Quilt As Desired Article 3: Filler Designs Add Texture

Today I’m continuing to share the series of machine quilting articles that I originally wrote for the National Quilting association as part of my Quilt as Desired column. This article first appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of the Quilting Quarterly.

Click here to read the other machine quilting articles I’ve written.

Happy reading!

qqspr15_p26

Quilt As Desired Article 2: Embrace the Line

This week I’m sharing my Quilt as Desired article which was originally published in the winter 2014 issue of Quilting Quarterly magazine from the National Quilting Association. I’ve changed the original formatting to better fit the blog format. You can purchase a PDF pattern for Mini Churn Dash from my Craftsy store.

Mini_patternMini Churn Dash along with the pattern originally published in the magazine.
Click here to purchase Mini Churn Dash pattern  for just $4.95.

“Making a mini quilt is a great way to explore a new design style. It’s also a fun excuse to give machine quilting a try. The time and material investment are minimal, and it’s easy enough to quilt a mini on nearly any sewing machine you can think of.

“However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when quilting a mini: (1) the quilting should not overwhelm the piecing design and (2) the scale of the quilting should be in proportion to the rest of the quilt.

“When making my Mini Churn Dash  I knew I wanted to apply the two principles listed above, as well as include an element of modern machine quilting to the piece. Straight-line quilting has been an extremely popular way to add texture to full sized quilts, and I hoped this quilting design would look great on a modern mini. As with any quilt I make, I first drew up a practice sketch to audition my design:

Straight Line Quilting
“I quilted the parallel lines in an asymmetrical pattern, using tape as a guide to vary the width of the spacing between quilting lines, anywhere from 1/8” to 1/2” apart. I used a shorter than normal stitch length to keep the quilting in scale with the quilt.

Straight Line Quilting
I quilted additional straight lines using the edge of my even-feed (walking) foot as a guide, changing the needle position to vary the width of the spacing. I kept quilting until it felt “finished”. I used a thin cotton thread in a light grey color that seemed to blend in to the background rather than play a starring role.

Straight Line Quilting
“You can quilt asymmetrical lines using other designs such as wavy lines, or decorative stitches on your sewing machine. So the next time you are stumped when quilting a modern mini, just think of what kinds of textures you can create, starting with a simple line!

Click here to read the other machine quilting articles I’ve written.

The End of an Era – Plus a Giveaway

By now I’m sure many of you have heard the news that the National Quilting Association (NQA) is ceasing operations. This came as such a sad surprise to many of us who had been longtime members. The organization just celebrated it’s 46th year and a huge turning point in my quilting career was getting the opportunity to write a regular magazine column for them about Machine Quilting, and getting to teach at their last quilt show earlier this year. The reasons for their dissolution are given here.

nqa_magazineThe last issue of Quilting Quarterly

As a side note, I hope I’m not a bad-luck charm. The last magazine I wrote for on a regular basis was Quilty, and it went defunct, too! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for better luck in the future!

At the time I wrote what I consider to be my best article to date (co-authored with the super amazing Jacquie Gering), I didn’t realize it would be in the final issue of the magazine. I don’t think the publishers and editors knew that either. In fact, I had one more column slated for the next issue which won’t end up being published. However, I’ll  be sure to share it with you all at a future date.

nqa_quiltcon_article

The last article I wrote for NQA, about QuiltCon, co-authored with Jacquie Gering

I always like to find a silver lining among the gloomy clouds, so the good news for you guys is that I have one extra copy of the issue I can pass along to one lucky winner. I’m sure this will become a collector’s item since it’s the last issue.

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment letting me know what’s your favorite quilting magazine and why. I’ll choose a winner at the end of the day on Friday and will share the winner’s name here in this post. I’m happy to ship it to anyone, no matter where in the world you live!

If you click directly on the title of this post, there should be a comment box below this post for you to write in. Otherwise, click the # of comments show, above the post in the left margin to leave your comment.

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NQA 2015 Quilt Show Wrap Up

I just returned from teaching for the National Quilting Association‘s annual quilt show in Little Rock, Arkansas and it was such a great time for both me and my students! Each time I teach, it rejuvenates me and rekindles my love for the craft! Here are some eye candy pics from my weekend.

The Classes

modernlogs_studentsStudents showing off their Modern Logs blocks after a fun day of sewing!

I taught two classes: Modern Logs and Modern Machine Quilting. The students had a great time exploring their creativity and I’m sure I had just as much fun as they did!

mmq_samplesStudent practice samples from Modern Machine Quilting. I love the texture they created!

The Quilts

The quilts in the show were top notch! I was very pleased with the number of Modern Quilts that were entered into the show, just a few of which I’ve shown below. (Check my instagram feed @christaquilts for more fun pics from the show!)

modern_quiltsA great showing of modern quilts including my entry, Optical Illusion in the 3rd row.

