Moving Sale Week 2 – Save Big on My Books and Thread!

Did you take advantage of last week’s inaugural moving sale? I’m overlapping the sales a little each week, so you can still get all PDF patterns for just $5.95 through 12/31/18.

House Update

I hope you had a wonderful holiday! We are knee deep in preparations to move and as you can imagine, many of our Christmas presents involved trips to Ikea and gift cards to the home improvement store! Our closing date is set for Jan 2nd and reality is now beginning to set in.

New Furniture from Ikea

My daughter chose a new Ikea bedroom set for Christmas and said she’s never too old for pink.
Thank goodness it will be my husband’s job to assemble it when we move!

So now it’s time for furniture shopping, picking out paint colors and figuring out where the current furnishings will fit. During my non-sewing time I’ve been doing quite a bit of planning and measuring. I’m approaching our upcoming move very similar to how I plan a quilt: sketch out ideas, play with colors, and get the layout finalized before the big project commences.

Floor plan sketch

For each room, I’ve sketched out a floor-plan to scale using graph paper. This is helping me figure out where the furniture will fit and is very similar to how I plan a quilt!

Fortunately we have a month or two to fix up the new place and move in before we need to sell our current home, but I know that time will fly by quicker than I’d like.

Moving Sale – NO Coupon REquired!

So each week I’ll be having a different sale on my Christa Quilts branded products. Not only will this give us a little extra $$ for moving expenses, but it will also reduce the amount of physical inventory we will need to move. So think of your purchase as doing double duty: you can pick up something great for yourself AND help out our family at the same time!

Click here to get signed copies of my  books for just $19.99 each!

My Books Are on Sale Through January 4, 2019

Books by Christa Watson

Now is a great time to stock you library with all of my books.
If you have all 3, you can pick up an extra copy for a friend.

The regular retail price of my books is between $26.99 to $29.99 so this is one heck of a deal! I have several boxes full of each title so that I always have plenty to bring with me to teaching events. But each one weighs over 50 pounds and that’s a lot to move. I’d rather ship them to you instead!

Save Big on My Thread Collections

Click here to get my Aurfil thread sets for less than $100 shipped!!

All 3 of my Aurifil thread sets include 12 spools of 50 weight 100% cotton, that are perfect for piecing and quilting. They retail for $130 or more for the set. Each individual spool sells for $12-$14 so this is probably the biggest deal of the year!! Get them from me for 1 week only for just $94.95 each + $5 us shipping. I’m happy to ship internationally, too!

Variegated collection by Christa Watson

Variegated collection by Christa Watson

Colors included in my new Variegated Collection:
3660 Bubblegum, 3770 Stone Washed Denim, 3817 Marrakesh, 3840 French Lilac, 3852 Liberty, 3910 Lemon Ice, 4150 Crème Brule, 4250 Flamingo, 4650 Leaves, 4652 Licorice Twist , 4654 Turquoise Foam , 4667 Nutty Nougat

Piece and Quilt Neutrals by Christa Watson

Colors included in my Neutrals Collection
2311 Muslin, 5021 Bamboo, 1246 Dark Grey, 5007 Light Grey Blue, 2326 Sand, 2372 Dark Antique Gold, 2315 Pale Flesh, 2405 Oyster, 2024 White, 2615 Aluminium, 2605 Grey, 4241 Very Dark Grey

Piece and Quilt Colors by Christa Watson

Threads included in my Colors Collection:
2425 Bright Pink, 2250 Red, 4020 Fuchsia, 2520 Violet, 2130 Medium Butter, 1133 Bright Orange, 2920 Light Brass, 2884 Green Yellow, 2886 Light Avocado, 1148 Light Jade, 2725 Light Wedgewood, 2783 Medium Delft Blue

Thanks so much for helping me out! I’lll keep you updated on our progress along with a new sale each week!

Creative Spaces Blog Hop Week 5 – Organizing my Thread

Are you having a fun time getting organized with your creative space? Even if you are only virtually following along, that can be tons of fun, too! Be sure to scroll to the end of this post for links to all 16 creatives on the Creative Spaces Blog Hop. I’m getting inspired, and hope you are, too!

