Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Simple Dog Pleasures (and much sewing!)

I felt like miss Zoey last night.

*EDIT* Something is happening with Google and they are deleting any photos I have posted that have to do with mask making.  I am sorry - I tried to re-upload but something has gone strange...as in many posts back and i can't rewrite all of these, so I'm sorry.

Yes, she is all backed in to my hip in my comfy chair – she’s nearly too big for a lap dog at 35 lbs, but you see – I love the doggie lovin’s and I can’t say no!

I kept the news off yesterday.  I needed to.  I needed to just go about my business and pretend that things are their old normal and just do the things I do.

I am sure many of you are feeling that way as well.

Other than being vigilant – is there anything that cramming our heads full of Covid-19 news updates can do to help?

The only thing that helps me at this time is creating.

And so I dug into the next round of our Unity Quilt Along – to have part 3 ready this coming Monday.

You realize, I am sure  - that each round makes the quilt bigger, so each round has more parts to it, right?

Cecicharles57’s Part 2 round is on!

I love her gorgeous colors – they are soothing and calm.  It reminds me of the mountain wilderness, or the sea.  Or both.  Beautiful job!

I spied several more with this step completed as I scanned our #unityquiltalong hash tag on instagram.  CHECK IT OUT!  There are going to be so many gorgeous quilts when this is all said and done.

This is the hybrid I came up with.

The long halter tie is 55’’ and made from a tee shirt.

I shared two videos I liked in yesterday’s post.  I loved the halter style for the one I wore to the grocery store, but the casings on the side were a bit heavy.

I liked the pleated one that comes from one rectangle, but it was a bit skimpy for my men folk and needed to be enlarged.

I wanted to combine the two.

The fit is much better.

This doesn’t show a lot.

The halter loop is behind my neck.

The loose ends are over my ears and tied at the back of my head.

You can cover it with your hair once it is on there.

I started with a rectangle that is 9’’ x 18’’ and made the pleated version only didn’t sew the sides first.  I pleated the sides by hand, pinning them down as I go, so I only needed 3 pins per side. 

I basted the sides down, and then took two rectangles 1 3/4’’ x 4 1/2’’ to add to the sides to make casings for the long ties. Basically it was like binding a quilt by machine on the sides.  I don’t have photos of this process.  I didn’t want to do another mask tutorial when there are 50,000 out there and more every day.

The lesson I learned?  Don’t cut ALL of your tee shirt ties before you know what length you really want to work with.

So for now in an effort to use up the short ones, I’ve gone back to doing the 4 ties in the corners routine. (Waste not, want not, you know? Even if it is just an old tee shirt.)

Quilt shop quality, tightly woven fabrics.

These aren’t batiks, but add a filter and they will do.

These are for my son.

This tightly woven fabric came home from Japan with me.

I’m making some for a girlfriend who doesn’t sew – and she loves ANYTHING Asian.

This will go off in the mail to her today.

And a cheater cloth crazy quilt one -

I’m not pumping these out like some of you.  These have all been done in the evening after I am home from work at the QPO.  4 in an evening I can do.  I can’t crank out hundreds, though I praise those of you who can and are helping to supply our medical personnel.

And for those who don’t think they have time to make masks?  These masks are being assembled as leaders & enders while I make the units for our next Unity Quilt Along round.

It’s not how fast you do them, or how many you make.  Start with one for yourself for going to the grocery store or anywhere that social distancing is hard to maintain.  Then do one for your spouse or significant other.  Then make them for your kids and grandkids.  Start at home.

And then make some for others that you know from grocery clerks to postal folks to delivery drivers as you are able.

It’s a great way to say “I care about you. I appreciate your efforts through all of this.”

If you find you have extra masks and need a destination – how about helping our military folks in Japan?  They have just gone into state of emergency with Covid-19 as well.

The message from a military spouse:

Here in Iwakuni, we are currently on order to stay on base except for essential needs, and this is likely to get much more strict with the explosion of cases in Japan, limited medical care in our town, and the State of Emergency coming from Prime Minister Abe.

We have also been warned/told that all military members and dependents are going to be required to wear masks when a 6 foot social distancing isn’t possible.

For our families, we can control (to an extent) who we see and how close we are to them.

Our Marines and Sailors cannot. They are essential to our national defense and must keep working through this.

We have limited supplies here, one tiny craft shop (off base), and Amazon US is iffy at best in shipping to us right now. We will do our best to use what we have to get these heroes what they need, but our resources are currently limited.

If you are part of a sewing group or want to take up a project with your kids or community, we would love your help.

Masks in colors like dark gray, dark green, dark blue, and black would be widely welcome by the thousands of Marines and Sailors living in the barracks here so far from home.

My address is: 
Tamara Ales
PSC 561 Box 8207
FPO, AP 96310

USPS Flat Rate boxes would be the cheapest ($20) and could fit an exorbitant amount of masks.

I am so grateful for all of your support over my many years of being an absentee milispouse friend, and would appreciate your support in this way now, more than ever.

Please feel free to share

Love from Iwakuni, Japan

Perhaps we have Marine/Navy moms and grandmas out there who would love to help these folks?

Quiltville Quote of the Day

Today I am finding comfort in the simplest of things.

My Pandora is playing the Stephen Bennett channel.  It makes me happy.  What are you listening to?

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!


  1. My mom was born in Iwakuni! Small world! I'd love to help with this project! I'll make another batch this weekend, hopefully you'll have the name by then!

