My Quilts from Modern Quilts: Designs of a New Century – Modern X and HST

Today I’m pleased to be a part of the blog tour for the brand new book published by The Modern Quilt Guild and C&T Publishing, Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century. 

It’s a beautiful coffee table book presented in hard cover with images of over 200 modern quilts.

Modern Quilts Book

Click here to pick up your copy of Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century.

I always like to give a little behind the scenes backstory about how I end up being featured in collaborations such as this one. Sometimes it’s luck, other times it’s tenacity, and most of the time, it’s a bit of both!

When I attended the first QuiltCon in 2013, I knew right away that the time had finally come to start getting published and raise my professional quilting profile. One of the lectures I attended was on publishing a book, given by the editor of C&T, with panelists such as Angela Walters, among others. I came home from the show on fire and ready to get to work! Although I ultimately went with a different publisher for my own books, I’ve always been impressed with the quality of books published by C&T (and will be a small part of another book of theirs coming up in 2018 – so stay tuned).

An early “profile” image of me with Modern X back in 2014.

As soon as I could, I starting participating in Modern Quilt Guild events, submitting quilts to their shows each year, teaching at QuiltCon, giving webinars, and being one of their designers of the month (back in 2014-the first year they launched that program.) In other words, I got involved!!

When the MQG had a call for entries for this book, I eagerly applied. They looked through images of all the quilts that were submitted along with entries into all previous QuiltCons and I was pleased to end up with two quilts in the book!

Modern X

Modern X Quitling Detail

Check out #modernxquilt on instagram to see many amazing versions of this quilt!

Click here to get the PDF version of Modern X quilt pattern.
Click here to get the print version of Modern X quilt pattern.

Modern X was featured as one of the quilt patterns of the month created by and for MQG members. Here’s a fun fact: It was my suggestion that the MQG feature the quilts of the month as a special exhibit at QuiltCon which they’ve done every year since 2015!

Modern X at QuiltCon with Bill Volckening

Modern X on display during the “special exhibits tour” given by Bill Volckening at QuiltCon 2015

This quilt has gone on to win an award at a local quilt show and has been in a couple of traveling exhibitions of modern quilts. This is also the quilt I talk about when I share the importance of batting and basting in my lectures. (Originally I used a polyester batting for Modern X which created all kinds of puckers because it’s so slippery. I un-quilted, re-basted, and re-quilted this quilt using a cotton blend batting and was much happier with the results!)

HST (The Original)

HST Quilt

The original HST quilt. My photography isn’t great since this was taken before we got good equipment. However the photos in the book are top notch!

HST (Half -Square Triangle) was originally patterned way back in issue 5 of Make Modern Magazine. When I originally made the quilt in 2015 I knew I had created a special design and wanted to enter it into QuiltCon for 2016. However, when I went to wash the quilt, I used a “gentle” wash powder that ended up bleaching parts of the quilt!

bleach stain on HST quilt

The quilt now has random bleach stains throughout. 😦

Needless to say I was devastated. Since I’m always one to try and turn lemons into lemonade, I was pleased when this quilt was still able to be selected for the book. With some clever photoshop editing, you can’t see the bleach stains in the book photography and I’m glad it was able to be included.

Machine Quilting HST

Quilting Detail on HST

Since I love making functional quilts, I still use the quilt every day and it’s nice and warm because I used super thick cotton batting. I quilted HST with a lot of straight line quilting, and I created a woven texture in the background by alternating the direction of the lines. I threw in a few random spirals in the lighter gray blocks.

HST pieced backing

HST Backing – I love making pieced backs from leftovers!

The only thing I wasn’t happy about HST (besides the bleach stains) is that doesn’t hang well because I used a woven textured background fabric. Because of the looser weave, the background ended up stretching too much as I quilted it.

So even thought it was painful to accidentally “ruin” a quilt, I decided that if I remade the quilt, I’d be able to create an even better version and try out some different quilting ideas.

HST Remix

HST Remix by Christa Watson

I was pleased to sneak in a little of my Modern Marks fabric for the binding!

And now there’s another happy ending to this story. Because I loved this design so much, I knew I had to remake it and submit it for QuiltCon 2018. I almost cried when I received my acceptance that it made it into the show!

The background of the HST remix is all pieced from regular cotton solids so they were nice and stable and didn’t stretch. In both versions, the negative space is made from individually pieced background squares to add a bit more dimension rather than using large chunks of fabric.

HST's in progress

Improv-pieced HST’s

There are some slight differences from the first version. Because I ran out of fabric, I had to do some improv piecing to get enough triangles. I also decided to make them slightly bigger so that it would fit my bed. I also kept the idea of random pops of yellow and lighter gray but tried not to duplicate the layout exactly.

