Bling Quilt Along Part 4: Machine Quilting Option 2: Wavy Grid

This week I’m super excited to give you additional options for machine quilting your Bling quilt. I quilted both of my versions with two different walking foot quilting designs. Last week, I shared my basting tutorial along with option 1; and I wanted to add one more plug for pressing your seams open:

When you press your seams open, not only will the quilt lie flat and make it much easier to quilt, but you wan’t get any “shadowing” of the seams, which is when a darker fabric shows up under a lighter fabric seam. The darker fabric always goes to the darker side, and the lighter fabric always goes to the lighter side.

But here’s a bonus tip when working with lighter background fabrics such as in this version of Bling: be sure to clip off any excess darker threads underneath so you don’t see them from the front of the quilt. If this does happen, you can always use a needle or tiny crochet hook to grab any pesky threads that show underneath the quilt top.

Machine Quilting Wavy Grid

To recap both both machine quilting options mentioned in the Bling quilt pattern, check out this short video below which shows me quilting wavy lines on the white version and a straight-line grid on the black version:

Check out more fun tutorials on my YouTube channel.

The basic idea for either quilting plan is to “divide and conquer” – quilt one pass of lines in both directions all the way across the quilt. Then quilt additional passes across the quilt until you like the density. You can do this with straight lines, or irregular wavy lines. I’ve even used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine using the same process!

Choosing Thread

For the white version of Bling, I went with a more subtle thread than the hot pink I chose for the black version. I like to take a picture of the thread I’m using on the quilt so I can document it to know which one I used. This black/white/gray thread is included in my Variegated Thread Collection from Aurifil. 

I prefer to quilt with 50 weight, 100% cotton thread from Aurifil.

1st pass across the quilt

So let me break it down for you a little bit in photos. In the first pass across the quilt, you can barely see any quilting. I’m quilting an organic wavy line “near” the ditch rather than “in” the ditch and it really blends in. The lines are really widely spaced apart, in between each of the block rows.

Click the image above to enlarge. Can you spot the quilting lines?

To quilt wavy lines, my machine is set up for regular straight line stitching, but I gently move the quilt from side to side to form the organic looking wavy lines.

2nd pass across the quilt

The next quilting pass is roughly through the center of the blocks. I use the seam lines as a guide for where to quilt. The wavy lines are fast and easy to quilt because you can eyeball where you are going and the lines don’t have to be perfectly spaced.

It helps to have a large work surface and a drop in table to hold the weight of the quilt.

The wavy lines are actually must faster, and it’s my go-to design when I’m in a hurry! In fact, by quilting wavy lines “near” the ditch, instead of “in” the ditch, it’s a great choice when your ditches (seams) don’t line up perfectly.

Quilt in both directions

To keep the wavy grid as evenly spaced as possible, you will want to quilt in both directions – horizontally and vertically with each pass. Just rotate the quilt in the direction you need to go!

Now the yummy quilted texture is starting to appear!!
Just remember, the more lines you quilt, the less your imperfections will show!

use the seamlines as a guide

Here’s a really good example where you can see how I lined up the wavy lines with the pieced seams in both directions. The block design is a little off center so the lines aren’t all evenly spaced, but that’s hardly noticeable. This allows me to avoid marking because much easier to eyeball the wavy lines rather than straight ones.

Keep Quilting more lines!

By the time I’m finished, my lines will be quilted about 3/4″ to 1″ apart in both directions. This is completely a personal preference and it’s up to you how dense you’d like to quilt. Just remember, if you are using natural fiber materials (ie cotton fabric, cotton thread, cotton batting), the quilt will NOT get stiff the more you quilt it. And the more you love it, use it and wash it, the softer it will become!

I eventually lost track of how many passes I quilted, but I kept going until I liked the results!

