Now Touring: Machine Quilting With Style – Christa Watson

teri • September 22, 2015 • 53 Comments


Machine Quilting With Style Christa Watson Martingale/That Patchwork Place $28.99 (print), $19.99 (e-book)

Christa does something cool and unusual. Along with teaching machine quilting technique she included some fun quilt patterns. So, instead of a straight on book review, we decided to take a bit of a right hand turn and make a little something from the book. The criteria: something a little different, has a wide range of possibilities and something that Community Editor Scott Hansen and I would be able to finish. Scott chose to make “self-made” or “crazy made” fabric, following Christa’s directions, while Teri, rebel that she is, chose to not make “self-made” fabric.

First up Scott:
I had already been sewing together little scraps as I worked on other projects and had a good pile of “self-made fabric,” so I was pleased that Teri picked this block for us to do.

DSC_2772My mom just recently passed away and I have been thinking about her favorite color a lot, so I was planning on using a plain solid blue as the background for the diamonds. But I saw this Aquamarine blender print lying on top of another project that I am in the middle of, and I thought, “well, that’s sort of blue” and went ahead with that. Often my “plans” get re-invented by the mess of my studio.

DSC_2778At first I was going to just do all scrappy diamonds because that is how life has felt lately, but I really liked how the row of solid fabric really popped graphically. I found the pink and white striped print that I thought might do the same and reminded me a lot of mom as well. The plan for now is to make a new small wallhanging for over the sofa in the living room, I haven’t made one that size in a while. Looking forward to a new piece of art for the wall. And I might even quilt it myself using some of Christa’s ideas.

Next up: Teri


I started with a couple of prints and a tonal almost solid for the bits and pieces. Using the tonal for the triangles. Continuing the rebel-ness I used the lines on the rulers rather than printing the templates.

facets 2 triangle


And then I quilted.IMG_0588



And quiltedIMG_0583


Ta Da!facets 1Quilting is playtime, it’s rarely planned and highly fun. Swirls, feathers, nautilus shells, and stylized flowers are some of my favorites. Quilts this size are practice pieces to show students options in quilting. I love Christa’s choices, simple swirls in the diamonds and straight-ish lines in the white background, the quilting complementing the overall design of the quilt.

Speaking of compliments, here’s one for you Christa: You made a wise choice in making quilt tops and showing the quilting on said quilts. This helps solve the “Quilt as Desired” direction that freaks us all out.

Christa’s blog tour has a bit of a different flavor. The first group remade the quilts in the book; the second group are offering interviews, book reviews, and sample blocks. At each place there is an opportunity to win a copy of the book or some other fab prize. Scroll all the way down for an opportunity to win a copy of the book here on the Generation Q Magazine page.

9/14 Christa

Makers of Quilts in the Book
9/14 Color Crystals – Vicki Reubel – Orchid Owl Quilts
9/14 Technicolor Backing – Ida Ewing Ida Rather be Quilting
9/15 Pearl Gray – Alyce Blyth Blossom Heart Quilts
9/16 Broken V – Sharon McConnell Color Girl Quilts
9/17 Candy Pop – Linda Hungerford Flourishing Palms
9/18 Ripples – Melissa Corry Happy Quilting
9/19 Little Man’s Fancy – Tina Guthmann Mod Geometry
9/21 Square in a Square – Stacy Cooper Farm Road Quilts
9/22 Static – Lee Heinrich Freshly Pieced
9/23 Rain – Cheryl Brickey Meadow Mist Designs
9/24 Lightning – Leanne Chahley She Can Quilt
9/25 Facets – Kristy Daum St. Louis Folk Victorian
9/26 Focal Point – Amy Garro 13 Spools

Insights, book reviews, interviews, sample blocks
9/15 Andover Fabrics
9/16 Amy’s Free Motion Quilting Adventure and Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Project
9/17 Do You EQ from Electric Quilt and Darlene from Quilt Shop Gal
9/18 Jacquelynne Steves’ The Art of Home and Scott Hansen from Blue Nickel Studios
9/19 Moda Fabrics – The Cutting Table
9/21 Katy Cameron from The Littlest Thistle
9/22 Debbie Grifka of Esch House Quilts and Generation Q Magazine
9/23 Rebecca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts
9/24 Stitch This – The Martingale Blog and Riley Blake Fabrics
9/25 Michele Foster of The Quilting Gallery and Teri Lucas from TerifiCreations
9/26 Pellon Projects and Amy Ellis from Amy’s Creative Side

Okay Q-bies, here’s your opportunity to win a copy of the book either hard copy (US) or ebook (international) let us know your top three tips for choosing fabric for a quilt top you make from a pattern. Do you follow the pattern exactly, change the fabrics completely or mix it up in some way. We’ll hit the Random Number Generator on September 30th and let you know who wins!


