My Local Teaching Schedule, Fall 2016

I enjoy traveling around the country at various quilt shows, guilds and events to teach. But I can’t neglect my local friends and fans, so I’ve made sure to schedule a few classes around here, too. If you live nearby, or plan to drop by for a fun Vegas weekend, be sure to sign up for my machine quilting classes this fall, taught at three fabulous quilt shops in town:

Upcoming Machine Quilting Classes in Las Vegas:

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Sept 8, 5:30-8:30 PM at The Christmas Goose
Ultimate Free-Motion Fillers

Learn 12 fun fillers in just 3 hours! This class will walk you through a dozen of the free-motion motifs from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. This will be a fast paced class, so students should be comfortable working with their machines and have a little bit of experience with machine quilting. Class size is limited to 10 students. Call the shop at 702-877-1158 to register, or stop by the shop at 2988 South Durango #109.

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October 14, 2:30-5:30 PM at Quiltique
Improv Machine Qujilting

Liberate yourself from traditional quilting symmetry by combining your favorite machine quilting motifs in a seemingly random way. Add amazing texture to the negative spaces in your quilts and create your own unique combinations.

The class will cover basic free-motion filler designs such as pebbles, swirls, leaves, paisleys, triangles, and more. Learn how to improvisationally combine them for stunning results. Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.

Stop by Quiltique’s class sign up day event in August to register, located at 213 N. Stephanie Street, Suite E, Henderson, NV 89074. Or call the shop after Sept. 1 at 702-563-8600.

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October 15, 1-4 PM at Sew Yeah Quilting
Machine Quilting spirals and swirls

Learn how to quilt modern, geometric spirals and swirls using both walking foot and free-motion motifs. Students will learn how to quilt stunning designs from Machine Quilting with Style, such as large continuous spirals, geometric spirals, and several swirl variations. Spirals can be quilted in different areas of your quilts, or used as an allover design. Combine motifs for even more possibilities! Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.

Click here to register online. You can also register in person at the shop, located at 3690 N Rancho Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89130, or call the shop at (702) 586 – 8687.

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November 16, 6-9 PM at THE CHRISTMAS GOOSE
Ultimate Free-Motion Fillers

Go beyond the straight line and use your free-motion quilting skills to their fullest. In this workshop, students will learn how to turn basic shapes into linear free-motion quilting designs. Quilt them as allover designs across the surface of your quilt, or use them sporadically to create custom quilting motifs. Students should be comfortable with basic machine quilting techniques.

Class size is limited to 10 students. Call the shop at 702-877-1158 to register, or stop by the shop at 2988 South Durango #109.

My Traveling Schedule

If you live outside of the Las Vegas area, be sure to check out my traveling and teaching schedule here. My schedule is currently booked through the end of 2017 but I’m now accepting offers for 2018, so I may be visiting a place near you!

My Week at John C Campbell Folkschool 2016

I had the most fabulous time teaching a group of students how to make a modern quilt at the John C. Campbell Folkschool last week. We used my Charming Chevrons pattern and it was so fun to see all of the variations!

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I had a wonderful group of 8 students who made 9 quilts in 5 days!!

The Folkschool has been around since 1925, offering classes on dozens of different arts and crafts disciplines. For a week long class, students arrive on Sunday and get settled in, then work for 5 days straight in 6 hours of classes per day, with breaks for yummy meals 3 times a day!

My students started cutting and sewing on Monday, and by the time of the student presentation on Friday afternoon, every single one of them had a finished quilt top, two had completely finished quilts, and most of the rest of them had their quilts basted and ready to finish at home.

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Gerry smooths out her quilt after it has been spray basted, while Fran is ironing one of two charity quilts she was able to complete during class. Check out those mountain views!!

I taught a similar class last year, using my Modern Logs pattern. This year I encouraged the students to work at their own pace, and several of them took advantage of open sewing time in the evening to get a little more done. We covered all aspects of making a quilt: cutting, piecing, basting, machine quilting and binding.

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Pam Howard is the resident Weaver at the Folkschool. She took my modern logs class last year and brought back her completed quilt! Her Charming Chevrons blocks are on the wall behind her.

It was so fun to see the students’ faces light up when they realized that yes, they can make an entire quilt on their home sewing machines!!

