My QuiltCon Entries for 2019 and a Plea for Kindness Online

I love this time of year. Not only for the holidays, but also to see what quilts everyone has entered for next year’s QuiltCon show. So far, I’ve been to every show since it began in 2013 and I’ve also had at least one quilt accepted for each show which is always fun to see. I just received word that one of three of my entries got in this year and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Blooming Wallflowers Accepted

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

Click here to get the PDF pattern for Blooming Wallflowers
Click here to get the print pattern for Blooming Wallflowers
Kits available – while supplies last

It’s really special to me that this quilt was accepted, because I had originally made a slightly different version (shown below) for a magazine (using my first line, Modern Marks). I entered the first version into the show last year and it was rejected then. I know that the jury changes from year to year and the group of quilts to choose from is always different, so that just goes to show that it’s always worth trying again if you think you have a really great design.

In the updated version (seen above), I still used the same dark Navy from Modern Marks, but paired it with coordinates from Abstract Garden.

Earlier Version – Made from Modern Marks

star Shadow by Christa WatsonThis version was a “reject” for QuiltCon 2018

Out of the Box Declined

This quilt was such fun to make and I’ll for sure be entering it into other shows. One thing I’ve learned is that my commercial quilt designs I make for patterns and books tend to be a little more on the more “modern traditionalism” side of things which usually has a ton of entries, so I’m never disappointed when one of them doesn’t make the cut. I’ve actually designed a super-modern version of this quilt with much more negative space that I may try to make and enter for next year, so we’ll see what happens!

Out of the Box by Christa Watson for American Patchwork and Quilting using Fandangle fabric

This quilt was originally made for a magazine to showcase Fandangle Fat Quarters.
I plan to remake it in an upcoming fabric line and re-release the pattern, so stay tuned!

Beaded Lanterns Declined

This one didn’t surprise me at all because all though it’s a dynamic design, it’s still very traditional in the layout and setting. But I still love it since it was easy to pattern and teach. This is the first year that I didn’t have time to make a quilt specifically for the show, but I’m still glad I entered. It’s always fun to be part of the process!!

Beaded Lanterns Finished Quilt

Beaded Lanterns was made to showcase Fandangle precut strips.
Kits available while supplies last.
Get the free pattern here.

A Plea for Kindness

Before you leave comments online saying “I can’t believe so and so’s quilt didn’t get in” or “what were those jurors thinking, they are crazy!” or anything of that nature, please remember to be kind.

I know that emotions tend to run a little high when everyone gets their notices that their quilts weren’t accepted. However, I always remind myself, it’s just simple math. There were 1750 quilts entered this year, and the show usually only had room for 400. So that means that less than 1 in 4 will get in on average. In other words, 75% of the quilts entered will not make it into the show. But that doesn’t make them “rejects.”  I’m sure that if QuiltCon had the room, they’d take as many quilts as they could.

I enter a lot of national shows, most of which are much larger than QuiltCon in terms of numbers of quilts on display. However, they don’t get nearly the amount of entries as QuiltCon does and I never hear negative comments about quilts that don’t make it in. I think it’s because QuiltCon and the MQG have such a large internet presence and we all know how easy it is to make an off-handed comment online. My one request would be to keep things as positive as you can, even if you didn’t get in. I know that the folks working behind the scenes put in untold numbers of hours to make a great show and I’m so thankful for the hard work they do!

In fact, if you’d like to treat yourself to a really inspiring “virtual” quilt show online, be sure to check out the hashtag “quiltconreject” on instagram. It’s a visual feast for sure!

Other Quilt Show Venues

And if you are thinking about entering your quilt into a large national show, here’s a few more that I’d highly recommend:

Blooming Wallflowers made with Abstract Garden and Modern Marks

Now it’s time to add a hanging sleeve and label to this quilt so it’s ready to ship!