Quilting Plan

Quilting plan for HST

A draft “quilting plan” for HST remix. I obviously went in a different direction, but kept some of the elements in my final version. It often takes me many tries until I get a design I like.

The hardest part was deciding how to quilt it! I went through dozens of iterations of quilting plans until I could find something I liked. To make a quilting plan, I’ll print a copy of the design from EQ8 and will try sketching out different ideas until I’m pleased with how it looks. (You can do something similar by printing a photo of the quilt top.)

Although this takes time, it saves me hours of time ripping out a quilted design that looks great in my head, but doesn’t actually work on the quilt!

quilting plan for hst remix

Another quilting plan in progress – it’s getting closer to what I actually did!

Machine Quilting on HST RemixClick the image above to see closeup details.

I think my favorite part of the quilting was quilting some irregular chevron designs in each of the HST blocks and adding a bit of  “embellishment” by randomly quilting a different free-motion design in a few of the blocks.

HST remix quilting detail

I gave a nod to the original HST with a touch of straight line quilting and modern spirals.

Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out and I’m pleased that the original HST is preserved in the book, and folks will get to see HST remix “in the cloth” at QuiltCon next year!

More detail of HST remix

I loved using Alison Glass handcrafted batiks for this quilt!

Click here for a list of all the stops on the Modern Quilts blog hop, and to see more of the beautiful quilts in the book! There are no patterns in the book, just hundreds of pages of beautiful modern quilts for you to explore. I highly recommend this volume for anyone interested in modern quilts!

The Hallmarks of Modern Machine Quilting Free Creative Webinar April 14

Be sure to join me for my upcoming creative webinar, The Hallmarks of Modern Machine Quilting. Registration is free to all Modern Quilt Guild Members, and the webinar will go live on Thursday, April 14, 2016 from 6-7:30 PM Pacific Time. There will be a Q&A after.

Modern Machine Quilting

In the webinar, I’ll explain how the modern aesthetic applies to the machine quilting process, using examples of many of the quilts from QuiltCon 2016. If you are not yet an MQG member, be sure to join The MQG here!

I can’t wait – it should be super fun and informative!

Christa’s Soapbox – Joining the Modern Quilt Guild Changed My Life

I guess I could subtitle this – “Sappy Love Letter to the MQG.” Sorry guys – I can’t help it!

As I prepare to teach at QuiltCon, the modern quilting show and conference that takes place in Pasadena, CA, February 18-21, I can’t help but pause and reflect on how much The Modern Quilt Guild has changed my life in such a short amount of time!

Here’s a quick recap: I’ve loved the art of quilting ever since I started this awesome hobby back in 1994. However, for many, many years, I felt stuck and uninspired because I couldn’t find my personal quilt style. I made a lot of quilts that I didn’t really like, just because it was so darn fun sewing them together! When I first heard of the MQG in 2012 and decided on a whim to attend QuiltCon (by myself!) in 2013, it really was a life changing moment.

christa_quiltcon_chaming_chevrons

The first time I ever entered or attended a national show was at QuiltCon in 2013.

At once, I resonated with the modern quilting aesthetic. The bold colors, clean lines, and graphic geometry appealed to me immensely. Now – I don’t want to go down a rabbit hole about what modern quilting is or isn’t. Neither do I want to discuss the merits of whether or not one should define their style or label themselves as fitting into a particular genre. Suffice it to say – upon becoming involved with the MQG, I instantly knew these were my kindred spirits and this was the style that I had been looking for, but didn’t know where to find it.

The best part of joining such a diverse community is truly connecting with so many people from different walks of life. Let’s be real – I’m probably not going to meet one of my tattooed and pierced BQF’s (best quilting friends) in my conservative church community, and they most likely won’t run into me at a bar – but we certainly do have a lot to chat about when we hook up at QuiltCon in person!

Abacus

Returning to QuiltCon in 2015 was even more fun – this time I had more friends!

When I attended QuiltCon back in 2013, I was on fire with excitement! The whole weekend was full of and inspiration and exhilaration. It lit a fire under me to start publishing my work, and I vowed to one day return as a teacher. When I attended the second QuiltCon in 2015, it solidified all the positive feelings I’d had since the first one.

It’s funny – although I’ve always said I’d never be president of anything, I spent last year being president of the Las Vegas MQG. But when the universe moves you to take action, you just can’t ignore it! So yeah, I’m a little bit excited (and a whole lot nervous) to return to QuiltCon again in 2016.

Although I’m not naiive enough to realize that there are both cheerleaders and detractors for any organization, I look forward to the future of the Modern Quilt Guild. Although I’m sure there will be bumps in the road ahead, I’m excited for the journey, because being a member has truly changed my quilting life – for the better!

