Squiggles Quilt Along Week 1 – Fabrics and Cutting

Are you excited to make Squiggles? It’s a super easy precut quilt made from your favorite 5″ charm packs. As mentioned previously, I’m making my version using my Modern Marks fabric line with Benartex, but it will look great with any fabrics you choose, as long as you have a very strong contrast for the background. I’m using black, but it would also look fabulous with white or gray!

Squiggles recolored in Modern Marks

As of this writing I have 3 Squiggles Kits left for sale. Click here to purchase.

If you are just hearing about the Quilt Along, not to worry. Just grab the fabrics you need as listed below and join in anytime! This Quilt Along is totally free to follow (you just need a copy of my latest book), and you can post your progress on social media with the hashtag #squigglesquilt. You can also join my Facebook Group: Christa Quilts to share as many photos as you like and get additional help!

Supply List

Piece and Quilt with Precuts

  • Copy of my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts for the piecing instructions
  • Two – 5″ charm packs of background solid or tonal fabric (or a total of 77 squares)
  • Four – 5″ charm packs of print fabric (or a total of 154 squares)
    • (Note – you can also substitute one 10″ square pack if needed, and cut to size)
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for binding
  • 3 1/4 yards of fabric for backing
  • 56″ x 70″ piece of batting (I recommend Hobbs batting)
  • Approx. 1200 yards (or one large spool) of fabric for quilting (I recommend Aurifil)
  • Sewing Machine with new needle and basic sewing supplies
  • Rotary cutting equipment (6″ acrylic ruler, mat, standard cutter with new blade)

Cutting the Fabric

Modern Marks Charm Pack

Click here to purchase Modern Marks Charm packs and precuts.

The super easy thing about making this quilt from precuts is that most of the cutting has already been done for you! If you are using 10″ squares, cut them into 5″ squares. If you are using 5″ squares, you’ve already saved yourself a huge step!

Benartex Basics precuts
Click here to purchase Benartex Basics in black or white.

Then follow the cutting instructions in the book on page 15 to cut out the background squares and you’re ready to start piecing the blocks next week!

Click here for links to all of the Quilt Along blog posts and schedule.

Click here to share pictures of your fabrics + progress in my Facebook group.

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Bonus Quilt Along – Make My Charming Chevrons Pattern with Alyssa from Penguin and Fish

I know that many of you are eagerly awaiting the start of my Squiggles QAL which officially launches next Monday. But in the meantime, you can quilt along either virtually or in real time with my friend Alyssa Thomas of Penguin and Fish. All you need is a copy of my Charming Chevrons pattern and your favorite charm packs (5″ squares).

Each weekday night from now until she finishes, Alyssa is posting a live “relax and craft” video stream on Facebook. Then she’s uploading the recordings to YouTube so anyone can view them later. So you can make the quilt along with her, or just hang out and watch her sew! If you do choose to sew along, you can share your progress in my facebook group or hers. (Scroll to the end for all the pertinent links you’ll need.)

Click the image above to watch the very first video with Alyssa.
She’ll be broadcasting her progress each weeknight until she’s finished the quilt!

I love Charming Chevrons so much that I’ve already made it three times, and I recolored it a 4th time using my Modern Marks fabric. Check these out for inspiration, and notice how all 4 versions feature the same block, but rotated in a slightly different position. All 4 layouts are included in the pattern.

Charming Chevrons at QuiltCon 2013

The original Charming Chevrons, shown above, made its debut at QuiltCon in 2013. It was my first time ever entering a national show. It went on to win viewer’s choice in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival in 2013 so it was a banner year!!

Colorful chevrons

A larger remake, Colorful Chevrons with a navy blue background, was my first magazine submission and it graced the cover of Quilty in 2013. It went on to win 3rd place in the first ever modern category at AQS Quilt Week in Paducah, a ribbon at my local guild’s show, and founder’s choice at MQX.

Feathered Chevrons with Kona Solids

Photography credit: Kitty Wilkin

When Robert Kaufman invited me to curate a bundle of solid fabrics for them, I decided to make a third version using my Kona Designer palette in bright citrus hues with a dark gray background. I call this version Feathered Chevrons and it was included as part of the Quilter’s Planner pattern bundle for 2017. The layout above is included in the Charming Chevrons pattern.

