BERNINA Love – and what it means to be a brand ambassador

I’ve long been a fan of BERNINA sewing machines and purchased my first one, a used model 1630 back in in 1997. I pieced and machine quilted all of my quilts on it and really learned how to be a proficient machine quilter on it. I upgraded to my “dream” machine 16 years later in 2013 – a BERNINA 710. Now I’m excited to be using one of the latest models, the B770 QE (Quilter’s Edition). Thank goodness I didn’t have to wait nearly as long to get it!



Test driving the B770 QE at Quilt Market

I was recently invited to be a BERNINA ambassador and couldn’t be more thrilled. I first heard about the idea of “brand ambassadors” about 10 years ago when I took a class from a national teacher who was one. So I put that idea on the back burner bucket list, hoping to one day be able to represent this fabulous company.


So here’s what it means to be a brand ambassador: BERNINA sends me a machine to use on loan, for the duration of my ambassadorship. In exchange, I help promote their brand, create exclusive content for their We All Sew blog, and share my experiences with my machine. (Truth be told, I would have done all of this anyway, even without the new machine, but shhh! don’t tell them that!!)

I also get to travel to the BERNINA ambassador reunion where I get to meet with other ambassadors and BERNINA representatives. It’s held at BERNINA USA headquarters in Illinois each December, and I can’t wait to go. I imagine I will learn all sorts of nifty tips and tricks which I can then pass along to you guys! Oh, and about the all caps BERNINA – that’s how they officially spell their name. :-)


I’m sure you are all dying to know how this came about, so I’ll tell you. I first met a couple of BERNINA reps at Sewing Summit in 2013. They presented a lecture about blogging and branding which led me to realize the idea of being an ambassador could eventually be in reach. However, I knew at the time I wasn’t well known enough yet; I needed to grow my following and get published so that I could become an effective influencer.

Over the next two years I kept in touch with BERNINA, and I got to know my local dealer really well. I chatted with the national BERNINA reps each time I went to quilt market. I let them know when I purchased the 710 machine (and how much I loved it), and kept in touch while writing both my first and second books.

Branding and Berninas

Listening to BERNINA representatives at Sewing Summit in 2013

Finally, it was my time toward the end of 2015. The funny thing is that BERNINA wasn’t the only company that has offered to work with me. I got a really great request from another sewing machine company earlier this year. Although it’s a company full of fantastic people whom I admire, I truthfully told them that I was flattered, but my heart belongs to BERNINA.

I’m super excited for the future of BERNINA. Not only do they offer the highest quality machines (in my opinion), they are really forward thinking. They recently launched their line of long-arm machines, which are simply amazing. I always told myself I would never be interested in a long arm (either stand up OR sit down). But then I had a chance to try the Q20 sit-down machine and I instantly fell in love.


Chatting with Philliip about my book at Sewtopia – near the Q20 Sit-Down machine

I recently had the pleasure to meet Phillip Ueltschi who is the son of BERNINA’s owner and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hanspeter Ueltschi. Phillip just happened to be at Sewtopia and it was fun to have a conversation with him. I could tell he was passionate about the company and he was really intent on listening to what I had to say about machine quilting.

When I get to know the good people behind the scenes who are running companies I support, it makes me happy knowing I made the right decision to align with them. Be on the lookout for more fun projects from me, all made on my BERNINA. :-)

Happy Thanksgiving and a Blogiversary Sale!

Happy Turkey Day everyone! I started my blog on Thanksgiving Day in 2010 and I have so much to be thankful for over the past 5 years. You can check out that first blog post here.

Christa Quilts Family Thanksgiving Race 2010


My first blog picture, from 2010. We’ve all gotten a bit older since then (and hopefully wiser.)

In celebration of this blog-i-versary and to ring in the official holiday shopping season, I’m offering free US shipping on signed copies of my book (with reduced int’l shipping) and 25% or more off of all PDF patterns. This sale will last through Monday, November 30th.

Machine Quilting With Style



Thanks for your continued support!

Click here for more information about my patterns and books.

