Introducing Tic-Tac-Toe on the Cover of Fat Quarter Favorites

I love it when I get to reveal a quilt that I worked on many moons ago! Meet Tic-Tac-Toe, a fat quarter quilt featured on the cover of Fat Quarter Favorites – a new collaboration book from my publisher Martingale/That Patchwork Place that releases today!


This was one of those “secret sewing” projects that I worked on last year. I shared a few sneek peeks on my Instagram account while making it so if you scroll back through a year’s worth of posts, you can see some of it in progress, LOL!!

The book features 13 original designs by a dozen different designers all based on fat quarters (plus additional background fabric where needed).

I was in such a hurry to make this quilt that I forgot to take many in-progress pics, but here’s a shot of me “scrunching and smooshing” the quilt through the machine as I quilt:

Scrunching and smooshing to machine quilt

It helps to have a wider throat space on my BERINA so there’s more room for the quilt!

I only saved on detail pic where you can see the quilting while I added and pressed the binding. I quilted it with a dense allover free-motion square spiral design – one of my favorite “modern machine quilting” designs! (It’s similar to “boxes” – another fave design but you go round and round a couple times to get the spirals.)

square spiral design machine quilting

For the pieced design, I played around with the idea of combining blocks that look like X’s and O’s. It took several tries to adjust the proportions so they felt right. The O blocks came pretty quickly, but it took awhile until I was happy with the X blocks. I originally started with bigger center stars and they evolved into the design shown here. I extended the gray lines all the way to the borders to give it a bit more movement and overall I’m pleased with how well it turned out!

Tic Tac Toe by Christa Watson from Fat Quarter Favorites

Tic-Tac-Toe by Christa Watson, 76″ x 76″

Once I have the basic design in place it also takes me a bit to refine the sizes so the fabric yardage is used more efficiently. That’s why a lot of times, you’ll see me do scrappy bindings, so I can use up a bit more of the fun prints in the quilt!

If you like my design click here to see images of all 13 quilts from the book – I’m sure there’s something for everyone!

Tiny Trees in Lunch Hour Patchwork

Check out my smallest quilt finish in the brand new book, Lunch Hour Patchwork!

Tiny Trees

My quilt features small paper pieced trees set into a modern-tree layout. I had fun digging through my pile of green fabrics to get a wide variety of mint and green colored trees. My personal challenge to myself was to use print fabrics that worked together without being “Christmassy.”

Green fabrics

I had so much fun quilting this one, using a combination of two free motion textures: stippling for the background and “cursive L’s” for the trees. Because I used one light green Aurifil thread for all of the quilting, I was able start stipple quilting the background, and then wiggle in and out of each tree as I got to it, switching quilting motifs, but not thread colors.

Machine Quilting Detail on Tiny Trees

The book Lunch Hour Patchwork has a bunch of fun projects that are quick and easy to make. You can work on them during your lunch hour, or other small chunks of time throughout your day!

Lunch Hour Patchwork

My friends at Martingale are even giving away a free copy of the book! Head over to Stitch This!Β  (their blog) to see more projects from the book and enter for your chance to win.

Two Fun New Books To Share – I Have Quilts in Both

Like many of you I love making quilts! But what you may not know is that one of the reasons I love writing patterns and books is that the deadlines for completion motivate me to finish things! I’m excited to be part of two brand new books coming out in June, published by my favorite publisher, Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

I Love House Blocks from Martingale/That Patchwork Place

The first is called I Love House Blocks, and it’s part of Martingale’s “Block Buster Quilts” series where a ton of different designers each make their own interpretation of a quilt based on a traditional block. (Click here to see the last one I was a part of – I Love Churn Dashes.”)

I’m thrilled to have my house quilt shown on the cover! It’s the one on the left and it’s called “My Hometown.” I used bright and cheery by Moda fabric from Pat Sloan in my version, but think it would be just as cute your favorite fabric collection!

Click here to preorder I Love House Blocks.

Rock Solid book using Kona Solids

The second book I am thrilled about is called Rock Solid and it’s a collaboration between Martingale and Robert Kaufman. All 13 quilts in the book are made from Kona Cotton solids. I haven’t even seen the rest of them yet, but I can already tell I’m gonna love this book!

I’m excited to be a cover girl on this one, too. My quilt “Lanterns” is shown on the left, using my exclusive Christa Watson designer palette in 28 vivid shades of red, orange, yellow and green. My quilt is made from just two jelly rolls – My designer palette and Kona Coal.

Click here to preorder Rock Solid.






Book Recommendation – Stitches to Savor by Sue Spargo

Yay for book week! The next book on my list that I get to share with you is Stitches to Savor: A Celebration of Designs by Sue Spargo.


It’s a coffee table book which means it’s full of gorgeous photography for you to pour through. It’s 144 pages worth of full color images – eye candy for any quilter!


If you enjoy wool applique or handwork, the intricate details are sure to inspire you!


The book has very few words, just page after page of exquisite closeups and finished projects.

detail3Order your copy of Stitches to Savor today! πŸ™‚

How to Make Quilting Your Business #11 – Getting Published

Today’s business of quilting topic, getting published, is probably one of the more “glamorous” aspects of making quilting your business. It’s the goal of many quilting bloggers and can be exciting for both the amateur and professional quilter. I’ve been published several times in magazines, and I’m currently working on a book with Martingale, so I will be happy to share a few of my experiences.

christa_quiltcon_chaming_chevronsAt QuiltCon in 2013 with Charming Chevrons – the start of my modern quilting career. And yes – I do own more than one shirt, this one just happens to be my favorite!