Additional QAl resources for Bling

Bling Quilt Along Part 3: Machine Quilting Option 1 – Random Crosshatch Quilting

And now we get to my favorite part of making a quilt – machine quilting! Because I made two versions of Bling, and quilted them with 2 different walking foot quilting designs, I’m excited to share both options with you over the next 2 weeks. And the best part is, you can use these tips and tricks on ANY quilt you wish to make.

Bling Quilt

For the version of Bling with the Black background, I used my walking foot/dual feed to quilt straight-“ish” lines in a crosshatch pattern following the design of the blocks.

Choose Your Thread Color

Because I wanted the thread to stand out on this vibrant colorful quilt, I chose a bright pink from my Piece and Quilt Collection – Colors from Aurifil Thread.

Piece and Quilt Colors by Christa Watson

I chose the bright pink which is the first column, third row down in the image above.
Click here to get this thread box for just $99 while supplies last.

But, before you dive into quilting your quilt, first you need to baste it. I use the same method to baste ALL of my quilts: spraying 505 adhesive on the wrong side of the quilt top and backing outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.

Prepping the Quilt

Bling quilt in progress

Then, I assemble the quilt layers together on my design wall indoors. You can also use a table if you don’t have a design wall.

Bling quilt in progressBasting in process on my design wall.
I can’t wait to share more about the quilting of this version of Bling next week!

The “magic” part of my spray-basting method is ironing the basted quilt on both sides – front and back to squish it all together and set the glue.

Iron the basted quilt to set the glue

Get the Bling kit – in white or black – while supplies last!

Click the image below to watch a super speedy basting video from my Infrastructure quilt.

Once you have basted your quilt and are ready to begin machine quilting, be sure to clean and oil your machine and put in a fresh needle.

I really like the Superior brand Titanium needs in size 80/12 to go along with my 50 weight cotton Aurifil thread.

Click here to get some of my favorite notions and thread.

 

 

 

Make a Quilting Plan

In all of my quilt patterns, I like to include quilting suggestions and a quilting plan. It’s very easy to “divide” and conquer the straight line quilting by first quilting in the ditch between each of the blocks in both directions. This will create a grid that’s equal to the size of the quilt blocks. This will anchor or stabilize your quilt for additional quilting.

Bling Quilting Plan

One of the quilting plans included in the Bling quilt pattern.

Once you have anchored your quilt, you can quilt lines randomly across the quilt in both directions. You can quilt as light or as dense as you would like.

At first I thought I would quilt my quilt more densely, but once I quilted a few passes in both directions, I was happy with how it looked so I stopped. That’s the beauty of “divide and conquer” when it comes to quilting. You can stop whenever it feels finished!

Bling machine quilting detail

Here’s a bonus tip: if you want your lines to stay straight, but you don’t have seam lines to follow, use a piece of painter’s tape as your guide.

YouTube Quilting Videos

I have a super short video below where you can see how I used the tape while quilting this version of Bling, plus a sneak peek of how I quilted the white version, too:

If you would like to quilt your quilt more densely, continue quilting lines in both directions, one pass at a time until you like how it looks. You can see a densely quilted version of random crosshatch on my Color Weave quilt.

View the youtube video play list below. It’s a series of shorter videos strung together while quilting my Color Weave quilt. (Click here to get the Color Weave quilt pattern):

Now I can’t wait to see how you quilt yours! Keep sharing your makes with me on instagram #blingquilt and in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group.

Bling Machine Quilting Detail

Quilt Along Links

Bling Quilt Along Part 2: Sewing the Quilt Top

How are your Bling quilt blocks coming along? Be sure to see the end of this post for links to the introductory post and QAL schedule if you are just getting started!

Bling Blocks

I love a stack of freshly pressed blocks!!

If you are following along and arranging the blocks as shown on the pattern cover, you’ll want to sew your sets of bling blocks into 4’s like my pics below.

Geo Pop Bling

Geo Pop Bling blocks with Op Squares white background

At this point, don’t worry where each fabric goes. I think it’s more fun to let the blocks be random than trying to overthink it too much.

