Introducing Craftsy’s Startup Library: Longer Format Wokshops

Just a quick note to say that Craftsy is doing a new series of classes called “Startup Library.” They are a longer format (and therefore a bit more expensive). Rather than the standard 1 1/2 to 2 hour class, the Startup Library workshops will be anywhere between 4-6 hours, literally taking you from start to finish through any project. Right now they only have 3 new classes available (hand embroidery, cake decorating, and painting with watercolors ). But I have it on good authority that there will be a startup class for every craft they offer (including quilting later this year – hint, hint). How cool is that??

Because I’m a Craftsy Instructor, I get to offer you a special discount not available anywhere else. From now until July 19, you can use my instructor affiliate links below to save 25% off the regular price of these classes. Click the images for details and to see a preview of that class:

Startup Library Classes:

Cratfsy startup library Hand EmbroideryClick here to save 25% off Startup Library: Hand Embroidery

Startup Library: Painting with WatercolorsClick here to save 25% off Startup Library: Cake Decorating

Craftsy Startup Library Painting with WatercolorsClick here to save 25% off Startup Library: Painting with Watercolors

This new series is designed to help you master a craft, whether you’ve dabbled in it before, or are completely new to it. I know I’ve always wanted to learn more about cake decorating, so I think I’m going to have to enroll in that one as a treat for myself, once I finish my next quilting deadline!!

Just like all of the other Craftsy classes they offer (including mine), you can interact with the instructor and other students by posting questions and comments on the Craftsy platform.

how the coupon works

When you use my instructor affilaite links above, you won’t see the discount until you add it to your cart, so I know it can be a bit confusing. Just click the link of the class you want and it will take you to the home page for that class. It should say “coupon has been applied to your cart” on the top of the page, so you know it worked. Then click “add to cart”, check out and you’ll be all set. You can add more than one startup library class to your cart with the links above and get the discount on both.

If you decide to enroll, please let me know what you think about the new longer format. Happy making!!

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Vermont Quilt Festival Class Registration Now Open – See My Schedule

This year I’m getting to travel to so many beautiful places I’ve never been before. That includes Essex, Vermont to teach at the Vermont Quilt Festival which has been going strong for 41 years! The show runs from Fri-Sunday, June 23-25 and classes start on Thursday, June 22. I’ll be teaching a total of 4 classes plus a trunk show. Read below for details:

Vermont Quilt Festival

The registration process for the show requires you to create an account and then purchase your $35 registration ticket which includes entry into the show the entire time. After registration, you  can then select the classes you wish to take.  It’s a little cumbersome, so to make it easier, here are some quick links:

Step 1Click here to create an account on their site. Then login.

Step 2Click here to add the $35 registration. Click “book ticket” to add it to your cart. The item “registration” is located in the “class categories” option.

Step 3Click here to view and add classes to your cart. You can search classes by category, instructor or date.

Step 4Click here to view and select any of my classes. Click each image individually to add it to your cart. Then check out and pay as you normally would.

The system will allow you to view the classes, but it won’t allow you to add classes to your cart until you’ve added the registration option. When you click on the detail of each class, it will list the number of seats still available.

Here’s what I’m teaching:

#118 – Modern Machine Quilting

Christa Watson Books

Thursday, June 22: 8-3
Take your modern quilts to the next level by adding depth and dimension to your designs. The secret is learning to let go of perfection by practicing over a dozen different asymmetrical textures that require little to no marking of the quilt. Students will utilize both free-motion and walking foot techniques by practicing on small practice samples or leftover quilt blocks. Students may bring in their tops for a discussion of possible quilting ideas.

Click here to purchase the recommended books, signed by me.

#203 – Ultimate Free Motion Fillers

Friday June 23: 8-12
Learn 12 fun fillers in just 4 hours! This class will walk you through a dozen of the free-motion motifs from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. This will be a fast paced class, so students should be comfortable working with their machines and have a little bit of experience with machine quilting. Book Required: The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.

Click here to purchase the required book, signed by me and Angela.

