Finished Quilt: Color Weave, QuiltCon Entry + Quilting Tips

Today I have another quilt finish to share! Now that I’m not inundated with too many projects and too little time (yay for balance!), I can actually blog more about quilts I’ve recently finished, and I love sharing my virtual show and tell with you!

Color Weave by Christa Watson

Color Weave was published in issue 21 of Modern Quilts Unlimited. Photo Credit MQU.

Modern Quilts Unlimited is one of my all-time favorite magazines and it’s such a thrill when my work appears in their pages. Fun fact: the editor, Laurie Baker and I met backin 2014 when she helped edit my first book, Machine Quilting with Style, and we’ve been friends ever since!

Color Weave Backstory

I originally made Color Weave to be included in my most recent book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts, since it’s completely sewn from 2 1/2″ strips. While the book was in the layout and editing stage, the editors realized it was going to be too long (what? Me wordy???) and we had to make the agonizing decision to cut this project.

Quilting Detail on Color Weave

I love quilts with simple color schemes. Pick any 3 colors to make this quilt!

This happens with craft books more often than you realize, because book publishers would rather have too much content to choose from than not enough. For budgeting purposes, they have to stick to a strict page limit that’s agreed ahead of time in the book contract, and there’s only so many ways you can lay things out with a limited number of pages.

Precut Pieces for Color Weave

I love it when all of the pieces of a quilt are cut and ready to sew!

So after I held my 5 minute pity party, I contacted MQU and asked if they’d be interested in publishing this pattern in their magazine and they said yes! FYI – if you are interested in getting into magazines, editors are always on the lookout for great content and the fact that my quilt was ready to go meant they could schedule it for any issue where they needed to fill pages.

Machine Quilting Details

Needless to say I was thrilled that Modern Quilts Unlimited was excited to publish the pattern for Color Weave, and I was even more pleased that they included the instructions on how to quilt it as a free “web extra” on their blog. (See below image for link.)

Color Weave Web ExtraPhoto Credit – Modern Quilts Unlimited Magazine

Click here to get my machine quilting instructions for Color Weave, courtesy of MQU magazine.

Random crosshatch is actually one of my favorite ways to quilt a quilt with your walking foot (or dual feed) and it is so easy to do! Rather than painstakingly trying to mark and create a perfectly symmetrical grid, I use the piecing seams as a guideline for my lines.

Machine Quilting Random Crosshatch

I started off by quilting in the ditch between all the seams to stabilize and anchor the quilt. Then I filled in between the grid with straight lines at random intervals. I used the edge of my walking foot as a guideline for spacing, moving the needle position to create narrower or wider lines.

QuiltCon Acceptance

I knew right away when I received this quilt back from the magazine that I wanted to enter it into QuiltCon for their 2018 show. I haven’t really seen a design like this before, so I thought it had a good shot of getting into the innovative “Piecing” category.  I’m pleased that others will be able to see it at next years’ show because one of the reasons I enter shows is to share my work with a wider audience who might not have discovered me yet.

Quilting Detail on Color Weave

Quilting detail from Color Weave. Just remember: the best way to hide an imperfectly straight line is to surround it with more imperfectly straight lines!!

It took me awhile to figure out how to create the woven effect in the piecing. It’s like an optical illusion, and I’m sure the quilt would look totally different using scrappy prints, but I was pleased with how it turned out.

When trying to quilt parallel lines, just remember that “straight-ish” lines are perfectly ok! When you are two inches away from the quilt, you’ll notice all the imperfections. But once you back away from the quilt, all of a sudden your eye sees the overall texture rather than the individual stitches.

Random Crosshatch Grid by Christa Watson

Quilting Tip:  If you want your quilting to show, use a solid back. If you want to hide your quilting, using a busy back. I always use the same color thread in top and bobbin because I’d rather see the quilting show up on the back, than little dots of bobbin color on the top!

color Weave Stats:

Color Weave by Christa Watson

Photo Credit: Jason Watson

Modern quilts are my favorite. Now I just need to make more of them!!

Scrap Happy Quilt on the Cover of American Patchwork and Quilting

It’s time to share another fun finish! This is Scrap Happy, patterned in the October issue of American Patchwork and Quilting (available now) and I’m pleased that it happened to make the cover!

Scrap Happy by Christa Watson in American Patchwork and Quilting

Photograph used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

One of the things I love best about American Patchwork and quilting is the photography. Even those this quilt is about the piecing, I love how well you can see the quilting on the cover shot and in the pattern directions themselves.

The quilting on Scrap Happy is a good example of my “divide and conquer” method I teach in my quilting classes. First I stitched in the ditch around each row of blocks (vertically on each side). Then I outlined the ditch using the edge of my walking foot/dual feed as a guide for spacing. Once the straight line quilting was done, I moved onto the free motion motifs.

Here’s a closeup shot of my own camera-phone photo that I took while making the quilt:

Free Motion quilting detail

I love combining walking foot quilting with free motion in the same quilt! Fabric selection tip: flip over the back of many medium prints to get more variety of lights.

In the scrappy blocks I quilted “woven switchbacks”, which is basically rounded back and forth lines that go in alternate directions in each square. Finally, I quilted “swirls and pearls” in the light backgrounds, combining elongated swirls with pebbles for an interesting design.

