Around the World Blog Hop – My Turn!

My friend Becca from Bryan House Quilts invited me to join the Around the World Blog hop. What fun! Each Monday, different bloggers answer the following questions and then pass the ball onto someone else! It’s been going on for awhile and is literally having worldwide reach. You can click the links at the beginning and end of this post to find more fun blogs to follow and get to know other fun quilters in the process!

20140828_wip_bookI’ve been slaving away on the computer while work starts to pile up in the background.

1. What am I working on?

Currently I’m finishing up the manuscript for my first book, sneak peeks of which I shared previously. After that, I’m ready to launch a fall quilt along, prepare new teaching samples and even finish up a few patterns in the works. It’s never a dull moment around here!

2. How does my work differ from others?

That’s an interesting one. My work has evolved over time and probably the biggest difference I’ve seen is my preference to make my quilts completely from start to finish (including the designing). I don’t think there is anything wrong with only piecing, or only quilting, etc. (Remember there’s room for everyone in this journey!) I just enjoy every step of the process, so it’s been natural for me to always make the whole thing.

It’s definitely a slower process, (especially when one is trying to publish their work), but I’m ok with that, too. It’s been very satisfying to find like-minded souls within the online community, and to not feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t mind spending hours and hours on their quilts. :-)

20140828_thread_countI’ve recently begun keeping track of how much thread it takes to quilt a quilt. I count by the bobbin and each of my large Bernina bobbins holds about 80-100 yards of thread.

3. Why do I do what I do?

The first answer is because quilting is my business. From nearly the first moment I took up this glorious hobby 20 years ago, I thought that if I could make money from it,  I could justify the cost. (Not that I really needed to, but I was a poor starving college student back then!)

But the real answer is that it feeds my soul. Creating to me is as important as breathing, and I would be lost in a world without art. Also, I’ve found that I have nearly as much fun participating in the community of quilting as I do making the actual quilts. I enjoy it just as much when my quilting buddies receive recognition for their work as I do for my own projects.

20140828_colorful_fabricsI love working with color! Pearl Bracelet fabrics courtesy of Andover.

4. How does my creative process work?

I usually have an idea of a quilt I want to make and I sketch it out roughly in EQ7 first. At this point, I am brainstorming, so the quilt can go off in many different directions. I save all of the different versions and often use them in future projects.

201406010_eq_artistI am a planner, so I have to know what the quilt looks like before I ever cut the first fabric. If I know for sure which fabrics I’m using, I’ll import them into the program and create a pattern for myself to follow. If the fabrics aren’t important and it’s more about the colors, I’ll create the design in solids, then use prints when I sew. Of course many times I end up loving the solid version and make an exact copy of that, too!

It’s hard for me to make a quilt just for the sake of making. Each quilt needs to have a purpose. Whether that purpose is learning a new technique, preparing a class sample, or making the quilt for an intended recipient, I can’t start on it until I know where it’s going to end up.

Rainbow Bridge

Here’s a recent sketch I came up with when I was messing around with half-square triangle layouts. I’m not sure if it will ever become a quilt, but it was fun to design!

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about what makes me tick! I’m inviting my friends Stacy from Farm Road Quilts and Cheryl the Quilter Chic to play along next week!

Posted in Personal Life, Sew and Tell, Soapbox | 1 Comment

Fabric Friday – Quilt Market Arrivals

Even though Jason and I didn’t attend quilt market this past spring, we were still able to order boxes and boxes of fabulous new precuts which are starting to arrive in stores now. (After an 8 year absence, we are headed to Fall Market again in the fall and I can’t wait!)

20140828_modern_neutrals_1First let me tell you about Modern Neutrals by Amy Ellis. I love this line and I’ve been a long-time fan of Amy’s. In fact, I was able to get advanced yardage of some of this line for a special secret project I’m currently working on. My favorite print is the one on the top of the precut stack that reminds me of Star-Trek insignia. (Yeah – we are trekkies!!)

