My Quilt Guild got a 3rd request for 1000 more masks (3000 total) from a local chicken processing plant. In order to keep the workers safe, the company purchased fabric from 2 local quilt shops, who were more than happy to sell it and make kits for people to pick up, cut, stitch and return as soon as possible.

I coordinated a pick up and brought 8 kits home yesterday for local distribution. Friends came by and picked them up in a bin I set up in my carport.

This project has flannel and cotton fabric for 6×9 masks.  Two yards were for ties, one yard for the front of the mask in quilters cotton, and one yard of flannel for inside of the mask (4 yards for 28 masks).  When I picked up the kits, Nancy, the owner of the quilt shop,  Church Street Fabrics, Selbyville DE  , and I had a chat about making all those ties and methods that would make them go faster.  We also chatted about how she did her mask vs Jenny Doan’s method.  Church Street owner, Nancy, said STITCH the pleats down BEFORE you put the ties on.  See Mod 1.   Kudo’s to Nancy for that modification!

Now, I would much rather make the masks on the embroidery machine using the pattern from Creative Appliques,  but for this request, 6×9 masks, pleated with ties, were requested, using the “Jenny Doan / Missouri Star Quilt Company” style.

Modifications – Creative Appliques had a “PLEATING TEMPLATE” they show you how to use on You Tube. 

If you go to the Creative Appliques website, you can download the machine embroidery pattern (free but donation requested) and the Pleating Template is part of the pattern.

Pleating template

I have made over 30 of these masks using the embroidery pattern.

Creative Applique masks

I was VERY familiar with the pleating template by Creative Applique,  and decided to use it to pleat the “Jenny Doan style” were were being asked to make.

Chain piecing makes sittching the sides of the mask go quickly.

Ready to chain piece.


TIES – phew….I don’t have (or can’t find) the right size bias tape maker and I hate burning my fingers.  There are COUNTLESS ways to eat this elephant, but I saw a method on Making ties without an iron video last week and thought “GENIUS”.  Great concept except I have to enclose the top and bottom of the mask in the fold of the bias tape.  SO….look at my 3rd modification.

So; three modifications from Jenny’s method.

MOD 1 (Credit to Nancy) – Do your pleats BEFORE you put the ties on, that way you don’t have to fight the ties.  Use the method in MOD 2 to get PERFECT pleats.

Quick, even pleats

MOD 2 (Credit to that great Pleating Template at Creative Appliques.) – Once you have your front and back sewn together and you take it to the iron, press your seam, turn right side out, press again, then use the LINE C FOLD on the pleating guide to make your pleats; using steam & wonder clips.

Ready to pleat

Using the pleating template

Press while still on the pleating template

Ready to stitch

Again, chain piecing makes this part go very fast!

Set up to chain piece those pleats

MOD 3 – TIES —  (Credit to a DIY video from Lemon Mint Studio in link above) –After multiple trials,  I altered the card stock to work for me as follows —

  • 2″ ties  – cut card stock 2″ x 8 “.   Mark in at 1” down the length of the card stock, score and fold
  • Mark in at 3/8″ down the length of the card stock, score and fold.Bias tape template
  • Lay our 2″ strips right side toward the cardstock, and fold the edges over catching the edge of your strip in the folds of the card stock.

Lay end of strip on top of cardstock template

  • Fold in the top

Fold the top of the cardstock over

  • Fold up the bottom

Fold the bottom of the card stock in toward center

  • Use the tip of the iron to push against the card stock pushing it toward your other hand which is guiding the pieces into the folds of the card stock template.

Press and push with the tip of the iron

  • This can be a little fussy, but you just hold the left hand taught and keep the fabric lined up as you push the cardstock with the iron to the left.

Edges folded toward center of the strip

  • In the time it takes to type this sentence you are nearly to the end. Don’t be afraid to put your iron right on the card stock as you get to the end and have no tail left to hold on to.
  • Turn your finished strip back to the right, and fold that template cardstock in half on the center line and use your iron again.

