Meet Me at QuiltCon 2018: My Schedule of Events

I’m super excited for QuiltCon 2018 which takes place next week, February 22-25 in Pasadena California. Although I taught there the last 2 years, this year I’m excited to take it a little bit easier by being a student and attendee, and I can’t wait. However, I’ll still be super busy with a full lineup! If you plan to attend, I’d love to see you at one of my events listed below:

Christa’s QuiltCon Schedule

Christa at QuiltCon with Hobbs

On Thurs. Feb 22, from 12:15-1:15 I’ll be in the Hobbs Batting Booth #122 for a meet ‘n greet. I’ll have some small samples on display and will be happy to answer your questions about batting, machine quilting, and anything else! Rumor has it, there might even be a giveaway!!
Later that day, I’ll be helping out as a general volunteer from 4-6 PM. I’m sure I’ll be wandering the show, pitching in wherever help is needed. Volunteering is truly one of the best ways to get the most out of any show!
Christa at QuiltCon with Hobbs
On Fri. Feb 23, from 12:30-1:30 I’ll be having a book signing with InTown Quilters at booth #624. They’ll have copies of Piece and Quilt with Precuts for sale and some Modern Marks precuts. If you know you’ll be at the show and want to reserve a copy of the book ahead of time, be sure and contact them right away before they sell out.
star Shadow by Christa Watson
Star Shadow, designed and made by Christa Watson, featuring Modern Marks
On Saturday, Feb 24 from 10-11:30 I’ll be hanging out tin the Modern Quilts Unlimited Booth #105. They will have my quilt Star Shadow on display, and you can get the pattern in their latest magazine issue! For those of you enjoying Quiltcon from home, click here to purchase the latest issue #22.
Christa at QuiltCon with BERNINA
Later that day, starting on Saturday at 1:15 PM, I’ll be performing a live machine quilting demo on stage, followed by a Meet ‘n Greet & book signing in the BERNINA booth #502. I’m pretty sure BERNINA will have a machine or two in their booth that you can try out and see why it’s my favorite sewing machine!
The MQG book
Finally, I’ll end my day on Saturday from 5:30-7:30 hanging out at The MQG Book Signing Party, to celebrate the launch of the new book Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century. I was thrilled to have 2 of my quilts featured in the book, which you can read about here.
QuiltCon 2018
I have to say, QuiltCon is my absolute favorite event – it features over 300 modern quilts and tons of great vendors. So far I’ve gone to every single show (since the first one in 2013). QuiltCon changed the course of my quilting career for the better and I’ve been pleased to have at least one of my quilts included in the show each time. For those not able to attend be sure to follow #quiltcon on social media, and check out a fun event that will be happing at the same time: #quiltconfromhome.

check out My Other posts from Prior QuiltCons:

Save the Date: I’m teaching In Australia September 19-22, 2018!

Just a quick note to invite all of my friends “across the pond” to join me at the Australian Machine Quilting Festival in Adelaide this coming September! It’s long been on my bucket list to teach internationally and I was thrilled when I received the invitation to teach at this prestigious show!

Australian Machine Quilting Festival

Click here to see the lineup of Instructors for AMQF 2018.

Student registration opens in March of this year, but for now, you can save the date and check out the lineup of amazing instructors that will be featured this year, including favorites such as Ricky Tims and Cindy Needham. I’m personally excited to meet Kat Jones, the 2017 QuiltCon best of show winner. I just love her work!

Modern Logs by Christa Watson

I will be teaching my Modern Logs quit pattern, along with several machine quilting classes.

I’ll share another blog post when it’s time to register – but for now, click here to bookmark the site and keep checking back for updates. They’ll be adding even more fabulous instructors to their lineup and the class schedule will be posted later this spring.

Modern Machine Quilting

Some of the motifs that students will learn in my machine quilting classes.

Even if you aren’t anywhere near Australia, this is the perfect excuse to take the exotic quilting vacation you’ve always wanted. I’d love to see you there!

To see where else I’m headed, click here for my 2018-2019 teaching schedule.

Squiggles Quilt Along Schedule – Grab Your Fabric and Get Ready!

Let’s kick off the next year in quilty style, with a Quilt Along!! If you remember the launch of my newest book last summer, I teased the idea of remaking one of the quilts from the book in my new fabric. Readers were able to vote on their favorite quilt, and when to start the Quilt Along.

Well guess what? We’re going to start the Quilt Along on Monday, January 15 and it will run for 6 weeks, going through every step you need to make the Squiggles quilt below, from start to finish!

