Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bee FF Quilt almost finished. A Modern Baltimore Album Quilt

Hey there! I have another partial finish to show you before returning to T-shirt quilts and customer quilting. This is my 2011 Bee quilt with my group from Flickr. I decided I wanted to focus on perfecting skills with this quilt. I wanted to learn to do more complex appliqué and I wanted to hand quilt the entire quilt. I started the quilting on this about 6 months before I got my first Gammill. Because I was planning to hand quilt the entire thing and having it in a frame was impractical with 3 young children and an anticipated move...I figured quilt-as-you-go was the best bet. Now, I have never done any quilt as you go. I had heard about it and decided it sounded like just the thing and I took the bit in my teeth and took off!

My wonderful friends worked so hard on these awesome blocks. I wanted them to be like Baltimore Album quilts blocks...but MODERN...I got the question about How to make Appliqué Modern quite a few times, but they nailed it! I love each block more than the next one. I sent out little packs of fabric for this one. Fuchsia, chartreuse, grey, lime, pink, a sprinkle of black.

So two years later I am still working away on my quilt, my machine quilting has leapt foreword in technique and skill by a lightyear, and I was frustrated with the progress of this project. While hand quilting is wonderful and soothing, I just could never find the time to sit and quilt quietly. So I decided that I would add machine quilting to the backgrounds of the blocks to add to the modern look I was striving for.

Finally I finished the last block yesterday by the pool (it is summer vacation here after all)...right before we all had to leave due to a tornado warning (the weather never actually formed a tornado but we scurried off home all the same).

Obviously the next step is assembling all the quilted blocks. Well, that is where the internet and social media came in. I had no idea how to do it. A friend from KCMQG gave me links to a couple tutorials (they will be down below). I chose to use the sashing technique. After I put together a couple blocks wrong, it went together really quick. I have decided to let it rest in this state for a bit, and add a big Susan McCord Style boarder. I LOVE Susan McCord and her uninhibited appliqué,

I used a thin linen to back each block and I adore how the quilting shows itself here.

Here is my big mistake block that you can learn from. I know I sure did. The important thing about quilt as you go and using this sashing method is that the blocks all have to be the same size, right? Well, this block (that I made) was way bigger than all the rest. I don't know what I was thinking. But to make it play with the rest of the group I had to hack off the tips of the pretty appliqué. BOOOOOO HOOOOO. Oh well, I guess Athena won't come down and curse me to the life of a spider after seeing this (that is a reference to the tale of Arachnid) so that may be good news after all.

Here is my pretty little Bernina chugging through all the layers. Happy as a clam. She was getting lonely since all my attention has been focused on my Gammills lately.

Overall I LOVE this quilt. I love the colors, I love the blocks and I love the ladies who helped me make it. I also really value the lessons it taught me. Will I ever do another Quilt-as-you-go? Probably NOT. No point really since I have 2 long arms to quilt with. But it is great to learn a new trick.

OK....Links Below!

Flicker Friends Quilt Bee - Thank you again so much! There is no way I could have done this without you!

Sashing Quilt as you go Tutorial

Just stick the blocks together Quilt as you go tutorial

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Teacher gifts

Hey there! The end of the school year has come and gone (for my 3 kiddos at least). I like to make my kids teachers a hand made gift as a thank you for spending so much time with my children this year. We are blessed to have outstanding teachers and a fine school to send our kids to. There was a time when I first started quilting that I felt all teachers needed a quilt for a gift, but I had to make that stop after about 3 years. It was getting too hard to make 3 quilts right at the end of the year (heaven forbid I ration my quilting time for them throughout the year!). This year I made 4 zipper bags and one quilt. I was quite thrilled with the way I made the bags and may actually make more to put in my shop in this same manner.

I took pictures of the process while I was making them, but I used my phone and put them on instagram and facebook instead of taking the pictures with my normal camera so I could blog about them. I am sure there is a way to make the pictures go from my camera to my computer, but I just don't know how.

I took these pictures on the way to school to give them away. Any way I quilted a large improv piece and quilted it with my long arm and then cut it into 4 pieces with which to make the bags. In the past I would have quilted 4 different individual little pieces and made them into the bags. Here is a link to the pictures on instagram.  The pictures make more sense than my trying to describe them. Anyway We filled the little box bags with goodies and gave them away to the teachers.