Charming Chevrons with Modern Marks

Finally, after making 3 solid versions, I wanted to see what it would look recolored in EQ8 using my Modern Marks collection from Benartex/Contempo. I colored it using the “Double Chevrons” layout that’s also included in the pattern.

Charming Chevrons includes 4 sizes and these are the fabric requirements & # of charm packs needed to make each size:

Links to all the Fun:

Purchase the Print version of Charming Chevrons here.
Purchase the PDF version of Charming Chevrons here.
Click here for the first YouTube video from Alyssa.
Click here to like and follow her page where she’ll post live videos.
Click here to share your progress in my Facebook Group: Christa Quilts.
Click here to share in Alyssa’s group: Penguin & Fish Crafters.
Get the Modern Marks Charm packs here.

Happy New Year 2018 – Word of the Year – Squiggles Quilt Along

Happy Quilty New Year 2018! My words for this year are “simplify and focus.” I got caught up in the social media rat race last year, and near the end of the year I decided to scale down my social media presence so I could simplify my life and focus on what’s important. You can read my about my decision on a previous blog post here.

My Pride and Joy – Watson Family, November 2017

My oldest heads off to college this week (at BYU Idaho), and I’ve got a full year of teaching and creating lined up. I’m also excited to be blogging on a regular basis again where I can share indepth tutorials and lots of inspiring quilt images.

After a couple year break, I’m super excited to be hosting my next quilt along, featuring Squiggles from my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Squiggles recolored in Modern Marks

I’m remaking Squiggles using my Modern Marks fabric line from Benartex.
Click here to get Modern Marks charm packs to make a similar version!

The Squiggles quilt along will run each Monday for 6 weeks, starting January 15.

Click here for the Squiggles Quilt Along Supply List and Schedule

I hope you’ll share pictures of your quilt along progress, so I can cheer you on! Use the hashtag #squigglesquilt on Instagram, and post pictures of your progress directly to my Christa Quilts Facebook Group. I’m excited to start the fun in 2 weeks!!

Finished Quilt: Modern Puzzle + Quilting Tips

Meet Modern Puzzle – one of the quilts I made for quilt market this past fall. The quilt pattern is a free PDF download and it’s made from one Pinwheel (aka Jellyroll) of Modern Marks + one pinwheel of white/gray neutrals from Benartex.

Modern Puzzle Free Qult patter by Christa Watson

Click here to download my Modern Puzzle quilt pattern for free.
Click here to get the precuts to make this quilt.

I recently wrote up a spray basting tutorial using my design wall using Modern Puzzle as my example. Now I’m ready to share more about the quilting process. Because I was in a hurry to get this quilt done, AND I really wanted to show off the fabrics rather than the quilting, I used a simple wavy line design that I teach in my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Click the image below to enlarge it so you can see the quilting detail:

Machine Quilting detail - wavy lines

Making a Quilting Plan

Whenever I’m quilting an allover design using my walking foot (or dual feed system), I use a method I call “divide and conquer.” The basic idea is that I make one pass across the quilt, stitching near the ditch rather than IN the ditch.

This allows me to use my seam lines as a guideline for spacing so that I don’t have to mark anything. Once the quilt is stabilized, or “anchored,” then I’ll add additional wavy lines, one pass across the quilt at a time.

Quilting Plan for Modern Puzzle

Quilting plan for Modern Puzzle – I’ll fill in more lines on the quilt until it feels finished.

I introduced my audience to the concept of making a “quilting plan” in my first book, Machine Quilting with Style, and my first Craftsy class, The Quilter’s Path.  Now I love to seeing that so many have embraced this concept with their own quilts!

Quilting Modern Puzzle

Each time I quilt a set of wavy lines across the quilt, the space to fill gets smaller and smaller.

Whenever I quilt any quilt, I “scrunch and smoosh” it under the machine however I can. Having a wide area between the needle and the side of the machine is really nice, but not absolutely necessary. As long as you shove the quilt out of the way and only focus on one area at a time, it’s easy  to do!

