We’re pretty sure that Deb Tucker and Studio 180 Design are quilting household names at this point. Known for her signature tools and techniques, Deb is a master quilter, creating epic and intricately pieced quilts. She also has an incredible knack for creating patterns that are easy to follow, making it possible for confident beginners and experienced quilters alike to create their own works of art with Deb’s expert guidance.
We connected with Deb a few years back, having been introduced through her fabric company, Island Batik. Her latest range is Chromatic, a bold and brilliant display of color, and we simply can’t wait to see what her fans create. Timed for release this Fall, we’re certain these fabrics will contribute to all sorts of colorful quilted joy throughout the darker, Northern Hemisphere months!
Our second thread set collaboration with Deb features 6 Large Spools of Aurifil’s versatile 50wt thread, selected to perfectly complement both those vibrant Chromatic hues and the latest Studio 180 Design BOM, Jubilation.
We’re thrilled that Deb was able to chat with us to share some of her background, her love of creating the perfect quilting tools, and her excitement about getting these collections out into the world!
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today, Deb! As some of our readers may be meeting you for the first time, we’d love to hear a bit about your background and how you first got started with quilting?
Well, I was not one of those lucky girls who grew up with a family of quilters. My mom was a seamstress, so my love of fabric and sewing started early, but no one else in my large extended family quilted. College included a year studying architecture but ended with a degree in health and physical education. Little did I know how much both those fields would come into play in my quilt making life as a designer, tool maker, and international quilting instructor.
I ventured into quilt making in 1981 when I announced to my intended husband that I planned to make a quilt before we got married. And I did start one, but it took well over 2 years to finish it. However, I have stuck by both of my loves for over 40 years at this point and hope to continue indefinitely.
We incorporated our business in 2007, the same year that I was nominated for “Teacher of the Year” by Professional Quilter Magazine, and we continue to grow by constantly adding products to our extensive line of tools, patterns, books, and techniques. My number one goal in the field of quilt making has always been to make the craft accessible and successful for any and all who wish to create with fabric. Make it fun, make it easy, make it success filled and people will learn, grow, and enjoy a lifetime activity that is fulfilling and productive.
In all honesty, I don’t remember how I filled my days before quilting. It is my number one obsession and it consumes most of my days. And I’m still enjoying every minute of it.
Do you remember the very first quilt you made and how completing it made you feel? Do you still get those same feelings with new quilts you make today?
Of course I remember my first quilt. It was a small, wallhanging-size sampler, made completely by hand. I made it more than 40 years ago, prior to Rotary Cutters and streamline construction methods. It took over 2 years to complete and I was quite proud of it. But more than anything I was relieved to have the task completed.
Today, I’m still thrilled every time I complete a project. I’m also glad that we have figured out ways to streamline construction, refine our results, and generally improve our projects with more sophisticated fabric, tools, and threads. But like most quilters, starting a new quilt is equally exciting and far more addicting than the finishing!
Have you ever had one of those ‘aha’ moments in quilting and if so, what was it?
Yes indeed! In 2004 I was asked to teach several classes based on the Hunter’s Star design. After searching the industry for various construction methods, I planned and conducted three retreats using a somewhat acceptable alternative construction method. After hearing the comments and frustrations with the class process, I literally woke up in the middle of the night with a solution to streamlining the Hunter’s Star block construction.
The idea took more than 2+ years to refine into a marketable tool and process. Today, almost 20 years later, it still remains one of my most popular creations. Of course all my subsequent patented tools have had similar ‘aha’ moments in their backgrounds as well.
What is your absolute, go-to technique?
Now this is a tough question. It’s like asking me to choose a favorite child!!! Of course machine piecing is what I am most passionate about and probably my favorite go-to technique is my Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star. It allows me to strip piece, oversize and trim down blocks in ten different sizes with extreme accuracy and consistency. All positives in my book.
But, when you add in all of the “what if” techniques that we’ve developed for the tool, there is truly no end to what can be created with Lemoyne Star projects. It should absolutely be in every quilter’s tool box.
Do you have any tried-and-true tools that you turn to again and again?
Remember, tools are what I do. So I use all of them when the need or situation arises. My most used tools are probably my Tucker Trimmer and Wing Clipper. These were designed to trim down squares with diagonal seams and those infamous “Flying Geese” units. Since so many of my designs include these shapes on a regular basis, these particular tools never seem to leave my cutting table.
When did you first discover Aurifil Thread and why is it your go-to?
Aurifil has been my go-to thread for many years. I’d say I’ve been using it for 15 to 20 years, at least. I love it because it’s high quality, versatile and low lint, and because it comes in the most delicious colors imaginable. I appreciate the way it performs in any of my many sewing machines from an antique featherweight to my industrial style machines. Best of all, the price point is competitive with other threads currently on the market. Basically I can’t get enough of it!
Your new thread set, Chromatic, was curated to complement your latest Island Batik fabric collection and your new BOM, Jubilation. Can you tell us a little more about both?
We here at Studio 180 Design have been collaborating with Island Batik for many years. The Chromatic fabric collection is an Original Collection and, as the name implies, it contains fabrics that span the entire spectrum. It is bright, bold, rich and utterly irresistible.
Jubilation is the name of my fourth BOM design. I decided to take a couple steps back from the complex designs used in some of my earlier BOMs and offer a spectacular design using just four of our most popular tools. The shapes, block, and construction are easy enough for a confident beginner, yet the look is sophisticated enough to satisfy even the most experienced stitcher.
We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Aurifil to supply threads that will match beautifully with the fabrics used in this quilt project.
When does the Jubilation BOM kick off and how can makers learn more/sign up?
If makers are looking to participate in the Jubilation BOM they should inquire at their local quilt shops. Each quilt shop will choose their own start date depending on when their fabric collection is due to arrive.
If makers need to find a shop participating in the block of the month, a quick google search for Jubilation Block of the Month will bring up shops that have Jubilation available. This is the easiest way to find a shop that might meet your needs.
How did you go about selecting the colors for Chromatic and why was it important for you to include Aurifil’s 50wt?
When choosing threads, we always start with the actual fabrics that have been dyed and produced for us by Island Batik and then proceed to color coordinate our threads from there. Aurifil’s wide selection of colors makes is easy to create matches between fabric and thread. Of course, the 50wt is the absolute best choice to provide those super flat seams in everyone’s piecework.
What excites you most about getting this collection out into the world?
I think I am most excited about the fact that this project is so accessible to anyone who wants to make a large quilt and end up with a superior project.
The design, the fabric, the tools and the thread will provide the right products to ensure everyone’s enjoyment and pride in their finished work.
What is your absolute TOP QUILTING TIP?
Oversizing and trimming down units that will be used to build your quilt blocks will ABSOLUTELY improve the success with all your pieced projects. GUARANTEED!
What’s coming for you in the new year? Where can fans find you?
Well, I can’t reveal all of our secrets, but there will definitely be several more new tools and fabric collections in the pipeline, as well as another BOM. We will most certainly be releasing new patterns and technique sheets and of course continue to produce new quilts that will help inspire rookie and veteran quilt makers alike.
The best way to find us and learn about what we are doing is to visit our website, Studio180Design.net, and while there, sign up for our newsletter. You can also keep up with us on Facebook at Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design.