Machine Quilting with Style: Lightning Re-Imagined + Quilt Market Giveaway

Lightning, from my book Machine Quilting with Style is one of three examples in the book of “structured” improv: my method of using improv techniques to randomly sew pieces together, then assembling them into a recognizeable block.

lightning_orig

Lightning 72″ x 96″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane for Martingale.

The traditional rail fence was my starting point for Lightning. However, rather than using only the same 4-5 fabrics, I used a favorite colorscheme of scrappy black, white and gray, with pops of yellow and green to create the lightning streaks.

lightning_back

I also created a secondary composition on the back with leftovers of many of the same fabrics I used in the top. My publisher, Martingale/That Patchwork Place was kind enough to create a free PDF download of the backing pattern.

Let’s play and see what happens when we substitute the yellow streaks with another popular color such as blue:

lightning_blue

Alternate colorway, designed in EQ7.

What if we use red for the flashpoints, and then choose only black and dark grays for the background:

lightning_red_black

Alternate colorway, designed in EQ7.

As you can see, this is just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities!! Click here to see another version, made pretty in pink.

Quilt Market Giveaway!

Since I just returned from quilt market (more about that later), I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of swag with you. Hoffman fabrics gave me two of these fantastic fat quarter bundles from their Me + You batik collection. That means I get to select two winners this week!

hoffman_meyou

To enter, leave a comment letting me know if you’ve ever made a rail fence quilt before, and which bundle you would prefer to win – cool or warm. For a bonus entry, share your rail fence quilt in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. (US winners only, or willing to pay shipping if int’l.)

I’ll choose the winners next Thursday and share their names on next Friday’s post with the next re-imagined quilt from Machine Quilting with Style, and another giveaway! Lightning is the 8th quilt in the book, so that means there are only 4 more to recolor. I hope you are having as much fun seeing the alternate versions as I am!

Machine Quilting With Style

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

Machine Quilting with Style: Focal Point Re-Imagined + A Secret Revealed

Focal Point was such a fun design to both piece and quilt! I made it specifically for my book Machine Quilting with Style as part of my quest to go more modern with my designs. I remember attending a lecture by Heather Grant at the very first QuiltCon in 2013. She gave us several great tips on how to go more modern. Two of my favorites used in this quilt are asymmetry and cropping your design. Later once I got to know Jacquie Gering, she reminded me to make sure my modern quilts always had a “focal point.”

focal_point

Christa with Focal Point at QuiltCon 2016. Quilt Measures 45″ x 45″.

I was thrilled to be able to share Focal Point at QuiltCon earlier this year and of course, I had to take the obligatory “here’s the quilt from my book pic!”

More Neutrals

I used Amy Ellis’ fabric to make the original version of the quilt. Her debut line was called Modern Neutrals which I thought was so appropriate for the quilt. When her next line, Chic Neutrals came out around the same time as the book I thought it would be fun to recolor it using those fabrics. (She’s since released a third line which I think would be just as fab!)

Focal Point - Chic Neutrals no lines

Focal Point recolored in EQ7 with Chic Neutrals by Amy Ellis for Moda

For another color idea, I thought I’d take you behind the scenes a bit. Many times when I’m designing, I’ll go through tons of different color iterations until I find the one that’s just right. Focal point actually started out in this icy blue colorway, before I applied Amy’s fabrics to it:

focal-point-blue

Focal point in classic blue and white.

I once heard it said that you know you have a good design on your hands when it can look good in any fabrics. Hopefully that’s how you all will feel when making the quilts from my books! 🙂

A Secret Revealed and a Giveaway!

