Quilt Market Wrap Up Fall 2019 – Showcasing Gridwork

I had an amazing time at fall quilt market last month. This is the semi-annual trade show where I get to debut my new fabric and patterns. I was able to share my newest fabric line, Gridwork which is shipping to shops in January of next year.

My Gridwork Booth

Quilt Market Fall 2019 Gridwork

My booth featured two new quilt patterns that I released, plus fabulous quilts made by my friends: Charisma Horton, Heather Black, Annie Unrein and Linda Sullivan.

Gridwork by Christa Watson for Benartex

Here’s a closeup of the Gridwork fabrics displayed in my booth.

The Shoes!!! And Matching Outfits!!!

Each time I have a booth, I love creating something fun to wear from my fabrics. This year, I made 4 aprons and paired them up with fun pairs of Fluevog shoes. Each market I purchase a new pair that matches my fabric which is always a great excuse for shopping, right?

Gridwork Fabric & Fluevog Shoes

Day 1:  I designed the Citron colorway of Gridwork to match my fave pair of shoes!!

Gridwork Fabric Fluevog Shoes

Day 2: It’s so fun to match my outfit to my quilts!!

Gridwork Fabric Fluevog Shoes

Day 3: I bought the blue pair this season and they are sooo comfy!!

Gridwork Fabric Fluevog Shoes

Day 4: here’s a closer look at the purple patent leather shoes I got to wear twice.

I paired up the aprons and shoes with a matching Tshirts that I had custom printed with #gridworkfabric on the front and #benartex on the back. I figured I was the best walking advertisement for my fabrics, right??

Benartex Gridwork Tees

The People!

It’s always fun to meet up with new friends at quilt market and make new connections with quilt shops who carry my fabric, and designers who want to work with my fabric. But the highlight of working with Benartex has been getting to know the other fabric designers. All of our looks are so different, yet they complement each other very well!

Benartex Fabric DesignersBenartex designers featured at fall quilt market included: Paula Nadelstern, Cherry Guidry, Shelley Cavanna, Ann Lauer, Weeks Ringle (& Bill Kerr), me and Amanda Murphy.

We roped our fearless leader, Benartex president David Lochner into posing with us and he was such a good sport! A you can tell, we like to have a good time!!

Over the 3 years since I’ve been with Benartex, I’m especially grateful to learn from superstars like Eleanor Burns and Paula Nadlestern. These ladies have been my heroes since I began quilting over 20 years ago and I pinch myself that I get to call them my colleagues and friends!!Christa Watosn, Paula Nadelstern, and Eleanor Burns

Paula Nadelstern and I shared some fun moments on the show floor when I gave her some Instagram posting tips. She repaid the favor by recommending me for some upcoming teaching events, so stay tuned for more!

Another highlight of the show was the Benartex company dinner in which I got to sit next to Eleanor Burns. She made my night when she complimented me on my energy level. This is high praise from the energetic queen of quilting!!

The Projects!!

It was fun to spot my fabrics in other booths. I love it when designers want to showcase my fabrics in their new patterns because that exposes my fabrics to their customers who may not have seen it yet. And in turn, I get to share some talented designers with you all!!

By Annie with Geo Pop and Gridwork

By Annie had a wonderful display of bags, containers and other projects made from both Gridwork and Geo Pop. It was fun to see how great they looked next to colorful fabrics from Tula Pink! 

Brewer Booth

Brewer is one of the distributors that also carries my fabric and patterns for shops to purchase all in one spot. I was thrilled that they wanted to hang two of my quilts in their booth to promote my current patterns: Infrastructure and Color Weave. This is a great example showing how well my fabrics from different collections mix and match with each other.

Dapper from The Stitch TV Show

My friends Lynn and Pam from The Stitch TV Show created a fun new pattern called Dapper, featuring colorful bowtie blocks made from Gridwork + solids. They are always a hoot to listen to online and in person!!

Everyday Stitches and Gridwork

Jenifer Dick from Everyday Stitches also debuted a new fun pattern in her booth at quilt market using Gridwork fat quarters + background fabric. I love seeing how others use my prints!

I had a fabulous, though exhausting time and I’m thrilled with how many more shops are getting interested in my fabric. If you want to share the fabric love, be sure to ask your local quilt shop to order Gridwork (and any of my other fabrics) from their Benartex sales rep. Now it’s time to make more quilts!!

Come See Me at Fall Quilt Market in Houston, Texas Oct 25-28, 2019

It’s that time of year again when the quilting industry gears up for its semi-annual trade show for quilt shop owners, designers, and pretty much who’s who in the quilting industry. This year’s fall show takes place in Houston, Texas, October 25-28.

Quilt Market Fall 2019

New FAbric coming in January!

I’ll be presenting my next quilt fabric collection (my 5th line!!) called Gridwork from Benartex and I can’t wait! It will ship to stores next January, so be on the lookout for more details soon.

Gridwork by Christa Watson

MY QUILT MARKET SCHEDULE

Things kick off on Friday, October 25 with the Quilt Market schoolhouse: a full day of short educational presentations from designers, industry professionals, and quilting companies. They’ll be sharing sneak peeks of their latest and greatest.

