Teaching in Las Vegas – Come Take a Class With Me!

I’m excited to announce the next round of classes I will teaching here in my hometown of fabulous Las Vegas! They will take place at The Christmas Goose Quilt Shop and you can register for any of them by calling the shop at 702-877-1158.

Here’s the Schedule:

April 29 (Wednesday) 6-9 PM String of Pearls

20140404_stringofpearls_dqnChrista With String of Pearls (66″ x 66″) at the DQN Quilt Show in 2014

One of my favorite quilts of all-time, String of Pearls allows you to showcase a favorite set of fabrics all in the same quilt, with plenty of negative space to feature fun machine quilting. During this one session class, we will learn how to make the blocks and set them together. Cost is $20 plus pattern purchase from The Christmas Goose.

May 30 (Saturday) 10:30 – 5:30 Modern Machine Quilting

modern machine quilting samplesSamples of modern machine quilting on actual quilts!

Join me for a full day of quilting fun! Bring your practice sandwiches or orphan blocks and learn how to let go of perfection while you quilt fabulous walking foot wonders and free-motion favorites on your quilts! Cost is $50.

June 25 (Thursday) 10:30-1:30 Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons by Christa Watson, 48″ x 56″

The one that started it all – Charming Chevrons was my first modern quilt, made in 2012. We will learn how to make the smaller version shown above, but you can easily make it in any size simply by adding more charms! Class will cover construction of half square triangles and possible setting ideas. Cost is $20 plus pattern purchase from The Christmas Goose.

Won’t you join me? I look forward to seeing you!

(For even more content and a peek into other things happening at Christa Quilts, be sure to sign up for Friendly Threads, my weekly email newsletter.)

Thread Thursday and a Folkschool Sneak Peek!

This week I am having the most wonderful time teaching at the John C. Campbell Folkschool. My students are learning how to make a modern quilt, and I will give a full report next week, once I’m home and rested!

folkschoolsignHaving a great time at the Folkschool. Wish you were here!!

We’ve been here all week and today is machine quilting day in class. Many of my students have chosen to piece and quilt with Aurifil thread, and they are getting great results!

machinequiltingI love this version of Modern Logs – it’s so graphic and cheerful!

Since you aren’t here with me, enjoy some pretty pictures of my favorite thread collections:

thread_tula_pinkTula Pink’s Premium Collection

thread_botanicsBotanics by Carolyn Friedlander

thread_alison_glassAlison Glass Essentials

All of these thread collections and more are available in my thread/precut store!

Teaching at John C. Campbell Folkschool in March

One of my goals I stated for 2015 was to seek out new teaching venues. I am excited that my first national teaching event of the year will be a week-long class at the John C. Campbell Folkschool in Brasstown, North Carolina. Click here to register and come join the fun!

20140702_folkschool_housing20140706_folkschool_trailThe accommodations at the Folkschool are just lovely!

From March 8-14, 2015, I will be teaching “How to Make a Modern Quilt” featuring my Modern Logs pattern and I couldn’t be more thrilled! In this intimate setting, I’m going to walk you through the entire process of making a quilt from start to finish, including cutting, piecing, basting, machine quilting and binding. How fun will it be to get away for a week, enjoy some beautiful mountain views, and come back with a finished project?

Modern-Logs-FinishedHow to Make a Modern Quilt featuring Modern Logs

I have to honestly say that I’d never heard of the Folkschool until they contacted me earlier in the year inviting me to teach. When I took at look at their website, read through their rich history (the school has been around since 1925!), and checked out their accommodations, it was easy to yes!

In addition to year-round classes with different instructors every week, the Folkschool features community events, craft auctions and a number of different festivals. It really is a community unto itself!

folkschool_120140706_folkschool_craftsfolkschool_2Arts & crafts, music and dancing are all to be had at the Folkschool!

So here is the deal with registration:  sign up for the week long class and pay your deposit which will hold your seat in class. Then select your choice of lodging and meal packages to fit your budget. For example, my class runs the entire week with orientation beginning on Sunday evening, 5 full days of instruction (Mon-Fri), and a show ‘n tell presentation on Saturday before everyone leaves.

It is a big chunk of change since it’s a week-long event, but compared to the daily rate of other venues I’ve attended it’s quite a bargain. The total instructional time with me is 30 hours and the class sizes are very limited so it’s going to be quite the experience! It makes me giddy thinking how awesome it will be to make new friends and spend an entire week with them focusing on nothing but quilting. I’m also looking forward to evening strolls and early morning walks before class!

