quilting pattern

  • Hooked - How did y'all get here?

    by Sarah Curry

    Sarah Curry

    I don’t mean Here-here – I mean Quilty-here –Hooked-here; totally awash in books (usually bought for the one quilt with those “oooh” colors, teeny-tiny patches, and curves and angles inside); astonished and embarrassed at how those four Fat Quarters of fabric you bought that said, “Oooooh” apparently bred like rabbits (like those old wire coat hangers used to do) during the night, and you suddenly have a Stash.  Hooh, boy. 

    I guess I got the Q-gene from both sides, because both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were quilters – as was my mama before me. Mama’s mother (Nana) was built like a Pouter Pigeon - soft to cuddle up to.  Little wire spectacles. A cardboard box in the closet that held kid-stuff – old jewelry, most of a deck of cards, battered pot lid. She baked with cinnamon. And she made quilts.  Completely UTILITARIAN quilts, made of men’s WOOLEN suits and all were rectangles and squares. And they were tied with red yarn. H-E-A-V-V-V-Y. 

    Grandma Curry, on the other hand, lived in an old Victorian house in West Texis (not a typo – I spell it like it’s pronounced).  I remember the gables, the wraparound porch, the gingerbread, the “hidden” rooms, and that “children are to be seen and not heard". Grandma Curry looked like the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz” (squinchy eyes, hook nose, thin lips), and as far as the grandkids were concerned she was just about that distant and scary.  She made “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” and “Lone Star” quilts with patches that were about the size of a nickel - finished.  All cut with scissors, hand-pieced, and hand-quilted. E-X-Q-U-I-S-I-T-E. 

    Mama was a quilter, too, although she didn’t really enjoy the cardboard-template-pencil-scissors routine.  And her sense of color wasn’t the best.  But she quilted. Also hand-pieced, and hand-quilted.  And WASHED those quilts, every weekend, with the sheets. Not one of her old quilts survived.  But they were definitely clean! 

    By the time my boys graduated from high school and went to college (thank gawdess!  I got’erdun!), I was SO-O-O-O ready to begin the next phase of my life (after a 48-hour nap). That's when Mama burst into the living room one afternoon, laden with all sorts of bags and suitcases and more bags and an ironing board and what looked suspiciously like one of Daddy’s old tackle boxes. Mama travelled like that. She had “discovered” the rotary cutter and mat and was READY to make a quilt for the “Sweet Darlin’ Angel Baby Boy” who didn’t yet have one. 

    So the next morning off we shot to the quilt shop. By noon, we found appropriate fabric for a 6-log “Rail Fence” (blues for a hockey player – no florals), with 1 ½” finished “logs".  What?  Can’t start yet?  Gotta wash the fabric (with salt & vinegar)?  Geez.  Press same.  I became the “cutter”.  Woo-HOO!  Lookit how FAST that is (still don’t understand what I’m doing, but that’s OK)!  As I cut strips (fast), Mama sewed (slowly – she insisted on PINNING every seam).  Then I pressed the strips (Mama was always behind, still pinning).  Then I cut some more.  Mama pinned and sewed.  I pressed and cut.  And had a WONDERFUL time! 

    Finally, about midnight, Mama lurched up and announced that I could quit cracking the damn’ bullwhip, ‘cause she was tired and going to bed, and she did.  I did not.  How COULD I?  The pattern was REALLY starting to show!!!!  YOWZA!!!!!  So, when Mama arose the next morning, bleary-eyed and demanding coffee, there was a finished quilt top laid out on the couch.  Every time she told the story, Mama never forgot to mention the fact that I had pressed those seams “everwhichaway, bless her heart.”  Hmph.   

    And I was hooked.  Beyond just “hooked,” I had bumbled onto the fourth passion of my life. I haven’t a clue how much money I’ve spent on that stash (from which I am working, these days, almost exclusively), or even how many quilts I’ve made.  I did make 6 (SIX!) “Rail Fence” quilts before I “graduated” to “Double Irish Chain.”  Made 6 of those before I “graduated” to another level, and I reckon I’ve averaged a quilt every 2-3 months for 30 years.  Yeah, it’s a Passion.   

    So. That’s how *I* got hooked.  Passionate.  How did YOU find quilting? 

    ...

    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”."

  • Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornaments Tutorial

    by Heather Spence

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament Tutorial by Heather Spence

    I've got scraps.  A. Lot. Of. Scraps.

    Sometimes it's overwhelming when I think about them.  So, most of the time, I ignore them.  Until I get a brilliant idea.

    Now ... not all my ideas are brilliant.  Heck ... sometimes they’re not even that great.  But, if one can combine scraps, with cute, quick and simple ... well, then.  Now we're onto something.

    And that is how these little cuties were born!