Everyone who comes to my schoolhouse session (1:20-1:50 PM Room #370E) will receive a free swatch pack of my new fabric plus brand new quilt patterns!

Fall 2019 Quilt Market - Gridwork by Christa Watson

The show floor will be open Saturday through Monday, October 26-28 starting at 9:30 each day. I will be in my booth #2234 in the Benartex area most of the time. This the perfect time for quilt shop owners and other prospective buyers and industry partners to stop by for an informal meet’n greet.

It’s a great opportunity to touch and feel the new fabric, see my latest patterns and quilts “in the cloth,” and chat with me about scheduling future events. No matter how hi-tech we get, nothing beats in person, face-to-face communication!

Benartex Designer Showcase 2019

On Saturday and Sunday, Benartex will present their “Designer Showcase” – a chance to get up close and personal with all of the Benartex fabric designers who will be at the show. It’s another chance to get more freebies, rest your feet, and be inspired by all of the new fabric and patterns that will be released this season.

Threads of Success

On Sunday, I’m pleased to be a presenter at the Inaugural “Threads of Success” event that will take place concurrently with Quilt Market. This is an event geared at those who want to break into the business of quilting.

The hope is that it’s successful enough to become an annual event each year. My topic I’ll be speaking about is titled, “Make it easy for them to say Yes!” and I’ll be sharing tips and tricks on how to work with others in the quilting industry to get what you want.

Last Spring Quilt Market – Geo Pop Booth

Spring Market 2019 Geo Pop

Above is a pic of me in my booth earlier this year at Spring quilt market when I introduced Geo Pop. Be on the lookout for more fun and colorful pics next week! Be sure to come say hi if you are planning to attend. If not – you can catch the action by following me on instagram @christaquilts.

It will be a busy time for sure, but I can’t wait!!

Gridwork Fabric by Christa Watson

Quilts and Projects from my Booth at KC Spring Market 2019

As promised, here’s a virtual tour of my quilt market booth, where I showcased my brand new Geo Pop line (shipping in Aug/Sept) and shared new things made from my current line, Abstract Garden. Quilt Market is an industry only trade who which took place in Kansas City, MO. Ready for a bunch of inspiring pics??? Here goes:

Christa Watson Spring Quilt Market 2019

Here’s the whole booth at a glance. I features some brand new quilt patterns, along with some fabulous projects made from my designer friends. Putting up a booth is no easy feat; fortunately I do get help from Benartex with booth setup, but it still takes all day!

Make These Fun Projects from Geo Pop

Mini Quilts Made from Geo Pop by Christa Watson for Benartex

Two of my talented friends made the projects above. You can get the Sew Speedy quilt pattern from Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill of Whole Circle Studio.  The Retro Runner pattern is brand new from Margaret Travis of Eazy Peazy Quilts.

Colour Maze quilt with Geo Pop

This amazing strip-roll quilt is called Colour Maze, from the uber talented Linda Sullivan of Colourwerx. How fab would it look made from an Abstract Garden Strip Roll?? On the benc above left, you’ll see the adorable rope bowl made by Vicki Arnold of SewPositivelyVickie on Instragram (who also made my adorable name tag below.)

I displayed my Geo Pop fat quarter bundle (which you can pre-order now), plus my quilt patterns that work great in any of my lines (or other fabrics for that matter.) Shops really liked being able to my current patterns directly from me and take them home from the show!

Woven Bag with Geo Pop

Don’t you love this woven bag made by Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting? I believe she’s currently working on a pattern for it, so stay tuned!!

Spark Quilt by Tammi Silvers

Tammy Silvers of Tamarinis chose white and gray, with pops of blue and green for her brand new Spark quilt pattern, coming soon. Isn’t it super cool and modern? On top of the quilt are the new patterns being released this spring , so stay tuned for more info when they are ready!

Sprinkled throughout the booth were more pops of color – bags and accessories from the folks over at ByAnnie. They make quick gifts and give you a fast finish!

Mally the Maker and Miss Bunny

Domestic machine quilting goddess Leah Day recently released her first fiction novel, “Mally the Maker” about a young girl on a quest to find her missing grandmother. Her companion is Miss Bunny, her beloved doll. Leah created a pattern to go along with the book and even made a miss Bunny for me (which my daughter quickly claimed.)

Geo Pop Dress

You can see above that Miss Bunny and I are both wearing matching dresses – from the Mosaic Dots print in green. Just behind me and left I showcased my Pieced Primrose pattern made from Abstract Garden fabric. Because the line is currently in stock, I wanted to show how nicely the two colorful groups play with each other.

Aurifil Thread

I also displayed my newest Aurifil Thread kit – The Variegated Collection. I used it to quilt the Pieced Primrose quilts as well as Color Weave. It was fun to share quilting tips with anyone who stopped by!

I displayed a few Abstract Garden fat quarter bundles throughout the booth, so shops could touch and feel the actual fabrics.

Bling Quilts with Geo Pop

The highlight of my booth was two versions of my Bling pattern that I made, with either black or white background from the line. It just takes 20 fat quarters of Geo Pop (or your favorite fabrics) and it goes together super fast!

