Christa’s Soap Box – My Thoughts about Modern Quilting Post QuiltCon

I’m throwing in some more random QuiltCon pics while I wax philosophically below. :-) Click here to see most of the quilts from the show, courtesy of Sew Mama Sew.

It’s no secret that in the last few years my quiltmaking style has definitely changed. I’ve enjoyed making quilts for 20 years now, but only discovered the modern quilting style back in 2012 when I first heard about the movement in a traditional quilting magazine. I was instantly stopped in my tracks when I realized this is what I had been searching for, but didn’t know it!

caseyyorkI loved Casey York’s lecture on finding modern inspiration in art! Quilt by Debbie Grifka.

I also love it that people are so passionate about their opinions! I’m not one to stir up debate, but I love reading the emphatic appeals from quiltmakers on one hand who don’t want to be labeled and those on the other hand that do! Isn’t it so awesome that within the larger quilting community, there’s room for all styles and tastes?

jacquie-teachingI picked up some great tips from Jacquie Gering on being a better teacher. We also had some great conversation about modern quilts and what a wonderfully unique show QuiltCon is!

Going to QuiltCon in 2013 put me on a career path that inspired me to publish patterns, write a book and return to teaching quilting after a long absence. Attending QuiltCon again in 2015 solidified my desire to want to make and share even more!

Lee-and-ChristaLee Heinrich and I stealing a few moments to chat on the show floor. Be sure to read Lee’s QuiltCon comments here. I think she’s right on the money!

Although I do consider myself a “modern” quilter, I’m pleased as punch to be friends with those who don’t share my zeal and enthusiasm for the aesthetic. During and after my trip from QuiltCon I heard from several quilters who realized that maybe “modern” is not their thing, and that’s totally OK!! Because you know what – it certainly is my thing! :-)


Getting some great tips from Cristy Fincher from Purple Daisies about submitting a class proposal to Craftsy. She’ll be launching her first class soon – stay tuned for details!

But far be it from me to ever demand any of my friends or fans to follow in my footsteps. Instead, I’ll continue to explore the modern aesthetic and will seek to educate myself (and others) about it whenever I get the chance. Because what I love most about the quilting community are the many friendships I’ve made while pursing this passion.

quiltcon-crepesDelicious crepes for brunch with fellow bloggers. The food and conversation were delicious! Visit Elizabeth’s blog at OP Quilt to see a much better picture of the group than the one I had!

I loved the quilts of QuiltCon because you could really see the heart and soul that went into each of them. I enjoyed viewing so may original compositions and appreciate that there was such an emphasis on aesthetics and design. I’ve also been exploring how to incorporate many of the principles of modernism (negative space, minimalism, asymmetry, clean lines, abstract design and even improvisation) into my machine quilting and it’s been a fun ride!

quilt-admirersYes, I totally admit to stalking my quilts! It was so exciting to see people admire my work!

I’ll leave you with one of the first things I said to members of my local MQG when I recently took over as president:

Just because you enjoy modern quilts doesn’t mean you have to BE a modern quilter. And just because you consider yourself part of the movement doesn’t mean you have to make exclusively modern quilts. :-)


Best of show – i Quilt by Kathy York. When I saw it in person, I didn’t see the larger “I” at first. Then I realized it has so much meaning in the message!

Now, who wants to go make a quilt?

Let’s Have a Giveaway – Courtesy of QuiltCon!

A week later, I’m still basking in the glow of the awesomeness that was QuiltCon. Why don’t we have a giveaway so that I can share some of that awesomeness with you?

Quiltcon2015QuiltCon Magazine features many of the show quilts plus new original patterns.

First up, is a copy of QuiltCon magazine from Interweave. I was thrilled that two of my quilts were showcased in the magazine so I eagerly bought a copy for myself at the show. The publisher kindly sent me another copy for being a contributor, so I’m happy to pass that along to one of you!


Spiralling Out of Control and Modern X were both featured in QuiltCon Magazine.

Next, I received a bit of swag in my goody bag so I’m happy to offer up this beautiful charm pack of Casablanca by Benartex to one of you!