#204 – Machine Quilting Trunk Show

Colorful chevrons

Friday, June 23: 1:30-3:30
I enjoy making complete quilts from start to finish, and am excited to share quilts from my books and patterns. I’ll share a few tips I’ve learned that make the machine quilting process easier, and will present a variety of designs that can be done on a home sewing machine. Exact quilts shown will vary and my lecture will include detailed images of machine quilting, as well as an opportunity to get up close and personal with my quilts.

#321 – Structured Improv Piecing (Facets)

Facets

Saturday, June 24: 8-3
Learn how to dive into improvisational piecing, but in an organized way. Students will create their own crazy pieced fabric, then give it some structure when they make their own Facets quilt top. Class includes instruction for quilt top only. Required book: Machine Quilting With Style.

Click here to purchase the required book, signed by me.

#413 – String of Pearls

String of pearls

Sunday, June 25: 8-12
Show off your favorite collection of fabrics with this bright, graphic quilt. It’s a great first pattern to get your feet wet with modern design. The blocks are easy to sew with plenty of background space for you to add interesting quilting texture. Class includes the instruction for quilt top only.

Click here to purchase the required pattern.

If you plan to attend the show, please let me know in the comments! It would be so great to meet you in person. 🙂

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Join Me for a Workshop in Las Vegas in May!

If you are near Las Vegas, or want to plan a fun road trip, I invite you to join me for a lecture and two workshops May 4-6. On Thursday night I’ll be presenting a lecture and trunk show about my quilting journey. On Friday, May 5th I’ll be teaching improv piecing while students make their own version of Facets from my book Machine Quilting with Style. On Saturday, May 6th I’ll be teaching machine quilting: Walking Foot Wonders and Free Motion Fillers.

Facets Quilt

Facets won a 2nd place ribbon in Paducah last year. I was beyond thrilled.

Christa Quilts Machine Quilting Books

I’ll be sharing my favorite motifs from all 3 of my machine quilting books!

The event is hosted by my hometown guild, Desert Quilters of Nevada, and non-guild members pay just $10 more per workshop. The Thursday night lecture is free, and visitors are welcome.

Click here to register for one or both workshops. I hope to see you there!

Quilt Las Vegas 2017 – A Recap and a New Milestone

Quilt Las Vegas is the annual quilt show put on by my local traditional guild here in Las Vegas, Desert Quilters of Nevada. I’ve been a member of the guild for over 20 years, and I’ve been entering their show for nearly as long. It’s the show that gave me the confidence to start competing nationally. I’ve also learned a lot about what goes on in the judging room as a volunteer. As my quilting skills increased, it’s been reflected in the number of times I’ve gotten a ribbon. However, the show this weekend was a new milestone for me. It’s the first time that everything I entered received a ribbon.

Machine Quilting demo by Christa Watson

One of the show highlights for me was getting to share a machine quilting demo and book signing for one of the local quilt shops vending at the show, Sew Yeah Quilting.

Most of the quilts I make nowadays are usually for a book, magazine, or individual pattern, so I think it’s really helped me focus on doing the best quality work I can. Today, I thought I’d share pics of my quilts hanging in the show, include the judges’ comments, and let you know where the patterns can be found, if you are inspired to make on of your own. Plus there are a couple more that my friends made that I thought were super cool. Enjoy the mini-show!

My Quilts in the Show

Churn Dash Slide from I Love Churn Dashes

Churn Dash Slide, 1st Place, Pieced Large – Single Entrant Category

 I was actually surprised that this one got a ribbon, let alone first place because the quilting on it is really simple. It’s just an allover swirl design. But the the fabrics really make it and I had a fun time taking a traditional design and freshening it up a bit.

Machine Quilting Detail by Christa Watson

Machine Quilting Detail on Churn Dash Slide

Here’s what the judge had to say about Churn Dash Slide:

  • Excellent piecing technique
  • Well balanced tension in machine quilting
  • Appropriate overall quilting design
  • Binding is securely and neatly attached
  • A crisp, clean and fresh approach to a traditional quilt pattern

The pattern for Churn Dash Slide can be found in  I Love Churn Dashes, a compilation published by Martingale/That Patchwork Place (my awesome publisher). I enjoy submitting ideas for their books where they usually feature 14-16 different designers’ patterns all in one collection.

