Podcast Review – Modern Sewciety

Today I’m pleased to share the newest quilting podcast I just started listening to. It’s called Modern Sewciety and is hosted by Stephanie Kendron. I first heard about this delightful show during a previous podcast review when one of you shared a list of quilting podcasts you listen to. So thanks for that!

20140401_modern_sewcietyModern Sewciety podcast. All images courtesy of Stephanie Kendron.

Modern Sewciety is all about sharing what other modern creative bloggers are up to. Stephanie interviews a different talented blogger each week from the world of sewing, quilting and crafting. Many of them are names I recognize, while several of her guests have been new to me (but are on my list to follow now!)

Stephanie’s sweet southern drawl combined with her positive attitude makes for a pleasant listening experience! I think her show is unique in that she doesn’t follow an outline or a script as she talks to her guests. Instead, she lets the conversation happen naturally and the show sounds more like a lively chat than a formal interview.

20140401_ms_arApril Rhodes was recently on the show, chatting it up about her new fabric line and all kinds of fun sewing inspiration!

Stephanie really knows her priorities and strikes me as one of those people that knows how to makes things happen. On her podcast, she’s mentioned how she just puts herself out there, emails people to come on the show, and for the most part, they say yes.

carolynfriedlanderOne of my favorite recent episodes was when she had Carolyn Friedlander on the show. The banter between the two of them was genuine and so refreshing to listen to. Stephanie seems to put all of her guests at ease, whether she’s known them for a long time, or has just barely met them.

I was also delighted to hear Amy Ellis come on the show. I’m a big fan of Amy’s podcast as well, so it was really fun to listen to her being the interview-ee as well as an interview-er. 🙂 I’m telling you guys, for those of you who may not have a vibrant (modern) quilting community nearby, this show really makes you feel like you are a part of that community!

20140401_ms_aeAnother unique aspect of the show is the inclusion of the Downton Abbey dish, co-hosted by the ever adorable Jennifer Mathis (of Ellison Lane and Sew South)! There are 7 “dish” episodes this year and they plan to do it again next season when the show returns.

I recently asked Jennifer for her take on it and she said, “Stephanie and I found we could chat forever about DA and all the characters. Really it was just a great excuse for us to watch it carefully and analyze it further. It was a lot of fun!” Each Downton Abbey podcast is clearly marked so you can listen (or skip) at your leisure!

20140401_ms_ddWhen I asked Stephanie her reasons for deciding to host a podcast all about the “Modern Sewciety” she had this to say:

“My goal is to allow others to hear those they admire so much in this community speak about their passions, their projects, their love for creating. I hope to spark creativity in those listening. I feel like so often we think everyone is doing so many things and creating all of the time when in reality they are just like us. They have doubts and fears too. I really hope the podcast helps connect and inspire our community.”

20140402_stephanie_modernsewcietyStephanie Kendron, host of Modern Sewciety

I think she’s nailed it! Modern Sewciety runs an average of 45 minutes to an hour, and new episodes are posted weekly, usually on Wednesday or Thursday. You can subscribe via your usual podcast stations like Itunes, Stitcher etc. Or you can listen to them right on Stephanie’s blog at Modern Sewciety. I hope you listen and enjoy. I can’t wait for the next one!


A Little Light Reading…

Since taking up modern quilting, I’ve had a desire to learn more about modern art and graphic design, in order to better understand what makes a successful modern quilt. I’m also trying to figure out why I’m drawn to these quilts so much. I just love the graphic quality of high-contrast modern quilts with their sleek lines and lack of embellishment.

Modern Art BooksI’m still kicking myself for not pursuing art in college (yeah, yeah, a business degree was so much more “practical”). But as they say, it’s never to late to learn! Jason was observant enough to see my recent interest in art history as it pertains to quilting, and he quickly ordered a couple of used books for me from Amazon so that I can pursue a little independent study on my own. 🙂

How about you? What moves you to action and inspires you to learn?

