Thursday, May 30, 2019

New Mexico Chili Ristra

So Excited!!!
This year,

Aunt Judy's Attic

is participating
in the 

Row by Row Experience 2019

Taste the Experience!

I must be the luckiest person ever, as I have had the opportunity to design the row for my local quilt shop again!!!

As we thought about this year's theme, Taste the Experience, one thing we all agreed on was chili was a main part of our way of life... Even between the neighboring states; Arizona, Colorado, Texas - our New Mexico Chili Cuisine just 'tastes' different. And for us over here in the southwest, chili is a food staple that is consumed daily!

For our row this year, we decided to make a New Mexico Chili Ristra.
(click on image to view larger)
A chili ristra is an arrangement of drying chili pepper pods to be used later in cooking.
They are said to bring good health and good luck.
They are often used for decoration by hanging them outside.
A chili ristra is a decorative trademark in the state of New Mexico.

A chili ristra is typically constructed with corn husk strings tied to the matured chili pod stem to hold them together.

Our pattern is laid out on a "Short and Sassy" - 27" x 12" vertical layout. We chose to display the chili ristra hanging against an adobe building (which is a mud like brick made from earth and organic materials such as sand, silt, clay, straw or even dung).

For the row display, I made it to look as if the chili ristra was hanging from vigas or rafters and tied with corn husk.
(click on image to view larger)

This year, we have chosen to make fabric kits of the Chili Ristra. Fabric kits with a free pattern will be available starting June 21st. Stop by Aunt Judy's Attic or pre-order your kit online (to be mailed November 1st). Pre-order date starts June 21st.

Check back here on June 21st for the link to pre-order.

Feel free to check out our past Row by Row Experience Patterns

Not sure what the Row By Row Experience is?

As you travel around the United States, Canada AND Europe this summer, take a minute to stop by participating brick and mortar quilt shops and pick up a free pattern for a row. No two quilt shops have the same row pattern!

AND if you have time, make a quilt using eight (8) of those rows and be the first to take your completed quilt to one of the participating quilt shops to win a prize of 25 fat quarters (about $70 worth of fabric)!

Added Bonus: use the row from the quilt shop you take your quilt to and get a BONUS prize!

Starts June 21st, 2019 - Ends October 31st, 2019

Click here to find out:

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Pole Twist - String Block Style!

Yes, I'm still playing around and tinkering with string blocks - if you haven't seen it - check out my other string block post here: String Blocks and More!

One of the quilt layouts I had drawn up was to arrange the string blocks in a pole twist (twisted ribbon) style quilt. This quilt is essentially made with 90 String Block Half Square Triangles.

With a 9 HST across x 10 HST down, three borders: the quilt measures about 84" x 91".

Here is a quick tutorial on how to make simple Half Square Triangles out of String Blocks:

What You Need:
String Blocks made using this tutorial: How to Build a Paper Pieced String Block - by Paco Rich
  • 45 Dark String Blocks - 8 ½” x 8 ½”
  • 45 Light String Blocks - 8 ½” x 8 ½”
Border 2: roughly 40 rectangle String Blocks - 8 ½” x 5 ½”
Border 1 and 3: 1 ¼ yard of neutral fabric (or make it scrappy by piecing together strips from different yardage)

NOTE: If your paper is still on (recommended), remember to shorten your stitch length for easy paper removal.

Sub cut each of the dark string blocks on the diagonal, with the cut running the same direction as the strings.

Sub cut each of the light string blocks on the diagonal, with the cut running the opposite direction as the strings. 

You will end up with 180 triangles; 90 dark and 90 light.

Arrange one dark triangle with one light triangle, right sides together and sew. Press seam towards the dark triangle. Repeat with remaining dark and light triangles.

You will end up with 90 Half Square Triangles. Square up to measure 8" x 8".

Arrange 84 HST string blocks in a 3 across x 2 down block layout shown here. Five of these stacked (ten total) will make up the 2 outside 'Poles' you see in the quilt. Four stacked make up the center 'Pole'.

Arrange the remaining 6 HST string blocks in two 3 across x 1 down layouts show here. These two, when placed on top and bottom of the center 'Pole', they offset the center 'Pole'.

center pole top

center pole bottom

Once you have made each of your poles, sew the 3 poles together to complete your quilt center.

