Tuesday, April 7, 2020

working towards normal

Things have been settling into a new normal at home.  It seems the rules for going out have stabilized and it's just a matter of accepting them and making it work.  The rules at work, however, are in constant flux for both me and the hubby.  Every day is a new adventure, but that, too, is starting to become the norm.

So I've been making an effort to tune out the nagging voices in my head and go sew.  I got a few more Christmas blocks done...

And here are the first nine all together!

Obviously, the last two shown individually (okay, together) aren't in this photo, but life goes on.

Then I decided it was time to get something on the longarm.  I have far too many quilts waiting.  I have backs for them - pieced even!  And I still have a few packages of batting.  So no excuses!

I decided on the quilt I finished at the retreat in January.  My Rack of Shame is overflowing and this was one draped over the bars of the longarm, waiting a turn.  I decided cleaning off those bars was my best choice and then I'll get to the Rack of Shame.

A little closeup...

Some of the motifs are better than others, but this will be a charity quilt, so I doubt it will be judged.  And it was a good skill-builder to get those curves looking good and hitting the corners where I wanted to.

Finn was helpful.  The cats all hate the air compressor (used to clean out the machine - it is open enough that there is not the same danger of using compressed air as with a domestic machine), but once that is done and off, they come to investigate.

He's just chillaxin' here.  Later he moved to the other side and got in the way of movement.  Thankfully I realized before I started sewing or it might have made some interesting designs!  He is such a goofball, though, and goes boneless when you try to pick him up or move him.  I'm sure that's a result of spending the first 7 months of his life with kids, but man is it hard to shoo him away.

After he got bored with his, I heard some scratching odd noises.  I had piled the other quilts from the longarm onto my desk/chair while I quilted.  (And some of them just needed to be folded up and put away properly, as they were done, but I did that later - once I get the idea to longarm, I'd better just get going before I lose steam!)  I came out to find this:

See his paw there by the yellow arrow?  He burrowed all the way through the middle of the stack and was squirming around like a goofball.  He IS a goofball.  I shooed him out, though, as I don't need any extra cat hair to remove from my quilts.  The lint rollers are struggling enough as it is!

I have the binding sewn on the machine half and got about one side of the hand-sewing portion done before I petered out the other day.  It is still waiting for the other three sides, but other things have been calling my name.

Specifically, making masks.  I had found a pattern and tried my hand at one a week ago.  It was HUGE!  I had also found another pattern (that I honestly liked better, but looked harder), but decided against making any more.  But when I went to work Saturday and found that wearing masks when going out is highly recommended and my boss offered one to me, I decided I needed to up my game.  And try that hard pattern.

I sewed through METAL!

I thought it would be a disaster, despite the video tutorial assuring me it would be okay.  I put in an older, more dull needle, just in case, but it went through it just like a thick seam.  (Surprise, surprise, my little machine that doesn't want to...could!)

The video for the mask I made can be found here: https://youtu.be/fySsaOojEVM

And the pattern she used is linked in the description portion of that video.

It is not that hard at all!  I modified it to make non-bias bias tape ties with the bias tape maker I have (that I wish was a little wider, but it is what it is and I'm making it work), and I like the ties better.  (Also, I have no elastic.)  I have a smaller-than-average head (as proven when I bought a toddler bike helmet for my niece that you could JUST smoosh onto my head and, at 3, it was too small for her!) and like the idea that these can adjust more easily.  Also, happy ears!

So I made three for me.

Yep, they're wild, but why not?

They take me about an hour to make.  And a good portion of that time is making the ties.  (Also, a good portion of finger burns are due to those ties. Stupid steamy iron.)

I usually only work 2 days a week, but this gives me an extra.  We are not yet required to wear them at work, but I expect it to happen soon.  And we do have some disposable dust masks, but I figure I'll let those who don't have a quilter (don't you dare call me a seamstress until AFTER you've seen my work here!) to call upon.  (But if they ask, I'll make them some.)

I posted a photo on Facebook and a quilting friend asked if I would make one for her hubby.  He needed it tomorrow morning.  So I sewed like the dickens and he picked it up at 8:30 that night.

I was on my way out the door with this and realized I should take a photo.  His is much more tame.  I wanted to get it to him that night so he could launder it before use.  While I am not sick, who knows what I've been around and he is not a young man any more.  His wife, I know, sewed clothing in her younger days, but her body is aging faster than her mind and I knew it would be a chore for her to do something like this quickly.  And I had already worked out the kinks for my pattern.

He liked it and it worked well for his task the following day.  And he now has one for grocery shopping and any other necessary tasks.

(See that bandaid on my thumb?  Be careful with that metal!)