Suiggles with Modern Marks

Squiggles Quilt Kits are available for a limited time, with black or white background.

I’ll be remaking my version of Squiggles using my Modern Marks fabric + black background, but of course, you can choose any fabrics you like!

Here’s the Quilt Along Schedule and Supply List. Each week as I write create each step, I’ll update the links below so that this post can serve as a landing page for the quilt along.

2018 Quilt Along Schedule

Click the hotlinks below to get to each blog post.

Modern Marks Fabric

Supply List

  • Copy of my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts
  • Two – 5″ charm packs of background solid or tonal fabric (or a total of 77 squares)
  • Four – 5″ charm packs of print fabric (or a total of 154 squares)
    • (Note – you can also substitute one 10″ square pack if needed, and cut to size)Piece and Quilt with Precuts
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for binding
  • 3 1/4 yards of fabric for backing
  • 56″ x 70″ piece of batting (I recommend Hobbs batting)
  • Approx. 1200 yards (or one large spool) of thread for quilting (I recommend Aurifil)
  • Sewing Machine with new needle and basic sewing supplies
  • Rotary cutting equipment (6″ acrylic ruler, mat, standard cutter with new blade)

So gather your fabrics, your copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts, and start sharing on social media (#squigglesquilt and Christa Quilts on Facebook).

The original version of Squiggles, as shown in the book:

Squiggles from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

We’re just a month away from a quiltin’ good time!!













Christa’s Soapbox – On Quilt Show Acceptance and Rejection

It’s that time of year again, where you can find an inspiring virtual quilt show on Instagram. Just search the hashtags #quiltconreject and #quiltcon2018 to see many of the quilts that were entered into next year’s show (happening in Pasadena, CA Feb 22-25, 2018).

HST Remix by Christa Watson

I’m pleased that HST Remix shown above was accepted into QuiltCon 2018. I’ll be blogging more about this quilt and the other one that made it in, so stay tuned!

QuiltCon has been happening since 2013 and as social media has grown, so has the sharing which is nothing short of inspiring. In the early days of QuiltCon, feelings were a little more raw when many who had entered a show for the very first time ever, felt that their quilts not getting in was somehow a rejection of themselves, rather than a simple fact of math. About 1400 quilts are usually entered each year and there’s room to display only about 350 of them. So that means quilt entrants only have about a 1 in 4 chance of getting in. Or in other words, 75% of the quilts that are submitted won’t make it in.

HST Remix Detail

Detail of HST Remix. For each quilt show entry you usually provide two images – an overall view of the entire quilt plus a closeup so they can see the machine quilting.

What I’ve noticed this year is a much more upbeat attitude: sure quilters are still disappointed when their beautiful work doesn’t make the cut. But when they look at the sheer volume and amazing workmanship of others that also were “rejected”, they seem to take it in stride.

I’ve certainly known my fair of disappointment and rejection. I’ve entered quilts into QuiltCon every year from the beginning and each year my non-acceptences or “rejects” have far outnumbered those that were juried in.

(FYI – a “juried” show means you send in a digital image of your quilt during the application process and a group of people who are completely different from the judges look at all the quilts and decide which will best represent the show. It’s usually based on individual scoring of each quilt, and the jurors don’t know who makes each quilt. Those quilts with the highest jury scores are accepted until all spots have been filled.)

Colorweave quilt

Colorweave is the second quilt that was accepted into QuiltCon. It’s simple yet graphic.

I have managed to have at least one quilt in each QuiltCon (see them here: 2013, 2015, 2015, 2015, 2016, 2017, but some of it was pure luck: for the first QuiltCon back in 2013, no one really knew about it until the entry deadline had passed, so the odds of getting in back then were MUCH higher. Then in two of the previous shows, the only reason I got in was because of “automatic” triggers: I had a quilt in the 2017 issue of QuiltCon magazine which was a guaranteed entry, and in 2016 one of my quilts was in the MQG showcase which was also an automatic entry for that year.

Coloweave - walking foot quilting

Detail of the quilting on Color Weave – random crosshatch lines quilted with a walking foot

And you know what? I’ve never won a ribbon at QuiltCon before. I certainly don’t enter to win – the joy for me is in the sharing. But it is kind of ironic, that I’ve been able to get a ribbon at many of the national quilts show I’ve entered, but none at QuiltCon. There’s no bitterness at all there, just a simple acknowledgement that QuiltCon is unlike any other show out there, which is one of the things I love about the show. Heck, some of the quilts that have won ribbons at other national shows never even made it into QuiltCon, which just goes to show that just because a quilt didn’t get in, doesn’t make it less amazing or not worthy.

