Christa Watson is a quilter, teacher and designer based in Las Vegas, NV. I took her Craftsy class, “The Quilter’s Path”, having only ever taken a 5-hour quilting workshop with Linda Coolen Smith of our local modern quilt guild. I needed lots of help understanding the limits and possibilities of walking foot and free motion quilting, and Christa’s class was a great place to start.

The class is divided into 6 lessons, between 18 and 26 minutes each. The class comes with downloadable resources, including a printable supply list and the Pinwheels Quilt pattern, pictured above (40″ x 56″). The class starts with walking foot designs using basic grids then moves to more complicated designs such as a walking foot spiral. Christa then moves into free motion designs such as spirals and meanders, and then combines the FMQ with walking foot designs.

It’s fun to watch her teach and everything seems to make perfect sense. Two things that I especially appreciate about Christa’s class: 1) The way she uses test block to practise and try out a design, and 2) The way she shows you how to apply the design to a larger quilt. Testing is an approach that I like to use in my own work, but of late, have forgotten about it and have suffered the consequences! Another thing to do before you delve into quilting a larger piece is to plan your path first. I am fine with quilting small blocks but have little experience with manoeuvring larger quilts. Christa shows you how to plan your quilting path to first anchor your quilt and then fill in with more density and detail. This is an error I have made recently with my Color Flocks quilt; I started way too dense and now I have to persevere through to the very end of a density marathon to finish this sample.

Christa also encourages you to sketch your quilting before you do it. This rote motor practice helps when it comes time to actually stitch with your machine.

My obsession with free motion clouds has been greatly helped by “The Quilter’s Path.” I took Christa’s “elongated swirls”, where you echo along the tail of a spiral motif, and doodled about 8 pages’ worth of cloud designs with the swirls as the starting point. It gave me lots of practice figuring out how to travel around the surface of the quilt. Paper is much less expensive than fabric and less of a time commitment, so “sketch twice, FMQ once,” or something of the sort!

Responsiveness is the marker of great service and a great teacher. I asked Christa a question via the Craftsy platform about how to approach the background and she responded within 24 hours of my post. I appreciated the quick turnaround and it makes me want to take another class! It is very apparent that Christa really wants you to succeed with your quilting and feel confident enough to progress to the next level.

For you readers, Christa is offering 50% off her class when you sign up via this link. The discount will show up when you add the class to your cart; it expires October 5, 2017. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Plan the overall quilting design, sketch the quilting design, then quilt away!