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornaments

    Size:  3 1/2" square

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    What you need:

    Nine 1 1/2" squares cotton quilting fabric (i chose four white, four green and one red ... but you can choose any colors you want)

    One 3 1/2" square cotton quilting fabric to match

    One 3 1/2" square of fusible batting

    One 6" length of mini ric-rac

    Start Sewing:

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    1)  Sew one green square to both sides of one white square.  Press seams towards the green.  Make 2.  If you're using directional fabrics such as mine be aware of the placement ... unless you don't care they are all going in different directions.  :)

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    2)  Sew one white square to both sides of the red square.  Press to the red square.  Make one.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    3)  Match seams and sew the two green rows to the top and bottom of the red row.  Press seams open.  (see pic below)

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    A mental note on pressing (which is another complete blog post so this will be short):  Press seams to the side where needed (to match seams) otherwise, press seams open to reduce bulk, especially at corners.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    4)  Place your mini-block on top of the fusible interfacing.  Be sure the glue side is up!  Otherwise you'll glue the batting to your ironing board.  That would be bad.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    Quilters Dream sent me samples of their new fusible batting.  All I can say is ... Oh.  My.  Gosh.  It's amazing.  This is the poly that I cut into first.  Once it's gone I'll use the cotton.  If you want to give it a try ask about it at your local quilt store or send them a message!  Be sure to tell them Urban Elementz sent you!!  (as a mental note here ... if they send you the free sample and all you're using is scraps then ... guess what ... you've got free ornaments for all those exchanges in December!)

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    5)  Fold your piece of ric-rac in half.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    6)  Line up the raw edges of the folded ric-rac with the middle of the raw edge of one side of the mini-block.  Secure with stitching about 1/8" from the raw edge.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    7)  Lay the 3 1/2" square on top of the mini-block, right sides together, matching all four corners.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    8)  Pin the four corners.  I guess you could pin the snot out of it but it's so darn little it may not be worth it.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    9)  Using a 1/4" seam allowance sew around the outside edge leaving a 2" opening at the top.  (i guess it could be any side ... i liked the top though ...)  Remove the pins.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    10)  Trim the corners.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    11)  Then, at a steeper (right word?) angle, trim the corners again.  This removes even more of the bulk fabric and batting from the corners.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    12)  Turn right side out through the 2" opening.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    13)  Push the corners out with your finger.  (they'll look like this.)

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    14)  Then I went and pushed them out further with this little purple tool.  It's not That Purple Thang, but very similar.  (there's no name on it and i threw the package away years ago ... whoops!)  That Purple Thang or any tool like that would work great for the corners.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    15)  I then folded the edges of the opening in ...

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    16) and gave it a press.

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament

    17)  Top stitched a little less than 1/8" from the edge so as to close the opening, trimmed the threads and ... voila!  This little cutie guy got to join his friends!!

    Quick Scrappy Christmas Tutorial

    I've got a whole bin full of 1 1/2" squares and a lot of mini ric-rac so I'm going to have some fun.  Maybe try some other variations!

    Thanks for following along.  If you make any please feel free to share a picture of your Quick Scrappy Christmas Ornament with us on Instagram and Facebook!  Be sure to tag us.  :D

    xo,

    ~ heather

  • Snip! Snip!

     

    By Sarah Curry

    They’re still there, dammit – a veritable herd of chain-pieced bias squares, draped across the ironing board, waiting to be clipped apart, pressed and trimmed into perfect 2 ½” squares. They glare at me as I pass through the sewin’ room on the way to the bathroom, like a bunch of sullen toddlers who’ve been put in time out.

    This is supposed to be a quilt for my younger Seattle grandson, soon enough a teenager. When I asked about fabric colors for his next quilt, Tyler wanted teal and hot pink. HUH? HOT PINK?! Visions of go-go boots and Laugh-In danced in my head as I processed the notion of a couple of big ol’ hairy-legged jocks wanting hot pink in a high school/college quilt. I couldn’t process it until I learned that the Adidas athletic shoe company had selected hot pink as its color of the year. Oh. Well then, teal and hot pink it is.

    I think I’m one of the few rare exceptions who don’t even think about starting a quilt specifically for someone.

    I begin a quilt just to see what develops.

    I like the old patterns with the fun names, like hovering hawks, log cabin, and puss in a corner - frankly, those patterns don’t have anything smaller than a 45-degree angle.  Those fancy ones are lovely to look at, but I cuss too often and easily as it is and I don’t want to work that hard. I am a big fan of the scrappy look and with a lusciously legendary stash, I have a nice variety to pull from.

     

    When I begin a quilt, I generally drag all the purples (or whatever color I’m feeling that day) off the shelf and start pressing, chopping, and dicing. I get completely besotted as the pattern and colors mesh together and become real. Somewhere along the process, the quilt decides how big it’s going to be, gives itself a name, and chooses to whom it wants to belong. What’s weird is that 95% of my quilts have that sort of beginning. Am I the only one?

    Another irking delay in this quilts progress is that I can’t stand as long to press, cut, chop and dice; can’t sit as long to do some mindless chain-piecing; I have a lot more trouble getting down and up from the floor than I once did (my days of measuring how big a quilt really is by how many beers it takes to pin-baste it – a 6-beer quilt is a king-sized quilt – are limited). I’ve realized that I will not be one of those who “go gentle into that good night.” I’ll have to be dragged, kickin’ and screamin,’ and cussin’ all the way, because everything takes me twice as long now, to do half as much. Probably never was very gentle, anyway.

    I digress. I’d better haul my butt out of this chair and get to clipping, pressing, and trimming or those evil toddlers are going to keep on glaring at me with their sulky, squinty little eyes.

     

     

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