Click here to pre-order the Bling quilt pattern – shipping mid June.

Abstract Garden Color Weave Quilt

Color Weave Quilt from Abstract Garden

By far, my Color Weave quilt got the most attention because of its striking color gradation. I wrote the Color Weave pattern to showcase the Abstract Garden strip roll, and paired it with the grays from Fandangle which has been reprinted several times.

Although it was a ton of work to pull this together for 3 days of display, it was worth it seeing all of the smiles of everyone who’s ordered it so far for their shops. I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour, and believe it or not, it’s already time for me to start prepping for fall market, LOL!!

Where to Buy Geo Pop

My Finished Terrace Dresses (and Matching Shoes)

I’m finally recovered from Quilt Market last week, so I can share with you how my dresses turned out using my new Geo Pop fabric line. “3-D” sewing is new to me, so this was a fun adventure! I began by pairing up my new fabric samples with some of my favorite Fluevogs

Geo Pop Fabric Fluevog Shoes

Which do you think came first – the fabric or the shoes??

Then I made a “muslin” – a practice version (using my Modern Marks fabric) without all the finishing touches so I could test for fit. I used Liesl & Co’s Terrace Dress pattern because it looked easy enough for beginners, and it really was!!

Making a dress from Modern Marks

I used Crossmarks in pink for my “practice” dress before making the real thing.

I don’t have many in-progress pics because I was a hot mess while sewing on a deadline. But I tried tissue fitting and making an FBA (full-bust adjustment) before I finally settled on making a version of the dress according to the size I thought I was on the pattern, without any adjustments. This actually seemed to give me the best result.

Black Yellow Terrace DresssCut pattern pieces all laid out on my design wall – it’s not just for quilts!!

I made a total of 4 of this dress using each color of the “Mosaic Dots” print from my new Geo Pop fabric line from Benartex (shipping in August). I put pockets in the first version which was awesome! But they took a lot of extra time, so I skipped that step in the other 3 versions since I was in a hurry. I also changed up the hem length a couple of times, just to see which I liked better (slightly longer for sure!) I missed getting a good pic of me in the yellow version, but here are the other 3 versions below.

A purple dress with matching purple shoes!!

Terrace Dress in Geo Pop Fabric

I admit it – sometimes my fabric color palette is influenced by my shoe collection!!

Geo Pop Terrace Dress

You can’t go wrong with classic black and white!!
It was fun to try out different sash/belt configurations.

I really enjoyed making these dresses, and am excited to make more clothing. I got a great tip from a seamstress I met when I wondered why the top had a few small wrinkles between the bust dart and shoulder area. She said  I should look for patterns with set in sleeves rather than a cap sleeve – that it would fit my shape better. I’ll be sure to look for that next time!!

If I’ve piqued your curiosity about my new booth and fabrics, don’t worry. I’ll share more about the items in my booth at the of the week, so stay tuned!!

Ten Things I Learned from Quilt Market (Fall 2018)

I’m back home  and recovered from Quilt Market – the semi-annual trade show for the quilting industry. It was my third time having a booth to showcase my new patterns and fabric and I thought it would be fun to share my list of top 10 things I learned this time:

1. Wear Cute Things Made from my Fabric (with fun Shoes!)

Aprons made from Abstract Garden by Christa WatsonCheck out The Easy Modern Apron on Craftsy to quickly make one of your own!

I had “sew” much fun making 4 fabric aprons to wear for each day of the show. I watched Betz White’s easy Modern Apron class on Craftsy for the pattern and instructions, and I have to say – for this girl who doesn’t sew “3-D” items, they came together very quickly!

Or course I had to pair them with my favorite Fluevog shoes which were as much of a hit as the fabric was! I had people stopping me on the show floor to take pics and I was happy to oblige as that’s part of the game in this industry – get as much social media sharing as possible so that the there’s more eyeballs on my fabric!

2. Pass Out Handouts and Promotional Giveaways

(Click the image to enlarge and select “full screen”)

In this YouTube Video (my first post!) I’ve captured a quick one minute silent tour of my booth so that you can see everything that was made from Abstract Garden. On the top shelf on the far left of the booth, I created a rack full of glossy double sided fliers that included images of each of the fabrics from the line. along with a quick listing of all of my products (patterns, books and thread). I handed these out to everyone who stopped by the booth so they had at-a-glance info on where and how to buy.

While supplies lasted, I also passed out sample fabric swatches of Abstract Garden as well as copies of my current pattern line to shop owners who seemed interested in carrying my fabric and patterns in their shops. These were a huge hit and also gave them something to take home while they wait for all of the goodies to arrive!

3. Get Extra Help

Although I pride myself on making all of my own quilts from start to finish, it was nice to have industry friends make accessories for me out of my fabric to fill out the booth. I have to give a quick shoutout to the following folks who made things for my booth in the video seen above. I’ve linked to each of their sites for more info about them and wonderful designs.