20140828_modern_neutralsHere’s what Amy has to say about her debut line for Moda:

“While writing Modern Neutrals (the book), I fell in love with the calming sense that was found in each of the quilts. Later, when selecting a color palette for my first collection of fabric designs, I kept coming back to the neutral palettes and decided it was meant to be! I added a touch of color that can be used, if desired, in your quilts to liven up the subtle neutrals. I hope you enjoy the neutral palette as much as I do.”

Yes, Amy, I do!

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Next, take a look at Best Day Ever by Amy’s pal and podcast co-host April Rosenthal. If you remember, I interviewed April about her experiences in becoming a fabric designer earlier on my blog.

20140828_best_day_1I love the fun bright prints and the story behind them. Now that April’s fabrics are out, I think they would make some of the Best Quilts Ever!

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Finally, I’d like to introduce you to LOL by dynamic duo Me and My Sister. This talented pair has been releasing fabulous collections as long as I’ve been in business and have consistently been one of our top sellers. :-)

20140828_lolTheir cheery bright pastels never fail to please!

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This is just the tip of the iceberg of all the fabulous precuts that are arriving each week. Click here to see them all!

 

Posted in Fabric | Tagged , | 4 Comments

A New Wip, A Few Finishes and Some Sneak Peeks

Before I get into today’s post, I need to congratulate Karen P. from North Carolina for winning my mystery fabric box! Thanks to all of you who enter my giveaways – I will be hosting a few more in the fall so be on the lookout! :-)

I have been busy all summer finishing this stack of quilts. It’s been such a pleasure to work on them! Although it will be quite a while before I am ready to reveal them in public, I can truly say I’ve grown as a quilter while creating them. It’s been a little tricky blogging and sharing on Instagram (@christaquilts) when there’s nothing to show, but I’ve been enjoying posting a few little sneaky peeks now and then.

20140827_quilt_stackWhat I did over summer vacation. Now it’s time to get busy on the design wall again!

I can show you the backing of another fun finish which will be revealed in the Winter issue of Quilting Quarterly this December. This is the magazine published by the National Quilting Association – a group that has been around for over 45 years. Can you believe it?! Be sure to join NQA to get your quarterly subscription so you don’t miss out on the fun! Here’s a hint: think small!

20140827_mini_backHere’s the back – can’t wait until I can show you the front!

Finally, here is a WIP that I can show. I’m working on “Abacus,” an easy machine applique project that will be my next Quilt Along! Yay!!! I started it earlier in the year before I got serious with deadlines, and I’m now excited to return to it. I’m finalizing details now, and I plan to launch the quilt along mid to late September.

20140827_abacusQuilt Along with me again in September!

Who’s excited for the fall quilting season? I know I am!

Posted in Christa's Quilts, Publishing, Sew and Tell | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Christa’s Soapbox – 10 (or 11) Quilty Little Secrets

Amy Garro from 13 Spools wrote up a fun piece about her dirty little quilting secrets, so I thought I would play along, too! In no particular order, here are mine:

20140823_quilt_secrets

  1. I don’t save my scraps! I just throw them away or try to give them away. (I hear the quilt police coming for me now….)
  2. I prefer new fabric over using my stash and I don’t like hoarding fabric.
  3. I’d choose solids over prints, any day.
  4. I can’t work in a “creative” mess – my studio has to be cleaned up before the start of each new project.20140820_cq_clutter My sewing space after a recent finish. It’s time to clean up and start again!
  5. I have clutter issues so I can’t handle too many WIP’s at a time. I gave my old ones away last year, and now I only work on one or two quilts at a time.
  6. I’m not into quilting traditional feathers on my quilts. (I’d love to try some modern ones, though!)
  7. Quilting for business and quilting for personal enjoyment are one and the same to me.
  8. I prefer the look of hand binding to the convenience of machine binding.
  9. I consider myself a modern quilter though not all of my quilts are.
  10. I enjoy quilt math!
  11. Hexagons make me sick. You can read this older post to find out why.

I actually have 11 quilty secrets. :-) I hope you enjoyed reading them and want to share a few of your own! Please add your list to the comments below or create your own blog post to join in the fun!

 

Posted in Soapbox | 35 Comments

Exciting News – Craftsy is Now an Official Christa Quilts Sponsor!

