Welcome to Week 1 of the creative spaces blog hop! Scroll to the end for links to everyone who has posted about their spaces this week – I’m sure you’ll love it, be inspired, and hopefully, feel good about your own creative space!
This week, we are blogging about our sewing spaces, and sharing before and after pics.
I like to keep a tidy room, but whenever I travel, things can become a hot mess. I’m usually trying to finish up some deadline at the same time and my sewing space can often look like this:
I have a big space in our upstairs loft area. There’s a big table in the middle where I do most of my computer work, cutting and organizing of projects. It tends to attract all the mess when I’m in a hurry to leave on a big trip.
When my studio is tidy and clean and I’m able to efficiently use every space, it looks more like the image below (taken a couple of years ago for a feature on someone else’s blog):
I’ve got a quilt under the machine on the back wall with another quilt top on two tables in the middle of the room. My design wall on the right is big enough to hang a large quilt top. It now doubles as my basting area and my photography studio.
I can fit a full size ironing board with a big board on top, and there’s a desk where my daughter can also sew if she’s interested. You can barely see the couch peeking behind the railing where I like to drape a couple of quilts in progress.
Probably my favorite thing in my sewing room is the design wall because I use it all the time. Whenever I’m working on a new quilt, or even a new fabric line I’ll hang up whatever I’m looking at and step away, to see what it looks like at different angles.
It also servers as my photography studio to take flat shots for pattern covers. We (meaning Jason) build the design wall back in 2013 the last time I did a major studio renovation. You can read about our process here.
I’m lucky to have a large space with enough room to put everything away when I clean up.
My least favorite thing in my sewing space is the hand-me-down wooden entertainment center. It doesn’t match anything in the room, but it was free and fits the space well. It also holds a ton of stuff, including our big ugly office printers (one for black and white printing & labels – the other for color printing.)
One of my goals during this six week blog hop is to replace that ugly brown monstrosity with something nicer from Ikea. We recently got one in our town, and it’s sad that I haven’t even been there yet! But I’m hoping I can assemble a series of smaller units and bookcases (in white) that will make the space look a whole lot nicer! I’d also like to replace my plastic work table with a taller table on wheels that I can use for cutting.
I’m definitely in my happy place when I can quilt in a clean, organized room. My sewing machine is against a wall with a window so that I have lots of natural light steaming through while I quilt during the day. My favorite thing to do is listen to a podcast or audio book while I quilt. It relaxes me and I can get into a good flow while I work.
Other Stops on the Hop
Be sure and visit these other stops on the Creative Spaces Blog hop and see how my quilty friends deal with taming their creative spaces:
Great news! QuiltCon 2018 registration opens today for the general public, meaning you do NOT have to be a member of The Modern Quilt Guild to attend. Although most of the hands on workshops have sold out (including mine), you can still get on the waiting list because cancellations DO happen. Every time I’ve taught at QuiltCon, at least one person has been able to get into my workshops last minute due to a cancellation. And the good news is, there’s still plenty of space available in the a la cart lectures – including mine.
The last time I gave a lecture about Modern Machine Quilting was back in 2016 for an MQG webinar. Since then I’ve updated my talk with all new material. The new lecture is called “Infusing Modern into Machine Quilting” and I can’t wait to share it with those who attend!!
Promo image for my talk back in 2016
Using lots of gorgeous examples from previous QuiltCons, I’ll be demonstrating how the modern aesthetic can apply to the machine quilting process. Learn how negative space, minimalism, graphic geometry, improvisation and other hallmarks of the modern aesthetic can be incorporated into your machine quilting work.
Attendees will gain a better understanding of why many modern quilters choose to employ an abundance of straight line and “industrial looking” designs rather than quilting overly ornate and perfectly symmetrical motifs. Suggestions on how to incorporate graphic and linear free-motion quilting as an alternative to straight-line quilting will also be explored.
I highly recommend registering for as many QuiltCon lectures as you can – they feature fabulous speakers and fascinating subjects. In fact, I guarantee you’ll learn new things about quilting, just by attending!
Even if you plan to attend QuiltCon and don’t even register for anything, you’ll still have a great time! The quilts are sure to be fabulous, the vendors are top-notch, and there will be meetups, “Sew-lebrity” sightings, and demos galore. I travel to a LOT of quilt shows and while I love them all, QuiltCon has a special place in my heart – after all, attending the first one in 2013 literally changed my quilting life. I hope to see you there!!