  • Colourwerx for the adorable Mod Cat Wallhanging  and super dupe cute Mod Dog pillows.  Aren’t they great??
  • Easy Peazy Quilts for TWO versions of her adorable Una-Corn activity case: one made from Fandangle and the other from Abstract Garden
  • Powered by Quilting – for the colorful jelly roll rug. You know you want to make one!!
  • May Chappell – for adodrable clutches that were a perfect hiding spot for my treats!
  • By Annie – for the perfect containers and accessories that added the perfect touch to the booth and kept me organized at the same time!
  • Quilt District for the awesome Mod Garden pillow!

4. Share My Fabric in Multiple Booths

A Star is Born by The Stitch TV Show featuring Abstract Garden

A Star is Born quilt pattern by The STitch TV Show is made from 10″ squares plus 1 coordinate.

Quilt Market is HUGE and it’s hard for everyone who attends to see all of the booths. That’s why it’s so valuable to get my name and products into as many different booths as possible. I was pleased as punch that Pam and Lynn from The Stitch TV Show were happy to feature Abstract Garden in their latest pattern release in their booth at Market. It’s called A Star is Born and is available for purchase on their website at Shop.TheStitchTVShow.com.

I also had quilts hanging in the Hobbs Batting booth (both at Quilt Market and Quilt Festival) and in the American Patchwork and Quilting booth. (“Out of the Box”  quilt made from Fandangle is patterned in the current issue is on the ladder in the upper right below.)

Out of the Box Quilt made from Fandangle
Click here to see a full shot of Out of the Box, made from Fandangle Fat Quarters + Background

5. Get Plenty of Rest – Before and After the Show!

This goes without saying, but being on your feet talking to folks for 4 days straight can be exhausting. Not to mention that early morning breakfast meetings or after hours networking dinners means I’m “on” from morning until night. Quilt market is probably the most important event I do for my business so it’s important to get my rest ahead of time as much as possible before the show. And that’s why you didn’t hear anything from me last week when I got home. It took several days to recover, unpack, and start making for plans for the next one in 6 months!

6. Don’t Over Schedule

Related to number 5, It’s tempting to want to do EVERYTHING but really, less is more when it comes to market. Although I wanted to say yes to all the things and events, I limited my time to booth prep, business networking, and allowing plenty of time to chat with shops about my fabric. I know that some folks stay on through quilt festival which was the following week, but at this point in time, that’s just too much for me. Maybe in a few years when all of the kiddos are out of the house and I can sleep for a solid week both before AND after the show, LOL!!

7. Stay in my Booth!!

Christa with Blue Bar Quilts

Getting to meet shop onwers in person, such as the gals from Blue Bar Quilts was such a treat! I’m thrilled that they ordered both fabric lines being promoted at the show (Fandangle which is in shops now and Abstract Garden which starts shipping in December).
If you are in the Wisconsin area, be sure to stop by their store and give them some love!

Probably the best lesson I learned from last quilt market was to stay in my booth so that I didn’t miss anyone who wanted to come talk to me. At Spring Market I had scheduled several demos and meetings away from my booth that took me away for a few hours each day. It’s also fun to get out and walk the show floor. However several people contacted me after last spring market saying were sorry they had missed me. Missed opportunities meant missed sales so this time around I stayed put!

If anyone wanted to meet me or chat, I invited them over to my booth so we could conduct business there. Just being present if I didn’t talk to everyone gave the impression I was serious about my products, but also approachable if someone had a question. It made for long days, but the added bonus was that my booth was hopping with people to talk to the entire time!

8. Take Notes on Business Cards

Quilt market is a flurry of activity – chatting with shopwoners and seeing how we can work together for me to provide product support for them through samples, teaching events or other collaborations. I’ve found that the easiest way to follow up after the fact is to collect their business card and add a quick note on the back such as “email them about my trunk show schedule” or “send teaching contract when I return home”.

One word of advice for anyone who passes out their card – please don’t print on black because then it’s hard to see what I wrote, LOL!!

9. Get to Know the Sales Reps

Abstract Garden at Fall Quilt Market

Meet Cindy, one of the amazing Benartex sales reps who scored one of my aprons after the trade show was over. After all, I’m happy to support the reps because they support me!!

This one is HUGELY important! Although social media and the internet make it super easy for quilt shops and customers to easily find me and connect with me directly, quilting is still built on relationships. The relationship I have with my fabric company, and the relationships that the sales reps have with their customers can make or break the success of a fabric line. Benartex is so smart to recongize these relationships and they encourage us getting to know each other by giving the designers an opportunity to present our lines to the sale reps in our own words, the day before the show opens.

Then on the first night of the show at closing, they host a small private company dinner where we can get to know them a bit better on a personal scale. Now that I’ve been doing this for 3 quilt markets in a row, I feel like I’m building a great relationship with both the shops and the sales reps. In other words, they realize as a designer, I’m here to stay rather than being just a flash in the pan, or a one hit wonder.

10. Support my Fellow Benartex Designers

Bill Kerr of Modern Quilt Studio

Bill Kerr along with his wife Weeks Ringle make up the dynamic duo of Modern Quilt Studio

One of the highlights of attending quilt market with fellow Benartex/Kanvas/Contempo designers is getting to know them and their work on a more personal level. Jason and I sat at dinner with Bill Kerr while he shared fun stories of his worldwide travel and design inspirations.

