Testing- A MQG Fabric Challenge Quilt Part 1

Every year the Modern Quilt Guild hosts a fabric challenge for Quiltcon. This year the fabric challenge was hosted by Windham Fabrics using their Artisan Cotton fabric line. If you sign up fast enough, they send you free fabric. I didn’t sign up fast enough, so I actually ordered my own fabric to play along!

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There were 4 main fabrics you could choose from. You had to use three of the four. Then there was a list of other fabrics that you could incorporate. I ended up ordering some that had nothing to do with the challenge and I’m really excited about the colors! For ‘Testing’ I used the four challenge fabrics, Wine/Pink, Coral/Aqua, Aqua/Blue and Blue/Orchid plus neutrals Stone/Lavender and Navy/White.

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I actually ended up making two quilts. ‘Testing’ was my submission to Quiltcon because I finished it in time. The second quilt, ‘Eyes on You’, I’ll tell you more about later. It wasn’t completed in time, so it didn’t even get submitted. But today, I’m just telling you about ‘Testing’.

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image via https://www.design-seeds.com/
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Do you remember way back when I used to design quilt patterns with the Quilt Design a Day FB group? I’ve made 6 quilts from those designs: Running Away, Rabbit Hole quilts, Raindrops of Wildflowers, Left and Right, Triangle Mountain, and Bright Tide Pools! And now we have number 7, ‘Testing’!

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It started as succulents. Once the design was translated in fabric, the quilt took on a different persona. Gone was the nod to the succulents. The quilt now takes it’s que from the ‘off the air’ TV graphics of a bygone era when screen time wasn’t available all day and actually ended at a certain time each day. 

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I started in the center and with each layer, I created a piece made of different colored wedges. Then I used my inset circles technique to layer and layer one on top of the other. The picture above is actually the scraps from each layer, but you can see what they started as.

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When I quilted the circles, the mini quilt became a little wobbly and doesn’t like to hang flat. You can really see it in the picture of the back. So maybe it’s a good thing it didn’t get picked for the Quiltcon show! For the back I used stash fabric that I happened to have. I love that it picked up not only the grey from the front, but also the circles!

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And that’s my ‘Testing’ Mini Quilt! Did you submit a fabric challenge quilt to Quiltcon?? I can’t wait to show to you my next one! Stayed tuned for Part 2!

My First Applique Quilt

Way back in 2017 my guild did an applique BOM… I started it with everyone, but got a little behind. And I admit, I was so NOT excited about this one. I was like, seriously??? But I learned a new skill and I’m glad I played along. Even if it took me three years to finish and another one to blog about it!

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The quilt was designed by our guild friend Jonna, aka @bespokeoutlaw, and it was inspired by her Great Uncle Russel Day. He was an artist, designer, jeweler and professor. His work is really fantastic! Check out this video for more information.

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The first blocks we were tasked with were quarter ‘opals’. And if you follow along with me, I love a quarter circle. My first thought was why would you applique one when you can sew just as easily. Or in my mind, flat out easier! I was trying to do the needle turn applique, but as you can see from the pictures above, I used my fingers for more of the turning than I used the needle! ha! I did get better at it, trust me!

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Each month we made a different shape until we had a whole pile of them. Enough to make a quilt! Imagine that!

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I think my favorite block may have been the bias tape applique blocks! I love these! And if you saw my IG post today, you know I have them on my mind again!

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I liked to use the shapes of the applique pieces to inspire the quilting.

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Jonna gave us a suggested layout, but I didn’t really stick with it. Instead of using sashing I added a wider border. I also added a few stripes in the border. These were not appliques, but traditionally pieced.

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This little orange piece most reminds me of the inspiration art. And it was tricky for a newbie, but with her instructions, I made it through!

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The back isn’t too interesting on this one. It does show the quilting nicely, though!

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And the label… You’ll see I started it in 2017 with the guild. And honestly, I think I finished the blocks in 2017, as well. But I didn’t piece the quilt top until 2020. No excuses… And then I didn’t find the right place to photograph it until last fall… slow mo!