QuiltCon reject 1

“Rejection #1” – S.W.A.K (Sealed with a Kiss)

If you are one of those feeling a little bruised because your quilt didn’t make it into QuiltCon (or another show for that matter), might I offer this bit of encouragement: you are doing your best work right now and it will only get better!

If you are new to the quilt show circuit then I recommend you start with a local or regional show first. Usually they aren’t “juried” shows which means they’ll accept quilts on a first-come first basis until the slots fill up. This is a great way to see how it all works – filling out an application, getting your quilt to and from the venue, what it feels like to read judges’ comments, etc.

QuiltCon reject 2

“Rejection #2” – Spools. Both this quilt and SWAK above are from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts which just goes to show a quilt can still be publication worthy and not get into a show.

Then, once you’ve got your “big-quilter” britches on, go for the national shows. They all have a different aesthetic, different jurors, and different judges. Quilt show entering and judging is EXTREMELY subjective, so as long as you know that going in, you’ll be okay.

Machine Quilting Backing Detail

The back of Reject #3 which I can’t reveal yet because it’s slated to be published in a magazine next year. Even though it wasn’t juried into QuiltCon, it will be displayed in the publisher’s booth.

Here’s just a small list of shows that I enter regularly with links to their websites. I only enter shows with modern categories, so that limits things a bit, but know that there are a whole slew of shows out there and if you google “quilt show entry” you’ll find a wealth of information. If there’s a show you particularly like that’s not listed below – please leave details in the comments for others to see.

National Quilt Shows I Usually Enter:

Now, let’s go make some more fabulous quilts, whether they are included in a quilt show or not!!

Catching My Breath, a Few Updates – and a Fun Fabric Giveaway!

So right before quilt market my computer crashed. As in Dead. As. A. Doornail. Fortunately, my tech savvy hubby backed everything up so that nothing was lost. As you can imagine, the timing wasn’t great, but is it ever good timing for a hiccup like that?

Christa at Quilt Market 2017

One of my many demo’s at quiltmarket. My mom and I made the shirt I’m wearing from my fabric.

Now that at I’m back from quilt market and Jason has set me up on a new laptop, I can stop and breathe (for about 5 minutes) before it’s time to start working on the next fun quilty thing! (More fabric, more classes, more patterns, oh my!!)

So this post is a quick catch-up of what’s happening in real time along with a thank you giveaway for sticking with me and reading to the end!!

Quick Quilt Market Recap

Quilt Market was a blast! This is the industry trade show that takes place each fall in Houston, Texas, the week before Quilt Festival which is the consumer show. Many industry folks stay for both but that would be way too exhausting for me! Maybe once the kids are out of the house we’ll consider doing both…

Quilts from Modern Marks

One of the many quilts made from Modern Marks. Free & paid patterns coming soon!

I was in my booth most of the time at market showing my fabric line Modern Marks to quilt shops in the hopes that they decide to carry it in their shops. The response was really great as so many folks are attracted to the fun bright prints. I promised the shop owners a couple of free patterns coming soon, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t also share them with you. So be on the lookout as I’ll be sharing those as soon as my graphic designer has made them look pretty!

Machine Quilting Demo in the Aurifil Booth

Demoing machine quilting + wearing another top made from my fabric.

I also introduced new customers to my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts, and my awesome publisher set up several book signings and machine quilting demos while I was there.

My good friend Annie Unrein from By Annie made several bags and accessories for my booth and my mom help me sew up several shirts from my fabric to wear during the show.

Annie Unrein and Christa Watson at Fall Quilt Market 2017

The quilt on the left is a free pattern coming soon; the one one the right was remade from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts using my fabric! Notice the cute bag by Annie and my matching shoes!

Be on the lookout for more about the individual Modern Marks quilts and projects a bit later after I’ve had a chance to recover! Then save the date: Starting November 27th, Benartex will be hosting a blog hop to share even more ideas of what you can make from Modern Marks!

Quilt Kits for Sale

Squiggles recolored in Modern Marks

Get the Squiggles Quilt Kit

I’m continuing to sell quilt kits for the upcoming Quilt Along I’ll be hosting here on the blog in January. Click here for the QAL schedule. Most folks voted for us to make Squiggles from my new book for the QAL, but I know several of you really wanted to make Gridwork as well.

