Lanterns Quilt – My Contribution to Rock Solid

Have you seen the awesome new collaborative book from Martingale/That Patchwork Place and Robert Kaufman? It’s called Rock Solid, featuring 13 different quilt designs made from Kona Solids. My contribution, Lanterns, made the cover, so I thought it would be fun to tell you a little bit more about my quilt. But first, look at all that yummy solid goodness on the cover!

Rock Solid Cover

My quilt, Lanterns, was made from one roll-up (jelly roll) of my Christa Watson designer palette for Robert Kaufman, along with one roll-up of Kona coal. Aren’t they a smashing combination??

Lanterns by Christa Watson

I came up with the design while I was playing around in EQ7 (Electric Quilt software) on my Mac. I’m always designing and playing around with shapes and colors. I’ll usually start with a seed of an idea and then it branches off into a design on its own. The fun thing about my process is that I usually end up with at least 4-5 different variations in different stages of completion. Whenever I’m ready to finalize a new design, I start by looking through my “virtual sketchbook” first!

EQ7 design sketch for lanterns

As you can see, my virtual EQ7 sketch is very similar to the final quilt. Usually when I’m playing around, I’ll randomly color the quilt but I don’t worry about whether or not the colors end up in the exact same spot as designed. Just using the same swatches of color is good enough for me to get an idea of how the quilt will look.

Lanterns Quilt Path step 1

Step 1 – Stitch in the Ditch

When it’s time to plan out the quilting, I’ll print off the EQ7 sketch on paper and then start drawing possible quilting ideas. I know that you can actually draw quilting designs in the program, but it’s usually just faster and easier for me to draw it out by hand. 🙂

Lanterns Quilt Path step 2

Step 2 – Echo the Ditch

I usually make a quilting plan for each quilt I make because it’s much faster to draw out several ideas on paper, than try to dive into the quilt with no plan and then not like the results! I finally put a name to this process of  “finding your path” when my first Craftsy class came out earlier this year.

Lanterns Quilt Path step 3

Step 3 – quilt one design in the background between the blocks.

For the actual quilting I use another process I call “divide and conquer” where I break up the quilting into different segments and just attack one segment at a time. I teach this in my in-person workshops and I love seeing other students get it and start applying it to their own quilts!

Lanterns Quilt Path step 4

Step 4 – quilt a contrasting design in the blocks.

As you can see, my drawing lines are pretty wonky, but that’s okay – it’s the actual stitching that counts! Of course, I draw the designs on paper with contrasting ink so I can see them, but when I do the actual quilting, I use a blending 50 wt. Aurifil cotton thread. For this quilt I used just two thread colors – yellow for the blocks and gray for the background (both from my Piece and Quilt Collection).

Machine Quilting Detail from Lanterns by Christa Watson

Machine quilting detail – I can quilt better than I can draw!

I sure had a great time making my solid colored quilt.
Click here to see all of the quilts from the book and grab your copy!

Giveaway!! If you’d like to win an e-copy of this book, just leave me a comment letting me know if you’ve ever made a completely solid quilt before. If so – how did you like it? I’ll choose a random winner at 6 PM Pacific Time on Saturday, June 17th

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I’m Back from Panguitch Quilt Walk 2017 and I Had a Blast!

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared an update after I’ve taught a class. I’m usually thinking ahead to the next one. But I got back early enough so I had time to look through my pictures and share a few snippets from my time at the Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival. No matter where I go, I always meet the same type of fun and friendly students in my classes. I have to admit, one of the reasons I love to teach is for the camaraderie!

Christa Watson Trunk Show

I arrived on Wednesday night with Jason and the kids in tow. We got settled in and each of the teachers who were there were able to quickly introduce themselves and let everyone know what they were teaching. Although my classes had filled up right away, they put me in a large home-ec classroom (all classes were taught at the local high school) so I told the organizers they were welcome to squeeze in as many people as there were seats.

