EQ Design Challenge: Design a Quilt with Fandangle – Win the Fabric to Make It!

For all of my Electric Quilt loving friends out there, I’ve teamed up with Benartex and EQ to bring you a fun challenge this month! Use any of the fabrics from my latest collection Fandangle to design a quilt you’d like to make using EQ7, EQ8, EQ Stitch, or EQ Mini.

Click here for complete contest details and entry.

Fandangle Fabric by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio

Fandangle collection by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio

Three winners will each win the fabric they need to make the quilt! Complete details along with the link to download the Fandangle fabric swatches are over on the EQ blog today, so check it out! The contest will run through the end of the month.

Electric Quilt 8

I personally love using EQ8 to design all of my quilts because I usually have to design and write all of my quilt patterns for any new fabric collection months before I get the fabric. EQ makes it easy for me to see exactly how my finished quilt will look before I even make the first cut!

Fandangle by Christa Watson

If you are on instagram, be sure to also share your designs using the hashtags #fandanglefabric and #eq8. I can’t wait to see what you create!

EQ design challenge

Creative Spaces Blog Hop Week 3 – Organization!

This week on the Creative Spaces blog hop, we are discussing organization. This is one of those topics where I realize that sometimes my perfection stands in the way of me being as organized as I should. I can be an all-or-nothing type person: if I can’t organize every last bit, I’ll let everything fall into disarray, LOL!! You can see that here in my “before” pic about my sewing room cleanup!

Creative Spaces Blog Hop Week 3

For my stop this week, I thought it would be fun to share my wish list for the things I want to get to help me be more organized in my sewing room. The last time I did a major renovation of my creative space was back in 2013 and it’s high-time for another one!

They recently built an Ikea here in Las Vegas and the sad thing is I haven’t been yet. In fact I’ve NEVER even stepped foot in one, but I’m planning and scheming and making a shopping list of things I want to get to make my sewing room a little more organized.

Drawer Unit

First up is this set of drawers. I think it will fit nicely in the space underneath my sewing table.
In the older picture below (which was before I got my new fancy sewing machine), there’s a spot under the table to my left where I think these drawers would fit perfectly.

When I first got my sewing desk way back in 1999 or 2000 it came with an option to add a set of drawers there. The biggest regret I have is not making that purchase back then. I don’t even remember the brand of table it is and sadly, the shop I bought it from is long gone.

Sewing Table

This older image was from before my first sewing room redo in 2013.

Next up, I’ve been checking out Pinterest and Google for ideas on making a customized cutting table. The basic idea is to get 2-3 shelving units with wheels and put them together, then add a piece of wood on top. I need it to be mobile because it would go in the center of my space and I’d need to move it out of the way when we do photography.

ikea shelving unit

Here’s one possible shelving unit above that would work. This will definitely take more time and research, but just like any large project, that’s part of the fun, right?

Finally, the biggest purchase I’ll need to make is some larger shelving units that can fit end to end along one wall of my room. I’ve been getting recommendations that lots of folks really like the Billy Bookcases from Ikea, and this image from their site has piqued my interest:

Billy Bookcases from Ikea

Image from Ikea

So those are the 3 major things I want to purchase for my sewing room to make it more organized and usable. I’m in the very early stages of planning and I know it will take time and money to make this happen, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it’s going!

Be sure to check out all of the other stops on the hop for additional ideas on how you can organize your own creative space!

Creative Spaces Blog Hop Participants

Mondays

Tuesdays

Wednesdays

Thursdays

Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

Creative Spaces Blog Hop

Get Your Free Tickets to The Quilt Show Live Taping in Denver Aug 26

Quick announcement! I just found out that you can get free tickets to be part of The Quilt Show studio audience with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. I’m going to be a guest on an upcoming show and I’ll be taping my segments on August 26th in Denver, Colorado.

Click here for information on how you can get free tickets to the taping.

Interview for the Quilt ShowClick here to watch the short interview I did with Alex back at QuiltCon in 2016.

The episode won’t appear until months later, but what a fun opportunity if you are in the area. And there may just be fun goodies and giveaways for audience members!

Don’t worry – if for some reason you can’t make it, keep an eye on The Quilt Show Daily Blog for announcements of future tapings. Now I’ve got to start making my demo samples and preparing for the show!

