Wednesday, April 08, 2020

If You Are Lucky Enough to Know a Quilter...

#QuiltBee: face masks
Our mask makers continue to add to their stockpiles, and after a week of making them, this was the last pile of mine to be pressed before being packaged up.

I have a few commitments on the go these days so I wanted to be able to wrap these up sooner rather than later so that they would be ready when needed and I could move on to other things. If I need to make more down the road, I will, but as social distancing measures appear to be having a positive impact, my fervent hope is that very few of them get used at all.

#QuiltBee: face masks
This project has been extremely good at helping me use fabrics that have languished for a while (in some cases, quite a while) in the sewing room. You know, those fabrics that you keep running into but have just moved on from and really don't see yourself using much, if at all, but you can't quite find it in your heart to move them out. Now they have a purpose.

Sunday morning I thought that I was headed for making fabric ties but my niece came to the rescue when she discovered a huge cone of elastic, so I was thrilled.

#QuiltBee: face masks
I had been living off the kindness of strangers when it comes to elastic, using bits and bobs that folks were finding. One particularly nice aqua piece came to me so I tried to use fabrics that complemented it. I was happy to be able to use it but sad when it was all gone because it is so pretty.

All told, I think that I have made 97. It was tempting to try and make that an even 100 but by the time I put the stitches into the last one that feeling had passed.

#QuiltBee: face masks
The Official Cookie Tester has been eyeing my production and, while admiring the effort, still questioning their efficacy to some extent, until the other night. He came across an article in the New York Times that said, 'If you are lucky enough to know a quilter, ask them to make you a mask...Quilters tend to use high quality, high thread count cotton. The best homemade masks...were as good as surgical masts, or slightly better, testing in the range of 70-79% filtration.' Case closed. (BTW, how can you not love an article with the words, 'if you are lucky enough to know a quilter'?)
Anne is still in production mode as well. She's found a fellow in town who makes military uniforms and he is offering not only elastic, but to cut fabrics for her as well. Bingo!

And Sandy continues to sew up a storm and is learning lots. The pattern that she is using calls for ironing the ties five times. Nope. She's not keen on burning her fingers anymore and has got it down to two. Quick learner! 😉 She added an inch to the depth of the mask so that it tucks in under the chin a little more; and it makes the tucks less fussy to do too. This batch is ready for “front porch” deliveries today.

The rest that she has in progress will hit the mail or go to folks in their building. They also have a nursing home close by, so next week she will see if they want any.

And the icing on the cake? Ed told her yesterday, "You need to go shopping for fun fabric when all of this is over." Her response? "Yessireeeee!"....M

Saturday, April 04, 2020

The Gals Behind the Masks

#QuiltBee: face mask
About a week ago a request went out from Valley Manor, the nearby seniors residence where my dad spent his last days, for face masks. They were estimating that they may need 1,000 and were looking for volunteers to help sew them. Linda, who had been the administrator there for years, sprung in to action and sent out a challenge to all of her sewing friends to chip in. You could almost hear the machines warming up.

#QuiltBee: face masks
Jane and Linda are in isolation together and were the first off the mark. They pulled out some beautiful scraps and in a few days had 50 to show for their effort, which have already been delivered. They have run out of elastic except for one package which will be used to make masks for family and friends.

#QuiltBee: face masks
They had some dark elastic and used it to make several more masculine masks, which is a great idea.

#QuiltBee: face masks
Anne's been busy too, but she has chosen to use fabric ties instead of elastic. She's using up bindings that had been in mom's stash; mom would be thrilled. She's got 30 in the works and should finish the last of that batch today.

Our friend Arlene is not a sewer but was really keen to help so she's been pressing ties for Anne, which has been a huge time saver. This is the box of goodies she dropped off, which apparently has enough for about 50 more masks, so Anne's work is cut out for her.

#QuiltBee: face masks
Sandy lives in London, about 8 hours away from the Ottawa Valley, but she too was keen to chip in. Her first order of business was to make one for Ed in his cherished Bite Me fabric. It's not his much sought-after cape but I think it's got superpowers of its own.

She has whipped up a good little pile already so they had their choice of several to sport their 'gangsta' look on yesterday's walk. She's got lots more cut and is looking to give them to their building manager as he are having a tough time finding masks, or to anyone else nearby that has a need.