Fun News to Share – Quilt Show Quilts

I’ve written extensively before about entering quilt shows, and I love discussing the topic with others. In a nutshell, I’m not a “show quilter” but rather consider myself a “quilt-show enterer.” I love entering modern categories of both local and national shows to help share my examples of the modern aesthetic.


Facets (my favorite quilt from Machine Quilting With Style) will be at AQS-Phoenix

I was pleased with fun news this week: 2 of the quilts from my book will be heading to Road to California in January, and a third will be off to AQS-Phoenix in February. A fourth quilt from the book will be judged in QuiltCon since it was pre-qualified by being part of the MQG showcase at International Quilt Festival. I’ve entered additional quilts into QuiltCon, but won’t find out those results until a bit later (keeping my fingers crossed.)

Finals B1324.indd

Square in a Square will be shown at Road to California in January.


Lightning will also be shown at Road – entrants were allowed up to 2 modern quilts.

One of the hardest parts about making quilts ahead of time for my book was realizing they’d be out of commission for about a year. Most quilt shows give you 2 years from the time of completion to enter. Because of the writing deadlines, I have much less time to share my book quilts in shows, so I have to choose wisely on where they’ll go. The exception is QuiltCon which allows quilts up to 4 years old, so thank goodness for that!


Rain is my second favorite book quilt and will be proudly on display at QuiltCon.

A good friend of mine says that entering quilt shows is like quilt-casino: you never know who the judges or competition will be. Every now and then I snag a ribbon, but most of the time I don’t and that’s okay. I’m just happy to share my quilts with a wider audience!

Will you be traveling to any quilt shows next year? If so, which ones?

Winners!! And Some More Exciting News!

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of giveaways and it’s been So. Much. Fun!

I’ve contacted everyone, but congratulations to Gloria C. who won a copy of Quilting Quarterly magazine, Michelle R. who won a copy of Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine, Dawn J. who won a copy of Amanda Murphy’s Free-Motion Idea book, and Debi J. who won a copy of Amanda Lein’s book, Wanderlust quilts.

With all of this new-book goodness out there, I have fun news to share. First, I recently found out that my debut book Machine Quilting With Style is one of my publisher’s top sellers (yay)!

Second, I’m excited announce my next book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, co-authored with Angela Walters will be published in April of 2016.

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Click here to order your copies of my books and patterns.

I can’t thank you all enough for supporting me (and my friends) by purchasing our books and leaving such nice Amazon reviews. I can truthfully say, I love writing – and hearing such wonderful feedback just makes me want to keep doing it!


Spiraling Out of Control Pattern Available in MQU Magazine

Here’s some great news for those of you who have been patiently waiting for the pattern for my quilt Spiraling Out of Control. It’s now available in the current issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine (Fall, 2015).


Here’s a quick back-story of the quilt. I originally made it for the MQG/Riley Blake fabric challenge in 2014 and was thrilled when it was selected as one of the 10 finalists out of hundreds of quilts. It then went on to hang at AQS in July 2014 nd then at QuiltCon in 2015 where it caught the eye of the Modern Quilts Unlimited editors. (In fact, they also fell in love with another of my quilts at the show which will be patterned in a future issue, so be sure to subscribe!)


I used EQ7 to design Spiraling Out of Control.

Jason jokingly refers to this issue as “my” issue because in addition to featuring the pattern, they’ve also given my book a nice review, and I’m in an EQ ad, too!


Seeing reviews of my book in national magazines makes me giddy!



One of the best things about sharing my quilts in magazines is that I usually get an extra contributor copy. So I’d like to give the extra copy to one of you. To enter, just leave a comment letting me know what current projects you are working on. I’ll leave comments open until the end of the day on Sunday Nov 15th . Then I’ll pick a random winner and post their name here. Everyone is eligible to enter.

Free-Motion Quilting Idea Blog Hop

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You all know I’m a sucker for machine quilting and I love it when others helps spread the message, that yes, you CAN quilt your own quilts! :-) Prolific quilter and author Amanda Murphy has just released her latest project, The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book.

coverIt’s chock full of ideas on how you can apply specific motifs to actual blocks. It includes over 150 step-by-step designs that are sure to jump start your creativity! Just take a look at these two ideas from the book:


I love it that the book is organized so that you can look up the motifs by quilt element or design family. But what makes the book extra special is that you can apply these ideas to your quilts whether you are a stand up long arm quilter, or a sit-down machine quilter. Amanda started off as a domestic machine quilter (like me) and she’s now the spokesperson for the new BERNINA long arm, so of course I think she has great taste in machines!