New Patterns and Kits: Pieced Primrose, Geese in the Garden, Blooming Wallflowers, LatticeWork

Just a quick note to say that the print versions of my 4 new patterns have now arrived from the printer – whoo hoo! Although they were made to feature my new Abstract Garden fabric line, they are versatile to use any fabrics you like! You can pull similar colors, or mix it up for your own unique take! I’m also offering kits for each, while supplies last.

Abstract Garden Quilt Patterns

To give you a quick overview of the quality and layout of the print versions, I made this short one-minute (silent) YouTube video of me thumbing through the pages. They are printed on high quality semi-gloss paper with a firm cover so they’ll hold up while you use them! Click the image below to watch.

And now, to end this post with some colorful “eye candy” here are images of the finished quilts themselves. Coming up soon, I’ll be blogging more about the making of each quilt with some bonus tutorials and tips. And don’t forget, I’ll be hosting a quilt along to make Blooming Wallflowers in January, so be on the lookout for the QAL schedule, coming soon!

Pieced Primrose Quilts

Click here to purchase this pattern.
Click here to purchase the kit.

Pieced Primrose Quilts Made from Abstract Garden

Geese in the Garden Quilts

Click here to purchase this pattern.
Click here to purchase the kit.

Geese in the Garden with Abstract Garden fabric

Blooming Wallflowers Quilt

Click here to purchase this pattern.
Click here to purchase the kit.

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

LatticeWork Quilt

Click here to purchase this pattern.
Click here to purchase the kit.

LatticeWork Quilt Made from Abstract Garden

Sign up for My Next Quilt Along in January: Blooming Wallflowers

Can I say how much I enjoy doing quilt alongs with you all? It keeps me motivated to design and make new things, and nothing thrills me more than seeing all the variety of quilts that are being made, even when we all start with the same basic pattern. So I’m excited to announce the next quilt along which will start January 4th!

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

We will be making my Blooming Wallflowers quilt from start to finish over 12 weeks. Each Friday starting in Janaury, I’ll share a new blog post with inspiration pictures, bonus tips and plenty of cheerleading to keep you motivated. I’ve built in a couple of breaks to the quilt along, so it should be a nice and relaxing pace, and easy to follow along!

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

Get the Pattern

The quilt along itself is free, all you need to purchase is a copy of the pattern:
Click here to purchase the PDF version of Blooming Wallflowers
Click here to purchase the print version of Blooming Wallflowers

Optional Kit

Of course, you can use whichever fabrics you like, but I’ve put together an optional fabric kit which includes all the fabric to make the quilt top and binding as shown above: Fat Eights of 12 different Blooming Roses prints, 1 1/4 yards of light blue Tracks for the accent, and 4 yards of Modern Marks Herringbone Navy for background and binding.

Click here to purchase the Blooming Wallflowers kit – Throw Size

Blooming Wallflowers made with Abstract Garden and Modern Marks

Sign up to Follow Along (Free)

It’s completely free to follow along and you will gain tips and tricks for better quilt making, even if you don’t want to actually make the quilt!

Click here to sign up and be notified each time a new quilt along step has been released.

Blooming Wallflowers Quilt Along

I’ll post the complete supply list and schedule on January 4th and will then give everyone a couple of weeks to gather their materials and supplies before we dive into cutting on January 18th. We will wrap up by the end of March and I’ll encourage everyone to post their progress in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group. After all, doing things with friends is a large part of the fun!

So who wants to join me?? Leave a comment if you plan to follow along, either making the quilt – or virtually in your head!!

New Quilt Pattern – LatticeWork

Happy Turkey Day!! I’m so thankful to you, dear blog reader for your support you’ve given me over the years. I started this blog on Thanksgiving Day back in 2010 and little did I know that it would lead to what I’m doing today – a full time career in the quilting industry.

