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!!

QuiltCon 2019 Catalog Just Released – Here’s What I’m Teaching

I’m excited to be teaching at QuiltCon once again February 21-24 in Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve been to every QuiltCon since it began and this will be my third time as a member of the faculty. I’m most excited about the fact that although I’ll be plenty busy teaching 3 workshops and a lecture, I’ll still have plenty of time for all of the social events, too.

QuiltCon 2019 CatalogClick here to get the complete QuiltCon 2019 catalog.
Member registration opens June 26 and general registration begins July 10.

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.

The last time I taught at QuiltCon I was part of a panel lecture/discussion about managing your fabric stash with the lovely and talented Judy Gauthier, Rossie Hutchinson and Mary Fons.

This QuiltCon is shaping up to be one of the best, yet! There are loads of meetups and mixers and the class catalog offers the widest variety of lectures and workshops they’ve ever offered. I’ve got my eye on a design workshop I want to take, and there are plenty of lectures I’m interested in, too!

I hope you’ll make plans to attend, whether or not you take any workshops. QuiltCon is unlike any other quilt show I’ve attended – there’s definitely a party atmosphere there and half of the fun is the socializing! Leave a comment if you plan to attend and let’s get this party started early!!

My Spring 2018 Quilt Market Schedule for Portland, Oregon

Quilt Market begins this Wednesday in Portland, Oregon, which is the semi-annual trade show for the quilting industry. I usually attend each time with my husband Jason, but last year when I debuted my first fabric line, it became even more important. This spring I’ll be there promoting my next fabric line, Fandangle, which is a fun, silly word that means embellishment or ornamentation. It hits stores this summer and I can’t wait!

Fandangle by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here for quilt market exhibitors and booth numbers.

In addition to meeting shop owners in my booth (#1846-47 in the Benartex/Contempo area), I’ll be busy with a slew of events designed to help show off the fabric with examples of what can be made from it. (Continue to follow my blog as I share more behind-the-scenes of the quilts I made!) If you will be attending, I’d love to chat in person! Here’s my complete schedule of events:

Schoolhouse on Thursday May 17, 4:55 PM Room A109

Schoolhouse Spring Quilt Market

Click here for the complete schoolhouse schedule.

Schoolhouse happens on the day before quilt market officially opens. It’s a fun, chaotic day of 15-30 minute presentations educating shop owners about what’s new and how they can best promote the items they’ll be purchasing for their shops. There are over a dozen sessions happening at any one time so the hardest part is picking which ones to attend!

My session is titled “How to run a successful quilt along in your shop or online” and everyone who attends will get a free copy of one of my brand new quilt patterns. There will also be several drawings for giveaways of my brand new fabric.

Quilting Demos: Friday at 3 PM, Saturday at 1 PM and 3 PM

Demo Alley Spring quilt market

Click here for the demo alley schedule.

Quilt market introduced a new event last fall, called “Demo Alley” which is a series of scheduled demos taking place in a specific area on the show floor. I’ll be sharing tips and tricks for free-motion quilting as well as demonstrating how I practice drawing designs on paper and then translating those onto quilt samples. It should be fun so make sure you stop by during the times listed above if you are there!

Designer Showcase – Saturday and Sunday at 11 AM

Benartex Designer Showcase

Finally, Benartex will be holding a fun event on the show floor two times each on Saturday and Sunday which is a chance to get an overview of all the new fabric lines. Of course there will be goodies and giveaways to all who attend, so be sure to add it to your schedule!

Modern Marks by Christa Watson for Benartex

Me in my booth at quilt market  last fall – I can’t wait to do it all again!

Spring Market 2018

Come see me and other fabulous Benartex Contempo designers
in booth 1846,47 at quilt market!

Now that my agenda is set, it’s time to go pack! If you can’t be there in person, be sure to follow me on instagram @christaquilts to catch a live updates each day!

I’m Teaching in Las Vegas at the New Quilt Show this October!

