Category Archives: Crafts

mask rant

When Seattle had its first coronavirus death three weeks ago – yes three – and it rapidly became impossible to procure medical masks, one of my first thoughts was, I’ll just make some out of fabric.  In fact, I thought, I’ll make enough for everyone in Isla’s and Briony’s classes.

Then I did some research.  In short, cloth masks don’t work.  Not only do they not work, they can even be worse than not wearing a mask at all.

Now, all over my quilting Insta, people are talking about making lots of cloth masks.  Does no one use Google?  Or am I missing something?

Furthermore, I find the anti-paper mask rhetoric in the US irritating.  Paper masks do help prevent contagion, which is why Asian governments recommend them, including China and Korea, the only countries so far to actually control this thing.  My Korean friend is completely mystified by the anti-mask perspective in the US.  Buying them now may not make sense since medical personnel need them more, but I’m skeptical about whether medical personnel can just wear any old paper mask.  Furthermore, many, many people already own masks in their homes which they could wear.  We, for example, have open boxes of masks from when S was in the hospital and H and I had colds.  We wore a mask whenever we held her.  And, she didn’t catch our cold.

Edited to add link.  I think you can make a case for non-medical personnel to wear cloth masks.  (1)  They stop you touching your face and (2) they scare people into giving you space.

Colorful checkerboard quilt for Briony

I made this quilt some time ago but never wrote it up.  I made this as a winter quilt for Briony, and I love how it turned out.  She’s slept under it most nights since I made it.

Fabric

I used entirely fabric from stash for this quilt, including lots of large scraps.  There’s Sarah Jane’s Wee Wander, Lotta Jansdotter, Heather Ross, and many more.  I tried to alternate between light and dark fabrics.

The binding is a pink and white narrow stripe.

Batting

Since this was intended to be a “winter quilt,” I used my old favorite 100% wool batting from Quilter’s Dream.  It’s warm and fluffy as a result.

Quilting

I did simple diagonal quilting, and I love how it turned out.

The quilt is a generous twin size and perfect for Bri’s bed.

convalesce

We’re on Day 5 or so of a cold.  Maybe only 4.  It’s funny how the days seem longer when either you or baby is sick, or both of us in this case.  It’s supposedly a very mild cold, but it’s still quite difficult when layered on top of what is not exactly a leisurely lifestyle.  Currently baby is sleeping on my chest.  I often try to do a little sewing at times like this, but I’m just not feeling up to it today, so my everlasting quilt is stagnating this week.  Not having sick days is very high on my list of things I dislike about being a SAHM.  If I were working, I would definitely have taken a couple days off this week to convalesce.

I’m currently going through a minor English Paper Piecing obsession.  As in, I’d really like to try it, but because I have almost zero free time right now, it’s a purely theoretical obsession.   I am mentally planning a very simple quilt with a *little* bit of EPP for my brother’s baby, expected in August.  (I’m so happy for him, as it’s a double rainbow.)   He and my SIL do not find out gender in advance, so it needs to be gender neutral.  I’m thinking squares on point, perhaps in white or mostly white, with a simple hexagonal flower appliqued on top, probably in blue.  Hand sewing is where it’s at for me these days.  I’m even contemplating doing some hand quilting.

This weekend is the marathon Olympic trials.  In my opinion, it’s the women’s race of the year.  (Men’s marathoning isn’t in a great place right now in the US.)  I’m more excited about it than the Olympics.  I’ll be cheering for Jordan Hasay and Sara Hall, not to mention all the sub-elite women who are living a dream by merely competing.

34 weeks

34 weeks!  I feel really good about this.  Every week, I feel excited and happy to have reached another milestone.  Then my mood kind of sours as the week drags on forever.

