Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Fort Leavenworth Quilt Posse is back in session

Hey there! Our Quilt club has started meeting again at my house. Last month we made improv house blocks. This month we made more traditional house blocks. Tanya brought the pattern to the group and it was really fun to work with.

My friend Tanya is a very technical quilter. I value her so much! Our design processes are so different, like night and day different. She is my pattern tester and will not hesitate to call me out on any of my mistakes. Until I met Tanya I really didn't think much about  quilt math or yardage requirements. I always shoot from the hip, but Tanya has pointed out that most people like accurate math and accurate yardage requirements. So thanks to her and her guidance I have a notepad (I have several actually) by my cutting table and I write down all my steps as I go. I am trying so hard to be more organized with design....sorry I am getting off task....squirrel!

We had such a good time meeting and sewing together. Two new quilters joined our gang, and sadly several moved away. Alas life in the military does that. If you live in the area you are welcome to join us.

Tanya demonstrated the proper way to square up a block. I have been doing it wrong for about 12 years. I use the lines on the mat and the ruler to square up. Tanya uses the lines on the ruler to do it. It was a bit confusing to me so I will probably carry on with the way I do it. So far it works pretty well. At least the new quilters know the right way to do it now. They didn't have as many bad habits to break as I do.

Here are our little houses. The goal of this project will be a wall hanging with 9, 12 or 16 houses. In the white space you can write or embroider your series of duty stations and maybe the years you were there. I have some pretty wild plans for my wall hanging.

Tanya saw this quilt hanging in a friend's house. It was a nice little quilted record of everywhere she and her husband had lived over their Military career. She had made the quilt with her quilt group as a swap. We are going to do that as well. This was a really quick block. After I find out about copyright I can post a PDF of the pattern for those of you who would like to make one for well as the Ft Leavenworth Quilt Club Members who have moved on. We miss you.

Tia Curtis

ps, Next month we will be exploring Log Cabin blocks. I am going to show several ways to make them and you can choose which method you like best. Hopefully we will have a good sized stack made up by the time we need to go get kiddos. Log Cabin quilts are a big favorite of mine.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Midnight in Amsterdam

Hey there! 2 blog posts in one day! Must be a record for me. So, I have been working on this quilt for the past couple days. I thought I was going to quilt it really simple using the Statler Stitcher, but then changed my mind after I got it loaded up. I decided to try something a little fancy. I Custom quilt for others all the time, I may as well quilt one for myself too from time to time.  In a nutshell I spent a ton more time on it that I thought I would. I always think I am going to get all this quilting done while the kids are in school, but not really.

For this quilt I used various types of shot cottons, peppered cottons and Oakshotts. The background is Kona cotton in Silver. I used silver thread too. I love the feel of Peppered Cottons but they really are not easy to work with. They frayed for me like crazy which was really frustrating as I was quilting it. I kept spying little jolly colors through the silver background even though I had trimmed the back of the quilt top quite well.

I had a precious stack of Oakshott cross weaves that I had been saving for something special and I felt they worked well with the rest of the fabric. I liked working with the Oakshotts quite a bit.

I used a great deal of Ruler work for the quilting and I locked my channels on the diagonal so I could do the diagonal lines without having to hold the ruler still. I think I still need a ton of work with rulers to feel comfortable, but overall I am happy with the effect of the hooked feathers (all hand guided), the pearls and the straight lines.

Here is is on the table last night. I use that blue ruler to guide stitching in the ditch and other straight line work. Sometimes I like the ruler better than just locking my channels on my machine because the machine is seriously perfect with it's straight lines and I am not so perfect with my piecing. I think I can fudge it a bit better with the ruler...sometimes.

Here is the back. Lots and lots of thread. I used two layers of batting for this quilt to really make the quilting pop. The result is a very heavy quilt!

Also yesterday my friend came over for a private free motion quilting lesson and to rent time on one of my machines. She did such a great job!

In the time it took me to quilt one row of my quilt Traci had her entire twin bed sized quilt finished. Stitching in the ditch takes forever!

 She did great on Lady June ( My Gammill Supreme ). She kept saying this is so fun! Funny...I think that all the time too! Quilting is so fun!

Tia Curtis

PS, my Midnight in Amsterdam quilt has no real purpose. I thought about writing a pattern for it...when I have time. But for now it is resting the the stack of quilts that need to be bound.

Optical Illusion Quilt Book - and give away!

Good Morning! If you are coming over from Facebook, Instagram of the Mystars blog WELCOME!!!  I am going to chat a bit about my quilt in the book Optical Illusions Published by Kansas City Star Books. A group of really great quilters and I have designs inside. I feel like it has been ages since I made this quilt. But I guess that is how it goes in the quilting for publication world. I make a quilt, send it away and then get to working on other projects, quilts and designs and forget a bit about what is no longer on my design wall or in my stack of quilts waiting to be bound. In fact just the other day I was hunting through my fabric stacks looking for my Botanics fabric by Carolyn Friedlander. I knew I had bought quite a bit of it, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I knew that I have used it in quite a few projects, but surely I still had a couple yards somewhere! Then it dawned on is in this quilt! My Tropical Storm quilt.

So, when I was asked to submit an optical illusion quilt design idea I went first to Pinterest. If you have time to kill go ahead and do a search and see what pops up. A mind blowing collection of really bizarre pictures. Of all the Optical illusions that popped up the one that appealed most to me was the one above. I knew I would have a terrible headache if I tried to recreate it in a quilt, so I opted for a more simple and approachable design. Welcome Half Square Triangles! I did several water color sketches and settled on the one up in the sketchbook.