Gridwork recolored in EQ using modern marks

Get the Gridwork Quilt Kit

I’m now offering kits for each quilt, along with optional backing kits. You’ll need a copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts for the patterns, but hey – if you want to make BOTH quilts, you just need ONE copy of the book. I really like it when you can get more bang for your buck!

And of course either of these quilts would look fabulous in other fabrics, too!!

Click here to purchase Modern Marks quilt kits and bundles.

Upcoming Teaching

I head to St. George, Utah this weekend to do a trunk show on Friday and machine quilting class on Saturday for Dave’s BERNINA. Then on December 1-2, for my last gig of the year, I’ll be flying out to visit my friend Stephanie who runs Quilt Addicts Anonymous in Illinois. I’ll be sharing a lecture and full day free-motion class at her shop, so if you are in the area, be sure and join us!

I’ll be super busy in January, and it’s the last time I’ll be in driving distance of Las Vegas for awhile. On January 3-5 I’ll be teaching one day of machine quilting and 2 days of improv piecing at Quilting at the Lake. Click here for registration info.

Then, January 15-18, I’ll be teaching four different machine quilting classes at Road to California. At last check, two of my classes at Road had sold out with waiting lists, but there are still spots open in my Monday and Tuesday classes. Click here for class schedule info.

How Do I Quilt it MQG

If you aren’t near where I’m teaching, you can catch my live webinar for the Modern Quilt Guild next week! On Wednesday, November 8th at 6 PM Pacific Time, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks for quilting on a home machine, answering the most asked question, “How Do I Quilt It?”

Click here to register for the webinar/or join the MQG.

If you aren’t yet an MQG member, be sure and join now so you don’t miss the fun! Members have access to all of the MQG webinars, so you can also catch it later.

The GiveawayS – Win my Fabric!

I have 3 fabric giveaways for you today, as a thanks for your continued support! First, I’m giving away a box full of fabric scraps which is mostly Modern Marks plus a few misc. pieces. These are leftovers, large and small of all the projects I’ve been making from Modern Marks over the last few months. It also includes some nice chunks of funky shapes that were the cutaways from the shirts I made, plus tons of small to medium scraps that frankly I’m just too lazy to sort through! But I know one of you will love them!

Modern Marks Scraps

Win my Modern Marks scraps!

The second and third giveaways are Modern Marks precuts. At Quilt Market, there’s a night of shopping frenzy called Sample Spree where attendees can purchase bundles before they are available in shops. I wasn’t there, but apparently all of my precuts sold out except for one 2 1/2″ strip bundle (Benartex calls them Pinwheels) and one charm pack (aptly named 5×5’s) that were held back for promotion, so I snagged those puppies to give to you all!

Modern Marks Precuts

Modern Marks precuts coming soon! Ask your local quilt shop to stock them.

I’ll make this easy – just leave any comment to enter. I’ll give the scrap box and the Pinwheel to two separate US winners, and send the charm pack to an international friend. So be sure to mention in your comments which prize you’d like to win and where you are from!

I’ll pick the winners first thing Monday morning and notify them via email.

Whew! I think that’s all for now!! Now it’s time to unpack and sew!

Squiggles Quilt Along Schedule, Supply List + Get Your Kit!

I’ve been a busy bee planning for our quilt along next year. It will kick off January 8, 2017 and we will be making the Squiggles quilt from Piece and Quilt with Precuts (book required). See below for the QAL schedule:

Squiggles by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Original Squiggles Quilt from the Book – 50″ x 63″

2018 Quilt Along Schedule

  • Week 1 – January 15: Gathering Fabrics and Cutting
  • Week 2 – January 22: Making the Blocks
  • Week 3 – January 29: Assembling the Quilt Top
  • Week 4 – February 5: Backing and Basting
  • Week 5 – February 12: Machine Quilting
  • Week 6 – February 19: Binding

Supply List

  • Two – 5″ charm packs of background solid or tonal fabric (or a total of 77 squares)
  • Four – 5″ charm packs of print fabric (or a total of 154 squares)
    • (Note – you can also substitute one 10″ square pack if needed, and cut to size)
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for binding
  • 3 1/4 yards of fabric for backing
  • 56″ x 70″ piece of batting (I recommend Hobbs batting)
  • Approx. 1200 yards (or one large spool) of fabric for quilting (I recommend Aurifil)
  • Sewing Machine with new needle and basic sewing supplies
  • Rotary cutting equipment (6″ acrylic ruler, mat, standard cutter with new blade)

Piece and Quilt Collection Aurifil Thread by Christa Watson

I’ll be using my Aurifil thread collection to piece and quilt my version of Squiggles!

