Results from my Entries into DQN Quilt Show 2019 – Quilt Las Vegas

Earlier this spring, my local quilt guild held their annual show which has been going on for nearly 30 years (I think). It’s always fun to participate in my guild, and even more thrilling when my entries get a ribbon. So I thought I’d share them with you – along with the judging feedback I received:

Bling – Honorable Mention, Modern Category

Bling Quilt by Christa WatsonBling quilt pattern is now available in Print (click here) or PDF (click here).

This is the original version of my Bling quilt, made using a Fandangle fat quarters plus white background fabric. (I recently remade 2 more versions of the quilt using Geo Pop fat quarters with white or black background.)

Judge’s Comments for this quilt:
  • Print choices and placement create a lively quilt.
  • The woven quilting design contributes movement and texture.
  • Very good binding technique.
  • Pieced binding frames quilt well and contributes to unity.

Modern Star Struck – 2nd Place Pieced, Single Maker

Modern Starstruck by Christa Watson

The pattern for Starstruck can be found in my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

This is one of my favorite quilts because it was made using every fabric in my very first fabric line Modern Marks. The pattern comes from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts and I was happy to be able to get a good color contrast without using any background fabrics. It’s all in how you pair them up! (The original quilt from the book was made in black and white.)

free-motion quilting on starstruck

Click here to get a Modern Marks fat quarter bundle – while supplies last!

The prints in this quilt are pretty busy so it’s hard to see the quilting, but I really enjoyed quilting it densely with 2 different designs in each block – that’s a total of 48 different motifs in one quilt!

Judge’s Comments for this quilt:
  • Excellent variety of prints create visual texture.
  • Very good value contrast between stars and background in individual blocks.
  • Blocks are well pieced.
  • Outside quilt edges should be straight and corners should be 90 degrees.
  • Good binding technique.

Color Weave – 1st Place Modern

Color Weave Quilt by Christa Watson

Click here to join the quilt along to make this quilt.
Color Weave was made from Abstract Garden precut strips + background.

It’s always hard to get a good pic of quilts hanging in a show, due to lighting and space constraints, but I love how the quilting shows up in this picture. I was pleasantly surprised at the positive comments I overhead about this quilt while walking the show. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a thing for bright, rainbow quilts!

Judge’s Comments for this quilt:
  • Beautiful color gradation.
  • Print choices lend wonderful visual texture.
  • Strong vertical lines are created through fabric placement.
  • Outside quilt corners should be 90 degrees.
  • Variegated thread unifies quilt top and provides visual accents on gray background fabrics.

Overall, I’m very pleased that the judge liked my bold bright colors and my busy fabric prints. The quilting wasn’t the star of the show in any of these quilts – and in fact, 2 of them utilized very simple walking foot quilting. I haven’t been entering as many quilt shows this year because I’ve been so busy designing fabrics and writing quilt patterns. But this was just the boost I needed to make it a priority once again!

Quilt Las Vegas 2018 and Lots of Gorgeous Modern Quilts

My local quilt guild, Desert Quilters of Nevada. recently held their 28th annual show of Quilt Las Vegas. I’ve been entering off and on over the years since the early 2000’s and it’s still exciting to participate after all these years.

DQN Quilted banner by Karen Garth

Desert Quilters of Nevada quilted banner made by past president Karen Garth

The competition is always fierce, and the judging is always performed by a certified judge. Even after all these years of entering this show, it’s still thrilling whenever one of my quilts wins a ribbon and I love the feedback provided by the judge.

Below are my entries from the show along with the judge’s comments, plus several more that caught my eye. I’m so happy to see that more and more members are making modern quilts, and especially that more are being accepted into non-modern categories. Enjoy the virtual show!

Diamond in the Rough by Christa Watson

Diamond in the Rough, made in 2016. 2nd place, Modern category.
Originally patterned in QuiltCon magazine 2017, it hung in QuiltCon last year and also received an honorable mention in the modern category at UQSM quilt show in 2017.

Judge’s comments for Diamond in the Rough

  • Repetition of shape unifies design while variations provide interest.
  • Very graphic presentation.
  • Very good piecing.
  • Quilting designs are well-chosen for their areas.
  • Good machine quilting technique.
  • Slight imbalance in tension noted with red thread. Continue to strive for accurate retracing.
  • Bit of red in binding was a good choice.
  • Binding is good.

