Machine Quilting Tips and Tricks Series Starts Soon!

Since I know many of you can’t be with me in class in person this year, I thought I’d do the next best thing and try to share more of my my best quilting tips and tricks online. Over the next several weeks I’ll be blogging about many of my behind the scenes secrets for successful machine quilting. Most of these are ideas are also in my machine quilting books so you can grab a copy of each and follow along!

Machine Quilting Books by Christa Watson

My number one goal in teaching machine quilting is to help you understand how fun and carefree it all can be. Fortunately I WILL be doing some more online teaching soon, and my online Craftsy videos should be available soon on their revamped website, so stay tuned for that.

In addition, I’ve been creating and sharing more tutorials over on my YouTube channel, too.

Christa Quilts

So whether you are a newbie beginner, or seasoned pro – let me help you discover the joys of quilting your own quilts!! The series kicks off here on the blog starting next week so be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss a thing!

Modern Logs Partial Blocks

Virtual Classes for October’s PIQF

I’m really excited to be teaching three classes for Pacific International Quilt Festival Online, coming up Oct. 14 to 17. Registration is open and I’d love to have you join me!

Here are brief descriptions. You’ll find more complete information at the links below.

1. Free Motion Improv, Thursday evening 10/15, 4–7 PST

Example of my Free Motion Improv

Liberate yourself from traditional quilting symmetry by mashing up your favorite motifs in a seemingly random way. Combine basic shapes with transitional designs and free-motion fillers to add amazing texture to the negative spaces in your quilts, or create your own unique work of improvisational art. Note: Students should be comfortable with basic free-motion quilting.

Cost: $80, includes $25 kit fee, kit includes your choice of one of my machine quilting books.

Click here for Christa Watson: Free Motion Improv, Price Includes $25 Class Kit (Half Day WS, Thurs, 10/15/20, 4-PST)

2. Free Motion Quilting Designs with Lines, Friday afternoon 10/16, 12–3 PST

Example of my Free Motion Quilting Designs with Lines

Embrace the “hand-sketched” look when you learn to quilt modern geometric fillers that require little to no marking of the quilt. Go beyond the straight line when you learn how to create irregular linear motifs that look great on both traditional and contemporary quilts. Note: Students should be comfortable with basic free-motion quilting.

Cost: $80, includes $25 kit fee, kit includes your choice of one of my machine quilting books.

Click here for Christa Watson: Free Motion Quilting Designs with Lines, Price Includes $25 Class Kit (Half Day WS, Fri, 10/16/20, 12-3pm PST)

Machine Quilting Books by Christa Watson
The kits for these classes include your choice of one of my books.

3. Improv Piecing: Modern Logs, Saturday 10/17, 9–3 PST

Modern Logs is made with improvisational piecing: easy and fun!

Put a modern spin on a classic block while you learn to create improvisationally pieced Log Cabin blocks. Choose two sets of fabrics that have good contrast, such as lights and darks. You’ll need 10 fat quarters of assorted lights and 10 fat quarters of assorted darks to make the 48″ x 54″ quilt. Pattern is included in the kit fee, and the pattern includes additional sizes. Suitable for all skill levels.

Click here for Christa Watson: Improv Piecing: Modern Logs, Price Includes $12 Class Kit (Full Day WS, Sat, 10/17/20, 9am-3pm PST)

Make plans to join me for virtual classes during PIQF Oct. 14 to 17. I’d love to “meet” you!

Modern Logs Quilt Top
Modern Logs made in my Good Vibes fabrics for Benartex. Available on my website, shop.christaquilts.com

Click here to shop for Good Vibes fabrics to make your own Modern Logs quilt!

Good Vibes Fat Quarters
Good Vibes by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here to buy the Modern Logs paper pattern (not necessary if you’ll be in the class, because the pattern is included in the class fee).

Click here to buy the Modern Logs pattern instantly as a downloadable pdf.