Background Inspiration

I came back from QuiltCon in 2013 on fire and ready to take on the modern quilting world! Although it has always been one of my goals to write about and publish my work, it wasn’t until I was inspired by the success of other modern quilters, that I actually took the necessary steps to make my goals become a reality. This is what I constantly ask myself, “What actions would you take today if you weren’t afraid of rejection or failure?”

Trust me, for every success I’ve shared publicly, there are plenty of failures and mishaps along the way! I think the key to long-lasting success is to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going. It’s worked for me so far. πŸ™‚

So, how do you go about getting published?

Honestly, it’s as easy (or as hard) as contacting the publishing company and finding out what their submissions guidelines are, then following the steps. You need to come up with a good idea, be flexible, work well with deadlines, and be patient!

Quilty ChevronsColorful Chevrons, inspired by my original quilt, Charming Chevrons

When I submitted my first design idea to Quilty magazine, I included a picture of my Charming Chevrons quilt just to show an example of my work. Well, guess what – they weren’t interested in my design submission, but they loved the chevron quilt! So I reworked it into a larger size with a fresh color scheme, and it ended up making the cover. All because I was willing to adapt. πŸ™‚

Did I Say Be Patient?

It took me 6 months to narrow my focus and come up with a really good book proposal to submit to Martingale. Then it took another 5 months to get approval and receive the book contract. It won’t even be published until next summer, so no spoilers yet – you’ll just have to wait!

For the magazine, I first contacted them in March of 2013, received the contract in April, sent the quilt off in June, and it was published in the November 2013 issue. So yes, patience is a virtue when comes to writing a book or a magazine pattern. And my best advice? Don’t send anything without a contract. I’m speaking from experience here. πŸ™‚

What About the Money?

The amount of payment and ownership rights vary depending on each publishing company and the length of the article/book/pattern/topic. Magazines and most compilations usually pay each contributor a one-time fee whereas book royalties are usually tied to the volume of sales. Also, some fabric companies may provide free fabrics for the projects in exchange for a mention which I think is cool.

Another perk I have discovered, is that the more I get published, the more my name gets out there, leading to further opportunities to teach, write and design. I have to admit, it is quite the ego boost to see my name in print. That’s worth it’s weight in gold, right?

herrinbone_quiltingGetting my name out there led to making my Herringbone quilt on commission for Camelot Fabrics, plus a pattern designing gig, teaching invitations, and extra publicity!

I also love the fact that once my book is published, I’ll be able to teach from it and have plenty of show and tell, not to mention at least a year’s worth of quilt show entries. πŸ™‚

Some authors choose to go the self-publishing route, but for me that just seems like too much work. I’d rather let the professionals handle the layout, editing and distribution, so I can spend my time on the fun parts – pattern writing and quilt-making! (If you are interested in writing and publishing your own stand-alone patterns, I covered that in an earlier topic here.)

A Winning Submission

If you are wanting to get published, I would recommend starting with a magazine. There are so many of them out there, and one of them is bound to like your original design! One word of caution though – it’s bad form to submit the same idea to several different magazines at the same time, so don’t do it!


I design all of my quilts in EQ7, both personally and professionally.

Most designers use some sort of design software like EQ7, or Adobe Illustrator, but hand drawn sketches are also usually okay, too. Magazines prefer to start with drawings and sketches rather than actual physical quilts. If it’s your first submission, it’s great idea if you can include a picture of a finished sample of your work. Try to brainstorm a couple of different designs and match up each idea with the magazine that seems like it would be the best fit. For example, you wouldn’t submit a traditional quilt design to a modern magazine, etc. Then send off your idea(s) and forget about them for awhile.

20140610_martingaleI recently asked Karen Burns, the acquisitions editor for Martingale, Β her best advice on writing a winning book proposal. Here’s what she had to say:

“Put a lot of thought into the ‘hook’ of the book, and the designs. Having 14-16 pretty quilts alone doesn’t work anymore. What makes them special? What makes people want to buy your book? What are you teaching them that they just “need” to know? Is there a technique that is used that is new and exciting? What would make the consumer want/need this book? What is different about the book, than what is out there?

Β “Contact the acquisitions editor of the publisher, and work with them. Β The acquisitions editors are always happy to help, encourage, and coach. Also, it is important to realize that writing a book takes a lot of work, but the end result, (a great book!) is totally worth it.”

Thanks Karen! Wise words indeed. I hope this encourages you to jump in and give it a try if you want to get published. The worst they can do is say no, and they may just say yes. πŸ™‚

When I was doing research and talking to others about their publishing experiences, quilting instructor and author Deb Karasik said to me, “writing a book will change your life!” That statement both encourages me and scares me at the same time. But I’ve jumped on the bandwagon now, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a wild ride!

Additional Reading

Check out these additional informative blog posts about getting published:

Insider Tips on Magazine Publishing by Abby Glassenberg

Is it Worth it to Write a Craft Book? by Diane Gilleland

Click here for the start of this series.