Does anybody really know what day it is?

Does anybody really care?


Having been retired for almost 5 years was good training for self-isolation. Being an introvert also makes it easier to stay at home although I do enjoy my quilt groups and other outings. My calendar started clearing out on March 13th with the cancellation of Jinny Beyer club for the next day. After that the cancellations came fast and furiously. I still have a couple of appointments (chiro and hair) on my calendar for April but I plan to cancel them.

Around mid-March I went ahead and made a hotel reservation for early May for my dad’s 97th birthday but that’s probably not going to happen. Dad’s nursing home has been locked down since early March. Mom’s independent living facility quarantined everyone to their apartments a couple of weeks later, probably because of the governor’s ban on large groups. Everyone in the facility eats in the dining room at the same time. Now the workers bring the meals to their apartments. Mom thinks it’s odd that the only people they’re allowed to interact with are the staff which are the only people who are allowed out of the building. It occurred to me several weeks ago that it’s quite possible mom and dad will never see each other again. That makes me sad. Mom tries to talk to dad on the phone now and then but that doesn’t work out very well. Dad can’t hear and has some dementia. He sure is a tough old bird, though.

Have you been busy during your coronacation? I sure have. Lots to show to you. Not necessarily in order.


These are blocks left over from my big quilt. When I cut the leaves out I just cut from everything that I felt went with the border fabric for the big quilt. Didn’t bother to count. Had 35 left over so cut one more. I’m pretty sure I sewed this together but I don’t have a picture right now. Trying to decide whether or not to border. I think I might have decided not. I will post about the big quilt finish another time.


I finished the Anna’s Blue Baskets/Jo’s Floral Album top. I auditioned a vast number of fabrics for the sashing strips. Finally landed on this one which was perfect. Ended up having to piece some of the sashing strips because the fabric was so uneven at the sides that I lost a few inches after cutting a straight edge. I had just enough fabric. Then I sat and pondered the various techniques I knew for making LeMoyne stars. Those cornerstone stars are 3″ finished. I finally had a lightening bolt hit and thought “Deb Tucker!” Sure enough the smallest star her LeMoyne star ruler makes is 3″. I ordered that sucker so fast it would make your head spin. The stars came out perfectly and were reasonably fast to make. I dithered over the fabric for the yellow for a while. I made a test star with a darker gold but decided to go with the lighter yellow. I like this project a lot better now than when I started it.

I’d like to lecture about the LeMoyne star block vs. what a lot of people are calling LeMoyne star lately but I don’t have all the visuals to do that right now. Maybe another day. A LeMoyne star block is made with 45 degree diamonds and is drafted on an 8-pointed star grid (the lines radiate out from the center). The look-alike block is made with half square triangles which create an uneven parallelogram rather than a diamond. That block is drafted on a 16-patch 4×4 grid. I think Brackman’s book shows that block as Star Flower but I’m not sure I’m remembering correctly.


I use Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Adjustable Square ruler (scroll down to find it) to square up applique blocks. I think her instructions say to make the ruler the size you need on the inside and draw a line to cut on so the ruler isn’t squashing the applique. I just make it the size I need on the outsize and cut.


I finally finished making the Frolic blocks and got the body assembled. I didn’t use Bonnie’s colors. I never got excited about the mystery this time. Assembling it was sheer drudgery. I still need to trim the edges, assemble the border and attach it. I found Bonnie’s instructions for the mystery this year very confusing. Then, the way she had us cut pieces left us with a boatload of leftovers, enough to almost make 9 more blocks. So, I laid out the pieces for 9 blocks and made a list of what I need to fill in the gaps to make a 9-block straight set quilt, not on point like the big one. My 9-block quilt does not have matching sets of pieces like the big one. I just used what was left over. I had to get this one assembled so I could put the next one on the wall to arrange.