For my middle sons teacher we made a quilt. My son and I worked on this one together. Again the pictures are on instagram. He picked the fabric and he did the layout and chatted away while I was doing the piecing. Obviously it is another scrappy trip along quilt. If you have not made one of these tops and would like to, it is crazy simple and quite fast to assemble. Bonnie has the tutorial as well as about a zillion others over on her blog Quiltville Quilps and Snips. I love her blog and I get lost when I visit looking around.

I love the way I quilted this one if I do say so myself. I used an Abundant Feather as an edge to edge design. I have several different versions of similar feathers available if you are interested in this type of quilting. The fabric was quite traditional and special, so I went all out with the quilting.

I have been saving this fabric for something special for years. Those of you who are fabric hoarders like myself may recognize it...Tiny Lecien flowers. Lecien is one of my very favorite fabric manufacturers. Anyway I have been keeping an eye on this stack of fabric for literally years. I was quite thrilled to use it for such a special woman who inspired my little man to love reading and finally get a good foundation under his feet. She was able to break through his daydreaming with her love of teaching. She was able to do this while dealing with her own sadness after her father passed on. Thank you Jackie!

Here is the back of the quilt...umm I love those feathers! They took so much thread though. So if you want these feathers or any of the ones similar they are $.02 a square inch as opposed to my normal $.015 a square inch for edge to edge, But totally worth it because they are awesome.

Here is a better view of the back because backs of quilts are awesome! Anyway, this is a great feather for a traditional quilt. I guess it could be modern too....

This one is Fanciful Feather

This one is Scrolling.

Anyway, I have quilting to do. I am making t-shirt quilts now as well as quilting for others and I have been given quite a few orders lately to make quilts. Who knew there was such a desire for t-shirt quilts?

Pictures soon!

Have a Wednesday!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Hey there! Happy Memorial day folks! I am using my clothes line for something other than quilts in this beautiful weather. So in the spirit of break from quilts let me show you what else we have been doing around the house.

My husband has been busy around the house. He built a chicken coop for our new tiny flock of hens. We have long been a fan of Backyard Homestead, and were inspired by all our Australian neighbors when we lived in Alice Springs who had chooks in their yards. We have wanted them for years, but living on military bases all over the world, we didn't get to have them. Now that we have our own house, we felt it was time to incorporate hens into our life.

I will be painting a quilt somewhere on this coop. A simple Amish one I think.

After a few last minute adjustments (Notice Stu's shirt? I made it for him. A big rooster. Funny.)

It was time to add the little ladies. They are young...about 4 weeks so we don't have to incubate them inside. That was a bonus for me. I didn't want them in the house if at all possible. We bought them from  the Kansas Farm Store in town.

The gals are pretty happy with their coop. We are starting with 4 Ameraucana pullets. When they grow up they will lay blue, green or pink eggs. Or at least that is my plan ;o).  As you can see they are not terribly magnificent at this stage, but when their plumage comes in and they put on some weight they will be more lovely.

The kids think they are great too. We made the chicken coop mobile  so we can move it around the yard and give the girls new places to hunt and peck.

Upstairs are nesting boxes for when they need more security and when it comes time to lay eggs. We won't have eggs from these girls until next year, but it is fun to plan.

My husband Incorporated a big Plexiglas window for sunlight and warmth.

Emma has been keeping the house filled with lovely cut flowers from our little garden.

Stu also built a table for the back porch. We need to sand it some and add a sealant when we add sealant to the porch. He used an old door and the porch posts I gave him for our anniversary. I love tables made from doors and I am as happy as a clam with this one. We need to find tall stools or chairs to sit on though.

My tomatoes are doing awesome! I am just now staking them, but I am pretty excited about them for sure. My tomatoes in Texas were MASSIVE plants, but I didn't get a single tomato off them. It was just too hot.

I am so determined to have tomatoes that I planted them over on this side of the porch too! I case you are wondering WHY???? Am I planting so many up on the porch I am trying to be selfish and have the fruits and Veg for my family and not the myriad of varmints that visit my yard everyday. I do need to sweep the dirt up.

My Meyer Lemon is covered with blooms and tiny fruit....ahhh. It is so exciting all this growing and life that is bursting up in the yard. post will be back about quilts.

Have a Happy Memorial Day and go find a Service Member to hug. This glorious freedom we get to enjoy is not free. Great men and Women have made terrible sacrifices for us to wear shorts and dig in the dirt and plant whatever we want...or just go the the store and buy it.