Here’s How to Enter:

  • Leave a comment below, letting me know whether or not you are thinking about attending a future QuiltCon. You can also mention if you were in Austin, or if you followed along virtually!
  • I will draw 2 winners at random, one for each prize, and will announce their names on Thursday, March 5th.
  • The contest is open to everyone, and comments close Wed, March 4th at 9 PM EST.

The Pillow Collective – Amy Ellis’ Think Big Edition

Amy Ellis has just released her 4th (yes 4th!) book with Martingale. :-) It’s called Think Big and to celebrate she’s hosting the Pillow Collective – Think Big Edition.

Check out last year’s Pillow Collective here.

Think Big logoFor the blog hop, 15 different bloggers (including me) got a chance to read the book and make a pillow from one of the designs. Let me tell you right now, I have not made a quilted pillow since the early ’90s (I resist 3-D sewing) but boy did I have fun with this one.

I chose Amy’s  Downtown block and tweaked it a little by using solids for all of the rectangle pieces to create an interesting abstract design. I really like the look of it and definitely need to work more modern design into my decor!


For the quilting design, I went to town stitching a whole bunch of random straight lines, using painter’s tape to help establish a straight angle. I quilted on either side of the tape, then used the edge of my presser foot as a guide to add additional random parallel lines.


The best tip I picked up from Amy’s book was how to finish the pillow. There are excellent step-by-step instructions on how to assemble the pillow front and back together, creating an opening in which to stuff a pillow form.

pillow_bindingFrom the book I also learned that you can bind a pillow the same way you would for a regular quilt. I love the pop of color it adds! Now I’m not scared of pillows anymore and may just make another!


The pillow is currently sitting pretty in a corner of my very yellow dining room! If I get bored of using it as a pillow, it also makes a cute mini. :-)


Think Big includes a beautiful assortment of ten 18″ finished blocks, each with projects in five different sizes! I love how graphic and modern they are, and I’m sure you will, too!

think big cover

Because Amy is so sweet as well as extremely generous, she’s also hosting a giveaway of several fabric bundles and a quilt featuring her Modern Neutrals fabric line!! To enter, simply pin a pillow to pinterest (say that 5 times fast) using the hashtags #ThinkBigBook and  #PillowCollective. Click here for Amy’s Pillow Collective Pin Board.


Today is the last day of the blog hop, so be sure to check out all of the previous stops to see all of the other beautiful pillows. I’ve linked to each blogger’s pillow post below:

Now, who’s in the mood to make a pillow?

NQA Quilt Show Wants More Modern Quilts – Enter Yours Today!

I’m super excited to be working with the National Quilting Association to not only spread the love of quilting, but to educate more people about modern quilts, too!

Web Banner2The NQA Annual Quilt Show is coming up in June and it’s going to include a fabulous judged show of around 400 quilts. The exciting thing is that it’s a non-juried show, which means that everyone gets in on a first-come first served basis. The even more exciting thing is that they will be offering cash prizes for Best of Show, Special Awards, and First Place in each category.


This is only the second time that NQA is has included a modern category in their mix, and I know they would love to see that genre well represented. I’m excited for the workshops I’ll be teaching (details here) and I would love to see quilts hanging in the show made by people I know – in any category!

Click here for online quilt show entry. The deadline for entry is April 1, 2015.

Are you in??

More Quilts From QuiltCon 2015

I can express more in pictures than I can in words, so here are a few more fabulous quilts from QuiltCon:

(Click here for my previous QuiltCon 2015 post)

2014-quilts-of-the-month2014-quilts-of-the-month-2Above, 11 of the 12 modern quilts of the month from 2014 were on display including Modern X, which was my pattern for March. The PDF quilt patterns are available for free to all Modern Quilt Guild members on the community site in the members-only forum.

Optical-IllusionIt was fun to get a picture of myself standing next to Optical Illusion to show the scale of the design. It was fun to see people standing back to get a better look!

AbacusI loved meeting so many of my online friends in person including  Michelle Wilkie, and our quilts got to be “neighbors” in the show! Abacus was my solid quilt and Neighborhood was hers. They both hung in the “small quilts” category.

Cheryl_places_you'll_goI loved this small piece, titled “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by my friend and roommate, Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist designs. It reminds me of the art quilts that Michael James made in the 90’s, way back before I was ready for modern and contemporary designs!

