Face Masks – the Update

There’s a saying, “What a difference a day can make”, so one can presume how transformative two months might be. Two months. Are those measured the same during a pandemic? I know that there have been many days since our self-imposed quarantine on March 13, that I’ve not even known the day, let alone the date. I was in “head-down, get busy, hope for the best, prepare for the worst, help where I can” mode. I wasn’t sure I should even make masks, as I discussed in an earlier blog post. But here we are, two months later.

I definitely feel a shift in the mask-making frenzy. I hear my maker-friends, echoing the same sentiment. There are still orders, but there’s a calmness to it now that none of us saw months ago.

As someone who sews, I knew I could do something to help. What I didn’t take into account is how emotions and fear might play out in the interactions with potential customers. Clearly, we are all facing something we’ve not seen before. Of course, our reactions will be varied. I (virtually) met kind, caring and generous people. My intention was not to profit, but to pay forward. I kept the cost low & donated profit. Some paid for those who could not pay. Some “rounded up” to cover postage for others. Some purchased for dozens of others in their community without remembering to get one for themselves. One, waited so patiently as her package visited every post office in Michigan but her own. When they did arrive, she repaid the refund I had given when we thought they were never to be seen again. So many repeat customers, which of course, felt like I was doing something right. And yet, there were interactions that were strained and difficult because I couldn’t meet the request for a “favorite designer or favorite fabric print”. I pride myself on meeting customer expectations & this was a different scenario. I had customers fall by the way-side in the early days when I explained I wasn’t taking custom orders; I was making masks for safety, not fashion. With stores on lockdown, I was sewing from what I had available. I had committed to making 25 face masks a day and orders would be filled from those finishes. I didn’t anticipate the backlash when I explained, “I’m not allowing people to visit my studio to choose fabric….I’m in quarantine!”. I now believe those demands were driven by fear. I hope everyone can also see that while I was able to provide a sewing service, I was also trying to keep my family safe and deal with a pandemic. I suspect it’s easy to overlook that I was a bit fearful in those days too.

So many graphic prints
Do you see YOUR face mask here?
The third “edit” of mask style

My mask-making evolved and I learned how to streamline this process. Initially, I followed patterns outlined by hospitals for a pleated, flat mask. I had more positive feedback on elastic ear loops vs. ties, so I stuck with that plan. I made all of mine reversible, so that wearers would know which fabric was next to their skin vs. “outside”. You know, safety first.

It became clear that I sew with bold, graphic prints more so than solids!

One day I received a message from someone I’ve never met, who asked if I was accepting fabric donations. Of course; the more fabric, the more masks that can be made. We agreed that I would use her donation for masks & if I had fabric leftover when I decided to stop, I would donate the overage to other sewing charities. I thought a small donation would be coming my way, and then THIS box arrived. It brought me to tears. The sheer volume, the elastic and this card, were overwhelming. If you browse through the finished mask photos, you’ll see some of these prints in action. What you won’t see is the order I received for law enforcement officers. The same day this box arrived, I was asked to make masks in black or blue for corrections officers and a military general. 24 hours prior, I didn’t have those colors available. Betsy’s donation of 2+ yards of black / blue fabric allowed me to sew for those on the front-line. The serendipity of the moment was not lost on me. I cannot thank her enough for this incredible gift. She helped me, help others and I’m grateful.

Beyond grateful for this donation! Thank you, Betsy.

Customers sending photos brightened some dreary days! Thank you for showing me the Two Terriers Studio work, out in the world.

in Massachusetts
in Michigan
Preparing to deliver and meet baby #4
For my favorite 90 year old lady…xoxo
in Connecticut
more seen in Connecticut

I mentioned paying it forward. So far, by the purchases of these face masks, I’ve donated $500.00 to Children of Fallen Patriots. This organization assists in the college costs for children of parents who lost their lives in the line of military duty. I value higher education and I will be forever grateful to the men & women who serve our country. It seemed a fitting charity based on how we all came together: my sewing, the fabric and monetary donations, the purchase of masks and being able to help a military child attend college. I’m not done donating yet, but I’m still working out details of when mask making “ends” and what the final tally will be for donation.

