Four of My Quilt Patterns Are Now Available in Print

Thanks to those of you who have been with me for awhile, following along with my journey into pattern creation. It has literally taken me 10 years to finally make the plunge into pattern design. I began with 4 of what I thought would be my most popular designs, and started in January to take the necessary steps to get them into print.

4collage_patterns

I’ve also researched the best ways to get them to you all and here’s what I have come up with:

I chose these outlets to start as that’s what I feel I can manage right now. So far, so good. I’m already getting good traction and I’m sure I’ll add more distribution networks as I grow. I’ve received a nice re-order from Moda/United Notions, which means that local quilt shops are starting to carry them, which is super exciting! Of course, I don’t know which shops, so if you see them “out there in the wild” please let me know. Please feel free to recommend them to your favorite quilt shop, too!

Now, the next step is to start on the next batch of patterns. As always, stay tuned!

Christa’s Soapbox – On Destashing…

I surprised quite a few followers on Instagram recently when I posted a picture of what my current stash looks like. After 20 years of quilting I’ve dejunked, destashed and cleaned out my space to the point that I finally realized that I am just not a fabric hoarder.

tiny_stash

Now to be fair, the bottom shelves (shown empty in the pic above) are filled with a few WIP’s, but not many – only enough that I can count on one hand, and mostly stuff that I can’t show in public yet. I’ve opined on my minimalist tendencies before and have to say this wasn’t an overnight process. And, I do have a small personal stash of precuts in another unit. But scraps? Overflowing bins? Not happening!!

precut_stashMy precust stash – waiting to be made into quilts!

I started with about 2 storage units worth of piles of fabric, which by some standards, still isn’t a ton. I pared that down to 1 storage unit about a year ago, and then recently whittled it down to about half of a cabinet for fabric, half for wip’s, and then the second cabinet for tools, supplies, thread, magazines, etc. And a whole empty shelf that makes me proud!! I need negative space in my storage, too, it seems!

The reason I can live this way (nearly stash-less) is mainly because of the way I create. First, I design the projects I want to make in EQ. Then I import fabric swatches or colors I want to work with. Once I’m finished with my design, then I shop for fabric. I’ve tried it the other way around, trying to come up with a plan around a specific fabric and it just doesn’t work for me. I know this will invariably mean that by the time I’m ready to make a quilt, the fabric I want may not be available. But that’s okay, there’s always something else that will work, right?

precutsPrecuts in my garage workspace – awaiting shipment to Amazon.

Now I know some of you will say, “but that’s not fair – you have a whole store full of fabric!” Well, yes, that is true, but we don’t store it here. We process it when it comes in and then ship it off to the Amazon warehouses for storage.

The bottom line is, I realized that I would rather have the space than fabric that just sits on my shelves languishing. But don’t worry – I’m not trying to encourage others in my minimalist tendencies – it’s just what works for me. I’m just as happy to get excited for my friends when they show me pics of their amazing stashes because you know what? It works for them! :-)

How do you like to store your stash? I’d love to see pics – please share them on my facebook group at Quilt With Christa!

New around here?

Don’t forget to sign up for Friendly Threads, my email newsletter.

Fabric Friday – A Little Cotton and Steel Love

I’ve mentioned before that I carry Cotton and Steel bundles in my precut store. Today I’d like to give them some love and also let you know that I also decided to get the double gauze bundle, too. Now, I’m not a garment sewer so I’m not really sure what to do with double gauze, but it looked so pretty, I couldn’t resist!

cs_double_gauzeDouble gauze – 15 half yard cuts – what would you make?

Other luscious bundles include Kim Kight’s Cookie Book (my favorite):

cs_cookie_bookAnd Mesa by Alexia Abegg – I just can’t resist graphic, southwest designs!

cs_mesaNow here’s the best news, several of the older bundles that haven’t sold out are now on sale! Be sure to scoop them up before they are gone.

Click here for all Cotton and Steel precut bundles and happy shopping!

EQ Row Along Starts September 1st

Do you enjoy making row quilts? Some blogger friends of mine are hosting a row-along in September and I invite you to join them! You do NOT have to have Electric Quilt software to join.

EQ-Seasons-RAL-Button

Here are the Details:

Doesn’t that sound fun?

 

Podcasts I listen to

Several of you have asked which podcasts I listen to so I thought I’d share my list here. They are a mix of business, wellness, crafting and quilting. Because it’s a long list and I’m feeling a bit lazy today – I’m just showing pictures from my phone rather than including actual links.

