Check out my Custom Color Bundles: Fat Quarters from ALL of My Fabric Lines!

I’ve been working hard over the last few weeks, creating 11 gorgeous color bundles spanning all of my fabric lines for Benartex. A few weeks ago I got a request from some followers in my Facebook Group to create these custom color bundles, and I’m pleased to say they are now finally ready!

So let’s take a look at these beauties:

Reds: 12 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 12 fat quarters in pretty reds and pinks with a touch of other colors for added sparkle. Each fat quarter measures approximately 18″ x 21″.

Oranges: 10 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 10 fat quarters in warm shades or orange.

Yellows: 10 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 10 fat quarters in yellow with a touch of orange, white and gray for added depth.

Limes: 10 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 10 fat quarters in shades of luscious lime and chartreuse.

Greens: 10 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 10 fat quarters in shades of luscious green from mint to kelly.

Teals: 8 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 8 fat quarters in rich teal and turquoise with a hint of lime.

Light Blues: 8 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 8 fat quarters in light blues and aquas.

Dark Blues: 8 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 8 fat quarters in cool blues from sky to royal and navy.

Pinks: 9 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 9 fat quarters of pinks including lilac and fuchsia.

Purples: 12 Fat Quarters

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 12 fat quarters in sparkling purples from lilac and grape to magenta and plum.

Neutrals: 20 Fat Quarters in Black, White and Gray

Christa's Custom Color Bundle

This custom color bundle includes 20 fat quarters in light, medium and dark neutrals. These blacks, whites, and grays include fabulous patterns and interesting textures that will draw your viewers’ eyes deeper into any project you create!

Aren’t these all just so delicious??? One of the main reasons I love being a fabric designer is so that I can create colors, patterns and textures for my own personal stash! I’m so happy that I’ve been able to fill out a rainbow of color with my fabrics and I can’t wait to show you what’s yet to come!

Click here to see all color bundles at a glance.

Which colorway is *YOUR* favorite??

How to Sew Optical Illusion Blocks: Quilt Along Part 2

Are you having fun making your Optical Illusion quilt? This week it’s time to sew our cut units into the blocks. Follow along in the quilt pattern on pages 3-4 and pay close attention to what goes where. It’s simple to sew but the key is to follow the diagrams precisely for proper fabric placement.

Optical Illusion Quilt

Click here to see the Optical Illusion Quilt Kit in other colors.

In a nutshell, the interplay between the dark/light squares and the medium skinny strips is what causes the illusion to appear. Because you are working with long skinny strips, your pieces can stretch if you aren’t careful. In the previous post I mentioned starching your fabric before cutting as this will help.

Piecing Tips

Optical Illusion Quilt Detail

To prevent the rows from bowing or warping out of shape, I like to sew all of my units with the medium, skinny rectangles on top at all times. This will automatically switch the sewing direction for you each time you assemble a unit, which helps keep things nice and square.

I also sew with a shorter stitch length (2.0mm instead of 2.5; about 13 stitches per inch) and press my seams open. This will ensure crisp, flat blocks that are easier to work with so that things line up properly. I always start and end a session of sewing with a “leader or ender” – scraps of fabric that catch my starting and ending threads. Then I don’t lose my thread and chain piecing is a breeze!

Optical Illusions subunits

Example of Subunits in Progress

Stack up similar units that will all be sewn at one time so you can assembly line sew, or chain piece as you go. Pay particular attention to the number of units specified in the Optical Illusion quilt pattern on pages 3-4 and make sure everything is in the right place. Once all of your pieced units are complete, you are ready to assemble them into rows and complete the quilt top next week!

More Quilt Along Info:

More Infrastructure Inspiration

Earlier this week, I shared my Infrastructure quilt finish, along with links to all of the quilt along tutorials. Today I’m back with more inspiring versions of this quilt made by others. I love to see the same design made up in different fabric, don’t you??

Infrastructure Quilt with Geo Pop fabric by Christa Watson

My version of Infrastructure quilt made with Geo Pop fabric.

Heather Black’s Version Made from Solids

Heather Black originally designed this quilt for me to show off my Geo Pop fabric line. But then she made her own version using Benartex Superior Solids. The color placement is basically the same, but the solids really allow her amazing machine quilting to shine!

