If You Were Friend Shopping…

Hey guys, it’s usually an Instagram thing to share and tell about someone’s work you admire for others to follow. Well, I figured, why not do that occasionally here on the blog? Meet my friends Ida, who blogs at Ida Rather be Quilting, and Vicki who blogs at Orchid Owl Quilts.

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 In this picture Vicki and Ida are just behind me in the back row on the left and right. We went with several other fun members of our Modern Quilt Guild to a Quilt Show in St. George, Utah.

I first met Ida last year when she moved into my neighborhood and I found out she was a quilter. We can just find each other – you know?? Vicki moved to town about a year later and she got involved right away with the local guilds.  Both of them have helped me so much this year as I’ve led our local Modern Quilt Guild. I love all of my online friendships, but there’s nothing quite like having friends close by who get your obsession for all things quilting!

ida_shoppingIda was stocking up on solids during a recent shopping trip to Superior Threads.

Ida is a military wife so she is very good as making friends quickly and adapting to new surroundings. Be sure to visit her blog and scroll through her posts for some excellent eye candy along with musings on military life. One of my favorite tutorials is her improv zipper pouch which I followed to make a recent guild swap gift. I also adore her Plus One quilt, shown below.

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Vicki and I actually met online through Instagram, and became fast friends when I learned she was moving here. We clicked right away because we both have that innate desire to show and share our quilts with as many people as possible, and we both love talking about the “industry” side of quilting. (In fact, Ida loves to refer to Vicki and I as the “quilt divas” when we are talking shop, LOL!!)

orchidowlVicki and with her quilt Me and My Shadow which won judge’s choice at a recent quilt show.

I love what Vicki wrote recently on her blog about entering quilt shows. She also shares a bit of that competitive spirit with me and it’s fun to cheer each other on as we enter our work into shows. (I told her she will always beat the pants off me any day with that luscious feather quilting!!)

bigstar_vickiAnother of Vicki’s award-winning quilts.

So if you are looking for more inspiring blogs to follow, I can highly recommend Ida Rather Be Quilting and Orchid Owl Quilts. Go give them some comment love and make some new friends!

Check Out National Quilter’s Circle Blogger Awards

The National Quilter’s Circle is now accepting nominations for your favorite quilting and fiber arts blogs. I had honestly never even heard of this before until they contacted me letting me know my blog had already been submitted by several different people (thank you).

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Nominations run through April 29th and the top four blogs with the most nominations in each category will then move onto the voting round which runs through May 15th.

Categories include:

  • Best Traditional Quilting Blog
  • Best Modern Quilting Blog
  • Best Quilting Patterns Blog
  • Best Fiber Arts Blog
  • Best Art Quilts Blog
  • Most Humorous Blog
  • Best Overall Quilting Blog

Click here if you’d like to nominate your favorite blog – including your own!

I always like to support contest like these because I think it helps get the word out about other quilting bloggers and brings the blogging and quilting community together. :-)

My Book is Now Available for Pre-Order!!

It’s real – it’s really real! My book is now available for pre-order on Amazon! So before I faint with excitement, please allow me to tell you a little something about it… :-)

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My book is called Machine Quilting With Style: From Walking-Foot Wonders to Free-Motion Favorites. That’s quite a mouthful, but I couldn’t be more thrilled! As many others have said, it really is like birthing another child, complete with restlessness, anxiety and weight gain, LOL! :-) The “due” date is mid-September, about a month after my own birthday, so I really couldn’t ask for a better present.

It’s been a dream of mine to write a book since I began quilting many years ago, and the perfect opportunity came at just the right time. I had returned home from the first QuiltCon on fire with the desire to share my passion for quilting with a many people as possible. Coupled with my new-found love of the modern aesthetic, all the stars aligned in the best possible way to create this book.

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Promotional information by the incredibly talented marketing team at Martingale.

Machine Quilting With Style includes patterns for 12 quilts with step-by-step instructions on how to machine quilt them. It also includes a large section on setting yourself up for successful machine quilting, with plenty of motifs to practice. There are a total of 112 pages, and I’m so grateful to Martingale (aka That Patchwork Place) for believing in my vision and allowing me to write the book I was meant to write.

Now that the hurdle of writing and editing is over, I get to engage in the fun part: promoting the book, talking to shop owners about it, creating classes around it, and getting to share it with as many people as possible. I’m pretty sure I enjoy the “social” aspect of quilting just as much as the actual making. :-)

book-editingThis is what book editing looks like!

Machine Quilting With Style is available for pre-order on Amazon at a discount off the cover price, which is always nice. You can also purchase it from your local quilt shop or favorite bookstore later this summer, or ask them to preorder you a copy when they attend quilt market this spring.

If you’d like to pre-order a signed copy directly from me, it’s just a few dollars more, and I’ll ship mid-September as soon as they come in.

Ok – I’d best get started on the next one, now! (Kidding-not-kidding!)

The Beehive Quilts – Double Star Block

This month I’m pleased to be a part of The Beehive, a quilt block tutorial series hosted by Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts.

My block of the month is called Double Star, which finishes at 12″ x 12″.