Modern Logs by Christa Watson for Christa Quilts

Maybe you’d like to see a bit of how I machine quilt on my home sewing machine?

Check out this short video on my YouTube channel. It’s not exactly the same thing I’ll be teaching in the classes, but you’ll get an idea of my style!

I can’t wait to meet you and create some amazing things together!

Save the Date: QuiltCon Together Registration Opens July 15

I’m so excited to be a part of this! The Modern Quilt Guild took early steps to reimagine QuiltCon as a virtual event February 18–22, 2021, and it’s going to be great!

QuiltCon Together 2021

I think that more people will actually get to participate this way. I love that The MQG made lemonade out of lemons! I’ll miss seeing everyone in person, but this is the next best thing!

I didn’t originally apply to teach for QuiltCon 2021 because we were supposed to be out of the country. But of course the pandemic changed all that.

 

QuiltCon Catalog

Click here to download the QuiltCon Together Catalog.

I’ll be teaching two machine quilting classes: Carefree Walking Foot Quilting and Carefree Free-Motion Quilting.

What is carefree quilting?

It’s an attitude that aims for texture over perfection and leans into the slight flaws and irregularities that occur with any handmade craft. After all, they are part of the charm!

Walking Foot Quilting

The continuous spiral is just one of the many quilting motifs we’ll learn in Carefree Walking Foot Quilting. This is a detail shot from my Sparkling Stars quilt. (Pattern available here.)

Carefree Walking Foot Quilting

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!

 

Carefree Free-Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting

Here’s a detail from my Block Chain quilt. All of my patterns include machine quilting suggestions!

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!

Students should be comfortable with their sewing machines, and will practice on their own pre-basted fabric and batting samples. The best part is that it will be a pre-recorded video that you can watch all through the event!

Books by Christa Watson

Both classes are based on ideas presented in my machine quilting books. Each book includes full patterns for each quilt (10–12 per book) along with detailed step-by-step machine quilting instructions. All three books include walking foot techniques and free-motion motifs.

Get a signed copy of any of my books for just $19.95 from my shop. 

Both of my classes are “Mini Workshops,” which means they will focus on technique, allow you to learn a new technique, practice a technique that needs work, or just gain tips and tricks from a technique expert. Each Mini Workshop consists of at least 35 minutes of video content in segments of on-demand education, as well as at least one homework assignment to help you practice your new skills. Each Mini Workshop will allow students the ability to type questions to their instructors in the online platform as they work through the class.

You will also have the option to upgrade your Mini Workshop to spend one 45-minute session live with me to ask for help or feedback on your project in a small group setting.

LECTURE/TRUNK SHOW: HOW DO I QUILT IT?

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.

Christa Watson Trunk Show

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’m also excited to share my quilts and answer any questions you may have.

 

LE 17 Quilting perspectives

I’m also excited to be part of a machine quilting panel about our quilting plans and processes, and how we approach a finished top. Hand quilting, machine quilting, and long arm quilting will all be represented on the panel from me, Tia Curtis, Sandra Johnson, and Riane Menardi Morrison. It will take place online live at 11 AM on Saturday, February 20.

I would be honored to have you in my classes and lecture at QuiltCon Together.

Registration for members opens July 15 at 10 am Eastern. 

Click here to Learn more about The Modern Quilt Guild! 

Open Letter to My Online Quilting Students…

Dear Valued Student:

I deeply and sincerely apologize if you have sought out my quilting advice or asked for help in an online teaching platform and never received a response from me. Due to this being completely out of my control, I am just now discovering hundreds of comments, questions, and conversations addressed to me that I never received until now (March 10, 2020). Many of these unanswered replies have kept you waiting for 1-2 years or even longer.

As I wade through a mountain of unanswered queries, I ache for those of you who simply thought I wasn’t interested enough to answer, or took my silence to mean I didn’t care about you. Reading comments like “Seems like she doesn’t want to answer our question, it’s been aaaaages ago!!!!!” or “Is anyone there?????” truly breaks my heart!

