For the past few weeks, we, the staff, have taken over Jinny’s blog on several occasions to let you see while the staff is keeping to home when we are not at the Studio. Today we have for you our last installment, at least for a while, on Quarantine Quilts.
Even though she is in the middle of moving to Ohio, before she left us at the Studio, JJ made sure to send us photos of her latest projects with the note, “Everyone is showing off more quilts than me so I look like a slacker!” Just looking at her Moon Glow quilt, finished and quilted, we think you will agree that this woman is no slacker.
JJ also sent a picture of this adorable quilt, also finished and quilted. Sewology is a BOM from a quilt shop in Utah and we are sure it is going to look wonderful in her new sewing room.
Just in time for Easter, Cathy finished this lovely Easter Cross by Martha D-Zines. The second photo shows how it started. The method is pinwheel twist using the Lil’ Twister tool.
Cathy also has been working on this simple but adorable pattern called Ebb Tide by Villa Rosa Design. The fabric is Home Sweet Gnome by Cotton & Steel (Sarah Watts). Her daughter happens to love gnomes and Cathy wanted a mindless and relaxing project.
In addition to the masks she has been making, Dana has been working on her Lemur quilt, an Elizabeth Hartman design. There is a total of 20 lemurs and she has made her way through four! She is using Jinny’s fabrics, a mix of palette, some collections and batiks. She is also using C See’s Portable Design Mat because “it is totally perfect for small pieces!”
Dana is trying to keep a sense of normalcy even working from home and tries to dress up as much as she can for work…but with slippers. For a “comfy” outfit to change into when work is done, she made this quarantine top some knit fabrics that she had with cats to enjoy the comfort of her home. The quilt behind her is the one her grandmother made for her, quilted entirely by hand.
And since she and her husband, Alen, are using this time to decorate their house. Wanting to wallpaper a wall in our dining room, they ordered this peel and stick wallpaper from Spoonflower. Dana says “it is divine and super easy to work with – it even feels like fabric.”
Since the retail shop is closed to walk-in customers, Rebecca took home the Border Play sample she made and machine quilted it. She loves the color combination! Now she just has to bury threads and bind it, so it will be hanging up whenever we are ready to reopen. She basted five other quilts including this Labyrinth, so there will be lots of quilting in the days and weeks ahead! She has also made 60 masks for family, friends, neighbors, and hospital workers.
You’ve gotten a glimpse into what we are up to during this strange time. Now, we’d love to see what you’re doing. Share your pictures on our Facebook page.
People from all over the world are finding ways to say thank you to the healthcare workers, the first responders, people who are keeping the essential stores open. It’s one way they find that they can make even a small contribution to the pandemic that has hit our world. My daughter is an ER doctor. She had a malfunction of her protective gear while performing CPR on a COVID 19 patient. She is now in a 14 day quarantine and cannot leave her bedroom.
Friends came by and wrote this thank you on their sidewalk . She could see it from her window. Other friends brought cookies and left a thank you note. She’s receiving thanks in many ways. As quilters, we also look for a way we can do something and make a small contribution to what is happening all around us. There’s not one of us who hasn’t been touched in some way by COVID 19.
In the past when national disasters have occurred, we’ve gotten together at the Studio and had sew-ins making quilts for the victims of the disasters. We are not able to get together this time. We all have to stay home. We have been told that everyone should wear masks for protection when they are apt to encounter other people. Many of my extended family members do not sew and do not have access to purchased masks. So, I asked a simple question of my staff “is anybody making masks and if so what pattern are you using.” I received back a barrage of emails. They are ALL making masks…for friends, neighbors, family, health institutions, homeless shelters, nursing homes, etc. There is a wide variety of patterns that have been used and styles and techniques. If you feel inclined to make some masks (I know many of you already are) I hope you find this information helpful.
I can’t tell you the best mask pattern to use. It all depends on what the needs are, how much time you want to take, what supplies you have available, etc. But I can pass on to you some of the staff comments and tips.
There are basically two kinds of mask patterns available: ones that are molded to fit the face and ones that are pleated rectangles.
Securing the masks:
There are also different ways to secure the masks. Some have elastic bands that fit behind the ears. Others have ties that go around the head and neck. Ties can be made of bias binding, cording, ribbon, etc. My favorite (and easiest) is to cut ties from old t-shirts. Cut one-inch strips running parallel to the hem. Pull them and they curl into a cord. The stretchiness helps to make a more secure tie. I keep the tie all in one piece. The loop goes over the head and the ties are tied behind the neck.
Fabric to use:
Quilting fabric has been recommended by many experts because of the high thread count. Amongst quilting fabric, batiks are especially good because they are made with fabric with an even greater thread count. Either type will work very well.
Here’s what some members of my staff have been doing.