First Border is of Neutral fabric cut at 1 ½” wide. 
Second Border is made up of roughly 40 string rectangles cut at 8 ½” x 5 ½” wide.
Third Border is of Neutral fabric cut at 2 ½” wide.

As we were all stringing along in the group and having fun, I was approached by my friend Wanda. I was asked what it would take to add a black outline to my original string block pole twist... 

At first, we were thinking we would only need to add a dark string down the center of the half square triangle, but upon drawing it out, we also realized we needed to add a black tip to the dark string blocks too!

Oh! What a beautiful sight this is!!!

Making the quilt should translate over easily from the string block pole twist quilt above, right?

Not quite so...

Adding a black strip to the dark string blocks increases the block size, so we need to increase the size of the Neutral String Blocks. 

Also, adding a tip seems like it should be simple, just sew on the same size of strip as the center string to the tip... 

Well, not so much... 

And of course, we square up our blocks the same...

Well, wait a minute... That's not the same either!! 

And with larger blocks our quilt size increases too!

The most super, important part about adding the black and getting the seams to line up around the 'Pole' is to remember:

“… the size of your seam is not as important as
the measurement of the finished unit …”
– Rhoda Forbes

So, with all this in mind, I have typed up a little one page tutorial. 

Please do not copy or reproduce this tutorial in any way,
either digitally or printed.
This tutorial is for your own personal use.
If you wish to share with your friends,
PLEASE send them the link to my blog so they can
download a copy of their own:

Click here to download a copy for you...
Black Outlined String Block Pole Twist - by Paco Rich

And because it is sometimes hard to see the images on printouts, I thought I would add the image of Step #3: how to cut off the top of the dark string triangle.
Click on image to view larger.

Monday, May 13, 2019

String Blocks AND More!

My first string block swap I participated in was back in 2015, when Rhoda Forbes hosted the exchange for the quilting group: JUQ. I finally finished my quilt with all those blocks!!! Yay!

I really like how the blocks pop with the black sashing.
Makes the blocks seem like they are on point.

I have the pleasure of hosting my first ever String Block Swap in our online group: Life's A Quilt. We started in April of 2019, and string blocks will be flying across the world until the end of June! We have members from United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand keeping the postal service busy!!

My first set of string blocks I received in the mail...

A tutorial was provided for everyone to use, and a few guidelines were set up in order for everyone to have fun.

We were to use 100% quilter's cotton and a paper foundation. Group members requested to sign up and once they were approved, address exchanges commenced!

Not only was it super fun to meet people and swap blocks with them, sewing on string blocks has been a great SCRAP buster!

We all talked about the fun ideas we had for displaying our string blocks in quilts. Here are a few ideas I came up with using String Blocks in Half Square Triangles:


To make this version, Click here: Pole Twist - String Block Style!

I cannot wait to see what the group does with their blocks!!!

Because I was having so much fun sewing these blocks and using up my scraps, I ended up with sixty-five blocks in just a matter of 5 days!
And my tote full of strings does not even look like there was a dent made.

I was telling my friend how much fun we were having, and she suggested I show a little demo at her quilt shop for May's Terrific Tuesday (May 14, 2019) - And to see if we can entice a few local quilters to make string blocks for a little Charity String Block Mixer. I'm thinking I am due for a couple of charity quilts - This would be perfect to use all my scraps up.

Aunt Judy's Attic Charity String Block Mixer

Dates and Deadlines -

So they can be mixed, volunteers will have until July 4th (7 weeks) to make the blocks and drop them off at Aunt Judy's Attic, OR Show up with their blocks ready to make quilts for the Charity Quilt Sew Days in July!

On July 5th and 6th, sewers for the Charity Sew Days at Aunt Judy's Attic will assemble the blocks into quilts using the Sashed String Block pattern by Yours Truly!

This pattern uses 37 String Blocks AND 1-1/2 yards of a blender/solid.
Quilt Top Finishes at: 58 1/2" x 58 1/2"

UPDATE: During the Charity String Block Mixer at Aunt Judy's Attic,
we were able to pick out errors in my pattern.
**update includes, one additional string block for a 6 x 6 layout instead of a 5 x 7 block layout.**

Here are some examples of what the quilt top will look like:

Of course, there is no stopping one from making it larger!

