Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Face Mask Invasion - Part 2

Now it is time to make the side casings for the ties or elastic.

Make sure your nose wire is already inserted, Once the side casing is added there is no open access to the nose wire casing.

I cut two casing piece. For the women’s 2 x 4 3/4-inches. Men’s, 2 x 5 1/4-inches. I finger pressed a scant 1/4-inch over the 2-inch edge. Wrong side of fabric facing up, right side against the table top.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Face Mask Invasion - Part 1

Please Note: I finally found a guinea pig/neighbor to try on the men's mask and it just didn't fit well. It didn't rest high enough on the top of his nose and men really have a harder time adjusting to ties. 
I realized my ponytail was extremely instrumental in holding my mask in place. 

Like many with the skill of sewing...my studio has been hijacked by mask production.

I am not making the simple, three pleat mask that first responders have asked sewers in communities to provide...I'm not a great stack and wack sewer...I get hung up on making any and everything pretty. I understand the great need for this single use mask and applaud those who have been making dozens of them.

But I figured at some point all people would be asked to wear masks so I started researching options on the internet and this is what I have chosen to make for my family and friends.

I didn't have the capability to make a video so I did a lot of photos showing my construction methods.

 I found three videos on YouTube that led me the choice I made.

I would start with a video by a Quilter who is also a nurse. Lots of great information.

Second is a video by a Minnesota quilter with a lot of construction techniques that I adopted.

Last is a video by a quilter who generously offers a free mask pattern in for sizes through her store front,  Sew Much More. This is the pattern I used and I definitely recommend changing your default printing options to "Actual Size" instead of  "Fit to Page Size." Yes...I made that mistake on my prototype.

A look at the finished mask without my head in the way. 

I have very little elastic in my stash so I was happy to hear the ties are more comfortable than elastic around the ears. The style of mask I made can be converted to the elastic option that loops behind ears...if you have any of the precious elastic.

I also just happen to have about 2 yards of lightweight fusible interfacing in my stash...good thing I never got around to making all those cute tops in rayon batik!

But most importantly...the preferred fabric...BATIK...is in abundance in my studio. See...it really was a great idea to buy the closeout sale yardage and make the trip to Bali for batik that was selling for $2.00 a yard.

Okay...lets get started!

I made two copies of the pattern I was using...one to cut out for the front and back fabrics. The second pattern copy I trimmed off the seam allowance and used it to cut out the interfacing pieces. If  you have interfacing in your stash you realize why I did that.

What if you don't have any interfacing? I don't have a great answer for that...just make it without it. I don't know that the interfacing does much more than add a little more shape to the mask. (In other words...the interfacing doesn't stop the Corona virus.

The mottled dark pink is my interior fabric. Because of the mask's curved shape I took the advice from one of the videos to sew a 3/8-inch seam on the outside curve for the interior piece while the outside piece and all other seams are 1/4-inch. This larger seam on the interior piece will alleviate bulk as the fabric curves to the inside. Below I stitched the original 1/4-inch seam and then did a second stitch 1/8-inch deeper on the dark pink interior pieces.

You need to clip curved seams or use pinking shears. Pinking shears are definitely quicker.

From the front side, I finger pressed the seam to the left side and top stitched very slowly, easing the curve of the seam. Note-the seams should oppose each other when you go to stitch the front and interior sections at the top and bottom.

Below are the front and interior sections with the lovely top stitching along the curved seam.

Next you sew along the top and bottom edges, right sides together. Side seams are not stitched as the right sides of the mask will be pulled out through one of the sides. 

I used my pinking shears again along the top curved seam but only did a single clip from the edge to the seam, one layer of fabric at a time at the apex of the bottom edge. When the mask is pulled right side out there is a sharp angle and this clip allows the fabric more give to lye flat.

And here is the first magic...pull the rights sides out through one side of the mask.

I used this handy wooden pressing stick to get a smooth edge to press along the top and bottom seam.