LatticeWork Quilt Made from Abstract Garden

LatticeWork Quilt – Throw Size

On this day of thanks, I’m so happy to be sharing more fun and inspiring projects with you! Take a look at LatticeWork, the 4th and final quilt pattern I’ve released to go along with my Abstract Garden fabric line (which starts shipping to stores in December).

Abstract Garden Quilt Patterns

If you missed the previous 3 quilts I shared this week, click the links below to check them out:
Click here for Pieced Primrose (Monday blog post)
Click here for Geese in the Garden (Tuesday blog post)
Click here for Blooming Wallflowers (Wednesday blog post)

LatticeWork Pattern Details

LatticeWork comes in 3 sizes and is made from Charm Packs (5″) or 10″ squares. You can also make it from a bundle of fat quarters with coordinating light and dark fabric. For the Throw Size, I’ve used 4 charm packs of Abstract Garden, but it would look fabulous in Modern Marks charms or Fandangle charms, too. Or you could mix and match them for even more variety!

Lattice Work Quilt Pattern
Click image above to enlarge.
Click here to purchase the PDF pattern.
Click here to purchase the print pattern.

As with all of my patterns, I’ve included machine quilting suggestions so you can get ‘er done!! For LatticeWork, I quilted one of my favorite walking-foot designs: an allover wavy grid that requires absolutely NO marking of the quilt!

You basically divide and conquer the quilt into a grid: quilt lines in the center of each lattice strip in both directions. Then fill in with more and more lines until you are happy with the line spacing.

Latticework quilting detail

Wavy Grid quilting detail – it’s so easy to do!

If you look closely at the orange “Trellis” print above (the one near the purple, blue and orange spirals) you will see that it roughly mimics the irregular plaid design of the quilting. I love it when I can incorporate my fave quilting motifs into my fabrics!

I chose a tone-on-tone black for the lattice and paired up the bright colorful prints with the light gray Confetti Crosshatch print from my Fandangle collection. The best news is that I just got in more yardage of both of the Fandangle Grays so click here to grab some before it sells out out again!

LatticeWork Detail

I love bold, bright color – don’t you?

LatticeWork Quilt Stats

  • Size: 74″ x 82″ (Throw)
  • Completed: October, 2018
  • Machine used: BERNINA 770QE
  • Fabric used: Abstract Garden and Fandangle by Christa Watson
    with Colorweave from Benartex Contempo Studio
  • Batting used: Hobbs Tuscany Cotton/Wool
  • Thread used: Aurifil 50 weight cotton Variegated collection by Christa Watson
  • Quilting Motifs: irregular wavy plaid, walking foot (dual feed) quilting

Quick Links

If you missed any of the previous releases

LatticeWork Quilt

New Quilt Pattern – Blooming Wallflowers

Are you enjoying seeing all of the new quilts I made from my Abstract Garden collection? I sure had fun making them! Today I’m excited to introduce you to Blooming Wallflowers, an optical illusion type quilt that looks much more complicated than it actually is.

Blooming Wallflowers quilt

Blooming Wallflowers – Throw Size

I paired up the colorful prints from Abstract Garden along with the Navy Herringbone print from Modern Marks, which is still available! I love brightly colored quilts with a rainbow of fabrics and it’s been fun to experiment and use “neutrals” other than black white or gray for this quilt.

Blooming Wallflowers detail

I love the movement in the Navy Herringbone print. I’ve designed all of my fabrics to work with each other so that you can mix and match between the collections.

The Blooming Wallflowers quilt pattern comes with instructions in 3 sizes and the cool thing about this design is that it stays the same for each size. The individual triangles are cut larger or smaller depending on which size you make.

Blooming Wallflowers Pattern CoverClick image above to enlarge.

I recommend using specialty rulers to cut the triangles, but I’ve also included full size templates so that you can get started making this quilt with the tools and supplies you have on hand!

I also include machine quilting suggestions in all of my patterns so that you can actually have success finishing them! Nothing disappoints me more than to see “quilt as desired” at the end of a quilt pattern.

