Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Hello all! How is your quarantine coming along? I'm hanging in there, still teaching and still putting in a ton of hours every week. I'm pretty sure when the semester is over I'm going to need to sleep for two solid weeks. Thankfully, I'll have the time since we're not going to go meet our new granddaughter yet. And if I think about that, I'll go down the rabbit hole of depression, so let's not go there! Let's talk stitching instead!

I've been distracting myself by organizing things in the sewing room, putting up some new shelves, and finally hanging up some of my wall quilts. I also finally made these:

These are the April blocks for the monthly color challenge at Patterns by Jen. The block on the right is freaking me out just a little. The picture is in focus, but the fabric looks like it isn't. Next month is green, so I'm kind of looking forward to that.  Speaking of which. . . look, there are leaves on those trees! This is what passes for excitement around here right now.

I've also been making some more of the modern squares blocks. I have about half of what I'll need done now:

These are super satisfying to make, and very easy. These blocks are just kind of thrown up on the wall, not really arranged in any order. All subject to change without notice!  I really like these a lot more than I thought I would. I'm not seeing the X's nearly as much any more. It does look more like lattice to me now. I have a nice stack of squares all sorted out and ready to go, so I'll keep on making these.

Of course, you all know that I've also been buying some happy fabrics online from time to time. Here is my latest haul:

These are all intended as backgrounds for some applique blocks I intend to make this summer. I've actually been planning this quilt for a long time, and it's why I have several yards of Kona Bone. I'm sure this is a lovely and useful color for someone, but it made me so sad that I didn't even wrap it on a fabric board. There was no way that I could use it as a background. The green and the yellow above turn out to be too dark for backgrounds, but I know I can find a use for those pieces somewhere.

Want a sneak peek at my applique project? Here we go:

That's all I'm showing for right now, because there is a real story behind this project. I'll let you in on it once this crazy, weird semester is over.

Stay well, everyone, and keep each other safe! And stitch something other than masks, just for your own sanity!

Sharing at Patterns by Jen for the Color Challenge.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Mindless but colorful

Hello friends! Where did today go? Last night I went to write this post but had nothing but trouble with the Internet. It was in and out and wouldn't take any picture uploads. Somehow it never does that when I'm trying to teach. (Thank goodness!) So, I thought I would write it this morning, but I started working and all of a sudden it was 5 pm. I have no idea how that happens!

I have to start with a bit of happy news in the midst of the crisis we're all enduring-- we have a new granddaughter! She was born last Wednesday and is absolutely perfect. She and her mom and dad are doing great, though they were kind of kicked out of the hospital pretty fast. For those of you who are counting, she is grandchild number five. Just as happy as with number one!

Anyway, I'm feeling a bit better these days, and I've been stitching. I might be getting a little mojo back. Time will tell.  It helps that I'm just doing mindless things right now. Here are the latest mindless bits:

This was an RSC project, but I needed it not to be an RSC project any more. So I grabbed the handy dandy box of 2-1/2 inch squares and went crazy. I did sort out the colors so I get enough variety, and I started with the blue blocks as a nod to the RSC:

The I made yellows, and then the very few reds, and I started on the pinks. Oh, and some purples, too. It felt great! These go so fast and you get a lot of blocks made really quickly, which we all know is really gratifying. I may be starting to understand the appeal of modern blocks.

I started thinking about layouts, too, and started putting them up on the wall:

I don't know if I like the X's that are formed this way, though it does make the colors really stand out and look like they're floating. I'm going to finish up the blocks and then we'll give it a lot of the design wall and see how it turns out. I'm open to other ideas.

Making these has been really easy, and it has calmed my mind, too. The other thing I've done is make some masks for family. I had wanted to make some to donate to the (religious) Sisters at school, but I haven't had time. And I have no elastic! Here was my "hack" for some ties for the corners for the ones I did make:

I've always saved the ribbons and twill tape and such that come wrapped around stacks of fat quarters or other stacks of fabrics. Who knows why? I must have been deprived of ribbon as a child. Anyway, I've been using these! If you stitch the wider ones (like this one above) in half, it will be the right size and no one will ever have to see the printing on them. What can I say? It worked!

Hope all of you are hanging in there and are not going too crazy in quarantine. It's an odd time, but at least we'll have stories of bravery and goodness for the grandchildren. And handwashing, don't forget that!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC 20.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Dashing through the crisis

Hello all! How are you all doing? Show of hands-- who has resorted to cutting their own hair? Who has thought about it? Yes, me too. I need to get this hair out of my eyes really soon. Although I'm out of contact lenses, so I'm not sure I'd be able to see anything anyway.