Christa Watson Trunk Show

I shared about 20 quilts in my trunk show, all made beginning in 2013.

Thursday was my longest, busiest day. I started off with a trunk show of my quilts and shared a little bit about my quilting journey from traditional to modern quilter. I always like to include a little story about the making of each quilt along with some tips on how I quilted it.

Christa Watson Trunk Show

My Positive Direction quilt is always a crowd pleaser!

Then I taught two sessions of free-motion quilting that same day. I kept the classes moving at a fast pace that I didn’t even have time to stop and take pics! I like to teach ideas from all three of my books and then help the students think about them in new ways. It’s always a treat to see what they come up with!

On Friday, things slowed down a bit and I taught the first session of walking foot quilting while Jason and the kids did a little hiking at Bryce Canyon. Students usually agree that walking foot quilting is much easier to do than free-motion quilting, but several signed up for both classes and seemed to enjoy it.

Student Work from Walking Foot Quilting

Student Work from my Walking Foot Quilting Class – Wavy Grid

On Saturday I taught a second session of walking foot quilting, and then we came home. I was able to get a few pics in class and it always amazes me how students take a concept they learn in class and really run with it!

Student Work from Walking Foot Quilting

More Student Work – Shattered Linens is a huge favorite!

I’ll be home for just over a week before I head out to the Vermont Quilt Festival. I’ll be there for an entire week, judging along with Kimberly Einmo, then teaching four classes and sharing a trunk show.

As of today, there are still openings in each of my classes and my lecture. Click here for more info. Now it’s time to unpack, catch up on a few deadlines, and start packing all over again!!

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My Week at Craftsy – May 2017

It’s been a little bit quieter around here the last few weeks, because I’ve been hard at work getting ready to bring you some new exciting things coming this year! The first sneak peek I can share is that I just wrapped up filming on my next Craftsy class that will debut later this summer.

Christa on Set at Craftsy

This was my last day of filming and I got to cuddle up with the quilt I made on set once we finished. I’ll tell you more about this quilt when the class  is ready – it was so fun and fast to make!!

My new class is part of Craftsy’s debut “Startup Library” which consists of longer, in-depth courses across all of their major craft topics. They are aimed at beginners or those who may be involved in one craft, but want to try their hand at something new. I was so pleased to represent quilting!

Startup Library: Quilting with Christa Watson

I was there filming for a total of 5 days, and prior to that I worked with their great editorial team for months, honing in on the content that I’ll be presenting. In a nutshell, I got to focus on my favorite topic: teaching new students how to make a complete quilt from start to finish!

Christa with the Craftsy Crew

Christa and the Craftsy crew – we made a great team! And yes, there were smoothies….

On Set at Craftsy

My fabulous  content editor, Linda Permann helped me baste on camera. I wanted to make sure I included this important step, and I love that she got to cameo as my “helper!”

Returning to Craftsy for a second time was much less stressful because I knew a little bit more about what to expect this time around, such as getting my hair and makeup professionally done each day, and knowing that we would put in long hours of work which would get edited down to just a few minutes. I love the magic of television!!

Christa Watson and Angela Walters at Craftsy

Angela Walters and I took turns in the hot seat getting professionally made up each day by the lovely and talented Danica. This is was my favorite way to start each day!

While I was there, I got to mingle with a couple of others on set who were also filming their next projects. Angela Walters happened to be there at the beginning of the week, filming the next season of The Midnight Quilt Show.

Joshusa John Russell: Man About Cake

And Joshua John Russell from Make About Cake was there at the end of the week, gearing up for the next series of episodes for his popular YouTube show. Behind the scenes fact: I asked him how much cake he ate in each episode and he told me he never touches the stuff. True story!!

Now that I’ve written three books and filmed two classes, I can really appreciate the similarities and differences between both types of delivery. A book is a longer, slower sort of project, while a video class has a much quicker turnaround, but is also more intense. I’ve realized that I love creating both types of products, and I’m so grateful work with people who have a knack for editing and polishing my content so that I can look my best!

Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime, if you haven’t purchased my first class yet, you can click here to get 50% off of The Quilter’s Path. (Be sure to add the class to your cart to see the discount.)

The Quilter's Path by Christa Watson

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Machine Quilting Blog Hop – Week 4

Have you been following along with the Machine Quilting Blog Hop? Four friends, (Kristin, Jenny, Vicki and HollyAnne) are working their way through mine and Angela Walters’ book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. They are sharing their amazing practice week by week.

The Original Inspiration

This week they are practicing motifs from Fractured Squares in the book. In my version of the quilt shown below, I quilted straight and wavy lines using a walking foot for the whole quilt.

In Angela’s version, she free-motion quilted quilted fun, geometric motifs on her long arm.

Machine quilting practice

Now let’s take a look to see how the amazing blog hoppers interpreted these designs in their own way.

HollyAnne chose to quilt Angela’s chevron designs, but rather than doing them free motion, she used some of my tips for walking foot quilting. Don’t these look great?

Machine Quilting practice from HollyAnne

Click here to see more of HollyAnne’s practice samples.
She’s included a video on her progress, and has shown how to quilt some of these designs on a real quilt!

Kristin focused on the center motif in my version of Fractured Squares for one of her designs. She also embraced one of my other tips: if you want your machine quilting to stand out, use a highly contrasting thread. If you want it to blend in, use a matching thread.

Kristin Machine Quilting practice.

Be sure to check out Kristin’s blog post to see what she did with the wavy lines!

Vicki also chose to quilt the chevron motifs, and combined them with some of the other free-motion designs from the book. I really love it when others take these ideas and change them up to create new combinations.

Machine Quilting practic with Vicki

Click here to check out some of the other motifs Vicki tried, plus watch her video for more inspiration!

Finally, Jenny combined several of the designs in the same block and I really like how it turned out, don’t you?

Jenny's quilting practice

Click here to read more details of Jenny’s progress on her blog.

Be sure to continue to follow all 4 of them and watch their progress. I think they are doing such an amazing job, don’t you?

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Click here to pick up your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, signed by me and Angela Walters.

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Teaching at MQX Midwest September 2017

Just a quick note in between teaching events to let you all know that class registration for MQX Quilt Show Midwest in Springfield, Illinois opens up next Monday, May 15th. The dates are September 27-30, 2017 and I’ll be teaching 4 different quilting classes, all on the domestic machine. I can’t wait!!

MQX 2017

MQX holds a special place in my heart because it’s the first national show that I ever got a ribbon. It was for my String of Pearls quilt back in 2013. Although it was just an honorable mention award, to me it felt like best of show and really gave me the confidence to enter more shows. I’ve been entering this show ever since and was thrilled to be invited to teach there year this year.

String of Pearls at MQX

My show hanging at MQX in 2013 – my first national quilt show ribbon!!
String of Pearls Pattern Available Here.

With my busy travel schedule, I don’t have much time to travel just for fun, so getting to teach at a show that’s been on my bucket list for awhile is super exciting.

Click here to see a sneak peek of the classes I’ll be teaching. If you plan on attending, let me know – I’d love to see you there!

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Pre-Order Piece and Quilt with Precuts – My Next Book!

You guys! I wrote another book!! Piece and Quilt with Precuts will be published this August and I’m now taking pre-orders for signed copies through my site at shop.christaquilts.com.

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa WatsonYou can see lots of sneak peeks here on the cover!! But wait, there’s more…

Now first things first. I’m totally happy for you to purchase the book where you like. However, when you purchase it directly from me, I earn more on each book since I’m the one selling them. Also, when you order from me, you’ll be guaranteed to get them as soon as they ship! The estimated shipping date is August 17, which just happens to be my birthday so that’s super exciting!! I’ll have a grand time, eating cake and signing your books! But don’t worry, I’ll be careful not to spill any, LOL!!