Creative Spaces Blog Hop

This week we are discussing ways to organize our embellishments: buttons, trims, thread, and what have you. Here’s a not-so-secret truth about my work: I’m a minimalist and I don’t really embellish my quilts. (FYI, that’s why I find it hilarious that I named my current fabric line Fandangle  – a real, but silly-sounding word that means excess embellishment or ornamentation, LOL!!)

But anyway, back to today’s post! I choose to decorate my quilts with quilting and thread rather than bling them up with buttons or beads, so I’ll share a bit about the thread I love to use.


I love being able to get an exact thread match, no matter which fabrics I choose! This is an in-progress shot when I was making my modern Abacus wallhanging – (PDF pattern available here).

My favorite thread is Aurifil 50 weight cotton and I use it for everything: piecing, quilting, binding and machine applique. It comes in every color of the rainbow and I love mixing and matching thread colors to the fabrics I use.

During my last huge quilting cleanup I decided that it was high time to organize my thread stash. I sold or donated anything that wasn’t Aurifil and I keep all of my threads in plastic drawers sorted by color. The drawers are located in a shelving unit with doors so that the threads are kept away from heat and light (just like my fabric).

I have drawers full of Aurifil thread to choose from, sorted mostly into warm and cool hues.

The picture above is actually an older image that shows a small collection of other weights, too. But since then, I’ve gotten rid of those, too. I really only use 50 weight now for everything.

Aurifil Thread Squiggles

I love taking the time to “audition” my threads to see which will work best. Above is an image from a recent quilt along I did to showcase my first fabric line, Modern Marks.
Quilting it was just as much fun as sewing the top!

One of the main reasons I chose to simplify my thread stash is for purely logistical reasons. I didn’t want to have to keep track of all the different types of thread, in all the different sizes, and worry about which bobbin matches which thread!

Once I find something that works, I tend to stick with it and don’t really need to veer outside my comfort zone. Besides, since I piece and quilt with the same thread, I know what to expect performance-wise in each and every quilt that I make.

Aurifil Cotton Thread

If I’m not sure which thread to pick, many times I’ll choose a soft neutral with just a hint of color!
This is a detail shot of Modern Puzzle, one of the free quilt patterns I offer.

The nice thing about being able to piece AND quilt with the same thread is that I can always use up leftover quilting bobbins whenever I piece my next quilt, especially if it’s scrappy.

In fact, I’m so gung-ho on thread being able to do double duty that I curated a collection of my favorite threads with Aurifil – the Piece and Quilt Collection in Colors and Neutrals.

Piece and Quilt Aurifil thread by Christa Watson

My threads with Aurifil have been hot sellers for several years now because they cover all the basics! Want to go wild and colorful? Choose the Colors collection.

Piece and Quilt Neutrals Aurifil Thread from Christa Quilts

If you prefer to tone it down, choose the Neutrals collection. I love storing these in the Aurifil thread boxes, because that helps keep the clutter under control when it comes to thread!

I’ve been quilting with Aurifil exclusively since around 2013. I’ve tried many brands in the past, but none of them gave me satisfactory results. I tried other brands that friends raved about, only to be disappointed with how they performed in my machine. So my biggest piece of advice when figuring out what you like is to get a small spool, quilt it on a real quit and see what you and your machine like best!

How do you like to store YOUR threads, or other embellishments? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Sundays

Creative Spaces Blog Hop

My Rainbow Zigzags Quilt Pattern – Free from All People Quilt

I’m excited to reveal a quick and easy quilt I made as part of the Scrap Lab challenge in each issue of Quilts and More Magazine, a sister publication of American Patchwork and Quilting.Free Rainbow Zig Zags Quilt pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

It’s called Rainbow Zigzags and was created from a bundle of Moda Grunge fat eighths.

