty March 2014

I think Quilty is one of the best quilting magazines ever. (No they are NOT paying me to say that, I just think it’s true.) Editor Mary Fons is super high energy – even more than me – and if you’ve never seen her live, be sure to check out her lecture from QuiltCon in 2013 to see what I mean.

QuiltyIt was super fun to pick out the pictures to along with the article, and I had a chance to interview several folks in the fabric industry who are the movers and shakers, so that was enlightening, too. Many fabric companies you recognize and buy from are represented in the article as well as a fantastic new-to-me company who burst onto the scene last year- Modern Yardage.

20140228_modernyardageIn the article, I basically talk about some of the history of the digital fabric industry and a few of the pros and cons – for sure more pros! It will be fun to see where this technology leads us and to see what kind of impact it makes on future quilt design.

Fabulous Fabric Reps!

Fabulous Fabric Reps – Elliot and Janet of JEH

I have to give a shout out to my fabulous Robert Kaufman sales reps for putting me in touch with many of the right people to interview for this article. It was serendipity when I was meeting with them one day and they happened to mention these new digital fabrics. I was like, “Hey I’m writing an article about that – tell me everything you know!” So it’s always fun to be in the right place at the right time, talking to the right people!

In case you missed it, you can read about my previous Quilty appearances here and here.

Thanks, You Guys – I am Officially De-Stashed!

Thanks so much to everyone who helped me de-stash yesterday. I couldn’t believe the response! I spent all day Friday going through my stash, packing it up and shipping it out. I sent out a total of 33 flat rate boxes worth of Stash and it feels great!

Stash

Boxes of Stash

For those of you that missed out, there is still good news for you. I am sort of doing the same thing with my store inventory, but not quite as dramatic. Right now I have over 800 fabrics on clearance, until they sell out. They are anywhere from 20% to 50% off so you can still get your fabric fix for cheap. 🙂

Click here for my store clearance section – over 800 items on sale!

Part of all this fabric cleansing is to make way for changes in my quilting direction, both personally and professionally. I recently realized I need to redo my sewing studio to make it more comfortable and useable.

Stash Before

Stash – Before

Step one is cleaning and organizing my stash. I’m waiting for those mini cardboard fabric organizers to arrive so that I can make make the most of my shelf space.

Stash Cleansing

Stash Cleansing

Step two is setting up a better design wall. Right now I have a small portable flannel wall and it’s just not cutting it – I need more space for designing!

Stash - After

Stash – After

Step three is cleaning up my store to make it more focused and efficient. The less time I need to spend working, the more sewing and designing time I will have.

I really live by the philosophy that less is more. In other words, the less clutter I have, the more quilts I’ll be able to make!

New Stash to Wash

New Stash to Wash

Now I’m off to spend the morning washing and ironing this lovely pile of fabrics since I have room for them once again. 🙂

Angela Walters Textures Fabric and a Winning Quilt

One of my quilting heroes, Angela Walters, recently launched her own line of fabulous fabrics modern fabrics. When I met her at QuiltCon I told her that I planned to carry them in my store.

Angela WaltersNow that plan has become a reality. I just received the wonderful 10 piece collection of Textures, her debut line from Art Gallery Fabrics.Angela Walters Textures


The modern textural look of these prints really appeals to me. I especially love the panel print which was recently featured in a contest sponsored by Art Gallery fabrics.

Textures PanelIn fact, my friend Kelli from Seriously I Think it Needs Stitches won the contest with her fabulous Mod Geocruiser Quilt. Isn’t it great? You can read about her inspiration here.

Mod Geocruiser

Mod Geocruiser by Kelli Fannin
Make it Right Winner

I think Kelli did such a fabulous job with the textural quilting, too. 🙂 You can find more inspiration here to see how others creatively used the Right Angles Panel.

I’m way excited because I also preordered Angela Walters’ next collection, Legacy, due out later this fall. Here’s Angela’s Legacy Quilt, shown at market this past spring. Fabulous!

Legacy Quilt

Angela Walters’ Legacy Quilt

Christa’s Quilt Along 5.1 – Hugs ‘n Kisses Supply List

Free Quilt Pattern

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Time for another fun quilt-along! My Hugs ‘n Kisses design is based on a quilt I made several years ago. If you look closely, it’s similar to the quilt shown on my blog’s header. Over the years I’ve had several requests for this quilt pattern, so I finally decided to make one!

Hugs 'n Kisses

Hugs ‘n Kisses

About This Quilt – Finished Size 48″ x 64″

I designed this quilt using EQ7  so that it will work with Jelly Rolls or precut strips.  Although I am making this quilt in the size stated above, you can easily double the yardage requirements, purchase additional kits, or add borders to make it bigger.

Kissing Booth Jelly Roll

Kissing Booth Jelly Roll

Kona Snow Roll Up Strips

Kona Snow Roll Up

Kona Solids Brick

Kona Solids Brick


Fabric Requirements (Hugs and Kisses Quilt Kits are available for a limited time.)

  • 1 Jelly Roll of print fabric. You may use any jelly roll or set of precut strips you like as long as you have at least 38 – 2.5″ strips.
  • 2/3 Jelly Roll of solid or background fabric,  or 24 – 2.5″ strips.  If you prefer to purchase yardage and cut the strips yourself, you will need 1.75 yards.
  • 1/2 yard fabric for the binding in a coordinating color – I prefer to use solid 2.25″ strips. Purchase a little more if you like wider strips.
  • At least 52″ x 68″ piece of batting; my favorites are high quality cotton or wool.
  • 3 yards of non-directional fabric the backing, or scraps and fat quarters to total about 3.5 yards if you prefer to make it scrappy like I do.
Machingers Gloves

Machingers Gloves

Supreme Slider

Supreme Slider

Superior Needles

Superior Needles


Supplies Needed


If you have any questions 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.

Sharing is Caring

Please share your work in progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa . 🙂