Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Strings, strings, strings

The next monthly block drive is up for Covered in Love and this time we're doing strings! These foundation pieced blocks are kind of like potato chips-- you can't do just one.  So I've been digging through my strings making blocks.

My strings live in an old roasting pan.  You might remember that around Christmas last year went on a string quilt binge and actually brought these under control... for a little while.  Suffice it to say they are out of control again and I am enjoying putting them to use.

We already have enough blocks for one quilt, let's see how many we can make this month! With your help Covered in Love provides quilts of comfort to families of patients who pass away in the hospital where I work.  These quilts do make a difference.  If you want to help please check out the main page.

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

October Block Drive: String Blocks

Fun stuff on the design wall today! The patchwork mosaic blocks from September's block challenge are still coming in, but I have enough already to put the first top together.

With September wrapping up it's time to think about next month's block drive.  Rhonda from the Tyler Modern Quilt Group gave me a bunch of foundation pieced string blocks which got me thinking, scrappy strings would be a great block drive for October!

Remember, these blocks go toward Covered in Love giving quilts to people who lose loved ones in the hospital.

Foundation pieced string blocks are super easy to make.  First cut 11" squares from some scrap fabric. I used an old sheet, you could also use muslin.  It won't be seen, so it doesn't matter what's on this fabric.  Then grab your string scraps. For this quilt let's go crazy, no color scheme, everything goes!  Start by putting a string across the foundation diagonally face up. Then grab another string and lay it on top face down. Sew a quarter inch seam along the side and press open.

Continue adding strings and pressing them out, make sure each one is long enough to cover the foundation square.  When you get to the corner, flip the block around and continue adding strings to the other side until you cover the entire foundation.

Once you have covered the entire foundation in strings you'll need to trim the block. This is easiest to do from the back so you can see the foundation.  Trim to 10.5" square.

If you want to send in a block or twelve please leave a comment or send me an for the address.  With the blocks Rhonda gave me we are already most of the way toward one top, I'd love to make three tops this month!

Linking to Oh Scrap! and Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Libby's Top Finished

My good friend Libby recently sent me a UFO top of hers to finish for Covered in Love.  This cool neutral snowballs quilt just needed some borders to fill it out and then quilting.  Done :)

Libby may not see this post since she's currently being a tourist in China (boo! I'm jealous!)  But I very much appreciate her sending it to me.

The circle parts are appliqued on with a tight zigzag stitch.  Backing for this was a neat grey/blue fabric from Hancocks. 

This quilt will be going up to the hospital with the next batch of donation quilts.  If YOU would like to donate to Covered in Love please check out the main page.

I'm also throwing in this little baby quilt to this week's finishes.  A friend asked for a little boy quilt for her grandson. I actually remembered to round off the corners this time!  I always intend to round the corners on baby quilts, but I usually forget.

Backing is this cute space rocket flannel, nice and cuddly for a new baby!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday. I hope your week has been productive!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Design Wall Donations

Most of what's on my design wall today I really can't take credit for.  First off the patchwork mosaic blocks for this month's block drive are coming in! They look great together and I think there may be enough for 2 quilts. Thanks to everyone who has sent in blocks so far and if anyone else is thinking about it, there's still time :)

Also on the wall are these patriotic rail fence blocks sent in by Mina along with her September blocks.  She also sent a great finished star top and some other large blocks you'll be seeing later. Thanks Mina!

Thank you to everyone who continues to contribute to Covered in Love!  We are going to surpass 30 quilts donated soon and all thanks to your efforts.  You guys rock :)

Linking to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chain Links Top Finished For Covered in Love

This is another quilt for Covered in Love that was finished from a donation by one of the Tyler Modern Group ladies.  Teri gave me this top and it was just a tad small so I added some narrow borders and done!

My favorite part of this quilt is the sort of eastern european-style black fabric.  I just really like the colors and the interesting pattern.