Overlapping wavy lines

Once the lines got close enough, I overlapped a few of them for extra texture.

My philosophy when it comes to machine quilting is, “more is more.” For example, one individual line of stitching will stand out like a sore thumb. However, when you surround that line with additional quilting lines on both sides, all of a sudden, you notice the overall texture before you see the individual stitches.

Modern Puzzle Quilt by Christa Watson

When it comes to choosing thread color for a highly contrasting quilt such as this one, it’s best to use a lighter color thread rather than a darker one. A lighter thread will blend in more on darker fabrics, rather than the reverse.

Aurifil Cotton Thread

For Modern Puzzle, I chose a light gray/blue from my Piece and Quilt Collection – Neutrals from Aurifil. Even with dense quilting, one large spool was plenty of thread, and I like to use the same color in top and bobbin to help hide any tension issues.

Quilting Detail on Modern Puzzle

Dense quilting is my favorite way to hide quilting imperfections!

Behind the Scenes

Fun fact: when I got my fabric samples for Modern Marks back in July, I had about 4 days to whip up 5 quilt tops to display at a special event for BERNINA dealers taking place here in my hometown of Las Vegas. Because BERNINA owns Benartex, the dealers got to see sneak peeks of the fabric before it was debuted at quilt market in October.

Quilts in Progress

Honest sewing room and quilt top making frenzy: notice the fabric samples in the left corner rolled on a tube – this is how fabric comes from the factory before it’s folded onto bolts!!

This was my chance to introduce myself to shop owners who hadn’t heard of me yet, so it was a huge opportunity if I could finish the samples in time. So I called in the reinforcements – my mom and a few friends – and we sewed non-stop to get them done! It was a fun impromptu retreat and I’m thankful to say, the fabric was well received. Thank goodness I only needed to finish the tops and was able to quilt them over the next 3 months at a more leisurely pace!

Modern Puzzle Quilt by Christa Watson

I love how the bright pops of color in in Modern Marks contrast against my desert surroundings. This is one of my favorite quilts, and the dense quilting makes it so snuggly!!

Remember, if you make Modern Puzzle, (or anything else from my books, patterns, or fabric) I’d love to see your progress! Please share in my ChristaQuilts Facebook community. I’d love to cheer you on!!

Modern Puzzle Stats:

Modern Puzzle by Christa Watson

All outdoor photogrophy taken by my husband, Jason Watson. (C) 2017

Mini Frequency – A Collaboration with Leah Day

Today I’m excited to tell you about Mini Frequency – a fun collaboration I did with Leah Day, of The Free Motion Quilting Project fame. First, a picture of the finished mini:

Mini Frequency by Christa Watson

A Mini Version of Frequency, Using 1 1/2″ Strips

Leah Day – Your Machine Quilting Friend

Next, a quick background about mine and Leah’s friendship: we met online somewhere around 2012-2013 when I discovered her blog and realized that you didn’t have to wait until you were at retirement age to make quilting a successful full-time job!

We first met in person at Spring Quilt Market back in 2015 and then collaborated on a presentation at Fall Market 2016. When we met up to for lunch at QuiltCon earlier this year, it was inspiring non-stop talk about the business of quilting which I just love! She’s got that “entrepreneur-on-fire” spirit that really motivates me, especially when I see it from women business owners.

Leah Day is as passionate about empowering others to quilt as I am!

Leah just published a brand new quilting book and she launched a new podcast just over a year ago which I will be a guest on soon, so stay tuned for more details about both!

Our Quilty Collaboration

When Leah approached me about working on a small project together, I immediately knew that I wanted to make a “mini” version of Frequency, one of the quilts from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. Here’s what the original pattern in the book looks like, made from 2 1/2″ strips.

Frequency by Christa Watson for Piece and Quilt with Precuts

I thought it would be fun to scale down the design, using 1 1/2″ strips instead. I had just received strikeoffs (sample swatches) of my Modern Marks fabric line earlier this year when I started on the mini, so I was able to cut small bits of fabric to make the mini.

