COVID-19 Face Masks

Not Social Distancing

Not Social Distancing!

Our Inland Empire region of California hit print yesterday (New York Times), when speaking about the many quilters and sewists who are making facemasks:

“Sewers, we’ve always stepped up and done this thing,” said Denise Voss, the head of the Inland Empire chapter of the American Sewing Guild. “We’re made for this time. We’re happy to stay home and sew. And we all have stashes of fabric.” Her group, with about 130 members in Southern California, is making hundreds of face masks at the request of the Riverside University Health System Medical Center.” (New York Times)

Today I’m here to pass on information about face masks.  I mentioned I was going to use the mask pattern from Dora of Orange Dot Quilts, as I think it seals up higher on the cheeks and nose. I see so many mask posts on Instagram, that I’ve started a Favorites tab for them.  I’m most drawn to the stories of people who are making them, as I’m sure you are too.

Tamara, who commented on my last post, alerted me to JoAnn Fabrics’ kits for making face masks, also detailed in the publication Business Wire.  An examination about whether or not we should even be sewing face masks came across my feed; The Craft Industry Alliance article says proceed, but with caution, making sure you have a place to send/bring your facemasks in this time of social distancing.

Face Masks France

Even sewists in France are being asked to help.

Our efforts as sewists across the nation were also covered in a couple of national news outlets:

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The New York Times covered it from a more human interest viewpoint, telling the story of an army of sewists, from nearly-out-of-work costumers to those who have chosen to set aside their regular work to make masks:

“But the D.I.Y. pieces — generally stitched together with a few layers of cotton, elastic straps and, on ambitious designs, a flexible bridge over the nose — offer at least some protection. “Better than nothing” has become a popular phrase in the tight-knit sewing community. Some doctors are wearing the homemade fabrics over surgical or N95 masks, trying to prolong the coveted masks’ limited life spans. Other masks are being handed out at health clinics and nursing homes.

“It frees up the surgical masks for the people who are the highest risk,” said Dr. Nicole Seminara, a doctor at NYU Langone Health who is volunteering in the coronavirus ward. Dr. Seminara started a social media campaign, Masks4Medicine, to solicit homemade masks from the public.

“Are they effective like an N95? No,” she said. “We’re not claiming they are. If we had all the N95s in the world, it would be wonderful. But there’s a shortage right now.”

Face Masks

Source: New York Times

The Huffington Post covered Face Masks For Personal Use, and Face Masks For Medical Use, listing sources and quoting experts.

Generally it seems to be that we can make masks for those who don’t have direct contact with patients, perhaps front office workers who still could use the masks — thereby saving the short-in-supply N95 masks for critical care use.

One last thing: please write to your senator/congressman as well, telling them how you feel about the fact that we are tasked with providing masks for critical care usage.  While we all are happy to do our part — as we have generous hearts — I’m sure we’d prefer that our nurses and doctors on the front line are well-protected as our nation struggles through this horrifying disease.

UPDATED NEWS ARTICLES/SOURCES:

Face Mask Vermeer

One of many COVID-19 memes on Instagram

Below is a little graphic I found while browsing IG.  I have no source on it, but it looks believable and makes me feel better about our efforts.  While it does say that fabric masks do not filter viruses, they may offer some protection against the droplets that carry the viruses (according to other sources).

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I saw one video where the maker cut up a HEPA filter to use in the mask.  I have no info on that one!  I’ve also seen people suggest lining them with coffee filters, nonwoven interfacing and used dryer sheets.  That last one sounds pretty dubious, however I do like this one:

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Kidding!  But looking at all the humorous memes has helped my mood a lot (my daughter posts a ton of them), as did all your very kind letters from the last post.  I still seem to be distracted a lot, and my mood goes up and down too much, but in hearing from other friends I realize I am not alone.  Finally, my sympathies go out to those who all of a sudden have children home.  Here’s a meme for you:

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Carry on, quilters.  You are awesome!

Temperature Quilt Top • January 2020

One-thousand-ninety-five triangles along with six rectangles make up the face of this heat map quilt, cataloging the temperatures and rainfall of Riverside, California in 2019.  I have no plans to make another, but I was pretty proud of myself for keeping up with this, faltering only in my crazybusy November to December (finishing those two months in the first few days of January — which is why I couldn’t get the holiday decorations down until January 7th).

temp colors and chart

Of the four numbers at the top of the fabric square, the color numbers are the three numbers written on the right side. The first number is for cataloging.

Here is the original Temperature Quilt Key, for those on IG who keep asking for it (it lives here, on the blog); it was first published early in the year, outlinging my intents and purposes.

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The un-adorned face of the quilt, today in my sewing room.

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I’m thinking of a narrow border before I begin to add other blocks around this quilt, to make it a bit larger.

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I embroidered the temps on the corresponding triangles in my Temperature Quilt Key.

