Monday, November 11, 2019

Emily's quilt - quilting designs

This is the 4th post about the making of Emily's graduation quilt.

I like to sketch up my quilting designs before I start the actual work.  It doesn't mean that I will follow the exactly.  But it does give me a sense of what designs will work better than others.  Its super easy to erase pencil marks on a piece of paper than it is to tear out quilting stitches!  For those of you that have done the tearing out, you know that a fair amount of hair gets torn out at the same time.  Or you might even turn a little grayer.

I've probably posted a blog about this already, so excuse me if this a total repeat.  After I finish making the top, I take a picture of it.  I turn it into black and white and make a copy on my computer.  Then I use tracing paper and start doodling.  I usually draw 2 or 3 different designs and often combine a couple more ideas on each sheet.  Rarely do I completely draw out the design.  If there are complicated things like feathered wreaths or large circles, I will draw these to full scale and using a light box, transfer those designs with blue dissolving ink pens onto the top. Sometimes, I will transfer lines too if I want them evenly spaced across the top.



Here is my start at the quilting designs.  Frankly, I'm not that thrilled with anything that I've drawn so far.  I kind of like the idea of putting "E" shapes into the quilt, and I definitely want it to be more modern.  Wreaths in the white areas, while very traditional, just doesn't feel like the right thing for this quilt.  So, I'll keep sketching and come up with something that I do like.


If you have some great ideas that might help me, let me know!  I'm a little stumped right now.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Polka Dots and Spots - part three

This is a continuation of the theme quilt with the polka dots and spots.

After the main large wedges were in place, I played around with what wedges should be placed next.  I had some really cool black and white fabrics to add into the mix, as well as more of the pink and green fabrics.  Here is the quilt with all of the wedges in place.


Here is how I sewed the wedges together.  I pinned one edge over the stiff tear away stabilizer.  This edge was pinned to the edge of the stabilizer on the adjoining piece.  The pictures show you the pinning on the front side and what it looks like on the back side.



Here is what it looks like when it is pinned together.


I set two stitches in my machine.  The straight stitch is for the start and stop.  It is set for 0.40 length and I reduce the top tension since I use invisible thread in the top and a light weight thread in the bobbin.


I sew a few stitches with this setting, then switch to the zig zag setting.  It is set for 1.0 stitch length and 1.4 stitch width.  The tension is also lower for the top.  Then I zig zag the seam in place.



I still like it so far, and hope you do too!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Painted rose

I wrote a previous blog about teaching paint and stitch to our guild in January.

After I wrote the blog, I realized the sample we picked would not help us to teach the technique, which is basically paint by number.  The picture that you start with HAS TO HAVE shading so that you don't have to imagine it - you just trace the pieces where the color changes.

So, here is a picture that I took of a rose earlier this year that has just the right shading for the class.



I traced this picture onto my prepared for dying fabric, then painted it with fabric paints.


It was then thread highlighted and finally quilted.  Here it is, all ready for the class.


I hope our students learn a lot in our class in January.  Remember, if you are a member of Clark County Quilters, you can take this class for cheap, cheap, cheap!  We love teaching each other our techniques.


Monday, October 21, 2019

Baby born and in the blanket with Dad

I wrote a blog about making a Minky blanket with tab edges for my nephew and his wife.  Their baby was born on September 19th, and here is a touching photo of Dad with the baby in his little blankie.  I can't wait to meet the little boy.


Aah!  Think of all the dreams that are occurring at that house!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Polka Dots and Spots - Part Two

This is a continuation of a previous blog about the Polka Dots and Spots theme quilt that I've been making.

In order to transfer my idea to my design board, I taped together several sheets of freezer paper.  (I used to "melt" them together with my iron, but my off-brand freezer paper didn't hold the ironing! Note to self: buy the real brand next time).  I added the circle for my inspiration piece, and then free hand sketched as close to my sketch as possible. You'll have to look really close to see my sketch lines - sorry for the poor photography. 



I used this great technique to transfer extra-large circles to foundation paper - either tear-away or water soluble.  You can purchase a set of these gadgets at a drafting supply store.  One part has a pointed end and the other part has the pencil.  Each piece has a slot that fits exactly on a yardstick.  It is basically a huge compass when you're done mounting the parts onto the yardstick.



After the foundation pieces were cut out, they were glue basted to the material, the edges were turned, and all the adjoining edges were machine appliqued to each other.

The next thing was to place some defining parts onto the background.  Those pieces that would inform the rest of the design.   I knew that I wanted to use pinks and greens in graduating shades and offset these with very large polka dot/spot black and white fabrics.  Here is the piece with some of these wedges in place.



I like it so far and I hope you do too!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Polka Dots and Spots - Part One

Clark County Quilters selected "Polka Dots and Spots" for their 2020 quilt show theme.  I like to make quilts for the theme of the show, and encourage others too, so that our display is awesome!

I looked at a lot of pictures on Pinterest and through some of my books and magazines for ideas.  While I'm not a huge polka dot person, I really like a lot of material that has tiny spots on it.  Or even large spots, like Moda grunge dots.  I even made a blouse of Moda grunge dots.  (OK, that was a little off topic.)

I found a great hand dyed piece of fabric from Maureen Schmidt for my inspiration.  Fabrics to match this piece were either pulled from my stash or purchased from Island Quilter.  Here's a picture of the fabrics I have in mind with the inspiration piece. Don't you just love the hand dyed piece?


Here are some of my sketches for this quilt:


I picked the one in the lower left-hand corner and decided the size would be 50" W x 70" H.

I hope you like it so far!



Monday, September 30, 2019

Baby Blanket For Nephew's Family

My husband's nephew and his wife are expecting a baby boy in December.  This little baby blanket made from Minky started as a kit that I purchased from McKay Manor.  They provided both of the fabrics in 30" x 30" pieces, as well as the fluffy navy blue edging.

It was so simple to make this little blanket.  I pinned the edging to the top and basted it in place.  





I then placed the backing on top, right sides together, and sewed around the edges, leaving a small opening to turn the blanket.


And finally sewed close to the edges.


I know that the little baby and his parents will enjoy cuddling in this little Minky blanket.

And I hope you like it too!

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.