Fractured Puzzle Wins 2nd Place at MQX New England 2016

Fractured Puzzle was a totally experimental quilt design, pushing the boundaries of “What if…”


It’s my modern/artistic take on a more traditional/contemporary design that I offer as a free PDF download for newsletter subscribers, called Puzzle Box:

Puzzle Box Pattern

Imagine my surprise when I found out it took 2nd place in the Modern Category at MQX Quilt Festival New England this week! After all, it was originally made for the Michael Miller Modern Quilt Guild fabric challenge and was a proud QuiltCon reject.

It just goes to show that’s it’s so worth it to enter more than one show. You just never know which judges/juries it will appeal to!

Fractured Puzzle Ribbon

I love the pink ribbon – it is so cute!! Thanks to Jolene on Instagram for getting these pics!!

Fractured Puzzle Pieced Back

They hung the quilt so everyone can see the backside, too – clever!!

Here’s more detail of the quilting. I pieced and quilted it entirely on my BERNINA 770 QE. I matchstick quilted each of the fractured sections in a different direction using my favorite Aurifil 50 weight  #2615 Aluminium.


Then I quilted the red sashing in a fun geometric free-motion design with Aurifil #2250 Red.

Free Motion Quilting

This meant I had about a bazillion knots to tie off in each section, but I found it very relaxing to do while watching TV!!


I love entering quilt shows, especially those with modern categories and am always shocked, yet humbled when I get a ribbon. Sharing them in public is so fun; getting an award is like icing on the cake!

Here’s what I had to say about Fractured Puzzle:

Artist Statement

I was so happy when  Gotham Quilts on Instagram snapped a photo with the ribbon on it. Yippee!!


Click this link for more about the making of Fractured puzzle.

My MQG Fabric Challenge Quilt and Why It’s Important to go Out of Your Comfort Zone

I recently finished “Fractured Puzzle” which was my Modern Quilt Guild fabric challenge entry. All contestants were given samples of Michael Miller Glitz fabrics and we could add in additional Michael Miller fabrics as desired. My quilt is based on my Puzzle Box quilt design that’s a free download for newsletter subscribers.


Fractured Puzzle by Christa Watson, 56″ x 60″

This quilt was way, way out of my comfort zone for so many reasons! At first, I thought I would play it safe, and sew together the blocks in a standard, traditional grid format, shown below:


I really like the graphic quality of this layout, and the Glitz fabrics really play off of each other. Next, I thought it would be fun to add a pop of color with a red Cotton Couture solid:


By now, I’m really, really starting to like how this is turning out. I shared these pics in social media on instagram and facebook and received a lot of very positive feedback. But then a crazy idea popped into my head, and I couldn’t get rid of it:

What  would happen if if I slashed up the quilt top and then sewed it back together??


Getting ready to take the first cut – this was so scary!!

Going this route scared me so much because I thought people would really think I’d gone off the deep end. But something in me said I had to try, and that was truly exciting. After all, this WAS a quilt challenge. It’s not for publication, nor is it for a class sample, and I really didn’t need anyone else’s approval to do this. I finally decided to just dive in and  see what happened. What a liberating feeling!!


Wanna go crazy? Slash up your quilt!!

After making the first cut, things got a little easier. Now I’m liking the fractured look and for a time, I considered adding white strips in between each of the sections, “slash-and-insert” style. I still may explore this idea in a future quilt. But with this one, I decided to sew the sections back together, creating a really fractured, disjointed look.

At this point I’m not quite sure if it’s a modern quilt, or really more of an art quilt, but I don’t care, as I’m truly loving the process!!


Fractured Puzzle quilt top – a more dynamic design, don’t you think?

The hardest part was figuring how to sew the pieces back together. I felt like I was sewing a puzzle, joining sections back together to create larger units. I knew that I’d lose quite a bit around the edges once I squared it up, but that was totally okay with me.


After the top came together, I had a really great vision for the quilting, even though I knew it would be a TON of work! With my new BERNINA 770  I quilted tons of straight lines, about 1/4″ apart in each of the fractured sections, following a different angle.

This meant lots of loose threads to tie off at the end, but it was important for me to go with what the quilt “wanted” rather than what was easy. After all, I realized this quilt was more about the process and the journey, rather than the finished product.


Quilting Detail – it’s all about the angular texture!

I truly enjoyed making this quilt from start to finish. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me the freedom to explore the boundaries beyond traditional design.

I entered it into QuiltCon for 2016 and statistically the odds are slim that it will get in: there were over 1800 entries and only around 325 are accepted. But I’m an optimist and I’ll keep my fingers crossed. 🙂 Besides,  no matter what happens, this was a fabulous journey for me to complete, and I’m now emboldened to make other, “un-safe” choices when it comes to quilting!


What’s the most interesting, unique, or non-traditional quilt you’ve ever made?
Let me know in the comments, or post pictures over on my Facebook Group: Quilt With Christa.