20140706_folkschool_naturefolkschool_3I can’t wait to experience those views!!

So if you are even thinking about it, I encourage you to sign up now. Tell your loved ones you’ve been good this year and that this would make the perfect holiday gift. 🙂

Quiltique Fall Teaching Schedule – More Modern Classes Coming Up!

I’m excited to announce my fall teaching schedule at Quiltique in Las Vegas. Based on the the popular response from last trimester, I will once again be teaching Modern Logs and Modern Machine Quilting. Check out the pictures below from last season’s classes – my students had a great time and made some gorgeous modern quilts!

modern_logs_purpleModern Logs looks great in blues and purples with a pop of green!

Here are the dates and times if you’d like to learn with me:

  • Modern Logs – Saturday October 4, 11, 18 from 2-5 PM
  • Modern Machine Quilting – Thursday, December 4, & 11 from 6-9 PM

modern_logs_studentsYes, you can quilt it yourself, and I’ll teach you how!

If you are in or near the Local Las Vegas area, I invite you to stop by to Quiltique’s Back to School Carnival on September 5th from 5-8 PM to check out the projects and sign up for classes! You can also sign up online after Sept 6th.

sara_fussy_logsFor even more variety – you can fussy cut your centers!

Hope to see you there!

Christa’s Soapbox – More Thoughts About Teaching

So a few months ago I shared the fun news that I had been nominated as one of 9 finalists for Teacher of the Year presented by the Professional Quilter. It pleases me to no end that the lovely and talented Jacquie Gering was selected – she is amazing and is one of my modern quilting heroes, for sure! The rest of the nominees are some pretty outstanding women as well: Susan Brittingham, Lisa Calle, Amy Gibson, Pam Holland, Bonnie Hunter Liz Kettle, and Vikki Pignatelli.

20140702_toty1It’s so fun to see my name on the cover in company with other fabulous quilt teachers!

The way the process works is that each year, students can nominate their favorite teachers in the quilting industry on the Professional Quilter’s wesbite. (Thanks to whoever it was out there that took the time to write about me – it’s much appreciated!)

In turn, the teachers answer a series of questions about their teaching style, what influences them and why they love to do what they do. As Bonnie Hunter mentioned on her blog recently, she said it was sort of akin to writing a term paper. She was right on the money about that, LOL!! But since I love to write or talk about quilting whenever I’m given the chance, I was eager to respond.

teacher of the year image

Each of us was given a small summary in the magazine, so I thought it would be fun to share just a few of my answers with you….

How do you encourage creativity in your students?

I encourage creativity by allowing students to make their own choices when it comes to choosing fabrics and try to offer a variety of techniques in the same class. I love it when students come up with a different way of doing things other than how I have chosen to teach it. After all, we all have something to share and can always learn from each other.

What accomplishments of your students make you proudest?

I am most proud of my students when they finish their own quilts. My favorite class to teach is a start-to-finish quilting class where the students learn every step of the quilt-making process from cutting to binding. Nothing beats the look of joy on a student’s face when he or she proudly proclaims, “I made it myself!”

How do you encourage students’ further growth in quilting, beyond the formal class?

I encourage my students to seek out independent study beyond class. I love to suggest books and magazines they can read, guilds and organizations they can join, and blogs and websites they can follow to keep up the inspiration outside of class. I also encourage them to make friends with each other during my classes. Over the years it has given me a sense of satisfaction to see students who met in my classes go on to be lifelong friends, encouraging each other and learning more about quilting together.

What do you feel is your greatest contribution to the field of quilting?

I feel that my greatest contribution to quilting is fostering and encouraging a “can-do” attitude. I’ve seen so many students achieve growth personally, and with their quilting, when they finally believe that they can do anything they put their minds to!

Why do you teach?

I teach because it gives me a sense of personal fulfillment when another person becomes as passionate about quilting as I am. I want my students to feel the same joy I feel when creating a functional work of art with their own hands. I love it when their faces light up with that spark of excitement when considering the endless creative possibilities!

20140702_toty2There were about a dozen more Q&A’s which would be a little too lengthy to share here, but I hope you enjoyed reading just a few of the highlights. 🙂 As I begin my newest adventures in quilting by traveling to teach starting next year, hopefully I’ll be able to meet many of you in person!

Click here to see my current teaching schedule and feel free to email me if you are interested in scheduling me to come teach or lecture for your group or event!