It’s always fun to reveal secrets when sharing my books and patterns. Now I have another big announcement I can finally share. I’m an Aurifil thread designer! This week, Aurifil debuted my brand new line, The Piece and Quilt thread collection.

neutrals-both

It’s a line of 24 threads in 50 weight cotton: 12 Neutrals and 12 Colors. These are my favorite threads that I use for every part of  quilt making: piecing, quilting and binding! In fact, the light gray that I used to quilt Focal Point is included in the neutrals collection.

colors-both

To celebrate the one year birthday of my first book, and now my debut thread collection, you can win them before you can buy them!! To win a 12 pack of the neutrals, leave a comment here at my site, letting me know what your go-to thread colors are.

To win a 12 pack of the colors, head over to the Auribuzz blog and follow the intructions over there. Due to shipping limitations, this giveaway is open to all of my US friends. Be sure and ask for these by name at your favorite quilt shop – they’ll be arriving soon!

Last Week’s Winner

Last but not least, I’d like to congratulate Zina C. who won a copy of EQ Mini. I’m sure she’ll be able to put this software to good use!! Next week is quilt market so I won’t have another book post. But come back in 2 weeks for another winner and another re-imagined quilt!

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

Machine Quilting with Style: Square in a Square Re-Imagined

Square in a Square is my second favorite quilt from my book Machine Quilting with Style. (Click here to find out which one is my favorite.) I really tried to play with alternate grids and negative space when I designed this quilt. I combined two of my go-to motifs when quilting it: free-motion boxes and walking foot square spirals. I love that it includes a bit of both methods I teach in the book.

Square in a Square is currently being exhibited in the modern category of the Pacific International Quilt Festival and it hung at Road to California earlier in the year. I love entering my quilts into shows so they can be seen by a wider audience. 🙂

square-in-a-square

Square in a Square 60″ x 60″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane for Martingale.

Imagine the Possibilities

My BQF (Best Quilting Friend) Stacy from Farm Road Quilts made this fun version which is is just perfect for Halloween! During the original blog hop a year ago, a bunch of my friends each remade one of the quilts from the book. Click here to see all of the variations – they are so fun!

squareinasquare_stacy

Square in a Square made by Stacy Cooper of Farm Road Quilts.

I design all of my quilts in EQ7 and I have embraced my inner control freak that needs to know exactly what it’s going to look like even before I begin, LOL!! So here are a couple more fun variations that I came up with, using Amanda Murphy’s playful Sewing Room collection for Benartex.

square-in-a-square-sewing

I think using the light gray background is probably more my style, but I wanted to push the envelope and see how fun and it would look using the sewing machine fabric as the background combined with funky bright solids.

Click here to get some of this fun fabric!!

square-in-a-square-sewing-2

Do you recognize what kind of sewing machine that is? Amanda is a BERNINA ambassador just like me, so I’m sure that influenced her artwork. Hmmm. maybe a smaller version of this would make a perfect sewing machine cover for my BERNINA!! 🙂

Giveaway Time! Win EQ Mini!!

Speaking of designing in EQ7, my good friends at The Electric Quilt Company recently released their latest software, EQ Mini. It’s a scaled down, less expensive version of EQ. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to get their feet wet designing their own quilts, but isn’t sure where to start.

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One winner will receive either a boxed physical copy or an email code to download directly from the website, so that means this giveaway is open to everyone! To enter, leave a comment letting me know if you’ve ever designed your own quilt. For a bonus entry, share a picture of it in my Facebook group at Quilt with Christa.

And now it’s time to congratulate last week’s winner’s, Bec B. and Sharon T. who each won a copy of 180 Doodle Quilting Designs. It’s been so fun to read all of your comments each week and see the quilts you are making!

Machine Quilting With Style

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

Machine Quilting with Style: Static Re-Imagined

Static is by far the simplest quilt to make from my book Machine Quilting with Style. It’s my tongue in cheek version of a pixelated quilt design because there’s nothing to see in the “static.” 🙂 Here’s the original version, created in a simple palette of pink, purple, and yellow. Although I used yardage for my version, it’s very jelly roll friendly since the blocks are all made from 2 1/2″ wide strips.

static

Static 56″ x 64″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Colorful Static

When it came time to recolor this graphic quilt, I decided to try out two extreme variations. The first is using Tula Pink’s True Colors, a line of basics meant to coordinate with her wilder print collections. The blocks are rotated haphazardly to give the random static-looking appearance as shown in the original pattern. I must say, I kind of like this version even better than the original; I’m a sucker for bright color!

