Quilt Las Vegas 2017 is this weekend: come watch me quilt!

If you will be in or near the Las Vegas area March 30-April 1, be sure and check out Quilt Las Vegas, put on by the Desert Quilters of Nevada, my local quilt guild.

Quilt Las Vegas 2017

Quilt Las Vegas

I will be at the show on Saturday, April 1 from 10-1 in the Sew Yeah Quilting booth, signing books and machine quilting live and “in the cloth!” Be sure to stop by for a chat and watch me demo some free-motion quilting on a beautiful new BERNINA!

Christa Quilts Show Entries

I will also have 4 quilts hanging in the show. Clockwise from top: Fractured Puzzle, Churn Dash Slide, Quatrefoil Applique and Swirling Butterflies. (Click on each of the names for more detail about each quilt.)

It’s always exciting to see if any of them will pick up a ribbon. But even if they don’t, this show gives some of the best feedback which always helps me improv my quilts for next time. ūüôā

Christa Quilts Machine Quilting Demo

If you don’t already have my books, you can grab a copy of either at the show and I’ll be glad to personalize it for you. If you plan on attending, please let me know – I’d love to see you there!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Making of Diamond in the Rough Part 2 – The Quilting

Click here to read about Part 1 – My design process for Diamond in the Rough.

Meeting up with Craftsy Acquisitions Editor at QuiltCon

Diamond in the Rough hanging at QuiltCon 2017. I’m with Linda Permann, my editor at Craftsy. I credit her with helping me put a name to the process I use to figure out how to quilt each quilt. It’s called “The Quilter’s Path.” Click here to register for my class of the same name.

Now I’m excited to tell you about how I quilted Diamond in the Rough, since that’s my favorite part of making any quilt! First of all, I printed off a copy of the EQ7 design on a regular 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper. (You can do the same thing by taking a picture of your quilt top and printing it onto paper – black and white is perfectly fine!!)

Machine Quilting Plan

This is the actual sketch I submitted to QuiltCon Magazine when it was accepted.

I always, always make a quilting plan before I quilt so that I can figure out the quilting path I’ll take to get it done. It’s like a puzzle – figuring out what designs I want to put where and how to maneuver around the quilt with the fewest stops and starts. I’m not too worried about scale here. I’m more interested in seeing how the texture of the quilting will look and where I may need to switch thread colors.

Of course, I have to sketch with black ink to see my design, so my quilting plan is pretty rough and quite stark when you look at it. However, from experience I know that I prefer to use a blending thread so that all you see is the overall texture, rather than the individual stitches.

Diamond in the Rough quilting detail

Overall, I’m really happy with how the quilting turned out. I’m just a little bummed that you can’t see the quilting in the black areas. I quilted a textural pebble design in the black triangles. Although I love the contrast of black and white, each time I quilt on black, I remind myself that it doesn’t show up as well as I would like. So I may need to use less black fabric in the future!!

I’m really happy with how the “Switchbacks” and “String of Pearls” quilting turned out in the white areas of the quilt. I teach how to quilt both of those designs in my book Machine Quilting with Style. It was super fun to combine them together in this quilt!

Quilting Detail on Diamond in the Rough

I used very dark gray, red, and white 50 weight cotton thread from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt collection for the machine quilting which I did all on my BERNINA. You can sort of see the pebble quilting on the top row of black diamonds in the image above.

Here’s a view from the back of the quilt where you can see the pebbles better. I normally use the same color thread in the top and bobbin so that any tension imperfections are not noticeable. However, since I didn’t want the dark gray thread showing up too strongly on the light back, I used an invisible thread in the bobbin when I quilted the pebbles. Here’s a tip: wind your bobbin slowly and only fill it half full!

Managing the quilt bulk while machine quilting

First I stitch in the ditch with the BERNINA dual feed before adding free-motion quilting.

Here’s the quilt in progress underneath my machine. I use a very technical process I call “scrunching and smooshing” to wrestle the bulk of the quilt. It’s really no more complicated that twisting and shoving enough of it out of the way so I can see what I’m doing. Here’s another tip: when working with a large quilt on a small machine, just remember you are only quilting about 5-6 inches of the quilt at any time, so it’s normal to stop and shift a LOT!!

