New Mask Pattern • Sept. 2020

I found a new mask pattern that I think will be the best one yet. It’s from the Japanese Sewing Books site, and she has multiple sizes on one page, or you can download them one by one. She also has a video which clearly explains how to make one. I wore one of these masks around today for a while and not once did my glasses fog up–a real plus!

I use two (2) layers of quilting cotton and one (1) layer of featherweight nonwoven interfacing–it doesn’t really matter what kind. Just really light nonwoven. I made the Large size, but I might try the XL size next time–it will give a little more coverage.

I like to add a little casing for a flat piece of aluminum across the nose bridge so it will snug in. I cut a piece of matching fabric about 4 1/2″ long and about 1″ wide. I turned in one short end and stitched down this seam allowance. Then I finger-folded the raw edges under on the other short side and one long side.

I aligned the long-raw-edge side with the raw edge of the lining piece, centering it and placing it at the top of the lining. To finish, I top-stitched it down on two sides, then made the mask as the video indicates. That last long raw edge will be caught into the seam.

I bought some of these “nose wires.” Funny name. I used this elastic cording, threading it through the little casings on either side (watch the video). I cut each piece 9″ and then threaded it through and knotted it.

I didn’t want the little tip on her pattern, so I just folded it under when cutting. It looks cute, for sure, but I wanted to make the nose strip casing, and it wouldn’t work with this.

You can see me modeling my mask on Instagram.

Yep. I’m no Lady Gaga in the mask department, but I’ll bet she doesn’t wear hers to the grocery store, either!

This and That • August 2020

I’m teaching another live-online class today, and placed the Criss-Cross Christmas on the design wall, then layered on the Criss-Cross Autumn, and when I started making colorful blocks for another version, up they went too! I like the look of them all together, but they really will be three separate quilts.

Here’s the final version of Criss-Cross Autumn, a bit more vibrant than what’s in the mash-up image. For the binding, I kept it simple: I sewed together the leftover strips, and used a simple single-fold binding approach.

I drew out some design ideas on a picture of my quilt with the photo lightened up, so I could sort of see what might work. There’s a lot going on in this quilt, and I didn’t want the quilt to overpower it.

I loved the idea from Linda of Flourishing Palms, where she mentioned she was including “Made during the Covid-19 Pandemic” onto her labels (or similar wording). So I added it to this one, too.

Speaking of labels, I finally finished the label for this one (my version of My Small World from Jen Kingwell), and got it sewn on. Obviously you can see that it took a hit during covid time–didn’t the earth sort of stop still in March? I finished this by the end of January, went to QuiltCon in February, came home and started buying truckloads of groceries, preparing for the pandemic, and just now got the label sewn on.

I’ve also been listening to this while sewing: I have Bette to blame as she recommended it, and I can hardly wait to keep listening.

I just finished The Authenticity Project, and can recommend it if you need a med-light read with interesting characters. It’s also set in London, which means we Americans get to hear a British accent while listening.

I happened on to this talk, presented by the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and really enjoyed seeing Ms. Montgomery’s swing coats. There are other Textile Talks to listen to, if you are interested.

I finished up my Gridster Bee block, a free download, and Linda asked us to use cool colors and low volumes, and leave the four quarters unsewn. This was fun to do!

Moving right along with This and That, we first did the front of this puzzle (the Falling Water house by Frank Lloyd Wright), then tackled doing the reverse. We did okay on the center part, then floundered with all the blues. So I started flipping them over, grouping them by colors, and then flipping them back. We just have to DO the puzzle, right? There are no rules as to how you get it done, right?

New project, using Jennifer Sampou’s SKY fabrics. Luscious. Coming soon.

The above two images go together: the brown smoky skyline, which is not a beautiful sunset, but a layer of smoke drift from California fires, coupled with the line-up of temperatures coming our way. I’m not leaving the house on Tuesday.

The the following three images are linked: a countdown clock for the U.S. Elections, a visually interesting and textural image of Kamala Harris, and a Trump cartoon from 2018, which popped up in my Instagram feed today, strangely prescient for this year’s election.

from here
from 2018, from here

Brendan Loper, the artist, writes “Strangely enough this toon was featured in Russia Today comparing it to a soviet political cartoon about western voting practices.”

