MQG Member Spotlight: Christa Watson

Christa Watson is one of our great individual members. She is very active on our Community site sharing projects, engaging with others, and spreading her knowledge. Christa is also one of 12 pattern designers chosen to design a quilt pattern just for MQG members! (This is a new benefit just released to our members yesterday.) Join us in celebrating her talents and skills!

Tell us a bit about your self.

I live in Las Vegas with my hubby and 3 kids. Although I’ve called myself a quilter for nearly 20 years, I feel like I’ve just started! The modern movement has rekindled my excitement for the art of quilting and has helped me re-focus and finally find my niche.

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Charming Chevrons, my first “modern quilt” and my entry into QuiltCon. It was later awarded a ribbon in my traditional guild’s quilt show for their modern category.

When did you become a MQG member? Do you belong to a guild or are you an individual member?

I joined my local group, the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild, in February as soon as I returned home from QuiltCon. Once I realized how amazing it was to connect with other modern quilters in person, I sought them out as soon as I could. While they are currently debating joining the MQG, I decided to sign up as an individual member so that I wouldn’t miss out on any of the fun!

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String of Pearls, one of my blog Quilt Alongs. It was awarded an honorable mention for “Machine Quilting the Modern Way” at MQX Pacific Northwest in October.

When did you first find modern quilting?

I first discovered the modern movement several years ago when browsing online looking for ideas on how to promote some Amy Butler fabrics I was selling in my store. For some weird reason, I had it in my mind that hip, swanky sewers were only into making totes, clothing and accessories (which I love to use but don’t enjoy making myself). I didn’t realize at the time that they were quilters, too, so I quickly put it out of my mind (much to my regret now).

It wasn’t until years later with the announcement of QuiltCon that I finally started paying attention to Modern Quilting. Not knowing a soul, I immediately signed up to go, knowing it would somehow all work out. That’s probably the best decision I made because while there, I met so many like minds that are now dear friends. I also made several important industry connections that are starting to open up additional career opportunities for me.

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Colorful Chevrons, (a larger remake of Charming Chevrons), which appeared on the November cover of Quilty Magazine.

What is your favorite part of the quilt making process?

Hands-down, my favorite part making a quilt is the machine quilting. I love the texture that quilting adds to the surface, and I enjoy the freedom of quilting organic looking, modern designs without marking.

In fact, one of the things I love most about the modern quilting movement is the renewed emphasis on making an entire quilt from start to finish! No matter our skill levels, we can all make something both beautiful and functional with our own hands.

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Free Motion Quilting Modern Trees, my latest blog Quilt Along.

How do you educate yourself on new techniques?

I read as many quilting magazines and books as I can, take as many classes as I have time for, (both in person and online), and follow as many blogs as possible. Everyone has something unique to share and I love the feeling of community I get when associating with like-minded souls.

Where do you find inspiration?

I’m drawn to simple geometric shapes with clean lines. I love the possibilities of how they can be re-combined to create new graphic images with bright colors in bold forms. Whenever I get an idea in my head, I quickly sketch it out it EQ7 and start playing around with all of the possibilities. Before I know it, I have a plethora of designs that I’ll probably never get around to making!

Christa_MQG_5_OpticalIllusion

Computerized sketch of an optical illusion quilt I designed, based on a game found on the back of a kids’ menu at a restaurant. I hope to make this quilt… someday!

What is your most used and favorite quilting tool?

My most important tool is my drop-in sewing table. It allows me enough room to spread out my quilts and go to town with the machine quilting. The window I sew under lets in lots of natural light during the afternoon which is my favorite time to sew.

Christa_MQG_6_SewingTable

My drop-in sewing table. I’ve had it for about 15 years and it accommodates whatever machine I’m using at the time.

What is the funniest mistake you’ve made while sewing?

I can’t think of a funny story to share but I can think of a painful one – I’ve free-motion quilted through my finger before when I wasn’t paying attention. Ouch! I’m not repeating that mistake, that’s for sure!

Show us your sewing space!

I sew in our upstairs loft area. It’s a nice big open room with plenty of floor space to set up basting tables and my oversized ironing board. The wooden railings are the perfect place to display my quilt tops that are waiting to be quilted.

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Overview of my sewing room in action. That’s my daughter’s sewing desk under the smaller window.

