Monday, May 25, 2020

Two Weeks of Stitching

I skipped my stitching report last week because I didn't have much to show for my work, and not much photographic evidence. It is nicer this week since I have pictures to share now.  I'll share the mini quilt when it is finished, hopefully by the end of the month, so these photos are of the quote quilt.

2020:  Week 20 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

Last week, I managed to work on my mini quilt every day, but they were tiny pieces of time. I don't clock my time since I generally pass 15 minutes, so even though I am not sure if it was actually 15 minutes a day, I am counting them anyway.

A lot of of the time was choosing and debating the sashing fabric. After debate, I went back to the original choice, which means I spent a lot of time without forward motion, but at least now I know I am satisfied with the choice of sashing. Also there were days when my work was just cutting and pinning and no sewing, which feels like it is not noteworthy but it does move the progress forward.

15 minute days this week -- 7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 125 out of 131 days
Success rate  = 95%


2020:  Week 21 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

This week, I added the borders to the blue and white pinwheel mini quilt.  I've decided the border is too wide but trimming it down should be easy. I also picked up the quote quilt and enjoyed adding some more stitches to it. I decided to draw the girl on the swing instead of embroidering her.  The draft looked better than the drawing, but I think she adds a nice whimsy to the quilt.

15 minute days this week -- 7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 132 out of 138 days
Success rate  = 96%

Linked with:
Kate's Life in Pieces 15 Minutes to Stitch 
Design Wall Monday

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Liebster Award Nomination

Thank you to Tierney at Tierney Creates for nominating my blog for a Liebster Award.  It is always so interesting to learn more about other people like this.

According to Tierney's research,  the definition for “Liebster” is: “friend, dear, sweetheart. That is so sweet, and I am delighted and honored to be nominated as Tierney's friend.

The rules for the award are as follows:

•       Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
•       Answer the 11 questions given to you.
•       Share 11 facts about yourself.
•       Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
•       Ask your nominees 11 questions of your choice.
•       Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post.

As I was reading Tierney's answers, I felt like I could copy most of her answers and still reply honestly to the questions. Lucky for me, she chose different questions for me to answer, so I do not feel like I am plagiarizing. Thank you also, Tierney, for reducing the number of questions to seven. This is quite a challenging task.

Zeus 2011

Question 1: What made you start a blog and do you have any favorite topics for your blog posts?

I have enjoyed keeping a journal since I was a young child, and a blog gave me a way to share what I have made with other people.  It also helps me keep a record of the things I have made, especially things I have given away. It helps me remember how old some of my projects are. For example, in my last post, I shared some blocks I want to put together into a quilt. I searched my blog to find out that they were 10 years old. It feels like they were made more recently.

An added bonus of the blog is that it helps me connect with other people who share my interests. My favorite topics for my blog posts are the things I have made, which is mostly quilting projects. Since I enjoy the process more than the finished product, I take my time in making things and I  share my works in progress on this blog.  I also take photographs almost every day, usually pictures of nature and  use mostly original photographs on the blog.

Question 2: If you could move to a different town, state or country… where would you be?

I have no interest in moving anywhere else.  I live in a beautiful state with green grass and blue skies.  The roads are flat and easy to navigate, and I know where things are in the grocery store. I also live within walking distance to a lot of my family members.

Question 3: What is your favorite quality about yourself?

My favorite quality about myself is that I don't feel the need to fit in. Fitting in is nice, but the fact that I can break away from the pack gives me a chance to do things and to pursue passions that may not be socially acceptable or encouraged.  Quilting, for example, is considered to be an old person's hobby, yet I started quilting in my 20s. Nobody discouraged me, but I was able to find the joy in it for myself without any encouragement. Likewise with genealogy. Why would anybody want to dig up facts about people who have died? For me, it feels important to honor my ancestors and thank them for their part in making me.
Question 4: What are your favorite creation(s) to date during the pandemic’s stay-at-home times (if you are expressing yourself creatively during this time)?

