On Sewing Face Masks

Oh my goodness, I will never forget this year and a lot of those memories will revolve around all the face mask sewing I’ve done…and have yet to do.  It occurred to me last week, given that my kids are slated to return to school in the autumn for 2-4 days a week, depending on what school they attend, that I need to get my behind in gear in regards to mask production.  I’ve done some mathing and decided that I need to sew up fifty-two masks to comfortably outfit my family of six.

Here’s my reasoning:

#1: I’ve been out in public, wearing my mask like a good girl, and I’ve noticed that those things can get pretty damp, if not downright soggy, after 3-4 hours, so I’m going to send my kids to school with two masks each day and instruct them to swap them out at lunch.  Soggy masks are hot and make your skin itch, yuck. So, two masks for each day scheduled for on-campus learning per child = 4-8 masks per kid.

#2: I’m planning on doing a massive “mask washing” day once a week because I prize my sanity. You should wash your mask after each wearing, which means more masks because of the once-a-week laundry schedule. (Note to self: Set up a mask bucket to hold used masks in the laundry room.)

#3: We’ve had the problem of the kids forgetting to bring a mask with them when we go places and having to drive back home to get their masks, so I want a full family set of masks in each vehicle.

#4: I want a full family set of masks set up by the front door for all the reasons I can’t think of, and to serve as a replacement set for the inevitable losing of masks.

All in all, it works out to fifty-two masks, split amongst the six of us in their specific ways. Ughhhhhh.  But we had a fun time having a family fabric pull in the craft room:

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I broke down and bought the Creative Grids mask template, and it is awesome, I love it so much.  I was able to cut out all my family’s fabrics lickety-split and I’m almost done cutting out the linings when I find myself with free time.  If you’ve got lots of masks to make, it’s a good investment. (And an 18mm rotary cutter…)

Requests to sew masks for others are starting to trickle in, and I imagine that they’ll increase as we get closer to the start of school, but I’m saying no to them all until I get my family’s masks done.  I keep telling myself that that is the sane thing to do, but it still makes me sad to decline.  But it’d be terrible for me to say I’ll make them and then not get them done and those families having to scramble at the last minute to find masks for school.  I’m only one woman, and my first priority is my own family members.  It is my hope to make some extras to sell/give away later, but we’ll have to see how the rest of the summer shapes up for that aspiration.  Summer vacation with nowhere to go and most things closed is really testing my patience as a parent…sigh.  Some things you get through, and some things you just get dragged through until they’re done…

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…like sewing face masks.  😉  (Tula Pink Fairy Dust and rainbow top-stitching makes it a whole lot more fun to do, though.  Highly recommended.)

(And if I get these masks done and my school district decides to follow in San Diego’s footsteps and cancel anyway, I. will. not. be. O. K.)

Crystal Quilters Block of the Month: Sew Many Stars! Block 5: Checkerboard Star Block

CQ BOM Main

Happy July, everyone!  Yay, we made it to the point where we’ll only have a new block every month now!

This month’s block is another easy one, the Checkerboard Star:

Checkerboard Star Block EQ8

Download the instructions here: Sew Many Stars BOM Pattern_Block 5 Checkerboard Star

If you’re posting your block to Instagram, please make sure to tag it with the #crystalquiltersbom (If you’re a member of the guild) and #sewmanystarsquilt hashtags so we can find your blocks!

Happy sewing!

Crystal Quilters Block of the Month: Sew Many Stars! Block 4: Broken Dishes Star Block

CQ BOM Main

Block 4, using a Broken Dishes block for the center of the star is now available!

Crystal Quilters BOM Block 4

Download the instructions here: Sew Many Stars BOM Pattern_Block 4 Broken Dishes Star

Block 5 will be available on July 3rd, and then we’ll go to one block a month.  (Whew!)\

If you’re posting your block to Instagram, please make sure to tag it with the #crystalquiltersbom (If you’re a member of the guild) and #sewmanystarsquilt hashtags so we can find your blocks!

Happy sewing!

Crystal Quilters Block of the Month: Sew Many Stars! Block #3: Variable Star

CQ BOM Main

It’s time for our third block, the Variable Star block.

PLEASE NOTE: Because these blocks will be set on-point in the finished quilt, any fussy-cut center fabric will rotate.  I’ve pointed it out in the cutting directions in the pattern, but thought it’d be a good idea to wave a red flag in front of your faces from the beginning: You have to cut the original fussy-cut square on-point.

Crystal Quilters BOM Christmas Variable Star

Download the block pattern here:  Sew Many Stars BOM Pattern_Block 3 Variable Star

If you’re posting your block to Instagram, please make sure to tag it with the #crystalquiltersbom (If you’re a member of the guild) and #sewmanystarsquilt hashtags so we can find your blocks!

 

Happy Sewing!

Crystal Quilters Block of the Month: Sew Many Stars! Block #2: Four Star

CQ BOM Main

Welcome back for our second block, the Four Star block!  I’m introducing this block early on in the sew along so that you have time to make FIVE of them and not feel rushed.  Make them all at once or make another one with each successive block unveiling; it’s up to you!