Sneak Peek of Piece and Quilt with PrecutsSneak Peek #1 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts – are you excited?

So FYI, another reason I’m pushing preorders this time around is based on the demand of my last two books. When people preordered them on Amazon, there was a delay in customers getting them because Amazon had to first get them from the publisher, and then fulfill the orders.

Although the publisher knows how many to ship to Amazon, it always takes Amazon several days to process and they get a little bogged down. So when you pre-order your signed copy from me, it’s a win-win for us both and you don’t have to wait!! (Ahem.. plus my preorder price is actually lower than the current price on Amazon as of this writing…)

Sneak Peek of Piece and Quilt with PrecutsSneak Peek #2  from Piece and Quilt with Precuts – one of my favorite motifs to quilt!!

And just to sweeten the deal, with every pre-order of Piece and Quilt with Precuts placed directly through me  before June 30th, I’m going to throw in a bonus pattern from my pattern shop for free!! When you check out, you can let me know which pattern you prefer in the comments. Or just leave it blank and I’ll surprise you. (For anyone who has already pre-ordered, you’ll get a free pattern too – but it will be a surprise!! I don’t want you to feel left out!!)

And did I mention the books will be personally signed by me??? (Wink wink!)

Sneak Peek #1 from Piece and Quilt with Precut

Sneak Peek #3 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts – Alison Glass fabric is so good, it’s in here twice!

Writing this book was such a joy but there’s a crazy story to go along with it. Just after I had turned in my manuscript for my first book, Machine Quilting with Style, I immediately came up with the idea for Piece and Quilt with Precuts – easy to piece patterns made from precuts along with step-by-step machine quilting instructions for each quilt.

So I set to work designing the patterns, fleshing out the details, and submitting a detailed proposal to the publisher. No sooner had I begun work on the book when the folks at Martingale contacted me and said “we love this book and want you to write it. However, can you wait just a bit? We have another idea we’d like you to do instead.” And then I proceeded to write my second book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting with Angela Walters.  So needless to say once that book was finished, it was time to get back to this one! So in essence, I wrote three books in 3 years, one right after another. Crazy huh??

Sneak Peek #1 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Sneak Peek #4 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts – Improv piecing AND quilting in the same quilt!!

Martingale was sooo awesome and supportive during this crazy time. They even offered to help me piece or bind the quilts if needed. But being the control freak that I am, I politely declined. I have this crazy obsession that when it comes to quilting, I must do all my own “stunts”, LOL!! For me, there’s something personally satisfying in taking ownership of every stitch. 🙂

So later on this summer once the book publishes, I’ll share details of all 11 quilts and 18 machine quilting motifs that are included in the book. I’ll also do a blog hop with some friends who will be trying out their own versions of some of the designs.

Sneak Peek #3 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts - Alison Glass fabric is so good, it's in here twice!

Sneak Peek #5 from Piece and Quilt with Precuts – Why quilt straight lines when you can go wavy?

One other thing I wanted to tell you that’s special about Piece and Quilt with Precuts is that the name is all mine. For those that don’t know, whenever you publish a book or magazine pattern, the editor reserves the right to re-name it, or work with you to come up with a name they think they will sell. The first 2 book names came straight from Martingale, and I think they did a fantastic job, since I was totally clueless as to what to choose LOL!! However, when writing this book, the name was all me, baby and I’m so proud that they chose to keep it!!

And now, I know what you are wondering…. have I already started on book #4?? No, not quite yet. I decided I needed a little breather before jumping into my next book idea or 3. And some other big opportunites have come my way that I’ll get to tell you about just after this book launches. So stay tuned, it’s never a dull moment around here!

Click here to preorder your copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

As always, thanks for your support that allows me to do this crazy quilting thing full time!!