Here are some in-progress pics of the piecing:

Mini Frequency Block Piecing

It’s amazing how much the blocks shrink up when you piece them together! I had a fun time deciding which fabrics I wanted to place next to each other.

Frequency Blocks

Rather than making a full-scale version of the original, I chose to make 4 blocks from 1 1/2″ strips. That way I could incorporate every fabric without it being too big.

Behind the Scenes: Fabric Printing

I was able to use strikeoffs for my mini: samples that are printed before the entire line goes into full-scale production. This allows you to check for fabric quality and to determine if everything will print correctly. Check out that piece that’s circled in the top row below. On paper it printed out fine, but when the mill printed it on fabric, the lime x’s on turquoise created an effect called “trapping” which makes it look blurry. So we decided not to print that one.

Instead we changed it to be dark turquoise x’s instead of lime which worked much better. See the fabric circled in the bottom row below. I still thought it would be fun to use both pieces  in my mini to preserve the history of this fabric collection, and a bit of a story to go with it!

Mini Frequency Quil Top

The fabric circled on top was replaced with the one on the bottom row for better printing.

Leah Works Her Magic

Once I had completed the top, I shipped it off to Leah to let her work her quilting magic. For anyone who knows me, they’ll understand what a big deal it is for anyone else to quilt for me. I’ve never had someone quilt a quilt for me so this was a fun stretch for me to give up a little bit of control over that process, LOL!! Needless to say, she did an amazing job!

Leah created a YouTube video sharing her thoughts on how and why she quilted it the way she did. It’s very informative and full of fabulous tips. Plus it’s always so fun and mesmerizing to watch someone quilt and see the way they move the quilt under the machine. Take a look below:

Click here to read Leah’s blog post about our collaboration.

I love how Leah decided to highlight the fabrics with her batting and quilting choices. This is a perfect example of what you can do when working with busy prints. My favorite part of the video is when she holds it up at the end and you can really see how the light hits her beautiful background quilting.

Of course, me being the crazy dense quilter that I am, I decided to add a little extra touch and went ahead and quilted right on top of the prints when I got it back, LOL!! So it just goes to show how different choices can affect the look of a quilt. 🙂

Binding Tips

Press the binding for a nice, flat and tight finish.

I learned a great tip about binding from Leah a few years ago: after you attach your binding, give it a bit of a press with a hot dry iron. This will make a nicer crease and allow you to stitch it down nice and tight.

Quilting Detail on the back of Mini Frequency

Click on the image above to enlarge it and see all the yummy quilting detail on the back.

Here’s the finished mini – I’m really happy with how it turned out, and it means even more that I was able to collaborate with a friend!

 

Squiggles Quilt Along Schedule – Grab Your Fabric and Get Ready!

Let’s kick off the next year in quilty style, with a Quilt Along!! If you remember the launch of my newest book last summer, I teased the idea of remaking one of the quilts from the book in my new fabric. Readers were able to vote on their favorite quilt, and when to start the Quilt Along.

Well guess what? We’re going to start the Quilt Along on Monday, January 15 and it will run for 6 weeks, going through every step you need to make the Squiggles quilt below, from start to finish!

Suiggles with Modern Marks

Squiggles Quilt Kits are available for a limited time, with black or white background.

I’ll be remaking my version of Squiggles using my Modern Marks fabric + black background, but of course, you can choose any fabrics you like!

Here’s the Quilt Along Schedule and Supply List. Each week as I write create each step, I’ll update the links below so that this post can serve as a landing page for the quilt along.

2018 Quilt Along Schedule

  • Week 1 – January 15: Gathering Fabrics and Cutting
  • Week 2 – January 22: Making the Blocks
  • Week 3 – January 29: Assembling the Quilt Top
  • Week 4 – February 5: Backing and Basting
  • Week 5 – February 12: Machine Quilting
  • Week 6 – February 19: Binding

Modern Marks Fabric

Optional – click here to purchase the Squiggles Quilt Kit featuring Modern Marks

Supply List

  • Copy of my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts
  • Two – 5″ charm packs of background solid or tonal fabric (or a total of 77 squares)
  • Four – 5″ charm packs of print fabric (or a total of 154 squares)
    • (Note – you can also substitute one 10″ square pack if needed, and cut to size)Piece and Quilt with Precuts
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for binding
  • 3 1/4 yards of fabric for backing
  • 56″ x 70″ piece of batting (I recommend Hobbs batting)
  • Approx. 1200 yards (or one large spool) of thread for quilting (I recommend Aurifil)
  • Sewing Machine with new needle and basic sewing supplies
  • Rotary cutting equipment (6″ acrylic ruler, mat, standard cutter with new blade)

So gather your fabrics, your copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts, and start sharing on social media (#squigglesquilt and Christa Quilts on Facebook).