At my last appointment, I had a high BP reading for the first time ever in my life.  “High” in pregnancy means in excess of 140/90.  If you are either over 140 OR over 90, you are diagnosed with gestational hypertension.  Now, to get a good BP reading, you are supposed to first sit for five minutes.  I had not been sitting for five minutes, so the doctor re-took it, and it dropped from 130/90 (gestational hypertension) to normal.  Thank God.  If I am diagnosed with GH, the doctor told me she will induce at 37 weeks.  High BP in pregnancy is not something to mess around with as it can be fatal in the worst case or have some nasty effects on both mom and baby.  So if I did in fact develop high BP, I would go along with whatever the doctor recommended.  However, I would strongly like to not be induced at 37 weeks.  I’m worried about the baby’s readiness for birth that early – even a day or two in the NICU would be really hard, and you just never know.  And I also worry that labor would be harder if my body wasn’t ready.  (I was dilated to something like 4 cm at 36 weeks with my last baby, so probably my body would be ready, but still.)

The doctor asked me to cut sodium and start taking BP twice a day at home.  If you’re keeping track, I’m now cutting carbs, sugar and salt, and taking blood sugar four times a day and BP twice a day.  Working from home, it’s not that big of a deal, but yeah.  I’ll be glad to return to regular life without all this for sure.  (Ponder your diet for a minute and ask yourself what you could actually still eat if you cut carbs and salt.   So many things have one or the other.  Obviously, diabetes doesn’t mean cutting all carbs, but you have to be very vigilant.  For example, the large honeycrisp apple I eat for lunch maxes or nearly maxes my carb allocation for that meal.  When you add in the complication of pregnancy-induced heartburn, it gets even harder.  I feel like an old person.)

The good news is that my sugar levels are excellent, and my BP has been very low at home.  After the doctor’s visit, I was very concerned about BP, since it is so common in pregnancy, even more so if you have GD, and because it is very dangerous if it starts to climb.  But I’ve concluded it was a false alarm caused by the stress of the doctor’s visit.

We gave away or sold a lot of our baby stuff after B.  We didn’t know if we wanted another, and we knew we didn’t want one soon.  We also have somewhat limited storage space in our house – if I could change one thing, I’d have a 3-car garage.  My Dad raised me to always keep your cars in the garage, so I can’t bring myself to use half our 2-car garage for storage.  Baby stuff takes up a lot of space!  In any case, Amazon gives you a two-time 15% discount on purchases off your registry.  I finally made the first of my two discounted purchases, buying a stroller, car seat, swing, some more nursing pads, and some other items.  I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear there was much agonizing over the stroller selection.  I ended up buying an Uppababy Cruz, which was a bit of a splurge, but I’m kind of excited about it.  It’s going to be like Christmas around here over the next couple of days.

In other news, the designer of the last quilt I made (with the hearts) asked if she could put my quilt in her newsletter.  That kind of made my day!

Princess of Hearts Quilt

I had another go at making a quilt for the new baby, and I do like this one better than my previous attempt.  It’s another Carolyn Friedlander design, and I like to call it the Princess of Hearts for my daughter on her way.  It’s such a simple pattern, but I quite enjoyed making it.

Fabric

The background is P&B Textiles Color Weave 4 Light in Teal.  The border at the top is Gleaned Parakeet in Spa Blue by Carolyn Friedlander.  The hearts are primarily various Friedlander fabrics, though there are a few others thrown in here and there.  For the back, I used a couple of Friedlander fabrics, as well as a beautiful white fabric with birds on it that I can’t identify.

Batting

I’ve gotten a bit burned out on the wool batting, so I used Quilter’s Dream Orient batting.  I quite like this batting.  It’s lightweight like cotton but just has a bit nicer drape, perhaps a touch more weight.  I don’t know – I’m a fan in any event.

Thread

Excepting the needle turn applique, I used my usual favorite Aurifil Mako 50 in white.  However, for the applique, I used Aurifil Mako in 80 weight in either white or dark gray depending on the color of the heart.  Honestly, it was a game changer.  It was so much easier to make the stitches invisible.  I’m a convert – for all future applique, I’m using 80 weight thread.

Quilting

I used a very limited amount of straight-line quilting between the hearts.  I adjusted the pattern a little to increase the horizontal distance between the hearts to I’d have room to quilt there.  I used 12 weight Aurifil thread in variegated blue.