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Quilt Las Vegas 2017 – A Recap and a New Milestone

Quilt Las Vegas is the annual quilt show put on by my local traditional guild here in Las Vegas, Desert Quilters of Nevada. I’ve been a member of the guild for over 20 years, and I’ve been entering their show for nearly as long. It’s the show that gave me the confidence to start competing nationally. I’ve also learned a lot about what goes on in the judging room as a volunteer. As my quilting skills increased, it’s been reflected in the number of times I’ve gotten a ribbon. However, the show this weekend was a new milestone for me. It’s the first time that everything I entered received a ribbon.

Machine Quilting demo by Christa Watson

One of the show highlights for me was getting to share a machine quilting demo and book signing for one of the local quilt shops vending at the show, Sew Yeah Quilting.

Most of the quilts I make nowadays are usually for a book, magazine, or individual pattern, so I think it’s really helped me focus on doing the best quality work I can. Today, I thought I’d share pics of my quilts hanging in the show, include the judges’ comments, and let you know where the patterns can be found, if you are inspired to make on of your own. Plus there are a couple more that my friends made that I thought were super cool. Enjoy the mini-show!

My Quilts in the Show

Churn Dash Slide from I Love Churn Dashes

Churn Dash Slide, 1st Place, Pieced Large – Single Entrant Category

 I was actually surprised that this one got a ribbon, let alone first place because the quilting on it is really simple. It’s just an allover swirl design. But the the fabrics really make it and I had a fun time taking a traditional design and freshening it up a bit.

Machine Quilting Detail by Christa Watson

Machine Quilting Detail on Churn Dash Slide

Here’s what the judge had to say about Churn Dash Slide:

  • Excellent piecing technique
  • Well balanced tension in machine quilting
  • Appropriate overall quilting design
  • Binding is securely and neatly attached
  • A crisp, clean and fresh approach to a traditional quilt pattern

The pattern for Churn Dash Slide can be found in  I Love Churn Dashes, a compilation published by Martingale/That Patchwork Place (my awesome publisher). I enjoy submitting ideas for their books where they usually feature 14-16 different designers’ patterns all in one collection.

A block from my quilt made the cover of I Love Churn Dashes – so fun!!

Quatrefoil Applique by Christa Watson

Quatrefoil Applique, 1st Place Applique

I made Quatrefoil Applique as a machine quilting sampler to show what some of my favorite quilting motifs would look like stitched out. I’m actually teaching how to make this quilt for the guild’s workshop this May, so it was cool to get a ribbon on it so the students could see it in the show. 🙂

Here’s what the judge had to say about Quatrefoil Applique:

  • Piecing and applique are neatly and precisely executed
  • Excellent quilting technique and multiple patterns elevate simple piecing and applique to a higher level
  • Very good binding technique
  • Well balanced colors and values

The patterns and machine quilting instructions for Quatrefoil Applique, and Swirling Butterflies shown below, are both included in the book I wrote with Angela Walters, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. I’m extra proud of that book now that some of the quilts are getting a bit more bling! (Last year another quilt from the book, Plumb Lines, got a ribbon at HMQS.)

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Christa Watson and Angela Walters

Signed copies of this book are available from me, with both of our signatures.

Swirling Butterflies by Christa Watson

Swirling Butterflies, 2nd Place Open Category (Wholecloth, misc., etc.)

Swirling Butterflies is the only wholecloth quilt I’ve ever made, and it was pretty risky using such a high contrasting thread for the butterflies. But it also pushed me technically, and was super fun and meditative to quilt! The lighting at the show wasn’t super great, so you can see a better detailed closeup of the quilting below. I explored one of my favorite techniques – free motion improv – in the background areas of this quilt.

Detail free-motion_quilting

Free motion improv quilting detail.

