More August Stuff

 So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.
John Lewis

The Peace Quilt I made as a birthday gift has shipped to my grandson.  The pattern for this quilt is by J. Michelle Watts, Peace in Pieces. I chose this pattern, because I was inspired by the words of John Lewis. My grandson is a compassionate, brilliant, and artistic young man. I totally enjoyed making this quilt with him in mind.

There is a joke in the family about how I am always making mug rugs for everyone. My youngest sister joked about my sons being in the Mug Rug of the Month Club. Well, now, she is a member. She asked for some heart shaped mug rugs, which I made and mailed to her. I also saw a cute bird block on Pinterest that I thought would be a cute mug rug. There was not a pattern, but I was able to sketch a pattern out on graph paper. I scaled the measurements to 1″ blocks. My sister now has two bird mug rugs.

My granddaughter and grandson are back in school, online. Their parents did a terrific job of setting up a school room for them in their homes. The chair my granddaughter is using is a high back, upholstered chair. My grandson has a chair like those that are used in classrooms. I made a chair pocket organizer for him. I used to make them for the students in my class. Throughout my years of teaching, there were mothers who would volunteer to make the pockets for the students. I used the same “pattern” that my friend and I used; but I added an extra double pocket onto the back pocket. This pocket organizer could also be used as a lap reading pillow, by inserting a pillow into the chair top pocket.

Yesterday, I dumped all the tiniest of scraps from one of my large bins into two bags. My intent was to throw them away this morning. Then, last night, my DIL sent me a photo of mini quilt blocks. These blocks are made from those irregular, small cuts that are leftover. My friend just throws her scrappy scraps and tells me I should do the same. Of course, I couldn’t go through with the plan to trash this treasure. I had to try out making the mini quilt block today. It took me all of 10 minutes to make three mini blocks. I just love the way the blocks look. They would make a cool border. They could even be pieced into a larger block. Many possibilities. My scraps are now back in a bin…and I blame my DIL. 🙂

I have found my new favorite quilt shop, and I have never walked inside the doors! Mary J. Puckett introduced my to Studio Stitch. I ordered the fabric and received the Quarantine Pattern designed by Mary. This is the quilt that is with the longarmer right now. Carrie, from Studio Stitch, is very friendly and super helpful. After my first experience shopping online with Carrie, I decided to go back. Originally, I was thinking of making an autumn quilt, with leaves and pumpkins and such. I went to the website, just to look, and I found some fun fabric. It is a fall-ish fabric, that has little crows shopping and walking down a country road. I have recently become very interested in crows, and this fabric is just perfect! There is such a lot of activity and story in this fabric. I chose the six fabrics that came with the line, and Carrie helped to find the other fabrics (fat quarters ) needed for the quilt.  It was two afternoons of chatting on the phone. I felt like I was shopping with a friend. The fabric is ordered and will be mailed today. I cannot wait to get started on this quilt. When, and if, this pandemic is over, I definitely want to visit this great quilt shop in Greensboro, NC..

The next few days will be spent clearing and reorganizing my work space. Or not… 🙂

Mom

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.