We also got to celebrate Eleanor Burns‘ 40th anniversary of Quilt in a Day, see the beautiful quilts of Ann Lauer, Cherry Guidry, Amanda Murphy (among others), and congratulate pioneers such as Paula Nadelstern and Nancy Halvorsen on their decades-long success in the industry.

Although I didn’t get a chance to snap many photos of the other designers’ booth, Benartex created a virtual tour of all of their booths over on their blog – check out the links below:

Christa Watson and Cherry Guidry at Fall Quilt Market for Benartex Contempo

Cherry Guidry was my booth-mate at the show and though our styles are completely different, we are both passionate about our love for fabric and fun projects to make from them!

Where to Buy Abstract Garden + Patterns

Once the fabric has shipped (starting in December) I’ll update my Where to Buy page with a list of shops who carry my fabric!

My Schedule for Fall Quilt Market 2018 – Come See Me in Person or Virtually Online

If you are heading out to quilt market, the industry trade show in Houston, Texas, be sure to come find me and say hi! I’ll be hanging out in my booth #2134 in the Benartex Contempo area most of the time, and I’ll be sharing some fun presentations with goodies to give away!

Fall Quilt Market 2018

Click here to see all of the Abstract Garden fabrics.

If you plan to attend schoolhouse – educational seminars on Friday before the show, make plans to attend mine at 5:30 on November 2 room 342A. Everyone who comes will get a free sample pack of my new Abstract Garden collection plus one of my patterns.

My presentation is called “Kitting for Profitability” and it’s geared towards quilt shops who want to create kits from my patterns. I’ll be discussing the 4 P’s of profitability: Pattern, Product, Promotion, and Pricing.

Designer showcase

The show floor is open Saturday-Monday and Benartex will be presenting four designer showcases on Saturday and Sunday. The 7 designers in attendance will each present a trunk show of our latest and greatest and of course there will be goodies galore!

Quilt market is super fun now that I’m a fabric designer and Benartex really knows how to take care of their designers. They have a design team that gets there the day before, builds all of the booths and then decorates them for us once we arrive with our newly sewn samples. That makes one less thing for me to worry about so I can focus on being present and engaging for any quilt shops who want to stop by and see all the fun new things!

Christa Loves Fluevogs
Fluevogs are my favorite shoes of all time – and yes, they are super comfy!!

Speaking of fun things… I gathered up some of my favorite Abstract Garden prints along with my favorite coordinating shoes and whipped up 4 cute aprons to wear – one for each day of the show. To see the big reveal, be sure to follow me on Instagram @christaquilts where I’ll share pictures and videos all weekend long. It will be exhausting – but fun!

If you can’t attend, be sure to tell your favorite local quilt shop to stop by and see me, and if you want to catch all the fun from home, be sure to follow the hashtag #quiltmarket for the hundreds (thousands?) of pics that will be shared this week!

Abstract Garden by Christa Watson

I’ll be back with a wrap-up of the show when I return next week! Happy quilting until then!!

What Really Happens at Quilt Market: My Experience at Spring 2018 in Portland, Oregon

Quilt Market wrapped up a couple weeks ago but I finally feel settled enough to blog a little bit more about my experience as I debuted my second fabric line and my latest batch of quilt patterns.

(Click here for my latest post all about the newest quilts and patterns.)

Christa Watson Contempo booth Quilt Market 2018

My booth was next to Cherry Guidry,another Benartex Contempo designer – she introduced a beautiful collection of neutrals called “Words to Live By.” A friend made four skirts from me from my fabric and I paired them up with a fun pair of shoes each day!

Here’s a shot of the full booth where you can see all five quilts that were on display. Sparkling Stars took center stage and got quite a lot of attention. You can see the cool version of Surplus Strips on the ladder with Heather Black’s gorgeous Pearl Pendants quilt.

Fandangle by Christa Watson for Benartex

The warm version of Surplus Strips (on the right above, near the Contempo sign) did double duty: it added color to the side of the booth, and also covered up a functional bookcase full of fabric samples for the sales associates.

The table was decorated with Sylvia Schaefer’s fabulous Pinwheel Rings quilt, and it served as an overflow sales station for those sales reps who “worked the floor” rather than staying in the Benartex area the whole time. Although I mostly took pictures when no one was around, just imagine people milling through the booths entire time, talking shop, placing orders and oohing and ahhing over all the beautiful new things.

Bags by Annie Unrein made from Fandangle

By Annie bags and containers were scattered throughout the booth showcasing her latest patterns and adding a colorful touch while being very functional for me. I used them to hold business cards, pattern giveaways and hidden items like snacks and my phone – stuff I need easy access to but don’t want to have sticking out in public!

Annie and I have a great deal going – I send her sample of my newest fabrics, and she makes up a bunch of samples showcasing her new patterns and my new fabric. I get to use them in my booth when they debut at market and then she takes them when she travels, and sets up for trunk shows. My mom has even spotted things made from my previous line, Modern Marks in some of her newer videos so it’s fun to see them “out in the wild!”

What Really Happens at Quilt Market

2 Days Before Show Time

So now that you’ve seen my booth, I’ll give you a play by play of my experiences each day. Two days before the show opens is booth setup. Fortunately the amazing folks at Benartex have a team that designs, builds and decorates the booths. The pics below are during setup: crates are shipped in, flooring is laid down, curtains are hung on poles and furniture is arranged.