Positive Direction Quilt by Christa Watson

Positive Direction, made in 2016. 2nd place, Holiday category.
Originally patterned in one size in Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine.
Updated pattern now includes 4 sizes, available as print pattern or PDF download.

Judge’s comments for Positive Direction

  • Good interplay between quilt top design and quilting design.
  • Very good accuracy in piecing.
  • Good machine quilting technique.
  • Strive for more accuracy in retracing bubbles.
  • Binding is well done.

Scrap Happy by Christa Watson

Scrap Happy, made in 2017. 2nd place, Pieced – One Person category
Cover quilt + patterned in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine, October 2017.
I recently gifted this quilt to my son to take with him to college.

Scrap Happy Machine Quilting Detail

Machine Quilting Detail on Scrap Happy

Judge’s comments for Scrap Happy

  • Good definition between figure and ground.
  • Good machine piecing.
  • Colors are well balanced across quilt top.
  • Quilting designs further enhance definition between figure and ground.
  • Continue to strive for consistent stitch length in machine quilting.
  • Pieced binding enhances scrappy feel. Corners should be square.

I always mention to my students when teaching machine quilting not to stress too much about consistent stitch length when making their quilts. Yes, judges notice my “imperfections” in my quilts, but they still like them enough to award them ribbons, and I love making them without stressing about creating perfect stitches!

Other Gorgeous Quilts

Autumn Path quilt by Vicki Ruebel

Autumn Leaf by Vicki Ruebel of Orchid Owl Quilts
1st Place Pieced – One Person category and best machine quilting.

Vicki is a great friend and amazing quilter. We encourage each to other enter lots of quilt shows and I don’t even mind that she usually beats me every time, LOL!!

I love our friendly competition because it always pushes me to be a better quilter. Incidentally, her quilt was also patterned in the same issue of American Patchwork and quilting that has Scrap Happy on the cover. There’s even a bonus article on how she quilted it!

The Big Pickle by Vicki Ruebel

The Big Pickle, also by Vicki Ruebel. 1st Place, Modern

Yep, this one beat mine in the modern category, but isn’t it fabulous? This quilt nabs an award at each show it is entered, and deservedly so!

Corn Flowers by Cory Allender

Corn Flowers by Cory Allender and her Instagram quilting bee.
2nd place, collaboration/group quilt.
Design source: Blossom Heart Quilts Beehive

I love the quilting on this quilt. Cory is an amazing award winning longarm quilter and she’s nailed both the modern and traditional aesthetic.

Diamond Rings by Karen Garth

Diamond Rings by Karen Garth, Honorable Mention Modern Category
Original design and made by Karen

Karen, the past president who made the DQN banner at the top of this post always creates such stunning, dynamic work. I have a thing for black and white and this design really makes my heart sing!

Float by Melissa Bonilla

Float by Melissa Bonilla – Modern Category
inspired by Floating Embers

Every time I attend quilt shows, I wish I could bring my own ribbons! If so, I would have put one on Melissa’s quilt above. I may actually have to do that at a show someday. Hmmm, maybe I can create my own “Christa’s Choice” ribbon!!!

Modern Logs Quilt

Super Star Bingo by Lynda Blair – quilted by Cory Allender – Modern

I walked by this quilt and was stunned by the gorgeous colors and fabric placement. I was thinking “why do I love this quilt?” and on closer inspection realized the maker had used my Modern Logs quilt pattern to make it, LOL!! She even gave me credit in her artist’s statement as the design source.

Super Star Bingo Text

I’m totally happy when people make quilts from my patterns and enter them into shows, and I especially love it when they give credit to the designer. 🙂

Quilt Show Quilts

Bertha (left) by Melissa Curley – Third Place Modern
Theresa’s Crayon Box (right) by Theresa C – Third place, small pieced

I took this picture from the show which illustrates what I love about quilting and the quilting community. From minimalist modern designs to blinged and bedazzled art pieces – there’s truly something for everyone when it comes to quilting!

Ben Modern Quilt by Melissa Curley

Ben by Melissa Curley –  Judge’s Choice – Show Theme Category

Here’s another fabulous piece by Melissa Curley. I’m a fan of everything she makes and her sense of design and color are spot on! I think it’s kinda cool that she gives all of her quilts first names. Read her artist statement below, explaining the fun pop culture reference.