Infrastructure Made from Superior Solids

Click here to read more about Heather’s fabulous machine quilting on Infrastructure.

Here’s a view of the Heather’s quilt hanging in the Benartex booth at quilt market earlier this fall:

Infrastructure Solids by Heather Black

Click here to get the solids color chart that Heather used for her quilt.

Other Gorgeous Finishes!

Whenever I do a quilt along, I always emphasize that I want everyone to work at their own pace. But it was really fun to follow two of the participants on Instagram as they kept up each and every week. Check out their beautiful versions of Infrastructure  below:

Infrastructure Quilt

This lovely quilt top was made and shared by Margaret Fleisher on Instagram. I love her color choices and clever use of fabric. Now I’m excited to see how she quilts it!

Infrastructure Quilt

This one was made by Crystal, aka The Cozy Little Goblin on Instagram. Not only did her quilt top turn out beautifully, her photography is pretty amazing, too!

Want More Quilt Alongs?

If these have inspired you to make more quilts in the new year, be sure to check out my quilt along web page. It’s a roundup of all of the quilt alongs I’ve done so far. You may just find the perfect quilt you’ve been looking for!

Click here for all of my previous quilt alongs!
Click here to get the Infrastructure Quilt Pattern – Paper Version
Click here to get the Infrastructure Quilt Pattern – PDF Version

Infrastructure Quilt Finish – Ta Da!!

I had the most amazing time making my Infrastructure quilt and sharing each step of the process with you. I’m excited to share more pics of the finished quilt along with links to all of the previous quilt along tutorials and videos. I hope it inspires you to make your own version!

Infrastructure made from Geo Pop Fabric

Infrastructure Finished Stats:

Infrastructure Detail Pics:

You can really see how the bright geometric fabric and adds to the movement of the design.

Infrastructure Quilt Detail Geo Pop Fabric

Infrastructure Quilt Detail Geo Pop Fabric

Links to Quilt Along Tips & Tutorials

Infrastructure YouTube Videos

I’ve created a “play list” of the entire making of Infrastructure on YouTube. There are a total of 12 video clips, running a total of 48 minutes. I made this videos concurrently with the quilt along so you can see how they improved as we moved along each week!

Click here to subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

Stay Tuned for More!!

I want to continue to be a cheerleader for “Start to Finish” quilting. Although I know that everyone has their favorite part of the quilt making process, I’m happy to guide you through the entire journey.

Click here to be notified about future quilt alongs.

Infrastructure quilt, designed by Heather Black, made by Christa Watson

Happy Turkey Day!! Save 20% on My Fabric Collections by the Yard!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This officially kicks off the holiday shopping season, so I figured I’d join the crowd of business owners and get it on the Black Friday frenzy! From now through the end of the month, you can save 20% off all of my fabric lines by the yard, when you use code TURKEY during checkout at shop.ChristaQuilts.com.

Modern Marks – My Very First Line from 2017!!

Modern Marks by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here to shop Modern Marks fabric.

It was such a thrill when Benartex contacted me three years ago and invited me to become one of their fabric designers for their Contempo division which features modern and contemporary prints. They told me they loved my work and would love for me to infuse my funky geometric style into fun colorful fabric. Modern Marks was the result and it’s been a wild ride ever since!!

I still have a bit left of each of the 26 Modern Marks fabrics, and most are now out of print. As you can see below, all of my groups mix and match and are a riot of color and texture!

Fandangle – Debuted in 2018

Fandangle by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here to shop Fandangle fabric.

I continued to fill out the rainbow in my fabric stash with this line, and decided I needed not one, but two background grays to go with them. Because Benartex reprints hot selling fabrics, the grays have been printed over, and over, and over again. They are literally, the “perfect” neutrals!!

Fun fact: most people mistake the word Fandangle with Fandango, but hey have two completely different meanings. Fandango is the dance, but Fandangle means decorative ornamentation – which is why I included fun fabric names like Beaded Curtain, Triangle Trinkets, and Baubles and Bits. Sometimes naming the fabrics is as much fun as designing them!!