The End of an Era – Plus a Giveaway

By now I’m sure many of you have heard the news that the National Quilting Association (NQA) is ceasing operations. This came as such a sad surprise to many of us who had been longtime members. The organization just celebrated it’s 46th year and a huge turning point in my quilting career was getting the opportunity to write a regular magazine column for them about Machine Quilting, and getting to teach at their last quilt show earlier this year. The reasons for their dissolution are given here.

nqa_magazineThe last issue of Quilting Quarterly

As a side note, I hope I’m not a bad-luck charm. The last magazine I wrote for on a regular basis was Quilty, and it went defunct, too! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for better luck in the future!

At the time I wrote what I consider to be my best article to date (co-authored with the super amazing Jacquie Gering), I didn’t realize it would be in the final issue of the magazine. I don’t think the publishers and editors knew that either. In fact, I had one more column slated for the next issue which won’t end up being published. However, I’ll  be sure to share it with you all at a future date.

nqa_quiltcon_article

The last article I wrote for NQA, about QuiltCon, co-authored with Jacquie Gering

I always like to find a silver lining among the gloomy clouds, so the good news for you guys is that I have one extra copy of the issue I can pass along to one lucky winner. I’m sure this will become a collector’s item since it’s the last issue.

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment letting me know what’s your favorite quilting magazine and why. I’ll choose a winner at the end of the day on Friday and will share the winner’s name here in this post. I’m happy to ship it to anyone, no matter where in the world you live!

If you click directly on the title of this post, there should be a comment box below this post for you to write in. Otherwise, click the # of comments show, above the post in the left margin to leave your comment.

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Las Vegas Modern Friends – Come Join Me!

This is an invitation to my local Las Vegas friends and those in the surrounding area, to come join the local modern guild! The Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild has been around for a few years, but they made a New Year’s resolution to become an official affiliate group of the national Modern Quilt Guild!

Banner

Isn’t that exciting? I’m helping out by getting all the paperwork together and recruiting a few of my friends. Be sure to check out details about upcoming meetings on the LVMQG blog and join the fun. 🙂

 

WIP Wednesday – MQG Webinar Help Wanted

My current WIP is a live online webinar I will presenting for the Modern Quilt Guild on November 18th titled Fun With Figures: How to Calculate Quilty Math.

20141104_MQG_webinarIt’s free to members, so I invite you to join the Modern Quilt Guild, if you haven’t done so already! 🙂

As part of the webinar, I’d like to ask for your help in my preparations. What are some problems you face when it comes to calculating yardage? Or what do you need the most help with when figuring out fabric requirements? I’d love to tailor this lecture to my audience and will trouble shoot as many of your suggestion as I can. You can just leave me a comment below, or email me directly (to christa@christaquilts.com).

It should be fun!

Modern Quilt Guild Showcase at the International Quilt Festival

I was stoked when I found out that Quilt Market attendees could also see all the beautiful quilts on display for the International Quilt Festival which opens this weekend. I was able to take pictures of 32 quilts which were presented in the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase. I’m happy for you to save and share any of the images below – just be sure to credit me as the photographer along with the name of the quiltmaker. 🙂

Modern Quilt Guild Showcase Special Exhibit

Modern Quilt Guild Showcase Special Exhibit

I’m sorry that some of the pictures have tape and poles in front of them, and the lighting wasn’t the best. But I hope you enjoy the show!