THANK YOU all so much for your supportive and kind comments on my last post. I especially want to thank those of you who are no-reply and I couldn't thank personally. I really, really appreciate all your kindness. I'm doing a little better now. It helps just to know you're not alone, you know? Plus, one of my committees had its last meeting (over Zoom, ugh) and another one is finished this week, so that helps a lot. Plus the semester will be over in just three weeks, and I'm starting to see the light at the end of that tunnel. I'm pretty sure it's not a train, too!

Some of you suggested just stitching anything mindless, and I've finally come to the realization that that is the best possible advice. It's like my classes-- I had to throw out what I had planned and make a new plan.  My new plan involved those bright batiks I showed last time, an easy, easy block, and a few hours of fairly mindless stitching. This is what that looks like so far:

Yahoo, some fun churn dashes! True fact: I am not fond of churn dashes, but I love how they look on point. I went back and forth between churn dash and shoo fly, because they look really similar to me when they're on point. So I guess that will be the layout, don't you think? That green one reminds me so much of  a watermelon rind that my mouth is watering. Gosh, I hope we get to have watermelon this year.

So far I've made about a dozen of these babies:

I feel like I can get maybe 8 out of each fat quarter, which would make a decent-sized quilt top. I didn't measure or calculate, but these are 6-inch blocks. Right now I'm just happy that they're actually turning out to be cute blocks in happy colors. It's literally the most I can do right now.

For just a bit more mindless sewing, I'm planning something using this box of fun squares:

along with these blocks:

Yep, that was an RSC project, but I need the mindless sewing more than an RSC project.  We'll see what happens.

Again, thanks for the support, everyone. It meant so much to me and got me through a hard week.  I hope you're all staying healthy, and that you're making it through the quarantine okay. And if your hair is screaming "everyone stay six feet away," you are definitely not alone. Good thing I won't use my fabric scissors for anything else, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Challenging times

Hello all. How are you doing with our new reality? I'm just sitting here, writing this while refreshing my grocery order in hopes of getting a pickup time slot. Good times.

Plenty of allergies are building up here, but no nasty viruses yet, thank goodness. I am truly not doing too well with this whole thing, and I'm trying to be upbeat and optimistic, but folks, I'm struggling. I know some of you are, too. It's a very challenging time for everyone, and trying to keep it all together is getting to me. Even stitching isn't helping. I'm having a hard time staying focused.   If you are feeling scared, lost, anxious, or stressed, you are not alone! There's a lot of us in this big club that we never signed up for.

Anyway, not a lot of stitching time around here lately, but I've been trying to get to the sewing room once in a while.  I have a lot of students who are in our RN to BSN program, which means that they are already nurses and they're trying to get a full bachelor's degree in nursing to get better pay and promotions, and some of them are graduating, too. They are working absolutely crazy hours, and I'm trying to be there for them at odd hours so that they can finish and graduate. I'm astounded by them, truly.


I made some of these little things:

These are kid-sized masks for my grandkids. The whole mask and other PPE thing makes me incredibly angry, but it was fun to make these and think I'm helping keep the kiddos safe. I cut these 5 inches by 7 inches for the 4 year old and 4 by 6 for the littler kids. Thank goodness I seldom throw things away because I was able to find just a couple feet of elastic. I can't really tell you the last time I used elastic, but I was happy to have it.

The only other things I've been doing is sorting some fabrics and scraps and organizing, plus I did order some happy fabrics to cheer me up:

These are some bright batiks and I already have a plan for them.  These came from the Old Country Store, which has a lot of cool stuff and is still doing mail order.  One of my committees has its last "meeting" this week, so I have high hopes of grabbing a few minutes to stitch something happy. (By the way, I dislike even talking on the phone, and now I have to have meetings on camera. It's maddening!)

I also got this panel, which is called Best Friends Forever:

This is a super cute panel with four little dolls, and even a couple of little pets for them, too. 

These should be fun to stitch, don't you think?

Sorry for the downer of a post, friends! It's a strange time, and we can't pretend it isn't.  I hope you're all doing okay and at least getting a pickup time for your groceries.  No luck for me yet! Once I finish this I'm going looking for some blue-green batiks, because I must make a quilt for my bedroom sooner or later, and is there a better time to be shopping online?

Hang in there, stay well, and be safe, friends.  I'll try to do the same! And if you have something optimistic or encouraging to say, now is the time I'd like to hear it!

Sharing with whoever is still stitching!