With this group, you can separate them into warm and cool, but as you can see above, each print looks great with every other piece in the line. I have yardage of all 20 bolts of Fandangle available, and with this special deal, you can stock up on your faves!!

Abstract Garden – Spring of 2019

Abstract Garden by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here to shop Abstract Garden fabric.

Can we say purple?? With each line I create, I want it to stand on its own as a complete color story. But, I love adding new things that will mix and match with what came prior. In Abstract Garden, I made sure to include purple, plus four great pastels that would serve as light, or “low volume” backgrounds.

Abstract Garden consists of 20 prints, many of which are loosely based on some of my favorite machine quilting motifs. The name is a tongue in cheek nod to the fact that I can’t really garden, OR draw floral motifs. Be sure to check out the signature print of the line, “Raised Beds.” It’s little plots of my most favorite geometric shapes!!

Geo Pop – Newest Release, Fall 2019

Geo Pop by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here to shop Geo Pop fabric.

With four fabric collections under my belt, I decided I really needed a line of modern basics. This is my largest line yet at 25 pieces, but with only 4 different prints. I’m thrilled that I was able to include more neutrals – plenty of black, white, and gray in this group to go along with the bright saturated colors.

With Geo Pop, you can have fun fussy cutting the geometric stripe, and can create some really cool effects with the eye catching Mosaic Dots print.

Shop, Save, and Share!!

For your viewing pleasure, here’s my stash of all four collections that I’m offering for sale by the yard. I keep these in my overflow fabric room, I mean guest room!!

When you create with my fabrics, be sure to send me pics or tag me on social media using @christaquilts or #modernmarksfabric #fandanglefabric #abstractgardenfabric and #geopopfabric. I absolutely love to see what you create!!

Click here to shop all fabric lines by the yard.

Don’t forget to use code TURKEY at checkout to save 20%! Shipping is a flat $5 to the US, and I’m happy to refund excess International shipping charges, too!!

Infrastructure Week 12 – Binding by Machine

Have you enjoyed following along with Infrastructure? Remember, even if you haven’t even started your quilt, you can make it anytime and I’m here to help cheer you on! We’ve come to the very last step of making the quilt and I’m “sew” excited to share my tutorial for binding by machine.

Infrastructure Quilt

Click here to get the Infrastructure quilt kit while supplies last.

Step 1 Trim the Quilt

Infrastructure Quilt in Progress

I like to use a large square ruler at the corners and along straight ruler for the sides. I trim the extra batting and backing flush with the edges of the quilt so that I can get a nice, tight binding. I’ll sew with an accurate 1/4″ seam and try not to cut off any points along the edges.

Step 2 – Cut the Strips and Sew Continuously

Geo Pop fabric for binding

The length to cut your strips is a personal preference. For this quilt I experimented and cut them out at 2 1/2″ wide so it would give me enough room to finish by machine. But I usually like to cut them narrower at 2″ so I get a nice tight binding that’s even on both sides. Here’s an easy way to calculate the # of strips you’ll need. Take the perimeter of the quilt and add 10″. Then divide that number by 40″ and that will tell you how many strips to cut.

Tiny Hex Fabric Binding

Sew the strips together end to end, mitering each of the corners so you get a long continuous strip. Cut one end at a 45 degree angle so the end and beginning are hidden. Then press the entire binding in half, wrong sides together.

Step 3 – Bind by Machine

Sew the binding to the BACK of the quilt and then secure it to the FRONT of the quilt with a decorative stitch so that it becomes part of the design!

Infrastructure Quilt using Geo Pop

Watch me sew the Binding & Follow Me on YouTube!

I’ve put together a short 6 minute video showing how I sew the strips and attach the binding by machine.

The difference between hand binding and machine binding is which side of the quilt I sew it on. I sew it to the back and finish by front by machine. Or I sew it to the front and finish on the back by hand. But whichever technique you choose is completely up to you!

Click here for my hand binding tutorial.

THIS WEEK’S GIVEAWAY & HEATHER’S VERSION

Click here to check out Heather Black’s tips for binding by hand on her blog at Quiltachusetts.

