Urban Elementz

  • 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 www.urbanelementz.com.

    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

  • Spring Stash Cleaning

    by Valerie Smith

    Few things inspire panic like the disorganized stash of a fabric obsessed quilter. Whether doodling is your thing, tatting, or crochet, as a collective community, we all know that where there’s a sewer, crafter, or virtually any type of creative hobbyist: a supply of much needed accessories, gadgets, rulers, templates, and FABRIC must follow. We quilters know just how to hide, jam, shove, squeeze, tuck, and stuff our treasures into whatever sized space we may be fortunate enough to house it in. Some of us even have so many goodies tucked into that sacred space, our said treasures are literally overflowing into other parts of the house. If you find yourself overwhelmed with crafty clutter, then what follows may be of interest to your fabric collecting heart!

    Travel Project

    First, allow yourself to let go of your clutter anxiety. We all feel it from time to time, those pangs of guilt as we stand in the fabric store check-out line with a new basket full of must haves. We all are familiar with the “other room”, the one we often spend time dreaming up projects in. You know the one, that favorite back bedroom piled sky high with yard sale finds, fabric store sales, and the brand-new line from Moda that you just had to own, TODAY – yardage and precuts both. This is your sisterhood speaking (and your brotherhood too) – we sewers all have that room. We know it well. We love it. We spend hours daydreaming, rearranging, and adding to that room. It takes a little time and dedication to harness that creative tidal wave of a sewing room, but it can be done. Rest easy, and let’s tackle that tidying problem together.

    These days there are a multitude of stash busting and craft organizing systems around that can help eat up your overflowing fabric stash. With creativity, any space, big or small, can include an organized creative haven with which to work. But how do you keep from getting overwhelmed? What can we do to keep things neat yet at your fingertips ready for immediate use? What do we do to prevent the fabric mountain from migrating onto your sofa turning into a cozy new elevated cat bed? Well friends, you first need a plan. Think about the place that you have, the storage that can fit in that space, and how to most effectively utilize it. Take a walk through your local container store or even Wal-Mart and just see what is available to you in terms of storage. These days there are endless limits to our organizing needs, but if that is too overwhelming at this stage in your de-cluttering life, stick with simple. Plastic bins in various sizes and an area to stack them in. If you have a sewing table at all like mine, which is basically just a long eight by ten folding table with a cloth covering it, you can easily store organizing bins below.

    Bobbins

    Once your space is established, let’s get to sorting. Separate your fabric, notions, doodads, and thingamabobs into like piles. Head off into your sewing refuge and find an open place for fabric, thread, and notions – and establish a home for those items. I like to keep fabric in clear plastic bins so if my creative haven must for any reason move to say, the basement - then critters, spiders, and mold will be no match. What kind of bins you say? Well this girl likes options. I choose large bins for yardage, medium for cuts larger than a fat quarter, and both small and large bins for my teeny tiny scraps. The key here is to be flexible. Be willing to donate what you know you will not use or toss it in the bin until it is needed for a project. At times we may need to be a little ruthless with our stash. If it is outdated, donate it. Some may choose not to save the very smallest size scraps, and if you are ambitious like me you may appreciate onto them for “someday” scrap quilting. If you collect strings, those work well in a shoe box type of plastic bin so there is less folding, which means less ironing later. My first choice is always clear bins, for obvious reasons – I want to see the fabric! Not only will this inspire creativity, but it sure makes pulling colors for quilts easier! Occasionally it is good to go through that stored folded fabric and press it or re-fold it to prevent permanent creases, as well as color fading from uneven light exposure. Once a year is good for this refolding task, you can make it fun by declaring this your inspiring spring project. While we sewers love to be optimistic about the quantity of our production, however, very often at least some of that fabric will take a few years before making its way into the perfect project. Rotation and refolding are good habits to get into to preserve the longevity of those calicos and cottons.

    Cones of Thread

    A note on threads. My favorite way to store threads is on a shelf where I can see them. There is nothing like looking at a beautiful array of threads organized by color rather than tossed into a big box. If you are fortunate enough to store them in such a manner, I encourage you to choose one with a door to again prevent light exposure and dust accumulation. The next best place is a thread caddy. Generally, these are see through as well, and they prevent moisture or dust from damaging those precious threads.

    Trims and thingamabobs are a little different. Those items are better tucked off into opaque boxes with neat clean labels. Trims can get messy once you collect a few and so out of sight and out of mind is the idea.  Better neat and tidy out of mind so you aren’t off imagining the mess in your trim box. You can get fancy here when it comes to labeling if you like, but I tend to stick to a tried and true stand by – a black sharpie and blank side of an index card. If I decide I need that bin to house something different in the future, no harm no foul. I can easily repurpose the container.

    Rulers

    Rulers are always tricky for storage, but a couple of solutions have worked well for me over the years. Large bins from a three-tier rolling storage organizer is wonderful, especially if you are working at a long arm and using multiple rulers. Your rolling bin can roll right along with you down the length of the long arm machine. If your ruler stash is still modest and in the process of being built, a small three tier shelving united with clear drawers is another great solution.

    The key to maintaining organization is really a small amount of time dedicated daily or weekly to tidying. While often overwhelming at the thought, dedicating just 10-15 minutes of “clean-up” time into each project day  you plan to prevent the clutter from becoming overwhelming can work wonders. Make it habit so you do not feel any loss of sewing time. Above all else, take time to enjoy the organizing process! Let that color sorting and time spent playing in the sewing room add to your creative experience, even use it as the catalyst for creating something entirely new with items you forgot you already had!