A block from my quilt made the cover of I Love Churn Dashes – so fun!!

Quatrefoil Applique by Christa Watson

Quatrefoil Applique, 1st Place Applique

I made Quatrefoil Applique as a machine quilting sampler to show what some of my favorite quilting motifs would look like stitched out. I’m actually teaching how to make this quilt for the guild’s workshop this May, so it was cool to get a ribbon on it so the students could see it in the show. 🙂

Here’s what the judge had to say about Quatrefoil Applique:

  • Piecing and applique are neatly and precisely executed
  • Excellent quilting technique and multiple patterns elevate simple piecing and applique to a higher level
  • Very good binding technique
  • Well balanced colors and values

The patterns and machine quilting instructions for Quatrefoil Applique, and Swirling Butterflies shown below, are both included in the book I wrote with Angela Walters, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. I’m extra proud of that book now that some of the quilts are getting a bit more bling! (Last year another quilt from the book, Plumb Lines, got a ribbon at HMQS.)

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Christa Watson and Angela Walters

Signed copies of this book are available from me, with both of our signatures.

Swirling Butterflies by Christa Watson

Swirling Butterflies, 2nd Place Open Category (Wholecloth, misc., etc.)

Swirling Butterflies is the only wholecloth quilt I’ve ever made, and it was pretty risky using such a high contrasting thread for the butterflies. But it also pushed me technically, and was super fun and meditative to quilt! The lighting at the show wasn’t super great, so you can see a better detailed closeup of the quilting below. I explored one of my favorite techniques – free motion improv – in the background areas of this quilt.

Detail free-motion_quilting

Free motion improv quilting detail.

Here’s what the judge had to say about Swirling Butterflies:

  • Very good binding technique
  • Excellent machine quilting with precise backtracking
  • An elegant presentation

Fractured Puzzle by Christa Watson

Fractured Puzzle, 2nd Place Modern

This is the second time Fractured Puzzle has been shown in a show and the second 2nd place ribbon! (It got a 2nd place in modern last year at MQX). I love how the red ribbon matches the quilt!

Here’s what the judge had to say about Fractured Puzzle:

  • Very good piecing technique
  • Well balanced machine tension but strive for consistently even stitch length
  • Quilting motifs fill the spaces evenly
  • Binding is securely and neatly applied
  • Strong visual impact

Fractured puzzle is my ultra modern take on the free Puzzle Box quilt pattern I offer for newsletter subscribers. I really pushed myself and went way out of the box by cutting it up and sewing it back together again. But it was a really fun exercise in “what if…??”

Puzzle Box Pattern

Remember – you can always take a pattern and make it your own!

Other Favorite Quilts from the Show

I was bummed that I had very little time to spend at the show, due to other obligations at the same time, but I was thrilled to see ribbons on many of my friends’ quilts. These two quilts really resonated with me:

Vicki Ruebel Machine Quilting

Argyle Gone Wild by Vicki Ruebel of Orchid Owl Quilts. She won 1st Place Pieced Small, AND Best Machine Quilting. I was so excited and proud of her! Click here to see more details of the quilting and making of this quilt. She does amazing work!

Viva Las Vegas by Melissa Curley

My friend Melissa Curley won 1st place Show Theme for her quilt “Lucky.” She names all of her quilts with first names which I think is pretty cool. Lucky was the name of Elvis’ character in the movie Viva Las Vegas. I love how she showed the iconic neon of Vegas, mixed with the more subtle side of “Sin City”

Machine quilting students

In addition to catching up with local quilting friends, it was a thrill to run into some former local students while I was demoing. Kathy and Ofelia shown above were some of my first students way back in 1999. It was fun to connect with them again at the show, and know that they are still prolific quilters! I told them thanks for being great students that allowed me to learn how to become an effective teacher. 🙂

Now it’s time to go make (and enter) more quilts!

