The Twist – A Scrap Dance Mystery -My Reveal

Last Friday (May 15) the  Scrap Dance Twist – The reveal was posted on the From My Carolina Home blog.  I have to tell you, I was expecting all those half square triangles we made in a previous step to turn into star points, so I was VERY excited to see the TWIST blocks!  Go over and take a look at the link above, but don’t forget to come back~!~

When I did Step 6 of the Scrap Dance Twist, making some wonderful 9 patches with my 4 patches and back ground fabrics, I put them up on my design wall, as there were so many, and they were now “too big” for the box.  I studied on them for 4 or 5 days and KNEW I had to take them apart and change out one of my white fabrics.  Honestly, WHAT was I thinking using that particular white fabric that was SO thin.  Honestly, how did that get in my stash…??????   Well…anyway….in the last couple of days, before I went on to Step 7 – The Reveal, I decided to rip out all those pieces.  I think what put me “over the edge” was the post Carole had done on Quilt Repair by hand.  She was repairing a vintage quilt that really had some horribly worn fabrics.  Reading that post convinced me to get rid of the inferior fabric!  Honestly….it was plain white, but was just not nice. I didn’t want my quilt shredding because of poor fabric.  Out came the seam ripper, and I spent an evening watching movies and taking out those pieces. Then I dug into my big tote of white fabrics and cut a big stack of replacement squares, and put the “Block A’ back together.  All but about 6 blocks had the crummy fabric, so you can imagine there was a lot of taking apart etc.  It wasn’t as bad as you might expect and in the course of a couple of afternoon’s work I had all my A blocks reassembled and I was ready to move on to Step 7!

As soon as I opened my box of remaining “parts” I discovered the big stack of background fabrics that also had some of that “inferior” white fabric.  I removed it all, and dug back into my giant bin of white fabric, cut some more background pieces from several different pieces, and got busy making the “B” block”.  Carole calls it the FOOTPRINT block!    My 28 “B” blocks went together nicely, and after clearing room on my design wall, I got all 56 blocks (A&B) up on the wall.  (Note; my design wall is a queen size flannel sheet, pinned to the wall with giant push pins.  I use pins to hold my blocks on the sheet, but only pin to the sheet, not the wall.)

TWIST - king size

There are a few blocks to move around, as suggested by Carole in her post.  I have some darker “center” squares and I want to balance them out a little bit more, as well as move some of the pieces that have the same prints a bit further away.  Scrappy can get tricky that way, and I could spend days moving things around.  I played with the photo on Google photos a bit, and with Flickr too.  I like to look at the blocks in black and white (B&W) to see if the darkness jumps out at me in any way.  I do find it helpful and will be using the B&W below as I start to move things around a bit.

Black and white twist

Looking at the blocks on the design wall in a photo doesn’t really let you see much of the prints that were used.  I took some pictures of my fabric pull earlier in the year, so this might help you see more clearly how very scrappy the pieces are.

Fun with  4.5inch squares

Those blocks in the above photo were the centers for all the 9 patch blocks in A & B.

Below are the fabrics I used for the little 4 patches in Block A.

5 inch squares

I have to say this pattern has been fun to work on, as are all of the mystery quilts that Carole designs.  I’ve enjoyed seeing what is happening on the Friends of From My Carolina Home Blog Facebook group.  If you are following Carole’s blog, consider joining the Facebook group.  You would be amazed at all the different background fabric choices people have made, and color choices for their blocks.  I always say mine is “all scrappy all the time”, but I do admit to cutting yardage for the background fabrics.

So, next up is moving blocks around to please me, then assembling the rows.  I was asked in the group if I would put borders on, and if so, what.  My plan will be a narrow white border to start with, then I will dig in my stash to come up with an outer border of some sort. Fingers crossed I won’t leave this one on a hanger to “ferment” while I agonize over those borders! That is where I always seem to get “stuck”.  The layout should be 84×96 before borders, so I have to play with the quilt-math, and decide how big I want to go.  I just bought some wide backing but don’t remember if it was 108 or 90 wide, and that will be important when it comes time to add those borders.

I’m really happy that Carole moved this project along to the “every two week” point with the clues.  If you haven’t done so yet, go download them from her blog. It won’t be long before the free pattern goes away and gets published for sale.

Are you doing the “TWIST” too?  How’s your progress?

Bits and pieces and more masks

Last week was a struggle to have any fun. I had “two emergency” visits to the dentist and another set for today.  Seems an old woman with an old root canal and crown must say goodbye to the tooth instead of getting it repaired. Getting in to the dentist, endodontist and the  oral surgeon are all tricky escapades during the global pandemic of Covid-19. The bright side is that once the antibiotics started to work, I could reduce all the pain relief medications; but it did take through the weekend.  Slowed me down on having fun.