Pre-Order Your Squiggles Quilt Kit With Black or White

The kit includes everything you need for the quilt top including fabrics + binding. By popular request, I’m offering it in two choices of backgrounds: either black or white. I’m making mine in black just to change things up, but I think it looks great in either choice!

Click here to preorder your squiggles quilt kit. On the item description, you’ll be given the option to select which background you’d prefer. These will ship Approximately Nov 3rd (after I return home from quilt market.)

Squiggles recolored in Modern Marks

I’m remaking my version using my Modern Marks collection with Black.

Squiggles from Piece and Quilt with Precuts


I’m also offering a kit with a white background.

Modern Marks Collection

Take a look at all the prints included in the Modern Marks precuts that are coming soon! It includes the 26 Modern Marks Prints, plus 5 Color Weave coordinates. (Shout-out to my hubby Jason for taking the digital images and arranging them into a pretty grid!!)

Modern Marks Fabric

26 Modern Marks and 5 Color Weave coordinates are included in the precuts that are coming soon!

Optional Backing Kits Available for a Limited Time

For a limited time, I’m also offering a kit of coordinating backing fabric to go with the quilt top. It will include a total of 3 1/4 yards of quirky triangles in Navy/blue.

Click here to preorder the Squiggles backing kit.

Note: This fabric is sold out, but you can click the link above for a couple of other choices, sold as 2 yard pieces (while supplies last.)

Modern Marks Quirky Triangles Navy Blue

Sharing is Caring

Be sure to join my Facebook group:  Christa Quilts. It’s a great community of fun folks like you who would love to see your progress during the quilt along and cheer you on! You’ll be able to share pics of your progress during the quilt along as well as anything else you are working on.

I can’t wait for the quilt along – it’s going to be fun!!

































Catching My Breath and Call for #QuiltsforVegas

With all the craziness of this week, I’ve barely had time to process what has happened here locally. I just returned from a long teaching trip, received a huge shipment of my fabric, and then awoke to the news on Monday morning of the tragedy that struck my home town here in Las Vegas. So it’s been quite an emotional week. It’s now Thursday and it’s taken me that long to catch my breath. I’ll be blogging about happy quilty things shortly, but for now I wanted to share this announcement on how you can help:

Quilts for Vegas

My local guild, Las Vegas MQG is collecting finished quilts and quilt tops to pass out to those affected by the shooting. They are still finalizing details of where to ship, but here’s the basic info, copied directly from their website:

Hello Quilters! The outpouring of love and support we have received is nothing short of incredible and we are overwhelmed with it.  We have been struggling to put together words for what has happened in Las Vegas and have decided to put together quilts!

There have been a ton of people reaching out asking how they can help so we have put together a quilt drive for #quiltsforvegas.  We are requesting completed quilts and quilt tops but will also accept blocks and monetary donations to our efforts.  Monetary donations will cover shipping, fabric, thread and other quilt costs; any leftover donations will be donated to the GoFundMe that has already been set up.

The Block:

We would love to have quilts with grayscale blocks. 

in any arrangement along with one heart block somewhere on the quilt.

Both block patterns are from Cluck Cluck Sew, using the 10 inch finished block size.

We ask that you use 2 fabrics in each block; white and a happy contrasting color but feel free to mix it up however you like!  See our Instagram or Facebook for examples.

  1. Where do I send this stuff? 

We will update you on this as soon as we have it all nailed down!  For now, just start working on blocks and quilts!

Please include a full sized piece of paper with your name, guild if a member (even not modern guilds!), what you’ve sent, and location so that we can attempt to keep a record of everyone who helps.

  1. What if I can’t make a whole quilt?

We would love completed quilts or quilt tops but if you can’t; then make a block, even one block will help. Send in some binding, send some backing fabric, send some money to help us cover postage and other costs such as fabric.

  1. I already have a quilt that is made with love, can I send it?

Send it. Please send it, we need a lot of quilts!  We offered a specific block to give people an idea of what to create; if you have already created something else, please send it on; we are happy to have it!

  1. Can I use a block other than the one you showed?

Do whatever you feel led to create; we chose the grayscale block because it is a block that represents our guild.

  1. How big should my quilt be?

I’m asking for quilts no smaller than 48×60, and no larger than a twin sized. If you are making the grayscale blocks it comes out to 5 blocks by 6 blocks or 30 blocks in total.  If you are outside these sizes don’t fret; send it on!