Next, I top stitched along the top and bottom edges. On the top curve I ran into a little seam clump that my feed dogs had trouble with since I was stitching so close to the edge. A simple fix is to add a folded piece of scrap fabric right behind you last stitch...needle down, lift up the presser foot and slip the scrap fabric piece right behind your last stitch. Put the presser foot down and start stitching again...should work smoothly with no hesitation.

Stitching right off the bulky seam...

Then I added a casing about 3/8-inched wide from the edge stitching for a wire to press around the nose. 

For the women's size the casing measured 1 3/4-inches on each side of the center seam. 
Men's size I did 2 1/4-inches on each side of the center seam.

I used floral wire to make my nose shaping aid. It is 22 gage.
 For the women's mask I cut a piece 5-inches long and turned at the 1/2-inch point from each end. 
The men's is 6-inches with the same 1/2-inch turn on each end.

The wire needs to be inserted at this point and centered in the casing. I find this little piece of wire really aids in fitting the mask securely to your face. There were several other suggestions for wires in the videos I mentioned at the top of the post.

Check out Part 2 for the side casing construction.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

March Finishes for Bucilla Projects

Two lovely kits were finished in March.

Winter Santa, Bucilla kit #86935E

I love all the detail stitching on Santa's royal blue coat. 
All that stitching makes this an intermediate project.

I especially love the reindeer...

and the arctic fox.

Santa's face was pretty simple in terms of stitching.

I received a complimentary kit of Winter Santa from Plaid Bucilla as part of their ambassador program.

The next kit I finished was a set of Sparkle Snowflake ornaments.

This kit was in my extensive stash of Bucilla kits. The toughest part of constructing the ornaments was stitching them together as I stuffed them.

Both kits are currently available from several needlework kit sources.


Friday, March 13, 2020

Life Goes On...

As people-moving events become more restricted by the minute due to the Coronavirus, I am thankful most of my daily routine revolves around spending time in my studio...I am lucky!

I ran into an issue with the stitch regulator way back before Christmas on my Nolting Fun Quilter midarm. I overcame the issue by turning off the stitch regulator. After quilting two tops I finally got around to calling Nolting during hours they were open and I wasn't sleeping. (A major downside to living in Alaska.) Maybe the Daylight Savings time switch is what had be up earlier than usual so I got that call made! (The Daylight Savings switches always shakes me up twice a year for at least a week!)

It was a great relief...and a little bit embarrassing to figure out the problem is dirt. This simple little wheel pictured below needs to be cleaned. I can even see some tiny sparkles of glitter on it.

I do tend to use parts of my quilting frame as extra table space when I am not quilting. I'm sure that has a lot to do with that dirty wheel!

I'm sharing that bit of knowledge in the hopes it might help someone resolve such a simple issue.

The first three days of this week were spent taking down all my Christmas decorations. I have never kept my stuff up until March...but I think I will do it again. I still hate how bare everything looks without all the lights and garland. 

And...it turns out a couple of large drywall cracks redeveloped around two of  the picture windows in our great room. We had several large aftershocks this winter and we can expect another year of them. The garland I hang around those picture windows covered those big cracks very nicely. On the up side...I haven't found any other cracks re-emerging anywhere else in the house. 

I just want to make a brief mention about how anxious I felt this winter. I think it started with a major septic tank issue that lasted for two months. Then several good aftershocks and the anniversary of the big earthquake on Nov. 30th. We had just as many dark hours as we ever do this winter but I just didn't power through it like I usually do. We did do some traveling to warmer, sunny climates and that definitely helped. It's the first time I've struggled so much with our winter months...hoping next winter I am back to normal and getting lots of quilting done.

On to fun stuff.

With three trips out of Alaska I managed to get three cross stitch ornaments done. These are all from Mill Hill and are Jim Shore designs. These can be challenging little projects with lots of color changes in small areas. I have one Santa in the series left to make.

I'm definitely behind on my Bucilla projects for the year. I'm getting back into that grove. I'm about halfway through this stocking.

I did take a simple Bucilla kit on a trip and got it started. Like quilting...it's always nice to have an easier project to pull out if lots of fancy embroidery work gets you bogged down on another project.