Christa’s Soap Box – I Love Teaching Quilting!

I love teaching quilting. I mean, I really, really love it! I just wrapped up a couple of modern quilting classes last week at Quiltique and I am feeling such a sense of satisfaction that teaching is a regular part of my life once again.

Quiltique_preview_dayA couple of my samples were on display during class preview day at Quiltique.

I first began teaching quilting about 17 years ago when my oldest was just 7 months old! My mom, whom I taught to quilt, had walked into a local shop at the time (which is now out of business) and the owner asked her if she had any suggestions for quilting teachers. Mom recommended me and the rest as they say is history. 🙂

Mom and MeLike mother, like daughter – we both love to sew!

The fact that I could get paid for sharing something that I would gladly do for free was just icing on the cake! I developed a series of beginner’s basics classes and outlined methods for teaching how to make an entire quilt from start to finish. As the local shop was beginning to go out of business, I moved my teaching to a nearby Joann’s where I quickly developed a loyal following.

I would get a new set of students each summer and most of them would take classes from me all year long until I cycled through my entire curriculum. It was such fun to see them not only grow as quilters, but to watch as they developed friendships with other students in the class. They were with me through the births of my last 2 children and we would joke about how I liked to sew barefoot (and pregnant).


My daughter’s baby quilt, made by former students in 2003. She still uses it!

I had just started my online fabric shop in 2003 right before I had my daughter (who is now nearly 11) and I knew then that I would have to take a break from regular weekly teaching. On the last night of class, my students surprised with an impromptu baby shower complete with a quilt for my daughter. I was so touched it made me cry. No one had ever made me a quilt before!

Over the last 11 years I’ve kept up my teaching skills by sharing with friends, developing tutorials online, and offering occasional classes through my guild and at retreats. However, I’ve missed the interaction that regularly scheduled classes affords. Now that I’m back, it feels like old times! 🙂

log_cabinsA former student of mine, Ofelia with her first quilt – a traditional log cabin!

A highlight of my most recent class is that one of my original students (whom I hadn’t seen in about 14 years) came to join us. When she heard I was teaching again, she quickly signed up for my Modern Logs class. Just for fun, she brought in her first quilt that I had taught her to make all those years ago. And guess what – it was a log cabin. 🙂

sara_fussy_logsSara is showing off her fussy cut centers – aren’t they just adorable?

Although my methods have changed over the years along with my style, what hasn’t changed is the sense of satisfaction I get from interacting with my students. Seeing the smiles on their faces, and feeling their pride with a job well done is just priceless.

I don’t plan to take a break from teaching anytime soon. In fact, I’m expanding my reach and have already started booking traveling gigs for next year. It’s just too much fun to pass up! (And for those of you that are interested, I do sell my Modern Logs pattern here.)


Barb is excited to baste and quilt her version of Modern Logs.

What’s the most fun class you’ve ever taken?

Modern Logs Quilt Finish

Presenting my latest finish: Modern Logs!

Modern-Logs-FinishedModern Logs by Christa Watson, 48″ x 54″

Modern Logs was one of my fastest finishes ever! From picking out the fabrics, to stitching down the binding, I finished in just under a week. The folks at Quiltique were kind enough to order the Petal Pinwheels line from Michael Miller for this quilt. It’s the same fabric being used in the Modern Quilt Guild’s fabric challenge. I chose coordinating solids and I was off and running (or should I say sewing)!

stripsProbably the hardest part of the whole quilt was deciding on which fabrics to put together, but of course, that’s also the most rewarding part when it all comes together. I made test blocks, wrote copious pattern notes, and practiced quilting on a sample block so that I could test the thread and batting.

test_blockI prefer natural batting when quilting on my home machine – it doesn’t pucker!

I went with Aurifil Dove grey 50Wt. cotton for the quilting (in both top and bobbin) with Quilter’s Dream Cotton in the select loft thickness. I used an elongated ziz-zag stitch – #16 on my Bernina model 710. I adjusted the length and width of the stitch until I was happy with the result.

basting_sprayThis is the fourth quilt I’ve made using 505 basting spray and I’m just in love with it! It sticks every square inch of the top to every square inch of the batting and backing – so important to keep things from shifting and bunching while quilting!

