Saturday, March 28, 2020

Stitching While Quarantined

This is a different kind of staying at home than we've ever experienced--surely that is true for most people!  We've been told to stay home during times of fire, earthquake, flood, and windstorms, but nothing compares to the novel coronavirus for disrupting all our lives.  Stitching keeps me busy and sewing masks has taken priority.  I've made 17 masks so far--16 for our Guild drive for local hospitals, and the latest for my husband at his request.  This is the pattern we have been advised to use: https://www.instructables.com/id/AB-Mask-for-a-Nurse-by-a-Nurse/


A guild member has made a few suggestions for this pattern, including trimming the paper pattern down a 1/4 inch all around before cutting the pieces, since trimming is called for later in the pattern and is an extra step.  My sister has been using a double fold binding for hers.  I continue the single fold as per the pattern, but add extra stitching at the corners of the mask where there will be lots of tension when tied.  


I used quilting cottons for the first batch, then got out the batiks box to make the next set--a suggestion I read due to higher thread count in these fabrics.  I also made the inner layer a light color to help distinguish right from wrong side.  Some guild members have also included an arrow to indicate the top (nose) edge.  Lots of fabric mixing and matching here--gotta keep it interesting!  Our guild has now turned in 150 masks that went to our County hospitals. They are aiming for 3000 so we will keep sewing.  I had to call in an order to Superbuzzy for more Aurifil thread--I'm always happy to support local quilt shops.  Our other local shop is also doing door pickup of supplies. 

In between mask pieces I finished the Tea Time charm pack top--trying to work on my March self-challenge to clear out the Hoosier cabinet. I added borders and ordered backing from Superbuzzy which I picked up along with the thread.  This will be a little quilt for our grandson arriving sometime in August.

I had the hardest time with the getting the right border measurements, since I was making it up as I went.  There was not enough of the solid blue to have just the gray cornerstones, but luckily I had the acid green print that coordinated well with the charm squares.  The bottom right corner was pulling and after I took the picture it was fixed.  I'm so pleased with the bright colors and look forward to quilting it soon. 

After picking up my quilting supplies on Friday I drove down to the beach. It was very windy and dark clouds were moving in from the north.  

The Channel Islands were visible with the sea being very choppy with lots of spray.  It began to sprinkle as I drove home through the foothills.  I stopped by daughter Elaine's to pick up some mending, and she reported a friend in Ojai said it was hailing.  Rain is rare here, and rainbows even more rare, and we got both. 

You can't really see it in the photo, but there was a faint double rainbow.  Love that!

A little more non-mask related sewing was dedicated to a companion pillow I'm making for my dad to match his Chunky Churndash qult.  The idea was born of extra HSTs that made up an Oklahoma Twister block, and yet another kind of Churndash I designed.  It measures about 21 inches square here and I may add another narrow plain border to preserve the corner design before choosing the pillow form size.  

Stay well and don't touch your face!  I may make myself a mask to keep from doing just that :)

Monday, March 23, 2020

Design Wall Monday--Quarantining and Sewing

It's a Covid-19 Quarantine Design Wall Monday--see more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

So, I have been sewing a lot these past days.  I was still working up until Thursday, when our County Public Health Department decreed a shelter in place order in addition to the one the Governor had imposed several days before.  The medical group where I work has two doctors with Master's degrees in Public Health--they are both women--as well as a number of other very smart and adaptable doctors and staff.  Telemedicine technology for our group was virtually invented overnight by one doctor and her husband.  I scribed with my doc for three days while he "saw" patients before the Public Health edict and most everyone but me got sent home with laptops. 

I took this pic on a break before being released to home.  A bit of snow on our TopaTopa Mountains, framed by orange and California Oak trees.


Since being called off work, I had plenty of time to add binding to the Chunky Churndash quilt that I got back superfast from Quilting by David.  Love the swirl pattern I chose, which they scaled wonderfully.  After briefly considering a scrappy binding from the leftovers drawer, I abandoned that idea for this perfect 1/2 yard dark navy print from stash.   


So satisfying to see it all finished.  There was a near disaster when I washed the quilt and forgot to change it to cold water setting--the binding had not been washed and bled with the warm water cycle.  After several more rounds of cold water soaks and washing with color catchers, most of the excess dye came out.  Some of the light fabrics in the blocks turned blue, but being so scrappy, that didn't matter a bit.  I sure didn't mention it to my Dad when I brought it over!