I decided to pull out this fabric by using a black binding.  Teri's UFO is now a finished quilt and it will be going to comfort a family who has lost a loved one in the hospital where I work.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to Covered in Love, your donations keep this program going! Please comment or email for an address if you would like to contribute.

For anyone who would like to make a block or two this month I am collecting patchwork mosaic blocks. The tutorial post is here. Make one block or ten, every bit helps!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

CODE: quilt

 (warning for long post, a heavy topic and some graphic descriptions)
One of my patients coded the other day.  For those of you fortunate enough to not know what that means, "code" is short for Code 44, which is what they announce over the intercom in the hospital when someone stops breathing/heart stops beating.  It's the signal for people to come help try to resuscitate.

After over 2 years as a nurse this was the first time one of my personal patients has coded.  I'm usually able to see them getting sicker and move them to a higher level of care, but the population we work with is so chronically ill at their baseline that they can turn pretty quick. 

We were able to bring them back, but they never regained consciousness and passed away the next day.  I don't like to be in on codes.  Normally when one happens on my unit I go gather the spouse or family and take them to our break room, give them a box of tissues and pass them off to the chaplain. Then I stay at the station to direct traffic and answer the phones. Being in there is too jarring for me.  The whole thing just left me feeling off for the rest of the weekend. 

Since the patient passed on a Saturday the chaplains' offices were locked and I didn't have any Covered in Love quilts.  Fortunately, the amazing Nancy (of the rail fence quilts) just donated me two finished quilts and I was able to mail one off the next week.

Nancy just got a long arm and we are the lucky, lucky recipients of some of her "practice" quilts
As we all know, when I feel off, when I'm stressed, I quilt. But more than that, I quilt as a direct response to situations like that one.  I know that as a nurse, Codes are part of what we do. We're supposed to keep people alive. And if they attempt to die, then we try to resuscitate them and keep keeping them alive.  

(Soapbox rant, if you want to skip it go down to the picture with the quilts)

But personally, I won't ever feel good about what we do in situations like that one.  The vast majority of Codes run in a hospital are on patients who are so old, and so sick. The dying process is the elephant in the room and no one, not the family and definitely not the doctors, wants to address it.  Dying is a natural part of life, it happens to everyone eventually.  And no, we don't want to hasten it. We're never ready to lose the ones we love.  But if you ask most people what they fear for death, they'll say pain, suffering, and being alone.  We're terrified not so much of dying as of the part right before.  Yet despite that, most people die in hospitals, surrounded by caring strangers rather than family, being poked for blood draws and IVs, restrained, with hard plastic tubes down their throats during the last few weeks of their lives, with aching chests and punctured lungs from CPR that only buys them a few more days of hazy consciousness and pain in the ICU and finally, when their body has absolutely had it, they die in a code (pardon me, graphic) naked in a room packed full of strangers with a nurse pumping on their chest, breaking their sternum and ribs, beating the literal crap out of them.

CPR works reasonably well for relatively young, relatively healthy people who have sudden cardiac events. That is what it was invented for. It was never supposed to be applied across the board. The success rates for CPR in any other demographics is abysmal.

No one who has ever seen a code wants to die that way, yet so so many people do.  Why? I guess because we don't want to talk about dying, and everyone assumes it won't happen to them.  Every patient that codes never thought it would be them either.  We tend to assume that when the time comes our family members will just know what we would want, but trust me, they don't.  Please, please have the conversation with your family members about what care you would or wouldn't want at the end of life. There are tons of resources online to help you get started.  

The Conversation Project can help you talk to your family. And while you're at it, read this article.  And remember, it's always too early, until it's too late.

Ok, end of rant. Thanks for anyone who hung with me though that.  I'm not trying to traumatize you, but here's the thing if what happens in hospitals at the end of life is too graphic to talk about, how can we let people send themselves and their relatives to it blindly, having no idea what they're going into? That's like saying 18 year olds are too young to watch a graphic shoot 'em up war movie, but then handing them a gun and sending them off to actual war.