I was thrilled to see ribbons on many quilts of friends and acquaintances I admire!

I follow Margaret Solomon Gunn’s blog and her writings in Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine. Although her style is vastly different from mine, she’s an amazing quilter who won Best of Show – small for her quilt Jester’s Folly. She also won a Masterpiece Quilt award, which you can read about on her blog here.

bestofshowJester’s Folly by Margaret Solomon Gunn, Best of Show Small, NQA 2016

I was so proud of my friend Vicki Ruebel from Orchid Owl Quilts for getting ribbons on 2 of her quilts in the show! Me and My Shadow picked up 2nd in the Small Applique Quilts category and her Big Star quilt (in the modern montage above) won 2nd in the Modern category.

meandmyshadow

I was also thrilled to see a top prize ribbon on my friend Cory Allender‘s quilt, Convergence. Cory’s work is nothing short of amazing, and she’s the one who first encouraged me to start entering my quilts into national shows. Just about every time Cory enters a quilt, she picks up a ribbon. I love it!

convergenceConvergence by Cory Allender, Best Embellishment, and 2nd place Art category

The People

A fun part of any show is getting to meet up with other like minded quilters. I was able to hang out with Jodi Robinson and Gina Perkes and  for a bit one evening and swap quilting stories and inspiration. They are both amazing long arm quilters and I’m super excited for what they have coming up, so be sure to follow them, if you don’t already.

jodi_ginaJodi Robinson and Gina Perkes, two amazing long-arm quilters whose work I admire.

As a teacher, NQA took care of my accommodations which were super nice! I was roommates with another fabulous quilting instructor, Sue Rasmussen who specializes in Domestic Machine Quilting (whoo-hoo) and one-of-a-kind landscape art quilts. She’s self-published a book that includes tons of great info on the technical aspects of quilting, so of course I snatched up a copy!

sue_rasmussenHanging out with Sue Rasmussen in our hotel room after a fun day of teaching.

And finally, I can’t give enough thanks to the staff and volunteers of NQA who helped make my time there a success! I was able to connect with many of the people I’ve only worked with online and through emails. Meeting them in person was such a treat!

barbara_polstonBarbara Poslton is the editor of NQA’s Quilting Quarterly magazine. She’s a doll!

If you ever get a chance to visit a national quilt show, I highly recommend it!

On My Way to NQA for More Teaching Fun and Inspiration!!

Have I told you guys lately how much I love teaching machine quilting?? It’s so fun to teach, both locally and nationally and see that spark of excitement when one of my students “gets” it! 🙂

Last month, I taught my full-day Modern Machine Quilting class and I’m off to teach it again this week at the National Quilting Association’s annual show in Little Rock, Arkansas. I’m so excited! I’ll be teaching my Modern Logs class, there too. It’s been super fun to teach the same class to different audiences. So far, no one has ever made the exact same quilt!

christmas_goose_may2015Here are a few pictures from my Modern Machine Quilting class that I taught at The Christmas Goose in Las Vegas last month. (Not to worry for those locals who are on the waiting list – I’ll be repeating the class again in October.)

christmasgoose_2_may2015It’s amazing the textures and designs you can create with just a walking foot and some simple free-motion quilting! I organize the class similarly to how my first book, Machine Quilting With Style has been written: students start off getting comfortable quilting with their walking foot, then they move onto several of my free-motion favorites.

Machine quilting truly is my favorite part of the quilt-making process. What’s yours?

Great News – Sewing Machines to be Provided at NQA

I just got great news that sewing machines will now be provided for all classes at the National Quilting Association show this June. Since I will be teaching 3 hands on classes, this will be so much easier on the students!

nqaclassesIf you are thinking of attending, be sure to register for classes now as the deadline for workshop registration is May 1st.

Just to recap, here are the 3 classes I will be teaching. I’d love to see you there!

Modern Logs  This class is quickly become a student favorite. It’s fun to teach the same workshop in multiple venues and I love to see how everyone makes it in their own way! My quilt measures 48″ x 54″ and it’s super easy to make it larger – just add more blocks!

Modern Logs

Modern Machine Quilting  Enjoy the satisfaction that comes with learning to quilt your own quilts! In class, I’ll teach a plethora of walking foot wonders and free-motion favorites that are accomplished with little to no marking. Let go of perfection and enjoy the rich textural effects of modern quilting!

modern machine quilting samples

Charming Chevrons  The one that started it all, this design was my entry into the world of modern quilting. It’s quick and easy to make from your favorite collection of charm squares, whether they are solids, prints, or a mix of both!

Colorful Chevrons

I Love Writing about Free-Motion Quilting!