Geo Pop BlingGeo Pop Bling blocks with Tiny Hex Black background

In the Bling quilt pattern, I’ve given 4 more layout ideas for you to explore if you wish. There are plenty more iterations you can try depending on how much you rotate each block!

Bling Alternate layouts

Sewing “Homework”

Your homework this week is to finish your blocks and sew them into larger groupings of 2’s or 4’s, then sew those into rows. If you get that far and are feeling gung ho – go ahead and finish up your “flimsy” (aka unquilted top).

Bling Quilt Top in Progress

In the versions above and below, I’ve sewn my blocks into random groups of four according to the orientation on the front pattern cover. I’m using my design wall to lay out the larger blocks into a pleasing arrangement.

Black Bling Blocks

Bonus Tips!

I try to speed things up as efficiently as I can. I’ll chain piece by sewing pairs of blocks together without clipping threads in between, and I give myself plenty of room to work. I’ll also take a pic of my final layout with my phone so I can refer to it as I sew each row.

Bling Blocks in progress

I’m enjoying see the progress of those who share on instagram (#blingquilt) and in my ChristaQuilts facebook group!

Helpful Links

Bling Quilt Along Part 1: Cutting and Sewing the Blocks

It’s Bling quilt along time – whoo hoo!! This quilt is so fun and fast to make you’ll want to sew more than 1! We will move through this quilt along quickly – but just remember, these posts will stay up indefinitely, so you can refer back to them anytime.

Bling Quilts with Geo Pop

Bling on display in my Geo Pop quilt market booth a few seasons ago.

Whether you want to follow along and make this quilt IRL (in real life) or just virtually in your head, I’m excited to share tips and tricks over the next 5 weeks that will help you make better quilts, no matter which quilt pattern you are sewing. So let’s get started!!!

Bling Cutting Options

Geo Pop fabric for Bling quilt by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

Above is all of the cut units for Bling made from Geo Pop with Tiny Hex black background.

Start by cutting your fat quarters into subunits as listed in the Bling quilt pattern on page 2. I’m making the twin size, but follow along by cutting the number of units as indicate for your size (lap, twin, queen).

Below is all of the cut units for Bling made from Geo Pop with Op Squares white background.

Geo Pop Fabric for Bling Quilt by Christa Watson

You can use all of the same background fabric as shown in my pictures above, or you can go scrappy if you wish (see other color ideas here). Just remember to cut out the correct number of total pieces as listed in the pattern for your size.

Bling in Good Vibes

For example, if you want a scrappy background version shown above, you can cut out each block background from a different low volume print. In my example, I used half yard bundles of Good Vibes in low volume and saturated prints to get this look, but you could use up lots of scraps this way, too.

Be sure to pair up the “legs” of your block units if you want them to match (but they certainly don’t have to). You can even mix up the backgrounds within each block to go “super” scrappy, too. Just remember – the choice is up to you because you are the boss of your quilt!

Thread Options

I prefer to sew with a shorter stitch length (2.0 instead of 2.5) and press ALL seams open so my blocks lie nice and flat. Sewing with a shorter stitch also prevents the seams from splitting open, and it makes it harder to see the thread in between the seams.

Aurifil Thread and Geo Pop fabric

I used up lots of leftover thread in making these quilts. I prefer to piece and quilt with Aurifil 50 weight cotton, and I used up lots of leftover bobbins since this was such a colorful quilt!

I used lighter colored piecing threads for the version with the white background, and darker threads for the version with the black background. Aurifil Thread and Geo Pop Fabric

Whenever I’m making a scrappy, colorful quilt, I’l try to use up as many spools as possible that just have a little bit of thread left on them.  Who says you have to use the same exact color of thread throughout? I love finishing up a spool of thread – don’t you??

Block Sewing Options

Follow the pattern instructions on pages 2-3 to create the basic Bling block below. I recommend sewing one block first, to make sure it turns out correctly, then chain piecing a whole bunch of units at once for speed and efficiency.

