New Quilt Patterns Featuring Geo Pop!

I’m excited to release three new patterns that I created to showcase my new fabric line, Geo Pop which will be shipping to stores in August/September. Just like all of my quilt patterns, they will look great in any fabrics you choose! And they are available in either print or PDF.

Bling – Fat Quarter Friendly

Bling Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson

Bling comes in three sizes and is made from 20 fat quarters plus background. I loved the design so much I had to make it twice! The key to color success is choosing a very high contrasting background. I wanted to show off the black and white prints from Geo Pop and I love how they turned out!

Optical Illusion – 3 Colors, Fun to Look At!

Bling Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson

It only takes 3 fabrics to create this stunning Optical Illusion! Scroll up and down to watch the lines play tricks on your eyes. Yes, they really are straight!! I’ve made my version using geometric prints in black, white and gray, but I’d love to see this made up in other colors, too! I’ve included instructions for 3 sizes and like all of my patterns, it also includes machine quilting suggestions.

Infrastructure – a Modern Row Quilt

Infrastructure Quilt Pattern

This stunning quilt is a collaboration between me and my very talented friend Heather Black. I sent her digital images of Geo Pop early on and asked her to come up with a fun modern design with straight piecing (rather than the curves she’s well known for). I think she knocked it out of the park with this design while cleverly using every fabric in the line. I love this quilt so much that it will be my next quilt along in September, once the fabrics have been released. I can’t wait!!

Once Geo Pop hits stores later this year, I’ll share more about the making of each quilt. Remember – I’m here to cheer you on every step of the way so that you enjoy making these quilts as much as I did!

QuiltCon 2015 Judging Results #2 – Optical Illusion

Optical Illusion is the second of the three quilts I entered for judging at QuiltCon. I actually made this quilt specifically for QuiltCon, so I was very pleased when it got in. I’ve been crushing on simple geometric designs in a limited color palette, so this quilt really allowed me to explore that desire. I definitely think more black and white quilts are in my future.

And yes, it moves when you scroll it! 🙂

optical_illusion_quiltconOptical Illusion 67″ x 88″ by Christa Watson.

Most people were surprised at how big it was in person.

Optical Illusion was placed into the piecing category which includes this description, “quilts that are machine pieced and reflect a particularly strong or innovative use of piecing.” I guess you could say this quilt was pieced innovatively, although I was secretly hoping for it to be in the minimalist category. I’m still learning exactly what minimalism means. 🙂

Here are the positive judges’ comments, along with my commentary:

  • Quilting motif supports the design. I’m glad – since that’s what I was going for – geometric simplicity that doesn’t overpower the quilt.
  • Binding is well proportioned and applied. Double yay since the binding on this quilt is what stressed me out the most!

cwatson_opticalillusion_detDetail of quilting on optical Illusion – free-motion boxes.

Here are the areas for suggested improvement, along with my thoughts:

Design direction lacks focus. I was afraid of this – the judges viewed the quilt so close up that I’m afraid they missed the point of the quilt. I don’t think they read the artist’s statement either, so to them it probably just looked like a bunch of black and white squares, and they didn’t get to see the effect of the optical illusion.

I had one slight disappointment in that whoever printed off the paperwork for the show got the name wrong. I had entered it as “Optical Illusion” (I went back and double checked all my acceptance emails to make sure it wasn’t my error), but the title was listed as “48”. I can only imagine that was some kind of typo or mail merge glitch. However, much to the credit of the MQG, they did fix it immediately, once I notified them. Unfortunately, it was too late to know whether or not the incorrect title had any impact on the judging. But you know what? Rather than get all upset about it, I’ve learned through experience sometimes these things just happen. Inadvertent mistakes can be made by volunteers who are doing their best, so there’s no need to beat them up about it. 🙂

The best part about sharing this quilt was seeing the reaction it generated. I’m sure I’ll enter it into more shows in the future.

Quilt should be cleaned before entering into competition – lint. I knew I’d get knocked down on this. The quilt wasn’t linty or dirty, but the batting bearded (shed) like crazy through the black fabric on both front and back. When using dark solid fabrics, I need to stick to a black batting or one that doesn’t beard, like 100% cotton. I used Quilter’s Dream Orient which I’ve used before in print quilts with no problems. The batting is a mix of bamboo, silk, tencel and cotton. I’m not sure which fiber caused the problem, but that just means it’s time to experiment and make more quilts!

