The Making of Diamond in the Rough Part 1 – My Design Process

Let me tell you a little about the making of my Diamond in the Rough Quilt, my entry into QuiltCon 2017 that was patterned in QuiltCon Magazine. I want to share quite a bit of detail so I’m going to split this up into two posts.

Diamond in the Rough by Christa Watson, at QuiltCon 2017

Have you noticed how often quilters match their quilts???

Designing in EQ7

I actually came up this design while working on another quilt pattern. The premise for the other design was to use a colorful bundle of fabric, and I originally wanted to do something with HRT’s (half rectangle triangles.) Often, I will start in black and white so I can play with design without color getting in the way. And then many times, like in this quilt, the black and white version takes on a life of its own and becomes a totally different design.

It was easy enough to whip up a simple HRT layout in EQ7:

Diamond in the Rough first sketch

I ended going in a completely different direction for the other quilt but saved this basic layout to come back to later. Once I did, I started playing around with the different shapes that could be made from HRT’s in EQ7. I started with harlequins and I kept all of the construction lines showing so that I could see where all the seam lines would be.

Black and White Harlequins

And then I stated playing around with the individual rows. I really liked the graphic diamond shapes that were possibly simply by rearranging the layout of the individual units.

Harlequin and Diamonds Design

I decided to throw in a big diamond just because and that really struck a chord with me. I decided to add a very skinny border in EQ7 which would represent the binding. I also played around a bit with the bottom rows to see what interesting graphic components would emerge. Many times during my design process, the design will go in several different directions and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities.

However, at this point, I knew I had a keeper! It just needed a pop of color…

Diamond in the Rough sketch

Finally, I added a pop of red by coloring the center diamond plus a small patch of binding on the lower right. I also decided it needed one more row of HRT’s along the bottom to balance the design. Then I hid the seam lines so that I could get a clear visual of what the finished design would look like once sewn together.

Diamond in the Rough Final Design

I love working in EQ7 because I know I’ll be happy with the design before I ever make the first cut. In the next post, I’ll write about how I designed the machine quilting and share a few closeups of the quilting.

Diamond in the Rough by Christa Watson, at QuiltCon 2017

I love it when my finished quilt looks just like my original sketch! The final quilt measures 56″ x 72″ and was made with solids and Color Weave from Benartex. I quilted it with 50 weight Aurifil in Very Dark Grey, White, and Red from my Piece and Quilt thread collection.

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QuiltCon Registration Opens June 25, 2016 for MQG Members, July 8 for General Public

Have you picked out your classes for QuiltCon 2017? It’s going to be the modern quilting party of the year!! Registration opens this Saturday (June 25th) at 7 AM PST for Modern Quilt Guild Members, and July 8 for the general public. Be sure to register as soon as you can because classes sell out fast!

Click here for the complete catalog and descriptions of all lectures and classes.

As a reminder, here are the classes I’ll be teaching:

(220) Getting Started with EQ7 – Thursday 2/23 9-5

introtoEQ7

In this comprehensive workshop, students will learn the basics of Electric Quilt Software – version 7 for Windows or Mac. Topics include: learning to use the block library, setting blocks into quilt layouts, adding borders, importing fabric swatches, designing simple quilts, calculating yardage and more. This is a hands-on computer class, and students must be comfortable using their own laptops, with their version of the software installed and validated prior to class.

(826) Machine quilting Spirals and Swirls – Thursday 2/23 6-9 PM

center_spiral

Learn how to quilt modern, geometric spirals and swirls using both walking foot and free-motion motifs. Students will learn how to quilt stunning designs such as large continuous spirals, geometric spirals, and several swirl variations. Spirals can be quilted in different areas of your quilts, or used as an allover design. Combine motifs for even more possibilities! Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.

(LE08) Quilting on Your Home Sewing Machine: Tips and Tricks – Friday 2/24 10:30-11:15 AM (lecture)

trunk_show

There are quite a few differences between quilting on a long arm and quilting on a sit-down home sewing machine. Although many of the same motifs can be quilted on either machine, the techniques on how to approach the quilting are different. In this lecture, I will share her best tricks on how to approach quilting on a sit-down machine. Plus, I’ll answer your questions and share tips on how to become a better quilter.

(232) Designing Modern Quilts in EQ7 – Saturday 2/25 6-9 PM

Designing-Modern-Quilts-in-EQ7-Image

Take your modern designs to the next level by learning how to draw and change them in EQ7. Topics will include drawing improv blocks, manipulating borders, incorporating negative space, going off the grid, changing sizes, and designing custom set quilts. We will work at a quick pace, so students should be comfortable with the basics of EQ7 prior to class. This is a hands-on computer workshop, and students must be comfortable using their own laptops, with their version of the software installed and validated prior to class.