In my latest Quilt as Desired column for the National Quilting Association, I was able to explore how background fills can add depth and texture to your quilts. I love quilting textural designs that add a lot to the quilt with little to no marking.

nqaqad_fillerExcerpt from Quilting Quarterly by the National Quilting Association, Spring 2015 Issue

Speaking of NQA, you still have until April 10th to enter your quilts (especially your modern ones) into their show that will occur June 18-20 of this year. I will be teaching Modern Machine Quilting, along with two other classes and can’t wait to encourage others to give it a try.

I’ve also written a series of articles for Craftsy including tips to get you started free-motion quilting and 5 ways to trouble shoot your fmq.

As I get out there more in the world of quilting, it’s been fun to share my knowledge in different venues. Sometimes I worry that I may repeat a little bit of what I have to say. But then, it makes my day when a kind reader emails me to say, “If it wasn’t for ___ (insert name of venue or website), I never would have found you. Thanks for the tips!”

That’s truly what keeps me going! 🙂

NQA Quilt Show Wants More Modern Quilts – Enter Yours Today!

I’m super excited to be working with the National Quilting Association to not only spread the love of quilting, but to educate more people about modern quilts, too!

Web Banner2The NQA Annual Quilt Show is coming up in June and it’s going to include a fabulous judged show of around 400 quilts. The exciting thing is that it’s a non-juried show, which means that everyone gets in on a first-come first served basis. The even more exciting thing is that they will be offering cash prizes for Best of Show, Special Awards, and First Place in each category.

NQA_Little-Rock-cropped

This is only the second time that NQA is has included a modern category in their mix, and I know they would love to see that genre well represented. I’m excited for the workshops I’ll be teaching (details here) and I would love to see quilts hanging in the show made by people I know – in any category!

Click here for online quilt show entry. The deadline for entry is April 1, 2015.

Are you in??

Come Take a Class with me at the NQA Quilt Show!

I will be teaching this summer at the 46th annual quilt show hosted by the National Quilting Association and I’d love for you to join me! Hosting a show for 46 years is quite impressive and I’m so pleased to join the other amazing instructors. The show runs from Thursday-Saturday, June 18-20 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Click here for class preview.

Web Banner2Here’s what I will be teaching:

Modern Logs  This class is quickly become a student favorite. It’s fun to teach the same workshop in multiple venues and I love to see how everyone makes it in their own way! My quilt measures 48″ x 54″ and it’s super easy to make it larger – just add more blocks!

I recently found out this quilt won an honorable mention in the Modern category at Road to California, so I’m glad the judges liked it as much as my students do. 🙂

Modern Logs

Modern Logs by Christa Watson, 48″ x 54″

Modern Machine Quilting  Enjoy the satisfaction that comes with learning to quilt your own quilts! In class, I’ll teach a plethora of walking foot wonders and free-motion favorites that are accomplished with little to no marking. Let go of perfection and enjoy the rich textural effects of modern quilting!

modern machine quilting samples

Modern Machine Quilting Samples by Christa Watson

Charming Chevrons  The one that started it all, this design was my entry into the world of modern quilting. It’s quick and easy to make from your favorite collection of charm squares, whether they are solids, prints, or a mix of both!

Colorful Chevrons

Charming (Colorful) Chevrons 64″ x 80″

If you’d like to be a part of the show, you can enter your quilts here. NQA is a non-juried show which means they will accept the first 400 entries. The show includes a modern category as well, and I can’t wait to see all the gorgeous quilts in person!

See ya there!!

 

 

Make a Modern Mini Quilt with My Mini Churn Dash Pattern

I’ve jumped on the mini quilt bandwagon with one of my latest finishes, Mini Churn Dash. I actually made it over the summer, but I’m able to share it with you now that it’s been published in the latest issue of The Quilting Quarterly by the National Quilting Association.

Mini-QADI was actually able to use this mini for two features in the magazine – the pattern on how to make the mini quilt, and my regular recurring column, Quilt As Desired.

Mini_patternI used a few fabrics from Bonnie & Camille’s Miss Kate line, generously provided to me by Moda Fabrics. I had so much fun making this mini!

I wanted to keep both the quilting and the binding in scale so I reduced my quilting stitch length and I finished it with 1/8″ binding rather than the standard 1/4″. It really wasn’t that hard to do. I used single-fold binding strips that were only 1 1/4″ wide and sewed with 1/8″ seams.

mini_bindingI love using Wonder Clips for binding my quilts. The more clips, the better!

In case you missed the magazine issue, you can purchase the individual pattern here.

I’ve been enjoying seeing quilts made with churn dash blocks and am so glad I was able to combine two trending ideas, mini’s and churn dashes into one quilt. If you are inspired to make your own Mini Churn Dash, I’d love to see it! You can share a picture with my via email, on my flickr page, or on Instagram with the hashtag “minichurndash.”