Christa’s Soap Box – An Anniversary Of Sorts…

I know everyone loves to celebrate their blogging anniversary or quilting anniversary or what have you. Today I’m celebrating my 1 year anniversary of officially considering myself a modern quilter. (Granted, I’ve been actually quilting more or less for the pass 18 years, but the 17 years prior to discovering modern quilting was just “practice!”)

It was just a year ago that I discovered the modern quilt movement, decided to attend QuiltCon and started blogging on a regular basis. I recently joined the Modern Quilt Guild and it’s so exciting to be part of such of a vibrant community.

LVMQGMQGI’ve been in love with quilting from the moment I picked up a needle and thread. But there’s just something about the clean lines, bold colors, and sleek aesthetic of modern quilting that really appeals to me.

Sure, I still love traditional quilts, art quilts, practical quilts, show quilts… heck ANY quilts! I love the stories behind the makers and the art of the cloth. Over the years I always had this inner voice telling me to “find my niche” with my quilting.  Was it paper piecing? Decadent multi-pointed star quilts? How about retro and repro quilts? Easy quilts? Novelty quilts?

I liked them all, but none of the styles ever beckoned to me in such a way as modern quilting has done. Sure, my tastes may still lean a bit toward the “modern traditionalism” side of things, but even that is evolving.

Modern QuiltingModern QuiltingModern QuiltingModern Quilting

I literally get a pounding in my heart when I think of all the possibilities of modern quilting. Part of the reason for me putting on the designer’s hat is because I just have to get all these ideas onto paper and made into cloth!

In fact, I’ve probably been more serious about my quilting in the last year than I have in the previous nearly 2 decades of sewing. Part of me wishes I had discovered modern quilting earlier. In the last year I’ve been able to tick off many of the quilting goals I set for myself and I can’t wait to accomplish more of them over the next year. 🙂

String of Pearls QuiltingPress Seams Open

If I had known about modern quilting longer, just think what I could have accomplished the last few years! My solace is that modern quilting as a recognized movement is relatively new so I feel like I’m still on the cutting edge of something fantastic.

Where will it lead next? I’m not quite sure but I will definitely enjoy the ride!

Christa’s Soap Box – Defining Modern Quilting

QuiltCon 2013Ever since attending QuiltCon in February, I’ve been giving some serious thought to modern quilting and what it means to me.

While filling out a recent application to teach a quilting class, I was asked to define how I interpret modern quilting.

This is what I said, “I’m attracted to quilts with bright clear colors, bold geometric designs, and lots of negative space to showcase extensive machine quilting.”

MQGI was very pleased to find that the Modern Quilt Guild has refined their definition of modern quilting to the  following statement, taken from their website:

“Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. ‘Modern traditionalism’ or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.”

Modern Log Cabin

Modern Log Cabin at QuiltCon, made by members of the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild

I love this because coming from a traditional quilting background, I find myself drawn to modern traditional quilts. Probably the thing I love most about modern quilting is seeing all of these quilters taking classic quilting patterns like log cabins, stars and hexagons and interpreting them in new ways.

Modern Table Runner

Modern Hexagon Table Runner and Placemats by Alyssa Lichner

One of the definitions I heard at QuiltCon was that modern quilting was definitely not “art quilting”, although one could argue that they are very artistically well-done and they certainly are beautiful works of art!

I appreciate the quality workmanship that goes into making a modern quilt and the fact that modern quilters are not afraid of doing handwork or projects that may take a little longer to complete. I recently wrote a blog post about slowing down and enjoying the process and I think that is the epitome of modern quilting.

Modern Quilt Blocks

Christa’s Modern Quilt Blocks

Many modern quilters will also dive right and and quilt their own quilts, something that thrills me immensely! (Read my soapbox post about quilting your own quilts!)

LV MQGSo am I a modern quilter? I think I find myself heading in that direction, yet the whole point of modern quilting is not to narrowly define oneself or one’s quilts.

As one of the lecturers at QuiltCon noted (I forget who), I am a quilter first, a modern quilter second.

What I Learned from QuiltCon 2013

My head is still reeling from all of the QuiltCon awesomeness over the weekend. I hope you are not tired of me blogging about it yet! You can read about many the awesome quilts here.