Creative Spaces Blog Hop Week 2 – My Favorite Tools

Are you enjoying the Creative Spaces blog hop so far? I know I am! Scroll to the end for a list of all the stops on the hop and get motivated to organized your creative space! This week, 16 of us are sharing our favorite tools. It’s fun to see the ones we all love as well as picking up ideas for new things to try!

Creative Spaces Blog Hop - Favorite Tools

For my post, I thought I’d do a roundup of some previous blog posts when I shared about some of my favorite notions and tools.  I did a series of “favorite tools” several years ago and it is surprising to see how many of them are still at the top of my list. Click the link below each image to read more about why it’s (still) my favorite:

My Favorite Tools for Quilting

batting scissors

Batting Shears

Tri Recs Tools

Tri Recs Tools

Lint Roll

Lint Roller

Painters Tape Quilting

Painter’s Tape

Christa Watson, BERNINA ambassador

My BERNINA – of course!!

(The link above is from 5 years ago when I got my first 7 series machine!! Little did I know then that it would lead to my national teaching career and becoming an ambassador. It’s a fun walk down memory lane….)

Cut 'n Press

Cut n Press Mat

Big Board

Starch and a Big Board

Shout Color Catchers

Color Catchers

Squiggles work in Progress

My Design Wall

Supreme Slider 2 Sizes

Other Machine Quilting Essentials (from a previous blog hop)

You can definitely go down a rabbit hole reading all the blog posts I’ve written about my favorite tools, and this barely scratches the surface! What are some of yours?

Blog Hop Stops

Remember to check out all of the stops on the hop each day  through August 19th!

Mondays

Tuesdays

Wednesdays

Thursdays

Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

Creative Spaces Blog Hop

Creative Spaces Blog Hop Week 1 – My Sewing Room

Welcome to Week 1 of the creative spaces blog hop! Scroll to the end for links to everyone who has posted about their spaces this week – I’m sure you’ll love it, be inspired, and hopefully, feel good about your own creative space!

Creative Spaces Week 1

This week, we are blogging about our sewing spaces, and sharing before and after pics.

I like to keep a tidy room, but whenever I travel, things can become a hot mess. I’m usually trying to finish up some deadline at the same time and my sewing space can often look like this:

I have a big space in our upstairs loft area. There’s a big table in the middle where I do most of my computer work, cutting and organizing of projects. It tends to attract all the mess when I’m in a hurry to leave on a big trip.

When my studio is tidy and clean and I’m able to efficiently use every space, it looks more like the image  below (taken a couple of years ago for a feature on someone else’s blog):

Christa's Sewing Room

I’ve got a quilt under the machine on the back wall with another quilt top on two tables in the middle of the room. My design wall on the right is big enough to hang a large quilt top. It now doubles as my basting area and my photography studio.

I can fit a full size ironing board with a big board on top, and there’s a desk where my daughter can also sew if she’s interested. You can barely see the couch peeking behind the railing where I like to drape a couple of quilts in progress.

Photographing Sparkling Stars Quilt

Jason does all of the flat photography for me since that’s definitely not my skill set.
Here he’s photographing Sparkling Stars, my newest quilt pattern featuring Fandangle.

Probably my favorite thing in my sewing room is the design wall because I use it all the time. Whenever I’m working on a new quilt, or even a new fabric line I’ll hang up whatever I’m looking at and step away, to see what it looks like at different angles.

It also servers as my photography studio to take flat shots for pattern covers. We (meaning Jason) build the design wall back in 2013 the last time I did a major studio renovation. You can read about our process here.

Clean Sewing Room

I’m lucky to have a large space with enough room to put everything away when I clean up.

My least favorite thing in my sewing space is the hand-me-down wooden entertainment center. It doesn’t match anything in the room, but it was free and fits the space well. It also holds a ton of stuff, including our big ugly office printers (one for black and white printing & labels – the other for color printing.)

One of my goals during this six week blog hop is to replace that ugly brown monstrosity with something nicer from Ikea. We recently got one in our town, and it’s sad that I haven’t even been there yet! But I’m hoping I can assemble a series of smaller units and bookcases (in white) that will make the space look a whole lot nicer! I’d also like to replace my plastic work table with a taller table on wheels that I can use for cutting.