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I have a lot of triangles leftover, so I thought I’d sew them together, fit them into a pattern, somehow, and sew them on the outside.Seoul Korea Triangle Doorway

I guess I have in mind the doorway we saw in Seoul, triangles everywhere.

ESE with 4 grands Dec 2020

Thought I’d flash up here a photo of me with four of my amazing granddaughters.  I have two more, just as far away.  They make me look young.

North Country Quilt with Dani

Danielle agreed to help me lay out the interior of my North Country Patchwork Quilt.  I finished all the interior pieces; now on to the rings.

MySmallWorldJan_1

While this shows just the sky quilted, I have now finished the quilting on My Small World.  I’m still looking for a good title for this quilt, but My Small World is such a great shorthand.  I’m determined to have it finished by Road to California, as I’m in two different classes taught by Jen Kingwell, who created this quilt.  Yep, I want her to sign a label.  Which means I have to get the binding on, then make the label.

Circe book

Finished this, too, just about the time I finished up the quilting.  I could listen to narrator on this audio book read the phone directory, she’s that good, but the novel is wonderful by itself.

 

It’s that New Year Stuff

When I’m deep in the tired mind blahs, mindlessly wandering through my Feedly list can sometimes yield nuggets that flash in my brain and perk me up.  I follow Zen Habits, and this week Leo Babauta’s words plonked into my brain with a spark.

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Apparently even Tarot cards are aware of this brain-fog issue.

What caught my eye was How to Have More Focused Hours in Your Day.  I see a lot of these change-your-life-in-the-new-year articles.  After having lived a few years on this planet, I usually just ignore their advice, but I did like this:

[Any] success I’ve had in increasing my focused time comes down to three habits:
•  Asking myself what meaningful, impactful work I can get done today.
•  Creating space for the meaningful work instead of just doing busywork or being distracted all day.
•  Working in fullscreen mode and diving in.

So I was interested to see that he and I have the first thing in common. I’ve used something similar for years: after I’ve ditzed around for part of the day, I ask myself “What do you want to have done before you quit working today?” and after identifying that ONE thing, I get to work on it.  It’s cured a lot of procrastination issues when I use it.

He expands by noting that “Most of us just dive into our inboxes, social media, favorite online sites, and busywork to start our day. We might have some bigger tasks on our lists, but they get lost in the woods of our day. It’s an incredible habit to take even a few moments at the beginning of your day (or the end of the day before) to give some thought to where you’d like to concentrate your attention. What is worth doing today? What is worth focusing on? What is worth spending the limited time you have in this life?” [italics are mine]

He approaches the second idea — of creating space — in a more roundabout way.  It’s almost like we have to trick ourselves.  He says “Set aside the next 20 minutes for writing, or getting moving on a big project. I don’t have to do the whole project in this time, but just the act of giving myself more space to focus is a huge shift. This is more of a mental act than a physical one: you just tell yourself that it’s time to focus on this important task. You breathe, and say, ‘This is worthy of my attention and effort right now. Let’s put aside everything else and give this some space.’ “January 2020 Messy RoomBut it’s also hard to get going when your sewing space looks like this.

Notice the chair is clear.  I can still do some work.  That’s what he means of working in the third idea, fullscreen mode: ignore everything else around the edges, and just focus in.  I used to only be able to work in a very clean, very tidy sewing room.  But I got over that.  I still like to clean it up, and did leave it sort of clean when we went up to Utah to help Mom and Dad clear out their condo of 30 years, in preparation for moving to a senior community, but I brought back various sewing things, a small Viking sewing machine THAT WAS MADE IN SWEDEN (I know, I know!) and I just plopped them around.

I spent three days quilting My Small World, and now it’s ready for borders.  I need to put a slim border around my Temperature Quilt before I move forward, and just like that…I am making a list in my mind about what I want to do first.

It’s also helped that the busyness that has been present in my life since — say, about September — culminated with our First Monday Sew Day this past week (pictures, above).  It’s quite gratifying to see Hayley, a beginning quilter, turn out such pristinely perfect pinwheels (lower left corner).  She’s only been sewing for about a month, and puts me to shame!

Here’s our flier from that day, where we covered snowball blocks and half-square triangles:

FirstMonday Jan2020 Sample

For the handout, click on this title: FirstMondaySewday_Jan6_2020

Pattern HSH underconstruction

Still working on revising Home, Sweet, Home–there are lots of new illustrations to make — as I will be teaching this a lot this year and want a shiny new version to take with me when I visit Guilds.  I also began new duties as VP of Communications for our local Modern Quilt Guild, and have my first board meeting next week.  I’m impressed with all the service I hear that you give to your Guilds and wanted to do the same.

Thank you notes 2020.jpg

Finally, I always begin the new year by writing my thank you notes.  These, from Quiltfolk, were perfect.  I hope you all have good beginnings to your new year!