As I was working with the fabric and scribbling out the instructions I felt the quilt needed a little pop to make it more like the quilts I make for myself and my family. So I pulled out some of my favorite fabrics and added tiny bits of them into the mix.

Next came the quilting which is the best part! All the white triangles are quilted with straight diagonal lines and each colored segment is quilted different. This was a fun quilt to quilt after I sorted out what I wanted to do to it.

Here is where all the Botanics went. I need to order some more I guess.

OK, so I am going to give a book away! Please leave your email below or a comment with a link to your email in profile. That is it. I will choose a winner Sunday 21 September.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quilt Of Valor Ceremony

Today was a really good day. Our Quilt of Valor group gave away a room full of quilts to soldiers of the 291st MP Company. They just got back from a deployment to Afghanistan. I know legions of quilters make quilts for QOV, but I wonder how many actually get to go to the presentation ceremonies? Well, if you ever get a chance I think you should attend.

This was the room ahead of the presentation. Many of the quilts are laid out on the tables waiting for a solider to come and pick them out. There is another stack of quilts over on the side stage to fill in as quilts get chosen.

It was so fun to walk around an try to pick out quilts that I had quilted. I have done so many lately that I have last track of them.

When the soldiers and their families came in they got to pick out which quilt they liked the best. It was fun to see some of the wives come in ahead of time to scout out the quilts then tell their soldier to  pick their favorite. Most of the soldiers were single so there weren't many spouses picking out quilts ahead of time.

Here are some of the tops before I quilted them.

Here are some of the pictures of the soldiers with their quilts. They were all so sweet and thankful. I don't think I have ever felt so much happiness after giving a quilt away as I did today.

Today was great! Thanks all of you who made tops, quilted them, bound them, made pillow cases and labels. These quilts will be loved! They are so special and have found very worthy new homes.

Tia Curtis

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Cross Quilt for Dawn

Hello again! Lets talk about this quilt for a bit. Lots of pictures too! So this is a very arty quilt. My friend Dawn Blankartz made this top as a gift for a friend. If you want to tab below you can see the quilt that inspired the quilt. I have been calling it a Viking Cross quilt, but it is more of a Medieval Pictish cross. Anyway Dawn made quilt by utilizing piecing, raw edge appliqué and painting on the fabric. She used some lovely Peppered Cottons.

I quilted the heck out of this quilt for a couple reasons. First the appliqué was not going to stay on the quilt without a great deal of quilting. I knew it was going to be a baby quilt and with my baby quilts they went through the wash weekly if not daily. Baby quilts need to be strong. Second, when I got to the cross I had to quilt it dense to make the characters pop.

Dawn and I had discussed what to do in the borders ( a knot design and some celtic looking dragons) but the rest was up to me.  Swirls for the background ( did you know that swirls, or snail shells represent eternity in Welsh quilting?) worked well and quickly.

The cross was a different matter. I traced all the characters with sliver thread to blend in with the silver cross. I didn't want the characters to poof up too much after being washed, so I added narrow lines. Then I had to do something in the background so I went with a simple stipple. Stipple is never a background I reach for first, but for this is worked to look almost like embossing.

The grass was quilted to look like grass.

Here are some of the borders. Pearls in the cross, knot work in the plum and tumbling dragons in the green.

The fraying with the peppered cottons is going to be epic. But they will wash up so soft!

The back is a very soft green flannel. I love how the quilting shows itself here too!

It is inspired from the Dupplin Cross in Strathearn, Scotland. A very early Medieval Pictish Stone Cross.

This was another really fun quilt to quilt. I actually thought it was only going to take about 3 hours to do. Silly me. It took 3 days to quilt. Granted there were lots of other things going on at the same time. Kids, school and sport activities. As well as other projects that have popped up. I have a T-shirt quilt I am working on in the background as well...and patterns and classes!!!! So much wonderful things around here. 

Have a lovely day! I am trucking down to my studio to get some work done. Have a great day!

Tia Curtis

A Lucky Star quilt

Hey there! In July Vanessa Christenson came to speak at Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. I have been a long time admirer of her blog so I was super excited to listen to her speak AND take a little workshop with her.

She taught us how to make her Lucky Star quilt. Or pillow I guess. I decided it needed to be bigger and added a white border and made it into a throw sized quilt.

I LOVED Vanessa! She is just as bubbly as she is on her blog. What a sweet lady. What was so fun about this quilt was the BIG FAT blue gradient stripe we used to make the blocks. Each stripe on the fabric was 5.5 inches wide. It was so cool and perfect for this type of piecing. I wish I would have taken pictures along the way! I have tried to find yardage of this fabric but I can't.

Sadly this quilt is already gone! A lady came over to the studio a couple days ago to drop off a quilt to quilt and wanted to buy something from me. Oddly that happens a lot. I guess I should make up a bunch of little bags or something so people can shop. But she wanted a quilt for a baby gift and I had this one laying in the stack to be bound and she wanted it. I knew if it stayed in my house it would just join the parade of quilts through the laundry and on the kids would be one of MANY MANY MANY, so I let it go to be only ONE in a new house. It is kinda cool to sell something that wasn't really even for sale and was so fun to make.

The quilting on this quilt was an Edge to edge named Modern Maze. I love it for it's custom look...but it is still just an e2e. A really affordable way to get a very custom look on a quilt.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tia Curtis