I had so looked forward to staying in for the quarantine because I thought it would be a great time to catch up on existing projects. Instead there's been a flood of new projects -- well, old project "desires" that were fueled to move to the forefront. This was courtesy of some inspiring projects that have been posted for the many "Quarantine Sew Alongs" that are out right now.
Prior to quarantine, I had been trying to finish up an old Bonnie Hunter mystery until along came "Elvira" in late March:
Gudrun Erla's (GE Designs) quilt along was the perfect prompt for me to finally make that follow-up Spring quilt I've long wanted (and the details of that fun romp is here).
FYI: Gudrun is doing another Quilt Along this weekend called "Hope". This time, there is a nominal charge for the pattern but all the proceeds of the sales are going to three local charities in her area that are helping people during the pandemic. Check out the link above or her recent "Tipsy Tuesday" video for more details.
Just as Gudrun was announcing hers, I also learned about this:
Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts was also doing a Sew Along Mystery design that is now officially named "California" (she also has kits for it now too). For me it was yet another prompt to finally use another stash of fabrics I've been holding: I had put away fabrics a long while back with plans to make a "Pinks, Browns and Blues" quilt. I've always envisioned it to have a "Shabby Chic" vibe and Edyta's quilt designs always invoke that for me. It was a quarantine match made in heaven! Details about how that went is in my next post. Right now it is only finished blocks on the design wall, not yet a top. I will also need to work on an outer border.
Another good thing is that while working on this, I also got a little leader/ender work done for Bonnie Hunter's "Roll, Roll Cotton Boll" which I hadn't worked on since February.
I needed a few more pink fabrics for the Sitar mystery and knew I had some stash still to process for Part 2 of the Quiltville mystery. So I made up the triangle sets I needed to piece together and then added what was left to the Sitar stash. Then there was also this:
My husband works for UPS which happens to be one of the "essential businesses" that has stayed open during the pandemic. He was on vacation when the orders from NY's Governor Cuomo came down for everyone to stay home so we had at least that first week to be able to go together to stock up on things and start planning for the adjustments to "the new normal".
When he went back to work the next week, the company fortunately had masks and gloves for everyone and he was also able to buy an additional set of masks from a co-worker who had picked some up from a medical supply company and my husband brought those home for our family to use. My husband works in the tractor trailer division and although he has to occasionally drive loads to other centers, he primarily works in the yard. He and his co-workers shift and organize the trailers that come through, putting them into the loading bays to be unloaded or loaded and pulling them back out to be set up to go back out on the road.
If you wonder what that's like, check out this video:
and this one:
As you can imagine, a freight yard is not a very clean place and it didn't take long for the mask given to him to get pretty dirty and the dirt that gets on them isn't easy to remove. We didn't want to have to replace the masks so frequently or destroy the filtering capacity of them with intense cleaning methods. Having already seen many of the mask tutorials on the web, I took one of his old work shirts and made him a mask to wear over the company issued ones to help them stay cleaner and last longer. I used the tutorial and templates from Craft Passion and made the version that would allow us to add replaceable filters to the mask if at some point he can't get replacement ones from his job (and a supply of that fabric is on its way).
Well of course no sooner did he wear it to work, I got a request to make more. So I joined the cottage industry ranks:
Of course getting into the mask making game that late meant I had a terrible time sourcing supplies. His job provided plenty of shirts for cutting up and I had a good stock of thread but elastic? Forgeddaboutit!! I only had a little bit of it in the house when I made my husband's mask. Also when I made his mask and some regular ones for me for going to the community garden and general shopping, I found I needed to be able to adjust the length of the elastic for personal fit. Not something I wanted to have to do for a bulk order!
Fortunately I had also seen Julie Sefton's post on her Quilt Diva Julie blog about how she did "around the head ties" for her husband's mask that were secured by a spring toggle. Craft Passion had also showed that way of securing the mask in her pattern although hers was tied. I sent one into work with my husband using the only comparable supplies I had on hand: a long black sneaker-lace and the one toggle I found in my sewing supplies. That mask was quickly snapped up by a co-worker so I decided to see if I could source toggles and paracord in bulk to make them all that way going forward. That too took a while --- again, by that time, black paracord and black toggles were also hard to find! Fortunately, I found a vendor on Etsy (thanks Debbie!) with the only color she had left which luckily for me happened to be Coffee Bean (brown)! Perfect for UPS!! Then I was also able to source a large spool of brown paracord.
Another match made in heaven! So this is what I've been sending in.
Since each shirt only provides one logo, I also make plain shield style masks and folded masks to use up the rest of the "fabric". The folded design I've been using is from this YouTube video which I liked because of the side casings and that I could also make it so that replaceable filters could be inserted. To help with some of the prep, I had to show my husband how to "de-bone" the shirts, Bonnie Hunter style. Another great quarantine activity while watching TV!
The downside for me is that once I had finished "Elvira", I had been geared up to quickly work on the Edyta Sitar mystery, get it done and return to my other projects. However, the accumulated stash I used for the mystery didn't as easily integrate into the design as I had expected. So that meant I went back and forth on most days trying to establish a balance between mask production and quilt design and layout work. All of that had to happen between grocery runs and a few garden days. And thank goodness for the latter:
Reminds you that even in the midst of this chaos, Mother Nature commences Spring right on schedule! Fortunately for me, the winter gardening I did meant my little garden bed was already established and I've been able to harvest lettuce greens and a little celery and chives already. The tall things around the perimeter are garlic which won't be ready for harvest until June.
The only casualty in all of this is that the only BOM work I was able to do this month was for the Joann Countryside Cottage BOM (as more leader/enders) because the pieces are all pre-cut. I've even already done the May block!
Still, I'm going to have A LOT of catching up to do in May on the other BOMs I'm working on! So I am hoping to finish the mask order in the next two weeks and in between will try to put the top together for Edyta's mystery.