The original version of Squiggles, as shown in the book:

Squiggles from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

We’re just a month away from a quiltin’ good time!!

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Christa’s Soapbox – Do I Sleep? The Answer is Yes!

Today I thought it would be fun to answer the often asked question, how do I get so much done? Or put another way – do I sleep? The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, I’m NOT a night owl and if I don’t get at least 7-8 hours per night, it reduces my productivity big time.

quilt photography - Rainbow Taffy Quilt

Getting things done: we recently photographed some of my quilts so I can write more in-depth blog posts later. I think about the shots I want, Jason edits them to make them look pretty!

One thing to keep in mind is that quilting and running a business is mine and my husband’s full time job. Plus we have help. It’s taken me awhile to figure out what I do best in our little mom + pop operation: what I need to do myself, and what I’m willing to give up control over. And it’s different for each type of creative person.

For example, when it comes to quilting, I do all my own “stunts.” I design, piece and quilt all of the quilts I make for books, patterns and classes because that’s the most fun part! But I hire out much of the technical stuff to make it all look good.

Secret Sewing

Behind the scenes: quilting a quilt that will be featured in a magazine next spring.

All of the “big” projects I produce is done in partnership with quilting industry companies such as Benartex (my fabric), Craftsy (my online videos), Martingale (my quilting books), and Aurifil (my thread.) This allows me to design and create while tapping into their professional expertise in layout, editing, photography, video production, and marketing.

The only thing I self-publish is my stand-alone patterns, which is probably why I don’t release more of them on a regular basis, LOL!! I have found that I work really well with deadlines, as long as they are imposed on me by others. It’s much harder for me to set my own internal deadlines!!

More secret sewing

More “secret sewing” – this one debuts in a book collaboration next year – I can’t wait!

A typical work day for me consists of getting up early and getting right to work. I try to do all of my social media (blog, instagram and facebook) first thing, so that I’m not constantly distracted by it throughout the day. (That doesn’t always happen of course, which is why I recently decided to streamline and simplify my social media.) Then I jump into whatever project I need to work on for the day – designing a new pattern, working on a class outline, collaborating with one of my industry partners, and of course, sewing!

I take a break in the late afternoon to get in a daily workout with Jason, and then finish up any additional work in the evening before bed. I stop early enough so that I can get to bed at a decent time, and I usually indulge in an hour of “guilty-pleasure” TV watching each night (so I’m always on the lookout for a great Netflix recommendation!).

Designing HST

I’m a planner! I design all of my quilts in EQ8 with the fabrics I’ll use before I ever take the first stitch. Often it takes longer to design them than to make them!

My kids are older so they don’t need quite as much attention (my oldest lives on his own and is heading off to college soon, the next son graduates high school next spring, and the youngest, a freshman, is pretty independent although she’s still homeschooled). But because we have a flexible schedule, we can be there for them when they need us and still do all the regular parenting stuff. Plus they have all worked for us at one time or another, so that’s been a great family dynamic.

We Love our Kids!

These guys are our pride and joy: Jason, Jenna, and Ryan. We enjoy taking them out to lunch on a regular basis and love that they are adventurous eaters!

One thing that I’ll confess right now is that I DON’T do much cooking or cleaning. The kids help a lot with cooking and we have weekly subscriptions to those healthy meal kit places (like Blue Apron, Freshly, etc.) which prevent us from resorting to fast food – or worse – salt filled frozen meals. About two years ago, we hired a cleaning service that comes in every other week to help us with basic housekeeping (in addition to the kids’ weekly chores). That’s the best investment we’ve ever made because I’d much rather hand bind a quilt than clean a toilet!!