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The quilt holder behind the quilt! And those corners on the back were only added to help hold the quilt. I should have taken them off for the back pictures, but I didn’t…

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And here’s the whole mural! I should go back and get the artist’s name. It’s quite a beautiful work of art to be on the back of a building!

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A huge thanks to Jonna for getting me to try something new and teaching me (and the whole guild and possibly you too) how to do applique. It took the scary out! And I’m currently working on another applique quilt. Need to get back to that!

Undercover Maker’s Mat

I made this one a while back and never shared!

I made this for a swap that I did with the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild back pre-pandemic! I don’t honestly remember too many reasons behind my design choices, but I like it and I think it’s a great gift for your sewing friends and family! It’s a very easy sew! The tutorial is by Lillyella and it’s free on her website here.

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The Undercover Maker’s Mat is intended to do two things, the first being a way to keep your most needed item nearby. I could really use it. I’m always moving my scissors and then not having them when I’m actually sewing… And secondly, it’s a sewing machine cover.

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I also love the little butterflies! Both of these are free patterns from the same Lillyella website, here. She also has awesome sets of hummingbirds and moths. Very cool!

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The pattern also includes a thread catcher that can stand on it’s own or hang from the makers mat itself. I meant to make myself even just one of these thread catchers!

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To make it the sewing machine cover, you just add some ribbons and it ties on the sides of the machine.

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As usual, my typical label picture! ha! I’m not sure why I always add a picture of the label, but I do and now it’s become a habit… As you can see from this label, it’s a slightly older project like I mentioned before.

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A couple of photos of it ‘in action’ under my sewing machine. Since it was a gift, I obviously didn’t use it. Ha! And doesn’t Lulu (the dog) look like she’s saying, ‘That’s not yours and you can’t keep it.’

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Have you ever made one of these? Do you have a sewing friend who would like one for Christmas? There’s still time. It’s really easy to make!

Be Kind- a SMQG BOM Quilt

Here’s a first! I started a Seattle Modern Quilt Guild BOM quilt and finished it in the same year! I have NEVER done that before!

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This year the guild’s BOM quilt was titled ‘Salsa Medallion’. Each month they gave a theme for the medallion quilt border. Along with the theme came suggestions for different levels of involvement with the quilt. These levels were Spicy, Medium or Mild. You can find all the instruction here.

Of course, starting off I didn’t follow the directions. The first block I made was the center block even though it was technically one of the last pieces we made. I never really understood why you wouldn’t make the center first and build off to it, so I just didn’t think too hard and made my improv log cabin center block. It’s kinda big… Coming in at about 18″!

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The next two borders were designated as stripes and triangles. For the stripes border I used leftovers from my Balanced Courthouse Steps quilt. I added in a little bit of other colors to make it blend a bit.

For the triangles, I decided to do improv flying geese. I’ve done a lot of improv and I’ve done a few flying geese in my day, but I’m not sure I’ve done improv flying geese before! I’m pretty happy with how they turned out!

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The next border prompt was ‘Text message’. I was full on ready to skip this border. I waited for the next prompt. I was convinced I didn’t want to put words in it. time went on and I remembered a meme I had seen online somewhere. And I knew I needed to quilt it:

Be Kind to Others, to Earth, to Yourself. Be kind of weird.

And that’s the text message I made. And it took a long time….

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The letters were all improv pieced. I didn’t follow a tutorial, I just made it up as I went along. I really, really like how they turned out!

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Each letter with a curved part started with a small inset circle using the freezer paper and glue method that I always use for the inset circles. You can read all about it here.

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The last two borders were circles and diamonds. Again, the improv versions for me!

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And the back. This one is on the more simple side for me. Using leftover fabric from the front.

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You can really see the quilting on the back! I started in the center and did an improv ‘square spiral’ all the way to the edges. Is a square spiral even a thing? I don’t really know if those two words work together, but I think it describes my quilting pattern just right! ha!

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Token quilt label picture!