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Susan was so excited to quilt her chevron quilt in class! Each student had their own table and design wall – plenty of space in which to work! That’s Barb’s top hanging on the wall.

Each students’ quilts were so unique. Whether it was their first quilt, or they had been quilting for decades, all had fun and created a beautiful work of art!

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First-time-quilter Lucy quilted an easy wavy plaid design with her walking foot. I brought along copies of my machine quilting books so students hand plenty of designs from which to choose!

While I was teaching quilting, my husband Jason took a photography class. In fact, he told me he hopes I teach there on a regular basis, so he can take a class each time I teach.

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Jason poses beside the welcome sign on the first day of class.

The good news is, I’ll be back again in the summer of 2018. (My 2017 teaching calendar was already full.) We haven’t set an exact date yet, but I’m thinking sometime in June would be great.

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One of the landscape pictures Jason took during his photography class. The folkschool is nestled in the mountains and the views are just spectacular!

Each Folkschool instructor has their own specialty, and I love that mine is teaching how to make a complete quilt from start to finish, while emphasizing the modern aesthetic.  I’ll repeat this format in 2018, albeit with a different pattern. Several of the students have already said they plan to come again, so it will be a fun reunion!!

A Splendid Celebration!

Are you following along with The Splendid Sampler? If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s the most epic, “sew-lebrity” filled sew along (of all time), consisting of 100+ free block patterns, designed by 83 pattern designers, shared twice week, for an entire year!!!

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Just a few of the 80+ Splendid Sampler designers at Spring Quilt Market 2016.

For those of you making blocks either physically with the group (or virtually in your head), the 50th block releases this week! Isn’t that exciting?? Although I’m not going to spoil tomorrow’s surprise, the designer of block #50 is Joanna Figueroa of Figtree Quilts. I’ve seen the block, and let me tell you – it is Splendid!!

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My Splendid Block

You may recall my block, Scrappy Happy Heart, below, which was released back in May. Click here to learn more about my block! It’s been exciting watching so many people making my paper pieced block design and sharing their work. The biggest comment I’ve seen on Instagram (#scrappyhappyheart) and in the Splendid Sampler Facebook group is that my block is the perfect block for those who have never paper-pieced before and want to try out an easy block. That warms my heart!!

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My Scrappy Happy Heart Block

To celebrate The Splendid Sampler halfway point, hosts Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson are teaming up with many of the Splendid Sampler designers with bonus blocks, fun giveaways, free patterns, and maybe even a little “behind the scenes” of the project.

Click here to see the complete blog hop celebration schedule!

Free Pattern for Splendid Friends

For anyone new to my blog, I invite you to get this free PDF quilt pattern of my Puzzle Box design just for stopping by and signing up for my email newsletter.

Click here to get the free pattern.

But wait…. there’s more!!

Puzzle Box Pattern

Book Giveaway for Splendid quilters

I’m also giving away a copy of the brand new collaboration book, 180 Doodle Quilting Designs. This book was compiled by Martingale/That Patchwork Place, the same folks who will be publishing The Splendid Sampler book once the blocks are all complete! (They have also published both of my quilting books, so I might just be a little bit biased!!)

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180 Doodle Quilting features designs from several talented friends, including Splendid Sampler designers Melissa Corry, April Rosenthal, and yours truly! Perhaps this book will help you decide how you want to quilt your blocks when they are all finished!

For your chance to win, just leave a comment below letting me know if you’ve ever participated in a block of the month/week/day type program before. If so, tell me what you loved about it!

This contest is open to everyone worldwide. I’ll pick one US winner who will win a physical copy signed by me, and one international winner who will receive an e-copy.

The contest will close Aug 15th and I’ll ship it to you by the end of the month. Thanks for stopping by!!

Featured Designer and Positive Direction Pattern in Modern Quilts Unlimited

The Summer 2016 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited goes on sale today and I’m pleased as punch to have two features in it.

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First of all, I’m the profiled designer. If you are like me, you may enjoy quilting magazines for the articles as much as you like the unique patterns. Well, imagine my surprise when they asked to interview me for this issue. I was so impressed with Linda Griepentrog who wrote the article. After a nice phone chat, she was able to take my often long answers and rambling thoughts about quilting, and distill them into a concise well-written article. (I always joke around with my workshop students that they get to see me live and unedited when they learn from me in person, LOL!)