Blooming Wallflowers quilt detail

Quilting detail – all of my patterns include machine quilting suggestions.

Quilt Along Coming in January

It’s important for me to make all of my own quilts not only to pattern test my designs, but to also go through the entire process so I can better understand any trouble spots that you may run into as you make the quilts. After all, my main goal in designing patterns and fabric and teaching my machine quilting methods is to help you make beautiful quilts and have a fun, stress-free time doing it!

So I’m excited to announce that I’ll be hosting a quilt along in January to make this quilt! Be sure to grab a copy of the pattern and stay tuned for details – I can’t wait!!

Blooming Wallflowers made with Abstract Garden and Modern Marks

Blooming Wallflowers Quilt Stats

  • Size: 59″ x 76″ (Throw)
  • Completed: October, 2018
  • Machine used: BERNINA 770QE
  • Fabric used: Abstract Garden and Modern Marks
    by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio
  • Batting used: Hobbs Tuscany Cotton/Wool
  • Thread used: Aurifil 50 weight cotton from Pieced and Quilt Collections:
    Colors and Neutrals by Christa Watson
  • Quilting Motifs: straight-line chevrons in the colorful blocks, pebbles in the accent blocks, free-motion chevrons in the background

Quick Links

New Quilt Pattern – Geese in the Garden Available Now

It’s day 2 of my new pattern releases! (Click here for yesterday’s post about Pieced Primrose).
Today I’m excited to share my Geese in the Garden quilts with you! I had the most fun naming my patterns so that they would tie into the Abstract Garden theme of my latest fabric line.

Geese in the Garden quilt pattern featuring Abstract Garden

Baby Size Geese in the Garden – Cool Coloway

I made this design in two colorways – warm and cool. The best thing about this quilt is that it only calls for 5 fabrics! So you can pick and choose and play around with different arrangements of the diamonds to create some really fun color gradations.

And the secret to this quilt is that the diamonds aren’t “true” diamonds meaning they are easier to piece than traditional diamonds, AND they will work with HST’s (half-square triangles), QST’s (quarter square triangles) and Flying Geese units, whereas traditional diamonds won’t, because of the funky math involved.

Geese in the Garden from warm colors of Abstract Garden

Baby Size Geese in the Garden Cool – Warm Colorway

In the instructions, I very thoroughly explain how to cut and piece the diamonds with lots of clear illustrations for you to follow. The best part is there’s no specialty ruler required! All you need is a regular ruler that has a 45 degree angle and you are all set.

Wavy Line quitlign on Geese in the Garen

I quilted wavy lines on the warm version.

Of course I include machine quilting suggestions, too. For these quilts I quilted irregular wavy lines on the warm colorway and straight lines on the cool colorway. Both are done with a walking foot/dual feed – easy peasy!!

Straight Line quilting

I quilted irregularly spaced straight lines on the cool version.

I used more of my new variegated threads from Aurifil – pink for the warm and blue for the cool for the quilting. They added a nice touch to the quilt while not overpowering the pieced design.

The pattern comes in 3 sizes: Baby, Lap, Throw and the cool thing is that the design doesn’t change between the three sizes. You make the same number of units, but each one gets bigger depending on the size. So this quilt goes together super quick and is the perfect quilt to make when you need a gift in a hurry!

Geese in the Garden quilt pattern

Click image above to enlarge.

Geese in the Garden Quilt Stats

  • Size: 32″ x 40″ (Baby)
  • Completed: October, 2018
  • Machine used: BERNINA 770QE
  • Fabric used: Abstract Garden by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio
  • Batting used: Hobbs Tuscany Cotton/Wool
  • Thread used: Aurifil 50 weight cotton from The Variegated Collection by Christa Watson
  • Quilting Motifs: straight lines (cool), wavy lines (warm)

Quick Links

Geese in the Garden with Abstract Garden fabric

 

Finished Quilt and Pattern – Pieced Primrose Available Now!

