Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Basket Quilt

Hey there folks! Today I am going to show you a zillion pictures and chat a bit about this quilt that I have been working on for the past several years and have finally finished. My Basket Quilt. I started this one with Gwen Marston back in 2011 (I think) and finally finished putting the top together at our KCMQG quilt retreat in Hamilton, MO. I LOVE Gwen Marston and if you EVER have a chance to sew with her DO IT. She is brilliant. Truly. Anyway, she came to Dallas When I lived in San Angelo so I made the drive up to her to learn about making basket blocks (her way). I am actually not wild about basket quilts, but I LOVED her technique. It was so fun to make all the blocks just a tad bit different...heck some full blown KRAZY. Some even became flower pots. Flower pots and baskets are pretty similar really.

So I came home with a bag full of baskets and no clue what to do with them or what layout to give them, so they got put away. They were put away for YEARS. I would take them out during lulls...play with them some create some fun spare parts...then get busy with work related quilts and the blocks would get put away again.

Finally I decided to make them into the last border of a medallion quilt. I love a medallion quilt. I make lots of them because they are so fun to build on and really fun to quilt. I made a center block and built on the borders, and made some more appliqué parts.

All the appliqué is needle turn except for one part.

They stars are the only part that I HATE. I really wish I would have just pieced some stars. I love making wonky stars I don't know why I dropped the ball here but I did. I hated this part so much that is sat unfinished for another 2 years. For real.

This funny appliqué sprout is a block I had been working on on and off while waiting in the school pick up line. It was in my purse and I needed another block to make the bottom border long enough. It kinda matched so I added it in. I also quilted a couple extra leaves on the stem.

Some sprouts in a pot. I did figure out the ACU fabric does not want to be forced into leaves. It fought me every stitch. But in the end I won.

Two of my Altura blocks from Carolyn Friedlander went into the quilt too.

I tried really hard to keep the quilting simple...but I decided the trees needed to be snowed on.

Each basket is quilted different. This one has some feathers.

I used two layers of batting in this quilt to make it really heavy and to make the elements of the quilt pop. I used cotton and wool batting from Quilters Dream.

I think this is my favorite basket. I quilted around the spheres and it looks cool.

This is the back. It is all fabric I bought while in Hamilton for the quilt retreat.

This is a process shot, while I was quilting the quilt on the long arm.

And here is fabulous Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. She was as sick as a dog and still came out to say hi to our KCMQG. She is pretty great.

Anyway, I think that was my longest UFO project. If you have some crazy blocks bust them out and make them into a medallion quilt. It is magic.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Soul Searching Quilt

I also have this fabulous quilt to chat about. Ibby made this one using Kathy Doughty's pattern from one of her new books Making Quilts. That link may not work.

I had a blast quilting this one. Straight lines and swirls are best friends in my opinion...soul mates if you will.

I am kinda wild about how it turned out. I custom quilted it.

I also think Ibby has one stellar collection of low volume fabric.

Happy Quilting Folks!

Ahoy! A Pirate Quilt

Hey there! I hope you are doing well. I want to show you one of the quilts I quilted recently. Isn't this a fun quilt for a little boy? I quilted this for Rosalind. She got the pattern a couple years ago from Material Obsession (in Australia) I looked for a link but in my quick search didn't turn anything up. I bet you will be more successful.

She wanted me to custom quilt it. I took it chunk by chunk. I wanted each area to look like thematic. Does that make sense? That can be either wind or currents of the sea. The sharks are swimming in the ocean = waves.

This center spot was tricky because Rosalind had already stitched on all these little pieces of treasure. No quilter ever likes quilting around beads and buttons. I am no different. I could have quilted this with a great deal more detail, but all that loot made me rather timid.

I quilted it to look like contour lines. 

I quilted enough to make it not puff too badly after it is washed.

And I think the sharks are mighty cute!

Happy quilting folks!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sharing my "Story" - and a giveaway!