For two days, the show floor looks like a disaster zone in everyone’s booth and then it all comes together magically at the last minute! That’s my hubby Jason in the shot below looking on and being so grateful he doesn’t have to build my booth!!

Quilt Market Booth Setup

1 Day Before Show Time

Below – I’m wearing my first day outfit – a skirt made from the red colorway of Baubles and bits. I stopped by to check up on booth setup and they were pretty much done with everyone but my corner.  My quilts were the last to be hung because I had to share them at a few pre-opening marketing events first.

Christa with Fandangle outfit

The day started off with a breakfast meeting with the Benartex sales reps. The designers attending were able to show our quilts and tell the reps a little bit more about the inspiration behind the designs as well as talk about the patterns we created to help support the line. They have much of this information already in their sales books that they show to shop owners, but getting to present to them in person allows them to get to know us better and tailor their visits to quilt shops to better meet their needs.

Many of the sales team represent several different fabric companies, so it’s a lot of information for them to take in and remember. Although shops can stop by any booth they like and place orders at quilt market, most buying and selling happens through fabric company sales reps, so anything we fabric designers can do to help our collections stand out will give us a better chance of quilt shops purchasing them for their shops.

Showing Fandangle to Benartex Sales Reps

After meeting with the sales team, it was time to prepare for schoolhouse. This is a set of 15-30 minute education sessions aimed at helping shop owners understand the benefits of carrying our products in their shops. My session was teaching how to host a quilt along to help shops sell more patterns and fabric. Of course the hope is that they’ll decide to carry my things, but I make sure my tips will work for anything they choose to carry in their shops.

Schoolhouse Schedule

I was a little nervous that no one would show up for my session since it was the second to last one of the day. By this time, everyone’s been on their feet all day and it can start to be a little tiring. Plus there are about 15-20 sessions happening during the same timeslot, so attendees really have to pick and choose which ones they want to see.

Fortunately every seat filled up and it was standing room only. Everyone who attended got a little goody bag with a free pattern to entice them to carry my fabric. I won’t know how the first round of sales for Fandangle went until I get my first royalty report after the fabric ships, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a good number of shops decide to carry it!

Quilt Market Schoolhouse

Show Time!

The show floor of quilt market is open for 3 days so it can be a bit of a blur! That sounds like a lot of time but it goes by very quickly, especially when it’s spent talking about fabric non-stop! But because quilt market is also a very social event, its great when some industry legends stop by to chat, too. Below I was able to catch up with Luana Rubin, the amazingly talented owner of eQuilter.com. We first got acquainted at a BERNINA ambassador reunion and I love following her work and travels on instagram.

Luana Rubin of EQuilter

In this photo I wore a skirt made from the cool colorway of Sparkling Squares.

During this whirlwind time of hanging out in the booth and talking to folks as they stopped by, I had a few meetings (more about that later…) and several machine quilting demos. During my demos I explained how several of my designs from Fandangle were actually inspired by some of my favorite machine quilting designs in my latest book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts. And here’s a hint to file away for now – although swirls didn’t make the cut for Fandangle, they’ll definitely make an appearance in the future…. so stay tuned!!

Machine Quilting Demo

It’s always great to meet up with fellow designers and see what they are working on, too. On the last day of the show, Aurifil organized a group picture for some of the designers who were attending that also have Aurifil thread collections. I’ve been chatting with Aurifil about my next thread collection and I’m really excited about what we’ve come up with so far. If all goes well, I’ll be debuting that one at fall market so there’s always fun stuff happening behind the scenes!!

Aurifil Thread Designers

Just a few of the Aurifil thread curators – Aurifil got a ribbon for best notions booth!!
On the last day of market I wore my Baubles and Bits skirt in the teal colorway.
It was fun to wear my fabric each day!

I’ll end this post with some pretty shots of my fellow Contempo designers’ booths that were in the same quad area. It was fun to see their pretty quilts hanging up all weekend and getting to know some of them better! In order below they are Cherry Guidry of Cherry Blossom Studio, Amanda Murphy, Amy Friend of During Quiet Time and Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle of Modern Quilt Studio.

The next big industry event I’ll be attending is BERNINA University in Chicago at the end of June. It’s like a mini-version of quilt market but exclusively for BERNINA dealers. I’m excited to meet many of the shop owners who didn’t attend quilt market, and I’m looking forward to teaching some hands on BERNINA classes while I’m there. I can’t wait!

My Spring 2018 Quilt Market Schedule for Portland, Oregon

Quilt Market begins this Wednesday in Portland, Oregon, which is the semi-annual trade show for the quilting industry. I usually attend each time with my husband Jason, but last year when I debuted my first fabric line, it became even more important. This spring I’ll be there promoting my next fabric line, Fandangle, which is a fun, silly word that means embellishment or ornamentation. It hits stores this summer and I can’t wait!

Fandangle by Christa Watson for Benartex

Click here for quilt market exhibitors and booth numbers.