Double Star Block

Be sure to hop on over to Alyce’s blog for the Double Star block tutorial, plus see what the block looks like in repeat, and check out Alyce’s version in an alternate colorway. If that’s not enough, there’s also an extra bonus for EQ users!

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Click here for links to all of the Beehive block tutorials.

Fabric Friday – Riley Blake’s New Penny Rose Brand

Have you seen Riley Blake’s newest brand of fabrics? It’s called Penny Rose and features reproduction fabrics like 30’s and traditional Civil War prints. For Penny Rose, what’s old is new again!

Here are some of the latest Penny Rose collections, now available in our precut store: pennyrose_paperdolls

 Paper Dolls by Sibling Arts Studio

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Aesop’s Fable by Erin Turner

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Milk, Sugar, and Flower by Elea Lutz

Aren’t these so sweet? What do you think of the new brand?

Contain It! Blog Hop and Book Giveaway

It is with great pleasure that I get to share a new book I just came across. It’s called Contain It! English Paper Pieced Accessories by mother & daughter team Linda and Laura Chaney from Prairie Sewn Studios. First I’ll tell you about it, and then give you a chance to win your own copy!

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Now, usually I don’t make 3-D items, but several containers in this fascinating book definitely have me tempted to make one! In reality, I will probably choose one or two and have my mom make them for me – she loves this type of sewing and there are some really great containers in here!

cubesPage from the book showing a gallery of cube containers.

The projects are arranged in order of difficulty including: flatwork practice projects like mug rugs and table mats, cube containers, concave & convex containers, scalloped bowls, heart containers & boxes, star containers and boxes.

starsPage from the book showing a gallery of star containers.

Linda and Laura are very thorough in their directions and each of the projects includes full sized templates. There’s also a great section in the front of the book that goes over suggested fabrics and needed supplies to successfully make the containers in the book. The containers can be sewn by hand or machine and layout/assembly diagrams (called an “octopus”) are given for each project.

Be sure to check out each of the blogs on the hop this week for more perspectives on Contain It!

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The Giveaway

For your chance to win a copy of Contain It!, leave a comment below letting me know if you’ve ever made a quilted container before. Entries are open to US residents through this Saturday, April 18th at 6 PM Pacific Time. I’ll email the winner and update this blog post with the winner’s name.

My Newsletter

If you are new to my blog, don’t forget to sign up for Friendly Threads, my weekly email newsletter! I go a little more indepth and behind the scenes there, and it’s a great way to keep in touch. :-)

Save the Date – Paper Pieced Quilt Along Coming May 6th!

Do you remember this design I shared awhile back?

20140411_modern_dresdenOriginally titled, “Modern Dresden” I’m working on a better name for this art-deco design.

The time has come for me to make a quilt based on my sketches, and I’d like to invite you to quilt along with me, from start to finish. I’ve realized the best way for me to get something done is to set up a schedule and stick to a deadline.

I’ve also noticed a resurgence in the popularity of paper piecing and I know so many of you are eager to learn! I’m happy to share this fun technique with you. So let’s tackle this together shall we?

Modern Dresden in PurpleHere it is in purple.

I’m still finalizing my design and filling in all the details. In fact, my version will look completely different than the those shown above, but I will include a few different layout options.  I will launch the quilt along May 6th and it will run for 12 straight weeks. It will also include every step to complete the quilt including basting, machine quilting and binding!

Be sure to join my facebook group, Quilt With Christa to see all of the in-process sneak peaks before the quilt along launches on May 6th!

For those of you who would like to share on Instagram, I will be using the hashtag #decoqal for this one. You can also share pics from any of my previous quilt alongs with the tag #christaquiltsqal.

One more thing – which color scheme do you prefer – orange or purple? I think I’m going to go with a red, orange, and yellow colorscheme. Although my pictures above show only a few blocks, I’m going to make 48 of these block units below and set them into a very unique layout! As with any of my quilt alongs, you can sew at your own pace and make the quilt in your own size!

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 8″ finished block unit. Put 4 of them together for a larger 16″ block!

Who’s excited to quilt along with me?

Craftsy Class Review: Free-Motion Quilting with Lines, Curves and Loops

I have a confession to make: one of the perks of being a Craftsy writer is getting to view some of their top classes so I can review them and tell others what I enjoy. I think I need a sign that says “will work for quilting classes!” :-)

It’s even more exciting when I get to take my friend’s classes, too! I first met the fabulous Debby Brown when I took a feather quilting class from her at Road to California in 2014. Let me tell you – she can rock a feather like no other! I was immediately drawn to her warm, friendly teaching style and this gal really knows her stuff. So without further ado, let me tell you all about Free-Motion Quilting with Lines, Curves and Loops.

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Class Overview

The class is broken down into 7 different video lessons, each under 1/2 hour so they are presented in easily digestible chunks of information. And the best part is – you can watch them in any order! (Tip – I like to watch a session before I begin my day’s sewing to really get me in the mood!)

Debby includes great tips like setting up your home sewing machine and how to control the tension. She even shows starting and stopping in detail plus how to easily create temporary guidelines to help balance the motifs.