Sadly, many of you may not even see this, as you probably gave up and unfollowed me long ago. Please know that I *do* care, and would NEVER intentionally treat any of my students this way.

Rest assured that I WILL personally respond to you although I’m not “contractually” obligated to do so. I pride myself on being the best teacher I can and giving help to anyone who asks, whether I’m paid for it or not.

You were counting on me when you viewed my class, and from your point of view, it seems as if I let you down. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this reaches as many of my students as possible. I’m here for you now, and always! 🙂

Sincerely, Christa Watson

Christa Quilts

Registration Opens today for the Minnesota Quilter’s Annual Show in June!

I hope you all know by now how much I absolutely love traveling all over to meet enthusiastic quilters and make new friends! I especially enjoy going to places I’ve never been before, especially when it’s a long-time regional show such as the Minnesota Quilter’s Show  & Conference.

Minnesota Quilter's Show

Can you believe they held the first show in 1976 and it’s been running continuously now for the past 20 years. How cool is that?? Well today is opening day for registration, and show dates are June 11-13 in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Minnesota quilters get priority registration starting today, and non-members can register beginning on February 3rd.

Here’s What I’m Teaching:

Workshop: Improv Piecing – Facets
Wednesday, June 10, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Dive into improv piecing, but in a more structured way when you make this scrap friendly quilt!
The pattern can be found in my book Machine Quilting with Style.

Facets

Lecture: How Do I Quilt It?
Thursday, June 11, 12 -1 PM

Based on the easy-to-follow methods I teach in my books, I’ll share my best tips and tricks for machine quilting success!

Books by Christa Watson

Lecture: Hallmarks of Modern Machine Quilting
Thursday, June 11, 4-5 PM

Learn how the modern quilting aesthetic can be applied to the machine quilting process!
I’ll share lots of eye-candy examples from my books and patterns.

Christa Watson trunk show of quilts

Workshop: Walking Foot Wonders
Friday, June 12, 8:30-4:30

Get out of the ditch and create dynamic quilt designs with your walking foot!
Detail below is spiral quilting on my Sparkling Stars Quilt.

Walking Foot Wonders

Workshop: Free-Motion Favorites
Saturday, June 13, 8:30-4:30

Learn fast, fun, and fool proof free-motion!!
Detail below is jagged stipple on my Terrace Tiles Quilt.

Free Motion Quilting

If you’ll be in the area – I hope you’ll stop by and see me. It should be a rip-roaring event!

Click here for Minnesota Quilter’s Quilt show info.

MQX 2020 Quilt Registration Opens Friday, November 1

Are you planning to attend MQX quilt festival? It takes place April 14-18, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire. This will be my second time returning to the show and I can’t wait!

MQX Quilt Show

What I’m teaching

I’ll be teaching my most popular machine quilting workshops and lecture!
Here’s my complete schedule:

148-20 Free Motion Favorites
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
228-20 How do I Quilt it?
Tips for Machine Quilting Success
Thursday, April 16, 2020
9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
244-20 Walking Foot Wonders
Thursday, April 16, 2020
1:00 PM to 6:00 PM Eastern Time

free-motion-quilting

Registration Opens at 9AM Pacific/Noon Eastern Time

Many of the classes sell out quickly, so be sure to bookmark the MQX website, create an account, and head there first thing on Friday to sign up. I’d love to see you there!

Click here for my complete list of classes, descriptions, and supply lists.

Walking Foot Quilting

Come See Me at Dave’s BERNINA in Utah August 7-10!

I love teaching machine quilting, and it’s always extra special when I get to teach at BERNINA dealerships around the country. This August 7-10, 2019, I invite you to come see me at either location of Dave’s BERNINA, one of the top BERNINA dealerships in the entire country!