Mark Twain

It has been many years since I have crocheted.
My mother and I used to spend time crocheting together. She was the one who taught me how to crochet. And I also relied on her showing me how to crochet a shawl, afghan, or other project, rather than me reading the pattern. Crocheting  was an activity we could do together, without me doing or saying something that would irritate her. 🙂
After a day of teaching, I would like to come home and crochet. I found the rhythm and repetition in crocheting to be very relaxing. I ended up over-doing it though, resulting in carpal tunnel. Because of this, I had not picked up crochet hooks again, until two years ago. I was so disappointed because I could not remember anything. Reading patterns and studying books I checked out from the library, did nothing to refresh my memory. I’m a visual and hands on learner, and I no longer have my mom to guide me through. I put the yarn and hooks away.
Recently, I started watching videos on crocheting. My first project was crocheting rock socks. I used small hooks and embroidery yarn. The hooks I ordered for this project are so much better than the old ones I had. They are more ergonomic and easier on the hand. This was the first time I crocheted anything with a small hook. I have two sets of hooks that range from 0.75mm to 10.5 mm.
Then, I got interested in projects made with t-shirt yarn. There are tutorials on how to make the skeins of yarn by cutting t-shirts. I might try this one day. For now, I purchased two different skeins. One arrived two days ago, and it was not as wide as I thought it would be. I followed a tutorial by Tuula Maaria. The project I chose for my first attempt was a small clutch pouch. I chose this because it is all single crochets and I wanted to start off slow. I increased the size of the pouch by adjusting the pattern. I used a 6.5 mm hook for this. I like the texture and the flexibility of the t-shirt yarn.
Crocheting this bag was a very relaxing and fun project. It reminded me of all the crocheting sessions I enjoyed with mom. I might have to give myself time before I start another crochet project. My hand is okay, but I do not want to set myself up for any trouble.
Mom taught me the basics of embroidery, but I could never sit down long enough to embroider. I used to think embroidery stitching was too slow of a process. Now, I enjoy sitting down and relaxing with a slow stitching project. As I was searching for ideas on Youtube tutorials, I saw some embroidery projects that used tulle for the fabric. I think this might be interesting to try out. There might be some tulle in one of my bins.
Mom would probably be fussing at me and telling me to settle down.
But, I think she would enjoy seeing me crocheting and embroidering.

August Stuff

So far, this month, I have pieced two quilt tops. One, Quarantine Quilt, pattern by Mary J. Puckett, was so much fun to piece. The Zen numbers fabric caught my eye, and I just had to make this quilt. Like Mary, I believe in supporting our quilt shops; and I believe in her new policy, “Life is short, buy the fabric.”  The scrap bin was over-flowing and just waiting to be used. My contact with the Studio Stitch was such a pleasant experience. I plan to order more fabric from them for future projects. I will post more about this Quarantine Quilt once it is returned from my quilter. I am looking forward to binding and using my quilt. Thanks, Mary, for your excellent pattern directions.

The second quilt top I made is for a very special teenager in my family. I had seen the Peace in Pieces pattern by J. Michelle Watts, many months ago. It was during the time that I was still shopping in person at the Mesquite Bean. This young man has a birthday in September, and I just knew this quilt would be perfect for him. It is a scrappy quilt, but the scraps in my bin were just not suitable for this project. I consulted with my friend at the Mesquite Bean, and she helped me choose 40 fabrics. I cut two, 2.5″ strips from each fabric and sewed them together into a 2,500″ roll of strips. Then, I followed the pattern directions for cutting the strips needed to form the peace sign. I don’t know why I thought this would be an easy-peasy quilt to put together! It is now with my quilter, and again, I cannot wait to see it completed.

My sisters and I had planned a social distance gathering, but we had to postpone it. I had embroidered some birds that I drew on some linen. I also made a flower out of an embroidered button. I turned these into mini-pillow dangles. Since I could not give them to my sisters in person, I mailed them.

For some time now, my friends have been wanting me to make a Meemaw wall hanging.  Since I have been looking for things to do since the quilts were finished, I decided to start on this project. I have a light box that I wanted to try out. I asked the Meemaws to send me a selfie. I traced these onto some white muslin. The faces were embroidered with beige thread. I ended up not liking the beige outlining. Then I used fabric to collage for their hair. I was not happy with how the fabric made it look like they were wearing helmets. It gave a stiff impression. After making the three portraits, and not being happy with the results, I tried something different.  When I made my portrait, I outlined in black embroidery. Then I embroidered the hair. This, in my opinion, was much better than using the fabric for the hair. Now, I do not know if I want to start all over with the other three portraits, or attempt to rip and redo the hair. This project has been shelved for the moment. If I do start over, I am going to ask two of my friends to take a “smiling” selfie! I think it was a bit unfair of me to use a pre-Covid portrait of myself. The portrait I used was taken by my hair stylist, the last time I saw him in March! There is no way I could capture what my hair looks like at this day and time without resulting in something rather scary.