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Craftsy Sale – All Machine Quilting Classes Under $20

I love a great sale don’t you? From now through the end of the day on Monday, March 13 (11:59 PM MDT), you can get all Craftsy classes on sale for under 20 bucks. How cool is that? I know many of you have signed up for my Craftsy class, The Quilter’s Path which is fabulous!! Thank you!! xoxo. If you enjoyed that one, here are some other quilting classes I’d highly recommend by the very talented Christina Camelli::

Machine Quilting ClassClick here to get The Secrets of Free Motion Quilting for $19.99

And

Wild quiltingClick here to get Wild Quilting for just $19.99

Of course, if you haven’t had a chance to sign up for my class yet, I’d recommend that, too!

Click here to get The Quilter’s Path for just $19.99!

Then learn how to make a quilting plan and coming both walking foot quilting with free motion motifs. Happy quilting, friends!!

Registration is Open for Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival – And I’m Teaching!

The next big show/event I’ll be teaching at is the Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival in Utah, June 7-10, 2017. I really enjoy mixing it up when I teach: traveling to guilds, shops and larger events to meet as may of you as I can!

Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival

Last year was the first time I taught there and when they asked me to return, I couldn’t turn it down because it was so much fun!

Click here to register for my classes

This year, I will be teaching three classes and and giving a trunk show. Here’s my schedule:

Modern Lanterns: Wednesday, June 7th, 2-5 PM

Modern Lanterns Quilt

We will learn how to piece this fun, modern quilt top, made from one Jelly Roll of my Kona Solids palette plus one Jelly Roll of Gray solid. Of course it will look great in other fabrics, too! It’s from a collaboration book with my publisher that releases the week of class, so my students will be the first to get their hands on a copy!

Click here to register for Modern Lanterns class.

Trunk Show: Thursday June 8, 12:15-1:45 PM

There will be trunk shows each day – Thursday through Saturday at lunchtime and they are free to all registered attendees. I’m excited to share the latest quilts I’ve been making!

free-Motion Fillers, Thursday June 8, 2-5 PM (Sold OUt)
2nd Session Has Been Added from 6-9 PM

Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

I’ll be teaching free-motion quilting from mine and Angela’s book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. Students can purchased signed copies of the book from me ahead of time at ChristaQuilts.bigcartel.com, or during the class.

Click here to register for the second session of Free-Motion Fillers

Walking Foot Quilting, Fri. June 9, 8:30-11:30 AM (Sold Out)
2nd Session Added Sat. June 10 8:30-11:30

Machine Quilting With Style

I’ll be teaching walking-foot quilting from my book Machine Quilting with Style. Students can purchased signed copies of the book from me ahead of time at ChristaQuilts.bigcartel.com, or during the class.

Click here to register for the second session of Walking Foot Quilting

In addition to the workshops and trunk shows there are all sorts of other fun events like a silent auction and chocolate fest, pioneer home tours, a parade and races, plus dinner theatre which reenacts the story of the famous Panguitch Quilt Walk. It’s great fun for the whole family!

Workshop with Christa Watson

Students in my Charming Chevrons workshop last year.

Click here for the complete workshop schedule. Classes are so reasonably priced that you could fly in and stay at a hotel for the price of workshops at other venues. I hope to see you there!

Three Pinwheel Quilts: From EQ7 Sketch to Finished Quilt

For my Craftsy class that launched last month, I made the same Pinwheel quilt three different ways, with different fabrics and quilting designs. Now I’m back to share a little more up close and personal about each quilt.

Walking foot quilting from The Quilter's Path Craftsy ClassDetail of Walking Foot Quilting on Pinwheels Quilt #1.

As an EQ ambassador and artist, I pretty much do all of my quilt designing in EQ7. So I thought it would be fun to show you each of the quilts along with their original sketches that I drew.

EQ7 Drawing of Pinwheels QuiltThis is my sketch of the first pinwheels quilt shown in my online class, using 1930’s repro prints. I didn’t worry about the prints being an exact match. This sketch just gave me an idea of how busy prints would look against a dark blue background.

