Category Archives: Sewing Clothes and for the Home

Mask post #3

If you’re keeping up with the news, you’ll see new reporting about the utility of wearing masks. Most people I know are keeping exposure to an absolute minimum but still need masks to decontaminate food deliveries or go to the grocery store.

(I kept asking K, “How can 2 billion people be wrong?”) (well, okay, 1.4 billion, but you get my point. They now surmise that Hong Kong’s outbreak was contained somewhat by the prevalent use of masks).

While I wouldn’t recommend using masks that can otherwise serve the medical professionals, homemade cloth ones might help the rest of us, especially if they have a pocket for inserting additional protection.

When I saw the video of the European tailor (below) whip up a mask out of three pieces of cloth in about three minutes, I was beyond impressed. This morning I finally gave his version a try. I want to share the extra steps that I devised to compensate for the fact that I don’t share his mad skills.

First the dimensions:

RECTANGLE: 7.5″ x 14″

TIES: 27.5″ x 1.25″

1) Press short lengths of rectangle under 1/4″. Fold in half. Top stitch from one edge in 2″ then top stitch other end 2″ from edge to the edge. I marked the two inch distances with pins.

(The tailor did not press first or make marks).

2) Press and pin pleats and stitch down. Finished length 3.5″

(The tailor folded as he went while attaching ties).

3) Fold tie in half to determine halfway point and pin, right sides together on pleats. Stitch down.

4) Press tie toward mask’s back then press each side of the long tie towards its center with 1/4″ fold. That makes it easier to stitch.

4) Fold tie and stitch from mid-pleating to one tie end before reversing and stitching from mid-pleat to the tie’s other end. (If you are a precise and practiced seamstress, begin at one end of the 27″ tie and sew to the other end).

5) If desired add an X of top stitching for additional strength at corners of masks.

Voila! A cloth mask with a pocket made from three pieces of cloth.

Here are some ideas for inserts, roughly ranked from most to least effective:

  • Piece of furnace filter cut to size
  • Piece of vacuum bag cut to size
  • A maxi pad
  • A piece of batting
  • A piece of cloth, esp batik or silk
  • A used piece of dryer lint
  • A folded paper towel.

Even if these masks do nothing more than remind one not to touch one’s face between hand washings, they have value.

This morning I read some speculation that the virus might in fact transmit through the air (and not just by droplets) for very short periods of time. That might make cloth masks more important than initially believed.

Some hospitals will accept these to wear over N95 masks. Some hospice/nursing home caregivers have no masks at all and would appreciate these. One friend is making cloth masks for her local firefighters at their request. Every area is different.

Obviously, wash between uses.

Big cloth, small glass

In progress, all over the living room: the six panels for First Born’s bed-sized quilt.

Will I finish in time for an upcoming birthday? Probably not. But finishing is the goal.

I keep finding glass from the shattered tumbler — in the dishwasher, on the floor.

I canvassed for Warren yesterday. The NV results were discouraging but here are three ideas to remember (cling to?):

  • Bill Clinton lost IA, NH, and NV;
  • the 75,000 early ballots in NV were cast before the most recent debate; and
  • Warren raised $12MM after that debate.

My last bday celebration took place across town last night with two long-time friends — one a fellow February baby, the other the host and a terrific cook. We’re all getting older. Actually, we’re all terrific cooks, too!

We sat by the fire and talked about all kinds of things, including — ESG-filtered investments, dating apps, grandchildren, Harriet Tubman, the NV caucus, butter beans, and how to survive in a wholly altered America.

“We only have each other. Small, local communities.”

I wonder: what kind of paperwork does one need to live, say, in Montreal?

We swapped inspiring links. I offered up the Future Primitive podcast link about regenerative design and B gave me (another) terrific astrology link as well as this:

Trash to Treasure

So if as Maddow says this is not the threat of dark times but the dark time themselves, it seems incumbent upon all of us to document gratitude and small miracles.

This orchid seems poised to bloom. It’s a kind of miracle if you ask me — especially because I know nothing about orchids or what they need. There’s a sky light, so maybe that?

The orchid was a long ago bday gift from D, who cooked dinner last night. From Georgia. The butter bean expert.

Friendship is a kind of miracle, too, don’t you think? Connections local and, I would add, connections, here. Much gratitude for these. For you.

 

Snow and time

It’s coming down hard. Brush the car off one hour and the next it’s covered again — with four inches of snow! Been shaking the branches of the arbor vitae and holly.

Still finding bottle brush trees to put away.

With all the sticks littering the backyard, Finn just wants someone to play with him when he’s out back. Right now, though, he’s snoring, curled up next to K.

March is birthday month: both boys, my brother and sister in law, and my mother in law. A few pictures going back to first boy’s first year.

A little peanut in a Moses basket.

A first Christmas in Florida.

The Uncle Fester phase.

Precious commodity: sleep.

PJ’s from Korea. Pond my mother made.

Bumpers, quilt, and curtains I made. A happy chappy (Oh Lord, was there a heating pad in the crib?)

First trip to the Vineyard. Two color ear flap hat knit by moi.

PO’d kitties. Suddenly not the center of our world.

Stay warm if you’re sharing this blizzard and if not, stay cool while ever more shit hits the fan in Washington!

A last shot spit up by FB this morning. Not from his first year, obviously.

I have arrived. I am home. 