Static Tula Pink

Colorful Static – Using Tula Pink’s True Colors for FreeSpirit

Black and White Static

No surprises here – I had to design a black and white version, too! For this one, I didn’t rotate the blocks and I like the subtle pattern it gives to the overall design. Now I must add this to my collection of black and white quilts! I used Thicket by Gingiber for Moda for this colorway.

Static Black and White

Black and White Static – Using Thicket by Gingiber for Moda

Isn’t it fun to play with extremes? You can find precut strips for both True Colors and Thicket (plus tons of other options) at my alter ego location: ThePrecutStore.com.

Celebration Giveaway

It’s been so fun choosing winners and giving away yummy prizes each week as we celebrate the one year birthday of my first book. So let’s first congratulate last week’s winner Elizabeth R. who won a 3 charm pack prize pack from The Precut Store.

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This week, two winners will each receive a copy of 180 Doodle Quilting Designs, (one physical copy, one e-copy) of which I’m pleased to be included along with 8 other contributors. Truth be told, after writing 2 books back to back, it’s been fun to participate in several compilation books with other fabulous designers. (Ahem – more about those coming soon!!)

To enter, leave a comment below telling me about the easiest quilt you’ve ever made. For a bonus entry, share a picture of it in my Facebook Group at Quilt with Christa.

View Even More Colorways

When I originally celebrated the release of Machine Quilting with Style, a dozen friends joined me by each remaking one of the quilts in the book in their choice of fabrics.

Click here to see them all!

quilt_collage

The original quilts from Machine Quilting with Style, pieced and quilted by yours truly.

And hey, it’s totally okay if you like a some of the alternate versions better. Shh don’t tell, but I do, too, LOL!!!

Machine Quilting with Style: Little Man’s Fancy Re-Imagined

Are you enjoying seeing alternate colorways of the quilts from my book, Machine Quilting with Style? I’m having a blast recoloring them all. Sometimes I think making “virtual” quilts is just as much fun as the real thing, but a lot faster!! 🙂 This week, let’s take a look at Little Man’s Fancy:

Walking Foot Quilting

Little Man’s Fancy 36″ x 36″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Baby Boy Blue

The quilt design is my riff on a traditional block called “Gentleman’s Fancy,” hence the similar name. In addition to the original layout shown above in the book,  I also shared how you can just flip a couple of rows to make a really cool oversized star design, a great size for that little fella in your life:

Fancy Star

Fancy Star – designed in EQ7.

Pretty in Pink

But what I’d really love to do is remake it in a pretty pink version, perfect for a little princess! This time I chose pink, red and gray swatches from Deb Strain‘s latest line for Moda. It’s actually a Valentine’s collection but works just as well for this version!

pink-star

Pretty Pink Star

What if you wanted to make a bigger quilt? Just make more blocks and multiply the yardage requirements by four to make this cuddly throw. Isn’t it fun to play around with the possibilities??

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink 72″ x 72″ made from 4 blocks.

Giveaway Time!

Congratulations to Jamie N. and Kris L. They each won  a White Dream 80/20 queen batting and a Natural Dream 80/20 queen batting, courtesy of Quilter’s Dream.

The Precut Store

This week, I’m giving away a mystery bundle of 3 Moda charm packs, courtesy of The Precut Store. They are so brand spankin’ new, they aren’t even in stores yet. But trust me, you will love them!

To enter, leave a comment telling me about the favorite baby quilt you have made. For an extra chance to win, share a picture of it in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa. This giveaway is open to everyone with the stipulation that an international winner will pay 1/2 of the shipping (we’ll split it to keep it fair, K??)

