Machine Quilting with Style: Facets Re-Imagined

Today I’m excited to re-imagine my favorite quilt – Facets – from my book Machine Quilting with Style. It might be my favorite because it was the first quilt I designed for the book. Or maybe it’s because this was my first stab at improv piecing. The fabrics I used might have had something to do with it, too. And when I quilted it, I was really pushing myself to do something really eye catching. It was very validating when this quilt was also a favorite of judges’ at the AQS Paducah show earlier this year, nabbing a 2nd place in the modern category.

Facets Quilt

Facets 63″ x 70″ by Christa Watson

Facets was a huge favorite of several of my friends and followers in my Facebook Group, too! Here is just a sampling of some of the beautiful versions others have made. Notice how they changed it up to make it their own!


Made by Katherine D – those icy blues are so gorgeous and the black adds drama.


Leah H. chose pretty purples, made fewer blocks, and added extra solids Just stunning!


Sharon S. alternated plain and pieced blocks to make this beautiful version.

To see more amazing variations, head over to my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa and type “Facets” into the search bar. It’s chock full of inspiration!


My Kona Cotton Designer Palette is available for a limited time only!

Giveaway Time!

I chose my Designer palette of 28 Kona Solids to make my version. Click here to grab a bundle if you’d like to make a quilt similar to mine. The fun thing about improv is that two quilts can look completely different even when using the same fabrics and pattern.

To celebrate the one year anniversary of Machine Quilting with Style, one lucky winner will receive a precut bundle of my entire palette. Let me know which you prefer: a set of 40 precut 2 1/2″ strips, or 40 precut 10″ squares. To enter, leave a comment on this post letting me know if you’ve ever done any improv piecing. For a bonus entry, share a picture of it in my Facebook Group. I’d love to see!

Click here to purchase a signed copy of Machine Quilting with Style.
Click here to see all of the quilts from the book.

Facets Quilt Wins 2nd Place Modern in Paducah 2016!

This week has been crazy busy and exhilarating! I was packing up to teach at EQ Academy earlier in the week when I got the email notice that Facets had won an award at AQS Quilt Week in Paducah, Kentucky – the mother of all quilt shows! Knowing I wouldn’t be able to attend due to my prior teaching commitment, I lamented the fact that I’d miss the awards ceremony and hoped someone I knew would be able to take pictures for me and let me know how it did.

By the way, when you get these emails from quilt shows, they don’t notify you of placement – they just say you have won “an award.”

Facets Quilt

Facets, 2nd at AQS Quilt Week Paducah 2016 – photo courtesy of Cassandra Beaver.

Then when I heard that AQS would be broadcasting the awards ceremony live on You Tube I was so excited to watch! As I’ve said many times before, I don’t enter to win – I just want my modern quilts to be seen out there in the world wide web of quilters!

To start off the awards presentation, names of all of the Honorable Mentions were rattled off at once. When my name was not listed among this group, my heart skipped a beat and I thought, “OK, this is cool – I’m up a for another 3rd place finish.” After all, I had scored a distinctive yellow, pink, and green dogwood ribbon two years prior for Colorful Chevrons – the very first time Paducah debuted the modern category. At the time I considered it a fluke, thinking the only reason I got the award is that there wasn’t much competition.

AQS Awards Ceremony

Then they announced 3rd place and it wasn’t my name. Say what?? Anyone who’s ever entered or won at Paducah realizes that even a 3rd place finish awards more prize money than many 1st place finishes!! (Enough to pay for many more quilt show entries – the fees really add up fast.)

When my name was announced for 2nd place, I whipped out the iPhone, my hands shaking so badly that I barely managed to snap a dark picture on the computer screen before it disappeared from sight. I completely missed the first place finish because I was still in shock. (Thank goodness for social media so I was able to catch up later in the day).

Modern Quilts at Paducah

Paducah 2016 Modern Winners – From left to right: Facets (2nd), Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts by Cassandra Beaver (1st);  Big Love by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill (3rd).

This win is especially validating because I had entered Facets into AQS Phoenix earlier in the year, with a bittersweet story as the result. Although I wasn’t disappointed that it didn’t ribbon in Phoenix, I was pleased to learn that AQS wanted to feature the quilt in their 2018 wall calendar. However, my excitement was quickly dashed when they had to rescind the offer about 5 minutes later, after learning the quilt had already been published in my first book.


Machine Quilting with Style features 12 show-worthy quilt patterns, including Facets!

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with entering published quilts into quilt shows of course, but since AQS also publishes books, they didn’t want to feature a competing publisher’s quilt image, even though the pattern wouldn’t have been included.

The audible sigh on the other end of the phone line was followed by a meek, “well….. just let us know…. if you have anything else we can consider…..” (I promptly gave them my email so they could send me details on how to submit a calendar entry, but all I got back was crickets….)

Facets Quilt AQS Paducah

Pat Sloan at Paducah with Facets – I love this pic!!

So yes, getting a ribbon for Facets was extra meaningful to me!! And now the best part of this story comes full circle. The lovely and talented Pat Sloan first invited me to be a guest on American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast back in 2014, shortly after attracting her notice with my first Paducah ribbon. Since that chance encounter she’s become a great mentor and friend. After the news of my win, she sent me this adorable picture of herself standing next to the quilt.

Thanks to social media, I felt like part of the action! Maybe one day I’ll get to go to Paducah. 🙂

Facets Machine Quilting

Facets Quilting Detail – photo courtesy of Kathy Mathews.