  1. Whats the due date?

We are asking for quilts, blocks, binding, ect. to be delivered by November 15th.  If you need a little extra time that’s OK!  We just want to try and get quilts out ASAP.

  1. Where are these things going?

Our intention is to get quilts to the victims and first responders but in cases where this is not possible or we have a plethora of quilts, quilts may be given to first responders to give to victims of violence in our community.

Hopefully any and everyone affected will receive a quilt if they want one. We are still making contacts, so if you are personally affected by this please email me at so we can work to get one to you!

  1. Anything else I should know??

We will continue to update as more information becomes available, so check back for the latest updates and feel free to email us at if you have a question!

Click here to bookmark the LVQMG website for updated information.



Piece and Quilt Hop Along Week 2 with Vicki, HollyAnne and Kristin

Vicki, HollyAnne and Kristin are back for week 2 of their blog hop from my new book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts. Each of these talented gals is making a different quilt from the book and sharing tips and videos about their progress over a 5 week period.

Piece and Quilt with Precuts

So let’s check out what they’ve been up to this week!

Vicki Holloway from My Creative Corner 3

Gridwork blocks

Vicki is making progress on her version of Gridwork using my Modern Marks fabric. For the finished quilt she’s going to make it completely out of my fabric. However, in her blog post, she’s made a few bonus blocks incorporating some solids to show how that can change up the look.

Modern Marks Frequency blockVicki took some of her leftover scraps and pieced a Frequency block (also from the book). Her plan is to make one block from each of the quilts in the book to make a sampler quilt. I think that’s such a clever idea and can’t wait to see it!

Click here to read more about Vicki’s progress this week.

HollyAnne Knight from String and Story

For her version of Spools, HollyAnne is doing something I recommend in all of my books and classes – make a quilting plan to audition possible design ideas. I love how she’s combined different quilting designs from all three of my books for the spool blocks:

Quilting Design Ideas for Spools

Here’s her finished quilt top, also made from my Modern Marks fabric.  Don’t you just love how she reversed the color placement? Now they look like empty spools!

Spools from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Compare it to the original version that’s in the book, to see how different a quilt can look when you switch the color placement. I really love it when quilters take my ideas and make them their own!!

Spools by Christa Watson from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Spools quilt, made by Christa Watson, from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

Click here to read more about HollyAnn’s progress this week.

Kristin Esser From Kristin Esser.Com

Kristin whipped up her Squiggles quilt top in record time. It’s easy when you start with most of the cutting already done for you!

Squiggles from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

She quilted the wavy lines as shown in the book, using my “divide and conquer” process. In a nutshell, you quilt wavy lines “near” the ditch (rather than in the ditch) and then you subdivide each section, adding more lines until you are happy with the spacing. It’s organic, liberating, and adds lots of yummy texture to the quilt!

Squiggles quilting

Kristin also quilted several of the free-motion quilting motifs on practice blocks.
Click here to see her progress this week, plus bonus free-motion inspiration.

Remember – if you are working on any of the quilts from my books and patterns, please share them in my Facebook group: Quilt with Christa. I’d love to see!






Top 10 Tips for Quilting on a Domestic Machine

Welcome to Day 24 of the Back to School Blog Hop organized by Sam Hunter of Hunters Design Studio. If you are new to the hop, check out the end of the post for links to all of the “back to school” sewing tips!

Back to School Blog Hop - sewing tips

Top 10 Domestic Machine Quilting Tips

1. Baste Well

This is the least fun part of the quilt-making process but probably the most important. All three layers of the quilt (top, batting, backing) should be flat and smooth. I press seams open so they lie flat, and I also take the time to iron my batting. Spray basters can press the quilt after basting to set the glue and iron out any wrinkles; pin basters should double the amount of pins they would normally use.

2.  Use a Large Work Surface

Sewing Room

Buy a large sewing desk with a drop in table if you can. If not, put up an extra table behind your sewing machine and off to the left to hold the weight of the quilt. In my table above (which I bought 20 years ago from a company no longer in business) I added a couple of books under the machine to get it to the right height. You can also get a custom insert made to fit your machine. (Just google “custom sewing machine insert). Some companies also make large extension beds that go around your machine, giving you extra surface on any table.

3. Get tools that will help you grip and slip!

Machingers Quilting Gloves

Machingers quilting gloves help grip the quilt, and a supreme slider will make the bottom of the quilt slip and slide more easily under the machine.

Supreme Slider 2 Sizes

Two sizes of Supreme Slider are shown above, on my older sewing machine: the regular size (that I accidentally stitched through years ago) and the larger, queen size.