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Debby’s fireworks sample – this would look fantastic on a modern quilt!

Debby then goes onto show you how incorporating simple letter shapes can make for better free-motion quilting. I use a lot of e’s and o’s to create circles in my personal work, but I never really though about i’s (lines), c’s (curves), j’s (curls) and s’s (swirls)!! Yes, she really does walk you through how to turn letters your brain already recognizes into useable (and pretty) free-motion quilting textures! Within each of these basic shapes, Debby includes several easy-to-quilt free-motion textures to try.

My favorite tip that Debby shares is one that I teach my own students: draw first, then quilt! That helps your brain recognize the stitching path and makes it much easier to know where to move when it’s time to quilt. She also includes a few bonus tips and tricks like using free-motion quilting to mimic the look of machine applique, plus trapunto techniques and bobbin work.

Debby rounds out the class by teaching you how to combine motifs to create amazing custom textures. I love it! Complete supply lists are included in the class materials and you can ask questions for Debby at any time via the Craftsy platform.

My Favorites

My all-time favorite motif I learned from Debby is how to quilt swirly feathers. I’m really not much of a feathers gal, but I love this one! It’s so funky and fun and actually pretty easy to stitch.

Swirling Feathers

 My practice sample when I took Debby’s class last year.

I also really like her in-depth section on quilting linear motifs with free-motion. When you know how to do that, the sky really is the limit when it comes to fun free-motion quilting.

Of course, the best part about this class is that you can watch it anytime, on your schedule. Debby is such an amazingly talented instructor that she can’t possibly give enough in-person classes for everyone who wants to learn from her. So I’m extremely grateful that I can watch her class at my convenience, day or nite! In fact, for several of the motifs I found myself using the Craftsy 30-second repeat option so I could watch her form the stitches over and over again.

On Sale Now!

As I was watching and reviewing Free-Motion Quilting with Lines, Curves and Loops, I got the heads up that it is on sale now, along with dozens of other courses, this weekend only. So be sure to sign up while you are thinking about it!

In fact, be sure to click here for all Craftsy classes on sale. Then be a good student and engage with your fellow classmates and share pictures of your work!

 

Christa’s Soap Box – How to Deal With the Trolls

It makes me very sad in the quilting community when I hear about nasty comments left for well-meaning bloggers and professionals in the community. I was recently discussing with a designer friend the impact that one hurtful email or thoughtless comment can have on a person. My response to her was “the upside of this means that you are now big enough and successful enough to be a target.” What is it about the internet community that allows us to easily say mean things online that we would never do face-to-face? (This is rhetorical – you don’t have to answer.)

I am definitely not immune to criticism either (yep – it’s true!), but I try to take it in stride when it happens. Here are a couple of tips on how I handle these situations when they occur.

  • Be professional – as much as I want to take the the internet to vent and call out the offending party, I don’t. What may be written as a response in the heat of passion will be there permanently for all to see. Instead, I try to analyze the comment or criticism and see if there’s anything I can learn from it. Usually it doesn’t call for a response. (At least not yet. Hopefully.)
  • Just delete it – if the comment is left in a public place like a blog, instagram or facebook, etc. it’s ok to delete. It really is! And in some cases, you can block a user from having access if needed. The way I look at it is that this is my sandbox, and you are coming over to my place to play. I won’t invite you back if you aren’t nice. :-)
  • Let it go, let it goooo! (cue up the Disney soundtrack) – if you really do need to get it off your chest, vent to a friend, spouse, or partner in private and then let it go. The more you stir the pot, the thicker it will get! If you need to, you can always write a scathing response to get it out of your system, then immediately delete what you just wrote. Now, doesn’t that feel better?
  • Go make something – quilting really is good therapy. Whenever I’m having an off day, or if something gets to me, I really do feel better after a 15 minute sewing session. Strangely, blogging also has that same effect sometimes. If I can jot down a few random thoughts for a future blog post, it makes me feel more productive and vocal in my craft.

Here’s wishing you a very happy, productive, quilty day!

I Love Writing about Free-Motion Quilting!

In my latest Quilt as Desired column for the National Quilting Association, I was able to explore how background fills can add depth and texture to your quilts. I love quilting textural designs that add a lot to the quilt with little to no marking.

nqaqad_fillerExcerpt from Quilting Quarterly by the National Quilting Association, Spring 2015 Issue

Speaking of NQA, you still have until April 10th to enter your quilts (especially your modern ones) into their show that will occur June 18-20 of this year. I will be teaching Modern Machine Quilting, along with two other classes and can’t wait to encourage others to give it a try.

I’ve also written a series of articles for Craftsy including tips to get you started free-motion quilting and 5 ways to trouble shoot your fmq.

As I get out there more in the world of quilting, it’s been fun to share my knowledge in different venues. Sometimes I worry that I may repeat a little bit of what I have to say. But then, it makes my day when a kind reader emails me to say, “If it wasn’t for ___ (insert name of venue or website), I never would have found you. Thanks for the tips!”

That’s truly what keeps me going! :-)