These are all available in Itunes and if you google them, it will take you to their websites where they have links to listen. The dates below indicate the last time the podcast was upload. Note: these pics are about a week old and they are in no particular order. Enjoy!

podcast_1

podcast_2podcast_3podcast_4podcast_5What are your favorite podcasts? If you have recommendations, please leave me a comment. I listen to these while I quilt and exercise so I’m always looking for more great content to listen to!

 

Fabric Friday – Lecien Precuts (and a new link to share)

Today I’m sharing a new-to-me brand that we just started carrying in our precut store. But before we get to that, I wanted to announce that my brilliant husband Jason has purchased the domain name The Precut Store. It will remain under the Christa Quilts brand, but instead of having to get there from my blog, or trying to remember how to find it on Amazon, you can just google The Precut Store or Precut Store, or bookmark this link in your browser: http://theprecutstore.com/

Cool, huh? He and our oldest son are also currently working on a behind the scenes project to create a storefront shell which will make it easier to browse and search for our precuts on Amazon. I don’t have a date yet on when that will be finished, but I’ll keep you all in the loop when it occurs.

And now, check out these gorgeous new precuts from Lecien:

lecien_sushi_rollsLecien precut strips are called Sushi Rolls – isn’t that cute? This is Child Smile, a retro 30’s group.

lecien_modern_basicsI love their modern basics in charm squares and strips. This is the cool colorway.

lecien_basicsYou can’t go wrong with Quilter’s Basics – in 2 colorways.

lecien_origamiOr try a pack of shabby chic charms which they call “Origami Squares.”

Have you heard of this brand before? If so what do you think?

Click here to view all Lecien precuts.

Free Pattern for Newsletter Subscribers

I’ve been listening to a lot of business podcasts lately and one of the suggestions everyone mentions is to offer a freebie when people sign up for my newsletter. What a great idea! Although I love to share tutorials and host quilt alongs I don’t know why I never thought of this before!

In fact, I’m in the process of playing around with ideas on how to promote my new Kona designer precuts that are coming in October, and thought I could kill two birds with one stone!

Puzzle Box Pattern

So I’m introducing Puzzle Box – a free pattern for you as a way to say thanks for reading! I’ve designed the quilt in EQ7, my graphic designer Lindsie has created this beautiful cover, and I’m in the process of editing the pattern now. It will be ready for release on Sept. 14th.

Be sure to sign up for Friendly Threads, my email newsletter and I’ll email you a PDF copy of this pattern when it launches . My version of Puzzle Box uses one of my designer roll-ups plus one roll-up of light background fabrics, but of course it would look great in any fabrics!

ChristaQuiltsNewsletter

And don’t worry, current subscribers will also get a copy of the pattern on Sept. 14th, so you don’t have do a thing – other than open my newsletter and read it! :-)

Thanks again for supporting me in all my crazy quilty endeavors!!

Join Me at EQ Academy Next Spring

Good news for those of you who wish to take an EQ7 class from me but didn’t get into my classes at QuiltCon – I’ll be teaching at EQ Academy in Ohio next spring! Here are the details:

EQA-logo

Getting Started With EQ7 with Christa Watson

Date: Thursday, April 21, 2016 – Saturday, April 23, 2016
Location: Perrysburg, OH
Skill level: Beginner

In this comprehensive 3-day workshop, students will enjoy hands-on computer instruction for 6 full hours of class each day. In addition to learning the basics of EQ7 for Windows or Mac, additional topics will include: using the Block Library, setting blocks into quilt layouts, adding borders, importing fabric swatches, designing original quilts, scaling and numbering foundation piecing templates, applying a layer of quilting, calculating yardage, and more. Gain confidence in your design skills, knowing how your finished quilt will look before making the first cut!

Class registration opens on August 18th.

In addition to my class, there will be three other classes offered at the same time to meet your needs. Students will register for one class only and will be with the same instructor for 3 days. We’ll be BQF’s (Best Quilting Friends) by the end of the week!

Click here for all EQ Academy classes. I hope to see you there. :-)

 

Christa’s Soapbox – The Tale of Two Hobbies

For about the last year and a half I’ve been hustling – working like crazy to get my first book published (with more in the works), expanding my teaching schedule, getting my patterns into print and growing our precut store into a long-term sustainable income source. It’s been good, productive work that feels immensely satisfying. However, a couple of things have fallen by the wayside which I am to ready to remedy now that I can catch my breath again. They are (1) the state of my house and (2) my overall health and fitness.