A word of caution – the Supreme Slider is only for free-motion quilting, NOT walking foot quilting. If you use a walking foot, you may stitch through the slider (ask me how I know….)!

4. Choose the Proper Needle and Thread

Here’s a general rule of thumb for matching thread weight and needle size: use a size 80/12 needle with a size 40-50 weight thread, and a size 90 needle with a 28-30 weight thread. Sharp or topstitch needles will have a sharper point, which will allow better penetration of the layers. A “machine quilting” needle is fine, too, but it’s usually more expensive and I don’t notice a difference. A “universal” needle is ok, but it’s not as sharp as the others and is better meant for all purpose applications.

Piece and Quilt Collection Aurifil Thread by Christa Watson

My Piece and Quilt Collection is available at The Precut Store, or your favorite retailer!

You can use nearly any thread you like for machine quilting, but I my favorite is Aurifil 50 weight cotton. You can use it for BOTH piecing and quilting, and it’s strong yet lightweight so it really blends in nicely. Rather than owning ALL the threads in ALL the different weights, I like simplicty – 50 weight cotton for EVERYTHING I do: piecing, quilting, and binding.

5. Match the top and bobbin threads

When quilting on a domestic machine, I also prefer to use the same color thread in the top and bobbin. It will hide any tension issues, and avoid the problem with a contrasting thread color poking through on the top or back of the quilt. This means you need to think about which fabric you are choosing for the backing of your quilt.

Christa Watson free-motion quilting

Current quilt in progress – this is the back using the same thread in top and bobbin.

If you are are a beginner, choose a busy back that will hide mistakes and allow different thread colors to blend in. If you want to show off your quilting, use a solid colored back so you can really see the stitches.

6. Practice Sketching

Warm up before you quilt by sketching your quilting design on a piece of paper or on a photo or printout of the quilt top. If you understand the flow of the quilting path, you can mimic that motion on your actual quilt. I like to develop a quilting plan for every quilt so that I’m not stuck wondering what to quilt next.

Possible Quilting Plan for HST Remix

Here’s a real life quilting plan for a quilt I’m in the process of remaking. It’s pretty messy with notes and thoughts as I figure things out, but I can print off multiple copies if needed until I’m satisfied and ready to quilt. Sometimes I will sketch out an entire quilting plan, while other times, I’ll just dooddle the quilting design to get the flow for how I’ll stitch it.

Check out my Craftsy Class – The Quilter’s Path to learn more about this method!


Practice diagrams for “swirls and pearls” – one of my favorite designs to quilt!

7. Practice Stitching

If you practice your “daily quilting exercise,” you’ll be a pro in no time! I always give my students homework when I teach – they are to make up a stack of quilt sandwiches (scrap fabric and batting) to practice on for 10 minutes a day for a week. After about 3-4 days of practice, they can see a noticeable improvement!

Free motion quilting practice

Fill up a scrap practice piece each day until you get the hang of the design!

Although I’ve been quilting for over 20 years, I still warm up every quilting session with a practice sandwich to test my tension for the day. I’d rather mess up on a scrap then on the real quilt!

8. Embrace both walking foot and free-motion techniques

Books by Christa Watson

In all of my books, I include ideas for BOTH walking foot  AND free-motion quilting!

Many quilters think they’ll never be able to quilt because they expect to free-motion quilt perfectly the first time! In my books, video classes and live classes, I always have the students start off with walking-foot quilting first because it’s hard to mess up! Once they are confident that yest they CAN quilt, then we move onto free-motion. By using both techniques in the same quilt you can really achieve some interesting designs. Some students prefer to use the walking foot exclusively while others are more comfortable with free-motion work. Many times, you don’t know what you like (and don’t like) until you try!

9. Quilt on Real Quilts and Give Them Away

Practice may not make perfect, but it does make progress! What better way to learn than by practicing on a “real” quilt as a gift for someone else? The recipient won’t notice your imperfections and you won’t have to be constantly reminded of how far you’ve come! I’ve given away dozens and dozens of “perfectly imperfect” quilts over the years and never would have gained the level of experience I have now, if not for tons of gift-giving!

10. Your Most Important Tool: A Can Do Attitude!

Start to finish quilting

Yes – you CAN quilt it! And I’m here to help!
Image is from my comprehensive start-to-finish quilting class on Craftsy.

I started teaching others to quilt in the late 90’s and I noticed that the students who had the most success, weren’t necessarily those with the most expensive sewing machines and tools. (Shhh! don’t let my industry partners know I said that!!) What they lacked for in experience or top of the line equipment, they more than made up for with their determination to get ‘er done!

