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I originally made Color Weave to be included in my most recent book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts, since it’s completely sewn from 2 1/2″ strips.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!!

Craftsy Class Review: Next Steps with Your Walking Foot

I was so excited to get the opportunity to review Jacquie Gering’s new Craftsy Class: Next Steps with your Walking Foot. This is a followup class to her earlier class, Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot, which I previously reviewed here

title

Although Next Steps with your Walking Foot is meant to follow the earlier class and Jacquie references it quite a bit, I think there’s so much good information in this class that it can stand on its own, even if you haven’t taken the first class yet.

The entire class runs for approximately 3 hours, and I had a great time watching it, coincidentally while doing my own walking-foot quilting for an upcoming quilt along!

decorative_stitching

Decorative stitches are so quick and easy to do – here’s my current WIP using them!

The class is broken down into 8 segments running anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes in length. I love watching a video this way because there are plenty of good stopping points. Jacquie is very thorough in this class, including many supplemental class materials which are a  handy reference as you are going through the class.

Twigs

Twigs – one of the designs Jacquie teaches using reverse quilting. So clever!

Here are the basics of what you will learn in Next Steps with your Walking Foot including what I enjoyed most about each section:

  • Lesson 1 – Walking Foot Basics
    Jacquie explains the anatomy of a walking foot along with how you can adjust your foot to work best for you. IDF (integrated dual feed) works basically the same as a walking foot. This is what I use on my BERNINA and I like that she affirms that what I’m doing is correct!
  • Lesson 2 – New Linear Designs
    Jacquie goes beyond straight line quilting by adding decorative elements to her straight lines to “fancy” them up a bit. It’s all about the amazing texture!
  • Lesson 3 – Decorative Stitches
    Jacquie explores many of the decorative stitches built into her machine. She also keeps a stitch journal with detailed notes on which stitches to use and what the settings are. I thought it was very clever of her to use something as simple as a blind hem stitch in a new way!
  • Lesson 4 – Concentric Shapes
    This was my favorite lesson of all! I loved learning Jacquie’s trick for quilting concentric geometric shapes by traveling in the ditch. I already have several great ideas brewing for how to incorporate these ideas into my quilts!
  • Lesson 5 – Spirals
    She shares her magic formula for marking guidelines when quilting geometric spirals like squares and octagons. She also shows how mistakes can often turn into happy accidents!
  • Lesson 6 – Designs with Reverse Stitching
    Jacquie shows how to combine reverse stitching with regular stitching for some really unique quilting effects. I have played around a bit with this myself and it was great to get validation that yes, this is an okay thing to do!
  • Lesson 7 – New Curved Designs
    With a bit of marking and planning, she shows how to come up with some really cool curved effects, building off of ideas she has taught in her previous class. Although I’m not one to mark much, this section gave me some ideas to branch off from. 🙂
  • Lesson 8 – Curved Remixes
    Clamshells, flowers, and circles, oh my! By the time you get to the last lesson you will be blown away by the sheer number of ideas of how to quilt with your walking foot!

spirals

I love Jacquie’s approach to teaching geometric spirals – it make so much sense!

Special Discount – Just for You!

For a limited time, my friends at Craftsy are allowing me to share this class with you at up to 50% off the regular price. It expires in exactly one week, at the end of the day on March, 30, 2016 so if you are thinking about it, don’t wait – enroll now. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. 🙂

Click here to preview Next Steps with your Walking Foot by Jacquie Gering.

 

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The Finished Quilt That Wasn’t

I really thought this quilt was finished. But then I realized it wasn’t. So now it qualifies as my latest UFO. I enjoyed making this quilt and I like the quilting on it, but I don’t love it – it’s just not enough. After the last project I quilted the heck out of, I am starting to find my personal quilting style. It’s one that requires a lot of quilting. And I mean A LOT.

Baby Bricks in Blue

So I will add many more lines of quilting to this quilt. The original pass of straight line quilting only took about 2 hours to do and I was so happy to finish it so quickly. But now that it’s been sitting around for awhile it’s calling to me for more. So I will add more.

More QuiltingI decided to fill in the lines of quilting with more lines. I marked all of the original lines about 2 inches apart so I could quilt them neatly with my walking foot. Fortunately the “filler” lines do not need to be marked; I simply used the edge of my walking foot as a guide and can fit exactly 3 more rows of quilting in between each original line of stitching.

After about 2 more hours of quilting I’m about halfway done and I think it’s looking much better.  FYI, I used Superior King Tut cotton thread in a variegated blue (in top and bobbin – my stitches seem to balance out better when using the same weight on both sides).

Baby Bricks WIP

And now for the soapbox part of this post – it’s ok to make a quilt just because you want to. I have no idea what I will eventually do with this quilt. I may give it away. I may keep it as a teaching sample. I may turn it into a pattern. I originally made it as a tutorial and still have a few kits left with the same fabrics.

It was really nice to not have to rush off and send this quilt off somewhere as soon as (I thought) it was done. So that’s why I can “finish” it now – because there are no deadlines and it needs more quilting.

What I enjoy most about  this quilt is that quilting it makes me happy. There are lots more quilts out there that I have to make, just because I want to – with no end purpose in mind. And that’s OK. Really it is. How liberating!

Here is the same Baby Bricks quilt design a pink version. And yes, I think it needs more quilting, too…. Any suggestions??

Pink Baby Bricks

Christa’s Quilt Along 3.7 – Quilting Chevrons Part 1

As I quilted my Charming Chevrons quilt this week I realized it would be way too much “homework” to try to get it all into one post. Therefore, I’ve broken down the steps into two parts. I’ll cover the straight line quilting this week, and then the free-motion quilting (FMQ) in next week’s post.