Here’s the “before” picture of my sewing studio about 2 years ago just after I had cleaned and organized it, knowing I would be working in this space full-time each day. Ironically, the quilt on the design wall and those hanging over the rails haven’t even been basted yet, while the one the table has been finished and made it into my book. Deadlines are everything around here, LOL!!

sewingroomThe Before Picture

Here is the state of my studio today. I do have to say I just finished up a couple of big deadlines, and will get this cleaned up before moving onto the next project! I like to be a clean person and don’t thrive in creative chaos like some do, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided!!

sewingroom_messyThe after picture – but not for long!!

The biggest thing that has suffered during all this creative chaos has been my fitness. In addition to my obsession with quilting, I love to run! I have logged two marathons and several half-marathons  over the last 6 years simply because I love the feeling of being outside running for long stretches of time. I really do get that runner’s high that people talk about. However during the high-point of my busy-ness it was so, so easy to get up each day and NOT run, heading into the studio instead. I’m not one of those girly-girls who’s into looks and fashion and all that.

However, I do love the feeling of being healthy and having enough energy for everything I like to accomplish in a day. Right now I can barely run a mile, but I decided it was as good a time as any to hop back on the treadmill and start over. I’ll mostly be sharing my running journey over on instagram (@christaquilts) if you want to check that out. There’s even a hashtag #sweatnsew for other sewing/fitness enthusiasts!!

treadmill

The goal is to work my way back up to longer distances, one step at a time!

I plan to attack these two areas of improvement –  cleaning up and improving my fitness – with as much zeal and vigor as I’ve done with quilting. When I originally got into running, it was because I wasn’t quilting regularly and I needed a stress outlet. Once I got my sewing mojo back,  running began to take a back seat.  My hope is to now balance out both on a regular basis! Wish me luck. :-)

My Adventurous Week at Girl’s Camp

Last week, Jason and I had the opportunity to serve as volunteer cooks for our church’s annual youth girls’ camp. It was our daughter’s first year to attend, so it was fun to see her there and make sure she was having a good time, but not hover. And boy, did we work our tails off! It was good, fun service, though.

girlscamp_1When you have a bad hair day from not showering at camp, just wear a wig!

The theme for this year’s camp was based on Dr. Suess and went something like this, “Oh the places you’ll go and the service you’ll do.” So naturally Jason and I had to ham it up and get into character. We wore our Thing One and Thing Two costumes while we helped serve Roast Beast for dinner on one of the nights.

So what did we do? We washed lots of dishes…

girlscamp_2Washing dishes for 250+ girls was no small feat. Thank goodness there were lots of helpers!

We learned a great way to make instant mashed potatoes. The secret ingredients? Butter, cream, and mayonnaise! (Oh – and a mixer attached to a drill to make it all go much faster!)

girlscamp_3Girls with power tools!!

 And Jason had a great time cooking ALL THE BACON for a delicious breakfast of egg burritos with all the toppings! One of the benefits of helping on the cooking crew was being able to sample before, during and after each meal!! To say we were well fed is an understatement.

girlscamp_4

You can never have too much bacon!

While we cooked, cleaned, and cooked some more, the girls participated in scheduled activities like first aid, crafts, camping skills and several fun physical activities like zip lining.

girlscamp5Our daughter’s favorite activity was zip lining. We are not surprised at all!

The craziest part of our week was on the last full day of camp. Just after lunch, a torrential flash flood swept through camp, causing us to evacuate for safety. There was muck and debris everywhere and the girls had to wade through mud up to their knees to get to higher ground for safety.

girlscamp_6Flash floods are common in Las Vegas – they come quickly and without warning!

Fortunately, due to quick thinking and good leadership from those in charge, there were no injuries and all made it down the mountain safely. Other than a few tears, the majority of the girls were proud of the story they could now tell and are already looking forward to next year’s camp.

girlscamp_7Yes, I will volunteer for treats! The white chocolate version of green eggs and ham were divine!

Once Jason and I were home, dry and unpacked, I unwrapped this lovely thank you gift that the organizers gave to each of the cooking crew. In spite of the flooding, we had a great time and look forward to helping out again in the future. :-)