Road to California Registration Opens Saturday and I’m Teaching!

I’m heading to Road to California as a teacher next January and I couldn’t be more thrilled! But before I get into the classes I’m teaching, I have to tell you a story about how this amazing show has been part of my professional quilting journey.

Road to California 2018

Road to California was the first national quilt show I attended in 2011 and was the catalyst that made me want to enter my work in national shows and become a national teacher. It was also really the first time I started getting to meet some of my favorite “sew-lebrities” like Eleanor Burns of Quilt in a Day. Like many others before me, I watched her quilting TV series on PBS when I first got into quilting, and was instantly hooked on her warm, inviting teaching style and funny television antics (such as tossing scraps over her shoulder onto the floor behind her).

Christa Quilts Meets Quilt in a Day

Meeting Eleanor Burns at Rd 2 CA in 2011 was awesome. My bangs back then? Not so much!!

When I returned the following year in 2012, I took a class from award winning thread-painting artist Nancy Prince and we really connected. I ended up helping her out during a demo at the show and she was very encouraging when I mentioned that I wanted to become a national teacher and write books.

She turned to me and said, “I bet you’ll be back here as a teacher some day.” You can imagine how happy I was to run into her 5 years later at the Vermont Quilt Festival and tell her that her prediction had come true! (She even gave me a ride to the festival one day when we were teaching at the same location – what a peach!!) It’s amazing people like Nancy and Eleanor who’ve motivated me to always be kind and encouraging, especially to beginning quilters. And their willingness to pay it forward has been a great example for me to follow!

Christa and Nancy Prince

Meeting Nancy Prince in 2012 (and sporting a sleeker, shorter hairstyle).

My Road to California Teaching Schedule

And now before I get too sappy with all the warm fuzzies – onto the schedule! I’ll be teaching a total of 4 full-day free-motion quilting classes, Monday-Thursday, Jan 15-18, 2018. Click here to book mark the site. Registration opens on Saturday, July 8th at 7 AM Pacific Time, and classes can sell out quickly.

Click each of the links or images below for more info and a supply list for each class:

Monday, 8 AM -3 PM: Fun with Free-Motion Swirls

Christa Watson Road to California Teaching Schedule 2018This sample is from “Cornered,” showing how to combine swirls with other designs.

Tuesday, 8 AM -3 PM: Free Motion Designs with Lines

Christa Watson Rd 2 Ca 2018Plumb Lines” includes modern free-motion alternatives to straight line quilting.

Wednesday, 8 AM -3 PM: Free-Motion Improv

Free Motion Quilting Class with Christa Watson - Road to California 2018Free-motion improv” is a great way to show off all your favorite quilting motifs!

Thursday, 8 AM -3 PM: Modern Free-Motion Fillers

Modern Machine Quilting with Christa Watson at Rd to Ca 2018Modern machine quilting on “Candy Pop” means little to no marking, and tons of great texture!

All 4 classes will all be taught on sit-down longarm machines and the best part is that students will each get their own machine! I’ve taught at other shows in the past where students had to share and that’s kind of a bummer. But in these classes, you’ll have plenty of time to quilt and practice my motifs and methods. All l you need to bring are your sample swatches to practice on, and a “can-do” attitude!

Let me know if you plan to attend as I’d love to see you there!
Click here to see who else is teaching.

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Christa’s Soapbox – Do What You Love!

I’m getting up on my soapbox today (or is it soap box? I don’t know!) to encourage you to do what you love! My recent Road trip to the fantastic California quilt show reminded me of this in so many ways.

String of Pearls at Road to California

Christa Watson with String of Pearls at Road to California, 2014

The classes were phenomenal, the convenience food was actually pretty decent, and the quilts were simply amazing. I realized that I absolutely love going to shows and sharing my quilts, whether they win a ribbon or not. I have to say it was fun to “stalk” my quilt and stealthily listen in as others said nice things about it. 🙂

Plus it was super fun to meet up with a couple of my online friends in person. I had lunch one day with Cindy from Live a Colorful Life and her friends, aka Simply Miss Luella and OP Quilt!