Congratulations! Commenter #12 Karen A You are the winner of a copy of Machine Quilting With Style.


Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe.

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  • Christa • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    Amazing you two! The best part designing is seeing how others interpret it and these both just take my breath away!!

  • Ashley • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    I usually try to follow the pattern closely, make sure to buy extra fabric “just in case”, and last of all am not shy to change my mind if I get home and decide i want something else!

  • Sarah J. • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #3

    This is the hardest part for me- I hate narrowing down choices! I really do try to follow the guidelines- especially since I’m new to quilting!

  • MoeWest • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #4

    I never follow the pattern for fabric choices. I choose fabrics and colour combinations that I like. One easy way to be sure your fabric choices work together is to choose from one fabric line, maybe by using pre-cuts. When I pull fabrics from my stash for a quilt, I like to leave them out for a day or so to look at them before making my final decision. I like to add in at least one solid to give the eye a place to rest. Black makes colours pop.

  • Patty Flynn • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #5

    Fabric choice. For me it’s all over the place. I will usually pick a palette, either color or style, then add complements and contrasts. And usually a surprise

  • Elizabethdx • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #6

    I struggle a lot with choosing fabrics, so the only tip I can offer is to remember that everything, including choosing fabric and understanding color, scale, etc., gets better with practice. THE first quilt I made was exactly like the one in the pattern, so it turned out well although I never felt it was “my” work. So I started choosing my own, using mostly if not all solids, and coloring different ideas on paper.

  • Peggy • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #7

    It does depend – sometimes you love a pattern, but the colours in the original are just not for ‘you’ or your recipient. So those I do change up; but some are perfect just the way they are, so I will try to fairly closely match.

  • Joyce Hennessey • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #8

    I do everything backwards. I start with the most beautiful fabric I have ever seen. It usually has some sort of metallic element to it. (bling) then I struggle and struggle to find the perfect pattern to showcase this most beautiful fabric. Needless to say I have quite the stash of the most beautiful fabric I have ever seen.

  • Dawn Jones • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #9

    I love the coloring in your quilt, wow. Actually picking colors for a quilt frightens me, so I would stick with the pattern until I get better with colors. Have a great day!

  • LINDA • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #10


  • Connie Cain • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #11

    I usually look for a pattern that fits the fabric I want to use. Is that backwards? 🙂

  • Karen A • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #12

    I very rarely make a quilt exactly like the pattern. For picking fabrics I will use a focus fabric and then pick others to go with it. Sometimes I will use a pre-chosen bundle and add from my stash. I like to print a picture of the quilt I’m working on in black and white so I can see the lights, mediums and darks and not be distracted by the color. My final tip is to choose fabrics you love because you might be working on a quilt for a long time.

  • Donna M • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #13

    I often ‘copy’ the quilt as shown, but other times I go my own way. Both work out just fine.

  • carol n • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #14

    I do follow patterns, but usually mix up the colors, I try to use at least one solid, use quality fabric, and use a range of fabrics-light, medium, and dark! Also some large and some small prints.

  • Judy Zoll • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #15

    It is usually a long drawn out process of auditioning fabrics. I try to keep the values the same as shown on the pattern while selecting my favorite prints and colors. Then I take all the possiblitiies available to me and hopefully make the best choice for the focus fabric in the pattern. That determines the other color choices in the quilt. I have trouble mixing fabrics from different genres of fabric e.g. modern and reproduction. I am working on some scrappy quilts which is helping that problem!

  • Vicki • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #16

    I usually change the fabrics up completely. My top tips for picking colors for a quilt are:
    1. Quilting for a person – their favorite color
    2. Theme
    3. Using a picture for color ideas.

  • buntyw • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #17

    Change everything!!

  • Teresa R • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #18

    Most of the time I would love to use the fabrics exactly how the pattern depicts it. In fact it has become a bucket list item for me. Lol. The truth of the matter is i have only been quilting since I retired from teaching That leads to being more creative with my fabric choices. I must say though it has led me down the road to some beautiful quilts that might have never been created had it not been for my budget limitations.

