Sunday, April 5, 2020

Courthouse Steps

A while back I decided to make some scrappy, wonky courthouse step blocks from Bonnie Hunter's tutorial. When I went looking for scraps, I came across some fabric left from a backing. There was enough for the blocks so I changed directions a little and made non-scrappy, regular courthouse step blocks. 
Yes, it was folded.
I finished the top a while ago and finally finished the quilting just before I began making face masks. It then took a while to get the binding sewn on. And now it is finished!

This donation quilt is 56" square. 

I free motioned a feather 'circle' in the white areas using  Aurifil #2600 Dove thread,

some horizontal meandering in the colored areas using Aurifil #2785 navy, 

and a loopy meander in the borders using the Dove thread.

The backing is from my stash; I thought the colors went well with the front and I really like wild, colorful backs.


I'm taking a break from making face masks since I'm waiting for supplies specifically non-woven interfacing. Hopefully it will be here tomorrow. In the meantime, I've pinned a few quilts and quilted two that now need to be bound. I have two to put borders on and a few others in various stages of construction. It's time to get the piles cleared! Of course, when supplies arrive, all of the quilting will be halted again.

How are you holding up with this Staying At Home? I really thought it would be easier than it is because  I like being home. I guess I also like the freedom to go wherever, whenever I want and spend time with people. Even going to the grocery store is strange - only one of us goes now and wears a mask. We also only buy groceries every 10-14 days. We see very few people and although I'm not one to spend much time talking on the phone, I talk on it most if not all days now. Ray has a doctor appointment for his shoulder on tomorrow - it will be done by phone. 

Take Care and Stay Safe!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Face Masks

Have you been making face masks? It seems to be the thing to do during this coronavirus crisis. 

I've been looking for places that need masks. I contacted the two hospitals that we use but neither has a call out/need yet. I signed up with Relief Crafters of America and was trying to figure out their mask pattern and how to sign up to make masks when an urgent plea came my way.

An anesthesiologist that live in the greater Chicago area contacted a friend who immediately set up a group of sewers. The doctor grew up in out village so we all know her. The 50 anesthesiologists in her group have been told to wear bandanas when their masks run out in the near future. Any masks will be better than a bandana; so the sewing began.

We are under a Shelter-In-Place state order in Illinois, aka house arrest, so we could not get together to sew. I was very lucky to have Ray around - he was VERY helpful!

He cut, turned and pressed most of the straps, traced patterns, cut out pieces, pressed masks, measured and cut elastic, threaded elastic, and fixed meals for a couple of days!

I made my prototype out of one fabric for both the front and back. My research says one should easily be able to tell the front from the back so I made all of the donation masks from two fabrics. I used softer, less bright fabrics for the inside/back of the mask.

The pattern I was using has a pocket for an N95 mask or a filter. That took a bit more time but I thought it might be useful.

Then more research said that a non-woven inside layer helps to filter germs. It still is nowhere as good as an N95 but I'll do what I can to help so I added a piece of a t-shirt inside each mask. Maybe you can see it in the picture. This one is  yellow. Sewing the t-shirt in really slowed me down but again, if it helps,...

The first 13 masks have straps. Yes, more research said straps are preferred by most doctors. So 13 masks means 52 straps - that took some time! I'm so grateful for Ray's help.

Late yesterday at about hour 16 into this project, we found out we had another 24 hours. So today Ray and I made 7 more masks. These all have elastic that goes around the head, not just the ears. I did use elastic instead of straps and I do know the pattern so these only took the morning to make!

People in our group used a variety of patterns. I like this one which I got from Relief Crafters of America but it was strange to understand at first. I caught it in the middle of changes. It works well but I will tweak it before making it again. I also might investigate other patterns.

I hope you are doing well and handling the social distancing.  I really didn't think it would be this hard and maybe it's just knowing that you can't go see a grandchild or a friend or take a drive. In any event, it really helped me to do something that was useful and needed. My mental state is much better and it looks like there will be more mask making.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Orphan Improv is finished and other news

Orphan Improv is done!
Quilt just came out of dryer and is wrinkled. Guess it will be another rinse and dry.
The orphan bin was overflowing so I took out some of the brighter pieces and matched them with other pieces, stitched them together and then trimmed down to squares. 