Here’s what the judge had to say about Swirling Butterflies:

  • Very good binding technique
  • Excellent machine quilting with precise backtracking
  • An elegant presentation

Fractured Puzzle by Christa Watson

Fractured Puzzle, 2nd Place Modern

This is the second time Fractured Puzzle has been shown in a show and the second 2nd place ribbon! (It got a 2nd place in modern last year at MQX). I love how the red ribbon matches the quilt!

Here’s what the judge had to say about Fractured Puzzle:

  • Very good piecing technique
  • Well balanced machine tension but strive for consistently even stitch length
  • Quilting motifs fill the spaces evenly
  • Binding is securely and neatly applied
  • Strong visual impact

Fractured puzzle is my ultra modern take on the free Puzzle Box quilt pattern I offer for newsletter subscribers. I really pushed myself and went way out of the box by cutting it up and sewing it back together again. But it was a really fun exercise in “what if…??”

Puzzle Box Pattern

Remember – you can always take a pattern and make it your own!

Other Favorite Quilts from the Show

I was bummed that I had very little time to spend at the show, due to other obligations at the same time, but I was thrilled to see ribbons on many of my friends’ quilts. These two quilts really resonated with me:

Vicki Ruebel Machine Quilting

Argyle Gone Wild by Vicki Ruebel of Orchid Owl Quilts. She won 1st Place Pieced Small, AND Best Machine Quilting. I was so excited and proud of her! Click here to see more details of the quilting and making of this quilt. She does amazing work!

Viva Las Vegas by Melissa Curley

My friend Melissa Curley won 1st place Show Theme for her quilt “Lucky.” She names all of her quilts with first names which I think is pretty cool. Lucky was the name of Elvis’ character in the movie Viva Las Vegas. I love how she showed the iconic neon of Vegas, mixed with the more subtle side of “Sin City”

Machine quilting students

In addition to catching up with local quilting friends, it was a thrill to run into some former local students while I was demoing. Kathy and Ofelia shown above were some of my first students way back in 1999. It was fun to connect with them again at the show, and know that they are still prolific quilters! I told them thanks for being great students that allowed me to learn how to become an effective teacher. 🙂

Now it’s time to go make (and enter) more quilts!

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The Making of Diamond in the Rough Part 2 – The Quilting

Click here to read about Part 1 – My design process for Diamond in the Rough.

Meeting up with Craftsy Acquisitions Editor at QuiltCon

Diamond in the Rough hanging at QuiltCon 2017. I’m with Linda Permann, my editor at Craftsy. I credit her with helping me put a name to the process I use to figure out how to quilt each quilt. It’s called “The Quilter’s Path.” Click here to register for my class of the same name.

Now I’m excited to tell you about how I quilted Diamond in the Rough, since that’s my favorite part of making any quilt! First of all, I printed off a copy of the EQ7 design on a regular 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper. (You can do the same thing by taking a picture of your quilt top and printing it onto paper – black and white is perfectly fine!!)

Machine Quilting Plan

This is the actual sketch I submitted to QuiltCon Magazine when it was accepted.

I always, always make a quilting plan before I quilt so that I can figure out the quilting path I’ll take to get it done. It’s like a puzzle – figuring out what designs I want to put where and how to maneuver around the quilt with the fewest stops and starts. I’m not too worried about scale here. I’m more interested in seeing how the texture of the quilting will look and where I may need to switch thread colors.

Of course, I have to sketch with black ink to see my design, so my quilting plan is pretty rough and quite stark when you look at it. However, from experience I know that I prefer to use a blending thread so that all you see is the overall texture, rather than the individual stitches.

Diamond in the Rough quilting detail

Overall, I’m really happy with how the quilting turned out. I’m just a little bummed that you can’t see the quilting in the black areas. I quilted a textural pebble design in the black triangles. Although I love the contrast of black and white, each time I quilt on black, I remind myself that it doesn’t show up as well as I would like. So I may need to use less black fabric in the future!!

