Friday, April 10, 2020

Stitch Medicine

On the design wall today is a major quilting accomplishment.

Frolic meets Unity
This is the top left corner of Frolic, all trimmed and stay stitched along the edge. There are a lot of bias seams, so the stitching helps to keep the edge from stretching and becoming wavy.
This section has 4 full blocks, 4 half blocks, 15 sashing units, and 1 quarter block. It's so much sewing, but I absolutely love it! I love every minute of working on it and that is what I need right now. 

I am sewing the Unity blocks in between as leader/ender pieces. Round #2 is cut from these stash fabrics. Apparently green is entering the quilt in this round... perhaps because I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring! I am ready to sew quilt blocks over this glorious 3 day, "stay in the quilt studio and sew" weekend. 

Quilting brings me joy, and joy is medicine, so I'll take a big bucket full please! Although joy is not usually the theme for Good Friday and more appropriate for Easter Sunday, this year I need to go right to the theme of hope, resurrection, renewal and new life, as this past month has felt like a very long extended Good Friday if you know what I mean! 
Wishing some medicinal JOY for all of us... take a dose of some quilty medicine, and be safe and well!

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Keeping it real!

My sewing adventures over the past couple of weeks have really reinforced how I am a quilter through and through. I am not a garment maker. I can only make 1 thing, and that is quilts.

 medical cap pattern pieces
I find it so stressful to make masks and gowns and medical caps, but I feel I must try to help others in my family and in the community. But seriously I hate every minute of that sewing. It's intense for me.

And even once I learn the process of making a new item, I still dislike it, and the whole time I'm doing it, the quilter part of my brain is yelling "I just want to make a quilt"!

What even it this?!?!
Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts made a cap and gave us the link for the instructions and pattern. I knew my sister would like one (or several) as she works in a COVID unit and her ears are raw from the masks. I thought this cap might be a solution to that problem with buttons on the sides to hang the mask on (instead of her ears).

Uh oh... I don't think this hole should be here!
I watched the video several times, followed the steps one at a time even though they didn't make any sense at all, rewatched some sections of the video a couple of times, tried again, nothing matched up, pulled, tugged, swore a lot, and somehow managed to make a hole where there shouldn't be one.
UGH I really can't stand it!
The entire time I feel stressed, and worried about my family and everyone, and I'm angry that professionals don't have the supplies they need to safely do their jobs. It feels like everything that is wrong in the world right now is in my sewing room.

Ta Da! 
I set specific times on my schedule to do this sewing, and when the time is up I take everything out of my sewing room that is not quilt related, and I do some deep breathing and some fabric sorting until I calm down.

Ahh... that's so much better. Little squares of fabric perfectly organized and ready to make into something flat and easy to sew

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Supermoon, Frolic, and Pandemic Puzzle

Did you know that tonight is the pink supermoon, which if there is no cloud cover, will be the biggest moon we see in 2020. We have to have things to look forward to people... and this is the thing for today... looking forward to sitting outside in the dark with my winter coat on looking at the sky. 

In the quilt studio, Frolic is on the design wall. I sew parts for it everyday and it just seems to go on and on. See how it's so big that it doesn't fit on the design wall and is actually pinned on the right side to a mini quilt hanging on the wall!??

Storytime by White Mountain
And I finished my third 1,000 piece pandemic puzzle! Because sometimes I'm just too tired to even sew, which is totally a pandemic response. This puzzle is made by White Mountain. On their website it says that they are currently overwhelmed with puzzle orders... seems lots of folks are enjoying this relaxing hobby.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Unity Quiltalong

Of course I had to join in the Bonnie Hunter COVID19 mystery quiltalong
step #1 blocks
I just couldn't miss out on any of that fun! The plan was to use up some civil war reproduction stash for this project, but when I got them ready to cut, they were just too dull looking. I needed some brighter, cheerier fabrics. 

Unity centre
This is what I ended up with for the centre of this medallion mystery using small pieces from my stash...
a Kaffe Fassett yellow paperweight, some blue butterflies, a raspberry red, random neutrals.
Each section going forward will be made from whatever fabrics strike my fancy from the stash. So fun!

AND I also have an adorable collection of 2" bonus triangles to use at some point. I sewed a second line on all the corners of the double diamonds, and pressed and trimmed these HST blocks as I was sewing. Please tell me you would never throw all this wonderfulness in the trash?!?

And here is my mystery friend's Unity centre... totally different colours and same fun design. Later on today I hope to post another version that another friend is making. It's so interesting to see all the variations of the same design.

Linking up to Small Quilts and then I'm popping over to Quiltville to see what we're doing for step #2.

Here is another version by one of mystery quilting friends. It's so cool how the quilts are similar and yet different... kind of like humans in general!

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching! 
At this time of global pandemic, what else can we do but stay home and work on some creative projects?! One of my friends said she was "built for social isolation" and has enough projects to keep her happily busy until it's over... whenever that will be.