Bling Block

The fun part about making this block is mixing up the different fabric combinations. There’s no right or wrong way to pair them up. Just go for it and don’t over think it!!

Below is the back side of one of my blocks with those nice flat seams. This will make quilting sooooooo much easier, because the quilt top will be smooth and flat in the end.

Bling Block White

If you’d like to be a bit adventurous, here are a couple of bonus ideas on how you can sew your block units:

In the option below, I’ve rotated the position of the rectangle units.

Geo Pop Bling

Here’s what the blocks above will look like (in the white version) if you repeat this option throughout the entire quilt. The math and number of blocks is all the same, but what a huge variation one small change will create!!

Bling Alternate Blocks

Here’s another option to try: go super scrappy by using 3 prints in each block, rather than 2. Again, there’s not much thinking involved in this change.

Sew all of the rectangle units first (see the Bling pattern, page 2) and then decide if you want to make coordinating or super scrappy blocks. Or maybe a mix of both!

Geo Pop Bling

You can also try the other extreme: using all of the same print for the main part of the block!

Isn’t it fun to have choices????

Bling block same fabric

Whichever way you choose to sew your blocks – they will look fabulous!

Homework: Sew all of the Bling Blocks

Quilty “homework” is the best kind of homework!! Now that you have several options to try, work on sewing all of your Bling blocks this week. Don’t worry if you fall behind – just work on a few blocks a day, and you’ll have them done in no time!

Bling Blocks

Remember, I’m here to help and cheer you on – even after the quilt along is over. Check out the resources below to help enhance your quilt along experience:

Additional Resources

How to Sew Optical Illusion Quilt Top – Quilt Along Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of the Optical Illusion Quilt Along! I hope you are enjoying your fabric choices and feel confident in your cutting and sewing skills. Now I’m excited for you to start sewing the quilt top. It’s easy and fun!

Do you need a kit? The black, white and gray version is still available!
(Pattern is included with the kit.)
Do you need the pattern?
Get the paper pattern. 
Get the pattern instantly as a pdf.

If you haven’t already, please go through your pattern and highlight or circle the number of units to make for your size on pages 3 and 4. You’ll be so glad you did. 

Begin with Step 1 on page 3 of your Optical Illusion pattern. Remember to sew with the gray on top for each sashed square. If you do, you’ll automatically alternate the direction in which you’re sewing, which helps prevent your strips from warping.

I press all of the seams open on this quilt. Whether you press seams open, to the side or toward a specific fabric is up to you. The seams don’t have to match up with anything, which is one of my favorite things about this design.

Continue with each Step as given in the pattern, referring carefully to the diagrams in the pattern for each unit. I use sticky notes to label each little pile of units as I finish them.

Optical Illusion Quilt Detail

Get the quilt kit for Optical Illusion. while supplies last!

When you’ve completed all the Steps, move on to Sewing the Rows on page 5.

Sewing the Rows

As I am making the rows, I keep them oriented horizontally so they match the diagrams. Be sure and notice that there are different diagrams for the Lap Size than for the Twin and Queen size. It will help to circle the diagram for your size!

Label the rows with their letters to help you stay organized. 

When your rows are finished, give yourself a high five!! Great job!

Quilt Top Assembly

Moving on to Quilt Top Assembly: In last week’s post, I mentioned alternating your sewing direction by keeping the long skinny strips on top. This will be helpful as you assemble the top.

The layout diagram below is included in the pattern. Refer to pages 6 and 7 of the pattern for more info as you assemble, including a method for trimming. Use your design wall to stay organized, or snap a quick picture on your phone for a helpful reference point as you progress.

Optical Illusion LayoutI pin generously during this process. I match and pin at each end, at the middle and at several points between. Remember to sew with the skinny strip on top each time so that your sewing direction will automatically alternate.

TIP: If you have a row or a sashing strip that is longer than its neighbors, sew with the longer strip on the bottom, next to the feed dogs. This helps to ease in the fullness.

Press the quilt top gently to wrap up the piecing.

SEW A VICTORY LAP!