Moda Grunge Fat Eighths from The Precut StoreModa Grunge Bundle of F8’s is available from The Precut Store.

In each issue, three designers create three different projects using the exact same fabrics. You can see one of the other projects on the cover – a set of patchwork pillows made by Sheri McConnell. Jeni Baker made the third project, a cute patchwork bag.

Quilts and More Spring 2017 cover

Click here to see other projects from the issue. Photo courtesy of Meredith Corp.

I quilted my quilt using one of my new favorite quilting motifs, what I call “jagged stipple.” I think it’s a fun modern alternative to regular stippling and is easier, too!

jagged stipple free-motion quilted by Christa Watson on Rainbow Zigzags

I quilted each row of zig-zags using a matching thread color from my Piece and Quilt collection of Aurifil thread. It was super easy to do: I stitched in the ditch to anchor quilt each diagonal row, then free-motion quilted one row at a time starting and ending off the quilt so I didn’t have to tie off a single thread!

Piece and Quilt Aurifil thread by Christa Watson

Click here to get my Aurifil thread collection from The Precut Store.

Here’s a pretty image of all three scrap lab projects as seen in the Spring 2017 issue of Quilts and more. As a bonus, All People Quilt is offering my pattern for free when you register for their newsletter. I think that’s a pretty great deal, don’t you??

Scrap Lab projects featured in Quilts and More by Christa Watson, Jeni Baker and Sherri McConnell

Get the Rainbow Zig Zags pattern free. Image Courtesy of Meredith Corp.

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Thread Thursday and a Folkschool Sneak Peek!

This week I am having the most wonderful time teaching at the John C. Campbell Folkschool. My students are learning how to make a modern quilt, and I will give a full report next week, once I’m home and rested!

folkschoolsignHaving a great time at the Folkschool. Wish you were here!!

We’ve been here all week and today is machine quilting day in class. Many of my students have chosen to piece and quilt with Aurifil thread, and they are getting great results!

machinequiltingI love this version of Modern Logs – it’s so graphic and cheerful!

Since you aren’t here with me, enjoy some pretty pictures of my favorite thread collections:

thread_tula_pinkTula Pink’s Premium Collection

thread_botanicsBotanics by Carolyn Friedlander

thread_alison_glassAlison Glass Essentials

All of these thread collections and more are available in my thread/precut store!

Thread Thursday – New Aurifil Thread Kits

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to collect a pretty healthy thread stash that is starting to rival my fabric stash! I just can’t help it when Aurifil keeps releasing fabulous thread collections by some of my favorite designers.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s new in the store, thread-wise:

 

20140815_fruit_veggie2Pat Sloan’s latest grouping: Eat Your Fruits N Veggies – Love that Variegated Spool!

20140815_drift Drift by Angela Walters – these are so her colors (and mine – and yours!)

20140815_fave_thingsFavorite Things by Jeni Baker – Why, yes they are!

I love how most of the Aurifil thread sets come in a trial box of 10 smaller spools (perfect for decorative stitching, bindings, and applique) and in the thread lovers’ size of 12 large spools (usually enough to quilt a throw-sized quilt).

Just think of thread as quilter’s candy – zero calorie, high fiber treats!

Friday Feature: Aurifil Thread

If I had planned this out better, I should have written this post yesterday. Then I could have called it Thread Thursday. 🙂 Even though I’m enjoying writing my Fabric Friday series every other week, I can’t really neglect talking about the thread that goes along with making a beautiful, functional quilt.

Aurifil Simplify Collection by Camille Roskelley

Aurifil Simplify Collection by Camille Roskelley

I can unequivocally state that Aurifil cotton is my favorite thread and I’ll tell you why:

  • It comes in every color imaginable.
  • It’s very low lint for a cotton thread.
  • It’s strong and thin which is perfect for piecing, and it doesn’t break while quilting!

Over the last two years, I’ve tried out a variety of different threads and brands, knowing I would eventually want to carry them in my store. Since I only sell products that I would recommend and use myself, this took a bit of research and trial and error to find out which thread I wanted to invest in.