Here’s another beauty shot of the whole quilt as photographed in the magazine:

Scrap Happy American Patchwork and Quilting

Photograph used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

As you can see – this is a BIG quilt, and yes I actually quilted it on my regular home sewing machine. The key is to “scrunch and smoosh” the bulk of the quilt out of the way as you go, rather than trying to fold it or roll it. Just remember that you are only working with a small part of the machine at any time and if you can keep that area nice and flat, you won’t have any problems.

The design for this quilt is based on a traditional block called “Mock Log Cabin” because of it’s half light/dark coloring. Just like a log cabin, you can set the block a million different ways. I originally designed and made a quilt from similar (but larger) blocks back in the 90’s when I was going through my dusty pink and blue phase, but I prefer the newer version with updated scrappy bright prints. It’s also perfect for using up precut scraps! (In fact, I actually threw in many of the leftovers from my latest book when making this quilt!)

Mock Log Cabin Alternate Layout

An alternate layout for the blocks (not included in the pattern).

Thanks to EQ7, I was able to play around with many different settings before I chose the final layout. Here’s another tip: when working in EQ7, I don’t always have to color the quilt exactly how it will appear. If I’m making a scrappy quilt, I might just mock it up in one colorway as shown in these two examples, knowing it will look great in any color scheme.

Alternate Layout for Mock Log Cabin Blocks

Another alternate block layout – it’s so fun to play!

When working on this design I thought I would make it smaller – but when I realized how many scraps I had, I ended up making it much larger! I really like quilt designs that are easy to size up or down, simply based on the number of blocks that can be made.

Scrap Happy in American Patchwork and Quilting MagazinePhotograph used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

The best tip I can give when making this quilt is to just make a few blocks at a time as your scraps accumulate. It’s quite a lot of pieces and you’ll go a little stir crazy trying to make all of the blocks at once. Plus if you use your scraps as you go, you’ll get a really fun scrappy look that will add to its charm.

Click here to see more patterns in the October issue of American Patchwork and Quilting and pick up your copy if you don’t already have a magazine subscription. If you end up making this quilt, do let me know!












Coming up in January – Feature and Pattern in Make Modern

I wanted to give a quick shout-out to what I think is one of the best magazines out there for modern quilting. Make Modern is a digital magazine created by Australian quilters Jane Kelly, Kristy Lea and Lara Motta. It’s packed full of interesting articles, great patterns, and fun giveaways.

One of the coolest things of it being an online magazine is that it includes hot links embedded within the text. So if you want to learn more about a particular pattern designer, all you have to do is click their name and it will take you to their website. How cool is that?

Issue 9

How fun to have my name on the cover. I may print it out and frame it!!

In issue 9, coming out in January, includes a profile of me, plus an original pattern I’ve designed using precuts. I can’t wait to share it with you! To ensure you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe to Make Modern.  You can purchase single issues, or a 6 month or year-long subscription. Back issues are also available. Click here to see my previous quilt from issue 5.

Another perk of subscribing digitally? You can save it forever with no paper to waste!

Christa’s Show and Tell – Sewing Every Day

One of the quilting goals I set for myself was to sew every day. To make this goal actually happen, I had to make sure it was realistic. In order to do that, I set a minimum time limit of just 10 minutes a day of sewing. I also broadened my definition of “sewing” to include designing quilts, reading quilt magazines and watching online quilting classes.

So far so good. Here is what I have been able to accomplish “sew” far this month:

I’ve signed up for  several Craftsy quilting classes. I just finished watching Elizabeth Hartman’s free “Creative Quilt Backs Class” and am currently viewing Cindy Needham’s “Design It, Quilt It” class. They are both excellent!

Creative Quilt BacksDesign It Quilt It

I pulled these lovely fabrics to participate in the Skillbuilder Block of the Month over at I decided to go with all Kona Solids for this quilt. I haven’t decided on my background fabric yet. I’ll probably choose a shade of Grey.

Skillbuilder Fabrics

I used the color wheel when choosing colors and went with an “accented analagous” color scheme. That means I chose red, orange and yellow which are next to each other on the color wheel, then threw in a bit of complementary teal just for fun. I can’t wait to get started!

Today, I paper-pieced this sewing themed block as part of Quiet Play’s And Sew On year-long block-of-the-month series. January’s block is called “Measure Twice” and is available as a free download this month.

Measure Twice

Measure Twice, Cut Once!

I also made this block designed by Amy Friend of During Quiet Time. I love the sewing theme so I may have to incorporate it into the same quilt!

Sewing Machine Block

Next, I designed this quilt in EQ7 which will be the basis for my next quilt-along as soon as the current one finishes. I found out how to download Moda’s fabric swatches directly into the design program so I can design quilts using the actual fabrics from the quilt. Very cool!

Hugs and Kisses

Hugs and Kisses

When I don’t feel up to sewing, or when I’m traveling, and bringing along sewing supplies is impractical,  I have a stack of quilting magazines that I am thoroughly enjoying reading.

My favorite magazines are Machine Quilting Unlimited, along with their brand new sister publication Modern Quilts Unlimited. I’ve also been a long-time subscriber of Quilter’s Newsletter, the best source of news for what’s hot and happening in the quilting world.

Machine Quilting UnlimtedModern Quilts UnlimitedQuilter's Newsletter

I think that’s a great start for January! How about you? How are you coming along with your quilting goals?