Fold Strip in half using template

  • You may find that you can’t really “push” the cardstock, as it is a little tight, so give it a slight pull with your left hand, drawing it the length of your strip while you press.

Press and pull the template away from the tip of the iron

  • In less than two minutes, you have your strip done.

Ties are finished

  • Find the center of your tie and pin in the center of the mask, encasing the opening.  Use pins or clips.

Find the center and pin or clip in place

Stitch from the end of the tie, and across the top of the mask, removing clips or pins before they get to your needle, and to the other end of the tie.  Repeat for the bottom tie.

Before you know it you will have a big stack done!!

Half way done

What are you working on?  Any secrets to faster sewing?


Happy New Year

Hoping you had as lovely a New Year as I did!

(special note – this post has LOTS of links that take you out of WordPress – be sure to “right click” and open in a new tab or window)

My hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary New Years Eve by going out to an early dinner and then to the movies. We have never been to the movies together, so it was a new event!  I love going out to the movies and we had a lovely time. We saw Saving Mr. Banks.  Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks starred in the movie produced by Disney & BBC.  ( ) I just want to say; if you grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and remember Mary Poppins as a child, you will be very surprised by the story behind the film.  This was a lovely film, and worth your time and money to go and see it.   I might actually get my hubby out to the theater again, since he now qualifies for the “senior” discount!  (He would much rather wait and see something at home on the television…but I love to go out!)

December was a busy time for me, getting the shopping and wrapping and shipping taken care of for Christmas. My husband belongs to a Model Railroad Club that has their annual Open House over 4 weekends, beginning in November and running through the upcoming weekend. It means two full days out of the house each weekend, on his only days off; and of course, I was drafted years ago to “greet” visitors and “sell” raffle tickets at the front door.  If you are in the Mid Atlantic area, be sure and come out for an afternoon of train watching!  Check out or on Facebook –  We had a visitor at the club this weekend that put up some great photo’s too on Facebook –

Meanwhile in December, I took a fast trip to Nevada to help my baby sister for a week as she recovered from a total knee replacement. Don’t get me started about health insurance and them releasing her home alone after 1 week in hospital/rehab!! Poor dear is suffering from infections (3 so far) and can’t get back to work for at least another month. We had a wonderful time visiting in between all the pain and agony the poor dear was incurring.

While I was there, I made a visit to her local quilt shop – Fiddlesticks Quilt Shop – .  They are located in the historic district of Boulder City Nevada in what was originally the hardware store.  I chatted with the very pleasant owner, who help me gather some things for ‘hand work’ while I traveled. I came away with a “scrap pack” of 5″ squares and some 1″ English Paper piecing Hexi’s. A quick trip down the street to the local Ace Hardware resulted in a package of scissors, and I was all set to commence building hexi’s.  I cut the 5″ squares into quarters, and got busy.  I had taken a small kit with me; thread, needles but no scissors due to airline rules. I learned that you can cut thread with the cutter on your DENTAL FLOSS container!  I had a fun time stitching in the evenings while she slept and on the flights home too. Apparently straight pins ARE allowed on the planes.

Hexis from 5" squares

Hexis from 5″ squares

Mad about Hexi'smy flower got a little lost with so many patterns



Now that I have all these hexi’s; and paper to make more, what shall I do with them????  I was looking for some “solid” patterns to build in and around the ones I have already made so the flower “shows”.   I cut some solid red and blue scraps to surround the 10 flowers I built.  I really should find a pattern, but I am just having fun stitching in the evening by hand while I watch TV with the hubby.  (Secret is to prepare your 2.5″ squares of fabric ahead of time. ) Using up the scraps~!!~

Well…NEW Projects –( really; that is why you read my blog….I know…the rest is just my need to chatter about dribble)

I took one hexi “flower” and appliqued it to a larger piece of fabric and then turned it into a pin cushion.  I had read on Bonnie Hunter’s blog about filling with crushed English Walnut shells, so that required a trip to the local Pet Smart. I came away with the ONLY size bag they had, nearly 14 pounds.  I think I will have enough to fill lots of pin cushion in my lifetime!  (Looking for other ideas!!)  Of course, it was a gift for Christmas, and I totally forgot to take a picture, and now it is gone!