While you are there be sure to enter the giveaway on Heather’s blog. Aurifil is giving away two large cones of their 40 weight, 3 ply thread in fave colors of dove and light beige.

Aurifil Thread Cones

QUICK LINKS

I sure love seeing everyone’s progress pics. You can also share on instagram by tagging  us @christaquilts  and @quiltachusetts and use the search hashtag #infrastructurequilt in your post so others can see, too!

Quilt Shops Who Carry Geo Pop

I love it when I see my fabrics popping up at quilt shops all over the country (and the world).
Each season I get an updated list from Benartex of who carries my current fabric and I’m happy to share it with you. Keep in mind this doesn’t include international shops, or those who purchase from a distributor. No does it include those who have the fabric on order but haven’t yet received it. But at least it gives you a start at finding out where to buy. If you know of any shops NOT on this list, please let me know and I’ll be glad to add them!

Geo Pop by Christa Watson for Benartex

Geo Pop is my 4th fabric line, with 25 geometric skus in bright rainbow colors.

Geo Pop Shops!

Click the links below to go to their site or contact them for more info:

Geo Pop Bundle

Click here to view all Geo Pop fabric swatches on the Benartex/Contempo Website.

Infrastructure Quilt Along Week 11 – Machine Quilting

And now we get to my favorite part of making a quilt – machine quilting!!! There are so many different ways to quilt this quilt. Heather Black did an amazing job custom quilting hers, and I took the opposite approach with one of the simplest designs you can do – decorative machine stitching.

Decorative Stitch Machine Quilting

Infrastructure Machine Quilting Detail Using a Decorative Stitch

Thoughts on Thread

Christa Watson Aurifil Thread

Click here to get my Aurifil Thread Kits in Colors, Neutrals, or my newest Variegated box.

So the first thing to do is choose the thread you’d like to quilt with. I piece AND quilt all of my quilts using Aurifil, 50 weight, 100% cotton thread from my 3 thread collections. It’s thin, yet strong and blends into my quilts so all you see is the yummy texture. I use leftover bobbins for piecing my next quilt and I never have to worry about which bobbin matches which spool since they are all the same weight!

I like to use the same color thread in top and bobbin so that I don’t get “pokies” on my quilt – those little dots of thread that appear when your tension is the tiniest bit off and you are using highly contrasting thread.

Aurifil Thread

The light gray/blue #5007 can be found in my Piece and Quilt Neutrals collection.

I used Aurifil #5007 light gray/blue from my Neutrals thread box. It’s one of my favorite go-to neutrals because it blends with nearly every color. When I’m doing an allover edge-to-edge quilting design, I don’t want to have to stop and switch thread colors while I’m quilting.

Because the spools hold so much thread on them, it took me less than one spool to quilt the entire quilt, including the front and back.

Make a Quilting Plan

I love figuring out HOW I’m going to quilt ahead of time, so I don’t have to think too much. I will usually print out a copy of the quilt top from the pattern (you can photocopy the pattern cover for personal use, OR you can take a picture of your finished quilt top). Then I draw all over it until I come up with something I like. I include quilting suggestions in ALL of my quilt patterns to help you out with each quilt you make.

Infrastructure Quilting Plan

Above is the illustration that’s included in my Infrastructure Quilt Pattern. Here’s the basic idea: choose a decorative stitch on your sewing machine and quilt a series of lines across the quilt from one side to the other.

Make them as light or dense as you like and use my “divide and conquer” method: quilt one set of lines “near” the ditch instead of IN the ditch for each row. Then go back and quilt additional passes across the quilt, shrinking up the open spaces until the entire area is filled.

You can use ANY decorative stitch on you sewing machine. Play around with length and width settings until you find something you like, and stitch on a practice sample before you quilt on the real thing. Here’s a picture of the settings I chose on my machine, a BERINA 770 QE:

BERNINA 770 QE

I’m using decorative stitch #16 which is known as a running stitch or a broken zig-zag. It creates several stitches each time it zigs and zags, so you can make it bigger than the default settings and it still looks great! I adjusted my width to 6.0 and my length to 3.0 because I like the way it looks. Don’t forget to use a zig-zag needle plate so you don’t break a needle when it moves back and forth!!