Christa Watson Quilts

I love my BERNINA!! But my students can be successful on any machine!

Teaching in Provo, UT

I’ll be making my first stop at Dave’s BERNINA in Provo where I’ll be presenting my popular lecture and trunk show, “How Do I Quilt It?” on Wednesday, August 7 at 6:30 PM. The following day on Thursday, August 8, I’ll be teaching a full day of machine quilting where students will learn how to improve their skills with Walking Foot Wonders and Free Motion Favorites.

Dave’s BERNINA is offering a terrific deal: a workshop & lecture combo for just $99. You can also sign up for the lecture only for just $25.

Click here to sign up for my quilting workshop & lecture in Provo.
Click here to sign up for the lecture/trunk show only in Provo.

You can also contact Dave’s BERNINA Provo to register by phone (801) 374-5520 or email: info@davesbernina.com.

Teaching in St. George, UT

On Friday, August 9th, I’ll travel to the St. George location and repeat the same series with the lecture on Friday evening followed by the full-day class on Saturday, August 10th.

Click here to sign up for my quilting workshop & lecture in St. George.
Click here to sign up for the lecture/trunk show only in St. George.

You can also contact Dave’s BERNINA St. George to register by phone (435) 656-1498 or email: info@davesbernina.com

Christa and Maudie at Market

It was fun to catch up with Maudie Borget at market who oversees the St. George location. 🙂

I’m very excited for my local friends and fans who’ve been begging me to teach closer to home (in Las Vegas). This is the closest I’ll get for a couple of years, so be sure to join me if you can!

Click here for my current teaching schedule. I may be coming to an event near you!

I’m Off to BERNINA University!

Tomorrow I fly out for my next fun event – setting up my booth and teaching a couple of classes to dealers at BERNINA University. BU is an industry event exclusively for BERNINA dealers that’s held in different locations around the country. This will be my third time attending and it’s been great for getting up close and personal with quilt shop owners who carry the brand.

BERNINA U 2018My BU Booth last year when Fandangle fabric was released.
Click here to get the fabric, kits and quilt patterns shown.

At the show, I’m able to show off my newest line of fabric (which shops can order from Benartex), sell my latest patterns designed to support my fabrics, and talk one-on-one with shop owners.

No matter how huge the quilting industry is, it’s so important to create relationships with shops who carry my products. Many of them have also invited me to come teach at their shops, so I’m looking forward to traveling to new places over the next few years.

Big BERNINA at BU

Giant BERNINA on display at BU for their 125th anniversary last year.

If you’d like me to visit your local BERNINA dealer – be sure to have them contact me and I’ll be glad to add them to my teaching schedule. I’m currently booked through the end of 2020 but have just opened up my calendar for 2021 and it’s starting to fill.

Be sure to follow my adventures over the coming week on instagram @christaquilts and I’ll continue to share fun things here on the blog, too – so stay tuned!

My Trip to Australia 2018

Now that I’m back and rested from my trip to Australia, I thought I’d share some of the highlights. I was invited to travel to Tasmania and Adelaide to teach machine quilting and it was soo amazing! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring my family with me. They had lots of adventures while I was teaching, and I was able to participate with them on my days off.

Welcome to Tasmania

If you’ve never gone on a long haul flight, I have to admit it was pretty tough. It took us about 24 hours to get there with multiple layovers, one long 14 hour flight in which we had to sleep on the plane (so not fun) and of course a huge adjustment in time zones. But the hubby and kids were up for the adventure and fortunately our first day there was a recovery day so it didn’t slow us down too much.

Flights to Australia

The kids loved walking on the tarmac to board the plane on one of our connecting flights.

Sleeping on the Plane

Sleeping on the Airplane is not very comfortable!!

I had a full play day scheduled in Tasmania before I had to teach and we were able to visit a local museum and animal sanctuary. I learned a bit about the country’s history and got to cuddle with some koalas and kangaroos!