Artists Statement at Quilt Show

I hope you’ve enjoyed the virtual show and remember – entering quilts into shows isn’t really about the competition. It’s about sharing your work with a larger audience and inspiring others to make quilts they’d only dream about!!

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. 🙂

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!












Las Vegas Quilt Show This Weekend! (And Special Modern Exhibit)

I love spring. Every year at this time, my traditional guild, Desert Quilters of Nevada puts on their annual quilt show and it is such fun! If you will be near the Las Vegas area, be sure to stop by!


The show features lots of quilts, dolls and wearable items along with awesome vendors. I’m super happy that there is a modern category, and I’m even a little bit more involved this year.

On Friday and Saturday at 11 am and 1 pm each day, I will be presenting a modern “bed turning” of quilts made from members of DQN and Las Vegas MQG. Quilts are literally stacked up on a bed and I’ll go through each one, talking about what makes it modern, plus sharing a little history and info about modern quilting. Of course, I’ll share a few of my own quilts, too. Plus there will be a display of modern minis for viewers to enjoy. The lecture and exhibit are free with paid admission, so stop by and say hi if you are there. It should be fun!


Show prep, from @desertquiltersofnevada on Instagram. Clockwise: hanging art quilts, photography of each and every piece in the show, quilt frame assembly, judging.

This year I put 4 quilts in the show and can’t wait to see them hanging and learn how the judging went. I love this show because even though my style is definitely modern, I love my traditional roots! I’ll be sharing live updates from the show on instagram, so follow me @christaquilts. I’ll be sure to share a wrap up of the show here on the blog next week!

Modern Quilts at My Local Guild’s Show

Quilt Las Vegas 2015

I’ve been a proud member of the Desert Quilters of Nevada for over 18 years now. I’ve participated in their quilt shows for nearly as long and was so pleased when they included a modern category in 2013 and 2014. They did the same thing again this year and I was really impressed with the quality of the quilts in all categories. For your viewing pleasure, I’ll share some of the modern quilts from the show and a few others that caught my eye. Enjoy!

bigstar_vickiBig Star by Vicki Ruebel 66″ x 66″ – 1st Place Modern

diamondback_karenDiamondback by Karen Eaton Garth 21″ x 35″ – 2nd Place Modern

eveningeditionEvening Edition by Suzanne Mayfield, 3rd Place Modern

modernlogsModern Logs by Christa Watson 48″ x 54″ – Honorable Mention Modern (Yay!)

memyshadowMe & My Shadow by Vicki Ruebel 51″ x 36″,  Art Category – Overall Judge’s Choice

lizards_openLizards in the Sunshine by Karen Atkinson 31″ x 31″ – 1st Place Open Category

southwestmedallion_karenSouthwest Medallion by Karen Eaton Garth 72″ x 90″ – 3rd Place Pieced, Machine Quilted, Large

colorfulchevronsColorful Chevrons by Christa Watson 64″ x 80″ – 3rd Place Pieced, Machine Quilted Small (Yay!)


 Modern Cubism by Kathy Melcic 47″ x 63, Modern Category (Her interpretation of my Charming Chevrons pattern from the DQN quilt retreat 2013 – Yay!)

selvagedSelvaged #2 by Wilhelmina Willis 63″ x 63″, Open Category


Cathedral Windows by Darrin Martin 76″ x 90″, Open Category

There were over 230 quilts, accessories, clothing and dolls in the show, and it was quite a fiber feast for the eyes! My only critique of the show is that I wished all items from the same category could have been hung together, but I know they were limited on space and had to make do. I just love attending and participating in quilt shows. 🙂

Now that we are full-swing into quilt show season, which shows will you be attending this year?

Christa’s Soap Box – Modern Quilting Validation

It’s no secret I’ve fallen head over heels for modern quilting and the community that surrounds it. Because of this vibrant movement, I’ve probably made more meaningful quilts in the last year than I have in the previous ten years combined! This weekend my tastes were validated when 3 of my modern quilts took 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons in my traditional guild’s annual quilt show. 🙂

20140404_ribbon_buttonsRibbon winners got to wear these buttons of pride while walking around the show!

I’ve been a member of the Desert Quilters of Nevada going on 18 years now. It’s a lively group, full of encouragement and support. Even though I’m one of the youngest of the 400+ member group (and have been ever since I joined nearly 2 decades ago), the guild has offered me a place to share my quilts, practice my teaching skills, and attend amazing workshops and events.

