How To Make a Modern Quilt – Class Registration is Now Open!

I would love to invite you to register for my week-long class on How to Make a Modern Quilt at the John C. Campbell Folkschool in Brasstown, North Carolina March 8-14, 2015.

Students will spend a full week with me as they learn how to make a complete modern quilt from start to finish using my Modern Logs quilt pattern.

20140702_folkschool_imagePage from the Course Catalog for 2015

Come spend the week with me in a retreat-like setting in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina! Class time will run for 6 hours a day from Monday-Friday with a break for lunch and plenty of time in the mornings and evenings for exploring your surroundings and enjoying extra activities (or additional studio time). Orientation is on Sunday evening when you arrive with a final show and tell on Friday evening before you depart on Saturday morning.

20140706_folkschool_trailI can’t wait to explore all of the beautiful nature trails when I arrive!

Here are the important details:

  • When: March 8-14, 2015
  • Where: John C. Campbell Folkschool in Brasstown, NC
  • Cost: Tuition – $594 for the week, plus room and board (approx. $300-$700 depending on your choice of accommodations).
  • Travel to and from the Folk school is up to you.

20140706_folkschool_craftsThe folkschool craft shop features work made by local and regional artisans.

Here are some helpful links to learn more about the school and how to register:

Click here to read my class description and/or register for my class.

Click here for “what to expect” in a typical week (my class is 6 nights).

Click here for information on Lodging and Meals.

Click here to download the complete Course Catalog.

20140702_folkschool_housingExample of one of the housing locations at the Folk School – Isn’t it perfectly charming??

A supply list will be sent to you upon registration. You can choose to bring your own sewing machine or use of of the classroom machines. Class size is limited, so register early for a guaranteed spot! I can’t wait to see you there!

Posted in Quilt Events, Quilting Classes, Teaching | Tagged | 8 Comments

Christa’s Soapbox – More Thoughts About Teaching

So a few months ago I shared the fun news that I had been nominated as one of 9 finalists for Teacher of the Year presented by the Professional Quilter. It pleases me to no end that the lovely and talented Jacquie Gering was selected – she is amazing and is one of my modern quilting heroes, for sure! The rest of the nominees are some pretty outstanding women as well: Susan Brittingham, Lisa Calle, Amy Gibson, Pam Holland, Bonnie Hunter Liz Kettle, and Vikki Pignatelli.

20140702_toty1It’s so fun to see my name on the cover in company with other fabulous quilt teachers!

The way the process works is that each year, students can nominate their favorite teachers in the quilting industry on the Professional Quilter’s wesbite. (Thanks to whoever it was out there that took the time to write about me – it’s much appreciated!)

In turn, the teachers answer a series of questions about their teaching style, what influences them and why they love to do what they do. As Bonnie Hunter mentioned on her blog recently, she said it was sort of akin to writing a term paper. She was right on the money about that, LOL!! But since I love to write or talk about quilting whenever I’m given the chance, I was eager to respond.

teacher of the year image

Each of us was given a small summary in the magazine, so I thought it would be fun to share just a few of my answers with you….

How do you encourage creativity in your students?

I encourage creativity by allowing students to make their own choices when it comes to choosing fabrics and try to offer a variety of techniques in the same class. I love it when students come up with a different way of doing things other than how I have chosen to teach it. After all, we all have something to share and can always learn from each other.

What accomplishments of your students make you proudest?

I am most proud of my students when they finish their own quilts. My favorite class to teach is a start-to-finish quilting class where the students learn every step of the quilt-making process from cutting to binding. Nothing beats the look of joy on a student’s face when he or she proudly proclaims, “I made it myself!”

How do you encourage students’ further growth in quilting, beyond the formal class?

I encourage my students to seek out independent study beyond class. I love to suggest books and magazines they can read, guilds and organizations they can join, and blogs and websites they can follow to keep up the inspiration outside of class. I also encourage them to make friends with each other during my classes. Over the years it has given me a sense of satisfaction to see students who met in my classes go on to be lifelong friends, encouraging each other and learning more about quilting together.

What do you feel is your greatest contribution to the field of quilting?

I feel that my greatest contribution to quilting is fostering and encouraging a “can-do” attitude. I’ve seen so many students achieve growth personally, and with their quilting, when they finally believe that they can do anything they put their minds to!