I’m excited that the quilting scene in Las Vegas is now big enough to support two quilt shows a year! I’ll be sharing my entry results from Quilt Las Vegas soon (a show I’ve been participating in for over 20 years). But now I’m excited to be involved with the newest show, “Points West” hosted by the Las Vegas Quilters.

Las Vegas Quilt Show

Click here for my lecture and teaching schedule at the show.

Points West Quilt Show will take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center October 18-20, 2018. It’s the only time I’ll be teaching in my home town of Las Vegas this year. So I invite you to take one of my workshops, or attend one of my lectures.

Here’s what I’ll be teaching at the show:

Walking Foot Wonders

Wednesday, October 17, 2018, 9am-4pm
Class Length: Full day – Machines provided
Skill Level: All levels

Class Fee: $80
Click here to register for this class.

Walking foot Quilting Workshop

Quilt shown is “Little Man’s Fancy” from my book Machine Quilting with Style

Class Description: 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, large continuous spirals, several straight line variations, and more! You’ll leave class armed with the confidence that yes, you can quilt your own quilts!

Class will also include a discussion on basting, favorite tools and supplies that make the job easier, plus tips for putting it all together on a real quilt.  Students should be comfortable with their sewing machines, and will practice on their own pre-basted fabric and batting samples.

Free Motion Favorites

Friday, October 19, 2018, 9am-4pm
Class Length: Full day – Machines provided
Skill Level: All levels

Class Fee: $80
Click here to register for this class.

Free-motion quilting

Quilt shown is “Quatrefoil Applique” from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Class Description: Embrace perfectly imperfect quilting! That means little to no marking, and a whole lot of gorgeous texture. Ease into free-motion quilting with asymmetrical wavy lines, then move onto loops, traditional and modern stippling, plus curvy fillers like wishbones and cursive l’s that can expand to fit any space. Finish it off with several swirl variations, and you’ve got a toolbox of motifs to try on your next quilt!

Class will also include a discussion of basic free-motion quilting tips and tools, plus figuring out how to combine motifs together in the same quilt. Students should be comfortable with their sewing machines, and will practice on their own pre-basted fabric and batting samples.

Lecture & Trunk Show

Lecture: How Do I Quilt It?

Thursday, October 18, 2018, 1pm

Lecture Fee: $25
60 minute presentation Includes slide show, Q&A and book signing.

Click here to register for this lecture

The secret to successful quilting is in the planning and preparation. I’ll guide you through the steps I take to make each quilting experience fun and stress free Once you see my methods, you’ll feel empowered to quilt your own quilts! Learn how I baste my quilts, make a quilting plan, choose thread colors, divide and conquer each task, and apply rich texture with little to no marking of the quilt.

I love to share my quilts along with tips and tricks for better machine quilting!

Modern Quilting Trunk Show

Thursday, October 18, 2018, 6pm

Lecture Fee: $25
60 minute presentation Includes physical quilts, Q&A and book signing.

Click here to register for this trunk show.

I enjoy making complete quilts from start to finish, and am excited to show you the latest quilts from my books and patterns. This is your opportunity to get up close and personal with my quilts as I share my creative journey along with explanations of what makes them “modern”. Exact quilts shown will vary.

Points West Quilt Calendar

Quilt Las Vegas will also feature a full slate of regional and national instructors including Frieda Anderson, Mel Beach, Carmen Geddes, Nancy Mahoney and more!!

Click here to see the full list of instructors and the classes they’ll be offering.

There will also be a quilt competition, vendor mall, plus plenty of other fun events, and award winning quilter Marilyn Badger will be the judge and featured artist at the show. If you are near the Las Vegas area, or want to make a vacation out of it, I invite you to join me at the show. This event is brand new to Las Vegas and I can’t wait for it to get here!