I took so many pictures that I can’t possibly share them all in one post, so I invite you to follow me on instagram (or click here: @christaquilts) to see more! You can also search the hashtag #quiltcon to see thousands more images from the show. It truly was a social media event!

Now I can’t wait for QuiltCon 2016 in California. :-)


My Experiences From QuiltCon 2015

QuiltCon 2015 has been the most amazing event! It feels like a grand reunion of online friends who’ve never met! The quilts, lectures and social encounters are unlike any other show I’ve ever attended. I’ve seen the most beautiful quilts, I’ve met the most inspiring people, and I’ve had the most amazing experiences!

The Quilts

The picture below shows a small montage of some of the ribbon winners. Click here for pictures and names of all the QuiltCon 2015 winners.

Winners-MontageQuiltCon is the largest display of modern quilts in the world!

The People

I met and reconnected with many of my online friends from blogging and instagram, just a few of which I managed to photograph below:

quiltcon_people Cheryl Brickey (my roommate) and Amy Garro; Kristy Daum, Gemma Jackson, (me), Yvonne Fuchs, Malka Dubrawsky (Moda designer), Andres Rosales and Cristy Fincher; Daryl from Andover with Chris, The Tattooed Quilter, Leanne from She Can Quilt  and me; Jacquie Gering, and Krista Hennebury.

The Experiences

A Show like QuiltCon is more than about just quilts. Making connections and experiencing new things are all part of the fun!the_experiences

  1. Coming full circle with Marianne Fons, from whom I bought my very first quilting book, and her daughter Mary Fons who published my very first quilt pattern in her magazine 20 years later!
  2. QuiltCon Pin Trading – such a fun way to remember everyone I met!
  3. Getting temporarily tattooed from Sarah Watts of Cotton and Steel. (Permanent tattooing was also a thing – just not my thing!)
  4. Being interviewed to talk about Spiraling Out of Control by the Quilt Alliance project.
  5. Sharing Modern X as part of the special exhibits tour with Bill Volckening.
  6. Being asked to autograph a copy of QuiltCon Magazine in which 2 of my quilts from the show were featured – such a surreal moment!

And many more amazing moments that will live in my memory for a long time! I always say I’ve never met a quilt or quilter I didn’t like. But coming to QuiltCon feels like I’ve found my tribe, and for that I am truly grateful. :-)

A Visit With Tula Pink – I Learned a Thing or Two!

For Valentine’s Day, I got to spend the afternoon with Tula Pink, who came to town to lecture and promote her new Berning sewing machine at Quiltique in Las Vegas.

2015-02-14-Tula_christaTula and me – she’s much taller than I am, but so is everyone, LOL!!

Let me tell you – this gal is amazing, and not just because of her fabrics! She has incredible business acumen, is very clever and articulate, and has a great sense of self-confidence. Although she’s a big name in the industry, she’s very straightforward and down-to-earth, and she took the time to answer everyone’s questions and pose for pictures.

2015-02-14tula_modernitionalHere are some interesting tidbits:

  • Yes, Tula Pink is her real name. :-)
  • Tula was originally a fabric designer for Moda, then left the company to design for Free-Spirit fabrics when Moda wasn’t ready for her out-of-the box wild colors and splashy offbeat artwork. There’s no drama there though, and she has nothing but great things to say about both companies.
  • She started off in the record industry, creating album cover art for many famous musicians. She was happy to give up goth and skull drawings so she could focus instead on creating pink bunnies, teal horses and purple owls.
  • She draws all of her artwork by hand, working in shades of grey with pencil on graph paper. She designs to scale and thinks in repeat so as to create seamless scenery. To make the most of her “drawing economy,” she’ll only draw half images, if the design is to be a mirror image.
  • She’s incredibly focused – it can take up to 6 weeks just to get the coloring right on her drawings, after she’s spent an incredible amount of time working out the drawing details.
  • She’s a history buff and loves to read all she can about famous women in history – Marie Antionette, Queen Elizabeth, etc. These ladies have inspired some of her most well-known fabric lines.
  • Tula describes her style as “modernitional” – part modern, part traditional. She doesn’t want to be put in a box and simply wants to create what she loves, hoping her art will resonate with her audience.

2015-02-14tula_pink_backDue to popular request, Tula will be offering a line of large scale, wide-backings soon!

