Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Trees and Totes

Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong. These are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.
~Winston Churchill


Trees might be a possible border for Shadow Stars. If not there they could make a good quilt on their own. It took lots of drawing to determine which variation would work best. How many leaves on each side? How tall or short should the trunk be? Does it need roots or not? And since I want a specific size on point, none of these variations came with easy measurements. Of course not.

When I finally cut some triangles the real work began. It's difficult to get them laid out well. There's too much variation in the top one and the bottom right is too light.

Light green HSTs interspersed with blue, pink, and darker green HSTs to add life to the blocks
First attempt at tree blocks

My next attempts were at the bottom of this photo. I liked the tree on the left and began to fill in the background above it; however, orange leaves still didn't work as well with the tree on the right so they were exchanged for blue. It needs more tweaking.

Arranging green HSTs interspersed with a few pink and blue HSTs to create lively pine tree quilt blocks
Creating tree blocks
The trees don't need as many different fabrics as I'd expected although they sure need lots of triangles. In fact, each block has 82 pieces. Who thought this craziness up? At least this is a good time to sit and sew. It's amusing how significantly the blocks shrink when they are sewn. {It doesn't take much to amuse me.}

Two pine tree quilt blocks. One with all the fabric laid out as leaves, trunk and background. The other with all the pieces sewn. This highlights how much sewing contracts the blocks.
Tree blocks laid out and sewn

By the end of the week there are five tree blocks.

Fine pine tree quilt blocks sewn. Leaves represented by light green triangles with a few other colors like blue, pink, and darker green for depth. for depth
First set of tree blocks

I'm surprised how few different fabrics are used in each tree. I expected to need ten or more just for the green leaves but most have three fabrics there {with another three or four in the background.} They also take a very light hand with the accent colors. Good practice for me who always thinks more is better.

Tote Bags
With all the extra cleaning, an older stack emerged. Tote bags - good for groceries, overnighters, or work bags. Shockingly, the Texas Supreme Court ruled banning plastic bag unconstitutional a few years ago. What a selfish, short-sighted decision that current inhabitants can do whatever they want without regard to future generations. Surely we can do better.

Four tote bags in a variety of colors make overnight bags for foster children
Tote bags

These are shoulder bags based on a free pattern from Back Porch Quilts in Pacific Grove. Each uses 1.5 yards. One yard for the sides, lining, and straps. Half a yard for the contrast on the front. These fabrics have been paired for a while. Now is a good time to finish them.

The purple one is mine; a reminder of our other sister who loved birds and that color. The others are for foster children. A quick way to pack might be a better gift than a pillowcase. I'll make more throughout the year.

Face Masks
We gave two boxes of procedure masks that we had from the last wildfire to the local hospital. They aren't N95 level; just what sick patients wear. Now we could use a few homemade ones to keep from spreading coughs and droplets to others {if that happens to us.} This article discusses the effectiveness and breathability of various materials. Realize that the pillowcases they mean are NOT the pretty ones we cover our pillow with. They refer to the feather-proof ticking that holds the feathers or foam of your actual pillow. Oddly, some is already in my stash and I just sorted our t-shirts. This will be next week's project. Our local hospitals don't want these but making them for us will not take the good ones from the people who need them most.

There are inspiring stories worldwide of the creative ways people build connections, hope, and service to each other while fighting this pandemic. Just like Mr. Rogers said, "Look for the helpers." I hope you are all well, safe, and busy as we all do what we can to help each other.

Enjoy the day, Ann

21 comments:

  1. The Winston quote is only too apt right now; I think short-sightedness must be catchy!!
    Your trees are coming together so beautifully...wow 82 pieces in one tree--("...bravely go, where no man has gone.." ;}}} ) Stay safe, hugs, Julierose

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    1. Short-sightedness must be the most contagious disease.
      This is a good time to work on such a crazy project. It keeps my mind busy.

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  2. Had to send your masks paragraph to someone today. Also the churchill quote is unfortunately true. DH works with people who loudly annoy him daily with how this is all a hoax.... still... despite seeing the worldwide nature of it.
    I say to them, think of it as another country invading... you'd defend against it right? (stupid people put us all in danger)

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    1. I hope the mask information helps. So many people are making them for support staff and it's such a shame we don't have safe ones for medical staff. Unfortunately the same people who scream this pandemic is a fake will also scream that they deserve to be at the front of the line. Too bad.

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  3. Great quote!! And we too are surrounded with people who are not taking this seriously enough (some are but too many are not). We are staying home.

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    1. Many people are taking here but others think it's a good time to head to the beach. Sigh.
      That quote is so timely. Too bad. It's 80 years old. You'd think we'd have improved in that time.

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  4. I love the trees, I like that you are so diligent and test out the colors and fabrics so much. I need to take note and prepare before I sew. I tend to do a lot of unpicking.

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    1. Thanks, Robin. I don't always test things out but we can't go anywhere now. It's fun to play with all my choices and think about the results. I unpick a bunch, too.

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  5. Love the tree blocks. Still one of my favorite quilts that I've ever done, but wow! The seams are tough to get lined up just right. It's fascinating how easily the block changes its look with just a minor fabric/color change.

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    1. Yours inspired me to try this. I wish I'd followed your pattern; it has a few fewer pieces. Ah, well. I think these small triangles might fit with the small squares in the Stars. And yes, the seams are driving me crazy. Did you ever get them to lie nicely? I haven't figured anything out that works more than one row.

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  6. Good old Winston - his words still ring true at this point in time!
    Ann I love your trees, I see them as bursting into leaf in Spring, those greens are so delicate and fresh.

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    1. He certainly was ready for WWII. And his speeches are always on point.
      Thanks, Maureen. This may be the only Spring I see in detail this year. It's fun to play with them.

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  7. I love the tree blocks, also. The little bursts of color is what does it for me. It's as though you have restraint but you really want to push the colors a tiny bit further.
    Now the triangles. Robin said "diligent." I can't even imagine going to this degree. Of course, I also rip, all the time. And of course, when I follow directions, I make math mistakes.

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    1. Oh, Mary. I've been thinking of you. The virus is wild in LA. I hope you and your family have food and are safe.
      The trees are helping me enjoy this spring. It's a substitute for actually going outside.
      You, Robin, and I can have an unpicking party some day.

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  8. Now that I have recovered (somewhat) from the shock of tiny pieces and "82 pieces per tree" I have to agree they are darling!!! Good for you. I'll pass :-p

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    1. What can I say, Preeti? I'm crazy and stuck inside. The size of the triangles matches the squares in the stars. That was the idea anyway.

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  9. Your tree blocks are wonderful! How big are they?

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    1. They will finish 11 3/8. I needed the diagonal to fit the Star blocks or I'd never have done this size.

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    2. That means those HST finish less than 2" - wow! You have patience!

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  10. Great Winston Churchill quote! God used him to be such an encouragement to his people going through a very difficult time.
    I want to be like him.
    Your trees are perfect, just the right block for now.

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    1. Churchill and Roosevelt were both excellent orators who understood when people needed reassurance and when they needed bolstering. Thanks.

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