 I stood by the door to take photos, admonishing my parents not to get close!  Dad was very pleased with the quilt.  My artist Mom (one of her paintings is above the mantel) kept exclaiming about all the colors.  She took the quilt and spread it out on the floor to get up close and personal ...


Silly woman!  I received many dozen thanks and much praise from both of them, and a photo the next day of Dad napping on his couch with the quilt. Sweet.  I still have to finish a companion pillow but didn't want to delay delivery of the quilt since several other things have jumped ahead of it.

Not that I don't have a couple dozen UFOs I could work on, but I couldn't resist the Mystery Quiltalong by Laundry Basket Quilts.    She is working from one of her fabric bundles, but mine is all scrappy--with tans for the blues, and red for the pinks she is using, and lots of different light fabrics from stash.  Most of the fabrics are from a long hoarded fat quarter stack of a Minnick & Simpson line called Crazy for Red.


Love the primitive redwork print, and all the yummy creams and tans with the red prints.  I'm also pulling from the fat quarter drawers and scrap bins for variety.  I am caught up to the third block and looking forward to the next.


The blocks are in position but will be in the corners.  Total blocks in the quilt is 100!  Not sure how many days the quiltalong will last, but I plan to make at least a block or two of each release.

Lastly, our guild has learned of the need for protective masks that can be cleaned and reused and we are making as many as we can for the County hospital.  I have volunteered 10, with one finished and  several already cut out and marked.


Here I've made the pleats and am stitching them down. The pattern was made by a nurse and they requested ties rather than elastic as these will be cleansed in an Autoclave and need to withstand high heat.

The color is dreadful in this nighttime pic, but for a first attempt, I was pleased with the binding and pleats.  I'm sure the next 9 will be faster!  It looks like I'll have plenty of stitching time for the near future.  Glad I can do something useful in this awful time.  We have had 30 cases but only one death in our County so far.  Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home, everyone!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Design Wall Monday-- March 16, 2020

Design Wall Monday comes round again, just like clockwork!  See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog. 

Saturday night I finished up the Meadowland QAL  Christmas quilt (fabric is We Whisk You a Merry Christmas).  I love how this turned out. Assembly by row was fine, but likely I'll try by blocks next time. The pattern by Then Came June is one that can be made in many different sizes--this is the large throw size, 64" square. Someone on IG reduced the block by half for theirs and it turned out really cute.


The ongoing March self-challenge to clean out the Hoosier cabinet had me looking at blocks as well.

The box on the table held leftover/orphan blocks and small unfinished projects.  I put a lot of the blocks in a donations bag, along with some books and patterns I'm moving along.  The cleaned out small project box went back in the cabinet.  A pile of X-Plus blocks I won in our recent block lotto  were a fun distraction during the cleaning.

We are making baby quilts for young moms for one of the philanthropy projects at guild. Won't this be a fun bright playmat?

These were a little too disparate for me so took out the green blocks and the one with the blue middle for another 9 block baby quilt.  I'll sew those up before the next meeting, hopefully.


The "After" photo doesn't look too much different, but there were a lot of books and patterns moved out and a good reorganization.   I have a bunch of embroidery skeins to wind on cards to finish this part of the job.  The brown tray in the top right of the cupboard has unframed cross-stitch pieces and I'll work on those in the near future.  I haven't had any hand embroidery going lately but the wool blocks of the still incomplete Greenpiece quilt need to get done (last seen in March 2019's challenge!). 

COVID-19 has come to my county and the state Governor has closed bars and declared that over 65 year olds and those with chronic health conditions should quarantine themselves. Schools closed for four weeks as of Friday.  Meanwhile, the medical group I work for is establishing tele-health at our office and have been running a screening fever and cough drive-through clinic at another location for over a week.  The doctors in our group are very innovative and quick thinking, and most of them are women, a fact I am quite proud about!  Social distancing being practiced, and trying to keep clean and sterilized of primary importance.  Scary times, for sure.    I went to Target on Friday to get a filter for our Brita and there was not a single pitcher product on the shelves--nor any bottled water except the expensive kind.  I bought a few of those while the filters are on order.  My husband went to Ralph's grocery store this morning and ran into similar shortages, as well as far fewer checkers and long lines for all self-checkout registers.   Stay healthy, people!  I'm going to spend plenty of time with needle and thread :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

And Another Week Flies By

It was a very busy weekend at home, at work, and in our social lives.  There were birthday parties and baseball season opening games, and plenty of fabric play.  Oh, and a trip to the Urgent Care!   I'll start there since it also involves fabric :)