Road to CA Lunch

Eating lunch with blogger friends at Road to Ca

I was also able to meet Andres from Mad Tesla who’s quickly become one of my buddies from the MQG (modern quilt guild) online. He introduced me to a few of his friends from the Ventura MQG and we had the best time swapping opinions on how glad we were to finally see modern quilts at Road to California!

Modern Quilters

Modern Minds Think Alike!

Quilting Rock Star

Debby Brown – A Quilting Rock Star!

One super amazing person who seems to be as passionate about her craft as I am, is quilting instructor Debby Brown.

I took an amazing feather class from her, and I could tell that she is doing what she loves. She was having as much fun teaching, as her students were learning!

Debby Brown is truly a rock star. Not only was she entertaining to listen to and a very well-organized instructor; she also made us feel that we were working at a good pace and making progress with our practice.

Debby prepped the best class kit I have ever seen: a pre-basted baby-quilt sized sandwich marked with spaces for us to quilt in.

We all used the same materials so that Debby could help us trouble shoot if needed. The full-day format really allowed us to explore all types of feathers.

I highly recommend taking a class from Debby if you ever get a chance!

By far, my favorite design that Debby had us try were these swirling vine feathers. Aren’t they the cutest? I can totally see myself quilting this on one of my quilts in the future.

Swirling Feathers

Feathers can be fun (and modern)!

The entire class got to quilt on Handi Quilter Sweet 16 machine the whole day. I felt right at home because the movement is similar to quilting on a domestic machine; there’s just a lot more room! It was fun to play with feathers and fills and create all sorts of interesting textures.

More Fun Feathers!

More Fun Feathers!

I took a few mental notes on how I can be a better teacher. Debby was so good and patient with questions, really explained things until everyone understood, and had her own machine set up so that we could watch her stitch out the designs before we tried them.

Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty Rings!

The icing on the cake was when Debby gave out a few “prizes” to students who answered her pop-quiz questions correctly.

Hello – Kitty, this was a super fun class!

So remember, when it comes to quilting, or anything else for that matter, just do what you love.

I love machine quilting and modern designs – what do you love?

Road to California 2014 – Modern Quilt Winners

As promised, here are the pictures I took of all the winning quilts from the modern categories at Road to California.  Special guest Jacquie Gering did a fantastic job judging the modern quilt category and she gave excellent feedback for each entry.

Best Modern Quilt

Best Modern Quilt – Lost in Space by Clare Victor, Palm Springs, CA

I got a chance to chat with Jacquie for a few minutes at the show and she shared with me some excellent tips on how to make your quilts more modern: be sure to emphasize the “hard edges” so prominent in modern design, include a focal point were possible, and make sure the quilting really enhances the geometric quality of the design.

Modern Negative Space, 1st

1st Place – Modern Negative Space – The Long Winter by Catherine Redford, Naperville, IL

As you can see, these winning quilts are all excellent examples of modern design!

Modern Negative Space 2nd

2nd Place – Modern Negative Space – by Alissa Carlton, Las Angeles, CA

There were plenty of other breathtakingly beautiful quilts at the show which I’m sure will be popping up in the latest quilting magazines; I just wanted to give special billing to the modern quilts because they are the ones that really speak to me.

Modern Negative Space 3rd

3rd Place – Modern Negative Space – Modern Alphabet by Gerri Thompson, Happy Valley, OR

I hope you will be inspired to enter your lovely quilts in an an upcoming show (whether they are modern or not). It’s a great way to get feedback, but more importantly, it’s a great way to share your love of quilting with others.

Judges Choice

Judges Choice – Layered Landscape Pieced by Valetta Gyurci, St. Paul, MN; Quilted by Mary Rossi

Best Modern Piecing

Best Modern Piecing – Valley Snapshots by Timna Tarr, South Hadley, MA

Modern Piecing 1st

1st Place, Modern Piecing – Didn’t Get the Memo by Alissa Carlton, Los Angeles, CA

Road to California Wrap Up 2014

There’s so much to say about my fabulous Road to California trip that it will take me several blog posts to cover it all! Fortunately I was able to share a summary of the event from a modern perspective for my weekly Craftsy blog post.

