Christa’s Soap Box – Simplifying Social Media

Social media overwhelms me and I’ve decided it’s time to simplify. Don’t worry – the blog is NOT going anywhere!! But I’ve been contemplating over the last few months about how I spend my time and WHERE to spend my time.

Until yesterday, I’ve been running a bit ragged, trying to keep up with 3 Facebook pages, 2 Instagram accounts, 2 email lists, this blog, and a very weak attempt at Pinterest. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and joined Instagram in 2013, then began adding ever more social media outlets to the lineup to keep up with “the next best thing.”

The result? I’m honestly getting a little burned out. I spend way more time on screens that could be better spent at the sewing machine!

HST Remix Quilt

Because a blog post is more fun to read with pretty pictures, I’ve sprinkled in a few pics of my latest finish – HST Remix . I often have deep thoughts while quilting – it’s very therapeutic!!

What I’m Saying “Yes” to:

So here’s what I’m keeping: the blog, Instagram, my Facebook group, and my wholesale newsletter for quilt shops.

What I’m Saying “No” to:

What I’m ditching: my Facebook biz page, personal Facebook updates, my weekly consumer email, my business Instagram, and Pinterest (Gasp! Sorry folks, I’m just not a pinner!!)

What I’m NOT going to feel guilty about NOT doing: Twitter, YouTube, Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, Periscope, Snapchat, etc. What I AM going to enjoy: making and sharing what I want, when I want, where I want.

If I make it – and others want it – they will find it.

HST Remix Quilt

Dense machine quilting makes me happy. I’d rather spend more time creating, and less time managing social media.

Since making that decision to simplify only yesterday, I woke up feeling much lighter today. I’ve realized I don’t need to post ALL THE THINGS to ALL THE PLACES, or worry about whether I cross promoted or over-promoted, or forgot to mention the latest and greatest: here, there and everywhere.

I can simplify. I can make. I can share. And I can focus on quality over quantity which better aligns with my minimalist leanings.

You Can Still Follow Me Here

By the way, if you DO want to follow what I’m doing, and keep up with the blog, you can easily subscribe to it. Here’s how:

If you are on a computer, there are two options in the right-hand side bar. (1) You can enter your email underneath where it says “follow my blog!” and you’ll get an email each time a post is published. Or (2) scroll down a bit further and click the button that says “follow me on bloglovin.”

HST Remix

This is HST Remix, one of my QuiltCon entries. Whether it gets accepted to the show or not, I enjoyed every stitch of this huge 90″ x 90″ quilt! It was made entirely on my home sewing machine.

If you are reading this from your mobile device, it’s a bit trickier to find the signup box. You’ll have to scroll way, way, down, like past a million blog posts until you get to all the “stuff” at the bottom of the screen. Then you’ll see the box to enter your email, or the Bloglovin button. But they are there if you persevere!

Whew – that felt so good to get it off my chest!! I’ll post again when there’s something more to say or show. Now it’s time to start on the next quilt….

Meet Me at Market! (2017 International Quilt Market Schedule)

I’ll be a busy bee at quilt market next week (which takes place each fall in Houston, Texas, and various locations in the spring). Scroll down for my schedule of events including demos and book signings. I’ll be there primarily to promote my new book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts along with my new fabric, Modern Marks.

Christa at Quilt Market 2015

I have great memories of quilt market. My first time attending as an author was in 2015 when I introduced my first book, Machine Quilting with Style. I’ve come a long way since then!

If you plan to attend, I’d love to meet up and chat! If your favorite quilt shop is going – be sure to share this info with them and send them my way!

 

Friday, October 27 Schoolhouse

  • Martingale Room 381B 1:55 – 2:25pm – Quilts from My New Book
  • Benartex Room 352F 3:45-4:15 – Quilts Made from Modern Marks

Saturday, October 28

  • All Day – Benartex/Contempo booth
  • 1:30 PM – Aurifil Booth – Machine Quilting Demo
  • 2:30 PM – BERNINA, booth 628 – Quilt Demo/Book Signing

Sunday, October 29

  • All Day – Benartex/Contempo booth
  • 3 PM – Hobbs Batting, booth 200 – Book Signing

Monday, October 30

  • All Day – Benartex/Contempo booth
  • 10-10:30 AM – Brewer booth 734 – Book Signing
  • 12-12:30 PM – Demo Alley – Make a Quilting Plan
  • 1-2:30 PM – Demo Alley – Hand Binding Made Easy

Angela Walters and I introduced our book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting at Spring Quilt Market in 2016. At the time this was my 2nd book, and her 7th!!