At the end of the day, I like having everything put away, behind closed doors and tucked into corners. If there’s too much visual clutter, it really stresses me out. I guess that’s why I love negative space in quilts so much, too. It gives the eyes a place to rest.

Christa_MQG_8_SewingRoom

Everything put away and tidied up.

What sewing machine do you sew on?

I recently upgraded to a Bernina 710 which has about 3.5 more inches of throat space than my older machine. It’s wonderful for free-motion quilting! I also enjoy using my singer featherweight for piecing when I take classes or go to retreats.

If you could take a class from anyone in the quilting world who would it be?

Angela Walters – I got to fulfill that wish earlier in the year when I took her machine quilting class at QuiltCon. Another on my list is Jacquie Gering, from whom I’m going to take a class at Road to California in January. I’d also enjoy learning from Alissa Haight Carlton. I love her minimalist aesthetic.

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Angela Walters scrunched down so as to not make me appear so short!

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Modern Trees was part of a quilt along series I host on my blog where I write step by step tutorials on how to make a complete quilt from start to finish.
Machine quilting is my passion and this quilt allowed me to have lots of fun quilting all that negative space!

Stay up to date with Christa:

Blog: Christa Quilts Blog

Flickr: Christas Quilt Along

Store: Christa Quilts 

SewDown Portland: Lee Heinrich

Lee Heinrich is a quilt designer, author, and blogger. Her book “Vintage Quilt Revival: 22 Modern Designs from Classic Blocks“—co-authored with Faith Jones and Katie Clark Blakesley—out now. She also has a line of patterns now available, and her work has appeared in magazines such as Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts, Quilt Magazine, and Quiltmaker. Lee loves the burgeoning area of “modern traditionalism” and wants to help quilters think outside the grid when it comes to traditional blocks. Stay up to date with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

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A bit from Lee about her class:

In this class, we’ll learn about some of the things that make a quilt “modern traditionalist” and make a 21″ x 25″ mini quilt top that incorporates several of these design concepts. The “Shooting Star” mini quilt design is easy to piece and features a block that has been around for more than a century. But we’ll give a modern twist to the traditional by incorporating negative space, asymmetry, and other design tweaks. Students will also have the option to make their mini wonky or incorporate a scrappy patchwork background. The possibilities are endless!

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What you can expect from Lee as a teacher:

I like for my classes to be laid back and fun, but still informative. I always try to teach my students at least a little something about design, even if it’s a class where we’re just following a pattern or learning a technical skill. More than anything, I want them to come away from the class feeling inspired, motivated to create more, and feeling like there are more creative possibilities open to them now than before they took my class.

SewDown Portland is bound to be amazing! We are sold out but do still have space in our lecture series. Sign up for those here.

SewDown Portland: Julie Herman

Julie Herman lives in the San Diego and started sewing in 2002 and blogging in 2009. The goal when she started her blog was to share her quilts & have a journal of them. Since starting her blog she has been published in many magazines, started her own pattern company, and developed the Hex N More Ruler. Her book “Skip the Borders” was released in August of 2012. To read more about Julie, check out her blog jaybirdquilts.com.

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A bit about Julie’s class:

In the Sidekick Sampler Workshop students will learn to use the Sidekick Ruler.This new ruler was designed to cut 3 shapes in 4 sizes! As a result it gives you limitless possibilities. All of the pieces can be rotary cut from strips. In addition to developing the ruler I also have designed many patterns to go with it. The class is divided into two parts. In the first part of class you will learn how to cut Diamonds, Triangles, and Half Triangles. In the second part of class you will use the fabric provided with the class kit to create a small project using the Sidekick. Students can expect to create a small project or blocks during the class. 

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SewDown Portland is bound to be amazing with all our fantastic teachers! We are sold out but do still have space in our lecture series. Sign up for those here.

Changes in the MQG Board of Directors

December 31, 2013 marked the last day of three valuable board members for the MQG. Please join us in wishing Latifah Saafir, Elizabeth Hartman, and Amy Newbold tremendous success in their future endeavors.

The time that they volunteered for the MQG over the years is invaluable. Their talent, skills, and ideas will be missed. Please join us in sending them thanks for their time and efforts.  Their work helped to lay the groundwork of the MQG and the organization will always benefit from all that they did for it.