Aurifil

Quilters Essentials by Edyta Sitar

I call it an “investment” because unlike fabric where you can pick and choose what you want to carry, if a shop owner carries thread, he/she needs to have a wide variety! And I’ve done it for my own selfish reasons, too. It’s nice to have a shop full of thread to pick from when searching for the right colors for my quilts!

Aurifil Threads

Aurifil Thread Colors Used on My Latest Finish

After a lot of trial and error, I’ve decided that cotton is easiest for me to use for both piecing and quilting. While I have nothing against all of the other beautiful synthetic threads that are available for machine quilting, they just aren’t made for piecing. Because I embrace simplicity, I just love the idea of using cotton thread for both piecing and quilting.

The large spools contain a lot of thread – 1422 yards (1300 meters) each.

Aurifil

Thread Pull for Another Project

I can usually quilt an entire throw-sized quilt with just two large spools of thread: one for the top and one for the bobbin. If I’m switching thread colors a lot to match the fabrics, one large spool of each color is usually enough. If there are specific colors I need in less prominent areas, the smaller spools seem to work well. Because it’s cotton, the leftover thread can then go into my next piecing project. How’s that for efficiency?

Aurifil

Small Thread Kit

So far I’ve only used the standard 50 weight cotton Aurifil. However, I do plan on trying out a few spools of the 40 weight for quilting. It’s slightly thicker so it would give a heavier look to the quilting, which is perfect when you really want your thread to show.

If I have success quilting with the 40 weight, then I’ll start offering that in my store, too. Have any of you tried it yet? If so, what do you think?

Christa’s Year of Weekly Giveways #38 – Thread Destashing (2 Winners)

I love machine quilting and collecting lots of different colors, weights and fibers of threads. Recently I’ve decided to stock up on Aurifil as my go-to thread of choice so that means two lucky winners will get to help me destash my threads!

First up I will give one winner a bunch of spools of Superior cotton thread in a variety of colors. These are all 50 weight, 2 ply cotton which are great for piecing as well as machine quilting. I’ll even throw in the rest of my prewound cotton bobbins (since they don’t fit my new Bernina’s larger bobbin case).

20131225_threadThe other giveaway selection is also from Superior and it’s a stack of 40 weight tri-lobal polyester threads. (It won’t be quite as many as shown below – but however many I can fit in a flat rate envelope!)

These are great for machine quilting when you really want your quilting to shine! I just have too much, so I must reduce my stash (yeah and it’s really then just an excuse to go buy more, LOL!)

Thread

This week’s question to answer is simple. Which threads would you prefer to win? The cotton or the poly? I’ll divide the answers into two categories and choose one winner at random for each. (Unfortunately, due to shipping constraints, I’ll have to choose US winners this time.)

Leave your answer below by Wednesday, January 1st at noon. I’ll select two winners at random and will email them directly. (I’ll also announce their names on my blog during next week’s giveaway.)

Good luck and here’s to a great new year!

Last Week’s Winner:

Congratulations to Jacklyn G. who won a Joel Dewberry Bungalow bundle. For those that didn’t win, there are still a few bundles left on clearance, so stock up while you can!

Favorite Tools – Aurifil Thread

In my quest to find the perfect threads for piecing and quilting, I’ve been trying to make as many quilts as I can, trying out different quilting designs and brands of thread. I can now say I’ve enthusiastically jumped on the Aurifil bandwagon. (That is, once I learned how to spell it!)

Aurifil ThreadsI’ve been hearing rave reviews about how wonderful Aurifil 100% cotton thread is for piecing, so that was a no brainer. But after finishing my latest quilt, I can now recommend it for machine quilting, too. Here’s a closeup of one of my String of Pearls blocks, quilted with matching Aurifil 50wt cotton.

Aurifil Thread

Aurifil Thread in Purple and Black

I like the 50 weight because it works well for both piecing and quilting. I prefer to buy the larger 1300 meter spools because that’s usually enough thread for an average sized quilt. Since it can be kind of spendy to stock up on large spools of all the colors I need, being able to use the same thread for sewing and quilting makes it more economical to keep a wide variety of colors on hand. I love all the neutral basics, too!