  • Jackie • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #19

    I am a cheapie, so I always go to my stash and find something to start with. Usually I have a recipient in mind and that guides the choice… a favorite color, décor match, or personality trait. Then I cart all choices to a fabric store and choose complementary colors. Lastly, I cart all of the above to my quilt club and audition my choices. I usually can then go back to the store to follow up with their recommendations. Maybe that is why I have such a cool stash!

  • Aileen • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #20

    The book looks excellent. I never follow the directions re fabric, but will often try to replicate value placement. Like Scott, it’s often the mess in my sewing room that inspires new directions. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Lisa E • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #21

    1) Search the internet for inspiration. if it’s a popular pattern, you can fine lots of variations.
    2) Take a fabric that I really like and build around that.
    3) Yes, I do sometimes use what the pattern calls for.

  • NancyR • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #22

    The only time I follow the patterns fabric choices is when I buy a kit. Otherwise, the choices are usually dictated by my stash. Since my stash is either fat quarters or 1meter lengths with occ 2-3 m lengths, the quilts are usually scrappy in nature

  • duchick • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #23

    I like to change up the fabrics and make something unique to my style rather than copy someone else’s.
    Top 3 tips: choose a color palette that suits the quilt and receiver; keep a few solids or tone-on-tone fabrics in the mix; go bold with no more than 2 fabrics.

  • Cecilia • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #24

    I usually choose one print and then pull other colors that are in the print or ones that I think will make it pop. Then I leave the fabrics laying on my cutting table for a few days and switch some out and/or add new ones to the stack until I’m happy with it.

  • Sarah • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #25

    I always pick the fabric based on who will get it, and also what I have on hand. I never go out and buy fabric just for a pattern, I pull what I can from my scraps/available fabric, and then work to fill in the gaps.

  • Charlotta • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #26

    1. One way to choose fabrics is to use a line of fabric. It’s a pretty safe bet that the various fabrics go well together, and you’ll likely also get a nice mix of scales etc. 2. I rarely follow the fabrics used in a pattern, though I might occasionally follow suggestions with regard to scale/hue/tint etc. 3. Most often, I start from scratch completely, picking my own fabrics. I look at the pattern and determine what types of cuts are required – I.e. yardage, FQs, jelly rolls – and how many different fabrics and what amount of each fabric for the given size quilt.
    4. Of course, I also very often start with the fabric and then go looking for a pattern which will work well for the particular fabric – given the amounts and cuts of fabric I have. Then, if necessary, I can add additional fabrics from my stash, or omit some of the fabrics I’ve already selected.

  • AnnLouise Pugh • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #27

    I try hard not to duplicate anyone’s pattern exactly….color changes, layout moves and such are part of making the pattern mine. I do give credit to the original…fair is fair.

    AnnLouise Pugh

  • Susan • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #28

    I choose fabric by what I like and for who/what I am making it.

  • mmcgloth2 • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #29

    I seldom follow the pattern exactly. I usually find a fabric that speaks to me and go from there.

  • Andrea L. • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #30

    If the colors are what caught my eye in the first place, I try to use the same palette. If the pattern itself is what I like, then I choose my own colors. And if I have a lot of a certain fabric, then I build around it.

  • patty • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #31

    I never follow the pattern and I mix up fabric from all different manufacturers. It is all about using scale – large, medium, and small prints.

  • Diane • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #32

    It’s nice to hear your creative processes. Scott, sorry for your recent loss. I still consider myself design-challenged so I follow the pattern exactly. That said, after the last quilt top I made, I at least had thoughts of new color ways to try so perhaps I’m finally learning. Thanks for the chance to win Christa’s book. I have bumped it to the top of my wish list!

  • Nancy N • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #33

    When choosing fabric for a pattern, I will normally check my stash to see what I have on hand. If I am making the quilt for some one I will start with their favorite colors or decor for the room the quilt will be in. Often I will find a print that I really like, and pull the colors from there, many times the print will not be used, or find itself as the backing. Seldom do I make a pattern in the exact colors as the photo.

  • Sandra • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #34

    I enjoyed seeing what you each did with the improv block, and was touched by the link to Scott’s mom 🙁 in his. Love the quilting in Teri’s. As for choosing fabrics, I either sort of go with their suggestions, as often the colours are what has grabbed my interest, or I just know the pattern will work with certain fabrics in my stash which may very well be in a totally different direction! I also often tweak a pattern to make it my own.

  • Sherry Jurykovsky • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #35

    I usually see something on Pinterest and think “That is very neat, but it would be better if……” and off I go; no pattern or instructions. Sometimes it’s a way things are put together, sometimes its the color combination. Recently I thought “that would look so much better on black instead of white” and my newest project was born. I’ve been following this blog hop and discovering lots of new inspiration.