Fabric Design in Progress

Sneak peek of the design process while creating Modern Marks. Look closely and you’ll see several prints that didn’t make the cut! Maybe they’ll resurface in the future…

I’m very organized and I’m also a list-maker and schedule-keeper. I’m one of those people who really gets satisfaction from checking off an item in my to-do list, and I don’t mind rearranging my priorities on a daily basis if I can’t fit everything in. I’ve learned over the past few years to give myself more time than I think I need to complete a project, and I can’t stand being idle. So I’m always either planning, making, or thinking, and at times it can be hard to turn it off.

I think one of the secrets to how I get so much done is that I make big goals, but then break huge tasks down into daily steps so that I can work on a monumental project a little bit each day. My personal philosophy is that I never think that anything is impossible – most things just take time, patience and perseverance to get them done.

book and pattern editing

Book and pattern editing can be a tedious, lengthy process!

So in an nutshell, that’s how I get things done. Often times, things that I want to do end up morphing into something else, and many ideas that I have don’t come to fruition. The key is to be flexible and roll with it rather than giving up and quitting. Any time I get in a rut or feel like I have creative block (which can happen) the most useful thing to do is look back at what I’ve accomplished, and give myself pep talks when needed.

I hope if there’s something out there you really want to accomplish, you’ll set a goal for yourself and make it happen!

Binding on an airplane

I do a LOT of hand binding while flying across the country for teaching events. I snuggle up to a window seat, cuddle up with my quilt, and turn on headphones to shut out the world. Yes you CAN take needles and small scissors on an airplane with no problems!!

And now, it’s time for me to move on to the next item on my agenda for today – sewing!! (Just think, one of those fun things I’ll be sharing months in the future is being worked on a little bit today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…..)

Finished Quilt: Modern Starstruck + Quilting Details

Meet “Modern Starstruck” – a remake of my “Starstruck” quilt pattern included in my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. The original quilt from the book was made in black and white, but as soon as I released my new fabric line, I knew I had to remake this design to showcase the bold bright colors of Modern Marks.

Modern Starstuck by Christa Watson

Modern Starstruck, designed, pieced and quilted by Christa Watson

Starstruck is a fun fat-quarter quilt made from 24 different fabrics, one for each star in the quilt. Each fabric is used in the quilt twice – once for the star and once for the background. However, since there are 26 prints in Modern Marks, I wanted to showcase them all, so two of the fabrics are only included once.

Modern Starstruck

Click here to grab a fat quarter bundle of Modern Marks (while supplies last.)
Click here to get your signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

I had a LOT of fun quilting this one!! I quilted a different free-motion design in each of the stars and backgrounds. There are a total of 24 blocks which means I quilted 48 unique designs in this quilt. I think of it as a “machine quilting sampler” of sorts.

Machine Quilting Detail

You can really see the quilting when the light hits it just right. I tried lots of different swirl combinations in some of the blocks, and echoed each star a couple of times to separate it from the background quilting.

Modern Starstruck closeup

Modern Starstruck drapes really well due to the cotton batting I used, and the dense quilting gives it plenty of yummy texture.

In each block I quilted a combination of geometric and curvy lines to play around with different ideas. To minimize my starts and stops, I free motion echo quilted around each star shape, then traveled over a previous stitching line to get to the star. I filled in each star with a different design and then traveled back out of the top of the star to continue quilting the additional echo and background areas.

Machine quilting in progress

Here are a couple of closeups of the block quilting:

quilting detail

I quilted a geometric meander in the star above, with curvy woodgrain in the background. Many of the designs came from my books, while others were brand new experiments which may show up as stand-alone motifs in future quilts!

free motion quilting

In this star I quilted a dense echoed diamond design with curvy flowers in the background. I used a light yellow thread for the entire quilt. It blended in to most of the fabrics so I didn’t have to switch thread colors.

Pattern on pattern

In some of the blocks, I quilted a dense pattern on pattern design to add extra depth and dimension to the quilt.