You can click here to read it and hopefully this will tide you over until I get a chance to write about it more indepth on my own blog. 🙂 In fact, you can bookmark this page which will be a landing page for all of my future Craftsy posts!

Modern Quilts from Road to CA

A few of the Modern Quilts at Road to CA 2014

Suffice it to say, Road to California was awesomely amazing and inspiring. As soon as I get a chance to reflect on my weekend, I will plan on sharing pictures of all the modern quilts plus a few summaries of the classes and lectures I took.

It just so happened that my hubby and kids were able to have their own fun adventure while I was having mine. 🙂 They got to go on a last minute trip to Disneyland with the grandparents. Yay for Disney (we are huge fans)!

Disneyland

Disney at night, from the perspective of my 17 year old son.

To help me feel like I was still a part of the fun, my oldest son would text me pictures at various locations throughout the day and have me guess where they were. Hopefully, if this year turns out well with all of my new quilting aspirations, we’ll all be able to go there again soon!

I’m Heading out on the Road to California – Hope to See You there!

I’m excitedly packing my bags and gathering my supplies for a fun-filled weekend of quilting and inspiration. 🙂 I’ll be attending the annual Road to California quilters conference and I’m super excited!

Quilting Vacation

Quilting Trips are the Best!

I’ve signed up for a full slate of classes, including Jacquie Gering’s improv class, plus several machine quilting classes from the likes of Karen McTavish, Gina Perkes and Debby Brown. I’m especially excited about attending a lecture on batting, plus I’ll get a chance to meet the ever-delightful Eleanor Burns.

Stich N Flip

Jacquie Gering Stitch and Flip Improv

Victorian Feathers

Karen McTavish Victorian Feathers


This is definitely an investment in my quilting education which will pay out rich rewards. Attending large events like this helps me to improve both my quilting skills and my teaching skills. I love to observe how professional teachers engage with their students, and I take mental notes on their tone and presentation style. I’ve never been disappointed yet!

Feathers and Fills

Gina Perkes Fantabulous Feathers and Fills

Feather Phobics

Debby Brown Feather Phobics Only


Are any of you planning on attending? It would be fun to bump into some friendly faces. I’ll be the short one with tons of enthusiasm and a big smile on her face! 🙂

Road to California 2014 Registration Opens Today!

I love attending Road to California, the quilters showcase and conference. I went in 2011 and again in 2012 and this is the show that has really inspired me to take my quilting to the next level. Registration opens today for the 2014 show and I’ve just signed up for these classes:

Stich N Flip

Jacquie Gering Stitch and Flip Improv

Victorian Feathers

Karen McTavish Victorian Feathers

Feathers and Fills

Gina Perkes Fantabulous Feathers and Fills

Feather Phobics

Debby Brown Feather Phobics Only

I’m taking classes from “big name” quilters I admire so I can learn their techniques and apply them to my own quilts. This will be a long weekend of intense quilting education for me and I can’t wait!

Favorite Tools #3 – Design Wall

I love my design wall! I use it all the time when working on quilt blocks and my daughter is even using it this week while she works on her jelly roll quilt. (More about that later!)

Flannel Design WallI got it from a wonderful vendor, Cheryl Ann’s, 2 years ago when I went to the Road to California quilter’s conference.

The design wall is totally portable and comes in a bag, like a tent. In fact, it’s made from tent poles and flannel fabric. (I sound like a commercial, don’t I?)

Portable Design Wall BagDesign Wall Pieces

It’s very lightweight and only takes a few minutes to assemble. You can see the back below.

Back of Design WallI was very impressed with this company. About a year after I got it, I lost one of the small pieces. When I went back to Road to California the next year and told the guys at Cheryl Ann’s how much I used it, they gave me the replacement part for free!

They come in 3 sizes and I bought the medium sized one that measures about 4 1/2 feet square. I think I need to go back and get the large sized one now!