Modern Marks was my first fabric line that I designed for the Contempo division of Benartex Fabrics. They released in September of 2017, and because Benartex reprints fabrics as long as they are selling, most of them are still available. Although I’m now promoting my second fabric line, Fandangle, (which ships to stores this month), I realized that I need to archive all of the Modern Marks prints in one place so that I can link back to them as needed.
Modern marks was inspired by many of the marks I like to make – whether by hand or machine. Several of them are based on machine quilting designs and they all incorporate graphic geometry which I love so much! I wanted them to work well when cut up into quilts and add a spark of color to any project.
The main print comes in four colors: Red, Orange, Lime, and Turquoise
The namesake print is mashup of many of the coordinates, and even includes a few motifs which didn’t make the final cut of the collection. I’m definitely revisiting some of the shapes in future fabric lines as my goal is for all of my fabrics to work seamlessly between collections.
Half Ovals comes in four colors: Dark Fuchsia, Orange, Light Turquoise and Teal
I knew I wanted to include a “dot” print in this line but wanted it to be more interesting than the standard polka dot. I also wanted to make sure that with this coordinate, it would cut up nicely no matter which way you rotated the print.
Herringbone comes in four colors: Red, Lime, Jade, and Navy
This print is one of the blenders in the line that’s based on one of my machine quilting designs – a simple zig-zag. The beauty of fabric design is that the lines don’t have to be continuous like my machine quilting is!
Boxes comes in three colors: Light Blue, Cream/Lime, and Light Orange
Boxes is based on one of my favorite modern machine quilting motifs of the same name. The quilting design is a continuous/allover design, but I wanted the print to not be so obvious that it was a quilting design, so the squares are less dense than the quilting design with just a few of them overlapping. These fabrics also read a little lighter so that they can provide contrast to the darker, bolder prints.
Crossmarks comes in five colors: Pink, Gold, Green, Turquoise and Jade.
This is the simplest print of the bunch but very effective. It serves as the blender, basic, or tone-one-tone of the group.
Quirky Triangles comes in three colors: Pink/Orange, Green/Blue, and Navy/Blue
I knew I wanted to include a triangle print but something a little more unexpected than the usual tossed triangles. Adding a pop of color emphasizes the asymmetry and irregularity of the print which I really like.
Crosshatch comes in three colors: Tangerine, Light Lime, and Royal
Crosshatch is another basic/blender print. Adding the random pops of filled in squares gives it a little more quirkiness and originality to your basic crosshatch/plaid design.
The full Modern Marks line includes the 26 prints I designed above, plus 5 coordinating Color Weave basics in Cobalt Blue, Fuchsia, Citrus, Kelly Green, and Electric Blue.
Want to get to know some fun, talented friends of mine? Then join us for the Creative Spaces blog hop which launches on Monday, July 9th, 2018!
Hosted by Tammy Silvers and Cherry Guidry, 16 of us are going to write a weekly post for 6 weeks about fun, creative topics in the quilting community. Think of it as getting to know some new friends and learning a few tips along the way!
Here are the scheduled topics we’ll be covering:
Week 1: Studio Clean Up – before and after pics
Week 2: Favorite Tools
Week 3: Organizing Tips
Week 4: Dealing with Scraps and/or Fabric
Week 5: Dealing with Embellishments/Buttons/Thread
Week 6: Dealing with Tools/Rulers
Meet the Makers!
Here’s the list of participants and the days of the week they’ll be posting. Click the links to each of their blogs below and follow them, or bookmark their sites so you can check out what each has to say every week!
I just got home from a fabulous week in Chicago, attending the 125th Anniversary of BERNINA. What a legacy for this fantastic company!! Each year, BERNINA hosts an industry only event exclusively for BERNINA dealers, select quilting industry vendors, and BERNINA owned companies (Brewer Sewing, Benartex Fabrics and OESD embroidery.)
The Main Event
BERNINA University (BU for short) kicks off with an opening reception and announcement of new products. A new 4 Series was introduced this year, aimed at making BERNINAs more affordable to the “casual” quilter with many of the same bells and whistles of the high-end machines.
Beautiful 125th Anniversary quilts on display made by Amanda Murphy
BERNINA dealers and their employees attend four days of classes aimed at getting them familiar with the new product line as well as supplemental classes taught by industry experts, ambassadors, and BERNINA educators. During the time between classes, they get an opportunity to shop the vendor mall, full of booths aimed at helping them bring fresh, new products to their stores. Think of it as a mini-version of quilt market that’s more focused and engaged.
Lisa H. Calle is such a ham!! I met her at BU last year (in Las Vegas) and got to know her better over dinner this year. She’s as kind and generous as she is talented.
Ricky Tims entertained us with his beautiful musical talent at the closing gala.