When I arrived at the Austin Airport, I knew I was for a treat. In fact, I met a couple of gals on the plane headed to QuiltCon who were so friendly, even though we had just met. This was just the beginning of a weekend full of fun and friendship. Most everyone who attended was meeting people for the first time, and I felt like we all finally found an excuse in this world to be nice to each other. If all the world quilted, it would be a peaceful world indeed!

Austin, Texas Airport

Austin, Texas Airport

The first day there, I started running into people that I had only met online before. Here are Faith from Fresh Lemons and Katie from Swim, Bike, Quilt. They were so sweet and fun to hang out with. In turn, they introduced me to several of their other blogger friends and we all had a wonderful dinner together Thursday night. When I asked how they all knew each other, they all responded the same, “from blogging, of course!” I knew right then and there that these were my peeps!

Faith and Katie

The next day I took a machine quilting class with Angela Walters. Angela is probably the most fun and enthusiastic quilting teacher I’ve ever met. I took lots of notes, not only on how to be a better machine quilter, but how to be a better quilt teacher, too! I asked her if she’d be my BFF and she said, yes!! (I think she says yes to everyone – but hey, I don’t care. I quilt-around, and I am not ashamed to admit it!)

Angela Walters

Here’s Lee (from Freshly Pieced) and I next to the long-arm machines. While I prefer to quilt on my Bernina, the class was wonderful because Angela taught us techniques and design ideas that we could apply to any quilt. She gave me permission to share some of the designs in my quilts – so watch for that in my next quilt-along!

Christa and Lee

Friday night, I met up with a bunch of gals from Pile O’Fabric’s Skillbuilder Block of the Month. We talked quilting, discussed our BOM progress and had a pincushion swap. This is the one I received from Deirdre – isn’t it the cutest?? Thanks to Alyssa for putting this on!

Christa and Deirdre

In between socializing and viewing all of the lovely Quilts, I attended several of the informative lectures. I learned more about how to get my work published into books and magazines (keep doing what I’m doing, but save a few original ideas to debut professionally in print, not on the blog – sorry gals!)

Magazine Editors

Bill Gardner, Editor-in-Chief of Quilters Newsletter
Vicki Anderson, CEO & Publisher, Modern Quilts Unlimited

I also learned more about the history of modern quilting, and that we women are emotional and can cry at the drop of the hat when overcome by quilting awesomeness!

I learned what “alternate grid” design means. Instead of laying things out neatly in columns and rows, an alternate grid structure is used to create more randomness and I think, a more interesting aesthetic appeal.

Regular Grid Quilt

Regular Grid Quilt

Alternate Grid Quilt

Alternate Grid Quilt

Modern quilting is definitely not art quilting; yet it is not constrained by traditional design.

It’s somewhere in between. In her lecture, Heather Grant said, “Art quilting is to fine art, as Modern quilting is to graphic art.” I also learned that making a quilt from “modern” fabric does not make it modern! (Well, I already thought that, but now it was confirmed.)

Ellen Rushman

Ellen Rushman, Lecture on Modern Quilting Research

Some new areas of modern quilting that I would like to explore are making a low volume quilt (think lots of neutrals), and making quilts on an exaggerated scale (think pixelization but with clearer images). I also want to teach my own modern version of applique.

How will this all of this new knowledge influence me in the future? I now feel a little more focused in the direction that I want to take with my quilting, both personally and professionally. While my next quilt-along is set to launch tomorrow, the one after that will definitely be more modern!

Free Bag from Kaufman

Free Bag from Kaufman

Michael Miller Fabric Reps

Michael Miller Fabric Reps

I also have a better understanding for  the kinds of modern fabrics I want to add to my store. I will definitely be adding more Kona Cotton Solids, and I will constantly be on the lookout for more cool collections (from Michael Miller and others!)

Watch for my next post on Celebrity Quilter encounters at QuiltCon, later in the week!