When the quilt top is complete, you’ll want to “stay-stitch” the edges by sewing across the top and bottom of the quilt. Do this about 1/8″ away from the edge on the top and the bottom so it will be hidden when you add the binding. Just a note: When you make a quilt with borders, you can skip this step since the borders will stabilize the edges instead.

Congratulations! Your Piecing is complete.

Next week we’ll cover how to prepare your backing and batting, and how I baste a quilt. Here is the back of the pattern with info that you’ll need. Click the image for an enlarged view.

Optical Illusion Pattern Cover spread

You know how much I enjoy machine quilting. Just a few more weeks and we will quilt walking foot spirals—I can’t wait!! Being able to finish your quilt on your own sewing machine because you’ve built the skills to do it is a great feeling. You’re going to love it!

Optical Illusion Detail

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFO ABOUT THIS QAL?

You’re Inspiring Me! See More Quilts Made from my Fabrics and Patterns

One of the best things about designing fabric is seeing how people use it. It’s absolutely inspiring for me when I notice your work using my fabric out in the world. It makes my day! Here are some recent examples.

Geo Pop Beaded Lanterns

Beaded Lanterns by Leesa Burr-Bates; pattern by Christa Watson.

Leesa Burr-Bates shared her Beaded Lanterns quilt top in the Christa Quilts Group on Facebook. If you’re not yet a member of the Group, you’re invited to join us!

Leesa used my Geo Pop fabrics from Benartex. I think she did a great job, and I can’t wait to see this one quilted up!

Click here to get Beaded Lanterns on my free quilt pattern page.
Click here to get the Geo Pop strip roll to make this quilt.

Made from Gridwork Strips

Sheila @mysteryquilter in New Zealand made this top from 2.5″ Gridwork strips.

Over on Instagram, Sheila from New Zealand made a snazzy top from a roll-up of Gridwork strips. This one keeps your eyes moving, doesn’t it?

Check out my Instagram feed.
Find a Gridwork bundle to treat yourself!

Blooming Wallflowers Quilt!

Bonnie Eicher’s Blooming Wallflowers piecing progress.

Bonnie Eicher pieced Blooming Wallflowers from a kit, and it turned out really well! Then she used a simple drawing app on her tablet to try out ideas for quilting.

Bonnie’s auditions for quilting.

Can’t wait to see her finish!

Find the Blooming Wallflowers quilt kit (throw size, 59″ x 76″).
Get the Blooming Wallflowers pattern instantly as a downloadable pdf.
Get the Blooming Wallflowers paper pattern.

Colourful Mod Cats

If you’re a friend of felines, check out these Mod Cats made from a variety of my fabrics. Mod Cat was designed by Linda and Carl Sullivan of Colourwerx in Palm Desert, CA. If you’d like to make one-color cats, my brand new bundles would make it easy: 

Try green or red! 

There are bundles of Turquoise/Teal, Yellow and Orange, too. 😊

And how about this beauty? 

New York Lattice in Geo Pop

New York Lattice by @sewjess, from a kit in Geo Pop from @timefliesquiltandsew

Jess @sewjess posted her New York Lattice quilt top recently.

The fabrics are from my Geo Pop line. Jess made the shop sample for @timefliesquiltandsew. I appreciate it when a shop puts my fabrics into a kit, thank you very much! 

Get a kit from Time Flies Quilt & Sew.

Geo Pop Zip Cases

Quick Zip Cases in Geo Pop fabrics, pattern byAnnie.com

These Quick Zip Cases are so handy for storing all kinds of items. And aren’t they cute in Geo Pop fabrics? The contrasting zippers are a nice added pop. The pattern for Quick Zip Cases is from byAnnie.com, and it’s just five dollars!

When you use my fabrics from any collection, please post it to your social media with the @christaquilts tag and #christaquilts, or send photos my way using christa@christaquilts.com. I’d love to see what you’re making!