    ...

    Valerie Smith is an Urban Elementz pantograph designer who lives in northeast Ohio on the coast of Lake Eerie.

  • Your Own Personal Assistant!

    Ever feel lost searching for the perfect design? Have an idea of what you want but you need a little help narrowing it down? Find the perfect design with our SEARCH FEATURES. Think of it like it's your own personal shopping assistant!  Check out how easy it is ...

    Click on the

    Navigation Bar

    to find the main category you want.

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    Once you've selected a Category, use the

    SHOP BY filters

    on the left side of the screen to narrow down your search.

    (NOTE: Not all designers are shown in the image.)

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    You can filter your search by any combination of:

    Sub-Categories, Pantograph Size, Designer, Theme, Etc.

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    Need to start over?

    Click

    the CLEAR ALL button

    to refresh your search and find another amazing design!

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    Use the

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  • The Best of ...

    Welcome back to our new series called The Best Of ... !

    Every month we'll introduce to  you one of our designers, and they'll share their very Best's.  This March are thrilled to acquaint you with, Leisha Farnsworth and her "best of"!

    Leisha Farnsworth
    Best Quilting Tool ...
    My favorite quilting tool is my own circle set rulers, called Circle2, which come in a set of 6.
    Best Inspiration ...
    I get inspired everywhere I look. From color to texture to fabrics to patterns, inspiration is out there if you look for it.
    Best time to quilt ...

    I would love to only quilt during the day and be done...however evenings after dinner, I get the most uninterrupted work done.

    Best project ever ...

    I’m working on a hexagon flower quilt using the English paper piecing method, which I started back in the summer of 2015.  I have recently finished everything but the edge pieces.  Now it’s time to lay it out and sew the flowers together.
    Best Day Off ...
    I love Sunday’s every week.  I don’t work on Sunday’s so I can recharge by going to church and spending time with my family, which helps me continue to do what I love.
    Best advice I’ve ever been given ...
    Take care of yourself, so you can give to those who need you.  And do be afraid of using the word “no”.
    Best advice I can give ...
    Don’t let someone ... anyone ... tell you that you can’t do something.  If you have dreams, go for them!  Figure out what you need to do, to make them a possibility.  If it gets hard or you fail, don’t give up.
    Best Road Trip ...
    One of my favorite road trips was from northern Virginia (where I was living at the time), to upstate New York, to Boston, to New York City, and then back home.
    Best thing about quilting ...
    For me the most rewarding thing about quilting is seeing how much my clients love the quilts they made, after they are quilted.
    Best Place to Visit ...
    I’ve visited places all over the USA and a few places outside of the country... however my all time favorite place would be at a lake that is about an hour away from where I live.

    Birchwood Pantograph by Patricia E. Ritter and Leisha Farnsworth

    Although Leisha has been sewing since she was a child, her love for making quilts started in her early 20's.  In the summer of 2005, she started machine quilting her own quilts.  Soon the word got out and she started quilting for others.  In 2014 Leisha started co-designing paper and digital machine quilting designs, with Patricia Ritter from Urban Elementz, which has been an incredible opportunity.  Even with 13+ years of machine quilting experience, she still loves learning new things.
    Leisha has also taught one on one and group machine quilting classes, and loves teaching her students the techniques that have helped her in her machine quilting career.  She recently released her own circle ruler set of 6, called "Circle2".
    While quilting is her passion, she also enjoys water skiing, playing the piano, cooking, and spending time with her family.  She has 10 nieces and nephews, and being their aunt is her very favorite thing.  Leisha lives in beautiful Cache Valley, Utah, and thanks God for the talents He has blessed her with.  She is excited to see what comes next.  Her three best selling pantographs are Marmalade, Birchwood and Bubble Wrap - Double Take.
    *NOTE:  You can find Leisha's ruler's on her website quiltingit.com.
    Marmalade Pantograph by Patricia E. Ritter and Leisha Farnsworth
  • The Best Of ...

    Welcome to our new series called The Best Of ... !

    Every month we'll introduce to  you one of our designers, and they'll share their very Best's.  To kick off our first month, we are thrilled to acquaint you with, Valerie Smith and her "best of" list.

    Valerie Smith

     

      Best Quilting Tool: Seam Ripper. We all make mistakes!
       Best Inspiration: Quilt Shows!
       Best Time to Quilt: Early in the morning. I am an early bird and get my best work down 5 or 6 in the morning.
       Best Project Ever: Whatever I am working on at the time.
       Best Day Off: The day after a big "whoops". We all need breaks even from the things we love. Then get back to it!
       Best Advice You Ever Received: "That's nothing anyone on a horse galloping by would notice" - Gal from my old quilt guild.  Let up on your mistakes and enjoy your beautiful creation.
       Best Advice Ever Given: Do what brings you joy!
       Best Road Trip: Hmmm ... my best road trip is yet to come! I don't travel much with small children, but I did take a trip to Gatlinburg, TN.  That was a lot of fun.
       Best Thing About Quilting: You get something cozy when you're done.
       Best Place to Visit: The quilt shop!
    Valerie has been quilting for more than 30 years, and many of her designs have been published in national publications.  She lives in the northeast corner of Ohio, on the shores of Lake Eerie, with her husband and four children.  Two of her most popular pantographs designs are Lather, Rinse, Repeat and Deja Vu.

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