Christa Quilts

I’m definitely in my happy place when I can quilt in a clean, organized room. My sewing machine is against a wall with a window so that I have lots of natural light steaming through while I quilt during the day. My favorite thing to do is listen to a podcast or audio book while I quilt. It relaxes me and I can get into a good flow while I work.

Other Stops on the Hop

Be sure and visit these other stops on the Creative Spaces Blog hop and see how my quilty friends deal with taming their creative spaces:

Mondays

Tuesdays

Wednesdays

Thursdays

Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

Creative Spaces Blog Hop

 

General QuiltCon Registration Opens Today – Check out the Lectures!!

Great news! QuiltCon 2018 registration opens today for the general public, meaning you do NOT have to be a member of The Modern Quilt Guild to attend. Although most of the hands on workshops have sold out (including mine), you can still get on the waiting list because cancellations DO happen. Every time I’ve taught at QuiltCon, at least one person has been able to get into my workshops last minute due to a cancellation. And the good news is, there’s still plenty of space available in the a la cart lectures – including mine.

QuiltCon Panel

Lecture/Panel Discussion from 2016 about managing your fabric stash with the lovely and talented Judy Gauthier, Rossie Hutchinson and Mary Fons.

Click here to see all of the offerings by instructor. There ARE a few workshops that still have space available – just check each person for details.

The last time I gave a lecture about Modern Machine Quilting was back in 2016 for an MQG webinar. Since then I’ve updated my talk with all new material. The new lecture is called “Infusing Modern into Machine Quilting” and I can’t wait to share it with those who attend!!

Modern Machine Quilting

Promo image for my talk back in 2016

Using lots of gorgeous examples from previous QuiltCons, I’ll be demonstrating how the modern aesthetic can apply to the machine quilting process. Learn how negative space, minimalism, graphic geometry, improvisation and other hallmarks of the modern aesthetic can be incorporated into your machine quilting work.

Attendees will gain a better understanding of why many modern quilters choose to employ an abundance of straight line and “industrial looking” designs rather than quilting overly ornate and perfectly symmetrical motifs. Suggestions on how to incorporate graphic and linear free-motion quilting as an alternative to straight-line quilting will also be explored.

Click here to register for my lecture.

QuiltCon 2019 CatalogI highly recommend registering for as many QuiltCon lectures as you can – they feature fabulous speakers and fascinating subjects. In fact, I guarantee you’ll learn new things about quilting, just by attending!

Even if you plan to attend QuiltCon and don’t even register for anything, you’ll still have a great time! The quilts are sure to be fabulous, the vendors are top-notch, and there will be meetups, “Sew-lebrity” sightings, and demos galore. I travel to a LOT of quilt shows and while I love them all, QuiltCon has a special place in my heart – after all, attending the first one in 2013 literally changed my quilting life. I hope to see you there!!

Creative Spaces Blog Hop Starts Next Week!

Want to get to know some fun, talented friends of mine? Then join us for the Creative Spaces blog hop which launches on Monday, July 9th, 2018!

Creative Spaces Blog Hop

Hosted by Tammy Silvers and Cherry Guidry, 16 of us are going to write a weekly post for 6 weeks about fun, creative topics in the quilting community. Think of it as getting to know some new friends and learning a few tips along the way!

Inspiring Content!

Here are the scheduled topics we’ll be covering:

  • Week 1: Studio Clean Up – before and after pics
  • Week 2: Favorite Tools
  • Week 3: Organizing Tips
  • Week 4: Dealing with Scraps and/or Fabric
  • Week 5: Dealing with Embellishments/Buttons/Thread
  • Week 6: Dealing with Tools/Rulers

Creative Spaces Blog Hop

Meet the Makers!

Here’s the list of participants and the days of the week they’ll be posting. Click the links to each of their blogs below and follow them, or bookmark their sites so you can check out what each has to say every week!

Mondays

Tuesdays

Wednesdays

Thursdays

Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

Creative Spaces Blog Hop

My Week at BERNINA University 2018

I just got home from a fabulous week in Chicago, attending the 125th Anniversary of BERNINA. What a legacy for this fantastic company!! Each year, BERNINA hosts an industry only event exclusively for BERNINA dealers, select quilting industry vendors, and BERNINA owned companies (Brewer Sewing, Benartex Fabrics and OESD embroidery.)