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When Modern Quilts Unlimited asked to include me in the issue, they also invited me to submit a pattern to go along with it. (In case you were wondering, I got paid for the pattern, and the freelance writer gets paid for her feature article). This was just perfect because I had playing around with a patriotic plus design for awhile, and creating it for the issue was the perfect excuse to make the quilt, which I named Positive Direction.

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Positive Direction in the Summer 2016 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited

I’ve always wanted to make a modern patriotic quilt since I’m not as much of a fan as traditional Americana decor. I think adding the aqua and grey punched it up a bit and of course I had to quilt it to death like I usually do. I used Wool batting to give it some loft which really allows the machine quilting to pop!

I designed the quilt in EQ7, like I do all of my quilts and I just love being able to see what the quilt is going to look like before I make it!

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My Positive Direction EQ7 sketch – I get all the thinking done before I start sewing!

Stay tuned for some behind the scenes images, where I share a little bit more about the making of this quilt…. (It was too much info to put all in one post!!)

Machine Quilting Tips in Modern Patchwork Magazine

I love that more and more people are jumping on the modern quilting bandwagon! I’m a huge fan of quilting magazines and I love that more and more of them are devoted to the modern aesthetic. I’ve been pleased to work with several of them (in between other sewing deadlines) so I’ll be sure and share updates with you whenever I’ve published something new.

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My quilting tips are found on page 38 in this issue of Modern Patchwork!

I was recently able to share some of my favorite domestic machine quilting tips in the summer issue of Modern Patchwork Magazine. I’ll share a little bit about how this came about, for those of you who are interested in what goes on “behind the scenes.”

The Modern Quilt Guild put out a call for submissions for QuiltCon magazine last year (for this year’s 2016 issue), so I submitted the idea originally for that magazine. When I heard back, they said they had already selected content for QuiltCon magazine, but would I be willing to write it up for Modern Patchwork, since they are owned by the same company? That was a quick and easy yes.

Then, quite by chance, the editor happened to be in one of my QuiltCon classes earlier this year. I love when stuff like this happens. It makes me feel like we are all friends and associates in this industry, connecting us together in more ways than one.

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My books – all about quilting on a domestic machine!!

I wrote up my top 10 tips for domestic machine quilting, then got permission from my publisher to share a few images from my books to go along with the article. That way, the photography would be of the highest quality, and help cross promote the books. Because I’m the type of person who likes to make sure I dot my i’s and cross my t’s (and because I want to make sure I never step on any toes) I always try to keep everyone in the loop of what I’m doing and make sure I never share the same the exact same content word for word.

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Credit goes to Angela Walters, my co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting for her version of Swirling Butterflies, the white quilt shown in the title of the article.

Although I write and teach about the art of machine quilting on a regular basis, I always try to present my material in a somewhat different way between books, patterns, and workshops. Besides, it really helps to hear/read the same information in different ways to really let it sink in.

In addition to my article, the current issue of Modern Patchwork has loads of other interesting articles to read as well as a plethora of fabulous machine quilting designs. It’s a little on the pricey side for one issue, but it’s worth it because it has as much content as a book!

Click here to get your hands on a copy of Modern Patchwork, and be sure to let me know what other quilting magazines you enjoy, modern or not!

Check out 180 Doodle Quilting Designs – Free Motion Ideas for Blocks, Borders, and Beyond

I’m so excited to tell you about a brand new machine quilting book that I am privileged to be a part of. It’s called 180 Doodle Quilting Designs and it features a plethora of free motion quilting ideas for blocks, setting triangles, and borders. The book has been published by my friends at Martingale/That Patchwork Place (who published both of my machine quilting books.)