I was able to do a little stitch out on a couple of dish towels, one for each daughter.

Home in Delaware

The towel above was fun to do. I’ve found that the secret to doing applique on the embroidery machine is using Wonder under or Heat n’ Bond light on the back of the fabric before you place it. Then when you trim after the tack down stitch you get a nicer cut. That said, I should have used some water soluble stabilizer on top of the towel before the applique. It would have made close trimming easier, without fighting with the nap of the towel.  I chose this design for my daughter who moved “home” to Delaware recently, after moving around the country and world for the last 12 years with the US Military.  (Years ago, while in Texas, she and I were shopping and saw “TEXAS” state towels and discussed how they were made and could be done for every state, and if they would be “marketable” .  When I saw this design I scooped it up!)

Heather's towel

This towel, for my youngest daughter, was a LONG stitch out. Over 30,000 stitches, and I forgot to take a photo before I gifted it. My daughter was sweet to send me a picture back for the blog.  This towel has more of a woven weave and I had to use a LOT of tear away stabilizer, plus water soluble on top.  I have a couple of “oops” moments and can see them in the picture, one being an orange thread dangling above the back wheel, and one being a “skip” of stitches on the front wheel.  Why is it you don’t see those things until after it comes out of the hoop??? Snipping the loose thread can be done now, but fixing that front wheel is never going to happen. You can only hope the rider doesn’t feel the bump in the road! (Oh, and don’t get me started on the beak of the bird…..it’s not there….).  Anyway, both towels were fun to do and I tried to pick a design that suited each daughter. My youngest daughter loves to ride, and her “cruiser” is orange and white.  Both embroidery designs came from Oh My Crafty Supplies

In the midst of my dental emergency, I was committed to pick up kits from the local quilt shop for another batch of masks.  This batch was quilters cotton and batik fabric with ELASTIC !! YAY, no ties. No flannel.  So, I picked them up on Wednesday and was able to hand them off on Sunday afternoon.  My friend Pam offered to deliver this batch to the local hospital.

Batik for masks

I told my hubby that this batik looked like a virus. When I cut these I layered the two fabrics  right sides together and made short work of matching pieces together.  I thought I was being efficient.  After doing the first one, I changed my method a bit.  I marked a dot where the elastic was to go on all the pieces, and tack stitched the elastic in place. I did this rather than trying to pin in place and hope it didn’t wiggle out while I was stitching the two pieces of fabric together with the elastic inside. It was taking a lot of time to “pin” the elastic and fabric.  So, marking the placement gave me consistent placement of the elastic, and I could just “hold” the elastic in place while I tacked it down on the edges of the mask.

More masks production

Once the elastic was managed it was easy to put the fabric pieces right sides together and just sew around the edges, leaving a gap for turning.
I used my pleating template and clips again and lots of steam to pleat the masks.  The walking foot is the best foot for me when top stitching to secure the pleats.

28 completed masks

Did you know with careful cutting you can get 28 masks out of 2 yards of fabric? (These are cut 6×9″) I was happy the quilt shop was able to provide elastic.

I just got an order in on Monday of some nice soft elastic and used it for masks for my son-in-law. He has to go daily out for his work, all day wearing a mask, and I made him 4 new masks yesterday. I much prefer making the masks on the embroidery machine using the Creative Appliques pattern . I was able to get 4 mask “fronts” and ear flaps from one fat quarter, and using two other batik fat quarters the pieces for the inside. I tried to “mix up” the insides a bit when I assembled so he could distinguish from one to another, though they look similar.

Creative Appliques style mask size large

I have a bunch more mask parts cut out and pre-pleated and ready to stitch out.  I took a break though and made some “ear saver mask extenders” using another pattern from Creative Appliques.

Extenders

I used black vinyl on top and black felt on the bottom with medium tear away for stabilizer. The idea here is to keep the elastic off the ears which can be a problem for wearing for long periods of time. I used 9″ elastic and knotted it into a loop.  The loop goes into the mask flaps and gets snapped into the extender.  The Creative Appliques pattern is a fast stitch out.  A couple of weeks ago I tried another pattern and it was way more stitches than necessary, but pretty!  The tan ones were the original ones I made and I used buttons and snaps.  (Of course I sewed the buttons on using my sewing machine.  The tan ones are only about 4″ long, and the black ones from Creative Appliques are 7″. They come in a variety of lengths at C.A., the pattern gives you lots to choose from.

various extenders

Of course, I had to “test drive” the mask with extender. 

Creative applique mask

The good thing about a mask is it hides all the wrinkles, and you can blame the mask for COVID-19 bad hair! 

