Love in the time of Covid

In mid-March I signed up for the APQS Longarm Certification course. I’ve had my Lenni machine for a few months now, and while I’ve done some practice runs and finished a quilt or two, I wanted to really dive in and learn techniques and skills to make me comfortable quilting for others.

So far we’ve had lessons covering finding the perfect tension, working with different battings and improving free hand muscle memory. This past week we had to complete two small, pieced quilts quilted with a pantograph. A pantograph is a repeating pattern printed on paper that you follow with your machine’s laser light, effectively quilting it on the quilt as you go.

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Pantograph paper on the back table of my longarm. Tracing the dark line with the laser attached to the base helps quilt the design smoothly onto the quilt.

This assignment really turned into a lesson on time management, procrastination and work load for me.

As most of you are, I’m working from home as much as my job allows. Our farm is considered “essential” and we are grateful to still be operating. But we’ve also tried to adapt to keep our employees as safe as possible. But working from home, even while childless, presents unique challenges and distractions that aren’t present in the office. For example, I’ve struggled with feeling like I should always be doing work, even at 8pm because it’s available to me and I just thought of something I need to do. But I also get side tracked doing dishes on my lunch break. Oh, and then there is making masks for friends and family who have reached out to me. And trying to fit in homework for my quilting class. Constantly hearing the message of how the world has slowed down in quarantine, does not in fact slow down everyone’s day to day.

So for this assignment, we had two weeks to make two quilts. Typically nothing to fret about, except I poorly allocated my time and over committed to other tasks, waited until the second week to do both, and then rushed to put together two simple quilts. Let me show you the result. It’s a little embarrassing.

This poor heart quilt. The top is even, the sides are the same lengths, but as you can see, the bottom is a graduated step. This is what happens when you assemble in order from one side to another without pinning and without alternating the stitch direction. Also, being exhausted on a Friday evening mere hours before pictures of this quilt, fully quilted and bound were due, did not help my mental state.

But by the grace of God, I figured it out. I squared it as much as possible before loading it onto my longarm. I finessed it while I quilted it to keep it straight and square. I ended up cutting more off the bottom to make it square than I should have, but ultimately, it’s like any work of art. Don’t point out the mistakes and no one will know it’s not supposed to be like that. (And then write a blog post about it so everyone will in fact, know about it.)

And the great news is, I finished binding it at 11:50pm the night it was due and submitted my pictures to the instructor in time.

Now, I was so pleased with how this heart quilt turned out, that I’ve decided to use it in a special way. Typically with this class, assignments are mailed in for grading and donated to Project Linus. I do plan on donating my assignments, but I have a grander plan for this one. Instead of donating, I want to raffle it off in the community, with 100% of the proceeds going to a local non-profit helping with Covid-19 response and relief. I’m currently looking into sites to host the raffle and logistics such as choosing a non-profit, ticket price, and a time frame for the raffle. Once I have everything sorted I’ll be announcing it on my Facebook, Instagram and here. So keep an eye out!

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The finished product! To be raffled for a local non-profit assisting in Covid-19 relief. Stay tuned here on my blog and social media for more info!

In the meantime, I’m going to work on being productive, improving my time management and creating boundaries for myself while working from home. Self care is just as important now as it ever has been. I hope you all are taking the time you need to stay sane and healthy.

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Here’s a bonus picture of my amazing, supportive, loving husband being my quilt stand for my homework pictures:

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