QuiltCon 2017 Cover

Right now you can get a digital copy of my Diamond in the Rough quilt pattern in QuiltCon magazine. It includes the instructions for the piecing only, but when the rights revert back to me next year, I’ll release it on my own, most likely in multiple sizes with quilting suggestions.

I was pleased with the comments I received from the QuiltCon judges about the quilt:

  1. Strong offset focal point.
  2. Varied quilting motifs were well chosen and fit areas well.
  3. Strong geometric shapes create graphic visual appeal.

I’ve had at least one quilt in each QuiltCon and have yet to win a ribbon, but it’s still fun to get them accepted. In fact, the main reason I submitted this design for the magazine was that it was a guaranteed entry into the show. Since the other 5 I entered didn’t get in, I was really happy that this one did.

Diamond in the Rough by Christa Watson, at QuiltCon 2017

Making this quilt reminds me what I love most about the modern aesthetic: strong geometric forms, minimalist designs, and plenty of negative space for fun machine quilting. Although I love ALL quilts, making those on the modern end of the design spectrum truly make my heart happy!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

BERNINA Ambassador Blog Hop – Meet Some New Friends!

I love being a brand ambassador for BERNINA and one of the perks about representing this fabulous company is getting to know other amazing ambassadors here in the US. A bunch of us got together recently and thought it would be fun to help our followers get to know more of us better.

BERNINA Ambassador

Scroll to the end of this post for the complete BERNINA blog hop schedule and click all of the links to learn more about each person. ūüôā If you are interested in booking someone for an upcoming guild event or quilt show, each link will go to that person’s website, and emails are included, too.

Christa Watson, BERNINA ambassador

My first project was sewn on a BERNINA back in 1994 and it was love at first stitch! Today, I piece and quilt on a BERNINA 770 QE.

About Christa

I’ve been quilting since the early 90’s but only found my “voice” in the quilting community when I saw a modern quilt in a magazine back in 2012 and attended the first QuiltCon in 2013. I came home from that event on fire with enthusiasm for modern quilting and the larger quilting community in general. Up until that time I had been teaching quilting classes locally, but was under the false impression that I had to wait until my kids were grown and out of the house to start pursuing teaching and publishing as a full time career.

Christa Watson Books

Click here to see all of the quilts from both of my books.

Coming home from QuiltCon was a game changer. I immediately began work on a book proposal which was accepted and then published as Machine Quilting with Style in 2015. That was followed by my second book co-authored with Angela Walters, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting in 2016. I also have a third book coming out later this year (more about that, soon!) My favorite technique to teach is quilting on a domestic machine, and I love seeing that spark of excitement when students realize that they can quilt amazing designs on a home sewing machine!

My family on a recent vacation – these guys are the pride and joy of my life!!

My husband Jason and I run an online store, The Precut Store where we sell precuts and Aurifil thread. He quit his job as a CPA about 10 years ago to join me in the business full-time and we’ve never looked back! Our kids have all worked for us in our business at one time or another and they’ve all decided they are NOT into quilting which is totally ok!!

In fact I have a funny story to tell about mothers and daughters quilting. Although my daughter made a quilt when she was about 8 years old, she has since decided to pursue other creative interests like writing and drawing. She was 12 when I was writing the book with Angela. When she learned that Angela had written a book with her daughter, she came up to me and said, “Mom – is it okay that I don’t want to write a book with you?” I answered, “Of course! Most quilting moms DON’T write actually write books with their daughters, so that’s perfectly fine!”

I have to be truthful and say that quilting consumes most of my day. Since it’s my full-time job I put in a lot of long hours, but since it’s also my hobby, it’s really easy to do! I hope you enjoy getting to know many of the other BERNINA ambassadors – they are quilting and sewing enthusiasts, just like you!

BERNINA ambassador 2015

Some of the BERNINA ambassadors at the 2015 Ambassador Reunion.