Hello there and Welcome to my stop in the Story blog hop. If you are new to my blog welcome! I am Tia Curtis, a pattern designer and long arm quilter. I met Carrie Bloomston 4 years ago when quilt market was in Kansas City. In the hustle and bustle of quilt market her booth was a nice place to stop and breathe. She just has the most soothing vibe. I felt like I had know her all my life. I just dig Carrie! This is also the third year I have sewn for her out of her fabulous fabric. You can see the post about Collage HERE and the one about Paint HERE. She sent me her Story collection and said to do whatever I wanted. With just a peek I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

As you can see a lot of great makers created fantastic quilts with this saturated collection. I just love the depth of the colors.

This first project I want to talk about and share my story is the "Phase of the Moon Hipster". This bag was really designed for my 13 year old daughter (and your tween daughter). It has a "secret" pocket so she can hide her pads when it is that time of the month. This would totally humiliate her - forgive me please Emma! The adorable little girl above is not my daughter, just so you know. She looks too young to me to be menstruating...but I started when I was 9 so who am I to judge?

This little bag has a main zipper compartment, and outside slip pocket and the hidden zipper pocket that isn't really hidden at all. I made a little reverse applique moon for the front. If you want to really get into the spirit you can make one for each phase of the moon.

I grew up with 2 sisters, my mom and my dad. We were all very close and for one week of the month my father complained loudly that we were all almost impossible to live with. If we would have any grumpiness or complaint at all he would make this big deal about stepping outside to check the phase of the moon and letting us know that we were all about to start sloughing. It kinda ticks me off a bit even now, but it really enraged all four of us females at the time. I swear if he would have known about the Red Tent he would have erected one in the yard and made us all go outside. For a man who is pretty much perfect in my eyes that was his one flaw. He mocked our periods.

So without further ado or hopefully TMI - I give you the Phase of the Moon Hipster. I have written the pattern for this bag, I am just waiting to see how I want to release it. All young ladies need a bag to hide their pads.

Here is a process shot of me working on the moon. Reverse applique is really delightful. Here is a tip...If you match your thread to your shape or background your stitches will look better and people with think you are really smart. Which I am sure you are.

Next up is "Dad's Tulips" - I am embarrassed to admit that I can't recall what I named it when I sent it off to Carrie, so if you see it named something different sorry. It is the same quilt...just with an alias.

I am a sucker for large scale applique. I find the process so soothing to work on. I went to the Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska and there was a stunning display up featuring 4 block applique quilts. I have been a fanatic ever since. This is the second I have designed for Carrie's fabric. Upon reflection I do wish I would have selected a different print for the leaves, but I forgot to ask for a green and the ones that I had just didn't want to work.

So, another story about my dad. We grew up in Germany. Dad was in the Army. My father has always loved working in the garden. He had the Yard of the Month all the time - Especially in the spring when all his tulips would burst from the earth in their riot of laughing colors. His favorites were the Black Tulips that he went all the way to Holland to select the bulbs from an old Dutch master Gardener. He also loved Grape Hyacinths. So this quilt is my dads favorite flowers. Black tulips and grape hyacinths.

I am not wild about how I quilted it, but oh well, it is done now.

These were so fun to work on. I insisted on doing the applique as needle turn because I like it better. But this pattern will be easy to do as fusible too.

Last but not least is "Night Flight". In my mind these were flamingos flying at night, but everyone else thinks they look like Rockets. I love the contrast of the hot pink with that deep, rich blue. And wonky stars are one of my very favorite quilt blocks EVER. Period.

This quilt was absurdly fun to make. I fussy cut strips of Carrie's Half Square Triangle print to do the inner border

The Flamingos are made like you would make a flying goose block, but they are taller...and they have funny legs. I quilted feathers in them too. BUT...If you want them to be rockets that is fine too. The legs are the exhaust as the rockets are blasting off.

I had a blast quilting it of course. I used some new to me batting Quilters Dream Cotton in Supreme loft. It is soon heavy and very dense. It quilted like a dream.