  2. Dear Bonnie, having served in the Navy in Japan I realize how close the military personnel become to one another; they are the family that we have when so far away from the rest of your own family. And you desperately want them all safe. Hopefully some of your readers will jump in is they can to help after making what they need for their own families. Now I have 1 more group that will go on my list for me to make masks. What a wonderful world we live in, where people will do for one another for neighbors, friends and strangers. Keep up the good work... thank you so much for all your hard work and sharing of ideas. You are such a big help in so many ways you don't even know. thank you Jean

  3. Yesterday I was just overwhelmed - like you said an overload of COVID-19. I found myself home alone sleeping away most of the day!! No I checked absolutely no fever, not sick, just sick of. Finally late in the afternoon I had a conversation with myself ( I was home alone you know). So I went to my quilting room to work on bordering the photos for my granddaughter's Memory Quilt I am trying to make for her graduation this year - that won't happen!!. 2020 has been quite the year.

    1. She will still be finished with school and will love a quilt from grandma. The lack of a ceremony doesn't diminish the love in that quilt.

  4. I never watch TV news. It’s always depressing or scary, or at the least, blown out of proportion. I read what I want to in my newspaper.

  5. While it's important to keep up to date on things, drowning in info isn't good. There are some reporters doing well and I listen and 'digest' what I hear. If it makes sense I accept what I hear. If not I just file it. Visiting here ALWAYS makes sense! Here is where my mind can fine it's "calm". We will adapt to whatever comes because WE CAN. Knowing so many of us here are working toward the same thing should be the comfort we all need. And thanks to Bonnie we can do it here♥

  6. I heard a cool story on the radio this am. They were talking about the massive stress the health professionals are under especially in NY hospitals and to help alleviate that stress just a tad, every time a recovered Covid patient is discharged, they play the Beatles song "Here comes the sun" over the intercom system. I love that!

    1. Yes! Great idea since it is a celebration :) Thanks, George.

  7. Thank you Bonnie for all you do for everyone. Warm, quilty hugs to you🤗

  8. My niece who's husband is in the military just let her know the masks need to be plain dark fabric..just letting people know so they make the masks the military personal need. Thanks to all you har working mask people

  9. My Son-in-law and daughter are currently living in Iwakuni on the military base. I have sent 1 mask for her and 2 masks for my son in law. I have a daughter and grandson in Missouri and my son and his family live in tempe Arizona...I am making masks for all family members and their family members...I love the pattern that you wore yesterday and that is the one that I am making....

  10. Can you please share how wide you cut the t shirt strips??? Thank you

    1. That info was in the Tuesday, April 7 post. :)

    2. Lay your t-shirt on your cutting mat with the bottom on the bottom. Cut off 3/4 to 1" strips. Cut them apart and pull until they curl. Then cut to the length you need. Really soft and easy.

  11. I keep hoping I can use my Frolic leftovers.

  12. After making a weeks worth of masks for my daughter returning to CA, I decided to make a few more. I have made over 100 in the last 24 hours. Just need to add ties to most of them. I even made about 30 children's size. I don't have dark colors, but do you think the families would like the florals and childrens prints? I even made some teenager ones with glow-in-the-dark spider webs and lightening.

  13. Loved the picture of that sweet dog in the chair with you! I used to have a 100 lb Lab who was convinced he was supposed to be a lap dog!!

  14. One neighbor also making masks says there is no elastic to be had. So the T-shirt material is a life saver. I managed to buy 6 yards of 60 inch fabric which I cut into full width 1 1/2 inch wide strips. I crammed the strips into a pantyhose laundering container and washed and dried them. If you put them in the washer by themselves, you will have a huge tangled mess. Just pull a little on them and they will make a nice cord. My friend the ER nurse gets one N-95 mask a day. Mine are made to go over these.

  15. Bonnie, Zoey looks so content. I am so glad you found her She needed you
    I got up early to venture out to Seniors only grocery shopping.
    I only needed toilet paper.Everything else I have not had a problem procuring. We are living in strange times.
    It is very good to keep busy. I am like you, always something to do.
    I love your masks, and really like the adjustable with the unique tie.
    I have not made any masks because I have a supply from when mom had the flu in 2015. They are not anything special, but they are thick.
    I am going to make a few washables for my neighborhood, and anyone that wants one around here. We have zillions of sewists in Northern Virginia so it is good to know we are in it to win it.

  16. After 9-11, my Mom's blood pressure went through the roof. Her doctor said he was seeing it in a lot of elderly patients with elevated blood pressure and other ailments. People were home all day, usually by themselves, and the dreadful news about 9-11 inundated the air waves. Mom could not watch "The Young and the Restless" or anything else she normally watched because they were not on the air. Being only sixty miles from New York City and living in a town where a large proportion of our people commuted to New York certainly did not help her. He told her to just watch old movies or something - anything but the news. We want to be kept informed, but this flood of every story possible about the current situation can really bring a person down. Now is the time to find something else to watch, something else to do. Call your friends who you know are home alone and remind them you care. We will get through this eventually, but life as we used to know it, may be changed for quite some time. Keep sewing - it's good for your health.

  17. In my stash I probably have the only knit that does not curl. And yes, I cut it in the right direction. Back to using my left over binding ends. Thanks for having coffee with me every morning.

  18. Bonnie, thanks for my first good laugh of the day!! When I began reading, my mind saw "The only thing that helps me at this time is EATING." Have been trying hard not to snack. Sewing helps. A lot!! Thank you.

  19. Having gone to High School in Japan {Yokohama 1963-65}
    I would love make masks for OUR GI"S

    Thank you Bonnie for the contact.


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