Gudrun Erla ran a free quilt-along on March 22 for her Elvira pattern. Someone in her Gudrun’s Quilt Crew Facebook group said it should be called Elvirus. I think I’ll call it Coronacation #2: Elvira/Elvirus.


Took me about 10 minutes to pull the fabric for this one. I see a lot of these in my future because it is fast and easy and uses up fabric. This is her lap size which is a huge 63″ x 84″. I think a lot of mine will be the smaller size for donation quilts.


I took some time to clear some surfaces in the fabric room. One of the things I uncovered was some 1.5″ white logs cut for a Curved Log Cabin (MSQC tutorial). The floral 2.5″ strips were nearby. Was that my original plan? Beats me. This is Corona Spring, not yet assembled. Gracing the design wall for now while I complete some of the tasks on the many projects laying around the sewing area. I’ve been flitting from project to project, can’t you tell?

I also finished cutting blocks for another floral and green quilt that I’m calling Corona Garden. It’s using this half log cabin block from Kea Bee.

I got out a UFO box with the triplets in it. Norma Campbell, a local teacher, is a master of Trip Around the World quilts. One of her classes is Triplets where one set of fabrics results in 3 baby quilts. I took the class years ago. One day when I was in the shop they had a bunch of animal print bolts lined up and I decided to take Triplets to the wild side. When I got the box out I was surprised to see that this top was ready for quilting. I’d forgotten that I’d finished a top. Fortunately, I’d made notes about what I did for the borders and that I planned the same thing for the second top.


Triplet #1


Triplet #2

The note said to use orange Stonehenge for the flange. Hmm. No orange Stonehenge in the box. Apparently I bought it the day we decided that. It came home and went into the to-be-washed pile and never got put with the project. I found something I liked better in stash so everything’s good.

I got out the backing fabrics to check size and, darn it, they’re too narrow for the long-armer but not long enough for two lengths.

The backs are directional so now I have a dilemma. I’m going to send the pictures to my long-armer and ask her advice. I might could do the John Flynn diagonal back thing but the formula makes my head hurt, especially if you have a quilt that takes more than one length of fabric. Jinny Beyer created a worksheet. It looks like John added a calculator for how much fabric you need on this page (scroll down to the diagonal back instructions). I’ve never actually done one of these. I did cut fabric for one once but a stripe is a bad choice. I ended up using something else that worked out much better for the quilt. For the triplets, it would mean the print doesn’t match where the seam is but it would keep the animals all going in the right direction.

I wasn’t ready to work on the third one so I packed them back up in the box and put them back in the UFO closet.

I got a call from a neighbor that her sister-in-law’s niece who’s an ER nurse at the hospital was asking for scrub hats for the nurses to keep their hair clean of virus. The nurses are terrified. I made these two. I made 3 men’s scrub hats but forgot to take pictures of them. It took me quite a while to understand the instructions for making these. They aren’t my best work but they should serve the purpose. There’s a reason I don’t make garments. The surprisingly hard part was finding coordinating fabrics that are big enough. Fat quarters are too small.

While I was doing all this sewing, this kept happening:


All that mess of thread is the top thread wrapping around the bobbin and jerking the bobbin case out of position. Sometimes it will sew fine for a good while. Other times this happens several times a day. I’m ready to throw this thing against the wall. It’s a Janome 9400. Some people have no problems with their machine and some of us have nothing but problems. Apparently, quality is inconsistent from one to the next. I thought I’d try a new bobbin case in case that might help. It seemed a simple question for a dealer, “Do you have a red dot bobbin case for the Janome 9400?” I called on Saturday. I figured they’d go to where they had the Janome accessories, look at the package and see if it’s a red dot and if it’s for the 9400. They seemed confused by my question. Finally said they’d have to do some research to find out which one was the right one for the machine and they’d call me back. Well, it’s now Wednesday and I haven’t heard from them. Next week I’m calling a different dealer. I’d call the one where I get the machine serviced (not the one I bought it from) but they’re completely closed for the duration.

