Add a Pipe Cleaner to Homemade Face Masks for COVID-19

Hi everyone,

I have made about 30 masks so far for my sister, a nurse practitioner, and her colleagues.

She asked if I could modify the mask to add a pipe cleaner along the top. Pipe cleaners are easy to bend into shape so that you can adjust the mask for a better fit.

I adjusted the Deaconess face mask pattern to allow for a pipe cleaner casing. I also slightly enlarged the pattern. This larger face mask will still fit smaller faces. If you are using elastic, just add a large safety pin to attach the elastic straps to each other around the back of the head. I’m running out of elastic so I made fabric ties instead, which allow you to adapt the mask to fit different sizes of faces easily.

I made a Star Trek themed face mask for my husband with the pipe cleaner casing  and fabric ties. It fits over his larger face with a full beard and mustache nicely.

Star Trek themed homemade mask with pipe cleaner

I put the Star Trek mask on my Tula Pink cat, pattern by Funky Friends Factory.

You can sort of see the shaping along the nose, provided by the pipe cleaner.

Star Trek themed homemade mask on Tula Pink cat!

If you’d like to make this homemade face mask modification, I put my instructions into a free Word document, Adding a Pipe Cleaner to a Homemade Face Mask. 

These instructions are free to use. Let me know if you found them helpful!

Stay safe!

~Jen

Quilters for Koalas Mini Quilt Swap

Hi everyone,

In January, I signed up for a mini quilt swap to benefit various wildlife rescue charities in Australia to help them out due to the massive wildfires. Each person who signed up for the swap agreed to donate $10 towards the charities in addition to making a mini quilt featuring an Australian animal.

Sharon (@shoppershaz_swaphost on Instagram) hosted the swap. We had over 250 swappers so she organized us into groups and assigned us each a secret partner.

I made a little koala on a tree for my partner using the Koalas pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. This is a traditionally pieced pattern rather than a foundation paper pieced pattern, and it was really fun to make!

My partner, Debbie, indicated that she preferred blues, teals, and yellows for her colors, and I knew that she liked batiks based on previous posts to her Instagram account.

I do combine batiks with quilting cottons, although some quilters cringe at the idea! I used a really pretty teal batik for the koala body with light blue Grunge for the ears. The background is also a batik in a warm neutral that is lightly patterned. I found scraps in my stash for the tree trunk, leaves, belly, and facial features. The binding is a dark teal batik.

The tree trunk fabric is directional so I had to make sure each piece faced in the correct direction. No drunken trees here with vertical and horizontal stripe mismatches!

I quilted this mini quilt on my trusty Bernina  Activa 145 S, my everyday piecing machine. For the domestic machine quilting, I used the Bernina free-motion foot #24 with Aurifil 50 weight thread in a light cream color. I did some free-motion swirls in the background, some leaf shapes in the leaves, and some ruler work on the koala and tree. If you look closely at the koala body, I added three free-motion heart shapes.

Here’s a look at my completed koala mini that I made for my partner:

Koala that I made for my partner

For my mini quilt, I asked for a koala, but I left the individual pattern up to the maker. I also mentioned that bright modern fabrics would work or more natural colors.

My partner, Sandy, made me a very cute little koala using a pattern by Joe, June, and Mae. She used natural colors and Essex linen for a rich texture.

Here’s a look at the mini quilt that I received:

Koala mini quilt that I received in the swap

This little koala mini quilt is now hanging in my sewing room, along with other minis that I treasure from swaps over the past few years on Instagram.

I’m happy that I was able to contribute to the wildlife rescue agencies in Australia during this swap! If you want to see more mini quilts from this swap, check out the #quiltersforkoalas hashtag on Instagram.

Enjoy,

~Jen

2020 Mini Series SAL – Week 2

Hi everyone!

Yesterday, quilters everywhere kicked off week 2 of the 2020 Mini Series hosted by Giucy Giuce and Alison Glass. You can read about my fabric selections and the first block, the Log Cabin, here.

The block this week is called the Courthouse Step, and it is very similar to the Log Cabin block with some minor differences. The Log Cabin took longer for me to sew because each piece slightly overlaps the prior piece, radiating outwards into the classic log cabin shape. Each piece must be pressed and trimmed separately before moving onto the next piece.

The Courthouse Step block sews together much quicker than the Log Cabin block because the little rectangle pieces on each step face each other, enabling me to sew two pieces before pressing and trimming.

For example, in the photo of my Courthouse Step block below, you can see each color is mirrored on the opposite side.

Courthouse Step block with a trillium

I love the look of these two blocks together. You can see the similarity between the blocks, but the differences really make them shine on their own.

Log Cabin and Courthouse Step with a trillium

While I was taking pictures of these blocks in a wooded area near my house, I saw a mama deer and her two fawns! Look closely in the background of this picture where you can see mama and one fawn.

Courthouse Step block with deer in background

Next week, I’ll post my completed Pineapple block. Are you participating in the SAL? It is completely free to join, but you do have to purchase the patterns either from your favorite quilt store or online at Alison’s website.

Happy sewing!

~Jen

Making Face Masks, Assembly Line Style

Hi everyone,

In my previous post, I mentioned that I’m making face masks for my sister, who is a nurse practitioner.

I’m making a few each day after work, and I’m mailing them to her in batches. I’ve made approximately 25 masks so far. I have run out of 1/4-inch elastic, but I do have some 1/8-inch elastic. I think I have enough of the smaller elastic to make another 20 masks or so. After that, I will start making fabric ties for the masks.

I’ve become really efficient at mask making. Initially, I was making complete masks, one at a time as I learned the pattern. Now, I’m making them assembly line style.

