While many of us are homebound, we are fortunate to have more time to quilt and – stashes to work from! Who knew how truly wonderful our stashes were. We don’t ever need to feel guilty about them again ?!
I know that many of you have been making masks for our heroes on the front lines of this pandemic. The face mask project I was blessed to be a part of has collected and distributed over 4300 masks thanks to so many of you. We have recently been made aware of a shortage of scrub caps and are now accepting them also. For a simple video pattern please click here and visit our site. Also, if you or someone you know wears an elastic mask and it’s bothersome to your ears, please read on – I’ve discovered a simple “face mask wearing hack” and I’m sharing it at the end of this post.
Besides making masks (and doing jigsaw puzzles), I’ve been working on a number of other projects. After receiving an email from Betty – I decided on this week’s theme. This was her image and message:
“Chris you’ve inspired me! I have sunbonnet sue blocks that my mother embroidered and hankies that I took when we went through everything after she passed away 3+ years ago. Your posts about the hankies led me to put them together. I will even back them with a thin bed cover that my grandmother had. It will be priceless to me. My question for you is, how do I emphasize the embroidered parts with quilting? I feel like the dainty sunbonnet sues are lost in the rest of the color, even though I love the colors and hankies. I have attached a photo of the blocks on my design wall.”
What a joy to be a small part of this delightful memory quilt! It was fun coming up with quilting ideas and this was my response:
“When quilting the quilt it might help to emphasize the Sunbonnet Sues by echo quilting around them. This would be easiest to do free-motion by machine or by hand. The heavy quilting will cause them to come forward while the background goes back. This echoing could fill the entire block, causing the hankies to “go back” too. If you prefer straight line machine quilting, The outside edge of each block could be “echoed” inward, avoiding quilting through each Sue, to again cause her to pop.
After sending these suggestions I had another, so I emailed her once more:
“If you quilted “columns” of a design (perhaps a cable) vertically through the hankie triangles, leaving the Sue columns unquilted, that could make the Sues stand out, and add interest to the quilt.”
Then I put the photo she sent me into Photoshop™, added the column lines, and filled them in with a design I found in the computer program, to help visualize this idea. I’m aware this design is ugly and not what Betty would quilt, but quilting in those strips with a cable or filler design might work well.
Betty told me she’d let me know what she decides, and I’ll be sure to share it with you..
So here are some of the projects I’ve been working on:
While on our Sew We Go cruise from Quebec to Boston I purchased pre-cut wool circles (known as “pennies”), a piece of black background, and matching perle cotton in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I had no idea what I would do with them.
I began blanket stitching some of the small circles atop the larger ones after the trip. Then I put them in a pretty little bag and haven’t thought about them since. At the beginning of our time of isolation I pulled them out, decided on a nice arrangement, and created a candle mat.
It’s backed with a homespun plaid (once again – hooray for the stash!) – and I love it!
Another project that I’ve been actively working on was inspired by my trip to Japan. There were quite a few quilts in the International Quilt Festival that had intricately pieced backgrounds mainly in blue, and I found them very intriguing. Here are a few examples:
In February I started creating my own blue background for a future Japan memory quilt. I even inserted the sashiko sample I had stitched before the trip. It used up a lot of the dark blues in my stash, and I threw a bunch of other bits in there for fun.
My plan was to take the pieces I made in our classes in Japan, along with a few of my purchases while there, and scatter them over this background. It was great fun to figure out how to add all those special pieces to the top and I now have it complete and ready for quilting, but I can’t share it yet. I hope you’re curious and I apologize for teasing you in this way, but I added three elements to the quilt top to make it acceptable for a challenge being held by my Fiberistas group. These quilts are not supposed to be “revealed” until May, so I can’t show it until then. Stay tuned – I think it will be worth it ?.
Once that top was done I didn’t feel ready to quilt it (has that ever happened to you?), so I looked through my pile of UFOs and found some pieces I had been working on at my guild’s retreat in March (the weekend before the big shut down). These blocks were inspired by my friend Mary Ellen. Mary Ellen used to live in Wisconsin, but now resides in Indiana. A few years ago she invited me to teach for her guild there. One of the classes I taught was Mariner’s Compass. She had taken that class previously and showed me something original she’d done with my technique – she drafted 60° compasses. I was intrigued and drafted a few of my own, then paper pieced three of them at the retreat.
I’ve recently been drafting and stitching more. I love the spikey variety that can be achieved in drafting these beautiful stars:
And now they’re ready to be made into a tree skirt. That should keep me busy for a while. Thanks Mary Ellen!
The Mask Hack!
My Dad wears hearing aids and the elastic type mask didn’t work for him. Besides that, I found mine to be very uncomfortable around my ears. So I came up with a hack that works quite well:
I loop an elastic hairband through each side elastic piece on the mask,
then I loop a third hairband through one of the first bands, and I hold the 2 band ends together with a safety pin.
It isn’t pretty, but it stretches over my head easily, and it’s much more comfortable.
Stay safe, and comfortable everyone!