Registration Now Open for the Australian Machine Quilting Festival (AMQF) 2018

This is mainly for my Australian friends, or for anyone who wants to take a trip with me down under this September! Registration is now open for the Australian Machine Quilting Festival in Adelaide, Australia. Yep, I’m going and taking the family, too!!

Australian Machine Quilting Festival

I’m thrilled to be joining some amazing instructors including Ricky Tims, Cindy Needham, Angela Huffman, Kathleen Riggins and many more. I’m just sad that I’ll be so busy teaching that I won’t have a chance to take any of their classes!! Though maybe I’ll have to sneak in a lecture or two…

Here’s my complete schedule of classes and events:

Click on any of the links below to register for that event, plus detailed information.
Please note, there is a one time registration fee that also includes admission to the show. The registration fee is required before you can enroll in any workshops.

Click here to register for AMQF

Thursday, Sept 20

Quilting Large Spirals

I can’t wait to share my machine quilting methods and best tips for quilting on a regular home sewing machine. All of the ideas I teach can be found in my three machine quilting books.

Friday, Sept 21

Modern Logs Quilt Pattern

I love teaching improv piecing using my Modern Logs quilt as the class sample. Even if you can’t attend, you can still get the print pattern here and the PDF version here.

Saturday, Sept 22

Christa Watson Quilts

Click here to download the complete class catalogue.

It’s going to be such an amazing event! Since I’ve never been to Australia I’m going bring the family with me so that we can turn this into a really fun working family vacation. They’ll get a chance to tour the country while I’m teaching, and then we’ll add on a few days so that I can see the sites, too. Be sure and leave me a comment letting me know what to add to our “must-see” list!

QuiltCon 2018 – It Was Amazing!

I just finished a whirlwind 3 weeks of fun travel – to QuiltCon in California, Craftsy in Colorado and teaching in Oregon. Now that it’s taken me a week to recover from my adventures I’m finally ready to share my QuiltCon experience with you. It was, in a word, Amazing!!

So far, I’ve been to every QuiltCon since it began in 2013, and I’ve been super lucky to get at least one quilt juried into the show each year. (This year I had two – see below.) I was fortunate to be invited to teach at two of the shows so far (2016 & 2017) and QuiltCon is one show I’ll continue to attend each year because it’s just THAT awesome!!

Christa and Laurie from Modern Quilts Unlimited

Color Weave was one of my quilts juried into QuiltCon for 2018. It’s made from 3 colors of precut strips with simple pieced blocks. The color placement creates a woven illusion.

Here I’m hamming it up with Modern Quilts Unlimited editor, Laurie Baker. It was fun to have my quilt Color Weave hang and get judged in the show. The pattern is from issue 21 of MQU. (You can even click here to download a bonus tutorial on how I did the quilting for this quilt.)

Judges comments for this quilt:

  • Woven illusion is successful
  • Treatment of pattern at top and left give breathing space and add interest
  • Quilting compliments patchwork perfectly

Color Weave Straight Line Quilting Detail

Quilting detail of Color Weave – it was all done with straight lines using my walking foot. I used the piecing structure as a guideline for the quilting and varied the width of the lines using the edge of my foot and randomly changing my needle position.

This year at QuiltCon, it was kind of nice to have a break from teaching so that I could actually see the show, meet up with friends, and spend time networking with many of my quilting industry partners (like Hobbs, BERNINA, & Aurifil) along with the various shops who carry my books, patterns, and fabric).

Quilting Demo with Hobbs BattingI had a great time sharing machine quilting tips and tricks with folks who stopped by the Hobbs batting booth on the first day of the show on Friday. I talked the entire hour I was in their booth, so it was hard to get a picture of me without a funny expression on my face!

Spools Quilt from Piece and Quilt with Precuts

I loaned my “Spools” quilt from Piece and Quilt with Precuts to Hobbs for a few weeks so  they could use it to display in their booth at several quilt shows in which they are a vendor, including QuiltCon. Letting companies borrow my quilts for promotion is a win-win for both of us: they get to decorate their booths with colorful quilts, and my quilts get seen by a wider audience.