I am trying to stay on-task with the quilted stocking I started. I have the front and back sections basted for some hand quilting. I was planning to start the quilting tomorrow at a quilting session that meets at a senior center but with the Coronavirus warnings the session was cancelled. Totally understandable since it is held at a senior center with varying levels of health concerns for residents without new stuff hitting them.

And finally...a little look at life in Alaska 

Yep...a note that says "Moose," on my deck door. 

My husband had called to tell me minutes after he left the house that a moose was laying in our yard, right by the driveway...but a few minutes later I got distracted and when the dogs rang their monkey bells on the deck door I let them outside. 

They ran around the corner of the house and found this guy.

There was another moose in the woods behind him. 

There was a lot of barking and after much screaming on my part, both dogs finally came back in the house. I immediately wrote the pink sticky note so I wouldn't make that mistake again!

This same moose was in the yard yesterday evening and my male dog, Logan, tried to chase the moose through snow that is two feet deep. The moose charged him and since the moose has longer legs he was making ground on Logan when my dog finally cleared the deep snow and hit the driveway.  

Later this afternoon, both moose left for other parts of the mountain. They will probably be back all too soon.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Snow = Quilting

We needed some more snow and we got it! The dogs were very happy! 

We got 22-inches in a 24-hour period. It made for some wavy deck rails.

We got about an inch of snow every hour during the storm. I stayed home and worked on getting the binding done for the Christmas Presents quilt. One of the plowed berms along our driveway worked well for a quick outdoor picture. No yellow snow in this vicinity. 

This is a fat quarter pattern. It takes 30 fat quarters, 10 on each colorway. You stack the fat quarters and cut the present shapes using a freezer paper template...then rotate the fabrics, sew and trim to size. Really a fun quilt to make. 

I bought this kit from a local quilt store...many years ago...and gifted it to my quilting mother-in-law. She gifted it back to me two years ago which was perfect.  I had actually bought extra fabric for the border when I gave it as a gift...the original pattern is border-less.

Most of the fabrics are metallic. I was so jazzed to find the perfect backing that was creamy with gold metallic. The low light photo shows all that scrumptious quilting. I am not quick...and I did struggle with ideas for quilting. I am always thrilled when ideas make it from my head to the quilt successfully.

I broke some "quilting rules," and didn't match my bobbin thread to the top thread color. I wanted cream thread on the back side for all the stitching. I sacrificed a few places where the cream bobbin thread shows through in the red and green fabrics...I did switch my top thread to match the fabric in the blocks.

Really...I should use my best Pirate-voice and say it was "quilting guidelines," I chose to ignore. I am really not a rule breaker.

If you are interested in this pattern the official name is, "#229 Shopping's Done! Gifts Wrapped!" The designer is Sandy Gervais from her company, Pieces from my Heart.

I also need to share the projects I worked on at the last retreat. I finished making the butterfly blocks for, "Madame Butterfly," from the book, "Charm School." I used layer cakes which is perfect as you need two or three charm squares of each colorway for the individual butterfly blocks. 

I'm thinking about using my scraps for a piano key-type border. 

The next big project was a carry over from the fall retreat. I finished all 20 blocks for the pattern, "Skyfull of Stars." This is a free pattern on Moda's Bakeshop website. 

It is a lot of intense piecing but the blocks finish at an impressive 16-inches. I have made this quilt before and will add a small border to finish the stars on the outside edge. 

Not a retreat project but ongoing studio project...

 I am so proud of myself for finishing all the paper piecing and hand applique work on the motorcycle-themed stocking. I need to hand quilt the top and coordinating plain back piece. I'm sure that will take me another month! 

And I have to make the little bear to sit in the pocket, too!

I get to visit my granddaughter soon...I can't wait to see how much she has changed. My son does a wonderful job of sending me pictures of her almost everyday. I can see a little personality starting to show up in those photos.

Then when I get home I need to get my challenge quilts loaded on the quilting frame and done for the next retreat the first few days of May...eek...soon all the snow will be gone and it will be time to work in the garden. I thought the end of winter couldn't come soon enough and now I am almost in a panic that it will be ending.