I came to the party late because I've been working but Wednesday evening, as a reward for FINALLY finishing our taxes, I started to cut. I'm using Jenny Doan's tutorial and a few tips that Jane developed as they worked through the process, and using two different prints for each mask; it is proving to be a great scrap buster.

Following Jenny's lead, I lined several of mine with flannelette because I thought it would be soft against the face, but as I was sewing I wondered if they would be too warm. I'll keep them in the bundle but won't make any more with flannelette.

#QuiltBee: face masks
There were a few fits and starts until I got a rhythm going, like completely sewing around the outside edge without leaving an opening to turn out, or sewing elastic into only one end before turning it out (okay, that might have happened after I poured a rye and Pepsi...), but eventually things settled in to a pattern.

With the exception of the first one, I have saved all of the pleating to do at the end and that's where I am now. I have 43 in the works and about 20 left to pleat.

Everyone is chipping in. The Official Cookie Tester wore his mask to his daily Zoom staff meeting 😊and his boss, who still drives in to the office occasionally from near the Manor, will deliver the supply from Anne, Arlene and I next week.

There is another home just up the hill from us and they are also welcoming donations so, as Sandy put it, this will be an ongoing effort. I have begged, borrowed and scrounged just about all of the elastic that I can so it will be fabric ties going forward. Not a problem, because I too have some bindings from mom's stash.

I also want to make a supply for a special PSW who is going into her clients' homes every day, for use by either her or her clients.

And, in case you are wondering just who we are doing this for, take a look at these happy, healthy, smiling faces and their Easter messages to everyone. Time to get out of the jammies and back to the sewing....M

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Talking to Myself

#QuiltBee: Candied Hexagons quilt
For much of this winter I have spent the better part of my Tuesdays, and often Thursdays, helping the gals at the church with the quilts that are up on the frame. That all changed a few weeks ago when social distancing became the norm.

The isolation hasn't been a problem for me as I have been very busy working via my computer and then sewing Huddle as time allows. Lately I've taken a break from the machine work to go back to my hand quilting because (surprise, surprise!) Candied Hexagons is still in the hoop.

#QuiltBee: Candied Hexagons quilt
It has been a rewarding break, tho I have to say that I am missing all of the chatter that you get when quilters gather round the frame (the things you learn!). And the conversation isn't nearly as interesting when it is just me and the hoop - quilting bees are the best for getting caught up on all the things you want to know, and even a little bit more 😉.

The Official Cookie Tester swings by every now and then to interject some levity.

I feel that I have picked up speed with my stitching and seem to be moving around the quilt at a decent pace, one hexie after another.

And it is lovely to be able to visit with these fabrics again.

#QuiltBee: Candied Hexagons quilt
My ever helpful green painter's tape continues to be a mainstay. It wouldn't be totally necessary for the quarter inch lines on the edge diamonds, but since I am a 'stabber' rather than a 'running stitcher' I find that it helps keep me on the straight and narrow and going at a decent pace.

#QuiltBee: Candied Hexagons quilt
Today is rainy, dark and miserable outdoors but there's an apple pie in the oven and pork tenderloin marinating for dinner so that means a free afternoon to return to hoop. Yay! Think this will be a COVID-19 finish?....M

Monday, March 23, 2020

Message in a Bottle

Make 'A' blocks first. That's what my note says. Now if I could only remember why that is...

I think it might have something to do with getting a good variety of creams but it could mean anything. That's the joy of cutting out a quilt and leaving the pieces to steep for a year before sewing them - sort of like my own personal mystery quilt, or a message in a bottle that has rolled up onto the shore with a note from a far off land.

#QuiltBee: Huddle quilt blocks
So I set to work on the 'A' blocks, but you had to know that I just had to try one or two of the 'B' blocks to see the reverse colour placement 😏.

#QuiltBee: Huddle quilt block
I'm enjoying putting them together. Initially I laid all of the pieces out so as not to confuse myself, working in concentric circles until the last round of pieces is added, but lately I've been able to just group the pieces that need to be assembled into units before they are sewn and that seems to be saving a bit of time.

#QuiltBee: Huddle quilt block
All 'A' blocks (a.k.a. the centre panel) are now together so I'm headed to 'B'. Fourteen down, 16 to go!....M