My Trip to Quilt Nebraska 2017

I’m trying to carve out more time to share a little update each time I teach. Although I repeat a lot of the same classes, it’s so fun to meet such a variety of fun quilters when I travel! In each workshop I teach, I’m always taking mental notes of what works well, what could use some tweaking, and which of my silly jokes get the most laughs!!

Teaching at Quilt Nebraska 2017

Ahem, there’s no Las Vegas in NE, so I made a simple fix!

Last weekend I was in a tiny, but adorable little town callked Kearney, as one of the teachers they brought in for Quilt Nebraska, the annual retreat of the Nebraska State Quilt Guild.  (Next year’s event will take place in Omaha if you are nearby and inclined to go.)

Although it took me 10 hours, 3 different planes (including the tiny one below), and 2 layovers to get there, it was worth the trip. Whenever I’m among quilters, I truly feel at home among friends.

The Glamourous Life of a Traveling Teacher!

This is what the “glamorous” life of a traveling teacher looks like, LOL!!

On Friday I taught my most popular class – a full day of Modern Machine Quilting. I teach this class using a sampling of designs from all 3 of my books. First, we tackle walking foot quilting in the morning, which builds up the students’ confidence. My favorite part of this class is when students realize that YES, they can quilt their own quilts and they can do more than just stitch in the ditch!

Walking Foot Quilting: Spirals

Although I teach several different walking foot designs, spirals are always a favorite!

Then after a nice lunch break, we practice free-motion quilting in the afternoon. In a relatively short class like this (6 hours goes by fast!), there’s not enough time to quilt on an actual quilt, so students practice on sample sandwiches consisting of fabric and batting scraps. The best part about getting to play is that it’s okay to learn and be a “perfeclty imperfect quilter”, since it’s all just practice.

Free Motion Quilting: Student work in Christa Watson's class

Here are some great student examples of the free-motion favorites we tackle in class.

Not only do students learn how to quilt the actual motifs, we also have a discussion on how to apply those motifs to an actual quilt. It’s similar to the process I teach in my Craftsy class, The Quilter’s Path. If students can make a plan to tackle their quilting, and break it up into bite size pieces, it’s much easier to handle and they don’t get overwhelmed.

Carol Ann Waugh Lecture

Carol Ann Waugh shared her inspiring creative journey.

Friday evening we were fed a yummy dinner and treated to an inspiring presentation by Fiber artist, Carol Ann Waugh. I’ve long been an admirer of hers and I got to have some fabulous conversation with her and another amazing instructor, Becky Goldsmith of Piece O’ Cake Designs. It’s fun to talk shop and compare notes with these teachers on how best to interact with students so they get the best possible experience!

Christa Watson, Carol Ann Waugh and Becky Goldsmith

I love getting to know other instructors along with the students!

On Saturday, I taught students how to dive into improvisation piecing while make the Facets quilt from my book Machine Quilting with Style. I teach this class a lot, and it never gets old!! The beauty of improv is that no student’s quilts look alike, even if they are using the same fabrics, and making the same design!

Student work on Facets from Machine Quilting with Style

Just a few of the gorgeous blocks being sewn in class.

Saturday night capped off the event with an excellent lecture about Modern Quilting from Kristy Daum. Kristy and I are online friends and we’ve gotten to chat for a few minutes here and there at quilt shows and industry events. She was even part of my blog hop when my first book came out a couple of years ago. Click here to see the version of Facets that she made!

Kirsty and I had a great time chatting over dinner and getting to know each other better. She told me more about her experience judging QuiltCon earlier this year, and I think it was the most we’d ever talked to each other in person!! We even realized we will both be teaching at Maine Quilts next year and it will be fun to see her again!

Christa Watson and Kristy Daum

Kristy shared a bit about her creative journey along with the evolution of modern quilting. It was fun to watch many of the audience members get excited about what she had two say, and I think between the two of us, we made quite a few modern quilt converts over the weekend!!

Kristy Daum Modern Quilt Lecture

Community in quilting is so important – whether you find it in a guild, class, or online!!

It was a fabulous weekend and I’m happy to be home for a few more days before I head off to Houston to teach for a couple of guilds there: The Coastal Prairie Quilt Guild of Texas and the Houston MQG. I can’t wait to meet more fun friends!!

3 thoughts on “My Trip to Quilt Nebraska 2017

  1. Kathleen McCormick says:

    Gonna get the dates for Maine and mark that down! I live there part time and this year am missing the show due to a downsizing move. All good but cramping my desire to get to more shows!! Love that you show your student’s work. I love teaching and am thinking about ways to do more of it.

  2. Hedy Hahn says:

    Christa, I’m not your mother, but I think you should wear more hot pink clothing. I see that picture of you and that color is YOU. I’m thinking I would like to do more quilting on my regular machine and maybe that Craftsy class is for me. Of course, I hope to someday take a class from you too. I have a long arm but sometimes I can’t use it when I go away for the winter and my regular Bernina has to do. Your smile sure lights up a room.

  3. Sheila Beins says:

    I was lucky enough to get to take the modern machine quilting class. You are a fun and inspiring teacher Christa!

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