Unfortunately, I have not been able to do anything creative during this time.  After I lost my job, I had two weeks of unemployment. The first week was a "vacation" where I rested and was not required to do anything. The second week was support to gear up to being productive again. I spent a lot of this time looking up mask patterns.  Since my employer offered another, lower paying job, I spent my two weeks getting ready for the job by cooking and freezing meals. I also kept telling myself that this would be a good time to do the spring cleaning, but I had a hard time finding the motivation to do much of that.  Since then, I have been training and working at the new job, adjusting to the new time schedule.

Spring is usually busy for me anyway, because there is yard work to do in addition to the job and housework. The longer days and sunshine does help and now I am working on a mini quilt which does feel like I have adjusted to a new normal.

Question 5: Where is one of the first places you plan on going after quarantine is over?

You may think I am stealing Tierney's answer here, but I too would go to the public library. I don't really need to go. The library has extended the deadlines on all the books I have checked out and I haven't read many of them so I still have plenty to read.  I also have access to digital books and audio books.  However, just going to the library to pick out books brings a special kind of joy. It is nice to see the new book shelf to see what kinds of books are being written and discovering ones that call out to me to bring home. I even go to different branches of the library for different experiences. One day, I might even do a tour of all of the public libraries in the city.

In case you are thinking, "that is a big stack of library books and they look like they could topple at any moment," when you look at the picture, you would be right.  However, please note that the top shelf on the right is also filled with library books.

Question 6: Other than blogging/writing what is the one favorite thing you LOVE to do?

Quilting and genealogy both compete for my time and I am obsessed with both of them. I love to cook and have been expressing myself creatively with scrapbooks and embroidery. Sometimes I try to combine crafts and interests.  The photo above shows two genealogy scrapbooks I have made.

Gracy Singh

Question 7: If a movie was made about your life, what actor would like casts in the leading role (as you)?

I don't keep up with actors so I don't really know who that could be, but just for you, I looked for some photos of actresses and this picture looks like someone whose personality seems to match mine. She could show a better public version of me. I hope she is a nice person in real life.


I'm not sure if there are seven additional facts about me that I haven't already told you in this post. I may expand things I already told you and hope you find the additional facts interesting.

Fact 1.  I like to travel and have managed to do some extensive travel through my employers and on my own.  I would love to see India, Pakistan, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, and many other places. I would also like to go back to visit Spain and Italy.  I like to collect keychains from the places I visit and have an extensive key chain collection shown above.

Fact 2.  I like taking photographs every day. The neighborhood does not change very much day to day, but nature provides a change of scenery every day with the clouds, the trees and other plants, the squirrels, and the birds.  Each walk is unique.

Fact 3. Long-term readers of this blog will know that I like to use up every tiny snippet of fabric.  There is so little expectations of these little scraps that I don't have any fear of making a mistake or doing something wrong.  My favorite pieces are the ones that use the tiny pieces other quilters would have thrown away in the trash.  Sometimes I have to make myself throw away the snippets so I can start over again with bigger pieces of fabric to make more snippets.

Fact 4. I have transcribed genealogy records and taken photos of headstones to help other genealogists move forward in their research.

Fact 5. I like math, especially on spreadsheets. I track my quilt statistics. Today, the stats show I have finished 78% of the quilts I have started and have finished 110 quilts. Of the quilts I have finished, it took me an average of 274 days to finish one. That number changes a lot based on the age of the quilt I just finished . Finishing an older quilt makes the average go up, since UFOs aren't included in that number and making a quick mini quilt makes it move down. It is fun to see it go up and down.

Fact 6. Zeus is my first and only dog. He came into our lives in 2011 when he was about 3 or 4 years old and has brought us all joy every day since. He is a stickler for the schedule and keeps me on track with eating and getting exercise.

Fact 7. I take my quilts on walks. My quilts don't like being cooped up in the house, so sometimes when we go to a park, I will choose one of them to take with us. We shower it with lots of attention. We take lots of pictures of the quilt during the walk so it doesn't forget its special day.


This is the part while I will break ranks and not nominate anyone. Some people hate answering these types of things and others will feel left out if I don't choose them. Please, if you want to do this, answer the following questions. Let me know, and I will retroactively nominate you.

