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.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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!