Wednesday, May 27, 2020

I Can't Stop Cross Stitching!

I've dabbled here and there with cross stitch in recent years, but it's quickly becoming one of my favorite crafts for stress relief during the pandemic. It doesn't take a ton of brain power (at least, not the projects I've been making!), and it's immensely satisfying to transform all those little x's into a pretty picture.

Before the pandemic hit, I'd already been working on a project from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery called With Love, which was a fundraiser for the Australian Bush Fires. It became one of my first shelter-in-place finishes, and after finishing it up, I was hungry for more cross stitch!
While spring cleaning, I came across a small project kit I'd forgotten about and decided to use some of my own floss, sparkly aida cloth, and a nicer frame (so, basically, just the pattern....kinda defeats the purpose of a project kit I guess!!) to stitch it up:
Then, on Star Wars Day (aka May the 4th), I couldn't resist impulse buying this adorable project kit (which also came with cool Star Wars goodies) from Spot Colors. Baby Yoda was a super quick project that only took a few days' time!
Also filed under Things I forgot I Bought But Was Happy To Rediscover When Cleaning: a 3-pack of white aida canvases! I decided to experiment with dyeing them different colors using Rit dyes and my trusty dyeing crock pot, and was pleased with the results in getting a nice light grey and sky blue:

I used one of these dyed canvases to stitch up another small project from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - this one's called PiƱata Party!
The only downside of the pre-stretched canvas is that it gets progressively looser as you work on the surface. Even though it's just a little bit of slack, I'm hoping that's fixed once I find a frame to put on this canvas. Regardless, I still have plans for the other two and will probably start my next cross stitch project soon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Face Mask Sewing Bandwagon

Let me preface this post by saying that my sewing skills are just so-so (sew-sew?) fact, at the beginning of March a friend had sent me a link about sewing face masks and all I could think as I read it was, "never in a million years could I do that!" But now, two months into our SIP, I have a new obsession: sewing face masks for virtually everyone I know.

It started with my sister, who lives in Portland, OR, asking if I would mind trying to sew her something she could wear on site visits (she's an architect) - she'd been wearing a bandanna because they live in a hot spot and face masks are in short supply. Since I own a sewing machine, I figured it was worth a shot, even if it was a huge disaster. So I dug out my meager fabric stash, found some elastic tucked away with my other notions, and watched some the video tutorial which accompanies this free sewing pattern. Then I dusted off my sewing machine to make her a mask....and while I was at it, I figured, why not make masks for partner and kids, just in case they needed them, too? These first 4 masks weren't perfect, but they got the job done and are much appreciated by the recipients.
The first 4 masks that started my obsession.

At first I really hated the process - I was horribly inefficient with each step, which made for slow going. Thank goodness I already had a really nice rotary cutter, ruler and mat from Olfa on hand, or else I don't think I would have stuck with it! But with each mask, it got a little easier, so I decided to sew myself and my husband a few masks so that we could have spares to wear when others were being washed.

My weaving table has been converted into a mask sewing workstation!

Then I was at my local coffee shop (Backlot Coffee), which has pivoted to also provide the neighborhood with essential groceries like flour, yeast, beans, etc (it's been a lifesaver!) I noticed that some of the employees were wearing bandannas on their face, and wondered if they might like some masks with thicker material (I've been using 3 layers of quilter's cotton). So I asked the owner if I could donate some hand sewn masks, and they said that they would love some! Less than a week later, I showed up with a bunch of masks and have been delighted each time I see an employee wearing one of them when I stop in for my contactless coffee/grocery run.

Thank goodness for Backlot Coffee & Bodega!

And from there, it's snowballed. I reached out to some of my friends whom I know don't sew, I asked my sister-in-law, parents, uncle and cousin if they would like some masks, I even offered to sew my neighbor a few masks when we ran into them outside of Backlot and they were wearing bandannas on their faces. I've started buying fat quarters specifically with sewing masks in mind. To be honest, it's been really therapeutic as I sit at home, feeling helpless while the entire world is a dumpster fire. It's a small thing I can do to keep the people I care about healthy and safe. I've even come to enjoy the process and have figured out a few things that have sped up the process for me. I haven't made the move to start selling them anywhere - basically, I just have to like you enough to sew you a mask (and honestly, I don't feel like my sewing skills are good enough to charge for them).

Top to bottom: Avengers fabric ready to be pressed and pleated; stash fabric, also ready to be pressed and pleated; finished masks using Tula Pink Homemade Seed Stitch Fabric and Bali Watercolors Blacklight, both from Thimbles Quilt Shop.

As of this writing, I've made just over 50 masks and I plan to keep going til I run out of supplies or there's no longer a need! Once I cover everyone I know, I figure I can put some masks out for our delivery drivers or reach out to local organizations to see if anyone is accepting donations. Worst case scenario, I have a ridiculous wardrobe of face masks to fit any mood or occasion. After all, it's way more fun to wear a face mask when you actually like the fabric!