(Spoiler alert!! I’m heading to Colorado later this summer to do a taping with him and Alex Andersen for The Quilt Show – can’t wait!!)
I was able to set up a booth at BU to show shop owners my brand new Fandangle Fabric collection with Benartex, along with new quilt patterns to help support the line. I was very pleased with the reception that I received. Although I had attended quilt market back in May, many of the quilt shops and dealers who attend BU don’t actually make it to market so most of them were seeing it for the first time.
As a designer, one of the best things about attending BU is getting to engage more with the shops and dealers one-on-one. Because it is a much smaller event than quilt market, there’s enough time to talk with them in-depth to explain how my new products will help their quilt shops be more successful (and of course sell more sewing machines!)
Everyone attending at BU is either a serious buyer, seller, or educator. Although there’s certainly nothing wrong with the more casual, social environment of quilt market, BERNINA University is a different type of industry trade show. It’s much more focused and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I sold more books, fabrics, and patterns there than at quilt market.
Workshop attendees got to practice free-motion quilting on either the Q20 sit-down longarm or the B770 QE (which is my personal machine of choice.)
I also taught a couple of workshops while I was there: two sessions of my 3 hour class, “ Conquer Your Fear of Free-Motion.” It was a little different than my regular classes that I teach for shops, guilds, and at quilt shows because I was basically teaching other teachers and shop owners how to teach my techniques from my books.
Sharing my teaching methods with shop owners at BU had two main purposes:
It allows my methods to reach a larger audience. Since there’s no possible way I can travel to every quilt shop, the dealers can share my methods and get their own rock-star staff to share them with their customers instead.
It helps me sell more books. Although it’s exciting for me to meet enthusiastic students when I travel or interacting with them online, there are plenty of quilters out there excited to learn how to machine quilt that haven’t yet been introduced to my easier, stress free (and fun!) way of doing things.
Student work quilted on the BERNINA 770 QE. My designs work well on any machine!
One of the best things about having a professional quilting career is getting to make new friends and solidfy relationships with people you only see at industry events. Once such person is Cherry Guidry from Cherry Blossoms Quilting Studio, a fellow Benartex Contempo designer.
In the meantime, I wanted to recommend a fun podcast to listen to that I was recently interviewed on. It’s called Just Wanna Quilt and is the brainchild of Dr. Elizabeth Townsend Gard from Tulane Law School. She’s doing research on quilting and copyright and her podcast is a part of her research where she interviews all sorts of people in the quilting industry: hobbyists, professionals, and industry insiders. It’s super fascinating!
Many of you have asked me when Craftsy will offer more kits for my beginning class: Startup Library – Quilting. The good news is that they are available once again! The first round of kits performed so well, that they finally ran out of fabric using the original prints so they decided to re-kit it with a similar collection with the same look and feel of the original.
Although you can certainly get the kit without the class (it comes with a detailed pattern), you can also get the class and make your own version using any fabrics you choose.
This quilt was super fun and fast to make because the blocks are simple to piece and the quilting is easy enough for a beginner to handle. I quilted the remake using the same quilting plan as the original and the class includes step by step tutorials on how to quilt it the same way shown here:
In the class I go over how to quilt gentle wavy lines with your walking foot, plus two fun and easy to learn free-motion designs: stipple and continuous curves.
As a recap, here’s what the projects look like for my other two classes:
If you’ve already tackled Friendship Stars and want to go to the next level, kits are also available for my followup class: Startup Project – Starry Path Quilt. It was fun to try out a completely different color scheme and expand my repertoire of star blocks!!
I made three versions for this class to show how to quilt with a walking foot, free motion – or both! It’s fun to see how the same design looks in different fabrics, with different quilting!
Fabric selection for this class is super easy – just pick two jelly rolls in colors that you like.
Enroll in My Classes at Your Convenience
My Craftsy classes are available for you in two ways – either a la cart where you own it forever, or you can sign up for Craftsy Unlimited which gives you 24/7 access to all three of my classes as long as you continue with your subscription. Either way you view – you have unlimited access to me when you take any of my classes, and each one comes with a free pattern to make the projects featured in the class! Here are the relevant links below:
Learn to stitch beyond the ditch and unleash the power of your walking foot to quilt modern or traditional designs. Walking foot motifs to be taught include: wavy lines, decorative stitches, irregular grids, several different spirals, straight‐line designs, and more. You’ll leave class armed with the confidence that yes, you can quilt your own quilts! This is a hands-on machine class with machines provided for each student.