BERNINA Ambassador Blog Hop Schedule:

Monday March 20
Lynn Carson Harris harrislc@gmail.com
Kelly Ashton kelly@kellyquilter.com
Diane Doran info@dianedoran.com
Melody Crust melody@melodycrust.com

Tuesday March 21
Kathy Delaney kathy@kathydelaney.com
Christa Watson christa@christaquilts.com
Mandy Leins mandalei@gmail.com

Wednesday March 22
Sandy Fitzpatrick hissyfitz@earthlink.net
Beth Ferrier beth@applewd.com
Cheryl Sleboda cherylsleboda@gmail.com

Thursday March 23
Annie Smith annie@anniesmith.net
Lori Kennedy lckennedy@hotmail.com
Kari Carr kari@newleafstitches.com
Catherine Redford catherine@catherineredford.com

Friday March 24
Joanne Sharpe jzsharpe@yahoo.com
Cherry Guidry cherry@cherryblossomsquilting.com
Jenelle Montilone jenelle@trashn2tees.com

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Pantone Quilt Challenge for 2017 – Featuring Greenery

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to help spread the word about the upcoming Pantone Quilt Challenge for 2017, featuring Greenery. In my opinion, it’s a much more palatable color than those that have been chosen the last couple of years!

Pantone Color of the Year Greenery

This year’s challenge is hosted by Rebecca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts and Sarah Elizabeth of No Hats in the House.¬† The basic idea is that you use Greenery to create a quilt and enter into one of 3 categories.

Pantone Quilt Challenge 2017 judges Carolyn Friedlander, Jennifer Sampou and Christa Watson I’m excited to be one of the judges along with Carolyn Friedlander and Jennifer Sampou.

There will be first, second, and third prizes for all the categories, plus several random “door prizes”. The deadline for all entries is May 29th. Check out either of their blogs (Becca’s and Sarah’s) for complete details. I can’t wait to see all of the amazing entries!

The first place winner in the Quilt Top category will win a box of my Piece and Quilt Thread Collection, courtesy of Aurifil.

Save

Save

Save

The Making of Diamond in the Rough Part 1 – My Design Process

Let me tell you a little about the making of my Diamond in the Rough Quilt, my entry into QuiltCon 2017 that was patterned in QuiltCon Magazine. I want to share quite a bit of detail so I’m going to split this up into two posts.

Diamond in the Rough by Christa Watson, at QuiltCon 2017

Have you noticed how often quilters match their quilts???

Designing in EQ7

I actually came up this design while working on another quilt pattern. The premise for the other design was to use a colorful bundle of fabric, and I originally wanted to do something with HRT’s (half rectangle triangles.) Often, I will start in black and white so I can play with design without color getting in the way. And then many times, like in this quilt, the black and white version takes on a life of its own and becomes a totally different design.

It was easy enough to whip up a simple HRT layout in EQ7:

Diamond in the Rough first sketch

I ended going in a completely different direction for the other quilt but saved this basic layout to come back to later. Once I did, I started playing around with the different shapes that could be made from HRT’s in EQ7. I started with harlequins and I kept all of the construction lines showing so that I could see where all the seam lines would be.

Black and White Harlequins

And then I stated playing around with the individual rows. I really liked the graphic diamond shapes that were possibly simply by rearranging the layout of the individual units.

Harlequin and Diamonds Design

I decided to throw in a big diamond just because and that really struck a chord with me. I decided to add a very skinny border in EQ7 which would represent the binding. I also played around a bit with the bottom rows to see what interesting graphic components would emerge. Many times during my design process, the design will go in several different directions and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities.

However, at this point, I knew I had a keeper! It just needed a pop of color…

Diamond in the Rough sketch

Finally, I added a pop of red by coloring the center diamond plus a small patch of binding on the lower right. I also decided it needed one more row of HRT’s along the bottom to balance the design. Then I hid the seam lines so that I could get a clear visual of what the finished design would look like once sewn together.

Diamond in the Rough Final Design

I love working in EQ7 because I know I’ll be happy with the design before I ever make the first cut. In the next post, I’ll write about how I designed the machine quilting and share a few closeups of the quilting.

Diamond in the Rough by Christa Watson, at QuiltCon 2017

I love it when my finished quilt looks just like my original sketch! The final quilt measures 56″ x 72″ and was made with solids and Color Weave from Benartex. I quilted it with 50 weight Aurifil in Very Dark Grey, White, and Red from my Piece and Quilt thread collection.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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!