And then, long story short, my brother-in-law, knowing the first mask went to his mom (oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that earlier!), mentioned his two daughters.  While they shouldn't be going out, I know if they do, the masks he asked me to make for them would be a good thing.  So I sat down to get them done before he finished his shift at a local auto parts store.  (And since he had just helped me get new wiper blades on my car, I could hardly tell him no!  Also, family.)

I made it all the way to my car and went - wait! a photo!  (Yeah, my car seat fabric has dots.  Not planned, but hey, the gal with the dot problem is very happy!)  The pattern has four sizes - men, women/teen, child and small child.  So the turquoise one is for the 15-year-old and the birds are for the 7-year-old - two different sizes.  I haven't heard if they liked them, but boys are not the best at communicating things.  And since this particular boy is related to my hubby...well...I know what to expect!  I didn't include the metal nosepiece in these, as I don't think they'll be needing the mask to stay put as much as I will in my duties as cashier, but I hope the ties will work for them.  Perhaps discourage them from taking them on and off as much as they might because they're harder to get back on!

And that's the end of my mask-making for now.  I will continue to make them for those who ask until the interfacing I have runs out.  If I can get more and have more requests, I will continue.  Because let's be honest here - I'm NOT going to run out of fabric any time soon!  I am not sewing these willy-nilly for the hospitals as some are.  It's not that I don't want to help, I just don't want this to become all-consuming.  And, in reference to my last post, I have to know when to say when.

(Don't tell anyone, but these are kinda fun and addicting.  But I wish more than anything that there was no need for them.)

In other news, I cleaned the bathroom today.  As usual, I had "help"...

Every. Single. Time.

He is less enthusiastic about showers and brushing teeth and using the commode.  But get that spray bottle of bleach-infused cleaning spray and it's like catnip.  I don't spray it on my shoes, but he goes after the shoes and pant legs and shoelaces like a nutcase.

I think my cat is broken?

And with that, it is time to go relax a bit more.  I worked today and we were summer-Saturday-busy in the store.  Nothing I can't handle there, but the phone was ringing off the hook, our buy-online-pick-up-in-store (that has been extended to curbside pickup if requested) has blown up and it is taking a toll on some of the employees.  We are all still healthy (thank goodness), but like any tragedy or disaster, you see the best and worst of folks.  I'm trying to be my best self at work.  Others are struggling and it makes being my best self harder.  I'm working hard to cut them slack, but it's not always easy.  And I need more time after a shift to decompress.  (Anger-cleaning is a good option!)  Strangely, the customers are almost all being really great.  I suppose working in a farm store, we are not seeing the toilet paper and hand sanitizer panic (we don't sell either), but are seeing the guys who watch crops fail or flourish and know there is always next year.  They accept the change as just another challenge and aren't as panicked about the new situation, I guess.  I'm thankful for that.

Happy quilting!
Wash your hands!


---"Love" said...

Girl, you have been busy! All that, and working too! I may look into that pattern tomorrow. I've made one, but cut my elastic too short, and didn't want to try that again, so I cut the elastic off and added bias tape strings, but can't tie it on my own head! Oh well, I very rarely leave my house anyway. My son has run into a few grouchy customers where he works, but he just smiles and says, "Tell me, how can I help you better?" Of course, sometimes that probably aggravates the problem, but he just never really gets upset with the customers either. I'm proud of him for that. Do stay safe and enjoy those pretty Christmas blocks. ---"Love"

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

I'm so glad Finn is helpful - even if he may be broken - LOL - ;))

Preeti said...

Love the Christmas star blocks. Finn is indeed goofy from his paws to the tip of his tail. Wild times call for wild and bright masks :-) Sewing through metal??? I had to watch the video to understand that bit. I used two ties, twisted together for a shaped fit around the nose. Thinking of you and sending hugs and best wishes. This too shall pass, I believe.

a good yarn said...

Finn is a such a character! I love his antics. Your Christmas Stars sing - so bright and cheery. Great masks and a splash of colour is needed in our lives right now. We don't have to wear them here yet - unless you are sick with something.

Marsha B said...

I am loving the Cristmasy fabrics in the stars pared with the dark polka dot fabric. It is just amazing! Glad you are getting some long arm quilting done, that's great progress. Even with lots of kittie help! I made some masks for my son and his family. Didn't enjoy it one bit and I found out my fancy machine does not like all the bulk in the pleats. The pattern I tried had twelve layers of fabric in each pleat, ugh! My 50+ year old machine worked better on the heavy parts. I have found another pattern that doesn't have all the bulk in it, so may try that one soon. Glad you are wearing masks at work, you need to stay healthy!