QDR010 Plan Your Quilting (A), Saturday Feb. 23, 2-5 PM Or
QDR011 PLan Your Quilting (B), Saturday Feb. 23, 6-9 PM
How do you get from “quilt as desired” to a cohesive quilting strategy? Students
will practice sketching quilting motifs on paper, then learn strategies to apply those designs to an actual quilt top. Students will each have a chance to create several different quilting plans using images of their own quilts printed on paper, as well as learning how to create quilting plans for a wide variety of quilt designs. This is hands‐on drawing workshop.
lec22 Infusing Modern into Machine Quilting, Sunday Feb. 24, 10:15 AM
This informative lecture is full of examples from previous QuiltCons, demonstrating how the modern aesthetic can apply to the machine quilting process. Learn how negative space, minimalism, graphic geometry, improvisation and other hallmarks of the modern aesthetic can be incorporated into your machine quilting work.
Attendees will gain a better understanding of why many modern quilters choose to employ an abundance of straight line and “industrial looking” designs rather than quilting overly ornate and perfectly symmetrical motifs. Suggestions on how to incorporate graphic and linear free‐motion quilting as an alternative to straight‐ line quilting will also be explored.
View from my lecture last time I spoke at QuiltCon 2017
Non-member registration opens July 10 and I’m excited to be teaching for the third time with a new slate of workshops. If the prior years are any indication, things will sell out fast so set your alarm, make a list of first and second choices and be ready to roll when registration opens!
My quilt, HST Remix hanging at QuiltCon 2018
If you plan to attend but aren’t sure if workshops are your thing – don’t worry – there’s still plenty to do. There will be social meetups every night, gorgeous quilts to be inspired by, and of course lots of food, shopping and fun! So make plans to attend QuiltCon in Nashville, Tennessee Feb 21-24, 2019. If you are unable to make it, click here to view my current teaching schedule.
Earlier this year in my Facebook group we were discussing the idea of doing another quilt along this summer/fall. Well guess what – after organizing my schedule for the remaining year, I have room to squeeze one in and I’d love for you to join me!
Dot ‘n Dash recolored in Fandangle Fabric
Starting on August 17 and each Friday for several weeks (to be determined) we’ll make my Dot-n-Dash quilt pattern from my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. The best thing about this quilt along is that many of you already have the book from my previous Squiggles quilt along.
If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy of the book, you can get a signed one here! The other best thing is that just like my previous quilt alongs, we’ll make the whole quilt from start to finish.
Above is the original version made by me as shown in the book. Check out these other fabulous versions that friends of mine have made. I just love seeing the same pattern made in a variety of fabrics!!
I can’t wait to dive into these! I cut my own strips using sample yardage, but the Strippies (Jelly Roll Strips) will be precut and neatly packaged by the manufacturer.
Share Your Work in Progress
I’ll be posting weekly stepouts of my progress with the quilt along with some bonus tips as I make the quilt. I’d love for you to share your progress so I can cheer you on, too. You can do that in several ways:
Leave a comment and include a link to your own blog or social media images
I can’t wait to make this quilt and hope that you’ll join me!
Whether you’re a brand-new quilter or have been creating for a long time, I’d love for you to join me in this journey! Be sure to sign up to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live by entering your email address in the box on the right hand side-bar (or scrolling ALLLLLL the way down to the bottom of the page if viewing this on a mobile device.) I can’t wait to get started!!
Last year I hosted a really fun quilt along as part of my BERNINA Ambassador obligations. (It’s a fun gig by the way – I travel the country letting folks know how much I love my machine which is something I did anyway before I became it became “official.”) So today I thought it would be fun to revisit the quilt along for those of you who are new to my blog, or missed it the first time around.
Links to the Simple Strips Quilt Along
The quilt tutorials are all hosted on the BERNINA blog at We All Sew and they’ll be there indefinitely, so you can make this quilt on your own schedule, any time you want. Just click the hotlinks below to get each set of instructions for this quick and easy quilt!
I made this quilt before I started designing fabric and it works well with any fabrics you choose, whether coordinated or scrappy. Fabric selection is super simple too – it just requires 20 strips (or 1/2 of a jelly roll) of print fabric and the same amount of background/light fabric.
Click here to get the Simple Strips EQ download file to resize or recolor this quilt. (It only works if you have the software installed on your computer.) Because I don’t have all the time in the world to make all the quilts, recoloring them virtually gives me the satisfaction of seeing what it would look like “in the cloth!”
Sharing is Caring
Remember, if you make this quilt or any of my designs for that matter, I’d love to see them! You can email me pics to email@example.com, include a link to your own blog or social media in the comments, share pics in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group or tag me @christaquilts and #christaquilts on Instagram.