Why do you teach?

I teach because it gives me a sense of personal fulfillment when another person becomes as passionate about quilting as I am. I want my students to feel the same joy I feel when creating a functional work of art with their own hands. I love it when their faces light up with that spark of excitement when considering the endless creative possibilities!

20140702_toty2There were about a dozen more Q&A’s which would be a little too lengthy to share here, but I hope you enjoyed reading just a few of the highlights. :-) As I begin my newest adventures in quilting by traveling to teach starting next year, hopefully I’ll be able to meet many of you in person!

Click here to see my current teaching schedule and feel free to email me if you are interested in scheduling me to come teach or lecture for your group or event!

Posted in Soapbox, Teaching | Tagged | 5 Comments

Fabric Friday is Pretty Potent!

Even though I’m out of town this week, I can still take time out to tell you about some fantastic new fabric finds! (I love our precut store – I can still be “in business” while I’m on vacation!)

20140630_pretty_potentPretty Potent is Anna Maria Horner’s latest line from Free Spirit Fabric. Seriously, I love everything she does! Her color sense and imagery knock my socks off, every time! I have both the 30-piece fat quarter bundle (some are duplicated) as well as the full-range design roll. (Unfortunately we aren’t carrying the charm packs – they are too small and too pricey for our tastes!)

20140630_quill_persimmonQuill by Valori Wells – Persimmon Colorway

Next up is Quill by Valori Wells. She recently switched fabric houses, designing for Robert Kaufman which I’m pretty excited about. Their warehouse is closer to us which means we can restock these guys in a hurry when they sell out!

Quill comes in three beautiful colorways shown above and below. Hands down, my favorite is Persimmon – I just love that orange and purple combo!

20140630_quill_cabanaQuill by Valori Wells – Cabana Colorway

Each precut bundle includes 6 or 7 fat quarters, plus a full 2/3 yard panel. Just think of all the luscious things you can make!

20140630_quill_vermeilQuill by Valori Wells – Vermeil Colorway

Oh yeah, and just in case you were wondering, Valori’s Blueprint Basics line of precuts are all back in stock, too – FQ bundles, charm packs, layer cakes, and half rolls.

20140630_blueprintsValori Wells Blueprint Basics

Happy Piecing!

Posted in Fabric | Tagged | 3 Comments

Postcard from Pagosa Springs…Wish You Were Here!

This week, the whole family is in scenic Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a family reunion. Jason’s step-dad grew up here so we’ve been able to check out his youthful stomping grounds as well as enjoy some fun R&R.

20140630_colorado_1The first day out, we went tubing down the San Juan river which was such a blast! The water was pretty cold, but the journey ended near some hot springs, so we were able to get out of our tubes and warm up in some relaxing (though sulfurous) hot water. :-)

20140630_colorado_2_sewing_machineThe next day, we cruised around town, checking out the sites and sampling the local cuisine. We discovered a fun little local museum that just happened to have some fabulous antique quilts on display! I fell in love with this antique sewing machine setup with some gorgeous pineapple blocks folded up. If it hadn’t been blocked off, I think I would have wanted to go over there and touch it!

20140630_colorado_3_antiqueWild Goose Chase Quilt, Circa 1840-1850.

I also discovered that I have a fondness for bold geometric quilts, whether they are brand new, or over 100 years old. :-)

Speaking of quilting, I’ve even managed to sneak in a little sewing in the mornings and evenings, in between activities. We are staying in a nice homey timeshare rental (courtesy of the in-laws), with plenty of space for a makeshift studio. Since I’m sewing on a deadline, it’s nice that I can can still be productive during downtime.

20140630_colorado_4_sewing

My studio on the go – quilters gotta quilt!

There are lots of fun things scheduled for the rest of the week: swimming, parades, fireworks, and even a rodeo – the 65th anniversary of the Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo! I’m looking forward to it!

20140630_colorado_5Original Red Ryder comic strip on display at the local museum. Very cool.

What fun things have you got planned this summer?

Posted in Personal Life | Tagged | 16 Comments

The Early Days… My First Quilt!

