Saturday, April 04, 2020

Quilt Tools to the Rescue!

You never know when your quilting tools are going to come in handy for other things!

This is one of my favorites.  I keep one by the sewing machine.  I keep one here by my comfy hand stitching chair.

It’s a 4-in-one goodie from Alex Anderson (Some still in the Quiltville Store, need to order more) and It is one tool that does not get lost in my sewing area.

With the wooden caps on the ends – I can use the angled wood end for finger pressing, the pointed wood end (seen by my pliers in the background on the table) to poke out corners when turning things right side out (as in all of this mask making type activity) and the seam ripper itself needs no explanation.

I’m not one who usually sews with a stiletto – but you know where it came in handy this morning?

My Keurig would not pump water!

OH NO!!!

I tried every hack I could find to remove air bubbles from the line as instructed by many websites.  I cleaned parts – I washed down, I burped the bottom of the Keurig by turning it upside down and tapping it – and still nothing.

Until I read that ground can become clogged in the TOP needle puncture thing as well.

Let me tell you, it’s not an easy place to get to because the top doesn’t really open up far enough to make access a simple matter.

But this long tool came in SO HANDY!

As soon as I poked that stiletto end up into that grove the lodged coffee grounds came loose and water started to drain.

I ran the Keurig through 2 cups of plain water to wash it out some more before inserting a pod and:

Thank you, thank you thank you!!!

It was an intense moment, let me tell you – In times like these I need my Keurig to do what Keurigs do.  WORK!

Work has been modus operandi around here.

Yesterday’s 11:15 a.m. USPS drop off.

Working on a mystery behind the scenes in real time along with everything else had made it a bit hard in the “let’s post really interesting stuff” department around here.

The weather has been rainy and cold for most of the week, though today is supposed to be a bit better. 

I can’t over do Zoey after her surgery, so any walks we do this weekend will not over-tax her.  She is still feeling kind of punky, ,though a bit better every day.

Yes, we are talking bout YOU baby girl!

It’s the cutest thing – she has some “mostly un-stuffed” toys that instead of ripping to shreds, she treats like her babies.  (She is laying on one here.)

She carries them around, puts them in her crate, and then once in her crate herself will nudge them with her nose until they are all in a pile at the door.  It’s the cutest thing.

She just LOVES on them, occasionally squeaking their squeakers, but mostly – just loves them.

Yes, it’s my baby!

She is so gentle with them it is amazing.

Sorry about the dog overload!

But she really is keeping me grounded right now.

I try to keep things positive here 99.9% of the time.

But I got the word yesterday that the virus has now reached my corner of the Blue Ridge.  App Health Care Info

It was bound to happen.  We are still very rural but that also means that people’s attitudes have been a bit more lax.  “It can’t touch us HERE.  We are safe HERE.  It’s not that big of a deal.  It’s no worse than the flu.  The flu has killed far more.”

All of this kind of attitude is not helpful when it is killing people in your own community.  Brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, children, friends, neighbors.

Everyone who dies from this is not merely a number.  They were loved dearly by many.  Families are in mourning.

Alleghany county includes nearby Sparta where our usual vet is.  Ashe County includes Jefferson/West Jefferson NC – where our Walmart/Lowes and Blue Ridge Movie Lounge are.

Watauga County is a bit further away, but that’s where App State University in Boone is. It’s a more heavily populated area.

And though the numbers look low as of yesterday – where have these people been and what/who have they touched in the past 2 weeks?

So yes, there are times when I find it hard to remain positive all of the time.  Some things are reality checks.  And then we let it sink in and decide what we are going to do to rise above it.

So once again -

According to a recent recommendation from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), all Americans should wear a protective face mask when going out in public.

Wearing masks everywhere, including in places where cases of the virus have not already spiked, could help slow the rate of infection significantly, some C.D.C. officials believe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed its stance on wearing face masks on Friday, including cloth face coverings sewn at home. Its new guideline recommends that people wear cloth coverings in public -- in addition to taking measures like social distancing -- as a "voluntary public health measure." (But don't take voluntary too lightly!)

In the CDC's words, "CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission (emphasis theirs)."

Though your homemade mask may not offer all the protection that frontline medical workers need, they can be used to cover existing N95 surgical masks (thereby extending their usage), as well as providing protection to support staff (receptionists, cleaning crews, stockroom, etc) so that N95 masks will be saved for those who need them most. 