International Quilt Market is just open to the trade which means quilt shop owners, designers, and anyone in business in the quilting industry is allowed to attend with the proper credentials (usually an invoice, legitimate business card and web site or store presence.)

Schoolhouse at Market

Another great market memory – Stephanie Palmer, Leah Day and I shared a informal teaching session at quilt market in the fall of 2016. We talked about getting your work published. Leah recorded it for the launch of her very first podcast which you can listen to here.

Thank goodness for the internet and instagram, you can catch the fun virtually even if you can’t attend. Follow the hashtags #quiltmarket #fallquiltmarket, #quiltmarket2017 to stay in the loop! I’m on instagram @christaquilts so be sure to follow me there so you don’t miss a thing!

Leave a comment below if you will be attending. I’d love to see you there!

Christa Watson Quilt Market

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I’m Now on Pinterest!

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been slowly adding more social media channels to my network. Some I’ve enjoyed immensely, others not so much. I started off with my blog way back in 2010, tried Flickr for awhile before everyone abandoned it for Instagram. I got serious about my email newsletter in 2013, then joined the Instagram bandwagon in 2014. I added Facebook in 2015 and then did a short-lived stint on Periscope in 2016. Now in 2017 my goal is to tackle Pinterest.

Christa Quilts on Pinterest

Since I’m new to the game, I don’t have a ton of followers yet, but If you’d like to follow me on Pinterest, click here. I’d love to have you!

Although I enjoy social media, each time I add something new, it’s a huge learning curve for me. But, since LEARN is my word for 2017, I’m embracing the process! if you are a regular Pinterest user, please leave me a comment letting me know how you use it, or any tips you’d like to share.

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My Word for 2017 – Learn

My 2016 word of the year was ‘Relax.’ I’m not really sure how well I accomplished it, since I’m a self-professed workaholic. But, because my work and my hobby is one and the same, I could kind of fudge it since quilting really is a relaxing thing for me to do! For 2017 I have a lot of big goals on the horizon I want to accomplish. And they all revolve around one big word:

Learn!

I need to learn how to design on the computer using adobe illustrator. There are some big projects I want to tackle next year that will require this skill. I’ve enrolled in a couple of online courses (Intro to Surface Pattern Design by Bonnie Christine on Skillshare and one from Alma Loveland on Atly.) Plus I just found out my library supports a free Lynda.com subscription so I’ll definitely put that to good use!

learning_illustrator

The first thing I learned to draw in Illustrator was these raindrops, which was pretty fun. I have a LONG way to go, but I’m tackling it one day at a time. Follow me on instagram @christaquilts to watch my progress unfold as I practice for about 15-30 min. each day.

I also want to learn how to better manage my time. (I’ve already starting putting one thing into practice regarding time management, saying  more “no” and less “yes!”) I’ve also begun using Toodledo – a computer and phone app that is basically a glorified to do list. I’m getting in the habit of writing everything down I need to do and breaking it into smaller steps. It’s sort of the same process that David Allen advocates in his best selling book Getting Things Done.

dslr-handbook

Jason wants to learn how to shoot and edit YouTube videos so we can start offering short video tutorials to help enhance my books, patterns and classes. He’s added a few  technical books to his library, including the one he’s studying right now, The DSLR Filmmaker’s Handbook.

Learning a new skill requires practice and patience and lots of extra time. It will require us to be efficient so we can squeeze our study time into our otherwise busy schedules. (It reminds me of when we were young newlyweds in college, but that’s another story for another day!) Rest assured, if and when our independent studies turn into something tangible, you’ll be the first to know! 🙂

If you have a word for the year, or a big goal you’d like to accomplish, please leave me a comment. I’d love to know what it is. Here’s to a fantastic 2017!