Aurifil Basics

Aurifil Basics

Thanks to Nancy at Owen’s Olivia for her indepth thread review, I was able to see exactly why Aurifil is such a good quality thread. Her husband took these pictures under a microscope showing what thread looks like when magnified close up. I’m re-posting them here with her permission.

Aurifil ThreadSuperior Thread

Coats Thread

Aurifil is very smooth and closely twisted, leaving less lint and making for a nice tight stitch. No wonder the cheaper cotton threads are so linty – just look at all of those thread slubs sticking out everywhere on the last picture!

My top two machine quilting tips are to use a thread that blends with your fabric, and use the same thread in the top and bobbin. Both of these suggestions will help hide your mistakes (not that anyone makes those, right?).

In all fairness, I do like other brands, too (Superior So Fine 50 wt Polyester, Glide and Isacord Polyester, and Superior Silk.) But Aurifil will be my new “baseline” or go-to thread for both piecing and quilting from now on.

WIP – Choosing Thread

Spools of Neutral ThreadI spent a lot of time this weekend choosing thread for my current project, my Charming Chevrons quilt. I wanted to go with a neutral palette of grey or silver so I bought a bunch of different brands, weight and types to see which I like best.

I am still on the search for my favorite thread and figured the only way I would find it is by making lots of quilts and trying out different threads.

To see which thread would blend, I spread out a bunch of different colors over the top. I tried some Cotton Masterpiece,  Isacord, Superior Sew Fine #50, and Superior Highlights in shades of taupe, silver and grey to see which I liked best.

Thread Selection

It’s hard to tell from the photo above, but there was quite a variety in the neutrals! My original plan was to quilt straight lines in the chevrons with a darker blending thread and then do some pebbling in the background with silver.  I narrowed down my choices and stitched them out on a practice scrap.

Sample on Grey

All of the thread choices looked great on the the Ash Grey fabric but I couldn’t find a thread that would blend well enough with the solid colors. Also I prefer the look of the pebbling on the colors rather than straight lines. So I’m going to switch my plan – I’ll quilt straight lines on the background and then pebble the solid colors. That way the thread that shows will be a lot more interesting!

Practice Quilt SandwichI will write about which threads I finally ended up using once I start the actual quilting!

Quilt LabelOn my last finished project I began taking notes of which threads I used and how I like them.

The easiest way for me to record this was by writing it down on the label on the quilt.

I always have good results when quilting with cotton but I want to have success using polyesters, too.

For my Pink Baby Bricks quilt I used Isacord in the cream areas and was happy with the results.

I had no breaks, no snags and I could really see the quilting.

No wonder Leah Day recommends it so highly!

Vanilla Isacord Thread

Because I love quilts with tons of quilting all over the surface, I am also learning how to estimate how much thread I will use so I know how much to buy. For my Busy Hands quilt (throw size) It took a full 1600 yard spool of thread for each of  the top and bobbin quilting. I prefer to use the same thread in top and bottom because I get better results that way.

Busy Hands Quilting

I really wanted to the quilting to stand out, not the thread, so I chose a very thin thread, Superior’s 60 weight Bottom Line for all of that quilting. The stitching looked great and it even blended it on the colored fabrics. However, I had a huge amount of thread breaks because the thread just wasn’t strong enough for my high speed free-motion quilting.

I love all of the different quilting styles out there and the quilters promoting them. Leah Day likes to be very artistic with her quilting and really show off her awesome designs. Angela Walters prefers her thread choices to blend into the background. Deb Karasik is happy to change thread colors hundreds of times on the same quilt. Cindy Needham is a Superior Threads spokesperson and has her own distinctive heirloom style.

Whether you love tons of quilting or prefer simpler designs, I think it’s important to try out a bunch of different threads and styles of quilting so you can find your own “voice”. Happy quilting!