Introverts Check on your Extroverts they are not okay - Coronavirus Quarantine MemesI on the other hand, am having a bit of difficulty with it. While I am soooo very thankful that I don't have any loved ones who are sick, and every day that we stay out of hospital is a gift, I really do miss being with family and friends. I am a social butterfly, renewed by the energy, conversation and company of other people, and I am not finding visits by computer to be as helpful as the real thing. 
And yet... still work hard everyday to feel grateful!

I am trying very hard to not make excuses for outings and stay home. Wow it's hard. If you need a reminder, click here and enjoy this little rant by Rick Mercer (one of my favourite Canadian comedians). Thanks for the reminder Rick! Love the analogy of setting your house on fire...and your neighbours' house. It's particularly concerning that we can have the virus, and be asymptomatic, yet still unknowingly spreading it. 

Even though I really feel like I need to walk in the forest or by the river, if we all did that, it would be the perfect way to pick up a little coronavirus. Okay, I'll enjoy a photo of the river instead. Although it's not the same, I will stay home, make some soup, and get out my stitching. I need my loved ones to be alive more than I need anything else.

My obsession with soup making continues this week and for some unknown reason, this activity brings me a sense of comfort. 
I know it's odd, but everyday I want to make a new kind of soup, so I'm going with the flow. I have made broccoli, 
roasted garlic cauliflower, and squash soup so far... 3 separate soups, not all of those flavours in one batch!
Although I usually don't use a recipe, I did try a new one yesterday... thai carrot soup. It's an odd combination of tastes, and definitely not my favourite, but the recipe is here if you want to give it a try. 

Life is Short!
And in between soup making, I finished my embroidered tea towel (for Christmas gift giving). As you can see I made a colour error when I was stitching and didn't realize it until I took the photo. The stitches under the letter 'O' in SHORT are actually the bottom of the bowl (not part of the banner) and should have been stitched with pink thread. Oh well, too late now! I have already moved on to towel #2.

I am using iron-on patterns from a collection called Stitcher's Revolution and thought the saying "Just roll with it" seemed appropriate for a pandemic project! Looks like I got the pattern from Mary Maxim for $4.29.  See how these towels (also from Mary Maxim) have a tab for hanging? I put the embroidery design at the other end of the towel so that when it's hanging to dry, you can still see the design.

I love these iron-on patterns (vs. tracing out the entire design by hand). I measure the centre of the towel, and then put the transfer about 3" above the bottom of the towel. If it's hanging from the stove handle, it will be perfectly centred to enjoy the stitching.

So that's what I am hand stitching as I learn to roll with a different lifestyle. How are you managing with the Corona virus restrictions? 
Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching progress with us.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Blue Saturday

Light blue is the colour of the month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

I think we're all feeling a little blue these days, but it did cheer me up to make these cute Shoo Fly blocks blocks.

The little whale blocks were from a fabric I was using to make masks (pattern here) for my daughter. 
I didn't have any elastic, so I cut some of her hair elastics in half and used those to hook around the ears. It's pretty snug and it's hard to breathe under the mask. I guess that's a good thing so the virus can't be spread if you have it (and maybe don't know it because you're asymptomatic) and you probably won't touch your face when you're wearing it.
I'll pick some fabrics that are a little more subdued for the next ones. I thought a marine biologist might like a whale swimming across her face, but when I see how it looks, I'm pretty sure she'll hate it!
Linking up to Rainbow Scrap Challenge at Angela's.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Pandemic Themed Quilt

From: The Week
Of course all creative people are going to create art that reflects our experience of this global pandemic. It's just what we do and we can't help it! I have especially being enjoying the political cartoons lately.

For me, this creative coping process has focused on a cute little pig block (pattern by Kelli) that I made on National Pig Day. I worked on a farm for 5 summers while putting myself through university (see a photo of me as pig wrangler here) and I know pigs.

Baby pigs are vicious as they compete with their litter mates for milk. They are driven by instinct to be "me first" and will stand on the necks of their litter mates to be first in line to feed. We often had to remove the runts of the litters to rescue them from the vicious behaviour of their siblings.

From: Winnipeg Free Press
I was reminded of this while watching some people's greedy, selfish, hoarding behaviour during the pandemic, which allows them to be fully stocked for 20 years to come, while other people go without. So of course I wanted to make a quilt about it. 

I decided to sew some words to add to my lovely pig block - "TAKE (only) WHAT YOU NEED". That is the takeaway lesson that I have been meditating on ... only take what is essential for you and your family... from the grocery store, and from the planet in general.

I haven't sewn letters for a long time so my brain enjoyed the challenge of remembering how to do this. I referred back to my book by Tonya Ricucci called Word Play Quilts. This is an out of print book but one of my classic reference books. You can get an ebook version from Martingale or you might find a used copy of the book for over $100!

It took a while but eventually my brain kicked into gear and I managed to get a good start on the letters. I'm working with 1" strips and aiming for 3" high letters to fit the size of the pig block.The seam ripper is an essential tool when sewing letters. See how the T isn't right? And the angle on the A might need to be changed since it's too wide. Although since taking more than you need is the theme of the quilt, I might leave it that way!

Are you feeling inspired to make a Pandemic quilt? It's a wonderful way to work things out in your own brain... a meditative protest perhaps?