I really like this mask because it fits close on the nose with a wire, and the part I called ear flaps (where the elastic goes through) hold it close to the sides of your face. Because of the shape it is a much nicer fit.  Making them on the embroidery machine uses a lot of stabilizer, but I have said before how I manage that with the “windowing technique” I use.  If I was more efficient I could probably “mass produce” them like I did the ones for the hospital, but I am only doing this style for “special requests” as they take me longer, but give you a better mask.   Creative Appliques sells this style pattern for the home sewing machine also.Creative Appliques sewing machine mask pattern

I’ve seen masks for sale all over the place from $8 to $15 or more.  I don’t think I could “earn a living” making them.  I might make some to sell to help recover the expense of all the elastic, twill tape, stabilizer I have used in the last 2 months.  Are you selling masks?  What style?  How much?

Senior Quilt 2020 (A peak)

Every year I coordinate a project for my church which involves making quilts for our graduating high school seniors.

I started my quilting journey in 2008 when the Pastor handed me a ziplock bag full of 8.5″ squares, gave me some basic instructions and sent me on my way. (I was NOT a quilter, and had only “bound” quilted panels with the help of You Tube and Google).

One thing led to another and at the end of that Spring, I had made 5 quilt tops, and learned to layer and tie the quilts too.  Then Pastor John retired and I was asked to coordinate for the coming year.

Thankfully, with the guidance of an experienced quilter, Kristin S.,  I learned all about cutting and chain piecing and much much more.  My first official quilt shop class didn’t come until 4 years later.

Over the years we have made a lot of those “senior quilts” with a team of willing volunteers.  One year we had as many as 15 students graduating.  The next year, I took a year “off” from coordinating and Kristin stepped up to manage everything that year. (Burnt out?  Probably).  Sometimes you need a new perspective, and new energy and new leadership.

This year, is quite different, with just ONE senior.  When I gathered together with my quilt making volunteers in February, we had a great time selecting fabric from “accumulated stash”.  One church member had donated her entire sewing room of fabric and we had a lot to choose from.  A feature fabric was chosen, and the quilters chose companion fabrics, picked out two blocks that they wanted to make.  This was the first year we didn’t do a basic 8.5″ block for our quilt.  One graduate, and lots of sewers, and big ideas.  A little work on EQ8 and we had a pattern.  (I was tickled to get to use those skills I learned in my January class).

Fabric selection

More fabric choices

In the process of working with the fabrics, I discovered that one of the colors was bleeding all over my ironing table as I was steaming the fabric. I stopped what I was doing, took the strips into the kitchen and soaked them in Retayne and rinsed them clear.

Bleeding blue

I was thankful I had a small bottle of Retayne that came in January with an order, and was amazed how it worked. The picture above is just after I put the strips in a glass bowl of warm water.  The picture below is after the recommended soaking time and after I rinsed with clear water.  I threw a color catcher in the bowl for “good luck”.

After the soaking

Thankfully they were only strips, not pieced into the blocks with the white fabric adjacent.  Did you know that your salad spinner is a great place to wash and “spin” pre-cuts and small pieces like fat quarters.  This experience has made me a big believer in pre-washing.  I put the larger piece of yardage in the washer and did a similar process with the Retayne too.

We got together two more times to cut and sew as a group.   And, as anyone who has ever worked on a group project, sometimes there are other problems.  Working with the “same 1/4” can cause construction challenges, so I made sure to mark with tape and a seam guide everyone’s machine. Several people worked on making half square triangles and others cut various fabric units.   Our feature fabric got cut the wrong size for the pattern and in desperation to replace it, I went in a frantic search online. I finally found it for sale on ETSY and bought all they had, just in case.  A little recutting and reconstructing, and all was well again. The “miss-cut” will get used somewhere else along the line and working together, we adapted and overcame the challenge.

Quilters working at Reformation

Then in mid March, the concern about COVID-19 stopped us from meeting and sewing together. Our last group sewing day was a very productive day.  Luckily most of the blocks were either finished or near completion.  I finished up the last few blocks and one willing quilter took the blocks, and a photo of the layout, and put the top together.  Thanks to Judy M.G. for that big job! She did that in between making masks for the local nursing home and her family, while waiting on the outcome of her own COVID-19 test results. (Negative thank goodness!)

 

When I got the assembled top back from Judy M.G.,  I added the borders, the embroidery blocks and photo of the church.  Using our best “social distancing (across the width of three banquet tables), two of us got together in the empty church fellowship hall to layer and tie the quilt.