Binding

The binding was done in Gleaned Parakeet in Spa Blue, like the top border.  I used 3 inch strips in hopes of making it a bit more prominent, but it didn’t really make much of a difference.  If I want a thicker binding in future, I’ll try 3.5 inches.

perspective

It is so hard to be rational and keep things in perspective when feeling sick all the time.  I actually fear that pregnancy is a bit like being old.  When I was still running, the only runners I would pass were the 70 plus crowd.  I walk slowly and awkwardly like an old person.  I have a hard time sitting through meals and am very picky about what I eat, like an old person.  I rely on a variety of meds to get through the day in a state of tolerable discomfort and for my health.  Of course, I know this will end within a couple of months – an old person knows it’s only going to get worse.  How do you cope with that?  (On the flip side, an old person doesn’t have to worry about labor.)

I’m doing my best to keep exercising and have been swimming more than at any other time in my life.  But I’ve introduced twice weekly upper body strength workouts in lieu of swimming.  It’s actually quite hard.  Perhaps I’ll have Michelle Obama arms by the end?  Doubtful.  But it would be nice to be a bit stronger.  I’m not doing any lower body strength, because my placenta is still low.  Two and a half more weeks until my next ultrasound to check on that.

I’m continuing to quilt, and I think I’m done with baby quilt #2.  I may do a bit more hand quilting / decorating on the hearts, but we shall see.

I’ve already started on another hand applique project.  It’s hard for me to sit up at the sewing machine for long periods of time, but I can do hand-sewing anywhere, so that’s very appealing right now.  Mini quilts are also very appealing.  I am contemplating another twin quilt, as I owe both my girls quilts, but I don’t want to start something that’ll take ages to finish.

27 weeks

27 weeks today!  Baby is nearly two pounds, and some people say this is the start of the third trimester.  Just in the last few days, I’ve started to feel a bit of that crowded, uncomfortable feeling which I definitely associate with the endgame.  Part of me can’t believe how far along I am, and a bigger part can’t believe there are 11 weeks left.  Or less if the placenta hasn’t moved – another ultrasound Thursday.

I am feeling OK.  I am able to enjoy life with my kids, but my energy is pretty limited.  I am still experiencing a sugar / energy crash after eating that varies from mild to severe.  Today, I tried laying down on the floor of my office, and that wasn’t cutting it, so I went up to bed.  I felt like I wasn’t going to make it up the stairs.  Now, a few hours later, I feel better.  But that was pretty rough.   I have my gestational diabetes test on Thursday, and I am worried that the symptoms I’ve been experiencing suggest I have GD.  However, I had the same symptoms and worries with my other two pregnancies, and didn’t have it, so I guess we’ll see.

I have almost no maternity clothes.  Work forced me into buying maternity clothes with my previous pregnancy, but this time, since I’ve been working from home, I’ve been wearing a lot of Lululemon tights to supplement my one pair of maternity pants and two pairs of shorts.  The bump is getting bigger, though, and I may end up having to buy more stuff just for a couple of months.  I look and feel very pregnant at this point.  I think I tend to be fairly average in terms of bump size – not huge, but definitely not tiny either.  This pregnancy seems to be proceeding like like my others in that regard.

I’ve completely switched to swimming.  Unlike my last two pregnancies, I haven’t been doing water aerobics.  Since we’ve moved, it’s a lot less convenient.  I may pick it up in the last month or two.  We’ll see.  For now, swimming laps feels great, and I’ve gone as far as 1800 yards, which is a lot farther than I ever went in my last pregnancies.  I think I’m in better shape, thanks to more minor morning sickness, and swimming 3 or more times a week is letting me increase my swimming fitness.  For the first five hundred yards, I can feel my belly stretching out, and it hurts, but it also feels good, if that makes sense.  After the first five hundred yards, I don’t feel it any more, and afterwards, I just feel better.

I’m continuing work on my baby quilt, and I have hand appliqued all the hearts to the fabric.  I was deciding between the green and blue for a border, and I think I’m going to use the blue.  Let me know if you disagree!  I ordered batting which won’t get here until early next week, but after that, I should be able to finish it up fairly quickly.