Oh and for all my husband's hard work he rewarded himself with a motorcycle. It has been a couple years since he had one and I have been watching him fight the fever for so long. He gave in....and I like riding around on the back.

Have a great day!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bunch of quilts.....

OK, this post is going to be a bunch of pictures with brief descriptions...each quilt deserves its own post, but I just can't find the time at the moment. I have teacher gifts to make! The above quilts are Quilts of Valor.

I love the quilting on this one! Everyone knows that Baptist fans are my favorite Statler Stitcher quilting design, but these Baptist clamshells are a darn close second! Don't they look like Sashiko Waves? I love the timeless simplicity. I paired the clamshells with a simple cable boarder.

This one is quilted with Eagles and Stars.  Some young MP is going to LOVE this quilt.

I quilted this quilt with a very traditional Baptist fan...same thing for the last quilt in this post. LOVE a Baptist fan!                      

This quilt is going to be auctioned for the Parkville Animal Shelter. It is very dog themed, so I had a blast picking from my thousands of quilt designs something very canine! Scotty dogs around the boarder, paws over the dog portraits and an edge to edge inside with bones and paws.

This one I love so much! It is a Swoon quilt made by Paula in my KCMQG.She wanted Baptist fans. I LOVE the texture the fans give this quilt!

And I made a Leather purse for a lady. She saw the bag I have been carrying lately and wanted me to make on for her. I love how it turned out....I kinda want to keep it myself, but I have a ton of bags, don't need another!

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A very busy day of all sorts of things.

Today has really been a full day. Strange? Certainly. But a very full day. I felt a bit like a pie man from mother goose. I woke very early after a dream where I was trying to find the cat box so I could keep my dumb cats safe while I escaped a zombie apocalypse that was descending on my old neighborhood on FT Hood. The kids and sewing machines were safe in the van and Stanley (my lab) was at my side, but the van was a convertible so I was afraid the cats would jump out. I ended up showing the new residents around my old house and telling the to mind the blinds. Crazy Army Wife situaltion I am sure....yes zombies are on their way to eat my brains, but I really MUST show my new best friend the quirks of the home she is moving into. I woke up with my heart leaping out of my chest. I guess my husband was having a bad dream too because we both just got up and went for a walk. I love pre-dawn walks. The birds are so loud it is like we live in a rain forest and it was a bit rainy so it was refreshing.

After that and getting the kids off safe to school I decided to go to the last spouse luncheon on post. I nominated myself to be the quilting leader and next year (starting in August) we are going to have a quilting BLAST! Not your grannies quilting around here...although any grannies are welcome- there is very much to be learned from grannies.

Then friends came home with me and I took their T-shirts to make them into quilts...I cut up a bunch of Tri Delta t-shirts to make into quilts....and then my husband and I met with an attorney about taking my business to the next level.....whatever that may be? I have such dreams, full of quilting (and zombies apparently). As soon as I find the perfect spot downtown I will be building a studio. You are all welcome!

That leads me to my next bit....I was looking at my quilting services page on my blog here. Wow! That is ever so dated. I have a very fancy quilting machine, but the picture is of me with my old Gammill Supreme in my Garage in Texas ( I think it was 115 F ) when that picture was taken. I am now much more fancy! I have a studio that encompasses my entire first floor! We live above it with our children and Zombie alert Lab.

See that is happy me with 3 of my favorite machines! My 2 Gammill Long arms and my tiny Scottish Singer Featherweight. My badass Bernina is around the corner.

I am in a quandary...How do you make a Quilt machine look as AWESOME as it is? Especially when it is getting dark out? I know I don't do much for it.

Maybe the machine and the computer? It is a fancy pants Statler Stitcher after all? I have not done much blogging at all about the differences in the two machines. I just started quilting and haven't looked back a second.

Maybe just the machine? Naa...

Just the computer? Who likes Computers? I really am not wild about them, but this one is pretty awesome. For real life.

Maybe the old machine...she is amazing as well...and I plan to get her a new table one day soon. She will love that. You can rent her to quilt your own quilts if you are near Leavenworth and have a hankering !

I don't know how to market myself. I know that I LOVE to quilt, I know that I have the best tools and machines at my fingertips, I know my turnaround is very fast. I free hand quilt, custom quilt and do a magnificent edge to edge.

I am trying to reinvent myself as a quilter instead of being just a bag maker. I am wild to design quilts, but Quilting is where my passion has always been. I need to make it so in real life!

xo, Tia Curtis