Monday, July 15, 2019

Grandma's old letters

I have no quilts in progress (what?!).  So, I've attacked a project that has been staring at me for 6 years.  My Grandmother Morgan saved all of her letters and cards from 1913 until the late 1970's.  My mother kept all of those letters, plus a bunch of her own.  When she passed away 6 years ago, I inherited the boxes of letters and cards.  The reason I ended up with them is because I've also inherited the genealogy files and pictures.  My goal was to get all the letters digitally transcribed and then donate the letters to a genealogy center.  Well, this is the time and the year to get it done!

My Grandmother Morgan, Anna Bertha Burkle Morgan, was born in Lafayette, Indiana to German parents in 1891.  She moved to the Seattle area when she was about 21 to be with her sister and father, who had moved out west in 1913 or so.  Most of the letters are from her Indiana relatives, and as her kids moved away, she started getting them from her kids.  In the 1970's, she started getting them from her grandchildren.  (Some of them are from me).

Anna Bertha Burkle
My mother, Helen Ann Burkle Morgan Adams, was born in Kent, WA to Homer and Bertha Morgan.  She lived in either King or Pierce County most of her life, with a short window in York, Pa. My mother's letters started when she went off to college at the University of Washington, and continue through the late 1970's.

Homer and Bertha Morgan and kids

Helen Ann Burkle Morgan

I can see why most Women's histories are not in the history books.  Their lives are full of family duties and they were tired!  And their letters, while written to each other weekly, are mostly mundane details about their daily lives.  Not stuff that the schools want to teach.  But for me, they are a wonderful look into how their lives were during all those old times, how they felt about things, how cheap everything was compared to now, and how much genealogy information is contained in the letters.  My grandmother and mother both sewed and made quilts, so it especially dear when I read about clothes, quilts or blankets they made for me and my siblings and kids.

Bertha Morgan in her garden
Al and Helen (Morgan)Adams 25th anniversary

Bertha Morgan 1970's

Anyway, I have been typing away and trying to transcribe them correctly.  And I hope to finish them soon.

Helen Adams abt. 2010
 What would you do with the original letters?  I don't want to toss them out, but I also don't want them all in my cupboards.  Any advice would be wonderful!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Baby Blanket with Ribbon tabs

My sister is going to be a grandmother for the first time in August!  The mother-to-be asked me to make her a baby quilt long before she even got pregnant.  I decided that a Minky blanket would be just the right thing.  I had seen several with ribbon tabs sewn around the edges, and that also seemed like a great idea.

The baby blanket that I made is about 36" x 36".  Yours might end up a slightly different size, depending on how the fabric was cut in the fabric store.  You need 1 yard each of Minky fabric - one plain and one with a pattern.  I used owl fabric on the top and turquoise on the bottom.  You also need an assortment of ribbons that you'll cut into 4" to 5" pieces.  I used 60 ribbon pieces (15 on each side).  These need to be ribbons that can be washed.

Cut a square piece of each fabric by folding the material diagonally onto itself and cutting along the selvage edge.  Whatever size that is, is what you'll use, but is should be close to 36" x 36", since you will be folding the 36" side up.  (This is similar to the step you would do if you were folding fabric to find the bias.)   Trim the two pieces, if you need to, to make sure that they are the same size.  (I forgot to take a picture of this step, so I'm showing you one from the internet showing you how the excess fabric will be cut away).

Image result for folding fabric to find the bias

Fold your ribbon pieces in half and pin then onto the right side of the front fabric, making sure the ribbon loops are facing inwards.  Place the backing fabric face down onto the top of the front and pin (heavily).  Using a waking foot, sew 1/2" seam, leaving a 6" opening to turn the quilt inside out. (I also forgot to take a picture of this step, so I'm showing you a close up of the different ribbons in the final blanket).

Trim corners, turn the quilt, and fold in the remaining seam.  Pin and sew close to the edge where the opening was, then sew 1/2" all the way around the edges.  