Tying the Senior Quilt 2020

Usually we have 4 or 5 people doing this, and can tie a quilt in an hour, but in order to “be safe” we had to limit how many and stay on “opposite” sides of the banquet table.  It took the two of us nearly 3 hours.  But, we got it done!

I brought it back home, and did some machine quilting on the borders to anchor them, trimmed the quilt and got the binding on.

Big wide white borders

The quilt is ready, 2 weeks ahead of my “scheduled deadline”.  (Yes, that is Susie’s Magic Binding that I always do, completely by machine!)

verses on the quilt

There are 3 verses on the quilt this year. Again, we only had one quilt to make, and thought this would make it extra special.  This students parents picked the verses back in January.  Many thanks to Designs by JuJu embroidery company for their wonderful ministry , making these digitized verses available for free.

And now, we have to wait again.  Ordinarily it would have been out in church on Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday and the remaining Sunday’s in April for the members of the congregation to sign and write messages of love and inspiration. Just as soon as we are able to gather again for services, we will have the quilt out to have the members sign.  I hope they fill those big wide white borders with wonderful messages.

Our time line has turned upside down, but we are going to make certain our one graduate knows how special she is and that she is loved by her church family.

Presentation normally would have happened in mid May, but that timeline is a bit fractured too.  Our Pastor will work with the family and determine an appropriate time to present the quilt.

The service where this is done is always very moving.  Parents wrap the quilt around the shoulders of the student, just like they did when they were young. Prayers are said asking God to guide the young graduate in the coming years, and to help them know that the church family is always with them as they go off to college and start new lives.  The quilt has a photo on it of the church, and the parents picked a verse that they felt was important to be remembered. It is our hope that the student will always feel wrapped in the loving arms of Christ, and when they may need a boost of faith, they can wrap up in the quilt which is covered in prayer and messages of inspiration.  Many prayers get sent heavenward during the creation of the quilt, and I always want the graduate to know that their church wraps them in God’s love as they go onward in life.

Once our graduate has a chance to see the quilt I will post more photo’s so you can really see it.  The quilters who have gathered together every year to work on this ministry vary from year to year and new quilters have joined in this year. All together there was Judy M.G.; Judy S., Kristin S., MaryLu W., Karolyn H., and Lydia P. and myself working on this project.  It was fun to do something very different than any quilt we had done in previous years.

Do you do a special project or have a tradition at your church for graduates to honor them as they move ahead in life?

A little bit of fun with the Twist and Vintage Christmas Quilt along

I took some time off from “mask making” to work on some fun projects.

I am doing the Scrap Dance Twist Mystery Quilt on the From My Carolina Home blog.  It has switched from a once a month clue to every other week.  Step 6 came out recently and I put the bits and pieces together to form  Block A.

Another angle Scrap Dance Twist

The units are now too big for my project box, so I left them on the design wall while I wait on Step 7 next Friday , May 15th.   There are still lots of things in the project box, so it will be interesting to see what comes of the half square triangles and the other pieces.

Another bit I have worked on is the Vintage Christmas Quilt Along

This is a once a month quilt along on the From My Carolina home blog.  Two blocks each month.  The April blocks were the Ornament Block and the Twinkle Lights block.

Ornament block - Vintage Christmas Quilt

Twinkle lights Vintage Quilt by Lori Holt

These blocks had LOTS of pieces.

Lots of pieces

(The Vintage Ornament block before assembly )

backside of the bulbs

(Backside of the Twinkle Lights block).

So now, I have eight blocks (12″) ready

8 blocks done

and we have 4 to go on the quilt along.  I have everything cut and labeled for the next 4, and I am considering adding in some other blocks from the Lori Holt book too. I look forward to seeing how Carole decides to set her quilt.  I used 3 different background fabrics to add to the “scrappy look”.  If you have been following along, you know that this is 99% vintage fabric.

Have you worked on anything fun lately?

Windowing stabilizer, The Twist and more

I’ve been doing masks on my embroidery machine and was going through large amounts of tear away stabilizer. I realized I had gone thru about 20 yards of my 12″ stabilizer and I had a stack of 100 sheets of 8×8 tear away in my bin.  After doing about 20 hoopings, I had a light bulb moment!  My storage retrieval system (aka quarantine brain) suddenly remembered a video I had seen through a blog post LAST year!  Lisa Capen Quilts shared a video about windowing stabilizer when doing the same pattern over and over. Some call it “framing” the stabilizer and others called it “windowing”.  Lisa’s video was exactly what I needed to use!

I’ve been using my reposition-able hoop for the Janome 11000, called the MA hoop. It is essentially an 8″ x 12″ hoop so I can do two masks at a time.

So, now I hoop a piece of tear-away stabilizer and do the first stitch out.

Cutting table

The trick is to remove the mask “gently” from the hoop without tearing the surrounding stabilizer.  Then I replace the torn away piece with a “square of 8×8” over the top.  I use the Elmers glue stick to anchor it to the “frame” of the stabilizer remaining in the hoop.

windowing stabilizer

They don’t have to overlap, but I was too lazy to cut it perfectly and I vary the overlap. The glue stick takes a few minutes to dry, and I use the heat of my iron in the frame to speed it up. My big iron fits perfectly in the frame with room to move it around.  In my small 5×7 hoop I use my mini-iron to dry the glue.

This is what it looks like on the back of the hoop.  You can see the very first ones were rectangles, then I switched to a different pattern about the same size.  The stabilizer was starting to wear  on the left edge of the frame, so I glued on a patch!

back of the hoop

I did at least 7 set ups using this method before I ran out of Elmers Glue Stick!.  I tried liquid white glue and I had to let it dry overnight.  (Not expedient!)  I over applied and it wasn’t drying with the iron so I gave up for the night.

Creative Applique masks

The masks in the above photo are from Creative Appliques pattern https://creativeappliques.com/

I took a break for a few days from “in the hoop masks“, while I worked on the Community Mask Project for the local chicken processing plant. Got my 28 done for that request using the sewing machine and the information I shared about the pleating and ties – Fast Masks with Ties

28 masks completed

Can I tell you how I got excited with the things in the photo below?

PROJECTS

On the left are the directions for the mask project, and peaking out was Step 5 for the Scrap Dance Twist, which had to wait until my 28 masks were done. On the right, in the basket are two treasures!  My order of elastic arrived!  And I found another glue stick in the kitchen drawer!  (I’ve used 2 up so far windowing stabilizer, so I am pretty excited to find this one!).

I got busy with my Scrap Dance Twist Step 5 chain piecing the units for a king size quilt!  This is my FUN sewing time!

Chain piecing Step 5

The directions on Carole’s blog post From My Carolina Home – Scrap Dance Twist remind you to “try to make the units as scrappy as possible”.

Step 5 Scrap Dance Twist completed

This step went together quickly. If you haven’t started, it’s not too late. Go check out Carole’s blog and look for the Scrap Dance Twist button on the right side of her blog.

I’ve got everything back in the container, with the directions and the units, waiting for the next clue which comes out on May 1st.  If you are sewing along, be sure to go back to the blog and check for some corrections to units for a couple of the sizes.

Next up on my sewing schedule is working on the “senior quilt” for my church.  This is a group project that we started in February, and since the quarantine, it’s been a bit of a “round robin”. The group made most of the blocks in February –

Senior Quilt blocks

I finished up what didn’t get done during our group sewing and got it laid out on the design wall.

Senior Quilt on the design wall

One of the group members lives nearby and offered to assemble the quilt top.  I took pictures of the layout while it was on the design wall, and numbered the blocks /rows for her.  Once she got a break from “mask making” she assembled the top and delivered back to me. Now, it is time for me to “clear my cutting table” and do some measuring for the borders and get them sewn on.   One step at a time, but nice to be able to work on something fun.

Making masks has eaten up a lot of sewing time for many quilters, and taking a break to work on a couple of quilt projects has been fun. My sewing room is a full blown disaster (as evidenced in many of these pictures!) and some “clean up” time is also in order.

Stay well, keep stitching!

 

FAST Mask With TIES

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.  https://youtu.be/jtw8DJktzS0 

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?

Cruising plans crushed

I had been looking forward to a cruise with my favorite quilting sister in law – the One Block Wonder Woman in August to Alaska.   A quilting cruise, with 4 wonderful sea days, and two ports I have never been to, Sitka and Haines Alaska.

We were booked on the Princess Star out of San Francisco for August 21st, in an inside cabin.  We had excursions booked and paid for, our deposits in on the cruise and then the COVID-19 pandemic started hitting the world and the cruise industry.  We were not too worried because we both felt that things would be back to normal by August, even when Princess took a voluntary 60 day halt to their sailings.  I sailed out of San Francisco last summer on a 10 day trip to Alaska, and was quite looking forward to going again.  

IMG_20190824_130351507

My younger sister had 2 cruises cancelled in that 60 day window, including a much anticipated Trans-Atlantic trip to Copenhagen.

Two weeks ago, the chatter on Cruise Critic implied people were getting upgrades for the sailing, and our travel agent/quilting cruise organizer got us a wonderful balcony cabin.  We were feeling so hopeful.  We had picked out excursions in each port, had hotel reservations for the night before the cruise with the group we were traveling with, airport transfers, and much more.  