Additional Posts I wrote About QuiltCon 2013

More Amazing Quilts from QuiltCon 2013

QuiltCon was the most amazing quilting event I’ve ever been to in my life! You can see pictures of all of the Award Winning Quilts by clicking on these links below:

Participation RibbonMy head is so full of inspiration right now that I feel like it’s going to burst! I think I will spend most of  this week blogging, and  getting my ideas organized and written down.

Every quilt that was entered received a participation button that looked like a mini-ribbon, so it’s like my own personal keepsake.

I can’t thank the organizers enough for all their hard work! I am already anticipating the next QuiltCon in 2015.

Here are more beautiful quilts from the show that really touched me in some way:

Touch This Quilt

Touch This Quilt by Elizabeth Hartman, Hillsboro, Oregon

QuiltCon Block Challenge

QuiltCon Block Challenge by Members of the Modern Quilt Guild
Assembled and Quilted by Elizabeth Hartman

Spin Dr.

Spin Dr. by Angela Walters, Kearney, Missouri

In Defense of Handmade

In Defense of Handmade (Bar Code) by Thomas Knauer
Quilted by Lisa Sipes, Utica, New York


Texas by Dana Michaelsen, Quilted by Angela Walters
Los Angeles, California


Pointless by Laura Bisagna, Winchester, California


Stella! by Susan Strong, Quilted by Ardelle Kerr
Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada

Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild

Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild Charity Quilt 2011
By Members of the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild and Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild


Concerto by Alyssa Lichner, Gilbert, Arizona

Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons by Christa Watson, Las Vegas, Nevada

It was such a pleasure to be a part of this experience! If you like my Charming Chevrons quilt above, you can follow my free tutorial series on how to make it.

QuiltCon – Award Winning Quilts Part 3 – Updated with Viewer’s Choice

Today I am posting the rest of the QuiltCon winners. This show was so filled with inspiration that I’m going home excited, ready to start my next big quilting project.  You can see the rest of the show winners in these blog posts: Part 1 and Part 2.

The viewer’s choice winner has been announced: Overgrown by Alison Glass & Lisa Sipes:

Viewer's Choice

Viewer’s Choice – Overgrown, by Alison Glass of Norfolk, Virginia
Quilted by Lisa Sipes

Minimilast Design Large 1st

Minimalist Design, Large 1st Place – Untitled by Lindsay Stead
Toronto, Ontario Canada

Minimalist Design Large 2nd

Minimalist Design, Large 2nd Place – 2+2 by Collen Wooton
Clinton, Washington

Minimalist Design 3rd

Minimalist Design, Large 3rd Place – Don’t Box Me In by Tammy Vasser
Olathe, Kansas

Minimalist Design, Small 1st

Minimalist Design, Small 1st Place – Pa Kua by Donna Morales-Oemig
Stow, Massachusetts

Minimalist Design, Small Honorable Mention

Minimalist Design, Small Honorable Mention – Helix by Nicole Neblett
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Negative Space Large 1st

Use of Negative Space, Large 1st Place – Trajectory #2 by Megan Dye
Portland, Oregon

Negative Space, Large 2nd

Use of Negative Space, Large 2nd Place – Broken Diamonds by Kati Spencer
Taylorsville, Utah

Negative Space Large 3rd

Use of Negative Space, Large 3rd Place – Rhythm & Blues by Ann Deister
Louisville, Colorado

Negative Space Small 1st

Use of Negative Space, Small 1st Place – Mobile by Elizabeth Brandt
Holland Michigan

Negative Space, Small Honorable Mention

Use of Negative Space, Small Honorable Mention – Shattered by Leanne Chahley
Edmonton, Alberta Canada

Handwork Large 1st

Handwork, Large 1st Place – Log Cabin Improv by Sherri Lynn Wood
Oakland, California

Handwork Large 2nd, Judges Choice

Handwork, Large 2nd Place and Judges Choice – Untitled by Lindsay Stead
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Handwork, Large 3rd

Handwork, Large 3rd Place – Dark Star by Maura Ambrose
Quilted by Juliet Gamarci, Austin Texas