Lastly, this is where I’ll be today. I laughed when I saw this. This might be partly true for my Zoom-trunk shows; I usually put up a quilt behind me, blocking the view. When I Zoom-teach in my sewing room, however, everything has to be spic and span, because so much can be seen.

A big thank you to all who wrote such lovely descriptions of their gardens, their terrain and what they see around them on my last post. My husband and I took turns pointing out our favorites (which turned out to be ALL of them), and it was like a lovely armchair travel through all your backyards. Sigh. If only I could come and visit you all…I would!

Right now, my tomatoes are hanging on for dear life, and with the 111 temps coming this next week, I’ll have pre-cooked tomatoes to harvest (yes, we even tried putting cupcake wrappers to protect them–this last week we moved their pots into partial shade). Everything’s getting browner: the sky, the hills, the garden, and every day I see air quality advisories warning me that it’s probably not good to go outside and try to inhale the muddy-colored atmosphere. Our summer is like an East Coast winter: we stay inside, keep the A/C at a comfortable-but-not-too-cool level, and sew our brains out.

picture from the 1918 pandemic

I’ll be working on the project with the SKY fabric, prepping up another live-online class, and waiting for the “bers” in the calendar to arrive: September, October, November and December. I actually thought about Christmas today. This year has been so totally and completely crazy, I wondered if I would jinx the season of Let’s Be Jolly by even thinking about it.

So, let’s just keep going, putting right sides together and stitching memories into our quilts.

Repeat/Augment

Repeat/Augment
Quilt #230
47 1/2″ square

For some reason this morning, the fog cleared, the brain snapped to, I thought: “You have got to finish something today!” And so I did.

A low-energy-COVIDistraction-day back in May got me started on the quilting, although the quilt top itself was begun back in August 2019, in another galaxy far away from our lives now.

Shots from my backyard, in nearly 100 degree heat. We are both wilting, the quilt and I.

Why is it called Repeat/Augment? Because you’ve seen this City Streets pattern once before, in this quilt.

I decided it was Very Serious, all that gridwork in the quilting.

So I went natural this time, in as many places as I could. And used Tula Pink fabric in really saturated tones with curvy-swervy designs. Yes, definitely more playful.

The label is coming, but here’s the mock-up.
Without the pink things sticking out everywhere.
(I was having fun with my Affinity Designer software.)

Our lives, now, unless you live in one of those places that is like the wild, wild west and has released you from Stay-At-Home. In our neck of the woods, it’s not yet, so it kind of freaks me out if I go outside and see people not wearing masks.

Hey, around here, even the quarters have them on!

Which reminds me, I need to cut out some more masks. My friend’s granddaughters are making holiday-themed masks (not shown here, but there are some fun types) and after the most recent news from Those Who Know, looks like the granddaughters were on to something. If you are keeping track, here’s my most recent favorite map, from Johns Hopkins. (I put it here so I can find it again.)

Last happy news is that my hair stylist has re-opened for the first time since March, so on Saturday I will get a real haircut. Not the kind where you set the mirror up on the barbeque, and try to cut your hair yourself. I am a little afraid of what he’s going to say when he sees the hatchet job that is living on top of my head. All I’ve got to say, it’s a good thing I’ve been in Stay-at-Home mode.

Happy Quilting!

Some Thoughts on Our Nation’s Milestone

COVID-19 Map_ May 24_2020

For several months, I’ve awoken every morning, and looked at this map.  I remember when not every state had COVID-19, I remember when New York started spiking, I remember when we started our stay-at-home time some two months ago.

I was aware that we were coming closer to the milestone of 100,000 deaths during this pandemic, and I thought about all I’d read about the Spanish Flu when I was in graduate school and wrote a short story about a dancer and her young soldier who went off to war and never came home, felled by the influenza that ravaged the world in 1918.

But how would I choose to depict our losses in our pandemic?

Kentucky Death Quilt

from here

I’d seen death quilts, with little coffins neatly stitched, tucked away in their little graveyard or around the edges of quilt.  Or would I want to depict them as Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae did, in his poem Flanders Fields?In Flanders fields the poppies

 

But this past Sunday morning, I saw this:

COVID-19_NYTimes1

I read the article online, scrolling through the humanizing choice that this paper had made, to give a person’s name and a salient, interesting fact about them from their published obituary.

COVID-19_NYTimes2COVID-19_NYTimes3COVID-19_NYTimes4

At first it was just numbing, then I noticed this: a quilter.  I began to look for other quilters.