We are working in my hospital to create a palliative care program that would help head off situations like these and improve end-of-life care, but it will be years before the program is up and running and the resources are barely a drop in the bucket next to the need.  We are working to create a better future, but what about the patients dying today? This is why I created Covered in Love, to do something, even a small something, for the patients and families that are suffering now. 

I had a basting party last Sunday so today I am working on quilting and binding the stack above, look for more of these quilts in future Friday Finish posts.  Thank you, as always, to anyone who has contributed blocks, tops, or quilts to Covered in Love.  If you would like to get involved please check out the main page.

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Donated Sampler Blocks Finished

This stack of great sampler blocks were donated by a Marilyn, a member of the Tyler Modern Quilt Group.  She had made them for a blocks of the month and never turned them into anything.

I was delighted to inherit Marilyn's UFO and turn them into a quilt for Covered in Love! I simply enlarged the blocks with a textured black (something from the Grunge line with a lot of blue in it). Simple and striking!

The fabrics in the sampler blocks are really interesting and bright.   The quilt finished at 54"x72".

As always, anyone interested in contributing to Covered in Love can comment or email for an address.

UFOs, WIPs, blocks, tops, and of course finished quilts are all welcome! Also, this month I am collecting patchwork mosaic blocks.  You can find the tutorial post here.  Thanks, everyone!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Another Top

I was trying to take a nap yesterday when I started thinking about this quilt design, of course I couldn't sleep and had to get up and start cutting fabric!  Originally I had planned to make this scrappier, but I lacked enough diversity in the colors I wanted to use.

For reference, if I were making this scrappy I would cut (1) 8.5" block and (1) 2.5"xWOF strip from my chosen fabrics, as many blocks and strips as there will be blocks in your finished top.  The colors in this top are more dark and saturated in real life, I like the "grown up" color scheme.

Also, the last of the flying geese blocks came in (thanks Debra!) so assembly on that top can officially begin.

Hope your week is going well! I'm linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Supersized Block Top

I saw a cool new block this week on Tish's Adventures in Wonderland! It's a really pretty, detailed block she's calling Watermelon Taffy. You can see all the cutting instructions and the tutorial here.  Although this block would make a stunning quilt as is, it would take me a few years to finish a quilt where each 12" block has 152 pieces! (Did I add that up right? Double checked it, WOW!)

Since I love the block I decided to scale it up to make a whole quilt from just the one block. Tish's original block used a 1" base to make a 12" block, my scaled up top uses a 6" base to make a 72" quilt.

"Mom, can I help?"
I'm not totally in love with the colors I used; I was limited by which fabrics I had large enough cuts of in my stash. Hoping it grows on me in the quilting phase.  This will be another one for Covered in Love.

Linking to Judy's Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Flannel Scraps Quilted for Covered in Love

So remember back ages ago when I cut up my flannel scraps into 2.5", 4.5", and 8.5" squares to make scrap quilts?  Well the first one is finally done. This is the one that had more manly colors.

The scrap quilt finished at 56"x72" and it's super cuddly with a flannel back and everything.  I used a slightly fat seam allowance to make sure my seams wouldn't ravel.

This is another quilt to be donated to Covered in Love.  With the latest batch of quilts we are up to over 20 donated!

20 families who had to walk out of the hospital for the first time without the loved one they came in there with carried a comforting quilt made with love.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed, please keep sending in those quilts, tops, and blocks! Everything you contribute helps.

Rory quality tests every quilt before it leaves the house.
If you aren't up for a whole quilt, remember for September you can contribute by making patchwork mosaic blocks. The tutorial post is here.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

QAYG Strings and Geese

Aaaand it's Wednesday again...  I *think* there are just a couple more of the flying geese blocks for last month's Covered in Love block drive to arrive, so I have been playing with them on the design wall.  If you want to contribute a block (or a few) to CiL this month's block drive post is up here.

I have been working on some back burner projects, one of them is this Quilt as You Go string quilt I started a while back. I'm just piecing strings onto strips of batting, not sure how they will all end up coming together.

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced