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July 12, 2020
Masks! More Masks! from Quilting Studio Adventures

One thing is clear to me. We are going to be wearing masks for a long time.  As my shattered humerus heals, I’ve discovered I can do minor cutting.  Like for masks.  And I can sew.  Only not in reverse - I don't have the strength yet to press the reverse lever down. I see my bone doctor tomorrow, the same woman who surgically repaired my wrist in February.  At a previous appointment, she was wearing a mask I gave her - nice.  I see her tomorrow morning for X-rays and evaluation, perhaps to start back with OT/PT.  Buddy ...

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A Completed Top from 120 Blocks

Yesterday I completed the 2019 Fall Cotton Cuts Puzzle Mystery top. AKA Cosmos. I love the fabric in this top so much. It’s from Tula Pink’s Pinkerville line. I think I see a mistake that I may have to fix. … Continue reading

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July 5, 2020
Building a white Rail Fence from Sew and Sow Farm

Happy Independence Day ya'll! I hope everyone is doing alright. I personally think we need to rewind 2020. I've been laying pretty low mostly around the house and a little time at the farm. Farm life keeps moving through whatever else is happening in the world. I am so thankful EVERY day to live where and how we live! This is a long one folks, so grab a cup of tea and relax while you read.

We had lots of new calves this Spring.

These fat, lazy buggers need to get a job! 

But this little sweetie , can ...

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July 3, 2020
Masked Hexagons, Socially Distanced: An English Paper Pieced Mystery Scrap Quilt from Gefilte Quilt

If you are one of the thousands of quilters giving time and fabric to make lifesaving masks, thank you. For me, making masks is not only a good deed, but a powerful way to reduce anxiety in a tragic  time. 

You may also be putting mask scraps aside, to someday make a  quilt. Here’s one idea that you can work on as you continue to make masks: 

And here's what it would have looked like on white:

It's not finished - it's just a top - because as I continue to make masks, I will grow it. The ...

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June 30, 2020
NYC, Designing & “Good” Ideas from Where Art & Life Meet

The other day my husband and I had a socially distanced, mask-wearing get-together with friends. Okay, so we didn’t keep our masks on once we were seated the acceptable, government authorized 6 feet apart from one another, but we behaved responsibly. Why am I feeling that I need to add something like – “no really,… Continue reading NYC, Designing & “Good” Ideas

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June 25, 2020
Hand Sewing a Mask from Nina Paley

Yes, you can sew a mask with no iron, no pins, and no sewing machine. Just a needle and thread, scissors, mask kit, and a lot of time. My trial run (photographed below) took a couple hours, giving me plenty of time to catch up on podcasts. I could probably learn to do it faster, but one was enough for me.

To hand sew, more or less follow the instructions here, but knot your thread every time, and avoid any extra stitching. Remember that screen printing stretches and distorts the fabric a little, so the pieces won’t line up ...

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June 24, 2020
Cut It Out! from From the Strawberry Patch...

I have my work cut out for me, literally. I've done research on the history of that phrase and have found the most prevalent explanation as one that comes from the sixteenth century: "This phrase is supposedly a metaphorical allusion to the preparation of fabric to be worked on: once the shapes have been cut out, the tailor still has a lot of sewing to do, by hand in the past, before the cloth

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Cut It Out! from From the Strawberry Patch...

I have my work cut out for me, literally. I've done research on the history of that phrase and have found the most prevalent explanation as one that comes from the sixteenth century: "This phrase is supposedly a metaphorical allusion to the preparation of fabric to be worked on: once the shapes have been cut out, the tailor still has a lot of sewing to do, by hand in the past, before the cloth

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Making progress from The Academic Quilter

Hello everyone! Hope you all are having a good day.  We keep having storms that take out our power, but otherwise it's been an okay week here so far. Well, except for the part where the hubs and I may have finally hit the point where we have spent too much time together. Two full time jobs, a cancelled vacation, a new granddaughter we can't meet, a pandemic, civil unrest, *and* home improvements have finally proven to be a little much. Good thing we can sometimes escape outdoors! Or rage clean, which is what I sometimes do. (The ...

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May 29, 2020
Friday: WIP on SIP from With Strings Attached

(SIP = Shelter in Place, obviously)

I fiddled and fussed with the arrangement of the house blocks so the light and dark frames alternated. I've sewn the bottom five rows together.

The letters turned out okay BUT I don't think I'm going to use them on the front of the quilt.

That's because if I use this as a bed quilt -- all 90 blocks with a border = approx. 82 x 90 -- I don't think I'd like Shelter in Place across the middle. 

Shelter in Place could go on the back along with other phrases that ...

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May 25, 2020
Masks Now Available to Order from Nina Paley

Angel O’ Death masks (screen prints as complete masks and kits) and hand-printed Angel O’ Death and Eyes of the Goddess masks are now available at . Eyes of the Goddess screen print masks will be available later, once I get a batch screenprinted. Please be patient as these aren’t all sewn and packaged yet. But the materials are all ready, and the production has been proven!


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May 18, 2020
Weekly update: more of the same from With Strings Attached

We took advantage of the sunshine Saturday to harvest rhubarb from a church acquaintance's yard. (She offered it last year and I took her up on it. I called her again and she said we were welcome to it. She's 94 and isn't leaving her house these days.) 
I trimmed it outside.  
Each quart bag
holds 4 cups.

We also bought geraniums, petunias, and other flowers at the garden/produce stand just over the state line.  I'll go back next weekend to get tomatoes.

Just as forecast, it poured all day Sunday.  Our sump pump drained ...

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May 17, 2020
Hand prints from Nina Paley

The pristine, just-laser-cut blocks.
A pair of resultant prints.
Just before the blocks’ maiden voyage. I photographed them before they got little bits of ink stuck in them.

Next step is to heat-set them with the iron, and sew them into a test mask.

UPDATE: Masks!
My face is a little red because I rode my bike 67 miles today, including 10 miles in rain so heavy I couldn’t see and had to stop every few yards to wipe my eyes because OW rainwater stings, but I was sufficiently excited to come home to these masks to take these ...

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May 16, 2020
TRYING TO FIND MY GROOVE! from The Proficient Needle

I think I greatly underestimated my own well-being after being so focused on DH after his stroke.  We both had to adjust to staying at home, away from family and friends.  

During out 14 day isolation, we were both dealing with unpacking, finalizing health insurance stuff, doctor stuff,  etc.  I found it almost impossible to focus on sewing, as I couldn't even focus on getting my studio space back to normal.

As DH starting feeling more like his normal self, he became restless, and wanted to get out more.  I realized that our lives had been so different in ...

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May 11, 2020
Weekly update: masks, houses, and how it turned out from With Strings Attached

Tulips, 6 a.m.

Tulips, 11 a.m.
What a variety of weather we've had!  Two warm days (first lawn-mowing of the season) followed by near-record chill with a touch of frost Saturday morning.  The parking lot and trails at the Camp Logan unit of Illinois Beach State Park were still flooded from the April 29 rain (3.37") but Saturday afternoon we tried Hosah Park (the one patch of lakefront that belongs to Zion Park District).  But where's the beach? Somewhere near Indiana by now.  Last summer there was sand at the end of the boardwalk and ...

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May 9, 2020
Easy & Versatile Face Mask, Updated! from Gefilte Quilt

A free printable PDF version of this tutorial is available from Dropbox, HERE. (Version 2a, 5/1/20). If you can't download it email me at, and I will send it to you. 

If you want to make a snug, well fitting, fast mask, consider this one. Like a quilt, it's all rectangles and squares - no pattern to trace. It's built a lot like a quilt, with three layers (but none are batting), and (two modified) bindings on the sides.

My first tutorial for this mask went on my blog in early March ...

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May 4, 2020
Weekly update: masks, houses, rainbow rails -- and blog hop coming! from With Strings Attached

State parks were opened May 1 -- but our favorite part of the lakefront was closed this weekend due to flooding. (3.37" of rain fell on Wednesday.) We went to the marina and I hiked from that end as far as I could before encountering a 2" deep puddle that went across the trail. 

(Photo on right is not the puddle. It's a stream flowing with the lake in the background.)

# # # # # # #

The 1/4" elastic I ordered from an eBay seller came Saturday. I wasn't careful when I shopped so I paid WAY too much -- $38 for 40 ...

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April 27, 2020
Passover Masks; I Couldn't Help Myself from Gefilte Quilt

Passover is April 8. With the world in the throes of the COVID epidemic, public health authorities and rabbis agree that people should stay home, and connect with farflung loved ones at the seder via Zoom, Skype, or whatever. 

I don't have any matzoh in my house yet - but of course, I always have plenty of matzoh fabric. So this morning, I broke away from making (somewhat) normal masks for friends and family; and I made these, just to make myself laugh.  First....

(I buy matzoh fabric here.)

The next mask covers two plagues: Frogs and hail. 

(The dots ...

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Weekly update: sewing ahead from With Strings Attached

We attended church via YouTube yesterday. They've been recording the service for a couple of weeks but this was the first time we've tuned in. We sang along with the hymns.

It was sunny and warm for my afternoon walk. I saw a radio-tagged Blanding's turtle. (Here is information about the recovery program.)

# # # # # # # # # #

I'm up to 49 Shelter in Place house blocks -- one per day of the stay-at-home order, so this takes me to May 2.

 I want to sew ahead so that I can clean off the cutting table.  The sew-ahead includes making HSTs for ...

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Making Masks from Wedding Dress Blue

Like many of you, some of my sewing time in April has gone to making masks.  There are many large and important charitable projects going on, but for me, for now, I am making them for friends and family.  I want to serve right where I am.

This batch is for Second Son, his wife and their four children.


So far, 55 masks have been make and delivered.  I package them in a sandwich baggie along with three disposable filters (paper towels cut to size).


And they are getting worn. (Husband of one of my fellow teachers)


It feels right ...

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  • masks
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