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I found several.

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And on one page, I found not only a quilter, but a “collector of people, laughter and good stories.”  It made me wonder: what one line would I want people to remember about me?  I found several intriguing qualities, and I reflected briefly on that person, especially the one who was “Faithful in corresponding through cards and handwritten notes.”  A woman after my own heart.

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I loved Patricia Yanni’s quality: “Wasn’t afraid to try new things.”  So often we look to people’s achievements, that they were this important person, or grandmother to twenty-five, or CEO of a Big Corporation, but wouldn’t you rather be known as someone who wasn’t afraid to try new things?  I would.

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I’d like to be known as someone who gets things done.

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Someone who had a life-long passion for learning.

I circled the second one (in red) because now this was in my hometown, a hospital where I had gone for a surgery several years ago.  Rosa could have been someone who cleaned my room, made my bed.  I will think this week on all those lives that have been taken too soon.

COVID-19_NYTimes10b

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I will remember the quilters.

Sawtoothmania2

Returned Samples

Samples Returned

I didn’t want to open the envelope when these teaching samples came back, even though I’d been expecting them.  The Guild Program Chair wrote me a lovely note telling me they’d never had to cancel a speaker before, and they were sorry.

I cried.

outer shell virus trojan horse

How do I write a blog post about what’s going on under the surface for those of us who love going out and teaching and meeting new groups (groups of 50+!) and hanging out with quilters and celebrating what they make in their classes?

When Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle of Modern Quilt Studio, in a newsletter, said that they’d canceled all classes and Guild visits until there is a vaccine, I knew that what I initially thought of a just-a-few-weeks experience was now going to be at least a year, if not two or three.

I think it’s been slowly dawning on most of us — as we stay carefully put, doing our “i-sew-lation” sewing, doing our best to be cheerful — that a creeping sadness is all around us.  It’s not only the horrific amount of deaths from Coivd-19 or the stories of those on the front lines in the hospitals or that we share memes incessantly, trying hard not to be sucked under. That creeping sadness some call grief (and that may be what it is), interrupts creativity, joy, connection, and a host of other daily living patterns.

Urge to create is gone cartoon

One morning’s walk this week, I dissolved in tears as my husband discussed all the formal steps we would have to take for possible retirement: forms to be signed, Zoom calls, separation from his job and mountains of research and careful planning. It wasn’t that we aren’t prepared or ready for this new shift in our lives.  I was just jealous that he had forms to be signed, Zoom calls and mountains of careful planning.

I cried because all of sudden, doing what I loved was gone, and for the foreseeable future–it would remain out of reach.  There were no forms to be signed.  Just a lonely envelope in the mail from a most kind fellow quilter.

So many tears for such a little crisis, I thought.  I immediately shifted into Counting the Blessings Mode, as that’s my usual.  I have a wonderful home to shelter in, a sufficiently stocked sewing room, a kind and loving husband who works hard to understand me, sufficient steady income, a large family of brothers and sisters and parents and children and grandchildren and a wide expanse of friends, both in person and digital.

But it’s just hard to retire when you weren’t expecting to, when you’d found what you really loved to do.  I don’t know how long it will be until I can greet quilting friends again in person.  No one knows. But we’ll all just keep going, keep trying to count our blessings, keep working to bridge that not-in-person gap that we all face.  Some days I do fine at this.

And other days an envelope makes me stop and have a good cry.

Happy Box.jpg

I’ll be in my Sewing Room — my particular version of a Happy Box — if you need me.

tiny nine patches

QuiltCon 2021.png

This came in my emailbox yesterday.  Given what I wrote about above, I’m not surprised.  I’m glad that the Modern Quilt Guild is being proactive on solving the problems that might exist in our new covid-centric world.

And as far as my teaching goes, I am in contact with my future quilt guild gigs, seeing what their plans are, if they will be holding events.  If you have questions, and have already booked with me, please get in contact to discuss.  Things change quickly.

tiny nine patches

The illlustration of the virus above is:

“A rendering of the outer shell of an adeno-associated virus with the exterior partially removed. The shell is used as a Trojan horse to deliver a genetic component of the coronavirus to raise an immune response. Credit: Eric Zinn and Luk H. Vandenberghe”

I thought the illustration beautiful.