Pinwheels quilt, machine quiltied with a wavy grid design using a walking foot/dual feed

When it came to making the first quilt with a navy background, I actually had enough fabric to make two quilts (using a jelly roll of Boundless 1930’s Delights along with a jelly roll of Boundless Solids Navy.) The version above was the finished sample shown in class. I made a second one shown below to stitch on during filming as I demonstrated one of the walking foot quilting techniques. Rather than making two of the exact same quilt, I divided the prints into two colorschemes – patriotic and pastel.

Contrasting thread on pinwheels quilt. Quilted with BERNINA dual feed during Craftsy filming.

You’ll notice I quilted both quilts with a different colored thread. The patriotic one was quilted with a medium blue thread while the pastel one was quilted with a light yellow, both from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt Collection of 50 weight cotton threads.

I wanted to show the difference of what “blending” thread looks like verses “contrasting” thread. I think they both look great, and it’s a personal preference of whether you want your thread to show, or be more subtle. In either case, the quilting adds great texture to the quilt, don’t you think?

Pink Pinwheels quilt designed in EQ7

For the second quilt shown in class, I chose a pretty pink and white color scheme, using the default solids in the EQ7 palette. Many times I’ll design my quilt in solids and then add prints later. But more often than not, I really like the solid version, too! Again, I didn’t worry about the colors being an exact match – using a variety of pinks gave me the scrappy look I was going for.

You’ll notice I left my lines in the sketch this time so you can see how the blocks fit together. One of the options I love in EQ is being able to turn the seam lines off and on, depending on whether or not I want to view the quilt design that way.

Pink quilt with allover loopy machine quilting. From The Quilter's Path Craftsy class by Christa Watson.

Here’s the finished quilt using Boundless Solids in Tickled Pink and Bright White. For this quilt, I demonstrate how to quilt an allover free-motion design using the blocks as a guide to travel around the quilt. I used some of the leftover precut strips for the binding to add a touch of whimsy!

EQ7 sketch of teal/gray pinwheel quilt by Christa Watson

Finally, for the teal/gray version it was easy to swap out the colors from the original design. I will usually draw one design in one colorway and then try out lots of options until I find something I’m happy with. Sometimes I will start with a specific color scheme or fabric collection in mind and design around it. Other times, I’ll come up with my design and colors and then find fabrics to match.

Either way, my all-time favorite function in EQ7 is being able to import colors and fabric swatches if needed, so I know what the quilt will look like before I start! I prefer to do all of my thinking and planning ahead of time so that all I have to do is enjoy stitching once it’s time to actually make the quilt!

Finished Teal Pinwheels quilt

As you can see, the final quilt is more teal and less green than the sketch but it was close enough for what I wanted! I used a precut strip roll of Bounders Blenders Aura Coastal Escape for the blocks with Boundless Solids in Nickel for the background and binding.

For this third version, I combined both walking foot quilting with free motion to create combined custom quilting. The trick is planning how to make your way around the quilt, also known as “finding your path!” In between each of the “real” quilts, I demonstrate many more quilting motifs on quilt blocks so you can see how to quilt around the seams.

When it came time to creating the Pinwheels pattern (included as a bonus freebie in the class materials), using EQ7 made it easy for me to isolate parts of the design to create the quilt pattern.

Free Pattern included in The Quilter's Path Craftsy Class by Christa Watson

Above is a sneak peek of one of the pattern pages using my EQ drawings as stepouts. I’d be lost without it! Machine quilting is definitely my favorite part of making a quilt, so I’m glad I have good tools that help me design faster so there’s more time for sewing!

Christa Watson's Craftsy Class: The Quilter's Path

Learn how to quilt these quilts and more in The Quilter’s Path: Plan It, Stitch It, Quilt It.

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Answers to Your Machine Quilting Challenges – Part 6

Welcome to part 6, the final post where I’ve been offering suggestions to some of my readers’ most challenging machine quilting issues. Get more tips by reading part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.

Craftsy Filming Behind the Scenes

On set during the filming of my Crafty class: The Quilter’s Path where I show you how to quilt many of the quilting motifs I write about on my blog and in my books and patterns!