This first happened last fall, maybe? The bobbin case was turned 180 degrees from normal. The tech just said, “That’s not right” and yanked out the bobbin case. Did he damage something when he did that? I’m waiting for it to happen again so I can just leave it with the fabric stuck in it and take it in again when they reopen. The bobbin and bobbin case just rattle around and make terrible noise which is why I wanted to try a new bobbin case, maybe it’s damaged. The bobbins are Janome branded so they are correct.

I’ve set up my new travel machine to use. I get a free cleaning if I take it in before the 1 year is up in October. Since the May retreat is cancelled it wouldn’t have had enough use to need a cleaning. At least this way I can get some more use on it. I don’t have an insert for it that fits my Horn cabinet and I don’t like using it on a 30″ table because that makes it too high. I can adjust the table to 23″ but that’s too low. Sigh. Maybe I need to drag my old 1970s era portable sewing table downstairs and set it up. I think there might be something wrong with the light on this machine so I’ll have them check that when I take it in. One of the holiday gifts from someone in my mini-group a couple of years ago was a strip lighting kit that goes on the underside of the harp. That will be perfect for this machine. I just have to remember where I put it.

I’d like a new small table for my new old Bernina so it can stay up all the time. I don’t have an insert for it for my big table, either. A new table is something I was going to look for at the big regional quilt shows this spring which have, of course, all been cancelled. Next big regional show is scheduled for September.

Keep safe and let’s Dump Trump in November.

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4 Responses to “Does anybody really know what day it is?”

  1. Kerry Says:

    Wow you have been busy. Yes, I’ve no idea what day it is as they all merge into one mass. The only thing I’ve noticed is that it has been 19 (I think) days of non-stop sunshine. We had rain one night but it isn’t counted because it was dark! Sowing seeds more than sewing fabric!
    Good luck with the Janome – there’s a reason why I call my Janome “Jezebel” LOL!

    • Barbara Says:

      Sunshine for 19 days? If only. The weather here has been so weird. It was close to 80 degrees on Wednesday (I think), then down in the 40s. Supposed to be warn and stormy tomorrow. We’ve had a few really nice days but a lot of gloomy, cold days in between. I wish we could get a run of nice warm days.

      Yesterday, the Janome bit the dust. Had a severe jam that pulled the bobbin case out of its hole and caused something to be out of alignment. I should have left it as it was so the technician could see it but I thought it would be like all the other jams and work ok after I undid it. It doesn’t. It’s now sidelined until the dealer I take it to reopens for business.

      I’m using my new Eversewn 30 travel machine so I can get some use on it before the 1 year free maintenance is up in October. Our May guild retreat has been rescheduled for December so I need to give the machine a workout.

      Stay safe.

      Barbara Bennett Laurel, MD

      ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

      • Kerry Says:

        Still dry here – exceedingly hot yesterday (more like July/August temperatures) but cooler today. We were out planting the remaining raspberry canes before it got too hot – but it was much more pleasant. This evening the eastern/central part of England has thunderstorms. Here, there might be rain in the night, but I don’t think it looks like rain is due until Saturday. But things change. We have had so much rain since last September that there were floods all over the country. There were very few dry days and even less sunshine – we were all taking vitamin D tablets! And now we want the rain – we are never satisfied here! LOL!

        Naughty Janome, she really tested your patience! Frustrating indeed – good job you have another to use.

        Stay safe also – here in the west country there are fewer cases and I understand we are the lowest in the country for Covid, probably because most areas are so remote. The farmers are still busy – livestock doesn’t wait for lockdowns to pass! I’d be interested to know if the BCG (TB vaccine) works – because we had them at school! Freeeeeeeeeeedom!
        Take care

  2. Nann Says:

    Catching up on blogs….you’d think that with retirement and shutdown of so many activities that I’d have more time, but nope! All your projects are wonderful, especially the floral applique. My contribution was masks and it looks as though there are more in my future.

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