How to Cut Fabric for Optical Illusion Quilt Along Part 1

Cutting out the fabrics to make Optical Illusion is pretty straightforward. Just follow the cutting instructions on page 2 of the Optical Illusion Quilt Pattern. You can reference my previous post on choosing fabric color combos that will work. For my version I used highly contrasting black and white for the squares with gray for the long skinny strips.

Optical Illusion Quilt

Click here to get the optional Optical Illusion quilt kit (while supplies last).

Before cutting, I highly recommend starching your fabric. This will keep the smaller skinny strips from stretching out of shape and will give body to your pieces as you handle them. I like to use inexpensive starch from the grocery store. I spray one side of my fabric and iron from the opposite side. Then repeat for the other side. It works like a charm!

Cutting the Squares

When cutting the squares, the easiest way is to first cut strips from your fabric, then subcut those strips into the square sizes as indicated in the pattern. If you are using a directional fabric like I did, you can choose to have the print always running in the same direction, or let it be more random. The choice is completely up to you depending on the look you want.Optical Illusion SquaresStill need the Optical Illusion pattern? Get a printed version or get the instantly downloadable pdf. Refer to the quilt pattern for the number of squares to cut for your size.

When it comes to cutting the rest of the units that are a slightly different size (for the starting and ending rows), be sure to label them to keep the sizes organized. I’m constantly referring to my pattern for unit size and placement so I keep everything in the right spot!

Cutting the Skinny Strips

When you are cutting out long skinny strips, you’ll either need to piece together shorter lengths of fabric to get a long enough piece or you can rotate your fabric and cut them parallel to the selvage so that there aren’t any seams. This is the method I recommend in the quilt pattern.

cut parallel to selvage

Cut long strips parallel to the selvage.

You can fold your fabric into about four layers by shaking it out so it hangs straight, then folding it in half, and half again parallel to the selvage. If your folded length of fabric is longer than the width of your cutting mat, I recommend getting another cutting mat and another ruler so that you can line things up along the entire edge.

Once everything is cut, you are ready to start sewing your pieces together next week! Feel free to take your time, or work ahead. The choice is up to you and you are the boss of your quilt!

Bling Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson

More Quilt Along Info:

Optical Illusion: Supply List, Schedule and Color Combos

Are you ready to join me for the adventure of a lifetime? Or at least a fun sewing escapade over the next several weeks? I’m excited to guide you as we make my Optical Illusion quilt from start to finish.  All you need is a copy of the Optical Illusion quilt pattern and a can-do attitude!

Optical Illusion Quilt

Optical Illusion made from Geo Pop, 67″ x 88″
Scroll this image to see the lines move!

My original version was sewn up in bold black, white and gray from my Geo Pop fabric line. I had requests to see how it would look in other colorways, so thank goodness for EQ8 software which allowed me to quickly recolor lots of fun combinations!

I made some of them into quilt kits which you can pick up if you desire, or just use them as a color guide and pick something similar from your stash.

Color Play: Choose Light, Medium and Dark

The trick to making the design work is the interplay of the values. Value is just the lightness or darkness of a fabric compared to its neighbors. For this design to work you need three fabrics that read as light, medium and dark.

So take a look at these color combos and scroll your screen up and down to see the illusion of the lines waving back and forth. Pretty trippy right?

The illusion works because the medium fabric is ALWAYS used for the skinny strips whereas the light and dark color combos are used for the squares.

Here’s another group of colors that also showcases the illusion with some interesting color combos:

Solids, or fabrics that read as a solid look best for the bold, graphic design, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use prints. Just be sure you choose something that is mostly one color or color family per print. Here’s another color grouping that works well:

Remember, for best results, use the lightest and darkest fabrics are for the squares, with the medium for the skinny strips. To test the value of your fabrics, take a picture set on gray scale from your camera phone. Then you can easily tell which should be classifued as light, medium or dark.

That’s a dozen different combinations that WORK! (Many are available as kits for the Quilt Along.) I have no idea why our brains read it this way, but it sure is cool, don’t ya think??

