Monday, September 16, 2019

Emily's quilt, part Three

This is a continuation of two previous posts about the making of Emily's graduation quilt.

The top was all sewn together and Blue polka dot fabric was used for the borders.   It's 69" x 87".

I have sent the quilt out to be basted and have started to plan the quilting design.  Since this quilt is so white, I plan to use white thread throughout and will try to make sure that the quilting is more modern.  This type of quilt, which is very close to an Irish Chain, has lots of spaces for fancy feathered wreaths and other old fashioned quilting designs.  However, it just seems wrong to hand something that "dated" to a young high school graduate. 

I hope you still make traditional quilts from time to time.  They're kind of fun, even though they are fussy to sew!

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Little Black Hole in my quilting room

I have a little black hole in my quilting room.  It's very similar to the little black hole of the washer and dryer that eats my socks,  the one in the rest of my house that lunches on my car keys, and the one that moves things from drawer and drawer. (Sometimes, it even gobbles them up for good.)

I had cut out all of the 3-1/2" squares for Emily's quilt and placed them on my design board.  Here's a picture to prove that they once all existed.

So, the other day I was vacuuming the room and my vacuum cleaner blew off a ton of the white squares. When I picked them up and put them back in place, I was suddenly missing a bunch of them.  Were they in the vacuum cleaner?  No.  How about under my sewing machine table?  No.  Under the bookcase?  No.  Behind other pieces on the wall? No.  Aagh!  The little black hole was at work.

I resigned myself to having to cut more, but opted to wait until it was absolutely necessary.  Hoping, of course, that they would magically appear.

Well, THEY DID!  As I was sewing together the blocks, one of the blocks had the missing squares all stacked and pinned in place.  I must have been thinking fast as they were flying off the wall and grabbed them up before the vacuum had a chance to eat them.  At least I can tell myself that.  Made me feel very smart indeed.

I hope you solve the unending mystery of the black holes in your house too.  And that you experience days when you feel extra smart.

Monday, September 2, 2019

No Grunge on this quilt - Emily's quilt Part Two

This is a continuation of a previous post about the graduation quilt I'm making for Emily.

I bought some white-on-white fabric just for this quilt.  I had a grunge fabric in my stash that I liked too.  Both of these fabrics were planned to be used in this quilt.  I wasn't sure that I liked the combination.  Most of time, I like to mix up the backgrounds to give the quilt a little more personality.  Originally, I thought that I would add gray fabrics too, but the poor pastels didn't hold up.  Do you mix up the backgrounds too?

Since I was wobbling on the decision to use the grunge fabric, I asked some of my long time quilting friends for input.  Immediately, one of them told me to loose the grunge.  It made the quilt look dirty, which is sometimes the fun part of grunge fabric.  I knew she was right.  It did make this quilt look dirty instead of young and flirty.  Hey, I'm a poet!

So, no grunge on this quilt.  I pulled out some solid white from my stash and cut that up for some of the blocks, and here it is now with the plain white instead of the grunge fabric.  It looks so much better now.

I hope you have a posse that gives you honest feedback too.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Painted art quilt for class

I've been asked to teach a class to my quilt guild about how to paint an art quilt.

All of the pieces that I've painted of flowers are gone.  One was given to the person who took the picture.  One was sold to a fiber art collector. One was donated to a non-profit for a fundraiser.  One was given to a member of my small quilt group.  So, I couldn't use any of them as my class sample.

September is the due date for this little quilt, so that the class can be advertised well in advance of the January class date.  It's kind of cool that our quilt guild holds classes once a year that are taught by members for members only.  The classes are really cheap, because the teachers donate their time and only charge for kits, if needed.

I'm going to co-teach with another member of my small quilt group, since she loves to paint and is very creative.  We decided to pick something easy and small so that our students can complete the piece in the one-day class.   Here is the picture we chose. 

I'll show you more when I get it painted! 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Graduation quilt for Emily

I make quilts for high school graduation presents.  My oldest granddaughter, Emily DeJarlais, is graduating in June 2021, which is a few years out.  She and I looked at some pictures of modern quilts and talked a little bit about the colors she likes.  This far in advance, I usually start collecting fabric so that by the time I make it, I'll have the supplies that I need.

I've purchased a few baby pinks and baby blues, which are the colors she selected.   So pastel!  Not grandma's usual bright colors.  And no lime green (aghast).  I found a pattern that was just as sweet as the fabrics and have started cutting them out and making the blocks.  Here is what the block looks like.  Those little corner pieces are 1/2" square!  Yikes!

In order to make these tiny pieces, I sewed strips of 1" color strips to 2-1/2" strips of white fabric.  I sewed with a smaller stitch length than I normally do, because I knew these would be cut into really small pieces.  1.90 is what I used.

These were cut into 1" wide pieces.

I sewed 1" x 2-1/2" pieces to the sides of the 2-1/2" squares.

Then sewed the little strips to the top and bottom.  I'm showing you the block again so that you can follow along with the block assembly.

Only 31 more blocks to go!

I hope you like this pastel quilt so far.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Plush stuffed animal for a baby

I previously made a baby blanket for my Sister's first grandson.  I had quite a bit of left-over fabric, so I thought that it would be fun to try and make a stuffed animal.  The parents-to-be are avid dog lovers, so it seemed fitting that the animal should be a dog.

I found a cute pattern of a floppy dog on Pinterest, and I'm sorry that I can't remember the designer.  The pattern called for button eyes and something for the mouth.  However, I decided not to add anything that the baby could pull off and swallow.  Instead, I opted to fussy cut the owl fabric for the eyes, and add a ribbon bow around the neck.  I gently filled the components with fiber fill (instead of dried beans) and sewed the arms and ears and legs to the body.

and here is the back view

I hope they like it!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Summer and trying to keep up

 It's the summer and, as always, I want to be outside riding my bicycle, hiking, walking, gardening, and camping.

Lake Billy Chinook, Oregon
Banks-Vernonia Trail

This year I am trying to keep up the blog, but if you don't see it for a week or two, you'll know why!

Sisters trails

Deschutes River trail hike from Tumalo

Champoeg State Park, Oregon

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.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Facing for art quilts - wavy edges

I wrote a previous blog about adding facings to art quilts with straight edges.  This blog is how to do it on a quilt that has wavy edges.  The quilt that I'm showing you is the (almost) completed brown bag challenge quilt.  It called out to be cut curvy and wavy on the edges enhance the curvy piecing and artsy-fartsy nature.

Most of the time, you can follow the same steps on the previous blog, cutting the facings 2-1/2" wide.   In this example, I cut the facings 3" because there was a lot of wave on the edges.  You do NOT have to cut the facing on the bias.

Press over 1/4" on the long edge.

Pin the facings right sides together with the quilt, and let the facing hang over the wavy edges.  Here is a picture showing the top of the quilt, and another one showing the back of the quilt.

Sew the seam, then trim the facing that sticks out beyond the wavy edge.

You can follow the rest of the steps as in the previous blog.  It's a bit harder to press the curvy edges to the back, but use patience and pins and you'll be rewarded by a nice finish.  Here is the facing turned to the back and pinned in place.  Believe it or not, you'll get almost a straight edge to sew onto the back side of the quilt.

Here is the finished quilt top with the facing all sewn in place.  I hope you can use these hints for your next art quilt with wavy edges.

I hope you like it!