Friday afternoon I spent some time in the backyard trimming the poinsettia plant, avocado tree, and the neighbor's over-enthusiastic vines falling over the fence.  As I was cleaning up the garden tools, my hand slipped on the wet clippers and I cut my right index finger.  The cut was not deep, but it bled a lot and so I sat with it above my heart, applying pressure, for a good 30-45 minutes.  Part of the laceration stuck together fine, but the other did not and continued to bleed. I called my doctor's office--for whom I work--and they directed me to urgent care.  Luckily no sutures were needed; they cleaned me up, used Dermabond glue to cover the laceration and sent me home after a tetanus booster.  As a consolation for this injury, I stopped off at the fabric store for a discount remnant bin raid and a replacement 6.5" square ruler--I still never found the one that disappeared two weeks ago!


There were also a lot of bolts on sale and I picked up a good length of Kona Brown for 30% off.  The smallest remnant was 70 cents--love that.  We babysat the boys for a few hours Friday night, and after they went to bed I finally got the Chunky Churndash quilt top prepared for quilting by cleaning up the loose threads on the back.  The quilt is now on its way to David's Quilting to become a real quilt for my dad at last--he's been waiting a long time!


Sewing room layout and switcheroo for the Meadowland QAL happened too.

Saturday we had two more social engagements--grandson Cove had his baseball season opening game and later there was a 30th birthday party to attend that our youngest threw herself.  It was fun to see many of Erica's friends who spent so much time at our house in the teen/young adult years.  

On Sunday a housewarming/birthday party for the grandsons was the last social engagement. I spent a couple of hours before the party sewing up some flannel pants for the boys. Arriving at the party, we discovered an awful thing had happened to my CRV's sunroof. 


You can see in the corner that something impacted the glass. I do remember hearing a loud bang when on the freeway a day or two before, but we never noticed the damage until the glass crumbled.  Luckily the car was  still drive-able, though I now have a rental car pending repair--because it has been RAINING in SoCalif.


Sunday night I sewed the rows for our round robin Guild project.  My guild mini group members helped with the layout and I love all the movement.  Again, I used the Grayscale tutorial from Allison's Cluck Cluck Sew blog, adding an additional round to make 12" finished blocks rather than 10". 

To continue my March self-challenge to move along unfinished projects in the Hoosier Cabinet, I sewed all the corners on the Tea Time 5" charm pack quilt project. 
Fun little blocks! 

The Meadowland QAL concludes this week with sewing up the top.  I'm assembling mine in rows and have finished three rows of the nine needed.  My social calendar is a lot lighter this week so I should be able to get them all done!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Design Wall Monday--March 2, 2020 New March Challenge

First Design Wall Monday of March is here--see more beauties on design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  

Last March I did a UFO self-challenge working on a different project every three days.  That was a very motivating exercise and helped move along lots of different quilts that had been stalled at some stage or another.  This year I'm working on hidden projects, mostly contained in/on/under the Hoosier cabinet that substitutes for closet space in the open family room where I sew.  It's Empty the Hoosier this month!  I first attacked the overflowing scrap situation; I had a shoe box and deep wire basket full of fabric to deal with.


Pieces I had already precut to the sizes I save went into the drawers under the cutting table, and the larger slabs and strips to the ROY G BIV drawers under the desk, or the fat quarter dresser, depending on size.  The wire basket and plastic shoebox are empty again!  However, I accidentally started a new project while cutting up some of the green scraps....Squirrel!

I'm going to make a tablerunner for my oldest brother--his favorite color is green too. The fabric in the bottom right stack I used in a bed quilt I made him several years ago.  This squirrel project will match another started in April 2017 from Kim Brackett's pattern called Cross My Heart (from the book Scrap Basket Beauties), and finished in my Three for March self-challenge last year.



 Obviously this pic doesn't show the finish! I cut 40 sets of green fabrics but still need to cut the corner pieces from solid white. 

In the Hoosier cabinet I have a box with small unfinished projects; that also needs to be emptied! I chose one as a new leader-ender. I think the 5" charm pack was a prize and the pattern a free project card.  Anyway, I had already cut all the corner squares, they just needed to be marked with the stitching line, a tedious job that had stalled the project. 



This will make a good baby quilt if I make it square instead of a rectangle, wouldn't it?  Lots of fun piecing to start my Empty the Hoosier Challenge--I like it!