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And that’s a wrap! Ok, not only did I start and finish this quilt in the same year, which is unheard of from me and our guild’s BOM quilts, but I also photographed and blogged about it in the same year! Woah!!!

Holiday Swaps with the Cotton Candy Pouches

Last December I participated in two swaps. Was was meant to be a handmade item the other wasn’t!

The first swap was with the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild. This one was a secret swap, but our partners gave us colors and ideas of what they would like to get. One of the items on my partners list was a pouch.

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I choose to make the Cotton Candy Pouch from Minikins, Season 1 by Sew Sweetness. It is a really simple pouch with a fun shape. I love the Sew Sweetness patterns because most of them also have a video included. Unfortunately, you can’t buy just this one pattern by itself, you have ot buy the whole Season 1 set. But FORTUNATELY, the whole set is full of great patterns!

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The colors. I don’t think I would have chosen them for myself, not because I don’t like them, just because I usually go to brighter colors. She said she liked navy and cream, grey and touch of green. So I pulled out my navy fabrics. One of them had a green in it, which was perfect. I also knew that the beige freckles fabric from Cotton and Steel had navy freckles. I love this!

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I started by making a ring of flying geese and realized they were way to big for the pouch. So guess what… I’m making myself a bag with the same color scheme! I really love it!

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For the back, I went with a solid panel rather a pieced panel in one of the fabrics I used on the front.

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On the inside, I also used another fabric from the front and added one of my little labels!

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From my secret swap partner, I also got a pouch! Yes, I got mine early and mailed mine late. On time, but later than I received mine so I got this fun shot of the two of them! Mine is made using Marcia Derse fabrics. Very cute!

And then my office had a Christmas Swap. It was also a secret, but no suggestions were given to the giver. My partner is a very creative designer sort, so I debated what to get her. I almost got her a craft kit. Then realized I couldn’t get what I wanted to get her in time for the party, so I decided that she would appreciate something handmade.

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So out came the Cotton Candy Pouch pattern again!

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For this one, I used one of the Mini Series patterns by Giucy Giuce. For this one I used the Courthouse Steps Pattern. She likes to wear earthy tones, so I went orange, yellow and a brownish orange yellow with a mix of creamy background fabrics.

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For the inside I used a golden stripe fabric and added my little label again!

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This pattern is an easy pattern to have as a quick go to pattern! I love how both of these turned out! what is your favorite go to pouch pattern?

Begonia Quilt Leftovers- Pillows and Potholders!

I just shared my Begonia Quilt that I finished last year and now to show you what I did with the leftovers!

To make the Begonia Quilt there was a lot (A LOT) of HST action. Too much for me to make another one. But apparently, I made a few extras without realizing it! When I finished the quilt top, I was like, ‘uh, oh… Did I forget a row or two somewhere???’ Kinda like when you take something apart and put it back together but you still have pieces left over!

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I used some of the leftover HST’s on the back of the quilt. Then I used the rest to make these two pillows.

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For the little pillow I used only HST’s. And I tried out a more detailed quilting pattern. I love how it turned out!

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And for the large pillow I made a row of HST’s with negative space around it. This one I went for a simpler quilting pattern!

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For the backs I just used a plain piece of grey. One of the grey’s from the quilt top design. For my pillow backs, I always use two pieces of fabric and then serge the edges. I feel like it gives it a more sturdy, professional feel than just one layer of quilting cotton.

And then, you know I love an invisible zipper!!

These pillows are coming in super handy now that I am pretty much stuck in my bedroom due to this stupid broken leg I have! The big one is perfect to prop me up to work on hand work projects and the small one is just right for knee exercises! Who knew how much I’d need these things!!!

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And then when I ran out of HST’s I used the other scraps! I was starting to wonder if I would ever run out of HST’s or if they were duplicating on their own…. But I still had a few extra rectangles cut and some scraps, so I made those into potholders.

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I basically made quilt as you go blocks, added the binding and then added little leather straps on the corners. Easy Peasy!