Here is Sam (he is named after my dad) and he grabbed this quilt up as soon as I came in from taking pictures of it. He insists they are rockets.

This is an in process shot of making this "Night Flight" quilt.

OK, folks. Those are my Stories to go along with what I made for Carrie's Story fabric. I could go on for hours, but I don't know if anyone would read my words and I have quilting to do.

The glorious Carrie Bloodstone is giving away to 3 lucky readers a fat quarter bundle of Story and a copy of her super inspirational book The Little Spark. You MUST go over to HER BLOG to comment to win. I would love to hear a comment here too, don't be shy.

Follow along on Facebook, Instagram and here on the blog. Ask your local quilt shop to carry Story. It ships to stores in September. In fact, email them this post so they can order it from their Windham rep today. Share the love! Tweet it, Pin it, Instagram it and Facebook it! Share pictures of Story! Tag Carrie (@suchdesigns on Instagram) and always use the hashtags #sewyourstory, #storycollection and #carriebloomston.

I was with my friend Rocky when she ordered the Story Collection for our quilt shop in town (Meadows Quilting and Sewing) I was super excited to see it all laid out in the back room as samples along with the little look book with my projects featured. So cool.

OK, folks. Go forth and comment and spread the love!

Have a happy week,
Tia Curtis

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Making a Leaf Wall hanging - A Tutuorial

Hey there! Welcome to my blog. If you are visiting from Instagram Welcome! I am thrilled you are here. OK, today I want to show you a quick tutorial on how I make my little leaf quilts. They are 100% inspired by the amazing UK artist Ingrid Press. I first saw her work back in 2009 and fell madly in love with her simple style. I HAD to make one for myself that very day. I am not sure how she goes about her process, but I know how I do mine so I will show you my technique.

First this is Ingrid Press. Isn't she a handsome woman. So dignified. Behind her are some of the quilts she has made. I searched the web for these images. Sarah Fielke had done an interview with her for her Sewn website but I couldn't find that link. The website must be gone. So sad. It was a really good interview.

Here are some more of Ingrid's leaves

And here even more.

I went through quite a kick making quilts inspired by Ingrid Press. This is a baby blanket I made and then gave to someone. I can't recall who, but I do know I never got a thank you. Oh well. I don't give my stuff away any more. Took me some time but I finally learned.

So, are you ready to get started? The first step is to make a quilt sandwich. Then cut out your leaf shapes. I just cut mine straight from my green scrap bag. After I have cut the shapes I pin baste them to the quilt sandwich. Make sure your pin passes through all 4 layers (leaf, top, batting and back). This is the only basting to do. No spray, no thread...just some safety pins.

See. Pretty easy so far.

Now, remove the pin from whichever leaf you are going to begin with. With your free motion quilt foot and your feed dogs lowered, pull the bobbin thread up to the top of the quilt by taking a single stitch. This is key to keeping the back looking nice.

Take a couple stitches in place and quilt your stem line up to the top point of the leaf. This one curves a tad. Yours doesn't have to. I used Black thread so you could really see the stitching. Please feel free to match your thread to your leaves.

I got carried away and quilted this one without taking pictures. The quilting isn't perfect, the black thread was really heavy so it left big knots on the ends of the veins, but I like it.

We will go slow here. See, I have quilted the center stem and traced over my stitch line to quilt the top two veins, traced over the stitch line again to come down to where the next set of veins will go.

Just carry on in this way until all your leaves are quilted. 

Next you can switch out your thread to match your background. I just did simple straight line quilting.

Obviously this is a different quilt. I was finishing this one before I thought to take pictures.

You quilt right through your leaves. It really isn't too noticeable if your tension is good, which mine isn't. I need to have my Bernina cleaned and serviced.

So there. All done. My next tutorial will be on how to do a Facing Binding. I think they are pretty swanky and if you have never tried you should give it a go on something small.

I would love to see what you make if you decide to make a leaf quilt of your own. Tag me on your instagram!

Tia Curtis