Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Placement Matters

"There are many kinds of selfishness in this world, but the most selfish is hoarding time, 
because none of us know how much we have, 
and it is an affront to God to assume there will be more."
~Mitch Alborn in Finding Chika

Masks

We are all doing what we can to fight this virus - the bravest on the front lines, the rest of us donating to charities, tipping delivery people heavily, and staying home.

Two styles of cotton fabric masks. One a pleated rectangle and the other fitted like a bra cup to fit closely over the nose
Homemade masks
I made 40 masks this week with my tightest weave fabric for the front, cotton t-shirts for lining, and polyester or quilting thread to sew the ties {because I have no elastic.} With spring cleaning I'd already pulled extra t-shirts and fabric remnants that made good ties so it was easier to switch to this task.

Detail of backstitching at the corners where the ties and the masks meet reinforces those stress points
Reinforce corners by backstitching
There are loads of patterns online. I liked the fitted masks best {that look like a brasserie} but DH liked the rectangular ones with side pleats so I made some of both. What I found is that it should cover from bridge of nose to under the chin and from jawbone to jawbone. Aim for the width of your ears on the short sides or it just gaps when put on.

Delivery drivers, grocers, homeless shelters, rehab centers, nursing homes, and vet clinics are among the people and places that can use these to free up professional masks for our front line heroes. Mine went to a collection center for distribution.

Tip: Instead of adding four ties, make two longer ties {16" for each tie end plus the width of the short end} and zigzag them so they can better take the stress of tying. Also backstitch at mask corners to reinforce those points of stress.

Cooking

Saved vegetable peelings enrich the broth from boiling a chicken. Bay leaves and other spices added for additional flavor
Making chicken broth with vegetable peelings
It recently occurred to me that I could again make broth with vegetable peelings rather than tossing them straight to compost. It extends the vegetables that must be acquired. My grandmother taught me to make it this way but after finishing college, it didn't seem necessary. Time to pull this method out again.



Quilting

The addition of pink gives these trees the glow of spring... even though the greens lean to the yellow side. {In my mind, that usually indicates fall.}

Tree blocks laid out with with pale pink and green fabrics call the colors of spring to mind
Springtime tree blocks laid out with with pink and green

With spring in mind, an apple tree seemed in order. Lovely red and white plaid paired with red polka dots and a large circular print indicative of green apples. My mistake was adding those active prints to the light side of the trees. Instead of a tree, it's simply a mess.

Dividing the HSTs in the pine tree block by color rather than value causes the image of the tree to disappear
First attempt at apple tree quilt block

I laid out a new one with only polka dots and whites on the light side. It's the right-hand one on the bottom row. The circles and plaids now sit with the green - where their values match. As you can see, this arrangement works much better.

The apple blossom block on the bottom row, right, is own sewn with a better arrangement of fabrics that sorts them by value on each side of the HSTs
Spring tree blocks sewn

And no, I didn't unsew the first tree. These triangles are too small and fiddly. I just tossed it... into the scrap bag. It's a learning experience.

Two tote bags. A larger one in brown with pale green print and a smaller one with red and yellow printsI also finished two more tote bags. There wasn't quite enough fabric for one on the left but I made it anyway. It will just be a grocery tote; too small for a foster child. {It was already cut when I switched to mask making.}

Reading

Psychologist Mary Pipher wrote Reviving Ophelia about the needs of adolescent girls and now has written this one about cultural and developmental issues women face as they age. In some ways it reminds me of Atul Gawande's Being Mortal and in fact, she references his book and several of the same research projects. Atul's book addresses end-of-life issues while this one focuses on how women age.


FUR
One finished quilt, eight totes that took 11.5 yards, plus 8.5 yards for masks makes 27 yards this month. YTD = 47.5 yards.

Please stay safe.

Enjoy the day, Ann

24 comments:

  1. Love the pink additions--and I think that active print makes the tree look like the ones I see budding out in my woodsey view from our living room window these days. So I like it a lot...these are simply beautiful and they look very challenging to make .
    Whenever I try a block with a lot of pieces (and those have a whole lot!!) it never comes out right..you do so beautifully on them..~ ~ ~ ~ waving from afar Julierose :)))

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    1. Thanks, Julierose. We sure are missing the buds. None in my backyard although some flowering bushes will be blooming soon. These blocks look good as long as you don't see the back. Sigh.

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  2. I think the trick to turning out volume on these things is to find the right pattern and test it, then go for production sewing! I think it took me two days of tossing things around before I found what worked for me and met the guidelines. The pattern I finally chose needed a little tweaking on the elastic but everything else worked out great! Thanks for sharing your tips.

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    1. You are so right, Pamela. As people work, they are tweaking their patterns and their websites. It's hard to keep up. The rectangular ones seem to work well for donations. The more fitted patterns take me a few times to get them right for each family member. Thanks for writing and for helping sew.

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  3. I like your trees.I used to have a friend who saved every peel in the freezer til she had enough to make soup. I loved going to eat at her house because she always had vege soup going and it was the richest tasting Id ever had. Thank you Ann for always inspiring us

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    1. Thanks, Lee Anna. I'm sure mine is not as good as your friend's but peelings make the broth better and conserve our fresh vegetables.