I ordered t-shirts to do some fun embroidery on for the trip, got them all washed and ready to stitch.  Suddenly, the mask making needs got into full swing, and the stack of freshly washed tshirts took a back seat.  All my fun sewing has pretty much stopped while I try to keep up with the demands for masks.

Another batch ready

Then – last week I saw the article linked below in USA Today, and I  KNEW our voyage for August was in jeopardy.    Go have a read of the article after my blog post and you will understand the sense of dread I was feeling.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2020/04/14/carnival-princess-cancel-cruises-through-june-amid-coronavirus-crisis/2991576001/

As a person with a logistics background, this article left me very concerned. How were cruise lines supposed to schedule with the crazy situation they were faced with? 

Last night I got the dreaded email, first from Princess CEO and then from the travel agent.  The Alaska cruise season for 2020 is not going to happen with my favorite cruise line.  My bright spot at the end of this crazy time has disappeared, leaving me feel so very sad.  Not just for me, and my sister in law, but for all those in the travel and hospitality industries, the people in Alaska that depend on these cruise ships coming and the families of all who depend on the person working in the travel industry.   

For myself, it feels a bit selfish to whine and carry on about a cancelled cruise when people in my state, mostly in long term care facilities, are losing their lives to COVID-19.  I am praying for the “herd immunity” to start working while the researchers and healthcare professionals try to find a  way to fight this pandemic.   I’m praying too that the Health and Human Services department in our little state can figure out why so many elderly people in our care facilities are dying. What is wrong with the workers coming in and why are they not protecting the residents who are most vulnerable?  So while I whine for a minute, I really worry for those who can’t protect themselves against the unseen virus and are being done in by the very people being paid to care for them. 

Think I will go wash my hands and make more masks in the mean time.  When this week is over, I am going to start sewing for fun again. I need some joy back.  Maybe I will go sort out that album of Alaska photos from the trip last year too……

IMG_20190824_130527184_PORTRAIT

While I do that, I can plan for 2021 I suppose.  What are you doing to muddle thru this crazy time?  

 

 

Catching up on The Twist

Many who read my blog know that I follow a blog by Carole, called From My Carolina Home  .  Carole creates fun patterns and is running a “mystery” quilt this winter/spring.  The pattern is called The Twist, A Scrap Dance Mystery.  You can find the link to the pattern on Carole’s blog above, using the buttons on the right had side of the screen.  It’s NOT too late to start. Because of the “stay at home” order many of us are complying with, Carole decided to “speed things up” on the mystery, so hurry over and get the pattern.

You might remember back in January I started with some squares (sizes in the pattern at the above blog) –

Fun with  4.5inch squares

in two different sizes –

5 inch squares

In steps 2 , 3 we did some sewing, and now I have this –(and a bunch more!)

variety of 4 patches Scrap Dance TWIST

and then came my favorite blocks to make – Step 4 had Half Square Triangles —

Squaring things up

In the picture above you see my stack to square up on the left, and the one lonely trimmed one on the right.  Using the June Tailor Perfect Half Square Quarter Square triangle ruler, I trimmed them quite easily and quickly.

Step 3 Scrap Dance Twist

Everything is “back in the box” until the next clue, on the 3rd Friday of the month! That’s April 17, and I am ready!

Steps 1-4 Twist Mystery quilt

Don’t miss out on this fun project!  Hurry over to Carole’s blog and get busy with your scraps!  She provides PDF’s that you can print and take to the sewing room for easy reference. I tuck my printed copy in the plastic bin with the project so I can keep track.   I use those handy little clips to keep units together in bunches of 10 when I need to keep track of the count.  How do you stay organized?

People are posting their finished units on the Friends of From My Carolina Home blog Facebook page too.  If you follow Carole’s blog, join in and follow on Facebook to see all the variety of fabrics people are using!

What are you doing for fun in your sewing room?

No yardage was used for this project except for background fabrics, and there are a variety of white on whites used.

 

Keeping busy at home with masks

I’ve been keeping busy at home for the last month, though I don’t feel like I have much to show for the time. We have had some Spring-like weather some days and some winter-like weather other days. A fickle time of year is early April.  I’ve adjusted to my husband’s “late night” schedule a bit, but find myself getting up close to my normal time, so I am NOT getting enough sleep.  We have been spending time nearly every evening out in the garage, upstairs in the “hobby” room. He has his end with his model railroad work desk and I have the rest of the space for my work tables, fabric, machines, etc.