Reading Thich Nhat Hanh yesterday, I came across the lines: “I have arrived, I am home / in the here and now. / I am solid, I am free / In the ultimate I dwell.” Last night K and I walked the labyrinth over at Boston College and the first of the lines stayed with me, adapted a little:  “I am here. I have arrived. I am home.”

I passed on the opportunity to gather with others at the State House and chose this more solitary act instead. It was too cold to watch every heel/toe/breath but I sometimes sent a prayer heavenward: “get him out peacefully”.

All that urgent yearning and: “I have arrived. I am home.”  Such contrast!

December 19 — can we call it the “new longest night” of the year? “I am home. I have arrived.”

Today, my sister and I shopped for our holiday dinner at a little Salem market called Steve’s which she insists on calling Frank’s, a fact that would amuse you if you knew my husband’s family. Anyway, bringing my bags out first so that I could return and get her bags second, I repeated: “I am home. I have arrived. I am here.” Crossing the tarmac with plastic rattling — such an ordinary moment and one that I might normally on some level rush to get through! Instead, those grounding and life affirming words: “I am home.”

On the second trip out, imagine my delight when, just after repeating, “I am here,” I looked up to see a banner half a block away reading: Where You At?

“I am here. I am home. I have arrived.”

We had liverwurst with wasabi and mayo on pumpernickel for lunch and I left in time to miss the 3:00 school and shift-change traffic. It was a “yes” day.

And just now, I finished a Pussyhat for a friend marching on Washington next month. They’re supposed to be knit and I plan to also knit a few when my pink yarn arrives, but in the meantime, this one was constructed out of a cashmere sweater, polar fleece, and wool felt. (Pussyhat Project).

Don’t ask me why or how, but it feels like “moving on”.


Fixing a hole

Looks like Finn wants to learn how to cut strips on the bias!

 I got so many amazing suggestions on how to edge this cashmere sweater over on Facebook!!  In the end I grabbed a piece of soft wintery-looking flannel that was large enough to cut two inch strips on the bias. The grey of the flannel is silvery while the grey of the wool is a warm grey.  Not a great match, in other words.   I decided to prize completion over perfection and, anyway, it’s not so terrible.   Maybe this will inspire me to rework the necklines on two black cashmere sweaters that are languishing upstairs.

Even a used garment bought on a half price sale day is money poorly spent if you never wear it!   Later I will connect up two more squares for the Hearts for Charleston quilt — Mo’s and Nancy’s.   I was able to actually weave the edges together this time, using the new corduroy base under Mo’s square.

Because it rained

20140729-082526-30326986.jpgThank goodness it rained on the last Sunday in July, because instead of taking a walk that morning, I went to the MFA.  It was the last day of a quilt show that it would have killed me to miss.
IMG_4648There were about six rooms of beautiful traditional quilts, with a lot of text about the collectors and the quilters’ use of color.  Another friend of mine took exception with how little was said about the MAKERS and how MUCH was said about the collectors.  I spent almost all of my time looking at the quilts, so it wasn’t something I picked up on.  Before I judge the exhibit on this basis, I would want to know what, if anything, they knew about the crafters.  It’s very possible that in the case of many of the quilts, NOTHING was known.

a whole room of Amish quilts!

a whole room of Amish quilts!

In what little text I did read, I noticed an repetitious emphasis on the use of color (we get it! complimentary colors look good together!!) and a real lack of information about the technical structure of the cloths.  Gorgeous trapunto and stippling went without mention; one quilt supposedly had discharged cloth in it where I could find none.

feathered diamond. Penn. 1890's

feathered diamond. Penn. 1890’s

But! I still thoroughly enjoyed the show and firmly believe that quilts belong on the walls of our art museums — and not just the magnificent Gee’s Bend quilts, either.

All the photos were taken with my phone, so please indulge the lack of focus!

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bold and dynamic use of plaid

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An entire room of variations on the Log Cabin pattern was my favorite part of the show, not only because of the quilts themselves, but because the grouping revealed how profound an impact color/value choices have on design.  All the quilts in the room used the very same pattern and yet were radically different from each other.

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unbelievably small strips!

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20140729-082527-30327633.jpgThis was one of many beautiful nine patches in the exhibit.  The show made me appreciate the uses of white when making patterns and colors sing.

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woolen, tied quilt — nine patch and rail fence

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Heading north

Cold and raw here. Seems like spring has not made up its mind to arrive. Oddly, it is warmer in Montreal. We’ve been checking. Hope to cross the border well before dinner.
IMG_9186D. has an anatomy exam this morning and will sleep ’til the last possible moment.
IMG_9175IMG_9125I delivered the nursery school quilt yesterday.  The kids were making glop, but managed to gather round and have their various, individual responses without getting any on the quilt.  One boy wore the deepest frown possible. I loved him for it. The best part of the endeavor, of course, was spending time with the students.
IMG_9093I really only have a couple of little tricks about the project, but plan to do a (mostly pictorial) tutorial. Took the pictures, anyway. Above, it is not quite done.

The ligularia seems especially brave this year.
IMG_9187We are off to Montreal this morning — moving C. into a new apartment, then bringing him home.  The usual disclaimer: two (vicious to you, darling to us) German Shepherds will be here with Jerry.

A few of the star series pieces will come for the ride — perfect for lap quilting!