Tag Archives: Free Motion Quilting

Discover Your Inner Free Motion

Christa Watson will be guiding her students with their free motion quilting skills in four classes during Road to California 2017:

Monday: 1016C  Fun with Free-motion Swirls 

Tuesday: 2016C  Free-Motion: Designs with Lines

Wednesday: 3015C   Free Motion Improv 

Thursday: 4015C   Modern Free Motion Fillers

Machines provided for Christa’s classes are the Handi Quilter Sweet 16a sit-down longarm machine. The machine stays stationary while students learn to move their fabric. Skills taught in this class can be used on any domestic or sit down longarm machine where the quilter is moving the fabric through the machine.

Usually, if you ask a quilter who taught them to quilt, they will often reply, “My mother.” But in the case of Christa Watson, it was Christa who taught her mother to quilt!! Christa started quilting 24 years ago when a friend invited Christa to help tie quilts she was making for charity. Christa loved the tactile nature of touching cloth and thread so for her, “it was really love at first stitch!” 

Christa’s mother had always been a great seamstress but never made quilts. She tried to get Christa interested in sewing clothing, bags and other “3-D” items when she was younger but Christa just wasn’t interested. Once Christa took up quilting, her mom was her very first student and has been enjoying it ever since. Christa loves that quilting gives her and her mom something to do together.

Christa really likes utilizing modern, geometric designs in her quilts.  She is always on the lookout for interesting shapes found in nature and architecture, taking pictures and thinking about how what she is seeing would make a great quilt design.

Before Christa started teaching nationally, the first class that she ever took at a quilt show was at Road to California!! It was a thread painting class from Road award winning quilter, Nancy Prince. The class was taken during the time when Christa was trying to figure out what her “niche” was (hint – it’s machine quilting). Although Christa didn’t stick with thread painting, she still felt “it was the best class because I was able to observe what makes a good, successful teacher: someone who knows their subject, cares about their students, present their material in a fun and engaging way, and has so much passion for their work that it’s obvious with every stitch they take.” Christa hopes her students at Road 2018 will “walk away with the belief, that yes, it’s possible to quilt their own quilts and have a great time doing it!”

What does Christa like most about teaching? “Hands down, I love interacting with my students. I love that spark of excitement I see on their faces when they understand a concept I’m teaching. Their whole face lights up and they become much more relaxed and less nervous. I love being in a room full of enthusiastic, engaged students who are eager to learn.”

When asked what her best quilting tip was, of course it had to do with free motion quilting:  “When you want to learn a free-motion quilting design, practice quilting the design on a small practice square (about 10” x10”) every day for a week. After a few days, you’ll start to see a noticeable improvement.”

Christa shared with Road a touching experience that she once had while teaching: “I had a student once who was grieving the loss of a loved one. She told me that she hadn’t planned on coming to class but her family insisted she get out and do something to distract herself. She said she was so glad she came, because it really was therapeutic for her to stitch out her emotions in cloth. She said the friendship and camaraderie of the other students was just what she needed at that point it time. It was hard for me to hold back my own tears as she told me this, and I’m really glad I could be there for her that day.”

Road is proud to welcome Christa Watson to their teaching staff for 2018.

To learn more about Christa, please visit her website.


Meet Road 2017 Vendor: Pauline’s Quilters World

Australian Pauline Rogers has been teaching free motion quilting on a domestic machine all over Australia for over 30 years.

While she taught her classes, she also listened to her students. She would frequently hear the same common problems: “I can’t quilt a big quilt,” “I can’t free motion,” and “I can’t put on borders.” Pauline noted, “If I hear more than 50 people a year complaining of the same problem, I have a need to fix it.”

One way Pauline has set out to solve these problems is with writing her book, The Quilt As You Go Handbook.

The book is filled with color photos and instructions for learning Pauline’s Quilt As You Go techniques as well as share her tips on free motion quilting. She even spent two pages just focusing on tension which she calls the “Bible of her book.” Sized so that it can fit on a sewing table next to your machine, the book’s pages have plenty of space to take notes as you sew along. Her book has become so popular that she is currently writing a second edition.

Quilters often ask Pauline how she has been able to do so much free motion quilting without getting stressed or developing back and shoulder issues. She explains it is because of a system she has developed: sewing full speed with the machine pedal on the left side of the needle and propping up the machine with door wedges so the machine it tilted toward her.