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And like the pillows, I used a solid grey for the back.

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What do you do with you quilt scraps? Usually, I just through them in the scrap bins. But I love it when I use them right away to make something else. I wish I did this more often!

Begonia Quilt- SMQG BOM 2019

My goal this year was to complete all the unfinished BOM quilts from my Modern Quilt Guild. And I did that!

Every year the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild does a Block of the Month Quilt. I haven’t started all of them, but I have done 4 of the 6 of them. I helped design the first one back in 2015. Then this year I finished the 2016 and 2017 quilts. And this one was the 2019 Quilt! And I’ve now completed all of the ones I started.

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You can see the beginning of the process here. This was a mystery quilt, so we had to pick of fabrics without any clue what it was going to look like. Satterwhite Quilts designed it, so we knew that more than likely it was going to be made out of a bunch of HST’s!

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With this one, I was really excited about my quilting design. I did a diamond shape within each HST block. They all radiate out from the center. I’m so happy with how it turned out.

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For a while I wasn’t really liking mine because the teal colors were so similar. But I ended up falling for how the orange and grey popped!

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And somehow I made WAY TOO MANY HST’s… Seriously. A lot more than I needed…. Apparently I made a miscalculation somewhere along the way. But at least I wasn’t short little blocks! So I used some on the back along with more of my left over fabrics.

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You can almost see the quilting better from the back.

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Throw on a little label!

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And it’s a wrap! I have two more finishes from this year, another BOM and another one that still needs ot be photographed and posted. Soon, very soon!

Yellow and Grey Improv Complete

This little lovely is the 2016 Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month! Yep, 2016. It took me four years to finish it for some reason… No idea why… It wasn’t hard.

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Each month there was a different block or ‘slab’ as the designer, Matt, described it. Each month he’d give us a type of block. Since it’s improv, there weren’t many directions rather a type of block.

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One reason it probably took me longer was that I did it as QAYG (quilt as you go). Which in theory, should make it go faster, but it didn’t seem to be that way for me. When I do these as QAYG, I do it slightly differently than a traditional QAYG. I start the blocks with quilting the middle blocks on the batting. Then I combine the blocks with a 3/4″ seam allowance. then once two blocks are combined, I continue to quilt the blocks, sewing over the seam allowance. At the end I add the quilt back and sew it on by adding more quilting, including some stitch in the ditch.

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I even took my friend, Debbie’s improv class to get some blocks done. And this was back in July of 2017. I got to hang out with her, learn some improv tricks and also get some more blocks done!

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I think that center block is my favorite block in the whole quilt! I could make a couple of quilts from that layout! Right now I’m thinking Christmas placemat and a whole quilt.

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Second favorites are probably all the triangle blocks!

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And the back is made up of all the scraps, extra blocks and extra fabric left over from the front.

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One thing I’ve done this year is finish my stack of SMQG BOM quilts! I need to share the others soon!

Improv Flower Pillow. Done. Finally.

WAYYYYYY Back in 2017 I took a fun little class to make one Improv Flower Block with Mr. Domestic.

And I made the block. Right then! I had these grand plans to hand quilt it. But it just sat there and got moved around my sewing room for literally years… Then last month, I was like, forget the hand quilting, let’s get this done! And I did!

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I’m really missing my friends at the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild these days! The guild offers a lot of fun classes and this one with Mr. Domestic, back in July of 2017, seemed like it would be fun. He’s quite the personality!

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I honestly don’t even remember the steps he taught us to get to the finished product, but it’s basically an improv process of sewing strips together and then cutting them into strips again.

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Here’s the crazy thing. I had half of it finished before I even left the class. And all the other strips done, too. I went home and finished the block two days later. Then it took me 2.5 years to get it quilted. Which took about maybe 2 hours or so… Then another 1/2 hour to turn it into a pillow. WHY???? Why do I let things sit for so long before finishing them????

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My original plan was to hand quilt it, but I love the texture I got  with the quilting I did do!