The Quilting

Here are some beauty shots of the decorative stitch quilting in process. I made sure to NOT try to line up the quilting lines perfectly because I love a more organic look. The more quilting I did, the more beautiful texture it added to the quilt and the more the thread blended in. After all, the best way to hide imperfect stitches is to surround them with MORE imperfect stitches!!

Infrastructure Machine Quilting

Here’s what it looks like when I’m stitching “near” the ditch in each row. You can see all the imperfections up close, but fortunately they get hidden when more quilting is added.

Infrastructure Machine Quilting

I’m filling in the spaces between the first pass with randomly spaced lines. I’m using the 20D foot on my BERNINA with the integrated dual feed. It works just like a walking foot and I don’t have to mark anything. I’m using the edge of the foot as a guide for some of the lines.

Infrastructure Machine Quilting

What this section looks like when it’s completely filled in.
None of the lines match up and some are a bit irregular – I love this look!!

Infrastructure Machine Quilting

Another section complete. Look how well the stitching blends in to the quilt!

Infrastructure Machine Quilting

This is one of my favorite designs because it adds great texture to ANY quilt! 

See it In Action

Here’s my latest YouTube video, showing me quilting this decorative stitch on my quilt. It did take a few hours to accomplish, but I just worked on it a few minutes at a time over several days. It’s my joy and my zen when I get to do mindless quilting like this, and once you let go of perfection, it’s really quite fun!

Next week we’ll finish up with machine binding, including another video tutorial – so stay tuned!!

This Week’s Giveaway & Heather’s Version

Heather did some amazing custom quilting on her computerized long arm machine. Pop over to her blog at Quiltachussetts for more about how she chose her designs.

While you are there be sure to enter the giveaway on Heather’s blog. One lucky winner will receive one box of my Variegated thread collection, courtesy of Aurifl!! How cool is that???

Variegated collection by Christa Watson

Quick Links

Infrastructure Quilt

Finished Infrastructure quilt on my design wall!! You’re almost there!!!

Infrastructure QAL Week 10 – Quilt Top Assembly and Spray Basting Tutorial

How is your Infrastructure quilt coming along? Just remember, you can work at your own pace and if you are new, you can start this quilt any time! This week is quilt top assembly plus a complete basting video on YouTube. Keep reading for more….

Infrastructure Rows

Tips for Quilt Top Assembly

Once all 9 rows of Infrastructure have been sewn, it’s time to sew them together. They may look a little wavy, but if you sew each section in opposite directions, that will help eliminate some of the waviness.

If your rows are not all the same size, you can add coping strips, trim off some of the excess, or use lots of pins to ease in any fullness. Always sew with a “baggy bottom” which means sew with the longer strip on bottom and the feed dogs will help compensate. If needed, you can always go back and increase or decrease the seam allowance of some of the rows to get them all the same size.

Once the quilt top is sewn together, you want to take a “victory lap!” Sew about 1/8″ from the perimeter on both sides of the quilt to secure the edge seams from splitting open. This isn’t necessary for the top and bottom of the quilt since those are long strips of fabric without seams. When your top is finished, give it a final pressing and you are ready to baste!

Infrastucture

Basting the Quilt – Quick Overview

I baste using my design wall and 505 basting spray. I make sure my batting and batting are bigger than my quilt top and I trim away some of excess after it’s been basted. I spray the top and backing outside separately, then assemble all the layers on my design wall, taking care to smooth each layer as I go.

Once everything looks nice and flat, I’ll roughly trim the edges so that only and inch or two remain around all 4 sides. I cut off as much extra as I can to prevent it from tucking under the back and quilting the quilt to itself!!

The final basting step is to iron the quilt on both sides to set the glue and smooth everything out one final time.

Infrastructure Basting Ironing

Full length Basting Tutorial on YouTube

Here’s the complete step-by-step basting process. The total video is just under 7 minutes because I’ve sped it up in several parts so that you don’t have to watch it in real time. In reality it still didn’t take very long – only about 45 minutes from start to finish to baste my quilt.