  • teri • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #36

    I usually use the pattern as a guide for contrasts then choose according to use for the quilt.

  • Jen Beatty • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #37

    I use the pattern colors as guide, but usually change them to my taste. A good tip is if you can’t visualize the quilt in different colors is to copy it in black & white and if it still doesn’t work, test colors using colored pencils or crayons.

  • Donna W • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #38

    I choose fabrics that i like. Usually start with one fabric and then find fabrics to go with it. I also get my husband to help me narrow down my choices – a different “eye” always seems to help.

  • Kath S • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #39

    Well I’m not actually qualified to give tips as I’m just starting to quilt. And with no color sense and no design anything – I have pretty much stocked up on fabric collections and quilt patterns I liked without any attempt to match them (oh yeah – I think I’m the new poster babe for ‘fabriholicism’ (? = ya’ll know what I’m talking about!). So for now, I’ll pick either a collection or a pattern from my stash and then match it to something I’ve got in my stash, and I’ll follow the pattern directions exactly (or as close as I can). Thanks for the giveaway and for sharing your talents with us. ktsquiltdreams (at)gmail (dot)com

  • Claire Ross • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #40

    As a newbie I stick to the pattern and try and match the colours etc as closely as I can to ensure the results are as good as I can make them!

  • Beth • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #41

    I never follow the pattern. I pick my own color combination and usually change aspects of the pattern in some way to make it my own.

  • Diana @ Red Delicious Life • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #42

    I tend to follow a pattern but like to enlarge it and make extra blocks. I struggle with picking fabrics but it gets easier with each quilt.

  • Judy • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #43

    It depends on the pattern. If I really like the quilt with the fabrics that were used then I try to use the same ones. Sometimes I will use the same line with a different color palette that I like better. Other times I will use fabrics that I already have and combine them in ways that I find pleasing.

  • Anita • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #44

    I choose fabrics that I like, and try to use mostly what I have in my stash.

  • barb triscari • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #45

    What? Follow a pattern? I pick my own fabrics.

  • Rosalind Gutierrez • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #46

    1. Use the color wheel for complementary colors. 2. Vary warm & cools fabric choices. 3. Use a design wall/floor/bed to visualize the color placement.

  • Esther Funk • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #47

    Sometimes I start with fabric and look for a pattern that complements the fabric; other times a pattern inspires me and i look for fabric that works with the pattern; I’m still fairly new to quilting, so I love searching all the various quilting blogs and I learn so much from the wealth of experience out there!

  • Jennie • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #48

    1. First step to choosing fabric is color. I love color, warm, cool, and sometimes I want to mix it up. 2. Decide if I want plain or tone on tone or large prints of many colors. I tend no to be a calico kind of quilter. 3. I love to touch the fabric. Every bolt, fat quarter, or charm has a different feel. Some aren’t so great feeling. This is going to be over you or a gift recipient so it must feel great. 4. Sorry I know you only wanted 3 but…… I’m a pre washer. Why I started was that the chemicals in the sizing made my asthma bad. So I prewash the fabric with Shout Color Catcher sheets, press and use a light starch. Sometimes I don’t like the fabric because of color or feel and am relived that I didn’t make the whole quilt with something I disliked. Patterns, I start out with really good intentions of following them. Then as I’m working alone I see a tiny change I want to make, then if I do this change I will have to make that change too, and on I go.

  • June @ QuiltQuest • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #49

    I am driving in my fabric choices by what I have in my stash! I’m making mostly charity quilts to refresh my skills and comfort level so that’s okay. But pretty soon I’ll be able to get new fabric for projects! Thanks for the chance – Christa’s book is full of great projects – would really like to win a copy!

  • Jen B • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #50

    I have never followed a pattern for the fabric choices, or even completely for the instructions!

  • Mary D • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #51

    I have never followed a pattern exactly or even tried to for that matter. Not even since my garment sewing days when I would combine several patterns together to make one garment. For me, there has to be some room for my interpretation of what I see and space for my own creativity to shine through.

  • Donna Joy • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #52

    I always follow a pattern, but I look forward to one day being a quilting rebel and make my own pattern, Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Debby • 9 years ago
    COMMENT #53

    I am totally new and just working on my first quilt. So I don’t know if I have any tips yet there are worth anything. I love reading everyone’s though. I am getting lots of tips.

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