For my charity quilt, I will be using the turquoise fabric I had leftover from the backing on my other string block quilt from 2015. I am loving the fact that I can get a COOL looking quilt top made using 100% SCRAPS!

UPDATE: The charity mixer went great! We had over 180 string blocks donated. We were able to get everything going for 5 quilts!

I did pass along my turquoise blocks to my friend Carol. Jude cut strings for more string blocks, while Nancy and I made a couple more string blocks to finish off set of blocks for the 5th string block quilt.

We had some good food, fun chatting and a whole lotta sewing!

Bonnie chose to use purple glitter fabric for her sashing. By the end of the 2nd day, she had her quilt center finished.

Daun chose black, Gail chose three different yellows, I went with two different blues (there wasn't enough of any one scrap of fabric, so we mixed fabrics!).

I can't wait to see them all finished and quilted! What a grand photo that would be!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Two Charms & Two Yards - Disappearing 9-Patch

Two Charms and Two Yards - A Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt

My local quilt guild, the Southwest New Mexico Quilters Guild has agreed to take on donating quilts to five different local organizations - They are that awesome!!!! Even better, my local quilt shop, Aunt Judy's Attic, has been hosting a Charity Sew Days weekend - first weekend of every other month (January, March, May, July, September, November - 2019).

For the March Charity Sew Days, I was going to be missing the first day - so I wanted something quick. I remembered I had helped pick fabrics from the color wall for an in-shop, custom made charm pack and there was going to be one left over. I decided to grab it up and have a go at making something out of it.

After some consideration I decided to go with making a Disappearing Nine Patch block. I purchased two additional yards to go with my charms.

I decided to custom make my second charm pack with fabrics from my stash.

I had to have some help with the layout, and after moving some pieces, I was set....

I added a single border for a frame, 

And bound in green! Such a fun and QUICK little quilt! I had this cut, pieced, and quilted in less than a week! I did put off the binding until I finished a few other projects tho... 

I'm trying something new with my labels. I'm printing them onto Dark IronOn T-Shirt Transfer paper, cutting the exact shape out and ironing it on after it is quilted. I am just loving the way the label looks!

For this quilt, you will need: 

2 Charm Packs of varying print.
    count: Eighty (80) squares, measuring 5" x 5"

1 yard of Blue
    sub cut into Fifty (50) squares, measuring 5" x 5"

1 yard of Green
    sub cut into Fifty (50) squares, measuring 5" x 5"

17" for outside border
    sub cut into Seven (7) strips measuring 2.5" x wof

17" for binding, if cut at 2.5"
    sub cut into Seven (7) strips measuring 2.5" x wof

Seam Sizes: Do a test Nine Patch using a 1/4" seam. Center Square should measure 4.5" x 4.5" when sewn. If not, adjust your seam size accordingly.

Make two (2) different sets of Nine Patch units (total count of 20 units):

  • First set arrange in this layout. Sew a total of 10 units (measures 14" x 14")

    • Four 5" charm squares placed in the four corners
    • Four 5" green squares placed in between the four corners
    • One 5" blue square placed in the center

  • Second set arranged in this layout. Sew a total of 10 units (measures 14" x 14"):

    • Four 5" charm squares placed in the four corners
    • Four 5" blue squares placed in between the four corners
    • One 5" green square placed in the center

Using a rotary cutter and ruler: cut along both middles of each of the Nine Patch units.
Each corner unit measures 7" x 7".
Separate ONLY the Top Right corner and Bottom Left corner.

Rotate ONLY the Top Right corner and Bottom Left corner.

After rotating, sew the four (4) units together to make a Disappearing Nine Patch
(total count of 20 units measuring 13.5" x 13.5")

Arrange the twenty (20) blocks according to the layout below; alternate between using the green and the blue units. Quilt center will measure 52.5" x 65.5"

Piece together and sew on two (2) side border units measuring 2.5" x 65.5".

Piece together and sew on top and bottom border units measuring 2.5" x 56.5".

I hope you enjoy making this quilt as much as I did! If you do get a chance to make it, I would love to see your quilt using this pattern!

I want to send a special Thank You to Judy for letting me quilt it on her longarm.
I used one of her Edge to Edge patterns that had a truck, a train, a plane and helicopter.