This week, I’m excited to release 4 new quilt patterns to go along with my upcoming fabric line Abstract Garden – which starts shipping to quilt shops next month. The PDF versions are all available now for instant download in my Craftsy shop, and print versions will be ready to ship by the end of the month.

Pieced Primrose Warm Colorway

Pieced Primrose in Warm – Wall Size (Actual Quilt)

Today I’d like to introduce you to Pieced Primrose, a paper foundation pieced pattern with tons of movement. I made two versions of the quilt, in both warm and cool colorways, but the possibilities with this pattern are really endless!

Pieced Primrose in the Cool Colorway

Pieced Primrose in Cool – Wall Size (Actual Quilt)

I’ve included instructions for two sizes in the pattern. I made the wall sizes shown above for my booth at quilt market.

Below are digital images of what the quilt would look like in the larger throw size:

Pieced Primrose quilt made from Abstract garden

Pieced Primrose in Warm – Throw Size (Digital Image)

I always think it’s amazing how much the digital versions of my designs look like the actual finished quilts. It’s because I design them in EQ8 using the exact fabrics I plan to use.

Pieced Primrose EQ design in cool

Pieced Primrose in Cool – Throw Size (Digital Image)

In the pattern, I’ve included full sized paper foundation templates which are super easy to print as many copies as you need for any size you wish. I’ll be sharing a tutorial later in the week for my favorite paper foundation method, so be on the lookout for that.

I’ve also included machine quilting suggestions for both quilts. Because I’ve used busy prints for both of the quilts, I recommend a simple all over free motion design. It’s a fun way to practice a motif that you’ve been wanting to try, and by the time you are finished quilting, you’ll be an expert at that design!

quilting detailsClick image above to enlarge for detail.

I love to include designs in my fabrics that are based on some of my favorite quilting motifs so it was fun to quilt round spirals on the warm colorway, to go along with the “blooming roses” spiral print. It’s hard to see the quilting detail, but you can click the images above and below to get a better look.

Quilting detail on PIeced Primrose coolClick image above to enlarge for detail.

I quilted allover square spirals on the cool colorway. For both versions, I used variegated Aurifil 50 weight threads to match, from my new thread collection releasing soon (more about that later when it gets here).

Pieced Primrose Quilt Stats

  • Size: 35″ x 35″ (Wall), 68″ x 84″ (Throw)
  • Completed: October, 2018
  • Machine used: BERNINA 770QE
  • Fabric used: Abstract Garden by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio
  • Batting used: Hobbs Tuscany Cotton/Wool
  • Thread used: Aurifil 50 weight cotton from The Variegated Collection by Christa Watson
  • Quilting Motifs: free motion designs – square and round spirals

Pieced Primrose Pattern Cover

Click the image above to enlarge.

Quick Links

Pieced Primrose Quilts Made from Abstract Garden

Dot ‘n Dash Quilt Along Wrap Up and Inspiration Photos

Although my Dot ‘n Dash quilt along wrapped up about a month ago, I wanted to revisit it one final time to share all the links to all the posts for anyone just wanting to get started. I also want to share some gorgeous photos from several in my Facebook Group that made their versions.

Dot n Dash quilt by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase the Dot ‘n Dash quilt kit, while supplies last.

As a reminder, the pattern for Dot’n’Dash can be found in my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts and it’s easy enough to gather your supplies: just one Jelly Roll of prints and 3 yards of background fabric are all you need to make this fun quilt.

Dot ‘n’ Dash Inspiration

Here are some beautiful finishes and works in progress from others who are making their own versions. Some of them have finished while others are still working at their own pace, so it’s never too late to jump in and start!

Dot n Dash by Lucy Given

Don’t you love this one above in teal by Lucy Given? She did a fabulous job making it super scrappy by mixing up beautiful blue hues for both the blocks and the background. She’s finished the quilt top so far and I can’t wait to see how she quilts it!