Handwork, Small 1st

Handwork, Small 1st Place – Modern Mini by Carolyn Braun
Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey

Handwork Small Honorable Mention

Handwork, Small Honorable Mention – Bohemian Confetti by Felicity Ronaghan
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Modern Traditionalism, Large 1st

Modern Traditionalism, Large 1st Place – New Star Rising by Ben Darby
Huntsville, Alabama

Modern Traditionalism, Large 2nd

Modern Traditionalism, Large 2nd Place – Doppelganger by Thomas Knauer
Quilted by Lisa Sipes, Utica, New York

Modern Traditionalism, Large 3rd

Modern Traditionalism, Large 3rd Place – Hannah by Kaite Sciarrano
Quilted by Susan Sciarrano, Portland Oregon

Modern Traditionalism, Small 1st

Modern Traditionalism, Small 1st Place – Lifesavers by Lee Heinrich
Mequon, Wisconsin

The next QuiltCon show will be in 2015 and I can hardly wait!

QuiltCon – Award Winning Quilts Part 2

I just finished my second day at QuiltCon and I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it is. I have enough pictures and notes that I could literally write a book about it, LOL!!

Today, I will share with you more amazing award-winning quilts. You can see Part 1 here, and Part 3 here.

Improvisation Large 1st

Improvisation, Large 1st Place – Pantone Circles by Elizabeth Brandt
Holland, Michigan

Improv Large 2nd

Improvisation, Large 2nd Place – Unraveled by Kati Spencer
Taylorsville, Utah

Improve Large 3rd

Improvisation, Large 3rd Place – Love Will Tear Us Apart by Denise Gonzalez-Walker
Austin, Texas

Improv Small 1st

Improvisation, Small 1st Place – Red Concentrate by Lavialle Campbell
Studio City, California

Improv Honorable Mention

Improvisation, Small Honorable Mention – Sea Glass on Sand by Felicity Ronaghan
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Miniature 1st Place

Miniature 1st Place – Modern Challenge by Catherine Redford
Naperville, Illinois

Miniature 2nd

Miniature 2nd Place – Analysis of Variance by Charlotte Newland
London, United Kingdom

Miniature 3rd

Miniature 3rd Place – Shirts by Carolyn Friedlander
Lake Wells, Florida

Piecing Large 1st

Piecing, Large 1st Place – RonQuilt: The Ron Swanson Quilt by Monica Solorio-Snow
Astoria Oregon

Piecing Large 2nd

Piecing, Large 2nd Place – Autumn Jewels by Krista Fleckenstein
Anchorage, Alaska

Piecing Largel 3rd

Piecing, Large 3rd Place – Don’t Blink by Caro Sheridan
Everett Massachusetts

Piecing Small 1st

Piecing, Small 1st Place – Flock of Starlings by Terri Carpenter
Moraga, California

Piecing Honorable Mention Piecing, Small Honorable Mention – Frost Bank by Claire Jain
Austin, Texas

I must say, I am quite impressed that most of the quilts here were quilted by the makers themselves. My favorite part of quilt-making is machine quilting, so I appreciate it when quilters are reaching beyond what is comfortable to quilt their own works.

QuiltCon – Award Winning Quilts Part 1

All I can say is wow! QuiltCon is as awesome as I thought it would be and more. The quilts, the friendly atmosphere, the lectures, classes and more are a dream come true. The show was so well organized that you could tell immediately which quilts were competing in each category. The ribbons are the cutest and most creative I’ve ever seen!

You can see pictures the rest of the quilts in Part 2 and Part 3.

Cute QuiltCon Ribbons

Cute QuiltCon Ribbons

So here they are – the best modern quilts. I tried to get pictures of all the ribbon winners so it will take me a couple of days to post them all. Enjoy the show! (See part 2 here.)