Today I have to blame Kristy Daum from St. Louis Folk Victorian for inspiring me to write this. She wrote a post awhile back showing her first quilt from back in 1994. Well, here’s mine in all it’s flannel and polyester glory:

My First Quilt

My First Quilt – It was love at first stitch!

I also started quilting in ’94 and finished my first full-size quilt in ’95 at the ripe young age of 22 (feel free to do the math now). I was so glad to be sewing that I didn’t even care how the end result turned out – it was just a thrill to create. I remember making each 9 patch block, one at a time and I felt so proud of myself each time a new one came off the machine.

deer blockTrends cycle every 20 years right? Deer fabrics have been hot again this year, LOL!!

I used a bunch of flannels I got for cheap at the discount store and knew nothing about seam allowances. I wanted 4″ squares so I cut a bunch of 4″ squares, not realizing they’d shrink up after sewing, LOL!

tied blocks

I was able to “hide” the seam intersections by tying at the corners. I don’t know what possessed me to think that sports fabric & flowers went together??

I hadn’t tried machine quilting yet so I just tied it together with yarn using a flannel sheet for the backing. From the get-go I was determined to finish my quilts myself! I had no clue how to bind so I just folded over the back to the front and sewed it down with WHITE thread and felt a grand sense of accomplishment.

quilt labelI put the label on the back at the TOP of the quilt, even! My title was very original, too – “Jason’s Quilt.” It’s worn and faded over time, but every stitch was made with love.

I gave this first (ghastly) quilt to my husband, and he’s been a great supporter of my hobby ever since. We still use the quilt to this day and it’s held up pretty well. :-)

When did you make your first quilt? I’d love to hear all about it!

Quilt Stats:

  • Size: 62″ x 82″
  • Block Design: 10 1/2″ nine-patches set 6 x 8
  • Materials: cotton flannel, polyester flannel, polyester batting, flannel sheet for the back
  • Finishing touches: tied with yarn, machine binding
Posted in Christa's Quilts, Personal Life, Sew and Tell | Tagged | 31 Comments

Book Review – A Quilter’s Mixology by Angela Pingel

I just finished reading Angela Pingel’s book, A Quilter’s Mixology, so now it’s time to share it with you guys! I first met Angela when I took a curved piecing class from her at Sewing Summit last year. I love that she is so enamored with curved piecing that she’s been able to put a fresh spin on a classic technique.

Curves BlockMy version of Angela’s curves – she is a great teacher!

During class, I made this block which I think is way more interesting than a classic Drunkard’s path block (thought Angela is pretty good about teaching that method, too). The trick is in trimming up the pieces in such a way as to make part of the seams disappear, leading to a sleeker smoother look which I instantly fell in love with.

20140628_quilters_mixologyAngela’s book is chock full of fresh and fun quilts to make. She includes extra sections on choosing colors and fabrics, step-by-step curved piecing instructions with nicely illustrated diagrams, and tons of fabulous photography throughout.

20140628_qm_loosely_curvedLoosely Curved Wallhanging by Angela Pingel. Photo courtesy of Interweave.

Hands down, her Loosely Curved Wallhanging is my favorite quilt in the book. I love the graphic design, the bold colors, and the fact that she even quilted it herself. :-) I still haven’t tried the super-popular woodgrain machine quilting design, but it sure looks great on this quilt!

20140628_qm_flower_powerFlower Power Quilt by Angela Pingel. Photo courtesy of Interweave.

I love Angela’s Flower Power quilt for much the same reason. I’m drawn to quilts with a lot of negative space and blocks shown in different scales. I think the allover stippling complements the art-deco vibe of this quilt without over-powering it.

I can recommend this book for those who are into curved piecing as well as those that aren’t. There’s plenty of eye-candy in the way of color combinations and quilting designs that are sure to delight.

20140628_qm_detailDetail Shot of Orange Twist Quilt, Courtesy of Angela Pingel. Quilted by Krista Withers.

A Quilter’s Mixology includes a total of 16 projects spread over 143 pages, complete with full-size templates. I’m pretty sure you can also use die cut machines for several projects, too!

What other quilting books are on your summer reading list?

