Christa Watson is an avid reader and commenter here on While She Naps and that’s how we first connected. She consistently leaves thoughtful, challenging comments week after week and I really appreciate her perspective. Christa makes me think and that’s a very good thing.
Christa is an online quilt shop owner, quilting instructor, pattern designer, and author of Machine Quilting With Style, her debut book that releases next month on Sept 8th.
Although she’s been quilting and teaching since the mid-90’s, it wasn’t until recently that she found her voice within the modern quilting community. Connect with Christa on her blog at ChristaQuilts.com.
I’m so happy to have Christa here today sharing the pattern that changed her life.
When I discovered quilting in 1994, I’d never made a quilt before, let alone heard of anyone who had made one. Some friends of mine were hand-tying quilts for charity and invited me to join them. I sat down to help and it was love at first stitch! As anyone obsessed with a new hobby does, I immediately devoured anything and everything I could find about this new-to-me artistic medium.
This was back in the days before the internet was widely used (there were bulletin boards and text only news groups at the time, but that was about it), so my resources for discovery were limited. I read as many books as I could get my hands on, subscribed to as many magazines as I could afford, and began teaching quilting classes locally as a way to try out new techniques and share my obsession with anyone who would listen.
Then around 2003 after the birth of my 3rd child, I fell into a creative funk about the same time I launched my online fabric store. Although I loved fondling fabric and shipping it to customers on a daily basis, I had no time to sew for myself. I still taught on occasion when I had the time, attended meetings of my local guild, and enjoyed the camaraderie of women, most of whom were my mother’s and grandmother’s age.
Over the years, anytime a well-known quilting celebrity would pass through town I would attend their inspiring classes and listen to their lectures while they showed quilt after quilt of their original work, made in their own unique style. While I loved the work, I began to realize it wasn’t “my” style, and started to lament the fact that I didn’t actually have a style. I loved the act of making and sharing, but was never quite happy with what I made or shared. Even though I created original designs, they never felt like “me” and I couldn’t even articulate what I liked. It got so frustrating, not knowing what I liked, that I had nearly decided to give up quilting.
Then things changed for the better in the summer of 2012. I was reading the June issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine and happened upon Katie Pederson’s Fresh Cut quilt pattern. She originally made this quilt for the new book she had just co-authored with Jacquie Gering entitled, Quilting Modern. Ironically, this quilt had to be cut from the book for length, and ended up the magazine instead. Thank goodness, for my sake, or I may never have seen it!
When I saw this awesome design, it hit me like a ton of bricks – this was the style I had been yearning for, but didn’t know where to look! The simple geometry of modern quilts, the clean lines and bold aesthetics of modern art and graphic design were all just begging for me to create something fresh and new. I quickly got online, ordered a copy of Jacquie & Katie’s book, found the world of quilting bloggers, and felt like I had finally found my tribe. (Don’t ask me why I never noticed them before and was a little late to the party!) On a whim, I decided to attend the first QuiltCon in 2013 and the rest as they say, is history.
I never did make that pattern of Katie’s, but since then I’ve become great friends with many in the online quilting community. In fact, I recently authored an article about QuiltCon 2015 with Jacquie (which will appear in the fall issue NQA’s Quilting Quarterly magazine) and I can’t wait to return to QuiltCon as part of the faculty in 2016. You gotta love serendipity!
I always knew I wanted to design patterns, write a book, and teach nationally. On the one hand, I’m sad that it took so long for me figure out the style I’m most passionate about; but on the other hand I believe everything happens for a reason, at the right time. Now I’m making up for lost time, and I have a lot of quilting to do!
Fresh Cut Quilt by Katie Pederson is the pattern that changed Christa Watson’s life.