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your makes – it gets me all excited to keep on quilting!!

Machine Quilting with Style

Click here to see all of the quilts from Machine Quilting with Style.

Machine Quilting with Style: Color Crystals Re-Imagined

I’m so excited to share additional colorways of the third quilt from my first book, Machine Quilting with Style. Color Crystals is my modern version of a jelly roll quilt! In practically any bundle you buy, you can separate the solids or prints into distinctive colorways, and then use the leftover strips on the back.
Here’s the original quilt using a bundle of bright Kona Solids:
color-crystals
 Rain 54″ x 62″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Color Crystals, Re-imagined

Here’s an alternate colorway I designed in EQ7 using Amanda Herring’s Desert Bloom collection for Riley Blake. This pretty group is divided into three colorways of red, aqua, and gray with two whisper soft background prints that I alternated in the background strips. I repeated some of the fabrics to create cohesion in the design.
color-crystals-desert-bloom-white2
I was having so much fun playing around with these fabrics, that I decided to flip the positive/negative space in this version below. I placed the strips randomly in the background to create a  sense of movement and paired them with solid red “crystals” for a bolder, more dynamic design.
color-crystals-desert-bloom-red
Now can you just imagine all the possibilities??

Quilter’s Dream Prize Sponsor

When I make my quilts, the batting is just as important as the fabrics and thread. Therefore I’m delighted to announce that one of my favorite batting companies, Quilter’s Dream

will be giving away two prizes to help promote their new Dream 80/20.

Each winner will get a White Dream 80/20 queen and a Natural Dream 80/20 queen. This time around, winners we be selected from the US due to shipping limitations.

quilters_dream_80-20

To enter, just leave a comment letting me know your favorite way to use a jelly roll! For a bonus entry, you can share a picture of one of your jelly roll quilts in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa. We have a really fun community over there and everyone loves getting inspired by what everyone else is doing!

Last Week’s Winners

Congrats to Jane M. and Diane M. who each won a copy of my second book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting (co-authored with Angela Walters). I’ll pick this week’s winner next Thursday morning and post it with the next re-imagined quilt next Friday!

Christa Watson Books

Click here to see all of the quilts from Machine Quilting with Style.
Click here to see all of the quilts from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.

*Note: this post contains affiliate links – thanks for your support!!

Machine Quilting with Style: Rain Re-Imagined

Welcome back to week 2 of the 12 week celebration for Machine Quilting with Style! This week I’m excited to again share “Rain,” which I think is one of the most modern quilts I’ve ever made. My husband Jason was actually the one who inspired the design. He was doodling on his iPad one day and I thought his design would make an awesome quilt! So I translated his scribbles into this minimalist modern quilt:

rain

Rain 60″ x 80″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Jason and I went back and forth with ideas for naming this quilt (meteor shower, streaks of color colored rain, etc.), and the colorful strips for some reason brought to mind streaks of rain. Wouldn’t it be nice if rain really was colorful like this? Then I had the idea to quilt with heavier weight colorful threads matching each of the strips and extending the quilting lines off the ends, creating a streaked effect.

rain_detail

When you look closely, you can see that the parallel straight-line quilting isn’t exactly perfect and that’s okay. I truly believe that “perfectly imperfect” quilting adds to the beauty and hand-crafted look of the piece!

Purple Rain

I’ve been wanting to explore different colorways with this design and of course the first variation I thought of was Purple Rain. When Prince died earlier this year, the design became even that much more meaningful to me.

purple_rain

I think the light gray sets off the purple strips nicely, don’t you agree?

How about this black and gray version? It’s the same design but tweaked by using just two colors and letting the stripes go all the way across the quilt. The graphic movement it creates is very striking, and I love exploring design possibilities like this!

black_grey

Although I used solids for these versions, I’ve seen several of you remake this quilt using prints, which looks just as fabulous! In fact, when you click the link below to view all of the quilts from my book, you’ll see another variation of each finished quilt made by my friends. This should get the ideas flowing!