Pauline has traveled all over Australia (she did 38 shows in 2016!!) and has just recently taken her vision to the United States. In her booth at Road 2017, Pauline worked along side her staff Gerry and Peggy.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

Among the many products offered in the booth, they all demonstrated one of Pauline’s popular and innovative tools, her “Sasher Collection.”  Because she had “burned the heck out of my fingers” making sashing through the years, Pauline developed these tools to take care of all sashing needs, from small bias strips used for applique stems and decorating to larger width sashing. Made to be used by both left and right handed quilters, the tools all use the same technique of folding and running fabric through the tool for quick and perfect sashing every time.

Because she has an interest “to keep the quilting industry strong and healthy,” Pauline will continue to travel and teach, helping quilters of all levels perfect their craft. Currently, she and her husband of 45 years don’t plan to return home to Australia until December, 2017.  And while on the road, in between her classes and shows, Pauline intends to continue designing more tools to help the free motion quilter, applique quilters, and even garment sewers. “I am loving every minute,” says Pauline and it certainly shows!!!

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

To learn more about Pauline, her quilting methods, and her products, please visit her website.




Road 2014 Faculty Spotlight: Meet Karen Sievert

Karen will be teaching half day classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday where every student will have their own machine head featuring Gammill machines. Monday: #1006 The Art of Trapunto and #1007 Mini Whole Cloth Quilts; Tuesday: #2006 Feathers and Flourishes and #2007 The Art of Trapunto; and on Wednesday: #3015 Mini Whole Cloth Quits and #3016 Feathers and Flourishes. Karen is also teaching an all-day class on Thursday #4011 Ready, Set, Go-The Basics of Free-Motion Quilting.  Karen Sievert head shot

Personal: Karen Sievert is a terrific quilter with an international flair. She was born in Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and has lived in Italy for two years. Consequently, she adores everything Italian. Karen has 3 children (Wayne, Shannah and Travis) whom she is “tremendously proud of,” and two dogs, a Maltese named Harley and a Goldendoodle named Shiloh. She enjoys music (it is always playing in her sewing room) and reading. The last book she read was Saving Faith by Jodi Piccoult.

How did you get started in quilting?  My sister dragged me into a quilt shop in 1997, firmly stating that I needed a hobby! I was immediately hooked, had visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, and haven’t looked back since! For those of you old enough to remember what Calgon is, well, quilting is my “Calgon, Take Me Away!”

Does anyone else in your family quilt?  Only the sister who dragged me into that quilt shop! But I’ve recently moved and have another sister, a niece and a great-niece that are all looking to learn!

Where do you find inspiration for your quilting? I think inspiration can be found everywhere! It might be the flower in the garden, a Hallmark card, or the pattern on someone’s sweater. The more open I am, the more I see.A Truly Feathered Star

What is the one quilting tool you can’t live without? Wow, that’s a tough question! There are so many tools out there that have made our quilting adventures so much easier. I guess when it comes right down to it, it would be my sewing machine! I love my sewing machine and I think it loves me back! Once, when gone for quite some time, I came home and there was a Post It note on it saying, “I miss you.”

What do you like best about teaching? Easiest question so far! The best thing about teaching is the friendships you make with other quilters! I was a ‘military wife’ for almost 30 years which meant moving…ALOT! I could always find a friend in a quilting group!

What is the funniest or most embarrassing moment you have experienced while teachingI once had a group that wanted me to teach a class using prairie points, a very “iron intensive” project! Before the class, they had changed the materials and supply sheets, deleting the irons! To top it off, my class limit is always 24, but for this class 64 women showed up. We had exactly two irons for all of them!!!! I learned then, that a sense of humor coupled with a great deal of flexibility can make anything work! Believe it or not, even though I was ready to “throw up” in the parking lot, it was one of the best classes I’ve ever had!

What has been the best class you have taken? Ok, so this is embarrassing! I’ve only taken one class. And the instructor did most of my work because I was so inept! It was a Stained Glass Vest. Loved the teacher, loved the vest, and though it no longer fits, I still have it!

Want is your best tip for quilters? OK, so I have three. First, measure twice, cut once! Second, always test your seam allowance. And third, like the Nike slogan says, “JUST DO IT!”  

What do you want your students to get out of your class? EVERY THING!!!   Always want to over-deliver, not under-whelm! I want my students to have the faith, confidence, and belief that they can do whatever they envision.

You can reach Karen at www.theniftyneedle.com