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This book is different from most machine quilting books out there, in that it is more of a reference book rather than a how-to book with patterns. This clever idea was the brainchild of acquisitions editor Karen Burns, and it features 60 different motifs from 9 talented designers. Each motif is shown how it would work 3 different ways, for a total of 180 possible designs. Check out fun free-motion quilting ideas from:

  • Yours truly – I’m so inspired by seeing my fellow contributors’ designs!
  • Vicki Ruebel – One of my super talented BQF’s (best quilting friends).
  • Karen Burns – Be on the lookout for more collaborations you are sure to love!
  • Melissa Corry – This girl can finish more quilts in a week than most can do in a month!
  • Lori Kennedy – Shh, don’t tell – I have a quilter’s crush on her!!
  • Maddie Kertay – Irreverent and awesome founder of the BAQS (you’ll need to google it… :-))
  • April Rosenthal – I want to be her when I grow up.
  • Sheila Sinclair Snyder – Amazing award winning quilter.
  • Angela Walters – Need I say anything more??

Here’s an example of how the information is laid out for each design:

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Plus there’s some handy-dandy info at the front of the book with tips on how to use it, such as tracing over the motifs to get a feel for how each design will flow. I love adding books like this to my reference library. They are great to look through whenever I’m stumped for a machine quilting idea!

As of this writing, 180 Doodle Quilting Designs was ranked #1 new release on Amazon in quilting. To help it stay there, click here to purchase your copy and then be sure to leave an Amazon review. You’ll be glad you did.🙂 Now I’m off to a do a little more doodle quilting of my own…..

Update – Video Tutorial

Check out this clever video that my friends at Martingale made, showing how to use the book. Simply trace, doodle and quilt! You’ll gain confidence in no time! (Press the play icon to view. )

The Skull Quilt Mini and a Fun Quilt Swap

My local modern quilt guild, Las Vegas MQG recently teamed up with the Orlando MQG to do a modern member mini quilt swap. It was So. Much. Fun! Each team leader from both guilds assigned us someone to make a quilt for and we were given an interest sheet about what our partner liked and didn’t. We made a mini quilt for one person, but then received a mini from a different partner (scroll to the end to see the awesome quilt I received from Rene’!)

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Skullduggery by Christa Watson, 15″ x 17″

So here’s the quilt I made for Frank Palmer of Full Frontal Quilt and Dyeworks, who thinks “Black is fabooshalicious and red is a neutral.” He also loves “odd and unusual things and skulls and tattoos.” (As a side note, Frank was a guest on the Crafty Planner Podcast earlier this year so I knew I needed to make him something that would fit his fun personality!)

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I stitched in the ditch using the BERNINA dual feed, which acts much like a walking foot.

I pieced the quilt from solid black and red squares, so that it would retain the pixelated look. Then I stitched in the ditch around the major skull sections to outline the design and anchor the quilt for additional free-motion quilting.

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Free-motion quilting wtih the BSR, using matching Aurifil thread – #2250 Red.

Next, I free-motion quilted a wavy flame design in all of the red areas. I thought the look of the flames matched the feel of the design quite nicely! I used a matching Aurifil 50 cotton weight thread in red. I quilted it using the BERNINA stitch regulator which helps my stitches stay nice and even. Though truth be told, I can quilt just as easily with or without the regulator. I love using the open toe so I can see my quilting stitches easier.

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Finally, I quilted the background with a dense pebble texture, using one of my favorite neutrals – Aurifil #4241 Very Dark Gray. It’s not quite black so it actually shows up on black fabrics better than straight black does.

Skullduggery EQ7

Like all of my quilts, I created this design using EQ7 software so that I knew exactly how to put it together before starting. As an added bonus for my fellow EQ7 users, I’ve made the file available for you if you want to make your own version (just be sure to credit me as the designer if you do).

Click here to get the Skullduggery EQ7 file download.
Note, this link will only work if you have EQ7 installed on your computer.

If you make a version of this quilt or any of my other patterns, please be sure and share it in my Facebook Group: Quilt with Christa.🙂

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This is the quilt I received in the swap. I love solids and black and white so this suits me to a T!

Feathered Chevrons Finish

I’m so happy to have finished another version of my Charming Chevrons pattern! This layout is called Feathered Chevrons, and I made it using my Kona Designer series charm packs, plus Kona Coal.

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Feathered Chevrons by Christa Watson, 64″ x 80″

This is the third version of Charming Chevrons I have made, and all three layouts are available in the original pattern, along with 4 different sizes.

Click here to purchase a PDF pattern of Charming Chevrons.
Click here to purchase a print pattern of Charming Chevrons.