Christmas Gifts

Since all the recipients of my handmade Christmas gifts have received — and opened — their presents, I can now share what I made for my four children. Gifts for adult children and their families can be challenging. Sometimes we’ve given money so they can share an experience, sometimes we’ve purchased gifts for the whole family  — spending hours in the toy aisle at Target — but sadly, most of the grandchildren want something from the toy aisle at Amazon these days.  Other years we’ve given a beautiful Christmas picture book.

This year, we went this way.

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I had leftover bits from my Criss-Cross Christmas quilt, but had to search to find more fabric to make what I wanted, then used an entirely different line for the backing and binding.  When these lines sell out, they are gone gone gone.

I started these in April (in process photos, above) and finished, quilted, and bound them in November and mailed them before Thanksgiving so the families could use them in their decorating (if they wished).  I unpicked the upside-down animals, righting them (as seen in the left photo).

CrissCrossChristmas_front

Christmas Criss-Cross, quilt #219

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We were at my daughter’s for Thanksgiving, and I snapped this quilt, casually tossed on her bed.  I thought it looked great.  I hope to get photos of what the other families are doing with their table toppers/bed accents/wall hangings/whatever.

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We finished up our 2019 Gridster Bee by making these hot air balloon blocks, free from Woodbury Way.  They are for Afton, who lives in an area known for their hot air balloon festivals, so it’s a fitting block for her (although she may just really like them, I haven’t asked).  I was supposed to do Block 4, but things just kind of morphed  into something else once I got going.

Road to California Sign D19

Finally, in other happy news, this is a photo of me dropping off three quilts that were accepted to the upcoming Road to California Quilt Show.

We have quite a group that will meet up there, with Lisa bringing friends from Utah, Carol coming all the way from Boston, Kelley from Palm Springs, and the locals (Simone, Leisa, Laurel and I).  It will be a gathering, of sorts, for a few members of the Gridster Bee!  We generally meet upstairs for lunch, overlooking the gallery of hanging quilts.  This year I’ll have a quilt in that gallery as well, as our Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild has been selected to provide those quilts.  I’ll have more news about all of this when it gets closer to Road, which will be held January 20-26, 2020.

I have one more Christmasy post on Christmas Day, so until then, keep your spirits Merry and Bright while finishing up the shopping, baking and gathering.  And if you are having a solo holiday experience this year, I wish you lots of good music, great take-out, and quality sewing time.

My Small World Top • flimsy finish

mysmallworld2019_final full top

It’s done!  I decided to forge with ahead My Small World because basically, nothing else in my life was getting done with that mess in the sewing room, and I wanted to be finished with this project, the Third Hard Quilt of 2019. Here, in my backyard studio, I’m showing the finished flimsy of My Small World, a pattern by Jen Kingwell.  I made some changes here and there, but it’s basically her pattern.  Began in 2014, I was nudged to completion by a new Instagram Quilt-a-long #mysmallworldsewcial, where many others are still working.  Let’s take each of the last two sections, one at a time:

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One late night I was thrilled to discover an Eiffel Tower in one of my fabrics.  I love the embroidery others had done, but it wasn’t for me.

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I took the hexie bubble with me to Guatemala last week, and stitched it up while chatting with my sister/BIL (who we went to visit) and on the plane home.  I brought home some illness, courtesey of the Chicken Bus airplane we flew home (kidding, it was a regular airplane but there were a lot of people sneezing, coughing, etc).

I made a teeny video of our visit to the bus depot in Antigua, where we saw a lot of Chicken Busses, so nicknamed because they can carry everything, including live chickens.  If I could have figured out how to add a chicken bus to this quilt, I would have; I fell in love with them, as well as Guatemala.

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I also fussy-cut a unicorn (just under the top rainbow, but everyone on IG called it a horse–his little white horn is hard to see).

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Underneath the arches and hexie-bubble are bigger blocks of fabric, as I figured I was going to cut them out from behind the two structures at the end, and why waste all that piecing?  I cut out the fabric from behind the rainbow (shown above) and the spikey arch and hexie-bubble:

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Those arches were a grind, but I did them.  I included other tips and tricks in this post.

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Section six was a relief to get to, after those arches.

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I liked the two blue silos, but they were a bit stark, so I added signs to them: a sewing chicken and the word Quilt.

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I changed the order of the bottom row of patches around, and I just couldn’t face another eight teeny flying geese, so I did a square-in-a-square with fussy-cut horses, since this is the farm section.

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I sewed those two sections together, then stitched it to the other part of the quilt I’d already completed.

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Yes, I’m pretty happy to be at this point.  My friend Laurel added a border to hers and I’m considering that, too.

My To-Do list of items is lengthy, all being held hostage by this quilt.  Now I need to go and clean up my sewing room, vacuum, clean some bathrooms, and try to find the extra furnace filter in the garage, as well as maybe take a nap. But I’m done!!!