This time I put a sheet under my layers as I sprayed and did it indoors with the windows open. My room is large and well ventilated so fumes were not a problem. I sprayed the backing and top, rather than the batting. I also ironed the whole thing when finished to set the adhesive, a tip I learned from machine quilter extraordinaire Ann Petersen.

back_design_wallI created the backing on my design wall by covering up the top with yardage and leftover scraps. I kept going until the backing was big enough. I love fun pieced backs, don’t you?

Here’s a nice angled shot where you can really see the quilting:

quilting_detailZig zag quilting was super easy and fast to do!

And the back:

finishsed_backingI think quilt backs should be as interesting as the fronts!

Modern Logs finishes at 48″ x 54″ and took a total of 24 hours to complete, including binding by hand. Not bad for a week’s work, and much faster than my last MQG challenge!

Modern-Logs-FinishedModern Logs – designed, pieced and quilted by Christa Watson, 2014

For those of you outside the local area, I will be teaching this quilt as a week-long retreat class at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina, March 8-14, 2015.

I’ll update my teaching schedule when Folk School registration opens later this spring.


My Cup Runneth Over…

I just found out two very exciting pieces of news today, and forgive me if I can’t help but put them out there for all the world to see!

Excitement #1 – Colorful Chevrons Takes 3rd at Paducah!

Thanks to my friend Linda H. for sending me this phone pic. She just happens to be there covering the story for AQ magazine and was able to show me the good news. The funny thing is, I couldn’t remember when QuiltWeek started and had my dates confused. I was thinking I wouldn’t hear anything about it until at least next week!

AQS Paducah Modern 3rd PlaceColorful Chevrons won 3rd place in the Large Wall Quilts – Modern category.
Click here for a list of all the winners.

Excitement #2 – I’ve Been Nominated for Teacher of the Year!

I’ve been nominated for 2014 Teacher of The Year, presented by the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals. Although I didn’t win, I’m in total agreement with who was chosen. In fact, after reading the email announcing the 8 nominees and the winner, I’m completely awed and humbled to be among those who made the final list.

teacher of the year image

No, I’m not going to spill the beans and spoil any surprises yet. The winner and all of the finalists will be given coverage in the Spring Issue of The Professional Quilter, and it will be up to any of them if they want to announce it publicly first. 🙂

My cup truly runneth over….

Christa’s Soap Box – Teach a Friend to Quilt….

Teach a friend to quilt… and you’ll have a fabric-friend for life.  My longtime friend Janice popped in over Christmas and she asked the best favor that any friend could request – she asked me to teach her how to machine quilt!

Janice Quilt

Janice and Her Quilt

First a little backstory – Janice and I have been friends since just after I got married and she’s always been crafty. In fact, I’ve mentioned her on my blog before and we’ve swapped a few artistic creations over the years. Way back in those days when I started quilting I told her I’d make a quilter out of her someday… and now that day has finally come!

Janice reads my blog on a regular basis and recently told me she was inspired to learn to quilt because of my quilt alongs. Living across the country from me, she sought out her local quilt shop and signed up for a class. Although her beginner’s class only focused on piecing the top, she proudly showed me her beautiful piece. (Why, oh why, do shops not teach how to make the entire thing from start to finish?? That’s another soap box post for another day!)

Minky on the back

Minky on the back is super cozy!

She backed it in soft minky and had the shop quilt it for her in a pretty swirly design. Then she promptly sat me down and asked me for a lesson in free-motion quilting. Yay! 🙂

So I started her off how I usually do when introducing machine quilting to my students, with a paper and pencil, and we set to sketching out some interesting designs.

Quilt Doodles

Doodling on paper is so fun!

First she filled up a page with some simple stipples…

Janice Quilts

Practice on paper first!

Then we went to town trying all sorts of fun motifs like pebbles, swirls, geometrics and loops. After a few pages, she had the rhythm down and started to make that muscle memory connection between her brain and her hands. After all, the hardest part of machine quilting is knowing where to go next!

Next, it was time to hop on my machine and try out what she’d learned.

Janice Quilts

FMQ can be fun!

While she practiced, I made sure to tell her all about my favorite FMQ tips and I gave her a mini tutorial on binding by machine. I mentioned that it may take awhile to get the knack for free-motion quilting, but she can feel proud of doing it herself!

(These pictures remind me that I really should pretty up my hands when I quilt, LOL!!)

Janice Quilts

By George, I think she’s got it!

I fully expect that when Janice comes out for her annual visit next time, she’ll have completed her next quilt completely – from start to finish. I can’t wait for the show and tell!