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , | 5 Comments

How to Make Quilting Your Business #11 – Getting Published

Today’s business of quilting topic, getting published, is probably one of the more “glamorous” aspects of making quilting your business. It’s the goal of many quilting bloggers and can be exciting for both the amateur and professional quilter. I’ve been published several times in magazines, and I’m currently working on a book with Martingale, so I will be happy to share a few of my experiences.

christa_quiltcon_chaming_chevronsAt QuiltCon in 2013 with Charming Chevrons – the start of my modern quilting career. And yes – I do own more than one shirt, this one just happens to be my favorite!

Background Inspiration

I came back from QuiltCon in 2013 on fire and ready to take on the modern quilting world! Although it has always been one of my goals to write about and publish my work, it wasn’t until I was inspired by the success of other modern quilters, that I actually took the necessary steps to make my goals become a reality. This is what I constantly ask myself, “What actions would you take today if you weren’t afraid of rejection or failure?”

Trust me, for every success I’ve shared publicly, there are plenty of failures and mishaps along the way! I think the key to long-lasting success is to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going. It’s worked for me so far. :-)

So, how do you go about getting published?

Honestly, it’s as easy (or as hard) as contacting the publishing company and finding out what their submissions guidelines are, then following the steps. You need to come up with a good idea, be flexible, work well with deadlines, and be patient!

Quilty ChevronsColorful Chevrons, inspired by my original quilt, Charming Chevrons

When I submitted my first design idea to Quilty magazine, I included a picture of my Charming Chevrons quilt just to show an example of my work. Well, guess what – they weren’t interested in my design submission, but they loved the chevron quilt! So I reworked it into a larger size with a fresh color scheme, and it ended up making the cover. All because I was willing to adapt. :-)

Did I Say Be Patient?

It took me 6 months to narrow my focus and come up with a really good book proposal to submit to Martingale. Then it took another 5 months to get approval and receive the book contract. It won’t even be published until next summer, so no spoilers yet – you’ll just have to wait!

For the magazine, I first contacted them in March of 2013, received the contract in April, sent the quilt off in June, and it was published in the November 2013 issue. So yes, patience is a virtue when comes to writing a book or a magazine pattern. And my best advice? Don’t send anything without a contract. I’m speaking from experience here. :-)

What About the Money?

The amount of payment and ownership rights vary depending on each publishing company and the length of the article/book/pattern/topic. Magazines and most compilations usually pay each contributor a one-time fee whereas book royalties are usually tied to the volume of sales. Also, some fabric companies may provide free fabrics for the projects in exchange for a mention which I think is cool.

Another perk I have discovered, is that the more I get published, the more my name gets out there, leading to further opportunities to teach, write and design. I have to admit, it is quite the ego boost to see my name in print. That’s worth it’s weight in gold, right?

herrinbone_quiltingGetting my name out there led to making my Herringbone quilt on commission for Camelot Fabrics, plus a pattern designing gig, teaching invitations, and extra publicity!

I also love the fact that once my book is published, I’ll be able to teach from it and have plenty of show and tell, not to mention at least a year’s worth of quilt show entries. :-)

Some authors choose to go the self-publishing route, but for me that just seems like too much work. I’d rather let the professionals handle the layout, editing and distribution, so I can spend my time on the fun parts – pattern writing and quilt-making! (If you are interested in writing and publishing your own stand-alone patterns, I covered that in an earlier topic here.)

A Winning Submission

If you are wanting to get published, I would recommend starting with a magazine. There are so many of them out there, and one of them is bound to like your original design! One word of caution though – it’s bad form to submit the same idea to several different magazines at the same time, so don’t do it!

201406010_eq_artist

I design all of my quilts in EQ7, both personally and professionally.

Most designers use some sort of design software like EQ7, or Adobe Illustrator, but hand drawn sketches are also usually okay, too. Magazines prefer to start with drawings and sketches rather than actual physical quilts. If it’s your first submission, it’s great idea if you can include a picture of a finished sample of your work. Try to brainstorm a couple of different designs and match up each idea with the magazine that seems like it would be the best fit. For example, you wouldn’t submit a traditional quilt design to a modern magazine, etc. Then send off your idea(s) and forget about them for awhile.

