Christa Watson of Christa Quilts fell in love with quilting back in 1994 and never looked back! She is now known as an authority on machine quilting and has two recent book releases to support her passion, Machine Quilting with Style and The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting (co-authored with Angela Walters). Christa’s debut Aurifil thread collections pull from her go-to thread 50wt threads in Colors and Neutrals. These collections are the perfect companion for any quilting project!
[illustrations by Sabrina Vincent]
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Piece and Quilt Collection: Colors
12 Large Spools, 50 wt, 1422yds/each
2250 – 1133 – 2920 – 2130 – 2884 – 2886 – 2783 – 2725 – 2520 – 1148 – 4020 – 2425
Piece and Quilt Collection: Neutrals
12 Large Spools, 50 wt, 1422yds/each
2024 – 2311 – 2405 – 2315 – 2615 – 5007 – 2605 – 1246 – 2326 – 5021 – 2372 – 4241
To view this info on our website, click the image above. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you first got started in the world of quilting?
Growing up, my mom was a very talented seamstress and I remember going to the fabric store to pick out funky prints which she would then sew into wild pants and mini skirts for me. (I was into the “mod” style back then – if anyone even remembers what that was!!) But she never made any quilts, so I hadn’t ever seen one before. She tried to get me involved in sewing but I was NOT interested at all. However, I do remember fondly sticking straight pins into the holes of her old Singer sewing machine, wondering where they went…
Fast forward to my early twenties, and my quilting journey started when some church friends invited me to tie quilts for charity. Exploring the fabrics, and making each hand-tied stitch was the most fun, tactile thing I’d ever done. One of these friends invited me over to her house to make a quilted pillow a few weeks later, and I was hooked! It was love at first stitch. I clearly remember my friend showing me how to use her machine which was some brand I had never heard of before – a BERNINA. All these years later I am still a loyal BERNINA fan and I’m also a brand ambassador for the company.
Of course, what comes around goes around, as I discovered many years ago, when I found my young children gleefully sticking straight pins into the holes of my new sewing machine!
Do you remember the process of creating your first quilt and how you felt once it was finished?
My first quilt was made for my husband Jason – a simple nine patch made for his birthday during our first year of marriage. (That was 22 years ago!) I remember making one block at a time, with a sewing machine borrowed from my mom. I didn’t know anything about using quarter inch seams, so no two blocks were the same size. But I remember feeling so proud as each block came off of the machine, and he still uses that quilt to this day! I’m kind of embarrassed to share it, but it just goes to show I’ve come a loooong way in my quilting journey!
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
I have to give my mom credit here for not punishing me for playing with her pins, buttons and scraps when I was younger. Although it took me awhile to finally find sewing, she was always encouraging me in my crafty endeavors growing up. We tried everything from potato stamp carving and candy making to ceramics and crochet but none of them ever stuck. When I finally found quilting, she was eager to be my first quilting student, which then led me down the path of making quilting my career. After all, if you can teach your mom to do something fun and rewarding, you can teach anyone, right??
What do you love most about the art of machine quilting?
I love seeing the hand of the maker in one’s art, and I enjoy the fact that I can give my quilts a final layer of texture and design, using my own hands. Moving the quilt under the machine is a very meditative process for me, and I don’t worry about perfection as I form each stitch. It all goes back to that tactile quality which I love so much.
You released your first book, Machine Quilting with Style last year, and recently released your second quilting book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, co-authored with Angela Walters. What was the process of writing those books like and what did you love most about them?
In both books, I’ve been able to include patterns for not only how to piece the quilts, but how to quilt them, too, so they are both like two books in one. From the start, when I began teaching quilting on a regular basis, I would take my students through the entire process of making a complete quilt, from start to finish.
Writing both of these books has allowed me to take the teaching process I developed over the years and put it into book form, with the enthusiasm and encouragement I offer in my live classes.
Working with Angela on the second book was a fabulous experience. She quilts on a long-arm while I quilt on a sit-down domestic machine, and we both agree that it’s so important for our readers to have fun and not stress while they discover the type of quilting that appeals to them the most.
Do you have a favorite project from the book?
My favorite quilt from Machine Quilting with Style is Facets. It was the first quilt I designed for the book and once I came up with it, I knew I was onto something. It allows you to combine both walking foot quilting and free-motion quilting, which is my favorite way to quilt.
My favorite quilt from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting is Swirling Butterflies because it’s the first time I made a wholecloth quilt. I really stretched my skills with that one, and I love that both books offer a wide variety of designs for all skill levels. Both quilts were entirely pieced and quilted with Aurifil thread, of course!!
If you could recommend one pattern that would be an excellent starting point for machine quilting beginners, what would it be and why?
I would recommend Little Man’s Fancy from Machine Quilting with Style, quilted with “shattered” straight lines. The one block quilt is fast and easy to make and the size is easy enough to handle under the machine for the first time out. Straight lines are quilted haphazardly allover the quilt so the process is super fun and fast and there’s literally no way to mess it up. Whenever I teach beginners I always like to start with walking foot quilting because it gives them the confidence that their quilts can look great with minimal practice and effort. Then, once I have them hooked, I ease them into gradually more complex designs.
When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them? Do you have a favorite color/weight?
I’ve been using them since the summer of 2013 after I kept seeing the name pop everywhere on social media. In all my years of quilting I had never found the brand that was right for everything I wanted to do. When I noticed that all my friends and those I follow were raving about them on social media, I had to give them a try. Once I did, I quickly cleaned out my thread stash and got rid of everything else! In fact, I know the date because I wrote about them on my blog for the first time here.
I love all of the colors of the 50 weight cotton because I can use them for everything I do – piecing, quilting and binding. I like to use matching or blending threads when I machine quilt, so only storing one type of thread for everything really simplifies my quilting life. Plus, any leftover bobbins from machine quilting can be used when I piece or bind my next scrappy quilt. For me, that means no more wasted thread and tons more sewing efficiency!
How did you go about selecting threads for your Piece and Quilt Collection, and what excites you most about the range that you are presenting?
When I first set out to curate my collection, I took a good hard look at the colors I used the most in my own work. When I finally narrowed it down, I realized I had two collections – Colors and Neutrals. As the name implies, these 24 spools can help you make all of your quilts. The colored assortment includes the entire rainbow spectrum so there’s a color for everything. And you’d be surprised how well the colors will blend, even if it’s not an exact match.
The neutrals include my favorite white and cream, my favorite “almost” black which shows up better on black fabric than pure black, three shades of gray (light, medium, dark), and a range of 6 other neutrals which fill in the gaps. I’ve been experimenting over the last few months, using only these colors from both collections and so far, they’ve been all I need. Like I said, I love simplicity and I hope you will, too!
AURIFIL DESIGNER OF THE MONTH
Christa was the Aurifil Designer of the Month for March 2016. Click on the image below to download her block pattern and learn more about the DOM program!
To enter-to-win 1 Large Piece and Quilt Aurifil Thread Collection + your choice of either Machine Quilting with Style or The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have! Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 26! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Thursday, October 27. Good luck!
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Christa Watson is an award winning quilter, pattern designer, EQ artist and author who loves to teach others how to successfully quilt on a home sewing machine. She considers herself a cheerleader for the DIY modern aesthetic. She’s heavily involved in both modern and traditional quilt guilds and loves to encourage everyone to enjoy the style of quilting that appeals to them. Christa lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband and three children who all think it’s normal to have a house full of fabric. Visit her at ChristaQuilts.com.
Get one of Christa’s free patterns here: http://eepurl.com/BZ3mL