20140404_stringofpearls_dqnString of Pearls by Christa Watson, 1st Place – DQN Pieced Category 2014

DQN is very open minded when it comes to the latest happenings in the quilt world. They have a very healthy art quilt subgroup and they’ve even recently started a modern “circle.”

I’m super excited that they’ve invited me to teach String of Pearls at this year’s annual quilting retreat. But I’m even more jazzed that the theme of the retreat is going to be “It’s a Modern World.” I mean, how cool is that??

20140404_dqn_modern_x_2ndModern X by Christa Watson, 2nd Place – DQN Modern Category 2014

At the show it was fun to see people walk by Modern X and do a double take. One gentleman I spoke to, a long-arm quilter by trade, couldn’t figure out where I started and stopped my lines of stitching.

When I told him I quilted long lines from one edge of the quilt to the other on my Bernina, he said you couldn’t really do that type of uninterrupted straight-line quilting on a long arm. (Score one for the domestic quilters!)

20140404_dqn_spiralling_3rdSpiraling Out of Control by Christa Watson, 3rd Place – DQN Modern Category

And I have to admit, it was super validating when Spiraling Out of Control took a 3rd place ribbon. This is probably my most favorite quilt to date and one where I really stretched myself doing stuff I’d never tried before. I always try to remind everyone (including myself) that I don’t enter my quilts in shows to win ribbons, but it sure is like icing on the cake when they do!

I have to give a final shout out to this fabulous quilt below which is NOT mine. It was made by one of my students who began it in my Charming Chevrons class last year. I couldn’t have been more proud to see that ribbon hanging on it!

20140404_dqn_grey_chevy_stuGray Chevy by Suzanne Mayfield, quilted by Brenda Alcorn, 1st Place – DQN Modern Category

Suzanne kindly credited me in her description as the pattern designer, so in some small way, I even got to be a part of this award-winning quilt, too!

20140404_chevy_tagWell, now you know what this means – it’s time to go make more quilts!

How to Host a Great Quilt Retreat

I attended a super fun quilting retreat this weekend, put on my my local quilting guild, Desert Quilters of Nevada. I’ve been attending their annual retreat nearly every year for the past 13 years. (I know how long it’s been because I met my BQF – Best Quilting Friend – Stacy there when we were both expecting our sons who are now 13!)

Scrappy Trip Along

Stacy and Her American Jane Scrappy Trip Along

I got to thinking about why I attend each year and what makes it just so darn fun, so I thought I would compile a list of what makes it “sew” special!

(1) Be sure there’s plenty of room for everyone who wants to attend.

Our guild consists of over 400 members and about 25% of them attend the retreat each year. The retreat committee does a wonderful job of finding large enough venues to host 100+ people in a comfortable setting.

Retreat Room

This was just the left side of the room – we had twice this much space!

We were in a large permanent tent structure with plenty of room. It was industrial looking and got a little chilly in the evenings, but the committe cozied up the place with plenty of colorful quilts.

(2) Keep the costs reasonable!

We are in Las Vegas and the retreat was held about an hour outside of town so it was a quick and easy drive. The 3 day event cost $150 to attend plus $50 per night for a hotel. There was an additional fee of $10-$20 per class, but only if you wanted to take one. All of the classes were taught by guild members (like me!) to keep the costs down. The teachers were paid for their classes based on how many students signed up.

2013 Retreat Teachers

2013 Retreat Teachers

(3) Serve Yummy Food

We were treated to 2 breakfasts, lunches and dinners as part of the retreat. The food was good yet inexpensive. Water and juice were the main beverages, with plenty of desserts to choose from. Many of the attendees came up a day or two early and were on their own for food until the retreat officially began, but there were plenty of reasonable places to eat nearby.


Chicken and Fish for Dinner on Saturday Night

(4) Give away fun door prizes.

Every single attendee received a swag bag and each person won a stack of fabrics, books, or notions as door prizes throughout the event. In addition, the adorable table centerpieces were given away as grand prizes at the close of the event.


Quilt and Doll Centerpieces

After attending so many retreats, I finally won a mini quilt as a prize. Quilters love winning quilts, especially when someone else makes them!


Mini Quilt Prize

(5) Offer fun classes.