Crystal Quilters BOM Christmas Four Star Block

 

Download the block pattern here: Sew Many Stars BOM Pattern_Block 2 Four Star

If you’re posting your block to Instagram, please make sure to tag it with #crystalquiltersbom (if you’re a member of the guild) and #sewmanystarsquilt so we can find your blocks!

Happy Sewing!

CRYSTAL QUILTERS BLOCK OF THE MONTH: SEW MANY STARS! Block #1: Sarah’s Choice

CQ BOM Main

Hello friends, and welcome to the first block of our quilt along!

Our first block is called “Sarah’s Choice”:

Sarah's Choice Block

UPDATE: There was an error in the pattern when first published.  Fabric C square should be 7 3/4″, NOT 7 1/4″.  I apologize for the typo.
Download the updated pattern here: Sew Many Stars BOM Pattern_Block 1 Sarah’s Choice

If you’re posting your block to Instagram, please make sure to tag it with #crystalquiltersbom (if you’re a member of the guild) and #sewmanystarsquilt so we can find your blocks!

Happy Sewing!

Crystal Quilters Block of the Month: Sew Many Stars! Introduction

I’m in charge of my quilt guild’s block of the month for 2020, and then the pandemic happened and we haven’t met to pass out the information, so I’m going to post it on my blog and let it go out into the world.  I put together a somewhat simple quilt for this sew along, mostly because 1.) It’s my first time being in charge of a block of the month and I figure it’s better to go a little simple your first time ’round, and 2.) This block of the month is starting a little late in the year and I wanted it to be able to end by December, so fewer blocks makes for a quicker quilt.

Behold: Sew Many Stars!

Crystal Quilters BOM Christmas

I have a sincere love for the humble Sawtooth Star block; I love its simple beauty and I love that you can practice getting technically better at a lot of piecing skills with it–flying geese, matching seams, and not cutting off your corners.  It also lends itself to a lot of creative uses because you can swap out the center square for another quilt block, which I’ve done throughout this quilt.

Crystal Quilters BOM RW&B

Because we’re getting a later start, we’ll power pack the schedule for the first little bit, which means the schedule is as follows:

End of April: Introduction (this post)
May 1: Block #1
May 15: Block #2
June 5: Block #3
June 19: Block #4
July 3: Block #5
August 7: Block #6
September 4: Block #7
October 2: Block #8
November 6: Block #9
December 4: Finishing Instructions

Crystal Quilters BOM Rainbow

I’ve mocked it up in a few different colorways, because it’s makes me happy to do that, but I’m also including an outline version, in case you want to print it off and do a little coloring of your own:

Crystal Quilters BOM Outline

This quilt will measure approximately 64.5 x 64.5 inches.

I’ll include some yardage estimates, but your particular colorway could change your specifics:

Background fabric: 2 – 2+1/4 yards
Sashing: 7/8 yard
Border and sashing squares: 3/4 – 1 yard
Assortment of prints for individual blocks

I’m looking forward to what everyone sews up!

You can keep up-to-date on the Crystal Quilters Quilt Guild on their blog, Facebook, and Instagram (new!).

 

Renaissance’s Easter Dress

 

I finished it a while back, but she wore it for our Easter church service at home, and I finally remembered to snap a couple of pictures of her.

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I’ve had this pattern earmarked for a couple of years for her.  I’d purchased some great dresses from Lands End about four years ago for Emily, and then they were handed down to Ren, and now to Rachel, and they are such a great silhouette that I started keeping an eye out for a comparable pattern somewhere out there in Sewing Land.  It appeared one day in the form of Butterick 6450–a bloused bodice with an elastic waist, short sleeves, and a swingy skirt.  It works really great for a growing girl.

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This is View C, sewn up in a cotton lawn from Miss Matatabi.  I underlined the bodice with white cotton voile for modesty, and attached the same fabric as a lining beneath the skirt.  (Note to self: Don’t mix and match underlining the bodice with a lining for the skirt in this pattern in the future–it got messy when it came to attaching the zipper versus the encased elastic waistband.  Pick one method of under/lining and go with it for both the bodice and the skirt.)  I did not do the gathering on the sleeves, and I was surprised that I ended up using the full length of the View C skirt.

The skirt is seamed down the center front and back on the bias, which is something that I’d like to avoid in the future because I want to sew up a couple iterations of this in gingham prints, but that bias seam will cause all sorts of headaches with a gingham. I know it will be easy enough to throw a different skirt onto the bodice in the future, but sigh…more thinking ahead.  It worked well enough with this abstract print, and the skirt has turned out really well and fluttery without the danger of flipping up in a wind gust, à la a circle skirt.

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Construction was easy, with no weird head-scratching moments.  I like bias binding on my edges, so I really love that bound neckline–makes me so pleased everytime I see it!  The instructions on how to hem the skirt were really good and gave a nice finish.  The zipper instructions were a mess and I ended up just hacking the stupid thing in there, but that’s just because I am missing the gene that lets me understand how to put a zipper into anything.  Good enough.