The Main Event

BERNINA 125th Anniversary

BERNINA University (BU for short) kicks off with an opening reception and announcement of new products.  A new 4 Series was introduced this year, aimed at making BERNINAs more affordable to the “casual” quilter with many of the same bells and whistles of the high-end machines.

BERNINA Sewing Machines at BERNINA University

Beautiful 125th Anniversary quilts on display made by Amanda Murphy

BERNINA dealers and their employees attend four days of classes aimed at getting them familiar with the new product line as well as supplemental classes taught by industry experts, ambassadors, and BERNINA educators. During the time between classes, they get an opportunity to shop the vendor mall, full of booths aimed at helping them bring fresh, new products to their stores. Think of it as a mini-version of quilt market that’s more focused and engaged.

Many well-known BERNINA experts and spokespersons were there, too, such as Amanda Murphy, Lisa H. Calle, Tiffany Pratt (a crafting TV personality from Canada) and Ricky Tims, just to name a few.

BERNINA spokesperson Lisa H. Calle

Lisa H. Calle is such a ham!! I met her at BU last year (in Las Vegas) and got to know her better over dinner this year. She’s as kind and generous as she is talented.

Ricky Tims at BERNINA

Ricky Tims entertained us with his beautiful musical talent at the closing gala.
(Spoiler alert!! I’m heading to Colorado later this summer to do a taping with him and Alex Andersen for The Quilt Show – can’t wait!!)

My Booth

Fandangle Fabric Booth

My Sparkling Stars Quilt got quite a good reception at the show.
Stay tuned for the Dot ‘n Dash Quilt Along coming up in August!

I was able to set up a booth at BU to show shop owners my brand new Fandangle Fabric collection with Benartex, along with new quilt patterns to help support the line. I was very pleased with the reception that I received. Although I had attended quilt market back in May, many of the quilt shops and dealers who attend BU don’t actually make it to market so most of them were seeing it for the first time.

Fandangle Fabric Surplus Strips Quilts

Everyone loved seeing the cool and warm colors of Fandangle in Surplus Strips.

As a designer, one of the best things about attending BU is getting to engage more with the shops and dealers one-on-one. Because it is a much smaller event than quilt market, there’s enough time to talk with them in-depth to explain how my new products will help their quilt shops be more successful (and of course sell more sewing machines!)

Pearl Pendants
Pearl Pendants quilt on display. I scattered squares of Modern Marks and Fandangle together on the table so that folks could see how well both collections work together.

It’s All About the Education!

Everyone attending at BU is either a serious buyer, seller, or educator. Although there’s certainly nothing wrong with the more casual, social environment of quilt market, BERNINA University is a different type of industry trade show. It’s much more focused and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I sold more books, fabrics, and patterns there than at quilt market.

Machine Quilting Workshop at BERNINA University

Workshop attendees got to practice free-motion quilting on either the Q20 sit-down longarm or the B770 QE (which is my personal machine of choice.)

I also taught a couple of workshops while I was there: two sessions of my 3 hour class, “ Conquer Your Fear of Free-Motion.” It was a little different than my regular classes that I teach for shops, guilds, and at quilt shows because I was basically teaching other teachers and shop owners how to teach my techniques from my books.

Free Motion Quilting on teh BERNINA Q20

Sharing my teaching methods with shop owners at BU had two main purposes:

  • It allows my methods to reach a larger audience. Since there’s no possible way I can travel to every quilt shop, the dealers can share my methods and get their own rock-star staff to share them with their customers instead.
  • It helps me sell more books. Although it’s exciting for me to meet enthusiastic students when I travel or interacting with them online, there are plenty of quilters out there excited to learn how to machine quilt that haven’t yet been introduced to my easier, stress free (and fun!) way of doing things.

Quilted Samples at BU

Student work quilted on the BERNINA 770 QE. My designs work well on any machine!

One of the best things about having a professional quilting career is getting to make new friends and solidfy relationships with people you only see at industry events. Once such person is Cherry Guidry from Cherry Blossoms Quilting Studio, a fellow Benartex Contempo designer.