Click here to see all of the quilts from Machine Quilting with Style.

Weekly Giveaway

For this week’s celebration, I’m giving away a signed copy of my second book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, co-authored with Angela Walters. One US reader will receive a hard-copy, signed by both of us, and one international friend will get an e-copy from my friends at Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

To enter, leave a comment below letting me know if you’ve ever made a modern quilt before. For an extra bonus entry, you can share a picture of your favorite modern quilt in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. And just to clarify – what’s modern to you is modern to me. 🙂

Last Week’s WinnerS:

Congratulations to Lori M. and Jill B. who each won a copy of Machine Quilting with Style! I’ve sent message to both. I’ll pick this week’s winner next Thursday and post it with the next re-imagined quilt next Friday!

Machine Quilting With Style

Click here to purchase signed copies of either of my books.

Machine Quilting With Style: Ripples Re-imagined

Ripples is the first quilt presented in my book Machine Quilting with Style. The technique is what I call “structured improv.” The basic block shape is a traditional log cabin. However, each of the individual “logs” in the quilt are cut and pieced improvisationally so that no two blocks are alike! I selected teals and grays from my stash, plus leftovers from other projects. Here’s the original quilt as it appears in the book, my abstract representation of rippling water:

ripples_no_background

Ripples 66″ x 88″ by Christa Watson. Photography by Brent Kane.

Let’s Play!

Now it’s time to have some fun, discovering alternate looks for this design! Of course the layout possibilities are endless. Here’s a another version, showing the same color scheme, set in a more traditional “barn-raising” layout. I imported swatches of fabrics from some of my favorite fabric brands into EQ7 to create a “virtual stash” for this quilt.

ripples_bluegrey_barnraising

I design my quilts in EQ7 so that I know what they’ll look like before I make the first cut!

Here’s another layout, and another colorway, using Bonnie and Camille’s Ruby collection, plus coordinates  from my “virtual” stash. I selected reds and greens for one half of the block, with aquas, creams and light grays for the other half. I set the blocks slightly differently so that now the ripples go the other way and are more centered.

ripples_bandc_opposite

Here’s another graphic layout with very strong lines, called Zig-Zags, using the same fabrics. In all variations, the same number of blocks are made, but each block is rotated differently.

ripples_bandc_zigzag

Isn’t it fun to explore the possibilities? I hope you will enjoy seeing all of the quilts from Machine Quilting with Style re-imagined over the next few weeks. Perhaps you’ll discover that one of the designs speaks to you in a new colorway.

Celebration Giveaway

Each week as I share the re-imagined quilts, I’ll celebrate the one-year milestone of my book release with a giveaway. To start off, I’ll give away a signed physical copy of Machine Quilting with Style to one lucky reader here in the US! And my publisher will send an e-copy to one of my international friends!

Machine Quilting With Style

To enter, leave a comment letting me know if you’ve ever made a log cabin quilt – and if you want to share – how many?? For an extra bonus entry, you can share a picture of your favorite log cabin quilt you’ve made in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa.

Comments will be open through next Thursday at 6PM PST. I’ll  a choose two winners at random (one US, one Int’l.) and will announce their names in next week’s post on Friday, along with the next virtual quilt!

Click here to see all of the quilts from Machine Quilting with Style.

We’re Celebrating a Birthday This Week! (But It’s not What you Think)

It’s time for a birthday celebration, even though it’s not technically my birthday. Although my daughter did make me this lovely cake when it was my birthday last month.

cake

My favorite cake – German Chocolate with Coconut icing. The strawberries were a nice touch.

Happy Book-Birthday!

What I’m excited to celebrate is that it’s my first book’s first birthday, this Thursday, September 8th! (The fact that I published another one less than 9 months later makes them almost like twins right??)