Here’s Amanda, in her own words, describing why she wrote The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book:

“I wanted to write an idea book to help people figure out how to quilt their quilts by breaking them down into a series of steps.  Each quilt element featured in the book has multiple designs but all are based on the same basic allover designs featured in the front of the book – so it is easy to create a cohesive look.  For instance, there are several designs for quilting flying geese, and they work well with other designs that feature the same families.  There are also coordinating borders, sashing, and stand alone designs.  There is a simple table runner design included to get you started.”


As an added bonus, Amanda and her publisher have teamed up to offer a companion to The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book. It’s called the Free-Motion Quilting Idea Sampler and is available as a PDF download which gives you loads of block patterns to piece and practice on!

FMQIdeaSampler_1318_SMSampler Quilt for Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book


Leave a comment telling me your favorite free-motion quilting motif. (Mine is swirls!) Contest is open to everyone through the end of the week. US winners will receive a hard copy of the book; international winners will receive an e-copy.

Blog Tour

Check out the rest of the stops on the hop for more inspiration, and your chance to win a copy of The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book:

Book Recommendation – Sew Adorkable

I get to wrap up this week by telling you about the adorable and hilariously funny Samarra Khaja who recently wrote the book Sew Adorkable. I mean, the tongue-in-cheek title really says it all!

Samarra first came to my notice when she became known as “The QuiltCon Artist” – photoshopping herself into other people’s QuiltCon pictures and then posting them on Instagram, when she couldn’t attend the event herself. (Just go to instagram and search #quiltconartist to see what I mean.)


Now I normally don’t do 3-D sewing (clothes, bags, accessories, etc.) but if I did, I would for sure pick one of Samara’s projects to make. They are just so fun! Just check out some of these adorable (or adorkable) ideas (all photography courtesy of C&T). I think my favorite is the “Pencil Skirt” shown on the cover. Get it? (Get it??)

Masculine Tooth Fairy Pillows

stapler_pillowStapler Pillow


Typewriter Tissue Box – Everyone needs one of these!

Samarra also included some delightful quilt patterns in her book. Take a look at these:

odd_socksOdd Socks – That’s where they went to!!

8 bit birds8 Bit Birds

11114_007.tif_SK1Braille Alphabet Quilt

candy_dotsCandy Dots – Love those added illustrations!

One of the most delightful things about Sew Adorkable is Samarra’s illustrations which are included throughout the book, like in the photos above. Her sense of playfulness is really evident throughout the book.

So if you are looking for that unique gift this holiday season, pick up your copy of Sew Adorkable and stitch up one of 15 fun projects!

coloringbookBut Wait There’s More!

PS – if you like her illustration style, Samarra also has her very own coloring book! It’s called Off the Bookshelf and it just released this week!

Book Recommendation – Wanderlust Quilts

I recently learned the most important thing about Amanda Leins (aka Mandy or Mandalei Quilts). You pronounce her last name like LIONS. Got it? Good! :-) The second most important thing about Mandy is that she’s just written an amazing book with the incredibly appropriate title of Wanderlust Quilts.


So what are Wanderlust Quilts you ask? They are quilts inspired by the art, architecture, and history of ancient civilizations and the objects made by human hands that remain behind, made to gain a fuller understanding of the people who lived in that time and place.

In her book, Amanda presents 10 beautifully original patterns, along with photographs of the places and events that inspired those designs. Her background is in archaeology, so it’s a natural fit that she’s inspired by her previous work and life experiences.

My Favorite Quilt

Eggs-and-DartsEggs and Darts, pieced by Sue Bishop and Quilted by Amanda Leins, won first place in the Modern Category at NQA Quilt Show in Little Rock, AR earlier this year.

My favorite quilt from the book is Eggs and Darts. The quilt design is stunning and I love the expansive negative space which allows for copious amounts of machine quilting. I had the pleasure of viewing this stunning quilt close and in person earlier this year at the NQA quilt show.