I’m really happy with how the “Switchbacks” and “String of Pearls” quilting turned out in the white areas of the quilt. I teach how to quilt both of those designs in my book Machine Quilting with Style. It was super fun to combine them together in this quilt!

Quilting Detail on Diamond in the Rough

I used very dark gray, red, and white 50 weight cotton thread from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt collection for the machine quilting which I did all on my BERNINA. You can sort of see the pebble quilting on the top row of black diamonds in the image above.

Here’s a view from the back of the quilt where you can see the pebbles better. I normally use the same color thread in the top and bobbin so that any tension imperfections are not noticeable. However, since I didn’t want the dark gray thread showing up too strongly on the light back, I used an invisible thread in the bobbin when I quilted the pebbles. Here’s a tip: wind your bobbin slowly and only fill it half full!

Managing the quilt bulk while machine quilting

First I stitch in the ditch with the BERNINA dual feed before adding free-motion quilting.

Here’s the quilt in progress underneath my machine. I use a very technical process I call “scrunching and smooshing” to wrestle the bulk of the quilt. It’s really no more complicated that twisting and shoving enough of it out of the way so I can see what I’m doing. Here’s another tip: when working with a large quilt on a small machine, just remember you are only quilting about 5-6 inches of the quilt at any time, so it’s normal to stop and shift a LOT!!

QuiltCon 2017 Cover

Right now you can get a digital copy of my Diamond in the Rough quilt pattern in QuiltCon magazine. It includes the instructions for the piecing only, but when the rights revert back to me next year, I’ll release it on my own, most likely in multiple sizes with quilting suggestions.

I was pleased with the comments I received from the QuiltCon judges about the quilt:

  1. Strong offset focal point.
  2. Varied quilting motifs were well chosen and fit areas well.
  3. Strong geometric shapes create graphic visual appeal.

I’ve had at least one quilt in each QuiltCon and have yet to win a ribbon, but it’s still fun to get them accepted. In fact, the main reason I submitted this design for the magazine was that it was a guaranteed entry into the show. Since the other 5 I entered didn’t get in, I was really happy that this one did.

Diamond in the Rough by Christa Watson, at QuiltCon 2017

Making this quilt reminds me what I love most about the modern aesthetic: strong geometric forms, minimalist designs, and plenty of negative space for fun machine quilting. Although I love ALL quilts, making those on the modern end of the design spectrum truly make my heart happy!

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Craftsy Sale – All Machine Quilting Classes Under $20

I love a great sale don’t you? From now through the end of the day on Monday, March 13 (11:59 PM MDT), you can get all Craftsy classes on sale for under 20 bucks. How cool is that? I know many of you have signed up for my Craftsy class, The Quilter’s Path which is fabulous!! Thank you!! xoxo. If you enjoyed that one, here are some other quilting classes I’d highly recommend by the very talented Christina Camelli::

Machine Quilting ClassClick here to get The Secrets of Free Motion Quilting for $19.99

And

Wild quiltingClick here to get Wild Quilting for just $19.99

Of course, if you haven’t had a chance to sign up for my class yet, I’d recommend that, too!

Click here to get The Quilter’s Path for just $19.99!

Then learn how to make a quilting plan and coming both walking foot quilting with free motion motifs. Happy quilting, friends!!

Three Pinwheel Quilts: From EQ7 Sketch to Finished Quilt

For my Craftsy class that launched last month, I made the same Pinwheel quilt three different ways, with different fabrics and quilting designs. Now I’m back to share a little more up close and personal about each quilt.

Walking foot quilting from The Quilter's Path Craftsy ClassDetail of Walking Foot Quilting on Pinwheels Quilt #1.

As an EQ ambassador and artist, I pretty much do all of my quilt designing in EQ7. So I thought it would be fun to show you each of the quilts along with their original sketches that I drew.