I had so much fun quilting this quilt! Machine quilting is my absolute favorite part of making any project. I often spend much more time on the quilting than I do in piecing the top.

It took me a total of 5 Hours to quilt the straight lines.

Step 1 – Stitch in the Ditch

Probably one of the most important (and often overlooked) parts of quilting any quilt successfully is to first outline all of them major seams by stitching in the ditch. This may be the most boring  step because you can’t really see your stitches. However, it can really make your quilt “pop”, no matter what additional quilting you add to it.

Be sure to start with a brand new needle when quilting. I used a Size 90 Topstitch needle for all of my machine quilting. The longer shaft and larger eye eliminated stress on the thread passing through the needle. My quilting was smooth and trouble free!

Though I list step 1 and 2 separately, you can combine them if you wish, and do all of the quilting at the same time.

Step 2 – Quilt The Chevron Echoes

If you have marked straight lines onto your background, you can stitch them with a walking foot. I like to match my thread as closely as I can do my background so that you notice the quilting first, not the thread. I used Isacord polyester in the Sterling silver color for all of my straight line quilting. It was weighty enough to show the quilting and there were no issues with thread breaks.

Starting on one edge of the quilt, stitch one straight line at a time all the way over to the other edge of the quilt. This means no tying off or needing to bury threads. I simply started a few stitches off the quilt on either side to anchor my threads.

I started quilting in the center row of my quilt and worked my way across half of the quilt. When I got to the end I rotated the quilt and finished the other side.

I did have to pivot each time the lines zigged and zagged so I got really good at pushing and scrunching the bulk of the quilt out of my way. The Machingers gloves helped me keep a good grip on the quilt. (They also helped keep the quilt clean from any chocolate residue left on my fingers during snack break time!!)

I removed the Pinmoors, one a time as they got in my way while quilting. Once the straight quilting was finished, I removed the rest of the pins.

Step 3 – Removing the Blue Lines

Because I like to see my work as soon as possible, I like to remove the lines immediately once I am done quilting them. One word of caution here, be sure to test your fabrics to make sure they are color fast before you spray water all over your quilt. If there are any worries about color bleeding, you can remove the lines with an aqua eraser pen or a wet toothbrush instead so you can more easily guide where the water goes.

If the blue lines resurface later, I simply wet them again, or soak the whole quilt when finished (if I know I’m not going to have any issues with fabric bleeding).

Doesn’t the back of the quilt look scrumptious, too?

Additional Ideas

If you don’t want to hassle with marking or quilting straight lines, you can quilt a wavy decorative stitch instead. It goes a little faster and you don’t have to be so precise. I used this type of quilting on my first tutorial – The Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt.

I feel very accomplished this week – how about you?

Quilt Along Schedule (Links are active once each step has been completed.)

Christa’s Quilt Along 1.5 – Machine Quilting

This week’s post is the one I’ve been waiting for. I think machine quilting is the best part of making a quilt, so I couldn’t wait to get my Vintage Modern jelly roll quilt top finished and basted so I could start the fun! I quilted it using a serpentine stitch with my walking foot.

Machine Quilting 2" ApartBefore I started quilting, I tried out a few of my machine’s decorative stitches to see how they would look.  All of these can be done using a walking foot with the feed dogs engaged.

Stitch SamplesI used a 40 weight high-sheen polyester thread with a size 90 needle and used the same thread for both the top and bobbin.

This gives better results than using different colored threads.

Step 1 – Decorative Ditch Quilting

Quilting 4" ApartBe sure your needle plate has a wide enough opening to accommodate your decorative stitch and test it out first so you avoid broken needles.

Quilt along the seam lines in one direction in between your blocks, about 4 inches apart. The first pass took me 30 minutes.

This will secure the quilt and you can remove the pins as you go.

Next, make second pass in between each line of quilting. Now your quilting is about 2 inches apart and the quilt is starting to get some texture! I quilted parallel lines across the quilt. I did not mark any of these lines – I just used the seams as a guide and eyeballed it across the fabric where there was no seam to guide me. This is both liberating and fun!

Quilting Parallel Wavy LinesThis second pass took another 30 minutes so I’m just at 1 hour total quilting time. Not bad! At this point, this is enough quilting to hold your quilt together. However, I want more…

Step 2 – Adding More Quilting

Quilting 1 Inch ApartMy motto is that you can never add too much quilting to a quilt!

So I added another line of quilting in between each of the rows above. This was my 3rd pass and now the quilting lines are about 1 inch apart.

This took only another 30 minutes and I can’t believe how fast this is going!

There is still enough room to add another row of quilting and do a fourth pass, so I decided, what the heck?

The fourth pass took 1 1/2 hours because I had now doubled the amount of quilting on the quilt, but I loved every minute of it!

Half Inch Quilting Lines

I ended up with quilting lines about 1/2 inch apart over the surface of the quilt. Total quilting time was 3 hours and I used up a full 500 yard spool of Superior Highlights thread.

Textured QuiltingSuperior Threads Tri-Lobal Polyster

I love all the texture on the back!

Pieced Backing with Quilting

So next week, we will finish our quilts, can you believe it? We will trim them up and bind to finish. I really can’t wait to see how everyone’s quilting turns out. Be sure to email me pictures of your progress, no matter where you are,  so I can share with everyone else.


Here is the complete Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt-Along Schedule:

Week 1 – Supply ListJolly Jelly Roll Quilt

Week 2 – Sewing the Blocks

Week 3 – Completing the Top

Week 4 – Backing and Basting

Week 5 – Machine Quilting

Week 6 – Machine Binding to Finish