Modern Starstruck detail

It was fun to choose fabric combinations for each block. Because this was a busy quilt with no unifying background fabric, it was important that each pairing allowed the stars to pop!

Modern Starstruck Stats:

Modern Starstuck by Christa Watson

Wall Basting Tutorial Using Spray Adhesive

One of the secrets to successful machine quilting is basting your quilts properly. So today I will share with you my favorite way to baste a quilt using 505 basting spray and my design wall. You can definitely modify this technique and baste your quilts on a table, but I prefer the design wall because I can get up close to the quilt and make sure it’s nice and flat.

I’m demonstrating how to baste my Modern Puzzle quilt. Get the free quilt pattern here.

Click here to grab a Modern Puzzle Quilt Kit featuring Modern Marks.

Wall Basting Quilt Tutorial for Modern Puzzle Free Quilt Pattern

Wall basting is my favorite way to baste! I can get up close to make it smooth and flat.

Wall Basting Tutorial

Ensure that all 3 layers of your quilt (top, batting, and backing) are nice and flat. The batting and backing should be a few inches larger than the quilt top on all sides.

Give the top and backing a final press and clip any stray threads. Relax the wrinkles in your batting by throwing it in a dryer with a wet towel for a few minutes, unrolling it from the package to “rest” for a few days, or pressing the batting with a hot dry iron. (For delicate batting, use a piece of fabric to cover it while you press.)

Step 1 – Apply Adhesive to Backing and Quilt Top separately

Lay a sheet on the ground to protect your quilt and catch any over-spray. Outdoors is best so that the fumes can dissipate, but you can do it inside in a well ventilated room while wearing a dust mask. Be sure to shake the can and spray a few squirts on the sheet to ensure the nozzle is clean and the spray comes out evenly before you start.

Lay out the quilt backing wrong side up and apply a thin coat of 505 spray adhesive evenly across the surface of the quilt. Walk around the quilt backing as needed to reach all areas.

Apply spray baste to the wrong side of the backing fabric

Spray the adhesive on one section of the backing at a time. Use seam lines in the piecing to help keep track of where you’ve sprayed since it’s hard to see the adhesive on the fabric.

Repeat the process for the quilt top, using the design of the quilt to help you keep track of which areas you’ve already covered. Don’t worry if the quilt top and backing have some give or are a bit wrinkly from movement. You will smooth it all out later.

Spray baste the quilt top

Be sure to lay out the quilt top wrong side up while applying basting spray.

Hint: it’s easier to keep track of where you’ve sprayed if you cover one-two rows at a time, moving methodically over the quilt top.

spray basting

Try to keep the can spraying out consistently so you don’t get any adhesive buildup.

Once the backing and quilt top are sprayed, fold them up and bring indoors to assemble the layers on a design wall. It doesn’t matter if you fold them right sides in or out. They will be sticky, but not stuck and you can easily unfold and the layers and peel them apart. You don’t need to baste right away, but I wouldn’t wait more than a few days to prevent the spray from drying out.

Quilt top and back with basting spray

It’s okay if the layers are a wadded-up mess. You’ll straighten them out next!

Step 2 – Assemble The Layers Indoors

Pin the quilt backing wrong side up to the top of the design wall (mine is made from foam insulation board covered with a white flannel sheet). Let gravity pull the weight of the fabric down. Gently un-stick any of the fabric sticking to itself and spend some time smoothing it all out with your hands or an acrylic ruler.

wall basting

For shorties like me, use a chair or step ladder to reach the top of the design wall.

Your hands will get a bit sticky, but the residue easily washes off with soap and water. Spend as much time as you need to straighten the backing so that it’s nice and smooth and flat on the design wall.

Smooth backing on the design wall

The backing is nice and smooth! Any small wrinkles will get ironed out later.

Fold the batting in half vertically and stick it on one side of the backing. Notice that I didn’t cut my batting perfectly straight on one edge and that’s okay. As long as the batting is larger than the quilt top, it’s easy to trim off any excess.

Wall basting - adding the batting

For this quilt I used Hobbs Tuscany Cotton/Wool blend batting. The cotton gives it a nice drape and the wool adds depth and dimension to the quilting without wrinkling up.