Art Piece from Tasmania

This art piece from the museum looked very quilty. I enjoyed learning about the region’s history.

Bonorong Sanctuary in Tasmania

The Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania got most of their animals as rescues. Many times the mama kangaroos are killed on the roadways while carrying Joey’s (baby kangaroos) in their pouches. They raise the babies and protect other native wildlife so they can thrive.

Kangaroos in Australia

It was fun to pet & feed the kangaroos. Can you see the joey sticking out of mama’s pouch??

Jason was our designated driver and it took him a few days to recover from driving on the “wrong” side of the road, but fortunately I was able to use that analogy when teaching free-motion quilting. I told my students that It takes learning a new motor skill while both driving AND quilting, LOL!!

Driving in Australia

It took awhile to get used to the view from the “wrong” side of the street while driving!!

My students in Tasmania seemed to have a fabulous time learning both walking foot and free motion quilting. Thank goodness that “driving” a sewing machine works the same no matter which country you are in (though of course we had to pack a few plug adapters to use our electronics.)

Student work

Student work in class – I love the variegated thread!

Tasmania MQG

Souvenir from the Tasmanian Modern Quilt Guild – I’ll wear it with pride!

While I taught, the kids were able to travel to what they called “The End of the World” – the southern most tip of Australia. Really you can’t travel much further south without being in Antarctica!

Views from the End of the world

View from “the end of the world”! It wasn’t really but the kids had fun calling it that!

By the way, I loved taking notice of all the cultural and language differences between our two countries. The most interesting thing I noticed at each restaurant we visited was that they gave us a container and glasses for us to pour our own water, rather than serving us glasses of ice water and constantly refilling it. It’s actually more efficient I think, and my younger son who prefers not to have ice in his drinks was thrilled.

Water at the Restaurant

There’s a large Asian population in Australia which meant lots of yummy Asian restaurants to try!

The Lift at the airport

The word LIFT at the airport certainly takes up less space on a sign than “elevevator!”

Just for funsies, here are a couple of wording differences that the kids had fun pointing out. The first word is the Australian version, followed by what we call it here in the US:

  • Lift = elevator
  • Holiday = vacation
  • Trolley = shopping cart
  • Chips = french fries
  • Sauce = ketchup
  • Toilet = restroom
  • Take away = take-out
  • Way out = exit
  • Pram = stroller
  • Jug = pitcher
  • Biscuit = cookie

Australian Tim Tams

TimTams are the best “biscuits” we’ve ever had so we made sure to stock up!!

After our jaunt in Tasmania (with delicious food and amazing hospitality) we took a hop over to Adelaide for the next leg in our journey so I could teach at the Australian Machine Quilting Festival. I lectured and taught for 3 days straight and the most fun thing to realize is that quilters are amazing and enthusiastic, no matter where in the world I travel!

Cindy Needham, Helen Stubbings and Christa Watson at AMQF

I enjoyed chatting with Cindy Needham and Helen Stubbings from Hugs ‘n Kisses after a day of teaching. Cindy was one of those inspiring teachers who came to my guild about 10 years ago that made me realize I wanted to travel and teach, too! Helen invited me to her guild in Tasmania and it’s her sister who invited me to teach at AMQF. I love a creative quilting family!!

I taught 3 machine quilting workshops and one piecing workshop. Students worked on their versions of my Modern Logs quilt pattern and it’s one of my favorite piecing workshops to teach because everyone’s blocks turn out so differently, but are still soo amazing!

Modern Logs Workshop in Australia

I love hanging out with fun quilters worldwide!!
BERNINA Australia generously provided sewing machines in class for everyone to use.

While I taught in Adelaide, the family had even more adventures. They went bike riding out in the country, and did some rock climbing guided by my oldest son.

Watsons and Koala

This Koala knows how to pose for the camera!