It seems now that the recommendation is for “everyone” to wear some kind of covering when they are unable to “stay at home”. Our state has published guidance, but it is not as strongly worded as the CDC.  See for yourself – Delaware “Guidance” for Face Coverings .   The CDC has changed their “mind” about face coverings “CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States.  We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html )

I wondered why, early at the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, everyone didn’t opt for a mask, not knowing if they had the virus or not, and not trying to “keep” the spread down?  Honestly, you might be carrying germs to other people, so the mask would at least keep your germs to yourself.  In Asian cultures, it is common to see people wearing masks.  The reasons are often  ” social courtesy, by cough-and-cold victims seeking to avoid transmitting their germs to others, rather than healthy people looking to prevent the onset of illness.” (source -https://qz.com/299003/a-quick-history-of-why-asians-wear-surgical-masks-in-public/)  When we got the notification that 1 person in our little state tested positive, I started my mask making, long before it be “the thing”. So, here is what’s going on in my sewing room.

Honestly, I got burnt out after making more than 50, and stopped for a week.  I have given all of those away to family , friends, and to the healthcare groups that are collecting them.  I started up again this week, but on a slower pace.   Besides the pattern I shared last time, I made some for Beebe Hospital using their Beebe mask pattern.  This is a 3 layer mask, 2 cotton and 1 tshirt layer.

Beebe Healthcare Mask Pattern

Cutting the shaped mask

I liked the curved front, no pleats, and no center seam on the Beebe Healthcare mask pattern. It had a “side pocket” for insertion of a filter.  The directions are very good, and I broke down for my own brain what kind of strips to cut to speed up the cutting. The curve on the front is done with a “dart”, essentially sewing along the curve edge and trimming away the excess fabric.

The problem with this pattern is I ran out of t shirts.  I don’t want to donate something they won’t be able to use, so I moved on to making other types.

I made 10 on Thursday for a “group collection” and had to make a specific style and size for that organization. That group wanted 3 layer cotton fabric 6×9, pleated.  It made me remember right away sewing those pleats to switch to a #16/denim needle in the sewing machine and put the walking foot on.  They sew up quickly, and using my iron to “press the pleats into submission” does help.   They use

I found an In the Hoop  embroidery machine pattern for masks that I really like and I made a dozen or so that way.  Mine have ties because elastic is scare.  I’m using 1/4″ woven cotton twill tape that I found online.

The In the Hoop mask pattern I used comes from Do Dare to be Different embroidery design company.  What I liked about this designer is that they created multiple  sizes, so there is a mask size to fit everyone.  I’ve made the large, the regular and the small, which were the options when I bought the pattern last week.  Today I see there are even more sizes offered.

Mask with ties in the hoop

My method to keep the ties in place is scotch tape!  I’m also using tape to keep my machine foot from getting hung up in places where the fabric over laps – along the line of pleats . In the picture above I took the tape on the pleats off before this photo.  The next step is to lay the two back pieces on.

MA Hoop Janome 11000 8x12 TAPE

They also overlap, so in the circle area above, I used some scotch tape on both sides.  I must have taken it off before this picture, but you can see that the foot could easily jam there.  And you can see at the top of the above photo how the machine will easily stitch thru the tape.

Once I remove the mask from the hoop, I try to remove as much of the stabilizer as I can.  This pattern has a small “pocket” for the nose wire to slide in .  I slide it in BEFORE I turn the mask right side out.

Pocket for wire inside of mask

This photo shows the inside of the mask.  I used the pattern with the pleats done “in the hoop” vs “pre-pleating“.  I’m going to “try” the pre-pleated method next. Reasoning is the pleats done “in the hoop”have stitches across the face of the mask, and maybe those extra holes from the needle could be a problem. My friend Nancy switched to the “pre-pleated” method for that reason.

I am using tear away stabilizer (medium weight), and in the above photo you can see little bits of it left in the stitch line. That bit of tearaway will be on the “inside of the mask” and will not matter. (Glad I bought that big roll back in January!)

I was able to use my large adjustable hoop(MA/8×12)  on the Janome 11000 to make 2 regular/medium size in one hooping   I went into the edit function on the machine, chose the MA hoop, rotated the design on the screen, the duplicated it, and pulled it all the way to the bottom of the screen, and “dropped it” in place. The original one that I had rotated, I pulled all the way to the “top” of the screen, and it left plenty of room for both to stitch out nicely.

In the hoop MASKS

I liked doing them 2 at a time, and it helped to have a stack of fabric cut and ready to stitch.  I am using a lot of tape, as there are spots where my machine foot could get caught, pocket overlaps, nose wire holder etc. Once they come out of the hoop and the stabilizer is “torn away, I trim the seam allowance, turn the mask right sides out.  I give them a press with the iron, then go to the sewing machine.  I top stitch where the wire is located on the top of the mask to keep it from slipping out of place.

