quilting

  • New Quilting Toy

    by Brian Partin

    One of the first things that drew me to quilting was appliqué. I remember seeing a very simple primitive quilt at the Dade County Youth Fair. It was a red plaid angel quilt, and each angel was made up of a heart body, round head and a halo. I wanted to buy the quilt, but I couldn’t afford it. I kept thinking, “I could make that”. After taking beginning quilting, an Appliqué class was next on my list, and yes, I did make that angel quilt.

    Ever since then, appliqué has been one of my favorite types of projects. It addresses my need to be creative better than anything else. The only down side is the length of time it takes to crank out an appliqué quilt as opposed to pretty much any other type of project. The holiday and season quilts that I want to make keep stacking up, and the time keeps slipping away. Not to mention the long list of family members and friends that think they deserve a quilt from me as well. Something had to give.

    Purchasing laser cut and pre-fused appliqué soon became my "go-to" for putting together an appliqué project. The precision cutting made the shapes clearly identifiable, and the project's a breeze to snap together. Just peel, place and press. I only wished that I could get them in exactly the size that I wanted for my project. And wouldn’t it be great if I could get them out of the fabric that I already own to match collections that I have already bought?

    Well, it turns out I can. Enter fabric cutting machines. These new cutting machines allow me to buy SVG files and cut the designs at home, using my very own fabric, in any size that the machine will cut. It did take a bit of a learning curve, but that is a part of the journey, isn’t it?

    My Quilting Toy by Brian Partin
    Here are a few things I've learned so far:

    1. Designs don't always open the size that is specified, but I can scale and rotate them anyway I want. Pretty cool ... right?

    2. I have to “select all” so that I can ungroup the design. This allows me to separate the components of the design so that I can cut the pieces from various fabrics. The machine also cuts better when the cutting is separated a bit from each piece.

    3. Since I am cutting the fabric face down, I want to flip the design to keep it facing the right direction and the lettering readable, if there is any.

    4. Any items that are showing on the "mat" will be cut. Those that I drag off the "mat" will not cut. I can drag off items now while they are the right size and cut them later in a different fabric. I just go back to the design after cutting and switch the items that I want to cut next.

    5. When I load my fabric on the mat, I place the right side of the fabric face down on the mat. Using a lot of pressure I hand press that fabric onto the mat to make sure it is flat. If it is loose it will get pulled up while cutting and make a mess. I have pre-fused the Steam-A-Seam II onto the back of the fabric, and make sure that it is freshly ironed and the paper backing is still tight on the fabric. I will lift the paper, and re-iron it flat if there are any creases in the paper that might catch on the cutting knife during cutting.

    6. I have read that some people soak their fabric in Terial Magic, available at Amazon or at your local quilt store, to stiffen the fabric, but I have yet to try it.

    My Quilting Toy by Brian Partin

    Who knew that after quilting for 27 years that I'd find something totally new to learn? And it's a good thing because I think learning new things makes life more interesting, and it also makes me more interesting too.

  • 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.

     

     

  • Dare to Dream Big!

    By Patricia Ritter and Julia Mathis

     

    Dreaming big is a motivational push of positive encouragement, an incentive propelling growth and prosperity meant to freshen up your everyday – any takers? If answered with a fat ole’ yes – then hold on to your hat! All of us at Urban Elementz are eager and delighted to release our Dream Big Quilting Designs for long-arm and domestic machine quilters.

    Hoffman California Fabrics designs and manufactures innovative,  imaginative fabrics, including their beautiful digitally printed Dream Big floral panel. This product is STUNNING (in all caps)! The flower seems to burst from the fabric, stretching into each corner of the panel offering itself up as the perfect textural canvas for quilting. And has become all the rage of quilters all over the world!

    And just like every other quilter, we were bitten by the bug!

    So what did we do?

    We came up with seven amazing Dream Big Quilting Designs. To encourage creativity and unique personalization each design is unique in arrangement and composition but configured to be "mixed and matched". Get more than one and release a current of possibilities and create your vivacious, exquisitely distinct, Dream Big quilt.

    Thank you for providing us with constant inspiration and as always, we love your feedback.

    Seven is our lucky number this week and it might be yours too! Our seven Dream Big Quilting Designs as well as our seven(+)  fabric panels will both be on sale for 20% off for seven days – quite a dreamy medley if we do say so ourselves! Head on over to our Facebook @urbanelementzdesigns and our Instagram @urban.elementz to stay updated with our full week of deals.

    Living the dream never gets old.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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