Lately I’ve been approached by a few different companies wanting to sponsor my blog. In staying true to my mission to support and promote the art of quilting, I am only saying yes to those companies whose products or services I actually use (and who I would promote anyway, but I might as well say yes if they want to throw a little $$ at me!!)

craftsy-logo

With that said, I’d like to welcome Craftsy as an “official” sponsor. What this means is that a couple of times a month I will blog about Craftsy pretty much as I have been doing in the past: with class reviews, exclusive giveaways, freebies and discounts on classes just for my followers, etc. The difference is that these posts will be clearly marked as “sponsored by” Craftsy. But they will still be my own true opinions.

I’ve always believed that writing good content will pay off in the end; so it feels like a nice pat on the back that they’ve noticed my Craftsy love and are now wanting to partner up with me. :-) Let the good times roll!

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Craftsy mini quilt pattern by Right Patterns

 

Posted in Business | Tagged | 16 Comments

Thread Thursday – New Aurifil Thread Kits

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to collect a pretty healthy thread stash that is starting to rival my fabric stash! I just can’t help it when Aurifil keeps releasing fabulous thread collections by some of my favorite designers.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s new in the store, thread-wise:

 

20140815_fruit_veggie2Pat Sloan’s latest grouping: Eat Your Fruits N Veggies – Love that Variegated Spool!

20140815_drift Drift by Angela Walters – these are so her colors (and mine – and yours!)

20140815_fave_thingsFavorite Things by Jeni Baker – Why, yes they are!

I love how most of the Aurifil thread sets come in a trial box of 10 smaller spools (perfect for decorative stitching, bindings, and applique) and in the thread lovers’ size of 12 large spools (usually enough to quilt a throw-sized quilt).

Just think of thread as quilter’s candy – zero calorie, high fiber treats!

Posted in Favorite Tools | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Spiraling out of Control Update – My Quilt Gets Around!

In my “former” life as a traditional quilter years and years ago, I hardly ever kept any of my quilts. I would finish them off just in time to send them to a show, use them as a teaching sample, or give them as gifts. My show and teaching quilts were mostly earmarked to give away even before they were made, and usually after only one showing. So I never really understood the value of keeping and sharing the same quilts in several venues. Until now.

Modern QuiltSpiraling out of Control by Christa Watson 70″ x 70″

I love how my friend Leanne from She Can Quilt says she is a “quilt-show enterer” rather than a “show quilter.” I think I will adopt that moniker, too. Somehow it seems less intimidating. I’ve been enjoying entering my Spiraling Out of Control quilt in several competitions this year while helping to spread the modern quilt aesthetic.

Spiraling Out of Control started off as my entry into the Riley Blake/MQG challenge, made it’s appearance at my local show, traveled to AQS Charlotte for a brief appearance, and most recently was accepted as part of the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase for the upcoming International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX.

spiraling_backBacking detail of Spiraling out of Control by Christa Watson

As an added bonus, it will be showcased in Quilt Scene Magazine which is a special issue that focuses on Quilt Market and Festival each year. What fun! Right now my quilts get to travel more than I do; but hopefully in the future, I will get to go with them more often! :-)

Posted in Challenges and Contests, Christa's Quilts, Sew and Tell | Tagged | 13 Comments

It’s Time for Another Fabric Giveaway – One from Me, One from Craftsy

I usually don’t promote companies who sell fabric since that’s an integral part of my business. However, when it comes to Craftsy, I don’t mind singing their praises. They’ve been very good to me in helping get my name out there via their blog, so I don’t mind returning the favor whenever I hear about something cool they are doing. :-)

craftsy_kitI’m kind of partial to the Blue Garden kit, myself!

From now through August 27th, you can win a Craftsy quilt kit (including backing) from one of the two choices above. Craftsy is holding this giveaway on their website, so be sure and click here to enter.

And now, just to sweeten the pot, I’ll add my own giveaway to the fun! I have a heaping pile of hunks and chunks leftover from ends of bolts when I used to sell fabric by the yard. I have a mystery box full of at least 20 yards of premium quality brand new fabric fabric waiting to go to one of you!