(817) Free Motion Alternatives to STraight Line Quilting – Sunday 2/26 9-12

fmq_straight_line_alternatives

Go beyond the straight line and use your free-motion quilting skills to their fullest. In this workshop, students will learn how to turn basic shapes into linear free-motion quilting designs. Quilt them as allover designs across the surface of your quilt, or use them sporadically to create custom quilting motifs. Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.

(833) Improv Machine Quilting – Sunday 2/26 2-5

improv_machine_quilting_image

Liberate yourself from traditional quilting symmetry by combining your favorite machine quilting motifs in a seemingly random way. Add amazing texture to the negative spaces in your quilts and create your own unique combinations. The class will cover basic free-motion filler designs such as pebbles, swirls, leaves, paisleys, triangles, and more. Learn how to improvisationally combine them for stunning results. Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.

Who’s going to QuiltCon?

Let me know if you plan to attend – I would love to see you there!

My QuiltCon 2017 Workshop Schedule – Catalog Available Now!

I’m super excited for QuiltCon East 2017 in Savannah Georgia! After having a blast teaching in 2016, I’m so excited to return in 2017! The 2017 Catalog is available now.  Registration for Modern Quilt Guild Members opens June 25th. Public registration opens July 1.

teaching_at_quiltcon_2017_v2

I am excited to be teaching 2 classes on EQ7, 3 classes on domestic machine quilting, plus a lecture. Here’s my schedule, in order:

(220) Getting Started with EQ7 – Thursday 2/23 9-5

introtoEQ7

In this comprehensive workshop, students will learn the basics of Electric Quilt Software – version 7 for Windows or Mac. Topics include: learning to use the block library, setting blocks into quilt layouts, adding borders, importing fabric swatches, designing simple quilts, calculating yardage and more. This is a hands-on computer class, and students must be comfortable using their own laptops, with their version of the software installed and validated prior to class.

(826) Machine quilting Spirals and Swirls – Thursday 2/23 6-9 PM

center_spiral

Learn how to quilt modern, geometric spirals and swirls using both walking foot and free-motion motifs. Students will learn how to quilt stunning designs such as large continuous spirals, geometric spirals, and several swirl variations. Spirals can be quilted in different areas of your quilts, or used as an allover design. Combine motifs for even more possibilities! Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.

(LE08) Quilting on Your Home Sewing Machine: Tips and Tricks – Friday 2/24 10:30-11:15 AM (lecture)

trunk_show

There are quite a few differences between quilting on a long arm and quilting on a sit-down home sewing machine. Although many of the same motifs can be quilted on either machine, the techniques on how to approach the quilting are different. In this lecture, I will share her best tricks on how to approach quilting on a sit-down machine. Plus, I’ll answer your questions and share tips on how to become a better quilter.

(223) Designing Modern Quilts in EQ7 – Saturday 2/25 6-9 PM

Designing-Modern-Quilts-in-EQ7-Image

Take your modern designs to the next level by learning how to draw and change them in EQ7. Topics will include drawing improv blocks, manipulating borders, incorporating negative space, going off the grid, changing sizes, and designing custom set quilts. We will work at a quick pace, so students should be comfortable with the basics of EQ7 prior to class. This is a hands-on computer workshop, and students must be comfortable using their own laptops, with their version of the software installed and validated prior to class.

(817) Free Motion Alternatives to STraight Line Quilting – Sunday 2/26 9-12

fmq_straight_line_alternatives

Go beyond the straight line and use your free-motion quilting skills to their fullest. In this workshop, students will learn how to turn basic shapes into linear free-motion quilting designs. Quilt them as allover designs across the surface of your quilt, or use them sporadically to create custom quilting motifs. Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.

(833) Improv Machine Quilting – Sunday 2/26 2-5

improv_machine_quilting_image

Liberate yourself from traditional quilting symmetry by combining your favorite machine quilting motifs in a seemingly random way. Add amazing texture to the negative spaces in your quilts and create your own unique combinations. The class will cover basic free-motion filler designs such as pebbles, swirls, leaves, paisleys, triangles, and more. Learn how to improvisationally combine them for stunning results. Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.


The rest of the time, I’ll be walking the show floor, checking out the quilts, and of course trying to meet as many of you! Let me know if you are planning to attend.

Download the QuiltCon 2017 catalog here.