I hope you have a baby due soon in your family, or in your groups of friends, so that you can make this cute little baby blanket with ribbon tabs.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Abstract from Gloria Loughman class

I wrote a previous blog about the class I took from Gloria Loughman at Asilomar.  This is the post about the quilt that was started in the class.

I started with a close-up picture of moss blossoms.

From that picture, I sketched up the idea to do an abstract of the moss blossoms with a pieced background.  The color inspiration was from the photo and the embellishment of the background pieces was based on techniques learned in the class.

I thought that the background was way too vivid to carry out my idea.  I tried different colors for the moss blossoms and the stems.  I tried toning down the background by auditioning different colors of organza and tulle.  In the end, I gave up on doing anything with this piece.  The lack of a focal point was the final sticking point for me.   It didn't feel anything at all like my inspiration photo so I didn't grow to like it.  It went to the free table at the quilt guild.

Sometimes, it's better to abandon a piece and let someone else be inspired to finish it and love it.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Asilomar class from Gloria Loughman

I went to Asilomar to attend a 5-day class taught by Gloria Loughman.  This was the 2nd time that I'd traveled to California with some friends to stay in the beautiful Asilomar retreat facility and take a class from a well-known teacher.

What a great teacher and such a great class!  She had us all make a small quilt using her pattern so that we could learn all of her techniques. Then we worked on our individual quilts based on photos that we brought.  Since she makes her living teaching her techniques, I'm not able to tell you everything that I learned, so I'm just showing you some pictures.  If you get a chance to take a class from her - DO IT.  She is wonderful!

Here is the practice piece that I made:

And here are some of us having fun in the evening lecture.

I hope you get a chance to take classes from big name instructors too!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Testing Patterns & Garden Photos

I've been sewing and testing many patterns for Connecting Threads that I can't show you in the blog.  Darn!  It's been really fun to make up all the quilts.  Sometimes I just make the top; sometimes I do the quilting; and sometimes I add the binding.  The patterns are really fun and quite modern.

What this means is that I can't show you my work in progress as much as I used to.  But don't worry, I still have a lot in progress and am staying busy.

It's the start of the walking and gardening season and I've headed outside in between all the stormy and rainy weather.  So instead of showing you quilts, I'm going to share some of the pictures taken in my garden and on my walks.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Brown Bag Challenge - Final

I'm calling this quilt, "Psychedelic Spots" in reference to the 1972 calendar that was part of the pieces in the brown bag challenge for Vagabonds.  It was really fun to use all of the weird things that I received in the bag, including the black zipper, some silver washers, rusted fabric, slippery satin, metallic thread, thread trimmings, trimming of a finished art quilt, silk ribbon, upholstery fabric, and cotton fabric.  Before I got the bag of stuff, I was certain that I would start with a landscape photo and use all the pieces in a collaged landscape.  That idea was snuffed right away!  I instead opted for a collaged background that was non-representational with circles appliqued on top.

Several previous blogs were written to describe the process.  And here is the finished quilt.  It measures 36" W x 51" H, and was finished with fa acing.

Psychedelic Spots by Joanne Adams Roth

I hope you like it!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Painted bee on flower

I made another painted quilt of a bee on a flower.  In an earlier post, I gave you some choices, and almost everyone picked the green bee on the sunflower.  I took this picture in Walla Walla in September.  The bee really was green, and I found out later that it is a native bee.

This quilt was made to be a raffle quilt to raise money for the Clark County Master Gardener foundation.  It will be raffled off in September at a music/garden party.  I hope it brings in a ton of money.  The ladies coordinating the event asked that I make the bee more apparent.  It was an interesting request, and I think that they asked because the bee had so much pollen on its legs that it was hard to tell where the bee stopped and the flower started.  Here is how I painted it to reflect their request.

After it was painted, I used a lot of different colors of thread to both highlight the piece and quilt it.

After it was quilted, I added the wings, which were made with two layers of organza and variegated silver/black thread.

I hope you like it!

If you're interested in buying a raffle ticket, just let me know and I'll get the information to you, including the date of the drawing.