Problem: I have a hard time getting ideas from my head into reality.
My suggestion: I used to have this same problem until I started creating a machine quilting plan for each quilt I make. I take a picture or make a printout of my quilt top and then I figure out the quilting path I need to take to work my way around the quilt. Below is the plan I made for my Positive Direction quilt pattern.

Positive Direction Machine Quilting Plan

Problem: I’m not sure which batting to use.
My suggestion: Try out a different batting for the next several quilts and see how each performs. Take note of the shrinkage, softness and what the quilting stitches look like. Some battings like cotton, will make the quilting appear more flat because it doesn’t have a lot of loft. Others, like polyester or wool will give a better stitch definition because they are more lofty, or puffy. My favorites are cotton, wool and soy.

Problem: Too much time passes between quilt projects and I feel like I’m losing my skills.
My suggestion: machine quilting is like learning a musical instrument: the more you practice, the more you’ll be able to “play.” If you are in between projects, keep a stack of small scraps of fabric and batting to stitch on for a few minutes each day. Just quilting for 5 min each a couple times a week will keep your quilting muscles in shape!

Machine Quilting Practice

Problem: I get discouraged whenever I compare myself to other quilters’ skills.
My suggestion:
Anyone who has just started their quilting journey will definitely go through this. It’s one thing to be inspired and another to feel inadequate. Just remember that it takes a lot of time and practice to get good at anything. I always encourage newer quilters to embrace walking foot quilting first because it’s pretty much fool-proof. Then, move onto tackling free-motion when you are more comfortable.

Walking Foot Quilting

I always teach walking foot quilting before moving onto free-motion. It’s virtually goof-proof!

Problem: How do I get out of the “stipple” rut?
My suggestion: I recommend collecting as many books as you can about machine quilting, taking a lot of classes, and seeing quilts up close and personal. Start sketching quilting motifs that appeal to you and try them on your quilts. If you have a toolbox full of 4-5 designs you really like, you can mix them up and quilt them in different areas of your quilt!

Problem: I want to try ruler-work quilting but I’m not even sure where to start.
My suggestion:
enroll in my friend Amy Johnson’s Craftsy classes on ruler work. She has two of them and pretty much covers all the basics. It’s amazing what you can do with specialty rulers on your domestic machine.

Quilting with Rulers on Your Home Sewing Machine

Click here to learn more about ruler work and see a class preview.

Problem: I don’t want to practice, because I hate wasting fabric on “learning.”
My suggestion: I don’t think “learning” is ever a waste. 🙂 However if you want to make something practical out of your practice sandwiches, create a stitch journal. Try out different quilting designs on similar sized practice pieces. Write on each which thread you used and other details like stitch length, batting etc. Then get some grommets or a key chain and punch a hole in the corners of each sample to link them together. Whenever you are stumped on an idea, refer to your journal for inspiration!

Problem: I’m not coordinated when it comes to machine quilting. It feels awkward.
My suggestion: when I started quilting it felt weird too, and I still can’t get the hang of longarm quilting (which is why I stick to a sit-down machine). Try to position your quilt and yourself a few different ways to see if you can get in a comfortable position. Quilting is a skill that requires a different muscle movement than anything else so it can take awhile for it to feel more natural. Don’t give up! Also try different hand positions when quilting. Try keeping your hands flat, raised, or gripping the edge of the quilt to see which feels more comfortable.

All Craftsy Classes on SaleClick here to see which classes are on sale, including mine!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips! If you haven’t already done so, be sure and enroll in my Craftsy Class, The Quilter’s Path. All brand new Craftsy classes are on sale for $19.99 or less this weekend only! Sale runs from today through Sunday, so stock up on this massive sale!!

Machine Quilting Tips

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Come See Me at QuiltCon in The Electric Quilt Company’s Booth!

QuiltCon, the 4th annual modern quilt show put on by The Modern Quilt Guild is coming soon! It will be held in Savannah, Georgia from February 23-26, 2017 and I can’t wait! I’ll be teaching 5 classes and giving a lecture which are all sold out! However, if you are attending and didn’t make it into one of my classes, I’ll be doing a book signing and meet ‘n greet in The Electric Quilt Company‘s booth #337 on Friday, February 24, from 12-1 PM.

