Urban Elementz - Blog

  • 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

  • With Love, From Me to You

    By Patricia Ritter

     

    “Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.”

    – Chuck Klosterman

    Hand crafted and made with love – the perfect ingredients for any creation. Handmade matters. When you are a maker, there is care and devotion placed into your work. The choice of color, texture, fabric and stitching pattern serve as personal expressions, generating a uniquely original, intimate piece.

    It is such a joy to receive a handmade creation and as a maker, a similar feeling is felt when we are able to gift such works. Christmas will come faster than we know it, so the time to prep is now! Stockings are such a fun item to create as personalization abounds! Below is a tutorial of our stocking kit, a perfect treasure for your own home or a heartfelt, homemade gift for a friend.

    Quilted Stocking Assembly Instructions:

    NOTE: Dimensions and instructions are based on stocking stitched at approx. 12 ¼” x 18”

     

    1. Carefully cut out the quilted stocking shape around the stitched perimeter leaving a ¼” seam allowance.

     

    2. Place the cut out stocking pieces right sides together. Sew around the perimeter of the stocking on the stitched perimeter, leaving the top edge unsewn. Flip the

    stocking right side out. Set Aside.

     

    3. From the fabric selected for the top band of the stocking cut one piece 8 ½” x 18”.

     

    4. Sew the short side of the stocking band, right sides together, to form a tube.

     

    5. Fold the tube in half to create a tube half the width, with a fold on one edge and both raw edges on the other edge.

     

    6. Slide the tube inside the stocking matching the raw edges. Pin in several places. Sew the band in place.

     

    7. Flip band over to the right side of the stocking. Press seam flat.

     

     

    Let us know how fun & festive your stocking turned out by tagging @UrbanElementz on Facebook and Instagram.

    We can't wait to see your handcrafted creation!

    -The Elementz

  • 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.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Delicious Digitizing!

    By Natalie Gorman and Jessica Schick

     

    Did you know that just because you can find the same edge-to-edge pantograph design on multiple sites, it doesn’t mean that all digital and paper pantographs are created equal?

    How so?

    Let’s first talk about how the pantograph "cake is baked.”  A designer draws a design with a trusty pencil and paper. Digitizers then trade in pencil and paper for mouse and monitor, and virtually recreate the continuous line drawing from start to endpoint.

    Oh – how we wish we could just scan in a drawing and – voila – the design in done! Instead, we meticulously work on each design to assure everything that’s stitched by your computerized quilting system is impeccable. What you see in our online images is what you get on your quilt. No additives or preservatives!

    The Perfect Pantograph Recipe

    Every single detail that is digitally drawn will stitch when you use the design. If the design looks messy with wobbles, inaccurate points, egg shaped circles, flat spots, and rows that don’t interlock, that's what you'll get. When you’ve worked so hard to piece together straight seams and perfect points, messy quilting is more disastrous that spilling red wine on a white dress.

    Below are two versions of the same design, Sonata (by Jessica Schick*), showing two examples of digitizing:
    * Example 2 digitized by Jessica Schick/Urban Elementz

     

    Example 1:

    A - Feathers have flat spots, angles and divots
    B - Curls are uneven and appear squished
    C - Wonky curves that will stitch wobbly
    D - The leaves have rounded angles/tips instead of sharp points
    E - When rows are put together, there are gaps

     

    Example 2:

    A. Curls and feathers are rounded and smooth
    B. Sharp points
    C. Smooth lines and curves free of divots and wobbles
    D. Parallel curves for clean nesting
    E. Fully fills the spaces between rows

     

    So while you might be able to get designs from a number of places, we are committed to providing you the cleanest, most carefully digitized designs possible. Like a 5 star restaurant, we carefully prepare every ingredient of the design. From the smoothness of the lines, to the way the designs evenly fill space, every detail is going to be stunning. Your quilt will be delicious.

  • Stash Guilt

    By Jane Hardy Miller

    I've been thinking about the fabric stash phenomenon lately, mostly because I'm trying to work from my own and minimize my fabric purchases. (Spoiler alert: It doesn't work.) This is partly due to age, mine as well as some of the fabrics', and partly due to space. My own stash has seemingly of its own volition subscribed to the Storage Corollary of the Peter Principle: The amount of stored goods will expand to fill all available space. So I'm trying to make quilts from some of the fabric I have. Luckily I make a lot of scrap quilts so the smaller pieces that I can't bear to toss at least have the possibility of future use. But that's not really the problem; the problem is that even scrap quilts require a unifying factor. Sometimes that can just be value placement, but sometimes you need more of one fabric, and when you're consistently working from your stash you use up the bigger pieces first. The biggest pieces, those large enough for backs, are the easiest to use because the backs don't have to actually match the tops—they just have to sort of blend, and "sort of" can be a very loose term. But the ¾ to 1 yard pieces disappear fairly quickly, or at least are whittled down into smaller, less versatile chunks. In time theoretically all the fabric will be tiny pieces, but even then I could make postage stamp quilts. Continue reading

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