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  4. How wonderful that you have made so many masks! I am sure they will be appreciated. I am with you the first apple tree is a bit busy. Kudos to you for continuing to make these beautiful blocks.

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    1. Thanks, Patty. I hope they are helpful. If nothing else, they remind us to not touch our faces. Reworking that block was the best decision.

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  5. Thanks for the book recommendations. I loved Atul Gawande's book, Being Mortal, and suspect that I will feel the same about Women Rowing North. As a woman in her mid-seventies, I feel drawn to information about what's next on my radar. Love your trees.

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    1. I hope you enjoy the book. Thanks for writing.

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  6. I've never heard of making broth from vegetable peelings but it makes perfect sense. Your trees look so airy and fresh - nice project.

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    1. It conserves fresh vegetables and I've read that most of the vitamins in vegetables are in or near the skin so that should be another bonus. I like these trees, too. Your projects are delightful. Thanks for sharing them.

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  7. Love your trees! And it's good to see pics of both the 'rejected' tree and it's replacement, the issue is immediately visible! I'm really into soup making, comfort food!

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    1. I completely agree, Linda. I like to see what works and what doesn't along with discussion of why. It's good to know you do, too. Soup is my favorite but DH has a narrow temperature range where he will eat it. He's going to have to lower his standards.

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  8. I have never heard of using vegetable peelings for making broth, or soup as we refer to it, but it makes sense when you tell us your
    grandmother taught you, during the war years both in the USA and certainly in Britain, there was such a shortage of food and folks used whatever they could. Quilting - your first apple tree block definitely looked pretty strange, your second one is delightful.
    I love the freshness of these trees Ann.

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    1. I don't eat the peels; I just use it to make the broth, then strain it, then add fresh veggies when making soup. But it makes the broth richer.
      That apple tree block was such a mess but the revisions saved it. The colors make me happy.

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  9. We eat different kinds of soup all through the fall and winter, always a good comfort food. How good of you to test out the masks and make sure they are efficient and workable. I'm sure everyone appreciates a good fit. Have not made any as of yet, but have been noticing the very different designs. Your trees are looking almost delicate and very springlike. An excellent project for this particular season.:)

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    1. Soup is one of my favorite meals, too.
      There are many different mask designs. I think you are smart to wait to make them. Lots of changes this week so you'll get the most refined patterns.
      I liked your trees but thought my Stars need something lighter. Now I'm wondering if I made the right choice.

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  10. I like the tree revision. The polka dots remond me of a game of Hi Ho Cherry-o! hmm

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    1. Thanks, Mav. I remember playing that game with oldest brother. That's a fun game!

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  11. I don't know how I manage to pull this off--read a post (and not just here) concoct a comment (not always easy for someone who talks too much) and then don't send it! I'm trying to practice patience with myself, but I don't make it an easy task.
    I've made about 30 masks thus far. I haven't tried the fitted version. I ran out of elastic long ago, so I'm making the rectangular version with ties. Now that people (as opposed to hospitals and such) are beginning to ask, I'm wondering about my commitment. Repetition is not my forte. Maybe I can churn out 5 or 6 in a day, but that's forcing myself to get to it. I'd much prefer improv!
    Your blocks are pretty. I like that you're playing with different colors and patterns. I assume they will all go into the quilt. I love the way they look together. There's a rhythm and balance here that can seem artificial when the maker uses the exact same colors and fabrics. Okay, maybe it's that nature doesn't give us exactness.
    The book by Mary Pipher looks interesting. So many women friends, myself included, are getting to this stage in life. Living life to its fullest can be a challenge, so every resource is something to consider. Thanks for the info. You do inspire!

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    1. Oh, yes. Talking is so much easier than writing. Please be patient with yourself. I made masks for family and friends then felt I should make one for neighbors and grocery workers, etc. Our hospitals don't want them. But many of my neighbors don't seem to want them and the grocery won't let their workers wear them at work. Go figure. So I may be done for a while.
      I haven't had elastic for years so I only made ties until I found the t-shirt yarn idea. The fitted mask keeps a bit more air coming from the sides. It's not hospital grade but hopefully keeps from passing the virus to someone else.
      The plan is to put these trees with the stars but now I'm not sure. At least they will go together later. I saw cherry blossoms this week when I picked up groceries. So beautiful. These are a pale image but the best I can do.
      Thanks for writing, Mary. Take care.

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  12. I love your tree blocks! I made a miniature quilt with pine tree blocks many many years ago. (I'm much more sensible now...) I've been thinking about a Tree of Life quilt for a while now, so I'm really enjoying watching your blocks. Thanks for sharing the block that didn't work and talking about why. To me, that's the best part of blog posts - the passing of tips and tricks to our friends out in the world.
    I've made some masks with fabric ties - I know I have some elastic somewhere but haven't tracked it down. I like the fact that by making our own masks, we can keep the professional ones protecting the professional protectors!

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    1. I've always admired tree quilts. After these few, I know how impressive a miniature quilt of trees is. Wow.
      We agree that sharing information is the best part of blogging. Way more interesting that just photos of the finishes.
      I like the fabric ties much better than elastic because I can move the tie around on my head a bit for comfort. My ears hurt just looking at photos of the elasticized masks. Haha. It makes sense to wear masks to deter the spread of aerosolized virus and to help our professionals. Both by saving the best masks for them and by hopefully keeping a few people out of the hospital.

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