Monthly Archives: May 2019

  • Tis the Season!

    by Sarah Curry

    YEEEEE-HAH!  Major League pitchers and catchers arrive today for spring training!  Now, what does that have to do with quilting, you ask?  Well, it happened this way.

    I’ve been a rabid baseball fan since I was 7 years old.  And it was FINE with my daddy (who was a 4-letter jock in high school and loved all sports, for all his life) when I showed serious “tomboy” tendencies.  And so, Daddy played catch with me.  And showed me how to “get down on” a ground ball, and even how to bunt.  Back then, TV barely existed, and only for rich folks – but Daddy and I listened to the Baseball Game of the Week on the radio every Saturday afternoon.  In 1949, a lot of the broadcast games involved the New York Yankees – they were doing pretty well.  Maybe that’s why a little girl in Hobbs, New Mexico fell in love with the Yankees.  And I have no other reason to explain my lifelong love of “TTELTH” (The Team Everybody Loves to Hate   ).

    Back then, Little League didn’t exist (especially for us “delicate” girls), but I played a lot of street ball, and sandlot baseball, and pickup softball, and was even in a “mushball” league one summer while I was in law school.  I was a good infielder, a good hitter (never could hit for power, but I had a “good eye”, and nearly always got on base).  But unfortunately, my kids refused even to consider baseball, so I froze my butt off in a hockey rink for 11 years, grumblin’ and cussin’, and wishing to “have a catch” with my boys in the summertime.  Oh, well.


    In ’96 or so, I discovered the quilting newsgroup, RCTQ (which stands for rec.crafts.textiles.quilting), and after “lurking” for less than 24 hours, began to tell my stories there, and just chat about stuff other than bias binding and perfect corners.  That same year, Derek Jeter was a rookie.  I don’t remember how the subject came up, but one of the quilters near Seattle mentioned that the Mariners had a pretty good rookie, too.  We got into a little squabble about which was the better-lookin’ young shortstop, and when it turned out that my Yanks played Janet’s mariners the first game of the season, she said A-Rod et al would whup Jeter’s Yanks.  I suggested that she “put your fat quarter where your mouth is,” we shook virtual hands on the bet, and next thing we knew, the RCTQ quilters who were baseball fans came swarming out of the woodwork, wanting in on that action.

    Good grief.  There was a horde of them!  I had nothing to do with the mechanics of it (and was out-voted about the name – hmph), but out of that little snarl evolved the “Baseball Swap.”  Anyone can get in on it but for almost 25 years, we quilty baseball fans have picked a major league baseball team to back (one from each league if we wish).  We have a “Caller,” who announces things (including who’s playing who, today), and a “Statistician” who has designed a spreadsheet that figures out exactly who owes whom, for every single game of the MLB season.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.


    Y’see, this isn’t really a “swap,” it’s a BET.  On every single game that’s played.  If my team beats your team today, you owe me one 6 ½” square of fabric.  If my team beats yours tomorrow, you owe me another.  If your team beats my Yanks tomorrow, it does NOT “work out in the wash.”  I owe you a square.  At the end of the regular season, the Statistician sends us the final stats, including what each person owes every other person.  She even sends labels we can print if we want to.  I bag up how many squares I owe (no duplicates in the baggies), put a label on a baggie to each person I owe.  Pack up the baggies (alphabetized) into a Tyvek Priority Mail bag and send them to the “Chucker”, who sets up paper bags and chucks the little baggies into the correct “bin,” then mails them all out to the individual “swappers.”


    We usually add a little “graft” (a fat quarter) into the bag for the three volunteers who do the work, often pay up some side-bets, add little prezzies like Cleveland Indians pencils (I still use mine), and what FUN it is, to open the “payoff” bag and find allll those little baggies of FABRIC!!!  And in all these years (I was the Chucker for several years, and got to see ALL the fabrics, not just the ones from Yankees’ opponents), I have seen only one duplicate in the squares.  Amazing.  Our Statistician hasn’t reported this year, but her figures show that we’ve “swapped” over ten THOUSAND yards of fabric over the years.  But best, we’ve swapped stories.

    Major League Baseball is about to begin again!  And while I like most all sports, baseball is this quilter’s game, and the Baseball Swap is a slurp of gravy.


    Our glorious guest blogger, Sarah Curry...

    "3d-generation quilter, 3d-generation grammarian/teacher, born and raised in Hobbs, NM. NMSU, twin sons (and when they started coming in litters, I was done with that sort of project), happily divorced since 1977, UNM Law School, civil litigation for nearly 20 years, now retired, 4 grandsons,  but still quilting – these days, almost exclusively from a legendary stash.  AllieCat and I grow old together, but she’s still an excellent “Quilt Inspector/Block Re-arranger”."

  • The Best of ...

    May is upon us!  And you know what they say about May, right?  April showers bring May flowers.  Blooming is one of the things our intrepid leader does best.  This month our own Patricia E. Ritter shares with us her "Best of ..." and her bio.  Her creative genius takes it roots in the world around her.  So, without much ado, we give you Patricia in her own words.

    I love you eyes by Zoey Zoey, Patricia's MVP

    Best quilting tool?  My imagination.  But it can also be my own worst enemy ... especially when I can't seem to execute what I imagine.

    Best inspiration?  Anything and everything ... from a trip to the hardware store to the pattern on a sheet of paper towels.  Design and patterns are all around us, and it's hard for me not to visualize them as quilts, applique or quilting designs.

    Diagonal Plaid by Patricia E. Ritter

    Best time to quilt?  Mornings.  I'm one of those crazy people (that you hate ;-) who loves waking up and getting started with their day.

    Best project ever?  Whatever project is next. I'm always evolving and always trying to think "outside the box", so my best project has yet to come.

    Best day off?  Hummmm ... this is a tough question.  I feel like I'm always "on", even when I'm sleeping.   I can't tell you how many times I've woken up from a dead sleep with a really cool idea. 

    Double Bubble by Patricia E. Ritter

    Best advice you ever received?  Strive to be the best at whatever you do. 

    Best advice you’ve ever given? When it comes to designing, don't "marry" your original idea.  You're only dating.  See where the design leads you before committing.

    Best road trip?  I don't think I can pick a best road trip.  I once drove from Florida to California and back, and that trip was amazing.  I also lived and worked overseas for 7 years and pretty much every weekend included a road trip that's worth noting.

    Best place to visit?  My house and studio ... LOL ... just ask any of my friends!

    Honeycomb by Patricia E. Ritter

    While pursuing her degree in Fine Arts, Patricia E. Ritter established her artistic voice as a ceramicist. Soon her talents expanded to include working with metals and bead work, and for the next 15 years she worked creatively and professionally as a jeweler and gallerist.

    Her relationship with quilting bloomed out of a need to strengthen her fine motor skills through needlework. With quilting, she found an art form that was simultaneously useful and ornamental. Her quilting experience quickly grew from dabbling on a domestic machine to acquiring her own longarm machine and sketching the pantographs she envisioned yet found did not exist.

    Inspired by the foliage and flowers within and around her native Miami, her original pantograph designs multiplied into a library of designs. It was a natural step to start a pantograph business, Urban Elementz, first selling to local quilt shops and soon after selling internationally online at her site

    Now Urban Elementz's product line has expanded beyond pantographs to include original patterns, stencils, design boards, applique and fabric.  Patricia's multifaceted artistic experiences and entrepreneurial resolve ensure that Urban Elementz will continue to flourish alongside the ever-growing creativity of machine quilting.

    Vessel by Patricia E. Ritter

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