One last note. I was recently asked by All People Quilt / American Patchwork & Quilting to participate in a survey about creating in a time of quarantine. You can find the article here. For makers, I think these suggestions are valuable (and you might see a new face, you’re not yet following!). For non-makers, I think this gives a good perspective on how quilters are moving through these unprecedented times.

Friends, be safe & stay well.

Playroom – Everyone is Welcome

This is Playroom, the most recent fabric collection by Mathew Boudreaux aka @Misterdomestic, an Angles fabric designer for Art Gallery Fabric. I wish there were “touch-o-vision” so you could reach into the screen and feel the softness and drape of this fabric. It’s lovely! Whether in these prints or coordinating Pure Elements solids, this premium quilting cotton feels amazing. While I have not personally sewn with them, there are also substrates in knit & rayon. I’m tempted to learn more about garment sewing so that I can work with those as well.

In 2019, I was chosen by Mathew to join his team of Master Makers for the “Catch & Release” Blog Party. Fast forward a few months to the release of Playroom and the opportunity to sew for the Art Gallery Fabrics (artgalleryfabrics.com) Look Book. THAT was an exciting day. I saw these fabrics and instantly thought of which I’d use for a quilt, which would be “perfect” binding, those I wanted to save for English Paper Piecing and the ideas kept swirling. I was so anxious to begin. To not only have the chance to sew, but also be published in their book of inspiration, was a dream come true.

The entire collection brought me back to the days when my children were small and I was trying to teach them manners and the Golden Rule. Seriously, the “Playroom Rules” is among my favorites, with the positive affirmations and so many fonts. I love fabric with text.

Playroom Rules

The very first thing I made once the fabric arrived was a jelly-roll rug. Let’s start with a good foundation, right?

Prepping fabric strips and batting
Pattern by Roma Quilts

This rug requires quite a bit of straight line sewing, so make sure you have more thread than you think you need. Remember that comment about being anxious to start? Let’s just say, there was a lot of “bobbin-chicken” going on one day. I should have hit pause before I jumped in. In the end, it all worked out and I LOVE the finished product. And to top it off, since it’s made with quilting cotton, it’s machine washable. Even better.

Next was the Reflections Quilt, a pattern by Suzy Quilts (suzyquilts.com). This is the second time I’ve sewn this pattern and it goes together very quickly. The wide bands of fabric beautifully showcase a variety of prints. I made the baby size quilt; the pattern includes additional measurements for other finishes.

“Funloving” binding
Reflections, pieced and machine quilted by Stacey, Two Terriers Studio

Last, but not least, were three quilted nesting buckets. When I think back to my children’s playroom, I remember it being easier to stay organized, yet still fun, through the use of storage containers and buckets. I wasn’t sewing back then, but if I had been, you would have seen a lot more of these little goodies in every corner! In graduated sizes, they easily corral small toys, crayons or colored pencils and even a plant looks good tucked inside. I lined each of these buckets in a coordinating print, all have the same accent band for a cohesive look. The most difficult aspect of this project was wanting to make multiples of EVERYTHING because I had a hard time choosing a favorite print.

Quilted Nesting Buckets, Pattern by Christina Cameli of “A Few Scraps”, Bluprint

Childhood and playrooms should be fun, energetic, positive, inclusive and if you can, a time to surround yourself with super cool fabric! What better way to end the day than snuggled with your favorite person in a cuddly quilt?

Miss K…the adorable helper

In this joyful tribute to his daughter, Helena, Mathew perfectly captured designs with finger painting, alphabets, florals, hearts, melty beads, and more. There’s a saying for parenting young children that “the days are long, but the years are short”. True. Here’s to hoping we can all remain kids at heart!

Special thanks to Samantha for letting me photograph Miss K. Big, giant thank you to Mister Domestic. Working with you is the best.

All patterns were purchased by Two Terriers Studio for this project; all photos property of Two Terriers Studio. Comments and opinions are my own, not sponsored or paid.