Now…

Watch what happens when the skinny strips are LIGHTER or DARKER than the two colors in the squares. It creates too much contrast and doesn’t give the illusion.

These 4 colorways above and below still make a nice looking modern quilt, so don’t despair if your color combos don’t work exactly as you thought. Part of the fun is learning new things, right??

For further discussion and some more examples, check out this video from my Facebook Live “Ask me Anything” series. Click the image below to play. It’s just under and hour and I go through color combinations as well as other quilty tips and advice asked by the audience. (I do these live sessions each wee k and have started posting them on YouTube so be sure to subscribe!)

In my examples, I’ve used mostly prints that read as one color for the best results. But don’t worry—the modern quilt design looks cool whether the illusion works or not!

Optical Illusion Supply List

Start thinking about the colors and fabrics that you would like to use, and gather up the needed supplies. The quilt pattern comes in three sizes. Click the pattern image below to expand.

Optical Illusion Quilt Pattern

Here’s what you need for the Twin size quilt top (67″ x 88″), which is what I made:

Get the Optical Illusion Quilt Kit, while supplies last!

Optical Illusion Quilt with Good Vibes Fabric

I can’t wait to show you how to quilt the walking foot spiral design!

Quilt Along Schedule

The links below will go live as each part is posted. Bookmark this page and refer back to the schedule anytime in the future to work on this quilt at your own pace.

Optical Illusion Quilt

SHARing is caring

If you’re an Instagram junkie (like me!), please tag me at @christaquilts and use the hashtag #opticalillusionquilt so I can see what you are doing and cheer you on!

If you’d like to ask questions or need additional help, please participate in my Christa Quilts Group on Facebook. It’s a great place to encourage your fellow makers and get additional ideas for fabric choices and a quilting plan!

Sign up for Email Notifications

Be sure to enter your email address in the box on the sidebar of this blog. If you are viewing this on your phone or tablet, scroll aaaaaaaallllllllllllll the way down to the bottom of the page to find the email address box.

Optical Illusion Quilt Along Begins May 19th! Read about the origin of this design…

I’m super excited about my next quilt along which will kick off on May 19th with a complete sewing schedule and supply list. Every time I share my Optical Illusion quilt, I love how many people ask for the quilt pattern.  I’ve also had numerous requests for a quilt along, so I was finally able to work it in to my schedule, yippee!

Optical Illusion – Made from Geo Pop Fabric

Optical Illusion Quilt

Origin of an Idea

Several years ago, my family and I were out to dinner and I saw this really cool optical illusion on the back of a kid’s menu. As with most things whenever I see an interesting design, I wonder to myself, “can I make a quilt out of that??” The design was called “Cafe Walls” and here’s a public domain image of it:

Cafe Walls design

Cafe Walls Optical Illusion

So I began to design in EQ8. It took awhile to get the proportions right and I decided that for an interesting quilt, I preferred the lines to run vertically rather than horizontally.

Once I was happy with my design, I made a version of it from solid fabrics, to try out the idea. It actually hung in QuiltCon back in 2015 and I had sooo many requests to turn it into a quilt pattern, but was so overwhelmed with other deadlines at the time that I had to put it on the back burner for awhile.

I did manage to get it into an issue of a magazine, that is sadly no longer in print, and then I kept putting off the editing and rewriting I needed to release on my own.  Since then I’ve seen several different design variations, so it’s fun knowing I’m not the only one who thought this would make a fabulous quilt!

Christa Watson Illusions

The original version of Optical Illusion Hung at QuiltCon in 2015

Finally, the timing was right to recreate the quilt and pattern when I released my fourth fabric line, Geo Pop for Benartex. I included a lot of black and whites in this colorful collection and  knew I wanted to do something special with them!

Geo Pop by Christa Watson

Black and White Prints from Geo Pop Fabric

As you can see from the detail pic below, I only needed one black fabric, one white fabric, and one gray fabric to create the design. The biggest test for me was to see if the illusion would still work using prints – and I’m thrilled that it does!!