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 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 8 – Binding

If you’ve been following along each step of the Facets Quilt Along, it’s now time to bind your quilt! If you are just now finding my blog, you can still make one from the beginning – all of the blog posts are here.


Although there are a million different ways to bind your quilt, I pretty much stick with one main method for binding and then finish either by hand or machine. To help you out, here are a couple of binding tutorials for you to reference:

My tutorial on basic quilt binding.
Binding by machine. (This one is older but still relevant.)

Prizes to be awarded next week!

As mentioned previously, everyone who participates in the Quilt Along and shares at least one picture of their progress on my Facebook group is eligible to win. You have from now until next Thursday, March 31st to share your pics. I’ll pick the winners on Friday morning and announce them here and the blog and on Facebook. Here’s a recap of the prizes:

  1. Everyone who shares a pic wins a free PDF pattern of their choice from my Craftsy shop.CQ-Patterns

2. Three random Grand Prize winners will each win a signed copy of my book (you choose which one),  a charm pack of my Kona solids, and an Aurifil thread spool of your choice from The Precut Store. Random winners will be chosen from all of the entries – the more times you entered (up to once per week), the more chances you have. Max entries is 8 per person (one for each step of the quilt along).



3. One bonus prize entry for those who complete their quilt by March 31. One winner will receive a jelly roll of their choice from The Precut Store.

Even if you are just getting started, be sure to share your progress over on Facebook at Quilt with Christa! And yes, if you cram and get more than one step done per week, you can still share and enter!


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 4 – Complete The Quilt Top

This week’s assignment is super easy and will allow any newcomers a chance to catch up!

Simply follow the quilt assembly diagram on page 94 of Machine Quilting With Style and lay your blocks in a pleasing arrangement. Then sew them together – easy peasy. Be sure to take a “victory lap” around the quilt top when finished – sew around the perimeter 1/8″ in from the edge to secure the side seams.

EQ Facets

Take a look at my EQ7 drawing of Facets and see how closely it resembles my actual quilt.


Finished Facets quilt, Made from my Kona Designer Series Precut Palette

I love seeing how different and unique this quilt can look. Be sure to pop on over to my Facebook Group at Quilt With Christa to share your progress and see the other fabulous versions! You can also share on instagram – just hashtag #facetsqal and tag me @christaquilts so I can see!

Here’s just a sampling of the beautiful quilts being made by others who are following along:


G has made more of my quilt patterns than anyone I know! Follow her on IG @blingnailsbyg


Michelle is G’s sister and it’s so fun to see them make it a family affair. Her scraps are so pretty!


Ann is reversing her layout – with mostly plain blocks and a pieced focal row. I love it!


It’s been so fun watching Jocelyn’s version come together!

Remember – everyone who participates will win a prize  at the end. Click on the starting Facets QAL post for complete details, and to find links to all of the QAL posts.

Facets Quilt Along Week 3 – Making the Triangle Blocks

I can’t tell you how much fun it is to watch your Facets progress. So many people are sharing their progress on Instagram and in my Facebook group. It makes me giddy!! If you are just joining us, you can catch up and get started on the Facets Quilt Along here. Be sure to grab a copy of Machine Quilting With Style, if you don’t already have it. We will be following the instructions found on pages 92-94 from the book.


This week’s assignment is to cut your “made fabric” into triangle shapes using the Triangle Squared Ruler and Perfect Rectangle Ruler from Creative Grids. If you don’t have these rulers, you can cut your shapes from the full-sized templates given on pages 96-97 of the book. You can either make templates from plastic or draw them onto paper and tape the paper to a ruler that’s wide enough to accommodate them.


You need both Creative Grids rulers for this method to work.

How to use the Creative Grids rulers:


First, make sure there is fabric completely underneath the triangle shape you are cutting. Next, align the Triangle Squared Ruler so that the blunted triangle corner is on the top of the strip, and the measurement you need lines up evenly with the bottom of the strip. Trim on both sides of the triangle. There will be a little bit of waste, but you can just throw that in the scrap pile for more improv piecing!


Once you have cut the triangle with the blunted tip at the top, rotate the ruler to cut a triangle with the blunted tip at the bottom.


Don’t forget to cut triangles from you accent fabric, too! Hint: if you are using directional prints, you may need additional fabric to accommodate cutting your triangles in one direction only.


You will need to cut the background triangles using the Perfect Rectangle Ruler. Remember to keep your strip folded so that you get a half rectangle for each side of the triangle in a square.


Don’t forget to cut angled tips indicated by the blunted end of the ruler. These will help line up your units correctly for sewing.

Using the picture below as a guide, line up the background rectangles so that the blunted ends align with the center triangle. The pointed tips will stick out. Trim the tips once the units are sewn.


I borrowed this image from a previous project using the same method with a smaller sized unit.

Sew the triangle blocks into diamonds where indicated in the book on page 94.

Eye Candy Inspiration

The best part of any quilt along is seeing how others make it their own. Here’s a roundup of blocks being made by followers in my Facebook group: Quilt With Christa and on instagram: #facetsqal. Remember – you can jump in at any time and work at your own pace. Some people have just started and others are nearly finished (which gives me plenty of pics to share for future posts)!


I love the pop of orange that Gina from Gina’s Custom Creations chose to include!


Sherri (@snugbear2 on IG) is laying out her pretty purple blocks and sewing them together!


I love Paula’s pretty piles!


I know I’m not supposed to have favorites but I really love Jocelyn’s triangles!!

Next week we will sew the blocks together to complete the quilt top.

Click here for the start of Facets Quilt Along