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I love it when the quilting shows up well on the back.

I used some leftover chunks of Kona solids to make a pieced backing. I love how the quilting really shows up on the back. I stuck a label on the lower back corner before I put the binding on so I would only have to hand-sew it along two of the sides.

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On the test sample, I quilted the swirls flowing in opposite directions. On the quilt, I quilted them all flowing in one direction. Other than that, I stuck to the original plan.

Like I do for most of my quilts, I made up a test block so that I could see how the quilting design and thread color looked before diving in. Even though it’s a little more effort to do this, it saves me a lot of aggravation in the long run. If I like how this piece looks, then there won’t be any surprises when I’m quilting the quilt, and I can just relax and enjoy the process.

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I filled in all of the gray background areas with switchbacks, one of the motifs I teach in my book Machine Quilting with Style. Notice how I stitched an area of relief inside the block, by quilting straight lines about 1/4″ away from the seams. This allows the different sections to pop, and also shrinks up the amount of area I need to quilt.

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Next, I filled in the chevrons with a motif I call “swirl-feathers.” It’s a new design for me, made up of swirls that branch off of each other rather than filling in the whole space. Then I filled in the spaces in between the swirls with pebbles.

I quilted it entirely on my BERNINA 770 QE. I anchored the quilt by quilting straight lines with my integrated dual feed (which works like a walking foot) and then the free-motion sections with my BSR (BERNINA stitch regulator.)

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You’ll be hearing more about some of my favorite Aurifil thread colors in the coming months.

I love to use Aurifil 50 weight cotton for piecing and quilting all of my quilts. It’s lightweight yet strong and I never have any issue with thread breaks. I used  Aurifil 2920 Light Brass for the swirls and 2605 Grey for the background.

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If you make your own version of Charming Chevrons, please share it in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. I’d love to see you progress! I’m also happy to chat about machine quilting over there and answer your questions in the group for all to see.

Fabric Friday – Desert Bloom Fabric from Amanda Herring

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared some of the pretty fabrics we carry over at The Precut Store. But today I couldn’t resist telling you about my friend Amanda Herring’s new fabric collection called Desert Bloom, from Riley Blake.

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Amanda at Spring Quilt Market. She matches the fabrics in her new line!

Desert Bloom is a pretty collection of florals and geometrics in trendy shades of red and aqua with a little gray thrown in. The thing I love about Amanda’s fabrics is that they are all so different, yet stand alone on their own. They usually sell out pretty quickly, too!

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The fat quarter bundle includes one of every print from the line, shown above.

Riley Blake recently started offering all of their new collections in full size precut bundles, which thrills me to no end. As a designer, it’s much easier to design quilt patterns using precuts when they are all a standard size. I’m pleased to say that we have all of the Desert Bloom precuts currently in stock: 21 piece fat quarter bundles, 42 piece 5 inch squares, 42 piece 10 inch squares (stackers), and 40 piece 2 1/2″ strips (Rolie Polies).

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The rest of the precuts include duplicates of each print.

Click here to view and purchase Desert Bloom Precuts, and thanks for your support!

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting: U-Turns

Thanks for joining Angela Walters and I on our journey as we’ve shared our quilts from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. Today we’ll show the last quilt, U-Turns, made in different fabrics with drastically different quilting, done either on a sit-down domestic (me) or a stand up long-arm (Angela).

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In this quilt, I pay homage to Angela, by choosing one of her first fabric designs as the print in my version of U-Turns. I quilt all of my quilts exclusively on a BERNINA 770 Quilter’s Edition, which gives me lots of room to scrunch and smoosh my quilts under the machine.

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In my version, I’ve combined several of my favorite designs which are super easy to do on thin sashing and borders: wavy lines, double loops, and switchbacks.

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Angela also shows how to do some super fun and easy designs and she includes several ideas for quilting around the corners on her long arm. It’s much easier than you think!

I had such a fabulous time writing this second book with Angela. She was a fantastic co-author, and this book gave me a chance to expand on some of the ideas I presented in my first book, Machine Quilting with Style.

Christa Watson Books

Where to Buy

Sharing is Caring

Be sure to share your progress on your projects from either book in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. You can also share your machine quilting progress, ask questions and get advice about future projects!