Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Piece and Quilt With Precuts by Christa Watson

Christa Watson is back with 11 quilt patterns using precuts and 18 machine quilting designs that will help quilters master the art of machine quilting.
Christa is the author of two books on machine quilting, Machine Quilting with Style and The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. 

Her new book Piece and Quilt with Precuts will ensure 'start to finish success'.

Christa likes precuts because they make the construction of the quilt top quick and easy so she can focus on her favorite part, the machine quilting.  Precuts are available from fabric companies in 5" or 10" squares, strips, and in fat eighths (9" x 21") and fat quarters (18" x 21").

Quilters have been told to prewash fabric to remove excess dye and to preshrink. Precuts will ravel and warp if pre-washed, so Christa washes her quilt after completion, using Shout Color Catchers.

The key to successful scrap quilts is contrast. Neutral backgrounds are usually white, off-white, or black but you can use color as well. Sometimes using the back side of a fabric will give you the color needed.

She offers tips for organization, chain piecing, pressing, basting, thread choice, sewing machines, and how to choose quilt designs. Then she includes step-by-step instructions on the general process of machine quilting. Every pattern includes loads of illustrations.

The first quilt projects use machine walking foot quilting. Then she offers projects using free-motion designs to inspire confidence. Then quilters can graduate to combining the two techniques.

"...remember that finished is better than perfect!" Christa reminds us.

Here are some of my favorite projects in the book.

The first project is easy but has a lot of visual interest and motion, using a traditional block in a scrappy look. Squiggles is quilted with a walking foot but one moves the quilt under the foot to create undulating lines.
Squiggles, 50"  63 1/2" uses two Charm Packs
The super-easy Frequency is structured and modern. It uses 2 1/2" strip packs and is quilted in a zig-zag pattern.
Frequency, 54 1/2" x 54 1/2"
The first free motion quilting project is Starstruck, a traditional pattern given a modern look with a neutral, high contrast palette in grays, black, and white. I loved her hint on how not to lose the star points! Christa used fat quarters and a 'loop and stars' quilting pattern.
Starstruck, 54 1/2" x 78 1/2"
Dot 'N' Dash uses 2 2/1" strips in another super easy pattern with a real modern vibe. Christa used the walking foot to 'stitch in the ditch' and then free motion quilted. She also offers a hint for making a scrappy binding.
Dot 'N' Dash, 60 1/2" x 72 1/2" 
Arrows is another modern quilt using fat quarters and fat eighths. She includes detailed layout patterns for the fabrics so there is little waste. The construction is beautifully illustrated, a big help for this trickier pattern. She also shows how to use specialty triangle rulers. The quilting is free motion "arrows" and quilt in the ditch.
Arrows, 78 1/2" x 84 1/2"
Spools is a modern update on a traditional pattern that offers a great use for scraps! She used fat quarters, strips, and squares. Christa shows how to construct the 'crazy quilt' pieces that are cut into shape. She used both stitch in the ditch and free motion quilting.
Spools, 44 1/2" x 44 1/2"
I'm getting ready to learn machine quilting; after 26 years of hand quilting, my stitches are not what they used to be. This is a great book to inspire me!

I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Piece and Quilt with Precuts
by Christa Watson
ISBN: 9781604688702

Learn easy, efficient tricks for piecing irresistible quilt tops with precuts and leftover fabric scraps, and discover 18 machine-quilting motifs you can mix and match. Award-winning quilter and designer Christa Watson guides you through 11 skill-building projects with quilting designs in three categories: walking-foot, free-motion, and a combination of the two techniques. Christa is here to help you start and finish strong! from the publisher

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Threads Quilt Exhibit at the Troy Historic Village

I was pleased to attend the quilt exhibit sponsored by The Troy Historic Village, held August 7-18, 2017. The Village is located in Troy, Michigan in Oakland County. Although it is only a few miles away this was my first visit.
Troy Historical Village Main Building
Over 100 new, antique, and vintage quilts were displayed in the historic buildings.
Gazebo at the Troy Historical Village with Barn Quilts
The quilts were loaned by quilters from across Metro Detroit, including the Cameo Quilters Guild in Clawson, MI; the Great Lakes Heritage Quilters; the Oakland County Quilt Guild; the Quilt Guild of Metro Detroit; the Troy Community Center Quilters; and local quilters not associated with a guild.

My first stop was the Troy Town Hall originally built about 100 yards from this site.

My Grandmother's Flower Garden by Cynthia Anderson

Butterfly Hankies by Glynis Sylvia

Hollyhocks by Sandra Kaufman
The next stop was the Old Troy Church, built in 1837 for the Protestant Episcopal congregation organized in 1827, then later sold to the Methodist Episcopal congregation in 1868. It was in use until 1963 when a new Methodist church was built.
The church has an old layout with the altar in a corner. Quilts were displayed on the pews.
 An antique crazy quilt was on display, created for a pastor's retirement.

The Methodist Church parsonage was next to the church, and had been in use until 1963! I am sure the pastor's wife was thrilled to move into a modern building, but nothing could match the ambiance of this historic Gothic building.

A Slow Walk Through the Roses by Diane Ladue
One of the upstairs bedrooms had a modern convenience, seen below. The stairs are very steep and high.
 More quilts were in the kitchen.

The General Store is a reproduction building. The store not only was a place to purchase supplies but included a post office and it sold tickets for the Detroit United Railine, an electric train line that ran from Royal Oak and up Livernois to Troy.
Lucy Lesperance's award-winning quilt Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was showcased in the store.
Vintage quilts owned by local collector LaVere Webster were on display throughout the village, including the Butterfly below. It was made by his grandmother Grace Ellen Hensley in 1936. He watched her make with a quilting bee, but it disappeared from his life for sixty years until it came up at an auction. He made sure to have the winning bid!
The Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam quilt was made by Mable Fuller Hagin.
 I wanted to just take a seat and wait for someone to come play a game of chess!

The Poppleton School was built in 1877 at Maple and Crooks. As Troy grew the school was saved and transported to the village in the 1970s.
Storybook Quilts and the books that inspired them, loaned by the Quilt Guild of Metro Detroit, were on display on the student desks.
In the entry was Lucy Lesperance's eye catching Daisy Dilemma, inspired by a class by Kay Nichols, and embellished with 'sparkles.'
Built in 1832, the Casewell House is registered with the National Register of Historic Places.
 It was filled with antiques.
Inside were new and vintage quilts and a nice collection of antique coverlets loaned by LaVere Webster.

Mariner's Compass owned by LaVere Webster

1853 coverlet owned by LaVere Webster
The beds had crazy quilts.

The 1840s log cabin was such fun to see.

In the main building was a quilt that really caught my eye, Life is a Journey by Betty Chan. I was thrilled to find she was in the church as a docent and we had a long talk. I will write a separate blog post about the story behind this quilt.