The MQG board now has a number of openings and the Governance Committee is hard at work developing a system of elections for our members. We’ll be announcing our election process and filling the board member positions in the next few months.

One more huge thank you to Latifah, Elizabeth and Amy for all of their time, energy and commitment to the MQG!

SewDown Portland: Sherri Lynn Wood

Sherrilynnwood

Sherri Lynn Wood is an artist who lives in Oakland, California, where she improvises quilts as a life practice and blogs about it at Dainty Time. She has an MFA in sculpture from Bard College, a Masters of Theological Studies from Emory University, and teaches regularly at Penland School of Craft. Sherri’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the country. She has been making and selling quilts professionally for 20 years. Learn more at daintytime.net.

Improv Round Robin

An improvisational twist on the Round Robin. Free your creative energy, use up your scraps, and learn the basic skills of improvisational quilt making. At the end of the day you and everyone else will leave with a distinctive quilt top beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. There are no mistakes in this fast-paced class, only discoveries, community, and FUN! Perfect for fist time improvisers. 

Wood - improv round robin

Sherri’s classes were ubber popular at QuiltCon and people really enjoyed themselves. Having her teach again at SewDown Portland is fantastic. Her approach, teaching style and techniques have inspired so many people. 

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from Sherri. We only have TWO spots left. (Remember MQG members receive a 20% discount on this all inclusive weekend!)

Register Now!

SewDown Portland: Heather Jones

heather jones Heather Jones is a designer and self-taught quilter who  lives outside of Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two  young children. She is often inspired by everyday places  and things that many people wouldn’t even notice (think  an old metal silo or a painted grid in the parking lot of a  big-box retailer), and is always excited by the challenge to  translate that inspiration into her work. Heather has a  great love and respect for the traditional art of quilting, is  an avid collector of vintage quilts, and loves to bring a  modern twist to traditional patterns. Her modern quilting  patterns are available at a number of online locations and  she will soon be bringing the Heather Jones Studio patterns  to print as well. Heather is currently working on her first  solo publication, which is scheduled for a fall 2015 release.

We are so excited to have Heather Jones teaching at SewDown Portland this coming February. As a three time Project Modern winner, she exudes a modern esthetic. Heather will be teaching her popular You + Me pattern.

you + me sketch cropped

you + me

Interested in taking a class from Heather? We only have TWO spots left. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity. (Remember, MQG members receive a 20% discount on this all inclusive weekend!)

Register Now!

Call for QuiltCon Teachers 2015!

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We are looking for experienced instructors who can teach techniques of interest to modern quilters. In general, we like a balance of technique based and project based workshops.

Workshops should be three hours (half-day) or six hours (full-day) in length. We are not accepting multi-day workshops at this time. In addition, we are accepting 45-minute lecture proposals. Workshops should fit into the following types of rooms:

  • Sewing Room – equipped with sewing machines
  • Long-arm machine room – equipped with long-arms
  • Silkscreen/block printing room – surface protected room with nearby sink access.
  • Dye room – surface protected studio with sink access
  • Handwork room – no machines
  • Lecture hall

You are welcome to submit any workshop proposal. All workshop proposals must be accompanied by a photo sample of the workshop.

When completing your application, please keep in mind the Modern Quilt Guild covers travel expenses of our instructors including: airfare/mileage, hotel and a meal per diem. Unless you are local, the majority of our instructors teach a minimum of two full days and one lecture.

To be considered please download the MQG Instructor Application and send it to jen@themodernquiltguild.com by March 4th, 2014.

Thank you! We can’t wait to hear from you.

MQG Member Spotlight: Christine Slaughter

Meet Christine, another one of our MQG Community Moderators. Like most of us, Christine found quilting and ran with it! Her stash is already hefty and totally organized.

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When did you become a MQG member? Do you belong to a guild or are you an individual member?

I became a member as soon as it was available to Individual members. My nearest MQG is about two and a half hours away, so I was thrilled when I read that an Individual membership option was going to become available!

When did you first find modern quilting?

I have only been quilting for about a year and a half. The first time I really noticed that there was a modern quilting movement was when Alyssa Lichner of Pile O’ Fabric and Emily Cier of Carolina Patchworks had The Totally Groovy Quilt Along in July of 2012. I was really intrigued by the quilt, but too new to the craft and too intimidated with curved piecing to participate.
CS Quilt

What is your favorite part of the quilt making process?