In addition to meeting shop owners in my booth (#1846-47 in the Benartex/Contempo area), I’ll be busy with a slew of events designed to help show off the fabric with examples of what can be made from it. (Continue to follow my blog as I share more behind-the-scenes of the quilts I made!) If you will be attending, I’d love to chat in person! Here’s my complete schedule of events:

Schoolhouse on Thursday May 17, 4:55 PM Room A109

Schoolhouse Spring Quilt Market

Click here for the complete schoolhouse schedule.

Schoolhouse happens on the day before quilt market officially opens. It’s a fun, chaotic day of 15-30 minute presentations educating shop owners about what’s new and how they can best promote the items they’ll be purchasing for their shops. There are over a dozen sessions happening at any one time so the hardest part is picking which ones to attend!

My session is titled “How to run a successful quilt along in your shop or online” and everyone who attends will get a free copy of one of my brand new quilt patterns. There will also be several drawings for giveaways of my brand new fabric.

Quilting Demos: Friday at 3 PM, Saturday at 1 PM and 3 PM

Demo Alley Spring quilt market

Click here for the demo alley schedule.

Quilt market introduced a new event last fall, called “Demo Alley” which is a series of scheduled demos taking place in a specific area on the show floor. I’ll be sharing tips and tricks for free-motion quilting as well as demonstrating how I practice drawing designs on paper and then translating those onto quilt samples. It should be fun so make sure you stop by during the times listed above if you are there!

Designer Showcase – Saturday and Sunday at 11 AM

Benartex Designer Showcase

Finally, Benartex will be holding a fun event on the show floor two times each on Saturday and Sunday which is a chance to get an overview of all the new fabric lines. Of course there will be goodies and giveaways to all who attend, so be sure to add it to your schedule!

Modern Marks by Christa Watson for Benartex

Me in my booth at quilt market  last fall – I can’t wait to do it all again!

Spring Market 2018

Come see me and other fabulous Benartex Contempo designers
in booth 1846,47 at quilt market!

Now that my agenda is set, it’s time to go pack! If you can’t be there in person, be sure to follow me on instagram @christaquilts to catch a live updates each day!

Catching My Breath, a Few Updates – and a Fun Fabric Giveaway!

So right before quilt market my computer crashed. As in Dead. As. A. Doornail. Fortunately, my tech savvy hubby backed everything up so that nothing was lost. As you can imagine, the timing wasn’t great, but is it ever good timing for a hiccup like that?

Christa at Quilt Market 2017

One of my many demo’s at quiltmarket. My mom and I made the shirt I’m wearing from my fabric.

Now that at I’m back from quilt market and Jason has set me up on a new laptop, I can stop and breathe (for about 5 minutes) before it’s time to start working on the next fun quilty thing! (More fabric, more classes, more patterns, oh my!!)

So this post is a quick catch-up of what’s happening in real time along with a thank you giveaway for sticking with me and reading to the end!!

Quick Quilt Market Recap

Quilt Market was a blast! This is the industry trade show that takes place each fall in Houston, Texas, the week before Quilt Festival which is the consumer show. Many industry folks stay for both but that would be way too exhausting for me! Maybe once the kids are out of the house we’ll consider doing both…

Quilts from Modern Marks

One of the many quilts made from Modern Marks. Free & paid patterns coming soon!

I was in my booth most of the time at market showing my fabric line Modern Marks to quilt shops in the hopes that they decide to carry it in their shops. The response was really great as so many folks are attracted to the fun bright prints. I promised the shop owners a couple of free patterns coming soon, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t also share them with you. So be on the lookout as I’ll be sharing those as soon as my graphic designer has made them look pretty!

Machine Quilting Demo in the Aurifil Booth

Demoing machine quilting + wearing another top made from my fabric.

I also introduced new customers to my book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts, and my awesome publisher set up several book signings and machine quilting demos while I was there.

My good friend Annie Unrein from By Annie made several bags and accessories for my booth and my mom help me sew up several shirts from my fabric to wear during the show.

Annie Unrein and Christa Watson at Fall Quilt Market 2017

The quilt on the left is a free pattern coming soon; the one one the right was remade from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts using my fabric! Notice the cute bag by Annie and my matching shoes!

Be on the lookout for more about the individual Modern Marks quilts and projects a bit later after I’ve had a chance to recover! Then save the date: Starting November 27th, Benartex will be hosting a blog hop to share even more ideas of what you can make from Modern Marks!

Quilt Kits for Sale

Squiggles recolored in Modern Marks

Get the Squiggles Quilt Kit

I’m continuing to sell quilt kits for the upcoming Quilt Along I’ll be hosting here on the blog in January. Click here for the QAL schedule. Most folks voted for us to make Squiggles from my new book for the QAL, but I know several of you really wanted to make Gridwork as well.

Gridwork recolored in EQ using modern marks

Get the Gridwork Quilt Kit

I’m now offering kits for each quilt, along with optional backing kits. You’ll need a copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts for the patterns, but hey – if you want to make BOTH quilts, you just need ONE copy of the book. I really like it when you can get more bang for your buck!

And of course either of these quilts would look fabulous in other fabrics, too!!

Click here to purchase Modern Marks quilt kits and bundles.