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Just leave a comment below telling me which Craftsy class is on your “to-watch” list. Pretty soon, I will get back to my habit of regularly reviewing their online classes and I can’t wait. I have quite a few to watch in my queue!

To recap:

  • Enter the Craftsy Kit Giveaway here
  • To win my mystery fabric giveaway, leave a comment below telling me what’s on your Craftsy bucket list.
  • Both giveaways are open to US/Canadian addresses only (sorry – that darn postage gets me everytime!!)
  • Both giveaways end Wednesday, August 27th at Noon PST (or slightly later)
  • Craftsy will notify their winner; I will notify mine via email.

Updated – Thank you – we have our winners!!

 

Posted in Giveaways | Tagged , | 410 Comments

It’s Fabric Friday, Friends, and I am in Love with Solids

Can I just say I am in love with solids? When I first got into quilting nearly 2 decades ago, solid fabrics did not catch my eye. Sure, I appreciated Amish quilts in all their simplistic beauty and I loved the value of a good tone-one-tone blender; but I was not ready for solids – or maybe they just weren’t ready for me…

20140809_modern_solids_swatchAt any rate, I’ve fallen in love with them over the last few years, partly due to the fact that I love how quilting really shows up on them. Also, when working with solids, the design of the quilt is much more important and makes a much bigger impact.

So it’s no wonder that I jumped at the chance to carry the motherload of solid precuts: Denyse Schmidt’s Modern Solids bundle from Free Spirit. It’s a box full of 75 tantalizing solids in every color you could imagine!

20140809_modern_solidsI mean just look at all of these pretties!! I could seriously ditch my stash and work with only solids if given the chance… (but don’t worry – I have no plans to take such a drastic step!)

I only have a limited number of these boxes, since they are pretty hefty. But hopefully FreeSpirit will keep them around for awhile and maybe, if we are lucky, add to the collection as time goes by!

Click here to shop my entire line of solid precuts.

Are you a solids-lover like I am? Or do you prefer prints?

 

Posted in Fabric | Tagged , | 9 Comments

WIP Wednesday – Free Motion Quilting Frenzy

I’ve been quilting like crazy, trying to finish up quite a few projects on a deadline. The sad thing is that I won’t be able to share them for awhile, but the good news is that I can share little work-in-progress snippets here and there. (The pictures are all from my instagram feed so they are not the highest quality – but you get the idea!)

20140809_fmq_4I can get lost in pebbles! They are fun to stitch but very time consuming! I usually put on a good audio book and keep stitching until I can’t stand it or until my shoulders ache – then I take a break and do something else!

I’ve been having a blast playing around with different weights and colors of Aurifil threads as I quilt my myriad of projects. My go-to thread is the standard 50 weight cotton which blends wonderfully with any fabrics.

20140809_fmq_3I’m also experimenting with quilting spirals – in a slightly heavier thread – I love it!

However, I have been getting a little more daring. I usually try to match my thread colors to my fabrics but have been playing with variegated thread colors and heavier weights, too. I’m really liking the 40 weight Aurifil cotton which is just a tad heavier than the 50 weight (the smaller the number – the heavier the thread).

20140809_fmq_1Who doesn’t love a good stipple? Technically, the larger scale is called “meandering.”

I even tried some of the heavier 28 weight which adds a nice definition to the quilting. I love the Aurifil cottons because they go through my machine with ease and they don’t break! I usually use a size 80 needle with the size 50 thread and then switch to a heaver size 90 needle when dealing with the thicker threads. So far, so good.

20140809_fmq_2Loops are a great go-to design anytime. They always look good on any pattern!

I usually stick with the regular 50 weight thread in the bobbin in a similar color so that I can pack a lot of thread onto one bobbin for more non-stop quilting.

20140809_fmq_5Swirls always take my breath away. They don’t have to be perfect, either, to look good!

How about you? What are you working on this week?

20140809_fmq_threadNearly empty spools of thread make me happy!

Posted in Christa's Quilts, Favorite Tools, Sew and Tell | Tagged , , | 21 Comments