EQ7 Drawing of Pinwheels QuiltThis is my sketch of the first pinwheels quilt shown in my online class, using 1930’s repro prints. I didn’t worry about the prints being an exact match. This sketch just gave me an idea of how busy prints would look against a dark blue background.

Pinwheels quilt, machine quiltied with a wavy grid design using a walking foot/dual feed

When it came to making the first quilt with a navy background, I actually had enough fabric to make two quilts (using a jelly roll of Boundless 1930’s Delights along with a jelly roll of Boundless Solids Navy.) The version above was the finished sample shown in class. I made a second one shown below to stitch on during filming as I demonstrated one of the walking foot quilting techniques. Rather than making two of the exact same quilt, I divided the prints into two colorschemes – patriotic and pastel.

Contrasting thread on pinwheels quilt. Quilted with BERNINA dual feed during Craftsy filming.

You’ll notice I quilted both quilts with a different colored thread. The patriotic one was quilted with a medium blue thread while the pastel one was quilted with a light yellow, both from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt Collection of 50 weight cotton threads.

I wanted to show the difference of what “blending” thread looks like verses “contrasting” thread. I think they both look great, and it’s a personal preference of whether you want your thread to show, or be more subtle. In either case, the quilting adds great texture to the quilt, don’t you think?

Pink Pinwheels quilt designed in EQ7

For the second quilt shown in class, I chose a pretty pink and white color scheme, using the default solids in the EQ7 palette. Many times I’ll design my quilt in solids and then add prints later. But more often than not, I really like the solid version, too! Again, I didn’t worry about the colors being an exact match – using a variety of pinks gave me the scrappy look I was going for.

You’ll notice I left my lines in the sketch this time so you can see how the blocks fit together. One of the options I love in EQ is being able to turn the seam lines off and on, depending on whether or not I want to view the quilt design that way.

Pink quilt with allover loopy machine quilting. From The Quilter's Path Craftsy class by Christa Watson.

Here’s the finished quilt using Boundless Solids in Tickled Pink and Bright White. For this quilt, I demonstrate how to quilt an allover free-motion design using the blocks as a guide to travel around the quilt. I used some of the leftover precut strips for the binding to add a touch of whimsy!

EQ7 sketch of teal/gray pinwheel quilt by Christa Watson

Finally, for the teal/gray version it was easy to swap out the colors from the original design. I will usually draw one design in one colorway and then try out lots of options until I find something I’m happy with. Sometimes I will start with a specific color scheme or fabric collection in mind and design around it. Other times, I’ll come up with my design and colors and then find fabrics to match.

Either way, my all-time favorite function in EQ7 is being able to import colors and fabric swatches if needed, so I know what the quilt will look like before I start! I prefer to do all of my thinking and planning ahead of time so that all I have to do is enjoy stitching once it’s time to actually make the quilt!

Finished Teal Pinwheels quilt

As you can see, the final quilt is more teal and less green than the sketch but it was close enough for what I wanted! I used a precut strip roll of Bounders Blenders Aura Coastal Escape for the blocks with Boundless Solids in Nickel for the background and binding.

For this third version, I combined both walking foot quilting with free motion to create combined custom quilting. The trick is planning how to make your way around the quilt, also known as “finding your path!” In between each of the “real” quilts, I demonstrate many more quilting motifs on quilt blocks so you can see how to quilt around the seams.

When it came time to creating the Pinwheels pattern (included as a bonus freebie in the class materials), using EQ7 made it easy for me to isolate parts of the design to create the quilt pattern.

Free Pattern included in The Quilter's Path Craftsy Class by Christa Watson

Above is a sneak peek of one of the pattern pages using my EQ drawings as stepouts. I’d be lost without it! Machine quilting is definitely my favorite part of making a quilt, so I’m glad I have good tools that help me design faster so there’s more time for sewing!

Christa Watson's Craftsy Class: The Quilter's Path

Learn how to quilt these quilts and more in The Quilter’s Path: Plan It, Stitch It, Quilt It.

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