I’m using the pattern for the Olson mask. There is even a pattern for a child aged 2-5. The Olson mask is made up of 6 pieces. The insides should have two different colors to identify the place where you can insert a heppa filter.
So far, I have not gotten beyond making masks for family and friends. I’m using a combination of two patterns with pleats, primarily one from Erica Made Designs. So far, I have lined them with a lightweight interfacing and will be moving on to flannel lining next. I’m impressed with the studies which say that these masks made of quilting fabric have a 70 to 79% filtration rate.
Here is mine and my husband’s. I’m sure you can tell whose is whose.
I’ve made two styles of masks so far for friends and family. They’ve been shipped as far as Atlanta! Both of them have two layers of fabric (I’m using a batik and white sheeting, both of which are the higher thread count recommended and the inside/outside is obvious); both have nose wires (also recommended); one has a pocket for a filter. Both patterns call for elastic but I’ve been using WOF double-fold straps (cut on the straight- grain) which is apparently more comfortable and can allow for a better fit.
The first pattern is the fitted style; very comfortable. Takes a bit longer to make. Second is the pleated mask; I think this will be my go-to pattern as it is faster.
I have joined the mask making brigade also but am working on family and extended family (workers at our family’s restaurant) for now. Some of the ones I make are custom ordered like the Willie Nelson bandana and the wolf mask. Each family member is as unique as their mask.
One quick tip I found to make it easier is to zigzag stitch the wire or pipe cleaner in the seam allowance on the top of the mask BEFORE you turn the mask right side out….this makes the placement and guidance easier so as not to worry about hitting it with my needle. Doesn’t matter which pattern you are using.
I have used several different patterns and have modified most of them to reduce the cutting and numbers of seams to sew. The ties seem to be better for fitting.
I am using muslin or colored cotton for the inside lining. Most of them have the pocket to add some kind of additional filter if needed. My stash is finally serving a valiant purpose although it may not make a significant dent. Having fun and sewing with a purpose: the 2020 version of Rosie the Riveter with a sewing machine
I am using T-shirts for straps – really a time saver.
I have been making masks for Johns Hopkins Hospital (pattern here), where my son-in-law works, my allergist’s practice, as well as family, neighbors and friends. To date, I have made over 400!!
I did have to try one with border print fabric. I centered the mirror image motif of the fabric in the middle of the rectangle.
I have made some masks for my family and some friends who have asked. I tried to find some “manly” fabric scraps for the guys and fun fabrics for the girls! Although, I did have to make a mask for my husband and he wanted cats – go figure! I will probably be making more for him to go to work (he is a DC police detective) as they are not providing these essential things due to the lack of resources and will be sending along any extras for other people in his office as needed.
I used quilting cottons for the outside and a Jinny batik for the inside (coordinating of course)! I had read that using batiks was good as the weave is tighter than other fabrics. I also had some extra interfacing that I added to the inside as an extra layer of protection.
I tried a few patterns but found that I liked this one the best. It can be secured around the neck and head without having to take it off and constantly be setting it down or touching it.
I have been making masks for family. I am using the Olson Mask tutorial that Diane used. I have found the long loop is more comfortable than my ancient, scratchy elastic. I made my loop tie from cotton fabric cut at 3/4” then I fold it in half lengthwise, iron it flat, then run it through my serger. So far, it is working well. I use one layer of quilting fabric and the lining is from a sheet.
I am using the patterns from millionmaskchallenge.com, which was started by a group of women in our area. There are two kinds – one is a cover for an N95 mask, and the other is a basic mask for people in their daily lives. (How weird is it that this is part of our daily lives?!)
Two indispensable items: Wonder Clips and the ByAnnie stiletto!
I started by using some old bias and twill tapes I got from my mom, but have run out of those. After two painful evenings making bias tape, I read about the T-shirt strips. Genius!
Here is a photo of the masks I made for family in Colorado, a mix of the Olson Mask using ponytail holders for the ear elastic (more comfortable and readily available at my grocery store), and pleated masks with ties made of cross grain cut 2″ strips.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from my contact at Operation Homefront, a non-profit to which my quilt guild donates baby blankets for the baby bundles they give to new military moms. I was asked if I could ask my quilting friends to make masks (any kind, ties or elastic, formed or pleated) for distribution at Walter Reed Hospital.
Off to the loft to make more masks.
I’ve been making masks for my family and friends and both my sisters are doing the same. I have found doing the masks very calming and a way of thinking about each person as I sew for them. My son is a woodworker so he got hammer and nails, my husband sails so boats on his, my friend is a gardener, so gardening tools for her. My granddaughter, Ruthie, is learning how to ride her new bike so hers has bicycles! Here’s the pattern I’m using. I’m making version #2 in the video but not doing the pocket, just one whole piece replacing it.
Now for me…
I used the same video that Lura used above and also made #2. I have so far made the masks for family and friends. I used fusible interfacing inside for extra protection. I have a couple of tips.