I share these critiques with you so that we can learn together what makes a successful quilt.

OpticalIllusion_quiltcon_meStanding next to Optical Illusion for scale. Though I’m pretty short so that may not help much.

I have had quite a number of people asking me for a pattern for this quilt. I am in the process of writing one now, so stay tuned!

Optical Illusion – The Finish

I was able to finish Optical Illusion just in time to submit it to QuiltCon (the all-modern quilt show and conference). Then I got the exciting news that it was selected for judging along with two of my other entries, Abacus and Spiraling Out of Control. There were over 1300 entries submitted this year which totally blew away the amount of entries received the first time around. What an awesome show it’s going to be!

cwatson_Optical_Illusion_1800Optical Illusion, designed, pieced and quilted by Christa Watson

Here’s a detail shot where you can see the quilting a little better:

cwatson_opticalillusion_detI had a lot of fun sharing this one on Instagram, because when my followers scrolled the reduced sized picture up and down, they could get the lines to move. What a fun trick! See if you can get it to move when you scroll this blog post up and down – it’s an interactive quilt!

Another “optical illusion” for this quilt was totally unintentional but added a fun surprise: when you hold it up to the light, you can see the geometric backing fabric shining through the white squares, creating a “stained-glass” effect. Cool huh?

stained-glassThis quilt is as fun to play with as it was to make! Since I finished ahead of schedule, I took a little time to make a not-so-fancy but utilitarian label for it, using the embroidery stitches on my machine. (It’s a Bernina 710 – since I know you are going to ask!)

labelI know several of you have asked for a pattern for it, so that’s in the works. I probably won’t release it though until after QuiltCon, to give me plenty of time to get it ready (and to see how it does during the judging process, LOL!!)

Now, it’s onto the next quilt….

Work in Progress – Optical Illusion Quilting Update

I’m plowing my way through the quilting on Optical Illusion this week. I hope to get it finished in time to enter it into QuiltCon. No pressure, right? (One of the things I love about entering quilt shows is that they light a fire under me to actually get things done.)

quilting_overviewDon’t you always match your clothing to your quilts when you sew?

I first created a small practice piece so that I could try out a couple of quilting variations with the same fabric, thread and batting as in the real quilt. I’d rather trouble shoot issues now, and know what I’m in for before starting the big quilt.

practice_pieceSmaller practice piece, sewn to scale using the same materials as the big quilt.

One tweak that I made to my spray basting method was to omit dragging my big tables downstairs and outside. I realized I could just lay a large sheet out on the patio and spray the layers of my quilt on the sheet, then take them back indoors for final assembly.

bastingI prefer to spray baste the top and backing separately, rather than the batting.

I tried out several different stitch textures before opting to go with Boxes, the squarish stipple design on the upper left hand of the picture below. After some practice, I realized that the design is really the star of this quilt, so I didn’t want to over-do it on the quilting.

texture_practiceThese textures were quilted on my practice piece so I could see how they looked “in the cloth” before picking a final design.

I realized that I prefer to add texture to my quilts with the quilting, so that I can enhance the piecing rather than overwhelm it. I quilted all of the black areas first in a matching thread, starting and stopping the quilting in each black box.  It was a lot of tying off, to bury my thread tails. But it really didn’t take that long, since I did a few rows each night while watching TV.

black_boxesI really like the texture of the boxes. I’m quilting the same motif right now in the white squares and I really like the effect. I chose Quilter’s Dream Orient batting which is super soft and I like the feel of it. However, the batting beards which means there is a lot of white fuzz showing through on the black fabric, so I’m constantly cleaning it off with a lint roller. (I’m still figuring out which battings I like best.)

I should have it all quilted soon and I plan to enjoy the holiday weekend hand stitching the binding on while visiting with the extended family.

Here’s wishing you a Happy Turkey Day!

Work in Progress – Optical Illusion Quilt

I’m making really good progress on my Optical Illusion quilt I designed several months back. It’s based on the optical illusion called “Cafe Walls” but with a vertical setting rather than a horizontal setting.

fabricI’m using Riley Blake solids in black, white and grey and decided to cut all of the long skinny strips parallel to the selvedge so they would stretch as little as possible.

RowsI used my railing in my sewing area to keep all of the rows lined up in order. That’s probably the trickiest part!

topI like the illusion it creates when you stare at it for too long! Now I have to decide if I want to make it any wider, and how I’m going to quilt it. That’s half the fun!