After work yesterday, I did the first mask making step upstairs in my sewing room. I stitched, right-sides together, about a dozen masks with the elastic inserts.

Then, I brought the masks downstairs to work on the next step while watching a movie with my husband and son. After turning each mask right side out, I’m use the new Oliso mini iron to press each mask.

This little iron is very portable and gets nice and hot for my smaller quilting and sewing projects. I do use it on a wool pressing mat so that I do not need to have an actual ironing board.

Once I press the masks, I eyeball the 3 pleats and pin them.

I now have a set of 12 masks to take back upstairs and finish the top-stitching.

Pressing Face Masks with an Oliso mini iron

I find that making the masks in batches of 12 goes pretty smoothly for me, and I don’t feel overwhelmed by the project.

I’m very happy to be able to contribute in this small way. My sister is sharing these masks with her colleagues until the medical grade masks are available again.

Stay safe and happy quilting!

~Jen

Making Masks for COVID-19

Hello everyone,

Yesterday, I had a phone call with my sister. She is a nurse practitioner who works in a cancer clinic. They are out of face masks, and they are not expected to get any more for a while. She has to treat patients without a mask.

I offered to make her some fabric masks. While they are not as effective as medical grade masks, they are better than nothing.

She asked for 2-layer masks in light colors. The light color allows her to see easily any foreign material that may have splattered onto the mask.

I’m using the Deaconess face mask pattern. Click the link to see printed instructions as well as a video on how to make the masks.

If you want to help make face masks, check with your local hospitals and clinics first. Not all places want homemade face masks. You can also check Million Masks A Day, organized by Just Wanna Quilt, for a list of places accepting homemade mask donations.

After work yesterday, I made 8 face masks, and I will mail those mails out today. I plan to make more each day this week. Each mask takes about 15 minutes to make.

The Deaconess face mask pattern uses double-layered fabric and elastic bands. They are triple pleated. I used batik fabric because it has a denser weave than regular quilting cotton. These face masks are double-stitched so they will hold up well to multiple washings. I made 7 masks with elastic and 1 mask with ties. My sister is going to let me know which style she prefers.

Here’s a look at the masks that I made:

My Tula Kitty Modeling a Homemade Face Mask

Homemade masks with elastic bands

Homemade masks: 1 with elastic and 1 with ties

Stay safe and happy quilting!

~Jen

2020 Mini Series SAL – Week 1

Hi everyone,

Have you heard about the 2020 Mini Series Sew Along hosted by Alison Glass (#alisonglass) and Giucy Giuce (#giucygiuce) ?

It’s a 10-week sew along with 8 tiny foundation paper-pieced blocks plus a bonus block for those participants who sign up on Alison’s website. The SAL is free; however, you do need to purchase the patterns. You can find the patterns on Alison’s website or from various quilt stores that she mentions

Here are my fabric selections for the SAL:

  • A Kona charm square pack called Mermaid Shores
  • A batik fabric for the background that reminds me of pebbles on a beach
  • A Tula Pink fat quarter from the Zuma line with little stars and seahorses

Fabric Selection for 2020 Mini Series SAL

I’m making the 4-inch blocks rather than the 8-inch blocks due to the length of my charm squares.

For week one, we are making the classic log cabin block. I’m an experienced foundation paper piecer so I already had an Add-An-Eighth ruler on hand as well as some very fine 80 weight piecing thread. The 80 weight thread is important with smaller blocks because it is less thick than 50 weight thread so your block presses flatter.

I fuzzy cut a little star for the very center of my block from the Zuma fat quarter. You can see it in the picture with the dime for scale.

Here are some pictures of my log cabin block:

Week 1: Log Cabin Block

Week 1: Log Cabin block with dime for scale

Week 1: Log Cabin Block on Tree

Week 1: Log Cabin block on a stump

I really love these colors together! I’m leaning towards making a small wall-hanging quilt with the blocks from this SAL. I may make a few extra of some of the blocks, but I have’t entirely decided.

Here’s a look at the back of the block. I will keep the paper on for stability until I sew the block to another block or sashing.

Week 1: Log Cabin back of block

Are you participating in the SAL? Leave me a comment below!

Happy stitching!

~Jen

Yoga Mat Carrying Bag

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope that you and your family are healthy and safe in these uncertain times. I usually attend a yoga class twice each week during my lunch breaks at work. While these classes are temporarily canceled to keep everyone safe, I decided to keep up with my stretches by using yoga videos online.

I have a home yoga mat that I wanted to keep clean while not in use. Why not make a yoga mat carrying bag?

I had some fun yoga themed fabric in my stash from Michael Miller’s Namaste Spa collection. This fabric is mostly sold out, but a few quilt stores may have some left if you do an online search.

I used these supplies:

  • Main body is Good Postures in gray
  • Bag bottom is Namaste in orange
  • Handle is Chakra Stripe in Happy
  • Liner is muslin
  • Thread is Aurifil 50 weight in cream

I have a standard sized yoga mat so I searched online for some yoga bag patterns. I wanted a pattern with a draw-string instead of a zipper because I didn’t have a large enough zipper in my stash.

I used a free pattern by Laura Pifer called DIY Yoga Mat Bag available on the Brother website. This pattern is quick and easy and, if you are a quilter like me, you will have plenty of fabric options to choose from your stash! I made the bag in under 2 hours.

Now when I practice my yoga at home, I have a cute  carrying bag to keep my mat clean and mostly free from pets when not in use! Of course, my cat and dog both try to “help” me when doing yoga!

Happy sewing!

~Jen