Amy Friend and Christa Watson at QuiltCon 2017

Following mine, you’ll get a chance to meet another EQ7 ambassador, Amy Friend who just released her second book! She’ll be in the booth on the same day from 1:30-2:30. If for some reason you won’t be there that day, you can still stop by the booth see some of our quilts “in the cloth.” They’ll be on display in booth #337 for the entire show.

During my book signing, I’ll have copies of both of my books available for purchase and I’ll be happy to sign anything else you would like as well (a quilt, my patterns, your arm…. the possibilities are endless!!) And you can even just stop by and chat for a few minutes if you want – it’s always fun to meet fellow quilt enthusiasts!!

Christa Quilts and EQ at QuiltCon 2017

Both Amy and I love to design in EQ7 because we can see what our finished projects will look like before we begin cutting! I designed 11 of the 12 quilts from Machine Quilting with Style in EQ7. (The 12th was actually designed by my husband on his iPad). When you stop by the booth at QuiltCon, you’ll get a chance to see my actual computerized renderings in the booth! I think it’s fun to see them side by side next to an image of the real quilt. In fact, my favorite feature of the software is being able to import swatches of any fabric I want so that I can see audition different possibilities ahead of time.

I have more “extra” events scheduled, so stay tuned for details and I hope to see you there!

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Answers to Your Machine Quilting Challenges – Part 5

Part 5 of Answers to Your Machine Quilting Challenges continues with more fun quilting problems to solve! Check out part 1, part 2,  part 3  and part 4 for more solutions!

Christa Quilts

Problem: Sometimes I get bored quilting the same thing over and over.
My suggestion: Break down the quilting into different designs and quilt them in different areas of the quilt. Also be sure to listen to something fun while you quilt! I love listening to audio books or quilting podcasts while I sew. It makes the time pass quickly and I feel like I’m being super productive at the same time!

Problem: My stitches vary in size.
My suggestion: You know what? So do mine, but that’s totally okay. When you step away, you won’t even notice. The only way to get perfectly sized stitches is with a stitch regulator and I know that’s not available on all machines, so I usually don’t even use one on my own work. Stitch length consistency will get better over time, but I wouldn’t  stress about it too much. 🙂

Problem: How do I quilt negative space other than with straight lines?
My suggestion: I show several different geometric variations in my “Plumb Lines” quilt from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. I quilted this quilt to answer that problem. Although straight lines are awesome, I wanted to give free-motion quilters some modern alternatives for straight-line quilting. Try out linear designs such as zig-zags and or other cool geometric shapes. Have fun experimenting or combine them together for even more ideas!

modern machine quilting

Detail of geometric/linear free-motion designs that you can quilt in negative space.

Problem: I don’t feel like I’m in control.
My suggestion: when begining your free-motion quilting adventures, embrace that fact that it will take awhile to get the hang of it. To put it more bluntly, yes, you are going to suck at it for awhile and that’s okay! Just like it took you a while to learn how to write, so too is machine quilting a brand new skill. Just be patient and keep at it and it will get better, I promise! One suggestion I offer my students is to make up 7 small practice pieces. Quilt one a day for a week and you’ll see a noticeable improvement!

Problem: How do I manage dealing with a bulky quilt?
My suggestion: scrunch and smoosh the quilt out of the way as much as possible while you quilt. There’s a brand new apparatus out there called “The Weightless Quilter” which I just got and can’t wait to try! It basically holds the quilt up of the table for you while you quilt.

weightlessquilter

Click here to see a video of the Weightless Quilter in action!

Problem: My machine is too light.
Solution: My guess is that this is more of a problem with the table than your machine. I suggest using the largest table you can, and embedding your machine into the table so it’s flush with the top.  If you don’t have a table you like, check out the affordable sewing tables that Leah Day sells. You can always add extra tables surrounding it to make your work area larger.

I hope you are enjoying these suggestions. I’ve got a couple weeks’ more worth of questions to go – so I’ll keep going until I answer them all. 🙂

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