Cut the interfacing about 3 inches shorter on one end then center it over the rectangle and iron it down. The extra bulk won’t be a factor in making and sewing the pleats and casing.
If you are going to make a casing to run your ties through, it can be difficult to get a safety pin through all those folds. I decided to use a medium-size metal crochet hook. It went through the casing easily and I hooked the t-shirt ties and pulled it right through.
I folded the pipe cleaners over about half an inch on each end so that the metal wouldn’t cut through the fabric with repeated washings.
When we first had the idea of showing you on the blog what the staffers are working on at home, we had no idea that it would be enough for several posts. Today, we continue on with our look into their sewing rooms.
Lura has been working on her lovely Rose Star quilt blocks for a while and now they are all done. She chose this gray-green background fabric of Jinny’s from her Coventry collection and is on the hunt for a little more to do the borders. She wonders if any Jinny Beyer fans can help?
In addition, she is another member of the staff to do the “Quarantine Quilt-along” by Gudrun Erla. Lura’s “Elvira” was done in done in Charley Harper fabrics.
Elaine finished the quilting on her husband Dan’s penguin quilt, made in commemoration of his trip to Antarctica last year. The design, “Penguin Party” is by Elizabeth Hartman. How adorable is that!
Nancy recently finished quilting this Feathered Star the night before it had to be photographed for a quilt show so the binding was only glued onto the back. This was quickly sewn down when the quarantine began. Jinny’s Aruba fabric is the background and the deep red Delhi fabric is the perfect border. The quilt was inspired by her favorite piece at the “Infinite Variety” quilt show in Manhattan in 2011.
This second quilt goes way back to the 2013 Quilters’ Quest. It was called “Potomac Charms” and the top was a sample for the Studio. Working on the hand quilting this winter with a “big stitch” it reminded her of an Alpine sunset seen while hiking this past summer and the quilt was renamed “Mont Blanc Sunset.”
And finally, the step-outs for Nancy’s “No Tear Paper Piecing” class were getting a little ratty so she just sewed them all together. The quilt is filled with Jinny’s fabric and Palette #122 makes the perfect background. She’s now working on a pieced border with 100+ flying geese.
We hope you’ve enjoyed looking into what the staff has been up to. At the rate they are sewing away, we will be back with more soon.
I hope you can forgive me if I brag a bit about the talent of the quilters who work here. In the past two blogs we have shared some amazing quilts from a few of our staffers and now we have more on the way.
Not every quilt shop can talk about the beautiful quilts from their accountant but we can. Here are just a couple of projects our accountant, Julia, is working on.
First is this small quilt top (33″ square) which is the “Liberty Squares” pattern by Toby Lischko. It was started in a workshop with Toby around 7-8 years ago. Only a couple of the 4″ blocks were completed at the time. It was started with fabric from Jinny’s Northern Lights collection. In February and early March, Julia finally completed the rest of the squares. This past week she added two Bedfordshire fabrics for the borders. For the binding, she is using the same green as the inner border. She’s at a loss right now as to how to quilt it but it will probably be by machine to get it done.
The second quilt many of you may recognize as it is from the recent Quarantine Quilt-along by Gudrun Erla on Facebook. Julia’s stack of Andalucia fat quarters was close at hand so that was what she used. It was a very quick quilt top to assemble, finishing at 49″ x 63″ and now, she says, it joins the growing pile of tops to quilt.
There are several projects Kelley is working on at the moment. First, she’s piecing the final border (Delectable Mountains) of this medallion quilt from “The Quilt Show.” It is called “Halo Medallion” designed by Sue Garman. Kelley says it’s been labor intensive and she is excited about finishing it. She used mostly Jinny’s fabric with the exception of the focus fabric and the background.
Apparently, Kelley is not one to shy away from tough projects. Several of the staffers have challenged each other to make Jinny’s Moon Glow quilt and Kelley just finished sewing the blocks together and is ready to quilt it. That is quite an accomplishment.
An easier project is this “Easy Threesy” table runner from a Karen K. Buckley workshop. It has all Jinny Beyer fabric except for the woven black background. Kelley is just about to quilt this one, too.
Finally, Kelley has also been working on a new project, the Quilter’s Trek block for the Studio. We can’t show it to you now. We will reveal it in a couple of months but we are all happy with how it is turning out.
Speaking of Moon Glow, Judy is using this time to get back to hers. This group project was started last February; some have finished or made more progress than others. Judy is making hers larger so she’s not finished but here is her progress to date.
Judy, like Julia, followed the quilt-along with Gudrun Erla and here is her version of “Elvira.” She started with a few fat quarters and then had to hunt up more to complete it. What a difference between the two quilts.
Those were lots of beautiful quilts but we will have even more for you next time.
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