Front of mask made in the hoop

And while I have it at the sewing machine, I  go ahead and run a top stitch around the 2 sides and across the bottom.  I figure it is extra reinforcement for the twill tape ties too.

Back of mask made in the hoop

The back is done as an “envelope” style so you can easily insert a filter of your choice. Without a filter it is still 3 layers of fabric because each back piece is folded in half. I’ve been giving my friends and family  4″x 8″ pieces of “cutaway” stabilizer to use as filters. It is medium weight, non woven product and easy to wash right in the mask.  Note that the twill tape ties have been knotted tightly on the ends to stop any fraying.  Some of my knots came out when I washed a stack of mask, and I learned to “tie them tighter.”

Masks made In the Hoop

I like being able to make them in lots of colors and sizes.  I made “kid sized” for my grandchildren, medium size for the parents.  The kids are not going anywhere, but if there was an emergency, they have them ready to use.  You can see in the photo below that the large mask is just too big for me, but it fits my husband fine.

Test fitting mask size large ITH

The nice thing about ties is they fit “everyone”.

Remember, once you wear a mask, the front (outside facing the world)  is considered contaminated. I asked my friends to keep a bag in the car, and to place their mask in the bag to avoid touching the outside, then dump the mask straight into the washing machine for a HOT soapy water wash.   I tell them to remove the filter from the mask before they put the mask in the dryer.  If you are washing more than one at a time, the ties can get tangled up, so a lingerie mesh bag is helpful.

DO NOT MICROWAVE YOUR MASKS!!!!  It is a terrible fire hazard.  Fabric WILL catch on fire, and if you have a metal piece in the nose, it will create sparks.  WASH your masks.

Remember, these masks won’t stop COVID-19 , but might SLOW DOWN you exhaling germs on other people, and might slow down you inhaling other peoples exhalations

I keep looking at you-tube videos and finding other styles of masks to make, whether they are in the hoop on the embroidery machine or on the sewing machine. There are many creative people writing patterns, sharing knowledge and more.  Find something that you can work with and make a mask for yourself and for loved ones.  Just this morning I found another one done in the hoop, but it is shaped and has a different style for the back.  If you are interested check out Creative Appliques mask  .  It has several pieces as well, but I think I like the shape of it a bit better.  Each of the links I gave you has a video associated with the mask, so take some time and watch the videos before you commit to purchasing or downloading.

While I am at it, I am going to give you some unsolicited advice.  Stay home if you can avoid going out, and you won’t need to wear a mask. If you do have to get groceries, wear a mask, use your wipes to clean the handle of the cart and clean your items when you bring them home.  Keep some antibacterial wipes handy in the car to clean your hands after removing the mask and putting it in a bag. Wipe your hands, keys, steering wheel etc. If you sew or have an embroidery machine, maybe you too can make some masks for friends and family.  Use up some of that stash.  Give the masks, don’t charge people. If someone offers to pay, ask them to pay it forward somewhere else.  Try not to get burnt out making masks. You are ONE person, and you need to take care of yourself first, then your family.  I’m reading online about quilters sewing non-stop, and I know they are wanting to help others and the demands are HUGE.  Practice some self care, and practice saying no, and work on something fun “in between” to recharge your creative spirit. I am following my own advice, so besides making masks, I have started to catch up on some fun things and I will share those with you in another post soon.

Stay well, stay home, and know that this too shall end!

 

A new MYSTERY quilt – The TWIST!

January is always more fun when Carole Carter releases the “cutting” requirements for her next MYSTERY quilt.  This year; the project will run from January through August, with “clues” coming on the 3rd Friday of the month.  I love the name of this mystery…..she calls it The TWIST – Do go take a look and maybe dance along! The cutting instructions are in a PDF on Carole’s blog, From My Carolina Home – Scrap Dance Mystery 2020-The Twist

I went for the scraps of course! I had fun playing with the scrap bin and this is what I chose for my 4 1/2″ blocks –

4.5" squares pulled

I have “extras” so I may discard the ones with the white background when it comes time to do something else with the pattern.

And for the 5″ squares, I have a similar variety –

5 inch squares

It is not all floral, I threw in some tone on tone and a few geometric pieces too.

The background fabric uses a lot of material.  I started with scraps, but quickly moved into yardage to cut the number of pieces required.

Background squares 4.5 and  5

I chose white on white/cream for the  5″ and threw in a huge variety of pieces for the 4 1/2″.  Small and not so small prints on a white/cream background.   It will be interesting to see what we do with all of these pieces.

Anyone who knows me knows I cut for a king size….. I enjoy cutting; and piecing quilt tops~!~

Are you doing the “TWIST” ?  It’s not to late to start – hop over to Carole’s blog, From My Carolina Home and tell her I sent you~!!~