Sunday 20 October 2019

Dishcloths and Health Care Aide Day

October 18 was Health Care Aide Day in Alberta. It's a time to recognize health care aides (personal support workers, home support aides, nurses aides or whatever name they go by) and the important work they do. It's not an easy job - they do most of the "grunt" work in health care, and are often unrecognized and unappreciated. Last year, when I was working as a director of care in a long term care, I gave each of my health care aides a bath scrubby and some home made soap. I personally did not make the soap, as that is not one of my hobbies, but it was made by one of my retired nursing colleagues. This year, back in home care, I gave each of our health care aides a home made dishcloth.
That was somewhere in the neighbourhood of 26 dishcloths! It gave me an excuse to try a new Bernat yarn: Scrub Off. This yarn has regular cotton yarn interspersed with a scrubby-textured yarn, sort of like terrycloth. I decided it's not my favourite yarn. Like Bernat Bundle, the transitions between yarn types are not smooth - there are often loose ends that you have to figure out what to do with. I also don't really like working with the scrubby texture - a little rougher on the hands. 
While in Ontario on vacation, I picked up this book: 

and decided to start trying some of the patterns.
Orange Slice  -  Sunny Day
Cornflower  -  Wild Rose
So, the health care aides got quite a variety of dishcloths.
I took a Big Ball of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in the lava lamp colourway (the green/pink/blue/white ones in the photo above) with me on the plane. When I finished that up, I bought one in Garden Party (the purple/pink ones). 
 I was using patterns from yarn labels and the internet. Above is another new yarn I purchased in Ontario. The purple/blue one is Bernat Handicrafter Stripey. It comes in a "cake," rather than the usual skein, with about double the amount of yarn, and I find it softer and finer than the usual Handicrafter cotton.
Summer Shells (which really isn't the pattern in the book)  -  Summer Rose
Rose Granny  -  Sunflower in Circle
At home I continued with the "Year of Dishcloths."
I then made these Pretty Posies dishcloths for a neighbour who had lost her husband. This is a free Mary Maxim pattern that I've used numerous times. It's pretty and it works up quickly. I use Red Heart Scrubby cotton for the edging.
Passion Flower  -  Fancy Heart
Before the Pie  -  Grandmother's Flower Garden
October 18 was drawing nearer, so I finished off with these four, plus some other dishcloths I had left in my stash. On the afternoon of October 17, I stuffed one in each of the health care aides mail boxes at work.
Now I'm down to just three in my stash, so it's time to get started on some new ones. I decided to try a pattern I got on a leaflet in Len's Mill, Bernat Holiday Dishcloths. I couldn't find the pattern online so I can't link to it. It's a Handicrafter Holidays pattern.
Because of the stitches used (front post double crochet, alternating with back post double crochet), it really ends up being too bulky for a dishcloth, so I put it in my drawer with my hot pot holders and trivets. 
Better get moving. I've got a quilt on the longarm that needs to be finished before I can get my niece's bag done, plus laundry and cooking to do, so I'm ready to go back to work tomorrow.

Odd Fellow's Treat Bag

While I don't personally choose to celebrate Halloween, my daughter does take my grandson out trick or treating. So, I decided that he should have a proper treat bag. A quilted treat bag, of course. But I didn't want it to be specifically Halloween. So, while the colours are Halloween-ish, there are no jack-o'-lanterns, witches, etc. featured on this bag. And as for the colours, well, orange is his and his mother's favourite, and purple is Grandma's favourite. So, he can use this bag any time he wants to. 
Originally, I had seen a bag pattern in a quilting magazine and intended to use it to make this bag. So, I purchased the fabric (guestimating the yardage, since I didn't have the magazine with me) that was on sale at Fabricland. I don't know if I forgot to buy the magazine or just forgot which one it was in, but I haven't been able to find it in any of my recent purchases. As my mother used to say, necessity is the mother of invention, and I figured it wasn't that difficult to make a tote bag. I just had to determine size and what block to use. I suppose I could have googled to find a pattern or at least what size to make it, but I decided to wing it. I felt that a 12" bag would be too small and an 18" bag would be too big, so I took middle ground and made a 15" bag, with the sides 6" wide. It might be a little big for a 7-year-old, but he definitely won't run out of room for his treats.
As for the block, I decided to use one of the many quilting books that I have picked up at thrift stores. I chose Odd Fellow's Chain from this book: As the title indicates, this is a dictionary of quilt blocks, not an instruction book. So, once I chose a block, I had to determine how to make a 12" block from a 2" line drawing. Yes, I probably could have googled the block name and found instuctions, but too often I find the patterns come with templates. And I am really not fond of templates. I'd much rather just measure and cut. I only had to determine the measurements. It's been a while since I have done a more traditional quilt block, and an even longer while since I've made one "from scratch." And I'd forgotten how much I enjoy doing that. It's a good thing I'm good at math, since EQ8 is not yet in my budget. 

I produced two of these quilt blocks. I added 1½ borders to the blocks, and stitched them together with the side pieces, leaving the bottom piece separate. And I loaded it on my longarm for quilting, laying the bottom piece beside the main piece. It's the smallest project I've done yet on the longarm. The main part of the bag was 42½ by 15½, with the bottom piece measuring 6½ by 15½. 
I quilted it using the Pumpkin Fest pantograph. 
I used Glide Halloween for the top thread and on the bottom, I used a prefilled bobbin of orange thread that came with my machine. I didn't know what I'd ever use that orange bobbin for. Now I do. 😃 
I made quilted handles as I think the handles will be more comfortable with batting in them. 
Next project will be one for my niece. Not that she needs a tote bag for trick-or-treating - LOL, but even as adults, we could all use a little treat now and then. And she just had a birthday, so I plan to make her a quilted gift bag to hold her "treats."

Just in case you're wondering why I choose not to celebrate Halloween, see the video below.