Upcoming Teaching

I head to St. George, Utah this weekend to do a trunk show on Friday and machine quilting class on Saturday for Dave’s BERNINA. Then on December 1-2, for my last gig of the year, I’ll be flying out to visit my friend Stephanie who runs Quilt Addicts Anonymous in Illinois. I’ll be sharing a lecture and full day free-motion class at her shop, so if you are in the area, be sure and join us!

I’ll be super busy in January, and it’s the last time I’ll be in driving distance of Las Vegas for awhile. On January 3-5 I’ll be teaching one day of machine quilting and 2 days of improv piecing at Quilting at the Lake. Click here for registration info.

Then, January 15-18, I’ll be teaching four different machine quilting classes at Road to California. At last check, two of my classes at Road had sold out with waiting lists, but there are still spots open in my Monday and Tuesday classes. Click here for class schedule info.

How Do I Quilt it MQG

If you aren’t near where I’m teaching, you can catch my live webinar for the Modern Quilt Guild next week! On Wednesday, November 8th at 6 PM Pacific Time, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks for quilting on a home machine, answering the most asked question, “How Do I Quilt It?”

Click here to register for the webinar/or join the MQG.

If you aren’t yet an MQG member, be sure and join now so you don’t miss the fun! Members have access to all of the MQG webinars, so you can also catch it later.

The GiveawayS – Win my Fabric!

I have 3 fabric giveaways for you today, as a thanks for your continued support! First, I’m giving away a box full of fabric scraps which is mostly Modern Marks plus a few misc. pieces. These are leftovers, large and small of all the projects I’ve been making from Modern Marks over the last few months. It also includes some nice chunks of funky shapes that were the cutaways from the shirts I made, plus tons of small to medium scraps that frankly I’m just too lazy to sort through! But I know one of you will love them!

Modern Marks Scraps

Win my Modern Marks scraps!

The second and third giveaways are Modern Marks precuts. At Quilt Market, there’s a night of shopping frenzy called Sample Spree where attendees can purchase bundles before they are available in shops. I wasn’t there, but apparently all of my precuts sold out except for one 2 1/2″ strip bundle (Benartex calls them Pinwheels) and one charm pack (aptly named 5×5’s) that were held back for promotion, so I snagged those puppies to give to you all!

Modern Marks Precuts

Modern Marks precuts coming soon! Ask your local quilt shop to stock them.

I’ll make this easy – just leave any comment to enter. I’ll give the scrap box and the Pinwheel to two separate US winners, and send the charm pack to an international friend. So be sure to mention in your comments which prize you’d like to win and where you are from!

I’ll pick the winners first thing Monday morning and notify them via email.

Whew! I think that’s all for now!! Now it’s time to unpack and sew!

Meet Me at Market! (2017 International Quilt Market Schedule)

I’ll be a busy bee at quilt market next week (which takes place each fall in Houston, Texas, and various locations in the spring). Scroll down for my schedule of events including demos and book signings. I’ll be there primarily to promote my new book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts along with my new fabric, Modern Marks.

Christa at Quilt Market 2015

I have great memories of quilt market. My first time attending as an author was in 2015 when I introduced my first book, Machine Quilting with Style. I’ve come a long way since then!

If you plan to attend, I’d love to meet up and chat! If your favorite quilt shop is going – be sure to share this info with them and send them my way!

 

Friday, October 27 Schoolhouse

  • Martingale Room 381B 1:55 – 2:25pm – Quilts from My New Book
  • Benartex Room 352F 3:45-4:15 – Quilts Made from Modern Marks

Saturday, October 28

  • All Day – Benartex/Contempo booth
  • 1:30 PM – Aurifil Booth – Machine Quilting Demo
  • 2:30 PM – BERNINA, booth 628 – Quilt Demo/Book Signing

Sunday, October 29

  • All Day – Benartex/Contempo booth
  • 3 PM – Hobbs Batting, booth 200 – Book Signing

Monday, October 30

  • All Day – Benartex/Contempo booth
  • 10-10:30 AM – Brewer booth 734 – Book Signing
  • 12-12:30 PM – Demo Alley – Make a Quilting Plan
  • 1-2:30 PM – Demo Alley – Hand Binding Made Easy

Angela Walters and I introduced our book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting at Spring Quilt Market in 2016. At the time this was my 2nd book, and her 7th!!

International Quilt Market is just open to the trade which means quilt shop owners, designers, and anyone in business in the quilting industry is allowed to attend with the proper credentials (usually an invoice, legitimate business card and web site or store presence.)

Schoolhouse at Market

Another great market memory – Stephanie Palmer, Leah Day and I shared a informal teaching session at quilt market in the fall of 2016. We talked about getting your work published. Leah recorded it for the launch of her very first podcast which you can listen to here.

Thank goodness for the internet and instagram, you can catch the fun virtually even if you can’t attend. Follow the hashtags #quiltmarket #fallquiltmarket, #quiltmarket2017 to stay in the loop! I’m on instagram @christaquilts so be sure to follow me there so you don’t miss a thing!

Leave a comment below if you will be attending. I’d love to see you there!

Christa Watson Quilt Market

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