Amazonia by Nathalie Bearden

Amazonia by Nathalie Bearden

Anni Albers' Orange Chair Martha Peterson

Anni Albers’ Orange Chair by Martha Peterson

Avalon Sunrise by Colleen Wootton

Avalon Sunrise by Colleen Wootton

Back to Basics by Melissa Corry

Back to Basics by Melissa Corry

Blue Circle Quilt by Kim Eichler-Messmer

Blue Circle Quilt by Kim Eichler-Messmer

Boxed In by Elizabeth Dackson

Boxed In by Elizabeth Dackson

Broken Bars by Rebecca Roach

Broken Bars by Rebecca Roach

Citrus Wedge by Jennifer Carlton Bailly

Citrus Wedge by Jennifer Carlton Bailly

City Center by Angie Henderson

City Center by Angie Henderson

Colorado 4x4 by Stephanie Ruyle

Colorado 4×4 by Stephanie Ruyle

Cycles 2 by Leanne Chahley

Cycles 2 by Leanne Chahley

Didn't Get the Memo by Alissa Carlton

Didn’t Get the Memo by Alissa Carlton

Entropy by Elisa Albury

Entropy by Elisa Albury

Fade Into Gray by Stephanie Ruyle

Fade Into Gray by Stephanie Ruyle

Fissures by Debra Jeske

Fissures by Debra Jeske

Folded Flock by Jenna Brand

Folded Flock by Jenna Brand

Funky Junk by Renee Tallman

Funky Junk by Renee Tallman

Grand Canal by Casey York, Quilted by Ann McNew

Grand Canal by Casey York, Quilted by Ann McNew

Homage by Jacquie Gering

Homage by Jacquie Gering

Las Ventanas by Kristin Shields

Las Ventanas by Kristin Shields

Melon Ice by Amy Friend

Melon Ice by Amy Friend

Modern X by Christa Watson

Modern X by Christa Watson

Namaste by Cheryl Olson

Namaste by Cheryl Olson

Off Center by Charlotte Noll

Off Center by Charlotte Noll

Pick Up Sticks by Becky Goldsmith

Pick Up Sticks by Becky Goldsmith

Pixel Pusher II Caro Sheridan

Pixel Pusher II Caro Sheridan

Spiced Chai Quilt by Katie Blakesley

Spiced Chai Quilt by Katie Blakesley

Spiraling Out of Control by Christa Watson

Spiraling Out of Control by Christa Watson

Summer Break by Amy Anderson

Summer Break by Amy Anderson

Sunburst Quilt by Tara Faughnan

Sunburst Quilt by Tara Faughnan

The White Rainbow by Shruti Dandekar

The White Rainbow by Shruti Dandekar

Tune In Next Week by Chawne Kimber, Quilted by Pamela Cole

Tune In Next Week by Chawne Kimber, Quilted by Pamela Cole

Aren’t they beautiful?

I’ll do a complete quilt market wrap up this Thursday, including sharing the names of my market SWAG giveaway winners. I had enough loot to choose 3 people!!

Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild Show and Tell – July 2013

Last night I attended the monthly meeting of the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild, and it was so fun to meet face to face with like-minded gals and discuss quilts!

LVMQG

Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild Banner Finished

I only joined a few months ago and it has been so great getting to know these terrific gals. We had some fun show and tell which is always inspiring…

Marjorie's Apron

Marjorie’s Apron

Marjorie's Apron

Such Cute Fabric!

Blue Quilt

Tracy E.’s Blue Quilt, Quilted by Linda N.

Hawaiian Quilt

Valerie K.’s Hawaiian Quilt for Honokaa Hospital
Hand Appliqued & Hand Quited – Gorgeous!

Grape Vine Runner

Valerie’s Grape Vine Embroidery/Colored Runner

One of our founding members, Carolina, focused more on the “telling” part. She gave us a wrap up of an industry craft trade show she recently attended and handed out a few freebies that she picked up along the way.

Carolina

Carolina the Crafter – speaking in front of some gorgeous modern quilt shop samples!

Carolina is quite a crafty blogger and you can see some of her clever crafty ideas on her blog 30 Minute Crafts. She’ll also be teaching at the Riley Blake Fabric Fest here in Vegas this fall. Too cool (well actually, still pretty darn hot)!

X Plus

X Plus Blocks for Charity Quilt

Here are a few X Plus blocks I stitched up that will go into a charity quilt for the Candle Lighters in a couple of weeks. (Thanks to Patti for cutting and pre-sewing many of the pieces ahead of time and for coordinating the whole affair).

Reading for Rover Quilts

Reading with Rover Quilts

And finally, a few of the gals were able to finish off some more “Reading with Rover” quilts from leftover Madrona Road fabric. These will be given to a local program coordinated by one of our members that pairs up kids needing extra reading practice with dogs to sit and read to (and cuddle with I’m sure).

We also discussed a little bit about whether or not to become members of The Modern Quilt Guild now that they have “officially” opened up for national membership. Hopefully we’ll make a final decision about that by next month because my vote is definitely yes!!

You can read about the last LVMQG meeting I attended here. It was a fun night and I can’t wait for the next one!

Quilting With Friends and Joining a Modern Guild

I finally did it! I joined my local modern guild – The Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild. When I went to my first meeting last week, I knew right away that these were my “peeps!”

Las Vegas Modern Quilters

Cola and Regina with LVMQG Banner

Is this a fantastic banner or what? The president, Cola, had it printed from Spoonflower. Now the next step is to quilt it.

Bonnie & Camille Challenge

Bonnie & Camille Challenge

These gals have it all – show and tell, retreats, swaps, etc. They even had a challenge using Bonnie and Camille fabric where Camille herself came to judge. How cool is that?

Challenge Cake

Yum – Delicious Cake!

Camille Roskelley


After meeting so many great bloggers at QuiltCon, it is nice to know I can find more fun friends that also share my interests right here at home. 🙂