My Trip to QuiltCon 2017

QuiltCon 2017 which took place in Savannah, GA, was such a flurry of activity and excitement! I taught 5 classes, gave 1 lecture and had 2 book signings, not to mention multiple meet ups and business brunches. It was a fantastic experience, although quite exhausting. The only thing I regret was not having more time to see the show. I could have spent days staring at all of the amazing quilts and reading all of the artists’ statements. One thing is for sure, I returned home on fire, ready to make some more modern quilts! Here are just a few of the highlights for me…

Meeting up with Craftsy Acquisitions Editor at QuiltCon

Linda and I took a picture in front of my Diamond in the Rough Quilt at QuiltCon.
I’ll share more detailed pics about this quilt in a future blog post.

One of the fabulous people I ran into was Linda Permann, the acquisitions editor for my Craftsy class. We discussed how well my current class is going and talked about future collaborations as well. I’ll be sure and keep you posted as that unfolds! Oh yeah, and she totally made her top. Isn’t it cute???

Machine Quilting Practice, student work from a class by Christa Watson

Student work from “Free-Motion Alternatives to Straight Line Quilting”

I taught three machine quilting classes and was so thrilled watching my students unlock the power of domestic machine quilting. Each time one of them would tell me how much fun they were having, I made sure to let them know it’s just as much fun for me, too!

Student work from Christa Watson machine quilting class at QuiltCon

Student work from “Free-Motion Improv” class

In each class, I shared inspiration images and a mini trunk show so they could see how I apply the motifs I quilt onto actual quilts. Then we practiced drawing out each design so the students could get a feel for how to quilt each shape. The most fun part of any class is when a student takes one of the designs and really makes it their own. I also love it when I hear comments like “I think I can DO this!!” Yes – you definitely can!!! ūüôā

View from the stage at QuiltCon

View from the stage before my lecture. I love how everyone chats and makes  friends!!

I gave a lecture about tips and tricks for quilting on your home sewing machine. My #1 tip is to make a quilting plan and find your path so that you know what you are going to do before you get there. It was really fun to speak to an audience full of enthusiastic quilters and I even brought a few of my quilts so they could come up afterwards and see them “in the cloth.”

Student Work in EQ7 Class

Caroline from Sew Can She attended my EQ class and wrote up a really nice blog post about it.

I also taught 2 Electric Quilt classes plus had a book signing in their booth. The best moment of class for me was when a student said “Now I don’t need to actually sew quilts any more. I can just make them virtually in EQ!!
The Gals of EQThese gals that work for EQ are so amazing! From left to right it’s Jenny, Sara, Christine and Ann. They helped me out in the booth during my book signing as well as during my class. If you ever need technical support for the software, they are happy to give it! (That’s my Square in a square quilt from Machine Quilting with Style that was hanging in their booth.)

Pam and Lynn from The Stitch TV Show

While getting ready for my book signing in the EQ7 booth,¬† I ran into some friends of mine, Pam and Lynn from TheStitchTVShow.com. They ended up helping me set things up and they hung around for a bit, so I always had someone to talk to, LOL!! Lynn is the one that is the same height as me so we decided to put Pam in the middle and create a “Pamwhich.” ūüôā

Angela Walters, Christa Watson, Tula Pink at QuiltCon 2017

Tula and I both agree that Angela is the best co-author ever!

Probably the funniest moment of the show came when Angela and I were signing copies of our book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. Tula Pink heard that we were there so she ended up crashing the party and it turned into the 3 of us signing both our books we wrote with Angela.

While Angela and I were writing our book, she was also working on the book with Tula. I joked around with everyone that I totally didn’t mind that she “quilts around” LOL!!! ūüôā

Stephanie and Stephanie, the Quilting Podcasters

Two quilting podcasters, both named Stephanie

I personally think that QuiltCon is the most interactive quilt show out there. Not only could you hear squeals of delight as internet friends met each other for the first time, but you could take part in the show even if you weren’t there. QuiltCon set up a podcast booth right on the show floor where they invited 4 well-known podcasters to record interviews during the show. I was fortunate enough to be invited to chat for a few minutes with Stephanie from Sit and Sew Radio.

Sit and Sew Radio Podcast

Click here to listen to Sit and Sew Radio – the first QuiltCon edition.

You can also check out thousands of pics on instragram with the hashtags #quiltcon and #quiltcon2017. Plus the MQG has posted images of all the winners.