Cherry Guidry of Cherry Blossoms Quilting Studio

Click here to see swatches of Cherry’s adorable fabric lines.

Cherry been a fabric designer with the company since about 2014 I think and her style is simply adorable. It’s much different than mine but many of our colors and fabrics are very compatible. We are both passionate about business and quilting and started hatching plans for ways that we can work together in the future so stay tuned for more on that front!!

The Big BERNINA

Big BERNINA at BU

And you thought YOUR BERNINA was big??

It wouldn’t be a BERNINA event without fun props! This larger than life BERNINA was on display in downtown Chicago as well as at the closing reception. Although I did not take any pics with it, you can check out the hashtag #BU2018 on Instagram for many hilarious and animated candids of folks with the machine!

Fandangle Fabric and Matching Shoes

I love wearing clothing made from my fabric and pairing it with fun matching shoes. Now it’s time to work on more fabulous fabric designs and quilt patterns to go along with them!
Since I know you’ll ask – the shoes are Fluevogs – my favorites!!

Next Year’s Show

I had a fabulous time teaching and sharing my work with fellow BERNINA enthusiasts at BU and am pleased to share that I’ve already been invited back to next year’s show. BERNINA University is an annual event that will take place again next June in Jacksonville, Florida. So stay tuned for more great things from BERNINA in the future!

QuiltCon Registration Opens June 26 for MQG Members

Just a friendly reminder that QuiltCon 2019 registration opens for MQG members Tuesday, June 26 at 7:00 AM Pacific Time (10 AM Eastern). Here’s a recap of what I’m offering:

My QuiltCon 2019 Teaching Schedule

DSMQ200 Walking Foot Wonders, Thursday Feb. 21, 9-5

Learn to stitch beyond the ditch and unleash the power of your walking foot to quilt modern or traditional designs. Walking foot motifs to be taught include: wavy lines, decorative stitches, irregular grids, several different spirals, straight‐line designs, and more. You’ll leave class armed with the confidence that yes, you can quilt your own quilts! This is a hands-on machine class with machines provided for each student.

Walking foot Quilting Workshop


QDR010 Plan Your Quilting (A), Saturday Feb. 23, 2-5 PM Or
QDR011 PLan Your Quilting (B), Saturday Feb. 23, 6-9 PM

How do you get from “quilt as desired” to a cohesive quilting strategy? Students
will practice sketching quilting motifs on paper, then learn strategies to apply those designs to an actual quilt top. Students will each have a chance to create several different quilting plans using images of their own quilts printed on paper, as well as learning how to create quilting plans for a wide variety of quilt designs. This is hands‐on drawing workshop.

Plan Your Machine Quilting


lec22 Infusing Modern into Machine Quilting, Sunday Feb. 24, 10:15 AM

This informative lecture is full of examples from previous QuiltCons, demonstrating how the modern aesthetic can apply to the machine quilting process. Learn how negative space, minimalism, graphic geometry, improvisation and other hallmarks of the modern aesthetic can be incorporated into your machine quilting work.

Attendees will gain a better understanding of why many modern quilters choose to employ an abundance of straight line and “industrial looking” designs rather than quilting overly ornate and perfectly symmetrical motifs. Suggestions on how to incorporate graphic and linear free‐motion quilting as an alternative to straight‐ line quilting will also be explored.

View from the stage at QuiltCon

View from my lecture last time I spoke at QuiltCon 2017


Non-member registration opens July 10 and I’m excited to be teaching for the third time with a new slate of workshops. If the prior years are any indication, things will sell out fast so set your alarm, make a list of first and second choices and be ready to roll when registration opens!

HST Remix by Christa Watson

My quilt, HST Remix hanging at QuiltCon 2018

If you plan to attend but aren’t sure if workshops are your thing – don’t worry – there’s still plenty to do. There will be social meetups every night, gorgeous quilts to be inspired by, and of course lots of food, shopping and fun! So make plans to attend QuiltCon in Nashville, Tennessee Feb 21-24, 2019. If you are unable to make it, click here to view my current teaching schedule.