GIVEAWAY & HEATHER’S SOLIDS VERSION

Pop over to Heather Black’s blog at Quiltachusetts to see her week 10 post, made from Benartex Superior Solids. While you are there, be sure to enter the giveaway. One lucky winner will receive some Hobbs batting – which is the same batting I used to make my quilt. My favorites are the cotton/wool blend or the 80/20 cotton poly. It’s easy to work with and makes the quilt soft and cuddly!!

Infrastructure with Hobbs Batting

Helpful Links

Sharing is Caring

Both Heather and I would love to see how you are progressing, even if you make this quilt long after the quilt along is over! Here are all the ways you can share with us:

Infrastructure Quilt using Geo Pop

Infrastructure Quilt Along Row 9

This week we are making the last row of Infrastructure quilt – can you believe it??? Row 9 features simple pieced strips and it’s another great chance to fussy cut the Geo Pop fabric if desired.

Infrastructure Row 9 Geo Pop

First I’ll walk you through the process to piece this row, then you can take a look at the bonus YouTube video I created while making this row.

Cut the Strips

You want to cut nice straight strips according to the pattern instructions on page 6. If you are fussy cutting, you’ll want multiple strips of the same fabric to be cut at the same point so that you can match up the patterns.

For my strips below, I fussy cut the Mosaic Dots print and the Diamond Pop print. The Tiny Hex print was small enough that if the pattern doesn’t match up, it will still look ok.

Infrastructure Row 9 Geo Pop fabric

Optional Pattern Matching

To match patterns, I found the same spot on the fabric and pinned it in place so that I could sew right where the design repeats. In the image below, that darker shadow in the photo is where I’ve folded over the fabric so that the pattern will be continuous.

Once I sew the seam from the backside, it won’t be noticeable on the actual quilt. The seam allowance will be larger on the back when I sew it; I’ll trim it down to 1/4″ after it’s sewn.

Infrastructure Row 9 Pattern Matching

Sew in Opposite Directions

When sewing long skinny seams, they can bow or warp out of shape. So I make sure that I switch the sewing direction to compensate. Here’s how I do it. There are 6 rows here, so I sew two pairs at a time. The first pair will have the Grey Tiny Hex fabric on top. The next two pairs of strips will be sewn with the Black Tiny Hex fabric on top.

When I join the sewn rows, I’ll continue to sew with the black fabric on top, and that will automatically switch the sewing direction each time.

Infrastructure Row 9 Geo Pop fabric

Don’t forget to sew with a shorter stitch length and press those seams open! I press each time I sew a seam so that task stays easily under control.

Row 9 Infrastructure

Bonus YouTube Video

I’ve prepared a 4 minute-long YouTube video walking you through the above steps, plus a couple of fussy cutting tips thrown in. Hopefully this will help you cut and sew long strips with ease. In this video, I’m narrating the entire time so you can follow along with what I’m doing. Be sure to subscribe to my channel. If there’s continued interest, I’ll make more videos in the future!

Click the “Play” button below to watch the video on YouTube.

 

Row 9 Finished

Row 9 is finished and now the entire quilt top is ready to assemble next week. As you prepare to join the pieced rows, check their length. You can use lots of pins to ease in any rows that aren’t exactly the same.

Infrastructure Row 9 with Geo Pop Fabric by Christa Watson for Benartex

If some of your heavily pieced rows have ended up longer than they should be, go back and stitch wider seam allowances to shrink them up. You don’t have to rip out the original seam allowance to do this. You want all of the rows to be the same size before you sew them together.

GIVEAWAY & HEATHER’S Solids VERSION

Pop over to Heather Black’s blog at Quiltachusetts to see her version of Row 9 made from Benartex Superior Solids. While you are there, be sure to enter the giveaway. One lucky winner will receive some Hobbs batting – just in time to baste your quilt!

I use Hobbs batting in all of my quilts and I’m using Hobbs 80/20 Heirloom cotton/poly for this quilt. It will give me just the right amount of loft I need it doesn’t bunch up when you quilt it.

Infrastructure with Hobbs Batting

QUICK LINKS:

Be  sure to show us your progress, too! Share on instagram #infrastructurequilt and tag us @christaquilts  and @quiltachusetts.