Machine Quilting Detail from Best of Show at QuiltCon 2017

Machine Quilting detail of Bling, the best of Show winner by Kat Jones.

QuiltCon 2018 will be Pasadena, California with keynote speaker Carolyn Friedlander, then in 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. So far, I’ve attended every show, and I plan to keep going to it every year because I personally think it’s the best party around!

QuiltCon 2018

For further reading, check out my experiences from:
QuiltCon 2016
QuiltCon 2015
QuiltCon 2013

Aurifil Designer Block of the Month 2016 – A Finished Quilt!

I’m pleased to share this beautiful quilt finish by Pat Sloan, an all around amazing person and coordinator of the Aurifil Designer of the Month Series.

Aurifil Designer of the Month 2016 Quilt

If you are just now finding out about this, you can get each of the free block patterns here including those for 2017!

Pat has also created instructions to make the layout here.

My block is the improv star shown on the first row on the right.
Improv Star block for Aurifil

Click here to get the free download to make this block pattern.

I am a huge fan of Aurifil thread. In fact, I use 50 weight cotton thread for everything I do – piecing, quilting and binding. I released my first thread collection with Aurifil at the end of last year. It’s appropriately named the Piece and Quilt Collection.

Piece and Quilt Aurifil thread by Christa Watson

I’m super excited to be working with Aurifil on an exciting adventure coming up next year. I hate to be a tease, but I’ll let you know more about it soon, so stay tuned!!!

Click here to get my Piece and Quilt Collection in Colors or Neutrals.

Piece and Quilt Neutrals Aurifil Thread from Christa Quilts

When you make the Aurifil Designer of the Month quilt, click here to share it on Pat’s site!

finsihed-aurifil-quilt-2016-with-pat-sloan

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

New PDF Pattern Release – Stepping Stones (on Sale)

After the success of my most recent pattern launch for Positive Direction, I’m back again with my second new release of the year. I’d like to introduce you to Stepping Stones, available as an instant PDF download through my Craftsy pattern shop.

Stepping Stones quilt pattern by Christa Watson of Christa QuiltsClick here to get Stepping Stones on sale now for just $5.95!

Stepping Stones was originally patterned as “Easy Going” in Quilts and More magazine and available in one size only. Now I have expanded the pattern to include 4 sizes from Crib to Queen. It’s super fast to make and is perfect to use up that favorite fat quarter bundle you’ve been hoarding. Or bust your stash by cutting each block from 2 different fabrics!

Stepping Stones Quilt Pattern in 4 Sizes

Make Stepping Stones in 4 sizes: Crib, Throw, Twin or Queen!

Stepping Stones fabric requiremenets

Stepping Stones Fabric Requirements – It’s Fat Quarter Friendly!

I used Me + You Hoffman batiks which gives it a bit of a modern vibe. I chose cool colors of teals, blues, and greens with a bit of yellow and tan to create some warm pops of color. I used leftovers to make a whimsical scrappy binding.

Machine Quilting Boxes on Stepping Stones

I also include quilting suggestions so that you can quilt it the same way I did, if you are so inclined. I quilted Stepping Stones using one of my favorite geometric motifs – boxes. This quilting motif looks great on both modern and traditional quilts.

Machine Quilting Plan for Boxes

I love including quilting plans and machine quilting suggestions in my patterns!

Machine Quilting Detail

I used Aurifil 50 wt. 100% cotton thread from my Piece and Quilt Collection to make the quilt from start to finish. I’ve curated a rainbow of color that allows me to piece, quilt and bind any quilt I wish to make!

Stepping Stones Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

Jason and I had a great time taking pics out in the desert behind our home. I enjoy making the quits, and he enjoys photographing them so you can really see the details!

The key to making this quilt sparkle is by choosing several very light fabrics for the skinny strips between the blocks. Then, when it comes to choosing colors for this quilt, anything goes!

Stepping Stones by Christa Watson

Stepping Stones is on sale now at the intro price of just $5.95 through the end of the month, on Tuesday February 28th. After that, it will go back up to the regular price of $9.95 so grab it while you can! Then be sure to share your progress with me in my facebook group while you make it.

Click here to view my PDF pattern shop and stock up on your favorites!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save