I used quite a few pieces but I have plenty left. Improv stitching - no rules stitching - is fun to do every so often. 

This donation quilt is 54" square. I did the straight line quilting with a walking foot and Aurifil #1133 orange thread.

The back is an orange waterspot fabric from my stash.

And in other news...

Ray is making progress. He has a couple more weeks before his next visit  to the surgeon. The shooting pain is lessening but he still has pain. It will be interesting to see how this visit happens - maybe a televisit?

I still haven't resolved my food allergy or whatever. The allergist visit did not go well - that is one doctor I won't return to. Thank goodness I usually find good doctors. I'm feeling pretty good so I'm not pursuing it right now.

Last weekend, I attended our annual spring retreat in Oregon, Illinois, at the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center. It was our last retreat there. (We lost dear Ann this year and two others are no longer able to attend.) Our small group enjoyed our time together. Even though the weekend began with some restrictions due to Covid-19, everything changed while we were there - Illinois began taking action and our schools all closed and restrictions were put in place. One member of our group is a fourth grade teacher. What should have been a restful, fun weekend turned into a very stressful time for her.

I did get a few pictures of projects; I missed lots.

I took pictures of my projects when I got home.

We are staying home and keeping busy. I keep thinking I should do some spring cleaning but the sewing studio keeps calling my name! I have been doing some cooking and replenishing our freezer meals. 

To go with lunch on this rainy, dreary day, we'll have some fresh bread.

Please stay home if you can, 
do the social distancing, 
and wash your hands!  
Take Care!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


A while back while we were traveling in Fairfield, OhioI found some colorful fabric at Seams Sew Easy. When it was my turn to have it cut, the clerk told me it probably wasn't what I thought it was. She opened the fabric and showed me that it was really 40" panels that looked painted. I loved the colors and I had waited quite a while to be helped so I took four panels. 

I have just finished the first of two quilts I'm making with this fabric. This quilt is called Color! I cut the fabric vertically (blue to green) and then into rectangles horizontally. I added two vertical strips from a second panel to make the quilt a little larger.

I used more vertical cuts for the outer border and the binding. The finished quilt is 50" by 54". 

The quilting is done with Aurifil thread, 50-weight, #2600, Dove Gray.

The backing is fabric from my stash.

Each of the 35 blocks is free-motion quilted with a different motif. I took photos of each block before laundering and I think you can see the quilting. It's still a bit hard with the colors of the fabric.
Quilting motif: Matrix Rays
Quilting motif: Swirl Meander
Quilting motif: Cat's Eyes
Quilting motif: Beads on a String
Quilting motif: Double Bubble
Quilting motif:Venn Diagram
Quilting motif: Split block with Stippling and Lazy Eights
Quilting motif: Horizontal Stipple
Quilting motif: Leaves with fill and echoes
Quilting motif: Desert Sand
Quilting motif: Pebbles
Quilting motif: Stippling
Quilting motif: Fern and Stem
Quilting motif: Wave
Quilting motif: Stomach Lining
Quilting motif: Bubble Wand
Quilting motif: Brain Cord
Quilting motif: Flowing Lines
Quilting motif: Tufts
Quilting motif: 2-Petal Flower
Quilting motif: Chrysanthemum
Quilting motif: River Path
Quilting motif: Wavy Lines using rulers
Quilting motif: Bamboo Forest
Quilting motif: Paisley
Quilting motif: Echo Shell
Quilting motif: Loose Weave
Quilting motif: Spirals
Quilting motif: ruler work
Quilting motif: Loopy Meander
Quilting motif: Feather with echoes
Quilting motif: Mesh Curtain
Quilting motif: Mario Vine
Quilting motif: Wandering Clover
Quilting motif: Straight Spiral using a ruler
Quilting motif in sashing: Lazy Eights or Wishbones
I used a walking foot to stitch 3 lines in the border.

I love the colors in this quilt as does Ray.

We haven't decided if it's going into the donation pile or staying with us.

In other news, I saw the allergist today. They did two panels of testing. However, their controls did not react. No one knows why because I do not have any antihistamines in my system. So now we are waiting on blood tests results...


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