20140610_martingaleI recently asked Karen Burns, the acquisitions editor for Martingale,  her best advice on writing a winning book proposal. Here’s what she had to say:

“Put a lot of thought into the ‘hook’ of the book, and the designs. Having 14-16 pretty quilts alone doesn’t work anymore. What makes them special? What makes people want to buy your book? What are you teaching them that they just “need” to know? Is there a technique that is used that is new and exciting? What would make the consumer want/need this book? What is different about the book, than what is out there?

 “Contact the acquisitions editor of the publisher, and work with them.  The acquisitions editors are always happy to help, encourage, and coach. Also, it is important to realize that writing a book takes a lot of work, but the end result, (a great book!) is totally worth it.”

Thanks Karen! Wise words indeed. I hope this encourages you to jump in and give it a try if you want to get published. The worst they can do is say no, and they may just say yes. :-)

When I was doing research and talking to others about their publishing experiences, quilting instructor and author Deb Karasik said to me, “writing a book will change your life!” That statement both encourages me and scares me at the same time. But I’ve jumped on the bandwagon now, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a wild ride!

Click here for the start of this series.

Posted in Business, Publishing, Sew and Tell, Soapbox | Tagged , | 16 Comments

Last Call for Fabric Clearance – We’re Shutting Down the Old Site!

But first, I need to announce my charm pack winners. Congratulations to Peg H. who won the Moda charm pack blog giveaway, and @fedewala who won the instagram bundle. Thanks so much for your input on my newsletters, too. Monday was the preferred day, so I’ll take a week off and start sending them again on a regular schedule. That works better for me, too. :-)

Just in case you missed it, you can sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

Now for the bigger news, we are downsizing and shutting down the old website at the end of the day tomorrow, Wednesday, June 25th and everything remaining is now 50% off.

ChristaQuiltsThis is so we can concentrate our efforts on our new leaner (but in no way meaner) precut store where we sell fat quarter bundles, charm packs, jelly rolls, layer cakes, and just about any precut you can think of from all the major manufacturers. We also carry a large selection of Aurifil thread by the spool or by the bundle. It’s been so fun to seek out new precuts and new ways to use them!

APQRAnd thanks to those of you who listened and cheered me on during my interview on Pat Show’s quilting podcast yesterday. I was super nervous to go on, but she instantly put me right at ease. What a fun lady and a great host! If you missed it live, you can listen to all of Pat’s archived podcasts here, and you can subscribe to the show via Itunes (search for American Patchwork and Quilting Radio).

Posted in Business, Fabric | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Listen to My Interview Today on American Patchwork and Quilting Radio

Today’s the day!

I will interviewed live on Pat Sloan’s American Patchwork and Quilting Radio podcast today at 4PM Eastern Time. Wish me luck and be sure to tune in! :-)

APQR_2013

Click here to listen live at 4PM Eastern time. It should be fun! You can also listen to past episodes of the show and subscribe via Itunes (search American Patchwork & Quilting).

Posted in Business, Quilt Events, Sew and Tell | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Time for a Giveaway – Win 8 Moda Charm Packs!

Just for some random fun – how about another giveaway? One lucky follower will win this bundle of 8 Moda Charm Packs!

20140620_charm_giveaway8 Moda Charm Packs by Some of Your Favorite Fabric Designers

Win Them Before You Can Buy Them

The generous folks at Moda sent me a box full of charm packs from their upcoming collections so I could pick and choose fabrics for some future projects. How nice. :-) Now that I’ve made my selections, I have a bundle of charm packs to give away to one of you!

These are so new that they aren’t even available yet in my precut store.

Here’s How to Enter:

  • Leave your comment below letting me know your opinion on my weekly newsletter – would you rather receive it on Mondays or on Fridays?
  • If you aren’t currently a newsletter subscriber, you can join here.
  • Giveaway will run through the end of the day on Monday, June 23rd.
  • I will contact the winner via email and will post their name on my blog on Tuesday.
  • Giveaway is open to everyone worldwide. International winner is responsible for shipping costs.

A Bonus Instagram Giveaway, Too!

Now that I’ve joined the online community of Instagram, I’ve decided to spread the love over there, too. Just go to my feed @christaquilts for details on how to win an additional bundle over there! It’s a different set of 8 Moda charm packs. :-)

Posted in Fabric, Giveaways | Tagged , | 622 Comments