I taught my Charming Chevrons quilt and was so amazed at all the color variations my students came up with. Their styles varied from modern to traditional and they all did a fantastic job sewing their blocks together! I’m sure many of them will go on to be award winners at our upcoming quilt show in the spring.

Chevron Quilts

Charming Chevrons Students

(6) Allow for plenty of open sewing time.

Although classes were offered throughout the entire retreat, many chose to have open sewing time the whole weekend. We were able to start early and sew until late, in between eating, chatting and hanging out.


Hand Embroidered Stitchery

Many people enjoyed doing their own thing, like my friend Sherri. She’s really into silk ribbon embellishment and hand embroidery work. She didn’t even bring a machine! Instead, sat and stitched by hand the entire weekend.

Dresden Plates

Dresden Plate Blocks

Two retreat-goers sitting right next to each other were working on Dresden plate blocks in different sizes. Aren’t they just the cutest?

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

DQN Quilt Show 2013 Modern Quilts

After attending my local guild’s quilt show this past weekend, my daughter is thrilled that I am giving her my Hugs ‘n Kisses quilt.

Hugs 'n Kisses

Jenna’s Hugs ‘n Kisses by Christa Watson

While there was a “modern” category at the show for the first time ever, there were quite a few quilts entered into other categories that I would also classify as modern. Here they are for you to enjoy (and you will notice many of them won ribbons as well):

Cranes in Octagon

Cranes in Octagon by Ruthie Kerr
3rd Place, Hand Quilted


Heat by Lorraine Allers, Quilted by Sheilah Crum
1st Place Wall Quilt, Professionally Quilted


Enso by Rickie Seifreid, Quilted by Linda Natale
2nd Place Mixed Technique, Professionally Quilted

Fast Triad

Fast Triad by Bobbie Stoner
1st Place, Modern Quilt, Small

A Little Bit Modern

A Little Bit Modern by Marcella Peek
1st Place, Modern Quilt, Large

X Marks the Spot

X Marks the Spot by Michael Coughran, Quilted by Lin Zhao


A-maze-ing by Karen Atkinson
2nd Place, Machine Quilted Wall Quilt

Optical Illusion

Optical Illusion by Kathy Williamson, Quilted by Dana Stauffer
2nd Place, Large Quilt Professionally Quilted

Modern Circles

Modern Circles by Ann Pugh
3rd Place, Modern Quilt, Small

Aboriginal Suns

Aboriginal Suns by Lorraine Allers, Quilted by Brenda Alcorn
3rd Place, Mixed Techniques

Baby Bricks

Baby Bricks by Christa Watson, Baby Quilt

Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons by Christa Watson
2nd Place, Modern Quilt, Small

You can read some excerpts from last year’s quilt show here, here, and here.

Happy Quilting!

Desert Quilters of Nevada Award Winning Quilts 2013

My daughter and I attended my traditional guild’s show today and it was great to see so many beautiful quilts. I was thrilled to find a second place ribbon on my Charming Chevrons quilt and a third place on my Baby French Roses.

Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons by Christa Watson
2nd Place, Modern Quilt Movement

They gave us cute little buttons to wear that matched our awards. I am not a ribbon-chaser, but earning some sure does give me validation as a quilter!

Roses for Katelyn

Roses for Katelyn by Christa Watson
3rd Place, Mixed Techniques

Here are more award-winning quilts for you to enjoy. I wish I had room to show them all!

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget by J. Lee Bagan
Best of Show, Small

Flower Penny Garden

Flower Penny Garden by Jean Bailey, quilted by Valerie Krueger
Best of Show, Large

Lotus Blossom

Lotus Blossom by Cory Allender
Judge’s Choice

Round and Round

Round and Round by Elwyn McGaugh
1st Place, Hand Quilted

Fire Dancers

Fire Dancers by Helen Prosser and Karen Garth
1st Place, Collaboration Quilt

Happy Hour

Happy Hour by Cynthia Anderson
1st Place, Pieced Wall Quilt

Churn Dash Crazy

Churn Dash Crazy by Cher Chu, Quilted by Diane Chipman
President’s Choice


Migration by Karen Garth
Show Chair’s Choice


Desert Quilters of Nevada by Guild President Karen Garth
2013 Challenge Winner

The next time I post, I’ll show pictures of many outstanding modern quilts seen at the show!