Your masks can also be used by neighbors who may not be able to secure their own.

SO, YOU WANT TO MAKE SOME MASKS? Here's how you do it:

Yesterday's post included a PDF pattern for one kind of mask. I wanted to present some different options - especially for those who can't find elastic.

Bias tape ties work great – you can cut your own strips either bias or straight-grain and use those.

The tighter the weave of fabric the better.  THINK BATIK if possible. 

And the news has come out that using Pellon non-woven interfacing in between the layers really helps with the filtering.

No interfacing at home?  Wash some of your non-woven reusable grocery store bags and use that as the inner layer.

The fine folks at JOANN also have a very clear tutorial:

Joann Stores is also offering free tools and supplies via curbside pickup for your mask making project—just be sure to call your local store to see if they're open and participating.

And wherever you are -

Take safe measures to get outside and get some vitamin D.

It’s important.

I’ve got about 2/3 of the next round of Unity units ready.  I’ve been taking photos of each step for clear instructions. 

Sorry that hasn't been much quilty to post to the blog while I've been working in between everything else to get this done by Monday behind the scenes.

After dropping mail off at the USPS this morning I’ll be back at it.  Today is for photo taking and assembly.  Tomorrow is for writing Monday’s Part 2 post and the PDF copy that goes with it.

And I think I’ll need some sunshine and fresh air time myself.

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

It's all about perspective, and sometimes we need to look at life from a different perspective to understand where others are coming from and going through.

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone!


  1. Just a thought, my daughter works at our local Joanns and they can't keep up with the cutting for mask kits. Stores may also be running out of elastic. Please be patient with your Joann's staff. They are doing the best that they can with a limited number of payroll hours :) Thank you.

    1. Thank you! I work at Joann's. Our location has been doing curbside pickup only for about 2 weeks. Online orders get filled first. We have to cut the kits ourselves, come up with substitutes for items we run out of (elastic). It's a different kind of tired after a 5 hr shift but worth it.

    2. Dona at Joann's well done! I know the folks at JAS can be like family, take care! Sunday Quilter, well put. and, last certainly not least: Thanks for your posts Bonnie and Zoey.

    3. Thank you to all order fulfillment people out there. My daughter works at a Joann's also. She told me that when she came into her store just today there were over 200 orders sitting in queue. With everyone working as fast as they can and keeping 6' apart (I made masks for everyone so they can feel a little bit safer around each other) when they can they had more orders in queue when she clocked out than when the day started. They got out somewhere between 300 and 400 orders that shift, so please be patient with your local store. Also please remember that they have all the background things to do too like unloading the trucks and restocking and all the extra paperwork that online shopping creates. And one last thing please wait until you get the email saying your order is ready for pick up before you go to the store. Your order doesn't go straight to the store. There are several stops for each order before your local store even knows it exists. An order without fabric takes about 20 to 30 minutes. With fabric will take up to an hour at least. Remember they get numbers and a 2 or 3 word description for each item and then they need to go find it. Considering what it takes to get each order ready I think they are doing a fantastic job.

  2. Dogs are the best! Thanks for sharing Zoey with us! ❤️

  3. My home county had the first COVID-19 confirmed case announced on Tuesday, as of last night there are now 3 cases. No area of the country is immune or safe from this virus. Folks need to stop deluding themselves, this is REAL and DANGEROUS! Be safe everyone and stay home, it may save a life!

  4. I've read on one site where the paper coffee filters can be used as a filter in masks if interfacing or other material isn't available. We have the same issue here with "I'm rural, I'm safe" attitude. Not true!

  5. thanks for all you do for us. stay safe glad you have Zoey Jo to snuggle with

  6. Thanks for all the info Bonnie! For the face masks, I found a video by Leah Day showing a way to make the masks and she used shoelaces for the ties. Just another option for tying the masks, easy and they work great. Hope Zoey is back to normal soon, she is adorable! Keeping busy and trying to stick to a routine does help pass the time. We are one more day closer to this being over and life getting back to the way it was!

  7. Our LQS is providing packets with the necessary materials to make 3 masks. Pick them up and return from bins at their back door. She went to one of the large medical practices here to find out exactly what they wanted. If we all pull together, we can make it through this. Stay safe and give Zoey an extra hug!