Best in Show

Best in Show – Double Edged Love by Victoria Findlay Wolfe
Quilted by Lisa Sipes, New York, New York

Best Machine Quilting

Best Machine Quilting – The Local Quilt by Carolyn Friedlander
Lake Wales, Florida

Judges Choice

Judges Choice – Adrift by Tina Michalik
Quilted by Susan Spencer, Santa Cruz, California

Quilting Excellence

Quilting Excellence – Sing It Out Loud! by Karen Anderson-Abraham
Santa Barbara, California

Applique Large 1st

Applique Large, 1st Place – Flying Saucer by Lisa Alexakis
Culver City, California

Applique Large 2nd

Applique Large, 2nd Place – Rainbow Rocks by Kathleen Baden
Kernersville, North Carolina

Applique Large 3rd

Applique Large, 3rd Place – Retro Modern Shapes
By Heather Davidson, Portland, Oregon

Applique Small 1st

Applique Small, 1st Place – Self  Study #1 by Chawne Kimber
Easton, Pennsylvania

Applique Honorable Mention

Applique, Small Honorable Mention – Needless by Laura Bisagna
Winchester, California

Dear Stella Challenge 1st

Dear Stella Challenge, 1st Place – Charm Squares Baby Quilt
By Melody Baker, Lenexa, Kansas

Dear Stella Challenge 2nd

Dear Stella Challenge, 2nd Place – Not Quite a Shadow by Susan Shore
Quilted by Jessica Sloan, Austin, Texas

Dear Stella Challenge 3rd

Dear Stella Challenge, 3rd Place – A Modern Day Mystery by Lisa Holk
Overland Park, Kansas

Group or Bee 1st

Group or Bee Quilt, 1st Place – Off the B.O.W.
Compiled and Quilted by Krista Fleckenstein, blocks by members of the Bee Liberated quilt group

Group or Bee 2nd

Group or Bee Quilt, 2nd Place – Kelsey’s Crosses
Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild, Missouri

Group or Bee 3rd

Group or Bee Quilt, 3rd Place – Confetti Amongst Friends
St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild, Missouri

And this is just the start! I can’t wait for more quilting goodness tomorrow!

Christa’s Soapbox – Defining My Style

We took a quick trip this weekend to Knott’s Berry Farm so the kids could ride some roller coasters and we could have a fun little getaway.

Knott's Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm

During the drive, and most of the time Jason and I were in line, we spent a lot of time talking business. We discussed our plans for the future, goals for our store, and most of all, what styles of quilting and fabrics I want to pursue.

First Quilts

First Quilts

I’ve been trying to find style or my “voice” for quite a while now. I’ve been quilting for nearly 19 years and started off very traditional. The first quilt I ever made was a flannel 9 patch and the second quilt I made was a scrappy log cabin.

Over the years I have tried nearly every technique or style to see what I like.

I have tried hand applique (too much work), hand quilting (not fast enough), paper piecing in the early 90’s (too messy), paper piecing in the new millenium (much more fun with better tools), art quilts (too abstract), contemporary styles (better), machine applique (now we are onto something here), machine quilting (in love with it) and finally modern quilting (by George, I think we’ve go it!).

My current focus is definitely on modern quilting, yet even within that style I don’t love absolutely everything. I’m not into hexagons, pixelated quilts, or too much improvisation. I really lean toward the “modern traditionalism” side of modern quilting. It’s everything I love about quilting: simple, clean lines, bright clear colors, with lots of negative space to show off gorgeous machine quilting. This style is “safe” enough to satisfy my need for order, yet versatile enough to let my inner artist come out.

First Modern Quilt

First Modern Quilt – Charming Chevrons

Now, how does this translate into what we will carry in our store? I recently read an industry magazine article for quilt shop owners reminding us not to try to be all things to all people. Going after too many “styles,” a shop owner can end up pleasing no one. That’s great advice which I’m taking to heart!

After much talking and soul searching, Jason and I just may have come up with a plan. (By the way, the kids were very well behaved and quiet during the drive – thank goodness for portable electronics!)

We summed up who we are I am in 3 words: Fresh, Modern, Eclectic. It may take a while for this to be apparent in the store, but it’s already showing up in my latest quilts. I feel much happier now that I have a focus, and I love what I do!

Love Quilt

Love Quilt