Patti Baymiller's Dot n Dash

Here’s another beauty above, pieced and quilted by Patti Baymiller. Didn’t she do a fantastic job on the quilting? The texture is so fantastic! I love it when others show how easy and fun domestic machine quilting can be.

Heather Lofstrom Halloween Dot n Dash

How about this one done in Halloween novelty prints by Heather Lofstrom? She quilted it with a diagonal grid and she shares more of her inspiring quilty life over on her instagram account @aquiltingcowgirl so be sure to check out her feed for more fun!

Lucy's Dot n Dash quilt top in Modern Marks

Of course I might be biased, but I really think Lucy Blum’s quilt top done in Modern Marks looks just as fabulous!! She used up leftovers from other projects, and although the Modern Marks precut strips are sold out, you can still grab a fat quarter bundle and cut your own strips if you are so inclined.

Lisa's Dot n Dash in Yellow

Lisa Tucker created her stunning quilt with a yellow background which really pops! Who says you have to use a neutral background, right??

Abbie Bill Machine Quilting

Here’s another quilt in process, being quilted by Abbie Bill. She’s opting for the original quilting plan as given in the book and she’s making fabulous progress!!

And these are just the tip of the iceberg of the fabulous work being created and shared over in my Christa Quilts Facebook group. Be sure to add pics of your progress there and you can do a quick search of “Dot ‘n Dash” in the group for even more amazing inspiration. 🙂

Quilt Along Posts

Here’s a roundup of links to all of the Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Posts that were shared. Keep in touch and let me know if you have any questions as you make YOUR version – I’d love to cheer you on!

Week 1 – Quilt Along Complete Supply List
Week 2 – Cutting the Fabric
Week 3 – Sewing the Blocks
Week 4 – Completing the Quilt Top
Week 5 – Backing and Basting
Week 6 – Quilting Part 1 – Stitching in the Ditch
Week 7 – Quilting Part 2 – Quilting Double Zig-Zags
Week 8 – Quilting Part 3 – Free Motion Quilting Double L’s
Week 9 – Binding to finish

Free Motion quilting on Dot n Dash by Christa WatsonQuilting Detail from Dot’n’Dash made from my Fandangle Strip-pie.

Ten Things I Learned from Quilt Market (Fall 2018)

I’m back home  and recovered from Quilt Market – the semi-annual trade show for the quilting industry. It was my third time having a booth to showcase my new patterns and fabric and I thought it would be fun to share my list of top 10 things I learned this time:

1. Wear Cute Things Made from my Fabric (with fun Shoes!)

Aprons made from Abstract Garden by Christa WatsonCheck out The Easy Modern Apron on Craftsy to quickly make one of your own!

I had “sew” much fun making 4 fabric aprons to wear for each day of the show. I watched Betz White’s easy Modern Apron class on Craftsy for the pattern and instructions, and I have to say – for this girl who doesn’t sew “3-D” items, they came together very quickly!

Or course I had to pair them with my favorite Fluevog shoes which were as much of a hit as the fabric was! I had people stopping me on the show floor to take pics and I was happy to oblige as that’s part of the game in this industry – get as much social media sharing as possible so that the there’s more eyeballs on my fabric!

2. Pass Out Handouts and Promotional Giveaways

(Click the image to enlarge and select “full screen”)

In this YouTube Video (my first post!) I’ve captured a quick one minute silent tour of my booth so that you can see everything that was made from Abstract Garden. On the top shelf on the far left of the booth, I created a rack full of glossy double sided fliers that included images of each of the fabrics from the line. along with a quick listing of all of my products (patterns, books and thread). I handed these out to everyone who stopped by the booth so they had at-a-glance info on where and how to buy.