I’d award a Best in Show ribbon to Wanderlust Quilts if I could.

In fact, I love going to quilt shows because they inspire me so much. I’m such a big advocate of showing your work, not for the glory or ribbons, but simply to share your artistry with the viewer. I never really understood the phrase “art moves me” until I began viewing quilts as art when hung in quilt shows. I can stare at them for hours and imagine all of the possibilities if I were to make this quilt my own.

Here’s a better view of the luscious detail quilting of Eggs and Darts:

eggsndarts_quiltingIn addition to being an amazing pattern designer, Mandy’s quilting will knock your socks off, too. (Photo by Nissa Brehmer)

egganddart_detailEgg and Dart detail – photography courtesy of C&T.

I also love that along with beautiful quilt photography, each quilt includes a photograph of the architectural details that inspired it. Here’s a closeup of a facade of the Pantheon, showing a small egg and dart row. I learned this fun fact from Mandy’s book: historically, the egg and dart motif was used as a very small detail on a temple, or as a bit of a border between features.

Wanderlust Quilts Giveaway

Mandy’s publisher, C&T is very generously giving away a book to one person at each stop along the blog hop. To enter, please leave your comment below telling me where you would love to travel to find your quilting inspiration. I’ll keep the comments open until November 15th, the last day of the hop.

aquaductsAquaducts, another favorite of mine. Photography by Nissa Brehmer.

Be sure to visit Mandy’s blog for the full blog hop schedule so that you too can be taken along an imaginary journey into far off places.

I have to end this post with this fun little image I noticed when looking for Mandy’s book on Amazon. It made me smile. :-)


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Book Recommendation – Stitches to Savor by Sue Spargo

Yay for book week! The next book on my list that I get to share with you is Stitches to Savor: A Celebration of Designs by Sue Spargo.


It’s a coffee table book which means it’s full of gorgeous photography for you to pour through. It’s 144 pages worth of full color images – eye candy for any quilter!


If you enjoy wool applique or handwork, the intricate details are sure to inspire you!


The book has very few words, just page after page of exquisite closeups and finished projects.

detail3Order your copy of Stitches to Savor today! :-)

Book Recommendation – The Quilter’s Planner

I’m so excited for this week! Not only will I be attending Sewtopia later in the week (be sure to follow me on Instagram for live action shots of the retreat!); but this week I get to share several amazing books with you! Several of my friends have written books and I can’t wait to tell you all about them. I mean, when someone takes on the task of creating an entire book – that’s something to celebrate, right?

quiltersplanner_1The Quilter’s Planner by Stephanie Palmer

For starters, Stephana Palmer, aka Late Night Quilter and my new BQF (Best Quilting Friend) has just created The Quilter’s Planner. A quick background – Stephanie and I met back in August while taping machine quilting segments for QNNtv. We hit it off immediately and now we are even periscope buddies, too!


So I’ll get to the planner details in a minute, but first I want to tell you about the unique way in which Stephanie is selling her planner. She’s using the crowd-funding site Indiegogo to take pre-orders while she finalizes the finishing touches. What’s awesome about this platform compared to others is that she doesn’t have to meet a funding goal in order to go ahead and print the planners and send them out into the world.  Unlike Kickstarter, there’s no threat of an unsuccessful crowd-funding project.  So if you order a planner, you are guaranteed to receive a planner!  Sounds like a win-win to me!


What’s Inside:

  • Monthly calendars
  • Weekly calendars
  • Project planning pages
  • Swatch saver
  • Graph paper
  • Free motion quilting practice pages
  • Goal-setting prompts
  • 8 full quilt patterns from amazing designers
  • 52 original quilt block designs from awesome quilt bloggers
  • Gorgeous artwork pull-outs
  • Reference section for quilting calculations and common construction techniques

quiltersplanner_4The planner includes 8 quilt patterns plus 52 original quilt block designs.

Order Yours Now to Kick off 2016

For more details about The Quilter’s Planner, and to pre-order your copy, click here!

I’m super excited for Stephanie’s new venture, and once you get your copy, I’m sure you’ll be excited (and organized) too!