QUESTIONS FOR THESE BLOGGERS TO ANSWER (most borrowed from the previous list I was given)

  1. What made you start a blog and do you have any favorite topics for your blog posts?
  2. What is your favorite quality about yourself?
  3. What are your favorite creation(s) to date?
  4. What are you doing during the pandemic’s stay-at-home times? Are you keeping a journal?
  5. How would you like to be remembered?
  6. Where is one of the first places you plan on going after quarantine is over?
  7. Other than blogging/writing what is the one favorite thing you love to do?
In addition to answering these 7 questions, if you like please also share 7 facts about yourself. 
And if you like, nominate 7 other bloggers for this award to introduce your readers to blogs they may not already follow but you think they will enjoy!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Three Weeks of Stitching

I've missed some weekly recaps so this is three weeks worth of stitching.

2020:  Week 17 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

Since my job disappeared for the entire calendar year due to school closures this spring, my employer offered me another stay at home that pays about 70% of my pay.  This week, I had finished the training and was actually doing this job.  There is a lot to remember and this is like a customer service job where you talk to lots of people who are anxious. While they are all nice to me, I picked up a lot of their anxiety, and with my anxiety about the newness of the job, and getting used to a new schedule, it took me a while to adjust.

This quote used to mean something different before COVID-19.

As a result, I decided to not push myself on the stitching front and was able to get one day's worth of stitching in. My perfect record was shattered, but it would have been shattered even if it had been a normal year, so I am not disappointed about that.

15 minute days this week -- 1 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 111 out of 117 days
Success rate  = 95%

2020:  Week 18 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

I managed to get more stitching in this week.  I misplaced the patterns I had saved for the quote quilt.  Instead, I focused on making straight stitches, meditative visible mending that I had decided to do last year on a curtain that shredded when I washed it.  I blame a sharp curtain rod. You can see its other half in the background.

A lot of the embroidery on the quote quilt uses two strands of floss and a skein comes with six strands.  I can use additional strands elsewhere in the quilt, but then there are strands left that are long enough to use, but may not be long enough to complete the row or motif.  Instead of trying to save them or having anxiety about having enough, I decided to sew them into the curtain.

While the result is not pretty, this meditative stitching did heal my spirit and calm my brain.

15 minute days this week -- 7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 118 out of 124 days
Success rate  = 95%

2020:  Week 19 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

This week, I decided I want to make a mini quilt, to reward myself with a finish for the month. It doesn't feel right to start a new project yet, so I pulled some orphan blocks from October 7, 2010.

The picture was taken in 2010. Hopefully I will have good progress to show you in a not-to-distant future post.

15 minute days this week -- 7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 125 out of 131 days
Success rate  = 95%

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

My Favorite Photos From April

Once a month, or thereabouts, I look through my folder of photographs, and choose my favorites to share with you. Here are my favorites for April 2020.

If I take any new photos I want to share before the end of the month, I will share them in a different post.

The world is still beautiful and continues to turn.

I haven't sewn at all this week, but since I allow myself time to make up the stitching, I hope to make up the time today so I can maintain my 100%. I'll write a new post to let you know how I did.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Mask Fail

My sewing time has been limited as I trained for my new job.  I passed the tests so I will be able to start working on Monday.  Since I didn't work for a whole week and a half before this, this was my full week of working.  Even though I should be used to it by now since that is usually how it is, it is difficult for me to transition from not working at all to working full time.

I made a new, polka-dotted, mask.  This one combines the two that I had saved for me. The yellow one is almost rectangular shape that uses four straps, and has darts on the top and bottom to add dimension.  The result still goes straight across the face from the nose, resulting in steamed glasses.  The animal fabric is more comfortable, but it has a seam in the middle which may leave holes for virus to get through and has more pieces to sew together. I thought that if I could cut the shape more curved, I might be able to make it without a center seam. I used the pattern for the almost rectangle, and cut out the curves based on the curved pattern.