While supplies lasted, I also passed out sample fabric swatches of Abstract Garden as well as copies of my current pattern line to shop owners who seemed interested in carrying my fabric and patterns in their shops. These were a huge hit and also gave them something to take home while they wait for all of the goodies to arrive!

3. Get Extra Help

Although I pride myself on making all of my own quilts from start to finish, it was nice to have industry friends make accessories for me out of my fabric to fill out the booth. I have to give a quick shoutout to the following folks who made things for my booth in the video seen above. I’ve linked to each of their sites for more info about them and wonderful designs.

  • Colourwerx for the adorable Mod Cat Wallhanging  and super dupe cute Mod Dog pillows.  Aren’t they great??
  • Easy Peazy Quilts for TWO versions of her adorable Una-Corn activity case: one made from Fandangle and the other from Abstract Garden
  • Powered by Quilting – for the colorful jelly roll rug. You know you want to make one!!
  • May Chappell – for adodrable clutches that were a perfect hiding spot for my treats!
  • By Annie – for the perfect containers and accessories that added the perfect touch to the booth and kept me organized at the same time!
  • Quilt District for the awesome Mod Garden pillow!

4. Share My Fabric in Multiple Booths

A Star is Born by The Stitch TV Show featuring Abstract Garden

A Star is Born quilt pattern by The STitch TV Show is made from 10″ squares plus 1 coordinate.

Quilt Market is HUGE and it’s hard for everyone who attends to see all of the booths. That’s why it’s so valuable to get my name and products into as many different booths as possible. I was pleased as punch that Pam and Lynn from The Stitch TV Show were happy to feature Abstract Garden in their latest pattern release in their booth at Market. It’s called A Star is Born and is available for purchase on their website at Shop.TheStitchTVShow.com.

I also had quilts hanging in the Hobbs Batting booth (both at Quilt Market and Quilt Festival) and in the American Patchwork and Quilting booth. (“Out of the Box”  quilt made from Fandangle is patterned in the current issue is on the ladder in the upper right below.)

Out of the Box Quilt made from Fandangle
Click here to see a full shot of Out of the Box, made from Fandangle Fat Quarters + Background

5. Get Plenty of Rest – Before and After the Show!

This goes without saying, but being on your feet talking to folks for 4 days straight can be exhausting. Not to mention that early morning breakfast meetings or after hours networking dinners means I’m “on” from morning until night. Quilt market is probably the most important event I do for my business so it’s important to get my rest ahead of time as much as possible before the show. And that’s why you didn’t hear anything from me last week when I got home. It took several days to recover, unpack, and start making for plans for the next one in 6 months!

6. Don’t Over Schedule

Related to number 5, It’s tempting to want to do EVERYTHING but really, less is more when it comes to market. Although I wanted to say yes to all the things and events, I limited my time to booth prep, business networking, and allowing plenty of time to chat with shops about my fabric. I know that some folks stay on through quilt festival which was the following week, but at this point in time, that’s just too much for me. Maybe in a few years when all of the kiddos are out of the house and I can sleep for a solid week both before AND after the show, LOL!!

7. Stay in my Booth!!

Christa with Blue Bar Quilts

Getting to meet shop onwers in person, such as the gals from Blue Bar Quilts was such a treat! I’m thrilled that they ordered both fabric lines being promoted at the show (Fandangle which is in shops now and Abstract Garden which starts shipping in December).
If you are in the Wisconsin area, be sure to stop by their store and give them some love!

Probably the best lesson I learned from last quilt market was to stay in my booth so that I didn’t miss anyone who wanted to come talk to me. At Spring Market I had scheduled several demos and meetings away from my booth that took me away for a few hours each day. It’s also fun to get out and walk the show floor. However several people contacted me after last spring market saying were sorry they had missed me. Missed opportunities meant missed sales so this time around I stayed put!

If anyone wanted to meet me or chat, I invited them over to my booth so we could conduct business there. Just being present if I didn’t talk to everyone gave the impression I was serious about my products, but also approachable if someone had a question. It made for long days, but the added bonus was that my booth was hopping with people to talk to the entire time!