A Plethora of Stepping Stones Quilts: Student Work from my Latest Workshop

Last week I taught a week-long class at John C. Campbell Folkschool on how to make a complete quilt from start to finish. Everyone made the same quilt from my Stepping Stones quilt pattern – but as you can see in the group pic below, they all look so different – and so fabulous!

Students' Stepping Stones Quilts

A Colorful Plethora of Stepping Stones Quilts

Last Saturday, I flew to Atlanta, Georgia along with my mom, Jason and two of my kids. My mom and the kids stayed with my aunt and uncle for the week while Jason and I drove over to the Folkschool. He took a photography class while I taught quilting, and we both had a fabulous time!

Fabric Cutting for Stepping Stones Quilt

Cutting in Progress. Each student chose their own fabrics and they were all fabulous!

My students got to work right away, cutting their fabrics to make their quilts. I love how most of them chose bright colors, but I’ve seen this design worked up in a wide variety of fabrics and it always turns out great!

Stepping Stones Quilt Blocks in Progress

Quilt blocks in progress – some students sewed theirs together randomly while others took time to carefully arrange each piece and either way works great!

It was fun to see the blocks going up on the design walls in the studio space. There was plenty of room to spread out and most students had their quilt tops pieced by the second day.

stepping stones quilt in progress

Quilts in progress decorated the walls beautifully all week!

They were excited to try out my spray basting technique and we had a gorgeous spot to baste, just outside the studio door in the lush green hills of Brasstown, NC.

spray basting

Can you imagine a more beautiful place to baste a quilt??

Once the quilt top and back are sprayed outside, we brought them in doors to assemble on a couple of work tables.

Basting: smooth the batting

The trick to good basting is to smooth out each layer of the quilt! A long acrylic ruler helps.

Although there were lots of quilts to baste, we made a party of it, helping everyone get theirs done so the process went very quickly!

Quilt Basting - pressing the quilt

Another trick is to iron the quilt once it’s basted to set the glue and smooth out wrinkles.

During class, I did a mini-lesson on both walking foot quilting and free motion quilting. and the students picked which techniques and designs they wanted to try, based on their skill level and ambition.

Machine Quilting in progress

Students learned how to “scrunch and smoosh” a real quilt underneath their machines.
Walking-foot quilting detail of the quilt above is shown below:

walking foot quilting detail on stepping stones

I was so proud of them for going outside their comfort zones and trying out different techniques. Those that wanted to do custom quilting practiced on a sample block like I suggested so they could see how the design would work with the thread and fabrics they chose.

custom quilting on stepping stones

One student’s custom quilting design. Although it’s taking her much longer to quilt this intricate design in each block, the results will be well worth it at the end!

Once the quilts were quilted, it was time to bind. I taught them how to apply an even 1/4″ binding by starting with 2″ strips. They were even willing to finish it by hand and most of them added the final stitches on the last morning before the closing ceremony.

Hand binding stepping stones

You can get a LOT of binding done while chatting hanging out!!!

Although class time went for 6 hours a day Monday-Thursday and 1/2 day class on Friday, most of the students took advantage of bonus sewing time in the evenings. I also worked on an upcoming project during that time (which I’ll reveal shortly) and we all had a grand time! It really was like an intimate quilting retreat. None of the students knew each other before class but were BQF’s (best quilting friends) at the end of the week!

It really felt like quilt camp for adults and I have to say I had just as much fun as they did!!

Finished Stepping Stones Quilt

First quilt!! It’s never too late to learn!!

It’s rare that I get to teach an intense in-person class like this but it’s such a joy to see them all do such a fabulous job. We even had one sweet quilter that had never made a quilt before and hadn’t even touched a sewing machine in over 30 years. But with help and encouragement of the class, she had a fabulous finish and was so proud of it!!

Fiber Arts Studio at John C. Campbell Folkschool

The Fiber Arts Studio wouldn’t be complete with out a Barn Quilt Block!!

We were very lucky to call the Fiber Arts Studio at the Folkschool our home away from home for a week. This is the third time I’ve been able to teach here, and it just gets better and better! (See my previous two classes here and here.)

Students' Stepping Stones Quilts

Folkschool Quilt Class, June 2018

Just remember – if you decide to have fun making your own version of Stepping Stones quilt – I’m here to cheer you on!!