She definitely resonated with me and I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future. Tula Pink’s fabric and threads are always a hot commodity in my precut store and I’m in the process now of designing a new pattern using her fabrics.

Book Winner – and Thank You!

Congratulations to Caryn S. who wins a copy of Paper Pieced Modern from my friend Amy Garro. She has been contacted and the book is on it’s way!


I don’t know about you – but I am constantly amazed at the talent I’ve seen in the online quilting community. Between social media and the modern movement I feel like I’m chatting with lifelong friends who really get me and my style. I love it!

Also, – a huge thanks to those of you who helped out with my fabric destash.

2015-02-14destashNow I have a nice clean shelf that I will be filling up with all sorts of fun works-in-progress. For those that missed out, rest assured that I will be doing another one in a few weeks (maybe a couple of months). I still have loads of fabrics and goodies to clean out – stuff I just don’t use anymore.

2015-02-16-quiltconbagSneak peak of that quilt backing on the design wall coming soon….

I’m just about packed and ready for QuiltCon. I leave in the morning and will be sporting my favorite bag (made by my friend Vicki from A Quilter’s Mission) and an awesome lanyard that I got from Sewtopia.

Be sure to keep up with me throughout the week on instagram @christaquilts!

Christa’s Soapbox – QuiltCon’s a Comin’!

This week, I leave for QuiltCon, the the modern quilt show and conference. I’m excited to meet so many of my online friends there, and share my trip virtually with those of you who won’t be attending. I’ll be sure to write up a blog post or two while I’m there, and I’ll have day-by-day action (more like hour-by-hour) live on Instagram @christaquilts.

QuiltConFor those of you who have never gone, be sure to check out my QuiltCon post on Craftsy, for a sneak peek of what to expect. You can also go back and read my original posts from 2013 below. I’ve listed them in reverse chronological order.

Celebrity Encounters from QuiltCon 2013

What I learned from QuiltCon 2013

More Amazing Quiltcon Quilts of 2013

2013 Winning Quilts Part 3

2013 Winning Quilts Part 2

2013 Winning Quilts Part 1

QuiltCon 2013 Sneak Peek

If you will be at QuiltCon, be sure to come say hi and grab a button! Due to a color printing error I actually have twice as many as I originally ordered, so there’s plenty to share!

buttonsThese are the first batch in turquoise – I also have them in teal!

PS: If you enjoy my blog and would like to read about more quilting content, be sure to sign up for Friendly Threads, my weekly email newsletter!

Fabric Friday – The Great Destash of 2015

Do you guys remember when I did the great fabric destash of 2013? Well guess what? It’s time to do it again in 2015!!



I spent last weekend clearing off my entire shelf of novelty fabrics. I finally realized that as much as I love a good novelty print, I just don’t use them in my quilts. I’d rather sell them to you super cheap than let them languish on my shelves, unused. So here’s the deal:

destash3I have a total of 12 flat rate boxes, crammed full of novelty prints that I’m offering for just $50 each, shipped to the US ($75 to Canada and $95 international). The boxes have at least 15 yards in them and probably even more. So that makes them under $3.50 per yard – shipped!!



Here’s the fine print: these are all quilt-shop quality fabrics that have been prewashed. Some may have edges that are a little raggedy and some may be a little wrinkled. A piece may have been cut out here and there. They are all in excellent condition and sizes range from about 1/8 to 1/4 yard all the way up to 2-3 yard pieces.

destash6Each box will be randomly stuffed with a variety of novelty prints, most of which are shown here. Each box with be different and will include some fabrics from each group of pictures shown, plus a few more that didn’t make it into the pictures.

destash7To claim your mystery box, just leave a comment below indicating how many boxes you want. I will select the first 12 buyers and payment will be via paypal. When you comment, It shows me your email address (but no one else can see it), so I will contact you that way to send you an invoice. So no need to share personal info here online.


I’m sorry, but I can’t accommodate requests for specific fabrics or smaller amounts. It’s all going to be random, but that will be half the fun of getting your box, right?? These prints are perfect for eye-spy quilts, charity projects and fun pieced backings!

destash8To recap: leave a comment to claim your box for $50 shipped to the US. It will be a random assortment and all boxes will be stuffed with a good variety of novelty themed prints.

Thank You!