But anyway… I can’t believe it was just a year ago that I released Machine Quilting with Style, with the help of my friends at Martingale/That Patchwork Place. Now, some might call this an “anniversary” celebration, but writing a book really did take as much time and effort as having a child, so I think “birthday” is an appropriate word. 🙂 And what a fabulous year it has been!

MachineQuiltingwithStyle_coverClick the image above to see each of the quilts in the book, plus an alternate version.

I have to thank so many loyal friends and followers for helping this book be so successful! It really does mean a lot to me when you guys cheer me on. 🙂 In the last year, I’ve met so many fabulous people, while Machine Quilting with Style has reached some milestones, too.

It’s consistently stayed in the top 100 for patchwork books on Amazon, and it’s been one of my publisher’s Top 20 bestsellers. Seven of the quilts have been in local and national quilt shows, and three have won ribbons. All of this furthers my goal of reaching a wider audience and helping people understand that it’s okay to make “perfectly imperfect” quilts!

Quilts ON Display from Machine Quilting with Style:

quilt_collage

In order above: Facets won 2nd at AQS Paducah, Candy Pop and String of Pearls won ribbons at my local show, Rain and Focal point hung at QuiltCon, Lightning and Square in a Square were juried into Road to California. The rest are: Little Man’s Fancy, Static, Ripples, Color Crystals, and Broken V.

If you haven’t yet seen the book, take a look at this awesome video review from the folks at Chatterbox Quilts. Honestly, it made me tear up a little. I mean, you love what you create, but when other people do, too, it can be quite a humbling experience!

Let’s Celebrate!

To celebrate this huge milestone, I thought it would be fun to re-color each of the quilts in EQ7 (the software I originally used to design the quilts), and then showcase them side by side along with the original quilt so you can compare the two. I’ll share one new colorway each week, starting this Thursday. After all, sometimes a quilt can look completely different just by changing up the fabrics.

And of course, no birthday celebration would be complete without gifts! So along with helping you imagine what the designs would look like in different fabrics, I’ll be hosting 12 weeks of giveaways, one for each quilt. Won’t that be fun??

machine_quilting_detail

I love all of the detailed photography in the book, shot by the talented Brent Kane for Martingale.

Sharing is Caring

As I re-share the quilts each week, I hope you’ll also share your versions of them in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa. This will provide loads of inspiration for those just starting out on their quilt-making journey. Many times, I end up liking my friends’ versions even better than the originals!

facebookgroupClick the image above to join my facebook group and share your quilts, finished or not!

Where to Buy

So I’ll meet you back here on Thursday to get this party started!! In the meantime, you can purchase Machine Quilting with Style from your favorite local quilt shop, or these locations:

Signed Copy from Me
Amazon (lowest price)
Martingale/That Patchwork Place (free e-copy with purchase)

MQWS_signed

The very first copy I received is the most special because it was signed by all those who helped produce this book. It really does take a village to write a book!

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting – Cornered

Click here to get your autographed copy of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.
Click here to see all of the quilts from the book, as they are added each week!
All photography courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale.

Take a look at Cornered – a simple yet striking design that can be used as a table topper, baby quilt, or wall decor. Although Angela and I chose to use solids for our versions, it would look equally beautiful in your favorite prints!

Corned quilt by Christa Watson

Christa’s Version – Pretty in Pink.

I often like to color code my quilts, where each fabric showcases a different quilting design.

Free Motion Quilting Detail

Free-motion quilting detail showing one of my favorite combinations – Swirls and Pearls.

Cornered by Angela Walters

In Angela’s version, she shows you several different ways to quilt the same block!

For the record, Angela Walters quilts on a Handi-Quilter Long arm and I quilt on a domestic sit-down machine, a BERNINA 770 QE. But no matter which machine you choose, our goal is to help get you comfortable with the machine quilting process!

Christa Watson Books

Click here to purchase my machine quilting books and let me be your cheerleader as I guide you to machine quilting success! After all, that’s my favorite part of making a quilt!!