2017

Book Publishing Q & A

Recently at Fall Quilt Market, I participated in a presentation with Leah Day and Stephanie Palmer about getting our work published. Several of you who could not attend were interesting in getting access to the information we shared. Guess what? Leah recorded our presentation and turned it into a podcast over on her website at LeahDay.com.

schoolhouse_all

Stephanie, Leah and Christa having too much fun at Quilt Market Schoolhouse

To listen, just click the play button at the top of her page. She’s also included a written transcript if you want to follow along. The sound quality isn’t super great because of the room we were in, and I talk VERY fast. But it’s full of great info if you are interested in learning more.

And the best part is, Leah is planning on podcasting on a regular basis. I can’t wait to listen to the next one!

podcast-button

Click here to listen to Hello My Quilting Friends, Leah’s New Podcast.

 

My Aurifil Thread Collections are Now Available

One of the biggest reasons for going to quilt market this year was to launch my Piece and Quilt Thread Collection for Aurifil. This has been a dream of mine a couple of yeas in the making and it feels so great to finally share them with the world!
christa-and-alex

Christa and Aurifil CBDO Alex Veronelli at Fall Quilt Market 2016

I first began using Aurifil 50 weight cotton back in 2013 after trying out numerous brands, thread weights, and fiber contents. After making dozens of quilts for publication and for family and friends, I can definitely say these threads are prefect for everything I do: piecing, machine quilting, machine applique, and binding.

My favorite thing about sticking with the 50 weight cotton for everything, is that I always have the right color on hand. Plus, any leftover bobbins from machine quilting can get used up when I piece my next scrappy quilt!

The Piece and Quilt Collection comes in both Colors and Neutrals and I really took my time choosing them. I wanted to make sure I offered enough variety that you could literally piece and quilt any quilt with just these two collections:
piece-and-quilt-colors-box
piece-and-quilt-colors-thread

Piece and Quilt Colors Include:

2425 Bright Pink
2250 Red
4020 Fuchsia
2520 Violet
2130 Medium Butter
1133 Bright Orange
2920 Light Brass
2884 Green Yellow
2886 Light Avocado
1148 Light Jade
2725 Light Wedgewood
2783 Medium Delft Blue

piece-and-quilt-neutrals-box

piece-and-quilt-neutrals-thread

Piece and Quilt Neutrals Include:

2311 Muslin
5021 Bamboo
1246 Dark Grey
5007 Light Grey Blue
2326 Sand
2372 Dark Antique Gold (Brown)
2315 Pale Flesh
2405 Oyster
2024 White
2615 Aluminium
2605 Grey
4241 Very Dark Grey

Color selection tips:

  1. When you don’t have an exact match, go a shade or two lighter with your thread. A lighter thread on a darker fabric will blend in better than a darker thread on a lighter fabric.
  2. Use very dark grey instead of black on black fabrics so you can see the texture of the thread rather than having it disappear.
  3. Use the darker neutrals when piecing dark or very highly saturated fabrics.
  4. Try out the lighter neutrals like oyster and bamboo (in addition to white and muslin) when piecing lighter to medium colored fabrics.

both-collections

Ask for my Piece and Quilt Collection at your favorite quilt shop, or get them directly from me at ThePrecutStore.com. I look forward to seeing what you make with them!

Modern Sewciety Podcast Interview and Podcast List

Be sure to catch my interview with Stephanie from the Modern Sewciety Podcast episode 92. Stephanie and I have gotten to be great friends ever since I began listening to her podcast (and proclaimed myself her #1 fan!) This is actually the 3rd time I’ve been on her show (click here for the 1st interview on episode 37 and click here for the second on episode 77).

I think it was our most fun chat yet. Of course we talked about the new book and business type stuff, but we also had a fun discussion about Quilt Market and QuiltCon, too. And you know – mom stuff and not always being in the season of life where we can do what we want!!

modernsewciety

Stephanie threw in a fun little segment at the end, asking about some of my favorite podcasts since she knows I’m an avid podcast listener. I only mentioned about 5-6 of them in the interview so I thought I’d share links to all of the podcasts I’m currently listening to.