  8. That tip with the floral wire was great. I actually have some of that.

    1. If you can dig out Christmas tree ornaments (I found one last week under the rug) They have enough give that they might work as well.

  9. Our quilty world includes our pets so having you share precious Zoey with us is much appreciated. I almost feel as if she's mine...fret when she's in trouble, cheer when she's happy. You are part of my daily dose of normal so to see you managing all you do and sharing it with us helps to balance my day as I'm sure it does for many others. We must pay attention to the dire situation that exists but must not dwell only on it. You help us do that. Thank you♥

  10. Thanks Bonnie for your daily post. I really look forward to it. I've been making masks like crazy, even for the guys. My husband has even agreed to wear one, manly of course, when in public. Hang in, we will get through this.

    1. We stay home but our sons both work.one has masks supplied the other is coming to pick up his today. I made from an online video/ tutorial fro Craft Passion easy to follow.

  11. Bonnie - have been following your blog for a while now and appreciate that you share your quilting knowledge and inspiration. Zoey is precious. And there is no such thing as puppy overload!

  12. FWIW, A hint for your Keurig. When you insert the pod, press down and puncture the bottom first then close it and brew. By releasing the pressure first, it won't shoot grounds up the needle. When I started this, I never had the needle plug again. Thanks for the daily touch of sanity in this crazy world!

  13. Even as a non-dog-lover, your posts of Zoey are great. Thank you for all your work in helping keep all of us focused on the positive in life.

  14. I think your blog content is just fine! I think we all enjoy updates about Zoey Jo and what you're up to in your day to day life. It doesn't always have to be quilt related. Many hugs to you and yours while we all get through this together ❤

  15. Another very clear Face Mask pattern with excellent measurements was on the Fat Quarter Shops blog this morning. They gave sizes for small to large for children to adults. Also it was clear on making the bias ties and how to attach them. Your readers might want to take a look. Zoey is precious and I hope she is back up to stuff soon.

  16. Lovely photos of Zoey today, she's so cute and sweet. My miniature poodle shreds and evicerates her furry toys with great glee, so it's sweet to learn of a gentle cuddle puppy. Thanks, Bonnie! Making masks in Seattle, Sharon

  17. I've made a few extra mask's for friends and family and anyone who want's them. I carry several in my pocket book(in plastic bags) and if I happen to see someone who is elderly(I'm one also) and offer it to them. They are so glad to have one.Stay positive everyone there will be an end to this virus tunnel !!

  18. ‘If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’ So true!
    Thank you Bonnie, for being there, and being true to yourself.

  19. Bonnie - I love the photos and stories of Zoey. How can you not fall in love with that adorable face? If she starts to pick at her stitches again, rather than driving to the vet's for an E-collar, try using an old t-shirt first. Put it on her like a doggie sweater and then tie the bottom so that it's close to her body, just make sure it's not rubbing on her stitches. We used this trick on our Great Pyrenees when she had surgery to remove a mammary tumor. Please give Zoey some cuddles from me.

  20. Let’s give a cheer for “quilters’ ingenuity “. Pat yourself on the back!
    Just love Zoey Jo.

  21. I saw on FB that some were cutting ACE bandage wraps into thin strips, then to length, to use as elastic, I thought this was a great idea, softer too

  22. Thank you Sundae Quilter for your support at this time. I am one of the JoAnn employees that is on the front line dealing with our shortages. We have been out of elastic for a week and have on idea when or if any is on its way.

  23. Aaww. Sweet Zoey. I'm making masks this weekend for friends and family and neighbors. I'd better get crackin'.

  24. I have read that the blue shop towels that come on rolls make good filters. Testing showed 2 to 3 times better than without.

  25. I have been making masks for a couple of weeks. Ran out of elastic and bias binding is best, makes a tighter fit. One size does not fit all!

    1. Wearers are saying that they prefer bindings too as they fit better and don't hurt the ears!!

  26. Like all your readers, I love hearing about your dog. Please advise to store masks in paper bags when possible. Maybe you have old lunch bag size paper bags from making luminaries. Remember asymtomatic precautions when giving masks away. Wash your hands, wash your masks, wash your hands again. Thank you for your public service Bonnie.