Recently, I have been studying tutorials on how to crochet with t-shirt yarn. Years ago, I crocheted many afghans and other projects. I had to stop because I developed carpel tunnel syndrome in my right hand. I have since crocheted small projects such as rock socks :), using embroidery thread. It seemed my hand survived this bit of crocheting motion. I want to give it another try. I thought using a larger hook and t-shirt yarn might be fun.

I hope you are all doing well.
Stay safe.

 

Vote

It has been some time since I posted. I have been busy piecing two quilts and making small projects. I have also been contacting teachers with whom I worked. I am trying to give them the moral support they need during this pandemic. I do not make it a point to express my opinion, but I cannot be silent about what is happening to children, educators, and families.
Note: Any haters out there who are bashing teachers for not “showing up to work”, I am no longer listening to you. My voice will be stronger than yours. Hopefully, the peoples voices will be stronger than yours.

Teachers are definitely not getting the support from the state governments. Teachers, students, and families are being endangered by the man who sits in the White House. Districts are being threatened of losing funding if they do not open for in-school learning. Superintendents are working against all odds, trying to do what is best for their communities with no support or resources from the government.

Those with governmental power do not know what it takes to teach children. Do they even care for the safety of our children? In a non-Covid , regular school year, schools would always have weeks where strep-throat, the flu, just the common cold, would wipe out classrooms. You could be in the middle of a reading lesson and a child would vomit before he gets a chance to make it to the restroom. Cases of lice hit each year. So, how do these know-nothing government leaders expect children not to contact or transfer Covid? Saying that children might get sick and will get over it is not listening to the science; and it is child abuse.
I just walked past the school where I taught for 30 of my 42 years. The parking lot is packed with the cars of teachers. The recess ground is empty. There is no sound at all coming from the buildings, on the very first day of school. Teachers are isolated in their rooms, taking on the task of teaching 25-30 children online. They have worked all summer, trying to prepare for how they transfer best teaching practices and socialization skills to online learning. Teachers had to scramble last spring to finish the year, and they did a phenomenal job. Now, they are planning a school year (weeks? months?) with no real guidelines or support. It is their professionalism and expertise that is getting them through this. Teachers have had to listen to people say that tax dollars should not be going into schools that are not open… “If teachers are not working, why should they get paid?” What an unfair and untrue statement! Teachers have more stress added to an already difficult and challenging job. Educators are driven by their love for their students. They will go beyond expectations to address the educational and emotional needs of their students. They are also concerned about the parents and families of the children in their charge. Their hearts break for the children who do not have access for online learning for reasons such as parents not being able to work from home and therefore cannot stay home to help; or homes that have no wifi or technology set-up available; or other socio-economic reasons. Many teachers are also struggling to handle their job and the education, health and well-being of their own families.

School as we knew it will no longer be the same. Covid has shown the world what teachers already knew. You cannot pack 25-30 students in a room and expect to maintain a healthy physical environment. (Middle school and high school can have more than 30 students in each class.) School plants need to be updated in so many ways. No longer can we allow schools to have poor air systems, outdated and moldy rugs, bathrooms with outdated and overused plumbing, and outdated technology capabilities. There are schools that were built with no windows. Whoever thought that was a good design for anyone, much less for children? Each school needs a resident nurse, and not one that has to float to four other schools. Each school needs counselors and family social workers. Free lunch should be available for all students. And for those who say school can be held outdoors…try teaching in 105 degree weather. Outdoor sessions can be fun, but they are not a practical everyday solution.
So, thanks for reading my opinion.
The solution to this problem is TO VOTE.
Vote for someone who cares more for the children than for political power or money.
Vote for someone who will listen to real science and follow through on solutions.
Send an air-hug to all the children who miss their friends.
Send an air-hug to teachers in your neighborhood schools.
Send an air-hug to parents who are struggling to work and educate their children.
Be kind.
Be safe.