The Free Motion Quilting Project: Quilting Busy Fabrics Collaboration with Christa Watson

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Quilting Busy Fabrics Collaboration with Christa Watson

We're taking a break from the podcast this week to bring you another quilting collaboration! My awesome quilting friend Christa Watson has become a writing, designing, teaching rock star this year with her third book out this fall and her first line of fabric, Modern Marks launching as well.

So Christa sent me a mini quilt which was a resized version of a quilt from her book Piece and Quilt with Precuts and I got to quilt it! Check out how I handled Christa's beautiful busy fabrics in this new quilting video:


Click Here to find Christa's post on this collaboration!

When it comes to quilting over busy fabrics, you have to accept that your quilting design is going to take second place. Sometimes the fabric is the focal point of a quilt and it should shine the brightest.


So for this quilt, I let the machine quilting designs take a back seat and act as the support cast for the cheerful fabrics. I quilted with nearly matching gray thread over the gray and white background fabrics to help push them down so the bright fabrics could stand out.


I mentioned in the video I was playing with a different type of thread too. My favorite Isacord Polyester thread is my standby because it's thin, strong and rarely breaks, even when I quilt multiple times over the same spot. Unfortunately the thread I was testing didn't hold up as well. It's certainly worth it to test new threads, but ultimately I think it saves time to find what works then stick with it!

Have you heard a rumor that polyester thread is bad for quilts? Hear my take on that quilting myth.



In the end, I'm not sure my quilting made much of an impact on this little quilt. You have to get very close to the quilt to see the designs, or have the light shining across the quilt just right, like at the end of the video. But it was still fun to add a bit of extra texture to the background so the bright fabrics stand out better.

Honestly if I had another quilt with this busy fabric, I would probably just stitch the quilt in the ditch and leave it there. I know that might seem like a cop-out, but sometimes ditching is the best way to finish a quilt simply, so long as there aren't too many ditches involved.



I guess the best rule for quilting over busy fabrics is to not overthink it. Don't obsess about every design being perfect or even picking lots of designs to use. Your quilting designs might not be very visible so aim to secure the layers together nicely so the quilt can be used and enjoyed.

This is the wonderful thing about quilting! You can make quilts with busy fabrics where the bright colors and prints are the focus, and you can make quilts with plain fabric and allow the quilting design to shine. There are so many ways to create a quilt and so many different fabrics to choose.

I hope you'll challenge yourself in the coming year to try lots of different fabrics and quilting styles and once you find what works, stick with it and make lots of beautiful quilts!

Make sure to check out Christa's post on her side of this collaboration and see more of her pretty fabrics.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

1 comment:

  1. This was so fun to work on together. I love the textured background you added to the piece. :-) Here's to many more fun days of free-motion quilting!!

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