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Like usual, no quilting on the back. I do like to use two pieces of fabric on the back though. I cut two solid pieces and serge the edges. It gives it a more solid feel. I don’t know how to explain it, but I like it.

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I did my new love, the invisible zipper. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Invisible zippers are more invisible if you match the zipper to the fabric! I was on a roll and didn’t want to wait until I got the right colored zipper, so I went with what I had. And I’m ok with it! ha!

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And that’s it! 2.5 years in the making… Has anyone else made this block? Did you make a quilt or a pillow or something else? It would be fun to make a mini version into a pot holder!

 

We Made Masks

Honestly, I didn’t want to, but we did.

Here’s my quick soap box… I don’t feel like in a country like ours there should be a shortage of any health care PPE. Not in this day and age. Hospitals should not have to worry about getting PPE to protect our healthcare workers. We live in a land of plenty. A land of mass wealth, but we can’t supply our own people with protective gear to us safe from disease. Most of us in the US are very lucky and blessed to be in the situation we are on a typical day in the United States of America. But today we aren’t. States are not getting the supplies they need as a UNITED country. We are being led by a group of people that don’t believe in science and don’t see the need for PPE or clean air, etc. This is why I didn’t want to make masks. It makes me angry.

But here’s the flip side to why I didn’t wallow in my anger and protest the making of masks.

And yes, I’m stubborn and have been known to protest things!  Some funny things, some very personal and political things. Here’s a funny story. Back in the day there was a local drug store in New Orleans that was bought out by another store that didn’t sell Coca Cola products, only Pepsi products. I never went to that store again while I lived in New Orleans. Ha!

Ok, back to why I did make the masks.

Two reasons.

The first is that I’m lucky enough to still have a job, to be home and safe with my kiddo, husband and dog, and I have a stash of fabric and elastic. And the biggest thing is I have the skill and machines to make masks. Not everyone has these things. And I know that and I can’t take that for granted during these times.

The second reason comes from my job. I spend a lot of time in hospitals as an architect. I design rooms around codes that deal with the safety of workers and patients. Where does the PPE go, where do they put on the PPE, where are the hand wash sinks in relation to all the movements of the healthcare workers. And where are the trash cans for all the PPE to go. I see all the one time use, non recyclable products that we use in this country for PPE to protect ourselves. And it’s really depressing to me to see all these one time use products. Not that my masks are going to take the place of the disposable PPE in the hospitals, but my hope is that maybe this mass movement of sew-ers and quilters making masks, just maybe, there could be a shift in thinking from disposable to reusable. It’s hope that kept me moving as I made 47 masks last weekend.

OK, that’s my soap box.

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And these are my masks. I had a small list of friends and family that I wanted to make them for, but as I was cutting, I kept cutting. I didn’t keep count and had no idea how many I was actually making! There are probably a million tutorials out there. Between working 50 hours a week and trying to homeschool the kiddo I didn’t have the bandwidth to do a lot of research. I’ve always liked Dana’s tutorials from Made Everyday, so I just went with her tutorial that you can find here.

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A couple of things I do like about her tutorial is that that fit over the N95 masks if anyone can ever get those again and it has a pocket to put a filter in.

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I added a step from her tutorial. On the bottom of the front and back of each masks I did sew a 1/4″ hem so that when they get washed they won’t fray.

There has been a lot of discussion debating ties or elastic. I went with elastic. If I tried to tie a bow behind my head every time I wanted to put this on, I would never wear one. I’d tie my hair in knots and curse and complain every time! And the thought of constantly tying my sons mask to his head did not interest me in the least. So elastic it was for our family! And therefore, our family and friends, ha!

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There four different sizes in the tutorial. I made the kids and adults.

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And we ended up with 47 masks. Most all of them have found homes. I feel like I may have to make another small batch before I’m done with masks.

Last night at our Seattle Modern Quilt Guild one of our members did a very through presentation of the pros and cons and in and outs of making masks. You can find here presentation here. There’s a ton of information collected to help you make the best decision on which masks are right for you. Be sure to check it out!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!