Optical Illusion Quilt from Good Vibes Fabric

Print fabrics used from Geo Pop: Mosaic Dots White, Op Squares Charcoal and Tiny Hex Grey

So I really hope you’ll join me for this quilt along to make your own version. Here’s a hint as you start thinking about colors: It doesn’t have to be strictly black and white. But you need good contrast between the lightest color (white), the darkest color (black) and the medium color (gray) to make the illusion work. And the further back you stand, the more you will see the illusion.

Next week I’ll post the full supply list and quilt along schedule, and we will actually dive into making the quilt starting on Tuesday, May 26. So that gives you plenty of time to start gathering your supplies.

Get the Optical Illusion Quilt Pattern

For now, grab a copy of the quilt pattern or optional kit and be sure to sign up to get an email whenever there’s a new blog post. You can do that by entering your email address in the sidebar if you are viewing this on a computer. Or scroll AAALLLLL the way down to the bottom of this post if viewing on your phone.

Bling Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson

If you really ant to see the illusion in this quilt, scroll up and down to see the lines wiggle!!

Next Week: Choosing Fabrics

In addition to posting the schedule next week, I”ll dive into sharing some tips and trips for successful fabric combos. The quick answer is that you want very good contrast between light, medium, and dark, with fabrics that read as one color. I’ll go in depth with this more next week with good and not so good examples of successful fabric combo’s. See ya then!

New Quilt Pattern – Interlinked Available in Make Modern Magazine

I’m thrilled to introduce a brand new quilt to you today! It’s called Interlinked and was a design I came up with a couple years ago when playing around with some modern design ideas.

Interlinked Quilt PatternInterlinked Quilt by Christa Watson, 64″ x 80″
Made from neutrals of Fandangle, Geo Pop, and Gridwork

I love making all kinds of quilts and most of my designs fall on the “Modern Traditional” side of things. But with Interlinked, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and really embrace modern principles like “minimalism” and “negative space.”

Interlinked Beauty Shots

I’ve also been having fun taking some styled shots of  my quilts. there’s something about surrounding a stark neutral quilt with some earthy color that makes it pop, don’t you think?

Interlinked Quilt by Christa Watson

The most fun part about making this quilt was combining white and gray prints from several of my fabric lines. After releasing my first fabric line, Modern Marks back in 2017, I realized I needed to add more backgrounds and neutrals to work with in each of my succeeding lines. So this one includes white & gray from Fandangle, Geo Pop and my newest line, Gridwork.

Interlinked Quilt by Christa Watson

I used the white/gray “Mosaic Dots” print from Geo Pop for the backing.

Get the Kit!

When I shared sneak peeks of me making this quilt a few months ago, I immediately got requests for kits once the pattern was available. So I’m happy to announce that kits are now in stock and ready to ship over in my online store at shop.ChristaQuilts.com.

Interlinked Quilt by Christa Watson

Click here to get the interlinked quilt kit (fabric only) while supplies last.

The pattern can be found in issue #34 issue of Make Modern Magazine, a PDF publication from my friends down under in Australia! You can purchase single issues, or a fabulous all access subscription that includes ALL back issues. (I actually have been published in their magazine at least twice before – so it will be a fun scavenger hunt to find my previous patterns!!)

Interlinked Quilt by Christa Watson

The quilt is actually really quick and easy to make and you can have fun with the quilting just like I did. I quilted a different geometric design in each fabric of the quilt and it was so fun putting this one together. It’s the first time I’ve made a quilt from my fabrics where I’ve used more than one collection and I really enjoyed the freedom of doing that!

Interlinked Free Motion Quilt Detail

Interlinked free-motion quilting detail – click image above to enlarge.

I hope you enjoyed looking at all these fun pics and I can’t wait to see your version of the quilt. When you make it, please use the hashtag #interlinkedquilt on social media so I can cheer you on!

Where to Buy

Interlinked by Christa Watson