Piecing! I love it! Especially now that I’ve gotten down that scant 1/4” seam that eluded every block of mine for the first 6 months of sewing.
After laying out all the Broken Herringbone blocks  yesterday, Mister decided he didn't want the green or yellow blocks. After some internal pouting, I put on my big girl panties and started cutting strips of blue, teal, red-violet, and purple to replace

How do you educate yourself on new techniques?

We have a saying at our house that is used often (particularly with the kids): “Google is your friend”. I use the internet to research everything! Pretty much every hobby I have ever learned, I learned online. For quilting in particular, I read blogs, watch videos, google tutorials, scour Pinterest, whatever it takes! I have also taken a few Craftsy classes. There is such a huge community out there willing to help and encourage, and always with a friendly attitude. Currently, I am participating in Pile O’Fabric’s Skill Builder BOM, specifically to challenge myself with new techniques. I have learned A LOT this year!

Skill Builder BOM - Em Dash Quilted

Where do you find inspiration?

My inspiration comes from all the bloggers I read. I always see such creative and beautiful projects, and sometimes they are accompanied with tips/tricks to help motivate me to start on a new project. Usually before finishing the current project, I might add…
July 3rd sewing: "Shattered Chevron"

What is your most used and favorite quilting tool?

Most used? I think it’s a tie between my Olfa rotary cutter and Gingher thread snips. I’m always reaching for one of the two! Favorite tool? My FriXion pen. Before I bought that, I always had the hardest time marking my fabric.
I mentioned to Mister.yesterday that a couple of hooks on the ruler rack he made me would be awesome. That way I could hang my cutter and nippers. Today he adds this. So now I have all my cutting tools available!  #heismrfixit #jackofalltrades #ilovemyhus

What is the funniest mistake you’ve made while sewing?

Hmmm… I’m not sure that I have had any I would call funny (at the time). I think the most exasperated sewing experience that made me chuckle later was when I carefully sewed a paper-pieced block. After assembling it, I realized that one of the corners that had a directional fabric was going in the wrong direction. Since I was trying really hard to get this particular block perfect, I ripped that corner off, printed out a new pattern, cut new fabric pieces out, and carefully sewed it back together. I took my picture of the re-completed block, posted it to Flickr, and then realized I had made the exact same mistake! At that point I said “forget it” (actually, it was a more choice word than that!), and left it be. I chuckle every time I see that block!

Show us your sewing space!

I’m SO glad I just completely reorganized my little sewing area! My husband and I had a motorhome garage and an extra two car deep garage built last year (a necessity in Arizona with the heat), and after that was finished we walled off the back of our first boat-deep garage to make a hobby room to share. My sewing area occupies the back corner, along with a daybed for my husband to snooze on when I’m sewing. He also just built a wall storage unit for my birthday, and we completely organized all of our supplies. He’s not into fancy-schmancy, so it’s all bare wood, fresh from the hardware store. Still, it’s a lot neater in there, and my need for organization has been fed with all-the-same-style type of storage boxes. I also just bought 300 comic book boards and wrapped all my fabric (FQ’s up to 1.5 yds) on them. I’d love a book case to store them on, but for now my big Sterilite storage drawer unit will have to do!
CS Studio 2

CS Studio 1

What sewing machine do you sew on?

I sew on a Brother PQ1500-S. I was shopping around for a different high-speed straight stitch machine earlier this year, and a sewing machine shop in Las Vegas recommended this machine and one other. This one was in my price range, and had everything I wanted! I started saving money for it, but my husband surprised me and bought it for an anniversary present this past May. The man knows the way to my heart, I tell ya! My other machine is a smaller Brother XL-3750 machine. Nothing fancy, but is able to do other stitches that my straight stitch machine can not do, should I need them.
CS Machine

If you could take a class from anyone in the quilting world who would it be?

Angela Walters… I just started learning to FMQ when I got my sewing machine, and I would love to learn from her! For now her books and Craftsy classes will have to do!

Thanks for taking the time to share yourself with us Christine! I know others will be inspired by you just as you are inspired by others.
Stay up to date with what Christine!

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