  27. Never too many photos of that sweet pup! Love her stories. I mailed out 4 packets of masks to my sister and 3 friends. They are flight attendants and have to work. Took me over an hour! Told hubs I have a new appreciation for your mailing. He did say I wasn't as organized as you. Not sure if he was complimenting you or digging at me, lol. Keep on keeping on!

  28. I am on my 2and batch of 200 masks to donate. The vet clinics wanted some, assisted living wanted some and so on. I am using batiks without interfacing. All shops have been closed here for 3 weeks already and Amazon is out of everything. And I live in Canada so US Amazon is very slow to ship as they are very busy. However I am contributing and that is keeping me focused.

    Bonnie a bent paperclip also works on the top needle of the kiureg.Stay safe, stay in and enjoy your pup.

  29. I just read this morning on the daily Covid-19 update that the blue shop towels make good filters in the homemade masks. The hubby says they are washable and pretty durable too.

  30. Also, cut across the bottoms of old, clean t-shirts about 1.5" wide, cut open and tug. They roll up on themselves so no stitching required to make ties instead of using elastic. Plus, they're soft and easier on the ears than elastic.

  31. My Keurig was sounding weird at the beginning of November 2018--I was worried it was going to die. I bought another one for $40 on a Thanksgiving Day sale from Kroger online. The original Keurig is still working fine, but the spare is in the garage. I have such piece of mind having a back up ready to go--kind of like a sewing machine! Glad you fixed yours up!

  32. I keep a paper clip by my Kuerig to keep it clean.

  33. Walked my dog today - without a coat! Beautiful, sunny, glorious Vitamin D Day! I'm looking forward to more Zoey updates!
    also - some are using 1" strips of recycled t-shirt as a comfy tie for the mask! No elastic around here for 30 mile radius, but there is a tub of outgrown shirts!

  34. I also follow Made by Barb and she cuts up Hepa filters (for her vacuem cleaner) to use as a liner. https://www.madebybarb.com/2020/03/25/diy-fitted-face-mask/

  35. I love all the Zoey updates. She's quite a bright spot in all this.

    She's.... she's herding her stuffies! How adorable is that???

  36. Thank you so much for encouraging everyone to stay home and stay safe. Here in Washington we have been watching as covid goes across the country, we have been being careful since mid February, kids home from school since March 5, everything closed down mid March. Now the curve is flattening, we see light. We can do it together, caring for each other. I've gotten lots of projects done or moved along. Inspired by all the quilters out there!

  37. Love that Zoey is looking after her toy "puppies", so sweet.
    Funny how people react to the virus. We are also pretty isolated, but the local folks are mainly farmers so have to carry on - livestock needs to be looked after - while other folks are taking this thing seriously and stay away. We keep in touch by Whatsapp. I gather where we used to live also has a group connected by Whatsapp. Unfortunately while the intentions started off as great, one person sees it as an opportunity to brag about his personal things - which has then resulted in most people dropping out. Such a pity that selfishness puts an end to something that started out as a lifeline for others.

  38. If you can't find elastic and have an old t-shirt laying around, cut about 3/4 to 1" strips from bottom, cut apart and pull to curl. Use just like ties, 4-18" long strips per mask. No need to stitch anywhere other than into the mask. ;) Softer and our local hospital says they like them. Easier to adjust.

  39. I love your dog stories and photos. Our "babies" are all seniors but still have their own little endearing habits. Our daughter is an ER nurse in Northern CA. She texted this morning and asked for surgical caps. If you are tired of sewing masks, haha! We will be better for living through this. :)

  40. Thanks for the info about the nonwoven interfacing for filters. I've been using a deconstructed HEPA furnace filter but I'm almost out. Right now I'm making 40 masks for my niece who's a nurse midwife in Ohio. She asked me if I could make masks for her whole office. I have 23 made so far. Aren't we lucky to have this wonderful hobby to maintain our sanity!!Better get back to it. Stay safe everyone!

  41. Sent 20 masks to my sister, a nurse in New York City,who requested some for her co workers. more going to relatives in the mail tomorrow. Given some to friends and neighbors too. People are sew appreciative. It's just a small part of helping, but even the small parts can add up! Thank you Bonnie for all you do.

  42. I really like Nancy Rink's method for making the face masks. She has a tutorial posted on instagram. You don't need elastic or special sewing tools or items to make these. I have made them for medical use and am now
    making them for friends and family. They do not have the pellon layer in them because that idea came along later. Just do what you can.

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