You know the old saying “whether you think you can or can’t, you are right”?  That applies to quilting as well. My goal since becoming a professional teacher, author and designer just a few short years ago (with 20 years of “practice” under my belt) has been to get others to realize that quilting on a domestic machine can be both fun and rewarding if you stick to it and just take it one step, (or stitch) at a time!

Check out These “Back to School” Basics:

Check out each of these stops on the back to school sewing blog hop. There’s so much information contained in these posts that you are well on your way to learn everything you need to know to make your sewing and quilting experience more enjoyable. Happy reading!!














New Craftsy Class: Angela Walters’ Dot to Dot

As a Craftsy instructor, one of the privileges that I get is being able to watch any of the Craftsy classes from my fellow instructors. Of course, I don’t have time to watch all of the classes I’d like, but I’m always on the lookout for new classes that I think you all would benefit from. So when Angela Walters released her latest class, Dot to Dot: Quilting With Piecing as Your Guide, I knew I had to watch it as soon as I could.

Angela Walters Dot to Dot

Get Dot to Dot quilting for 50% off, through Friday September 8th.

I was even pleasantly surprised when she included one of the quilts from our book as an example, and even gave me a shoutout in class!! (Now you’ll really have to watch the class to see which quilt it is, LOL!!)

This class is fantastic and I found myself watching the entire thing in one setting. Although Angela uses specialty rulers to achieve the straight lines when quilting dot to dot, she also shows you a couple of other ways to accomplish the same task. I love it when there are options! The class includes a free pattern so that you can make the same quilt she’s working on, or you can practice her methods on your own quilt or practice blocks.

Angela Walters class quilt

Make this quilt to practice your dot to dot quilting. Free pattern included in class!

Here’s a quick breakdown of the class lessons, including the length of each segment:

1. Dot-to-Dot Quilting Overview (10:36)

Meet your instructor, stitch whisperer Angela Walters, and start class by finding the ‘dots’ on your quilt using the quilt top’s piecing. See how to stitch consistent straight lines whether you’re using a walking foot, free-motion foot or ruler foot and ruler.

2. Triangles (22:21)

Ready to try some basic dot-to-dot designs? Follow along with Angela as she stitches the simple V, triangle wedge and arrowhead in triangular shapes, showing variations along the way.

3. Squares (23:50)

Build on the designs you learned in the previous lesson with three more motifs that are perfect for square blocks, the most common shape in quilting. Watch as Angela reveals the square spiral, double V and double diamond designs. Then she shows you where to use them on your quilt to add the most impact.

4. Diamonds & Hexagons (15:35)

See how to quilt diamonds and hexagons as Angela shares three designs and variations: the spin wheels, alternating V’s and tumbling diamonds. You’ll learn how to find diamond shapes in your quilt, even if it wasn’t pieced with diamonds!

Angela Walters Quilting
 As Angela says – close enough is good enough!!

5. Uniquely Shaped Blocks (16:07)

Discover three ways to quilt uniquely shaped blocks such as polygons. Angela then shows you how to modify your designs, stitch a shape within a shape, and combine blocks so you know what to stitch next!

6. Borders & Corners (21:30)

Once you’ve gotten a handle on quilting within defined areas, you’ll tackle the borders. In this lesson, see how to quilt designs in areas with more negative space. Plus learn three ways to turn the corner without losing your design flow.

7. Dot to Dot Around the Blocks (17:50)

Finally, think outside the piecing and find out how to use dot-to-dot designs in any style of quilt. Angela demonstrates how to use the quilting to frame blocks, create secondary patterns and use wedge shapes as fillers to quickly quilt any space efficiently.

Dot to Dot: Quilting With Piecing as Your Guide really is a fabulous class. What I’ve really noticed in this class compared to her previous classes is that she’s really letting her personality show. If you are a fan of her Midnight Quit Show, you’ll see that she brings the same warmth and humor into her class. Even if you don’t even care to quilt, it’s just fun to watch and be entertained!
Dot to Dot Quilting with Angela Walters

This one is my favorite!!

Save 50% on This Class!

The best part about this class is that it’s on sale now, through Sept. 8th for 50% off the regular price. I love it that Craftsy makes their classes affordable and once you buy them, you own them forever!

Click here to get Dot to Dot quilting for 50% off the regular price.

Now, I’d better go practice my ruler work – it really is a fun way to quilt, once you get the hang of it!