I’m planning to sew up this pattern, with a few design changes, at least two more times this year.  It’s a great dress!

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Florabelle Hexie Stripe Quilt for Blank Quilting

It’s an odd-numbered month (and an odd month, in all honesty…), which meant some fabric headed my way from Blank Quilting.  This month’s fabric collection for me was the absolutely gorgeous Florabelle collection, which is a seven piece (plus panel) collection designed by Color Pop Studio.  I’d had my eye on it since I noticed it’d be going out in March, and I was so pleased when it showed up on my doorstep!

 

Blank Quilting also included one-yard cuts of four colors of their Jot Dot prints, and a couple of weeks later a box arrived from Air-Lite Manufacturing, containing a twin-sized poly-cotton batting and a swatch card for their four different types of batting.  (I really want to give their cotton double-loft a try in the future! It feels ah-mazing.)

I decided to sew this all up with the Hexie Stripes pattern by Suzy Quilts, adding two borders of Jot Dot to increase its size.  I’d not used a quilting ruler that wasn’t squared-edged before, and I ended up slicing off the tip of one of my fingers just a few cuts into using my awesome new triangle ruler!  Goodness.  It wasn’t a horrific injury, but it did take about a week before I could do anything without aggravating the gauze-wrapped injury.  I re-embarked upon the quilt’s construction and made slow, but steady, progress just as news broke of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Washington State.  I upped my efforts just in case we ended up with some sort of government lockdown order, and got it into the mail to the quilter as fast as I could.

Ashley of Hen House Quilting got it quilted up and back into the mail right before the Stay Home – Stay Healthy Proclamation was put into effect, so yay, it got back to me in its quilted glory in time to finish it up before the end of the month! THIS QUILT HAS SUCH GREAT STORIES ALREADY.

And because we’re on lockdown I was rather limited with my photography locations, so these photos were taken by my daughter’s high school because it was pretty enough and there were no people around.  (We all have to make sacrifices, my friends.)

The quilt itself is a nice, warm quilt, thanks to that poly-cotton batting.  My cat, Quesnel, has deemed it a good quilt and spent the afternoon in my lap.  Many memes were created as a result, which I’m sharing because they make me laugh:

Thank you, Blank Quilting, for the opportunity to work with such a pretty collection!  It’s made such a pretty quilt!  (I do have plans to turn the panel into a wall hanging for my craft room, but it got pushed to the side with all the craziness that was March!)

At the End of Week #2 of COVID-19 School Closures

We are now 1/3 of the way through the initial school closures here in Washington State, and are now enjoying the escalated “Stay Home” measures that were announced this week by the governor, dictating that we not leave our houses unless there’s an essential need (groceries, medical, etc.).

The kids are doing really great with their online learning, and I actually learned that their school district is one of TWO that made the immediate jump to online learning for the school closures.  Cue the “I’m so glad we moved into this particular house” gratitude.  We get to walk down to the bus stop each morning to pick up the school lunch deliveries (practicing safe social distancing of course), and I get to have a quick chat with some of my neighborhood mom friends, so we don’t feel completely socially isolated.  It’s not that bad, actually.

Crafting-wise, I basically just sewed up medical masks this week.  Not exciting at all, and a little anger-inducing because all I can think about while I’m sewing these up is how frustrating it is that we don’t have enough medical supplies on-hand for something of this nature, despite the fact that scientists have been warning us for years that we were historically due for a pandemic of some sort.  And then my thoughts wander down more angry roads, and I just end up steaming mad about lots of things.  So…no, I don’t like making medical masks AT ALL.  BUT, I have friends who work in the medical field and one of them texted yesterday asking if I had made any because her hospital really needs some, so I drove the twenty I’d made over to her house and left them on her doorstep.  I guess I’ll need to make more, but I need a break before I go back to them.

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I’m going to use my “break from the masks” to attach the binding to my March Blank Quilting project, which just arrived back from the quilter this week; and I’m starting to work with the “Best Friends Farm” fabric that Jaftex/Henry Glass Fabrics sent me as a bonus for April; and I did my part to support a small business by buying up some yardage of an absolutely gorgeous floral print from Style Maker Fabrics that I’m hoping to turn into a dress by Easter.

 

So, because goals are my self-love love language, I’ll end this with a “Goals for the Next Week” list:

  • Finish the Florabelle Hexie Stripes quilt.  Photograph it and share it online.
  • Finish piecing the individual blocks for the Best Friends Farm quilt.
  • Finish the muslin for my Blue Floral Easter dress.
  • Photograph and share the dress I finished for Renaissance a couple of weeks ago.
  • Move forward in some meaningful way with my sewing pattern database/spreadsheet.  The plan, pre-COVID-19, was to have it completed by the end of the next week or so, but things got way too crazy to keep up with it, so it’s a minor project that’s limping along at the moment.  I’ll worry about it more once things calm down in the future.
The week after next is Spring Break, which means there will be no online learning and schoolwork to keep the kids entertained throughout the day, AND we’ll still be mandated to stay home, so…I guess I should come up with some ideas for that as well.  Any suggestions?