We were there for a total of 12 days including travel and my daughter who is still in school diligently kept up with her homework while we were gone. I’m so glad the timing worked out for all of us to go (the older boys head out on their next life adventures this fall).

Biking in Australia

The kids had as much fun with their outdoor adventures as I did teaching!

Rock climbing in Australia

This is the one adventure I was ok to miss! My oldest son is quite the climber so he took the rest of the family on a SAFE rock climbing adventure during one of my workshop days.
I’m so glad they use LOTS and LOTS of ropes!

More Kangaroos!

More Kangaroos!

One of the highlights of the quilting festival was getting to put a teacher ribbon on my favorite quilt. Not only was I blown away by the quilt in the shape of Australia, but the maker machine quilted it herself, adding lots of wonderful texture to the surface, without overpowering the pieced design.

Australia Quilt by Barbara Kukulies
Land Girt by Sea by Barbara Kukulies – Faculty Choice Ribbon

I had such an amazing time and hope to return to Australia again someday. This was my first international teaching trip and it’s definitely made me open to teaching at other international locations, too! So if you live somewhere exotic and fun, feel free to pass my name along to your event organizer or guild. 🙂

Do you have a fun place that’s on your bucket list to visit? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Week 4 – Sewing the Quilt Top

Did you finish your quilt blocks from last week? How is it going? Be sure to share your progress over in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group and/or on instagram using the hashtag #dotndashqal.

Finished Dot n Dash Quilt Blocks

Today we will be laying out our blocks and sewing them together to make the quilt top. The most important thing to remember is that each row in the quilt goes in opposite directions, so separate your blocks into two piles, A and B.

See pages 53-54 of Piece and Quilt with Precuts for specific directions.

It’s super helpful to lay out all 30 blocks on a design wall or other larger surface area. If you have a design floor or a design bed, that will work, too! Take as much time as you need to orient your blocks in the correct position with a nice color distribution of prints.

Dot 'n Dash Quilt Along

All blocks are laid out in order on the design wall, and ready to sew.
Take a picture with your camera phone to refer to as you piece the rows.

Pinning and Pressing

The key to a really nice flat quilt top is pinning and pressing. I prefer to press all seams open for the entire quilt and sew with a shorter stitch length (2.0 instead of the default 2.5.) However, if you choose to press to the side, that’s ok, too. Just be sure to press each and every seam as you go with a hot, dry iron.

Dot n Dash piecing detail

My corners match up nicely because I pressed each seam, and pinned each intersection.

Here’s a tip for managing the bulk of the quilt top while sewing and pressing: Sew the block rows together into pairs of two. Then press each pair of rows before joining larger sections together. The quilt to will shrink up a bit once it’s all joined, but you can always add more blocks or a border to make it larger if you like.

Dot 'n Dash finished quilt top made from Fandangle Fabric

My finished quilt top – ready to baste in next week’s lesson!

Take a Victory Lap!

Whenever I’m making a quilt top with blocks that go all the way to the edge (no borders), there is a chance that the edge seams could split open. To prevent this, I take a “victory lap” around the edges – sew with a larger stitch length approximately 1/8″ in from the edge of the quilt around the entire perimeter. It feels like a great way to celebrate the finished top!

Here’s what the edge stitching looks like from another quilt I recently made:

Victory lap around the quilt to secure the edges

By sewing with a larger stitch near the edge of the quilt, the stitching line will get covered by the binding. This secures the edge seams from splitting open during all of the rough handling that will occur with basting and quilting.

Jump in any time!

If you are just joining the quilt along, remember you can work at your own pace. Please don’t ever feel like you are “behind” as that’s never the case. And if you want to work ahead, that’s great, too! I’m just glad you are following along, either on your own version of the quilt, or virtually in your head!

Dot n Dash Quilt Along

Click here for the Dot ‘n Dash Quilt Along Schedule and Supply List
Click here to purchase the Fandangle Strip-pie or other precuts.
Click here to purchase a signed copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.