In Town Quilter's Booth at QuiltCon 2018

Above, clockwise: Squiggles from Piece and Quilt with Precuts, mini samples of patterns by Sylvia Schaefer of Flying Parrot Quilts, and a hand pieced, hand quilted block showing how Modern Marks plays well with other fabrics.

In-Town Quilters hosted me for a book signing in their booth on Friday of the show and I was pleased to see such a nice display of quilts and minis using Modern Marks fabric. It still makes me giddy when I see my fabric paired up with other designers’ patterns!!

I also did events for BERNINA and Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine on Saturday, but because I was so busy chatting – I forgot to take pictures. Needless to say, it fills my bucket when I get to chat with other quilters who love modern quilts as much as I do!

HST Remix quilt at QuiltCon 2018

HST Remix was my other quilt that was juried into QuiltCon 2018. It was hanging in the overflow room which had great architecture and beautiful chandeliers.

Judges comments for this quilt:

  • Fabric choices render pattern well
  • Quilting patterns fill spaces well
  • Area of gray in middle is really interesting element but feels slightly disproportionate

I actually appreciate the comments that offer constructive criticism even more than the positive ones, because that’s how I learn more about modern design. I’m still a fledgling student in this area and love learning all I can about what makes a successful modern quilt! In fact, each year I attend QuiltCon, it confirms my love for modern quilts and I’m always thinking about how to push myself to create more modern designs.

Quilting on HST Remix

Quilting on HST Remix – this one is big enough that it now fits on our bed!

I’ve been attending QuiltCon since the beginning, and one thing that struck me this year was the variety of modern styles. I think quilters are really branching out, taking risks with their designs and doing a lot more experimenting. There were a good mix of solids and prints, bright and more muted tones, machine and handwork.

And I was pleased to see a lot more interesting free-motion quilting. Don’t get me wrong – I love geometric straight line quilting as much as anyone. But I’m glad to see that more quilters are embracing “modern free-motion” (perhaps after attending my classes and lectures for the last 2 years and realizing it’s ok to quilt swirls and feathers on their modern quilts?? LOL!!). I was also impressed with the quality of the workmanship.

QuiltCon Hashtag

To view most of the quilts that were at QuiltCon, be sure to check out the hashtag #QuiltCon on Instragram – or click here. Those little squares in the collage above mean that there were multiple images shared in the same post – tons of amazing eye candy!

To be sure, QuiltCon places more of an emphasis on design and originality than workmanship and I think that’s totally fine. I attend and teach at a lot of shows and while they are all unique, most other shows emphasize workmanship over original design. Again – nothing wrong with that either, it’s just a different point of view.

When QuiltCon first opened, I was worried that many quilters would be intimidated to enter because they had less quilting experience or couldn’t afford to pay for expensive professional long arm services to bling up their quilts.

But I was comforted by the fact that at that first show, and each show since, more and more quilters are actually doing all of their own work, from start to finish. It has been fun to see many of these newer quilters gain confidence and experience in their work, and just five years later you can see that their efforts have paid off.

QultCon 2018 hashtag

Search #QuiltCon2018 on Instagram for even more fabulous inspiration!

One last thing to share: I served on the judging committee for QuiltCon – a volunteer position I’ve helped with over the last few years. No, I had nothing to do with this year’s judging or jurying. I just helped rewrite some of the policies so they’d be easy to understand for all who enter. One big change we made for 2018 was limiting the number of acceptances for any one person to 5 quilts and I think that was a great decision because created a more dynamic show that seemed fair to everyone.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience this year I and I truly hope you get a chance to attend in the future, if you haven’t already. QuiltCon will be in Nashville, Tennessee in 2019 and then back in Austin, Texas in 2020, where it all began. You can bet I’ll be there again for sure!!

Click here to view all of the winners from QuiltCon 2018.

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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.