This red one was a fail because although it looks like it fits well, the nose part falls down and does not secure over my nose, even when the wire is adjusted. Maybe I should have made the nose part a little wider.

I am sure that I could play with it some more and make a more gentle curve, but I have decided I need to stop finding the best design and just make some masks. 

2020:  Week 16 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

For my sewing activities, I packaged up almost of the masks I made and sent them off to my cousin.  I did just a little bit on my quote quilt and made a mask. Some weeks, I have been able to stitch more than 15 minutes a day. This time, I barely managed exactly the right amount.

15 minute days this week -- 7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 110 out of 110 days
Success rate  = 100%

Linked with:
Kate's Life in Pieces 15 Minutes to Stitch

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Sewing Week

2020:  Week 15 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

The photo is from earlier in the month.

I only worked one day this week, so I made some masks and worked on the quote quilt.

15 minute days this week -- 7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 103 out of 103 days
Success rate  = 100%

Linked with:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Masks, Continued

In my last post, I told you about my plans to make masks. 

 My original plan was to try each of these, but since I don't need that many and want to quickly give my cousin the masks she needs. I decided to guess how I would like the other masks based on looking at it instead of actually trying it on.

Since I made the plans, I took a couple additional walks. Only for you to test out the mask. I used the same batik mask I tried earlier.  I guess it is mine now. In the morning walk, I must not have tied the mask properly over my pony tail and it slipped down.  I thought maybe for people who don't wear a pony tail, tying on top of the head might work. When I tied it up higher to fix it, I must have tied it up too high, and the mask touched my eye.  In the evening walk, I tried it without a pony tail, and it was very difficult to keep it on straight. I am going to say it is because my hair is so silky smooth.  Also I have not been turning the edges of the straps under. I just tied them to keep them from unraveling, but this particular braid does a lot of unraveling, particularly when washed.

Today, I want to show you a couple more mask designs I tried.

This one is called A.B. Mask - for a Nurse by a Nurse. It is easy to sew and is similar to the other patterns I made, except that instead of cutting rectangles, you cut the top and bottom at an angle. The original pattern uses single fold binding, and I adapted it to continue using the braid.  I thought this pattern would make the mask angle down away from the eyes. Since I am looking for a mask to fog up my glasses, it doesn't look like it will solve that problem. I have read that if you clean your glasses with shaving cream or alcohol, you can avoid the fog. I haven't tried that so I don't know if that works.

Same mask, different angle. One thing I really like about this mask, besides its relative ease of cutting and sewing, is that it forms a slight duck bill, as described in the video in the last post. I think this would make it easier for people who have to do a lot of talking and maybe people who feel claustrophobic wearing the mask. I didn't have any trouble talking with my trial mask, but I don't have long conversations with Zeus while walking.

As you can see in this photo, the dart makes the mask form a straight line across the nose. This is strange because my batik mask doesn't seem to angle up even though it has darts. I am not sure how well it would work to avoid fog on the glasses.

I also made this one using a a pattern called Masks of Love.  It is similar to the one from Instructables. It requires cutting four pattern pieces, two for each side of the front and two for each side of the back, so there are a couple more seams than the other patterns.

 This mask doesn't use pleats so if you don't like making them, this pattern may be for you.  However, this pattern is more complicated to make. I was planning on making one, not two, of these masks, and didn't read the directions to know I was supposed to cut  mirror images.  Of course I had to make it more difficult by using directional fabric. I even managed to find a small wire that I could use to make it more form fitting over the nose.You have to cut and sew curves, insert a wire, secure the wire inside, preferably without breaking a needle, and string the strap through the opening.  The curves are not like a drunkard's path, where you are trying to fit two different shapes together, so they are fairly easy to sew.  Both of the curves are exactly the same and you are just sewing them to each other.  Pressing the 3-D shapes is probably the most complicated, but I wouldn't know, since I skipped that step!

I like it because it curves down over the cheeks so there is less likely to be air leakage into the glasses. It is also attractive. I also like that the straps can be removed. This way the recipient can choose a tying method she prefers. My straps are slightly too small to feel secure, and I will have add some length to them or replace them.