Quilting, Sewing and Creative Podcasts

In no particular order, these are the creative podcasts I’m currently listening to. Click each link to be taken to the podcast home page or host’s blog. These are all currently running with consistently released episodes.

Business Podcasts

Some podcasts overlap as they talk both about creativity and business, but I really like these ones below for business tips and advice. Click the links to learn more.

Additional Podcast Lists

My podcast list changes depending on my mood and whether or not a podcast is still current or not. For more recommendations, click this link for last summer’s podcast list.

Also check out Nonnie’s Quilting Dreams extensive podcast list for more fun listening!

christa_machinequilts

This is me on any given day in my studio: sewing and listening to podcasts!

If you know of any other fun podcasts I’ve missed, please let me and my readers know about them in the comments below!

My Spring 2016 Quilt Market Schedule

I’m so excited to attend Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend. This is the twice-yearly trade show for the quilting industry. Even though it’s not open to the public, you can still feel like you are part of the action by following along via social media.

Quilt Market 2016

I will be attending to help promote my new book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting with co-author Angela Walters. Our publisher, Martingale/That Patchwork Place has scheduled 3 fun events for us. If you happen to go, please come by and say hi!

On Thursday, Angela and I will present a schoolhouse session for our new book at 4:40 PM in room 255A. We will be going on just before the Moda All-stars book debut so I’m kinda hoping we’ll capture some of the audience who wants to come in early for a great seat! 😉

Quilt Marke 2016

On Friday, May 20th at 11 AM in Martingale’s booth 422, Angela and I will be doing a fun Q&A session. We will answer your most pressing machine quilting sessions and may even show you how we sketch out our designs on paper ahead of time.

Machine Quilting

 

 

Finally, on Saturday, May 21 we’ll cap off the weekend with two live machine quilting events. At 10 AM we’ll be at the Handi Quilter booth and at 1 PM we’ll be at the BERNINA booth, showing how we actually machine quilt in person! We will also have a booksigning at each event, for the first 50 people in line – so be sure to arrive early!!

The rest of the time, I’ll be hanging out with Jason, purchasing new products for The Precut Store. It’s always exciting to see what’s new!

The Precut Store

If you can’t attend, be sure to follow me on Instagram at @christaquilts and @theprecutstore!

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting – Cornered

Click here to get your autographed copy of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.
Click here to see all of the quilts from the book, as they are added each week!
All photography courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale.

Take a look at Cornered – a simple yet striking design that can be used as a table topper, baby quilt, or wall decor. Although Angela and I chose to use solids for our versions, it would look equally beautiful in your favorite prints!

Corned quilt by Christa Watson

Christa’s Version – Pretty in Pink.

I often like to color code my quilts, where each fabric showcases a different quilting design.

Free Motion Quilting Detail

Free-motion quilting detail showing one of my favorite combinations – Swirls and Pearls.

Cornered by Angela Walters

In Angela’s version, she shows you several different ways to quilt the same block!

For the record, Angela Walters quilts on a Handi-Quilter Long arm and I quilt on a domestic sit-down machine, a BERNINA 770 QE. But no matter which machine you choose, our goal is to help get you comfortable with the machine quilting process!

Christa Watson Books

Click here to purchase my machine quilting books and let me be your cheerleader as I guide you to machine quilting success! After all, that’s my favorite part of making a quilt!!

Shopowner Friends – Sign up for my Wholesale Newsletter

I know many of you out there who follow me are successful shop owners and industry professionals. As my business has grown, it’s time to create a wholesale newsletter just for you!

WholesaleIG

 

This monthly email is geared toward anyone in the quilting industry who is interested in carrying my designer patterns and products. I share tips and tricks on how to best promote my products, where you can find them, and provide support for teachers interested in building their classes around my patterns and books.

From time to time, I may offer special bonuses and freebies to you – my industry friends. It’s my way of saying thanks for supporting me, and I’ll work just as hard to support you!

Click here to sign up for Christa Quilts News.