8. Take Notes on Business Cards

Quilt market is a flurry of activity – chatting with shopwoners and seeing how we can work together for me to provide product support for them through samples, teaching events or other collaborations. I’ve found that the easiest way to follow up after the fact is to collect their business card and add a quick note on the back such as “email them about my trunk show schedule” or “send teaching contract when I return home”.

One word of advice for anyone who passes out their card – please don’t print on black because then it’s hard to see what I wrote, LOL!!

9. Get to Know the Sales Reps

Abstract Garden at Fall Quilt Market

Meet Cindy, one of the amazing Benartex sales reps who scored one of my aprons after the trade show was over. After all, I’m happy to support the reps because they support me!!

This one is HUGELY important! Although social media and the internet make it super easy for quilt shops and customers to easily find me and connect with me directly, quilting is still built on relationships. The relationship I have with my fabric company, and the relationships that the sales reps have with their customers can make or break the success of a fabric line. Benartex is so smart to recongize these relationships and they encourage us getting to know each other by giving the designers an opportunity to present our lines to the sale reps in our own words, the day before the show opens.

Then on the first night of the show at closing, they host a small private company dinner where we can get to know them a bit better on a personal scale. Now that I’ve been doing this for 3 quilt markets in a row, I feel like I’m building a great relationship with both the shops and the sales reps. In other words, they realize as a designer, I’m here to stay rather than being just a flash in the pan, or a one hit wonder.

10. Support my Fellow Benartex Designers

Bill Kerr of Modern Quilt Studio

Bill Kerr along with his wife Weeks Ringle make up the dynamic duo of Modern Quilt Studio

One of the highlights of attending quilt market with fellow Benartex/Kanvas/Contempo designers is getting to know them and their work on a more personal level. Jason and I sat at dinner with Bill Kerr while he shared fun stories of his worldwide travel and design inspirations.

We also got to celebrate Eleanor Burns‘ 40th anniversary of Quilt in a Day, see the beautiful quilts of Ann Lauer, Cherry Guidry, Amanda Murphy (among others), and congratulate pioneers such as Paula Nadelstern and Nancy Halvorsen on their decades-long success in the industry.

Although I didn’t get a chance to snap many photos of the other designers’ booth, Benartex created a virtual tour of all of their booths over on their blog – check out the links below:

Christa Watson and Cherry Guidry at Fall Quilt Market for Benartex Contempo

Cherry Guidry was my booth-mate at the show and though our styles are completely different, we are both passionate about our love for fabric and fun projects to make from them!

Where to Buy Abstract Garden + Patterns

Once the fabric has shipped (starting in December) I’ll update my Where to Buy page with a list of shops who carry my fabric!

Beaded Lanterns QAL Week 7 – Binding

I can’t believe we’ve finally come to the end of the Beaded Lanterns Quilt Along! If you’ve missed any part of it or want to make one later on, be sure and check out the rest of the links at the end of this post.

Beaded Lanterns Finished Quilt

Over on the BERNINA blog at We All Sew, I’m sharing my method for binding my quilts. If you’ve followed any of my quilt alongs before it will look familiar because it’s the same technique I use for all my quilts large or small. One thing I will say is that the more you do it, the faster and better you’ll get!

Click here for the Beaded Lanterns Binding Tutorial

Beaded Lanterns Quilt Along - Trim and Bind

Beaded Lanterns QAL Links

Click here to purchase the Beaded Lanterns Quilt Kit
Click here to get the free Beaded Lanterns Quilt Pattern

Week 1: Supply List
Week 2: Making the Blocks
Week 3: Sewing the Quilt Top
Week 4: Spray Basting Tutorial
Week 5: Walking Foot Quilting & Quilting Plan
Week 6: Free-Motion Quilting
Week 7: Binding to Finish