I’ve acquired some fabric for future projects; as well as some LOVELY African Waxed Print fabric from my daughter for Christmas!


African Wax Cotton Fabric – about 5 yards in each roll of fabric; 44″ wide

I am not sure what to make with the African fabric yet, but it will come to me.  Meanwhile, it was fun to unroll and measure and refold to fit in my stacks of fabric.

If you have ever worked with this fabric, I would LOVE to hear from you! I want to know how well the dye is set; should I pre-wash, etc?


My Project list is very long!!!

Celebration project

Celebration project

My daughter wants a birthday /celebration banner & maybe table runner/place mats along with some spiral swirly decorations, and I thought this would be fun, gender neutral fabric for that project.  I’ve got some pattern ideas mulling around in my head.  Thinking about cutting out the letters for Happy Birthday and dreaming I had a fancy machine to do that with (like that new one from Brother called Scan and Cut).  I probably will use my Embroidery Machine from Brother and do my letters with it. Lots to think about there!!  (Next birthday at her house is late February, with 2 week shipping time…so I am going to put it near the top of the list)  When I saw this strip and dot coordinated fabric, I knew it was just what my daughter had in mind!

Quilt retreat project # 1 Summer in the Park/Summer at the Beach

Quilt retreat project # 1 Summer in the Park/Summer at the Beach

I originally bought this fabric for the celebration project, then came across the multi color . So, I revamped my project stacks and will use this for the retreat project.  This will make up into a very “modern” looking quilt and I just love the polka dots I chose for the back!

The Summer project pattern can be found at

and there is a video for the project from Missouri Star on You Tube –

Quilt retreat project #2 -  One block wonder fabric

Quilt retreat project # 2 – One block wonder fabric

I did one One Block Wonder in 2012, right about the time I retired.  I have Maxine Rosenthal’s books ( and the rulers, so I thought this will be some wonderful fabric.  I just hope I got the “right” repeat in my fabric.  I love the oriental fabrics, and this should make up beautifully.  Retreat is in February, so more about that later.

I just love this new Block of the Month project from Pat Sloan called Globetrotting.  It is just getting underway and you can find the info at—washington-dc.htm    I want to use my Bobbins and Bits, but haven’t wrapped my brain around how to use the few pieces of fabric I already have of that line, along with the charm packs, instead of going out and buying MORE fabric. (I know….I want to really, but I am resisting….)  It is on my “list” of just for me projects; but down at the bottom.

Bobbins and Bits

Pat Sloan Pattern - Globetrotting Block of the Month

Pat Sloan Pattern – Globetrotting Block of the Month

So; that is all the fun stuff to look at.  I have been making lists, and making stacks of fabric; and sewing in the house by hand. My sewing room could only get to 58 degrees yesterday when we had a temperature of 8. It is above the unheated garage and it just could not hold the temp with the two small heaters I had going.  Today, we just broke 33 degrees at nearly noon, so I plan to bundle up and go play for a bit.

My project lists starts with repairing my grandpuppies canvas beds; fixing their chew toys; and then starting on “memory quilt” for a friend, made from her father’s shirts.  I haven’t even unpacked that box of shirts yet to look.  Then it just goes and goes from there.  I think I am up to 17 on the list!!  (And Globetrotting is not even on the “written list” yet.  I collected a bunch of fabrics from my stash to do Bonnie Hunters Mystery Quilt Celtic Solstice; but haven’t cut 1 thing. It took about 3 weeks to get the specialty rulers so I will add that to my list as well.

I’m having fun starting things for the new year, and still have a bunch to finish from last year!  I guess that is the nature of the hobby! My resolution this year is to CLEAN UP as I go – a bit better than last year!

Happy stitching!