Unfold the batting and spend a good amount of time smoothing it out with your hands or a long acrylic ruler. My ruler can get a bit sticky so I have a separate one that I use just for basting. See the excess batting sticking out on the right side? I’ll trim that off with batting scissors before I add the quilt top.

Smoothing the layers

Spend 10-15 minutes smoothing out the batting. It’s okay to re-position it if needed. The ruler acts as an arm extension to help you cover more area while you smooth it all out.

Add the quilt backing right side out in the same manner as the backing. Pin generously and let gravity pull on the weight of the quilt top to get it to hang straight. This is why it’s so important for the batting and backing to be larger than the quilt top. Then you don’t have to make sure it’s lined up perfectly in the middle – you’ll have a bit of “wiggle room” to maneuver.

The excess batting and backing will get trimmed away later.

Spend a lot of time smoothing out the top layer once it’s on the wall. Use the acrylic ruler to help you work out any bubbles and ensure that the seam lines are nice and straight. Once your basted quilt is flat, smooth and straight, machine quilting it will be a breeze!

Bastd Modern Puzzle Quilt

Taking time to smooth each layer will make it much easier to machine quilt!

Step 3 – Iron the Basted Quilt

Here’s where the magic happens! Once the quilt is basted, I take it to the ironing board and press both sides of the quilt. This does two things: (1) it’s a final chance to press out any wrinkles and work out any fullness in the quilt. (2) It sets the glue and ensures that all 3 layers will stay together without shifting, eliminating the need to add any pins. You can still pull apart the layers if needed, but this process will ensure that every inch of the quilt is sticking to every other inch of the quilt.

Iron the basted quilt

I use a “big board” which sits on top of my regular ironing board and gives me more room!

Once I switched to spray basting, I virtually eliminated any pleats and puckers on my quilt. Because there’s a lot of “scrunching and smooshing” going on while quilting, your basted quilt needs to be able to handle a lot of wear and tear while pushing it under the machine. It takes the same amount of time to baste a quilt with spray or pins, but you’ll save a huge amount of time by not having to stop and remove pins. Give spray basting a try and let me know how you like it!

I quilted Modern Puzzle using walking foot wavy lines, a technique I teach in my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Modern Puzzle Quilting Detail

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you end up making your own version of Modern Puzzle, please share pics in my Christa Quilts Facebook group. I’d love to see your progress!

Modern Marks Inspiration and a Free Quilt Pattern!

To celebrate the release of my new fabric line, I have a free pattern for you, plus loads of inspiration on what you can make with my fabric! Take a look at Rainbow Taffy, a bright colorful quilt made from 5″ squares of Modern Marks, + white background:

Click here for the Rainbow Taffy pattern download.
Click here to get Modern Marks precuts.

Click here to get the free quilt pattern.

I knew I wanted to create a bright colorful quilt which would show off every fabric in this collection. In fact, when it came time to create the precut bundles for this line, it was fun to decide which fabrics would have duplicates (since there’s 31 in the line but 42 squares in the 5×5 pack). I designed Rainbow Taffy so that it would show case these cheerful fabrics in rainbow order, but of course the pattern would look great in other fabrics, too!

Boxes Quilting on Rainbow Taffy

Boxes quilting design on Rainbow Taffy

The pattern includes a detailed chart with color placement, plus machine quilting suggestions. I quilted it with one of my favorite geometric designs, “boxes” which is also the name of one of the designs in the collection!

Modern Marks Fabric by Christa Watson

Click here to grab a bundle of 26 Modern Marks fat quarters.

Be sure to ask for Modern Marks by name at your favorite local quilt shop! If there’s not one near you, I have a limited number of fat quarter bundles and kits availalbe at shop.christaquilts.com.

More Modern Marks Inspiration

Modern Marks

Be sure to check out the stops on the blog hop below for even more ideas of what you can make from Modern Marks!

Monday
HollyAnne @String & Story
 
Tuesday
 
Wednesday
Hilary @Aurifil
 
Thursday
 
Friday
I hope you are inspired to create something fun with Modern Marks!
Rainbow Taffy Quilt