Documenting a life during a Pandemic

I’m happy to report that I’ve finally finished the back of my Coronavirus quilt!

You might remember this quilt I finished last summer. It was Bonnie Hunter’s Unity quilt-a-long with some slight modifications to the outer borders because I ran out of the fabrics we were using. I named it my “Coronavirus Quilt” because I made it during our German lock-down (and I thought the middle block looked a little like the virus!).

Things were still locked down when I finished that so I had the idea to order some white fabric for the back and embroider scenes from our life during the Pandemic.

Remember, I had a nice looking plan? I was so naive! I mean, none of us had any idea how this whole thing was going to play out but maybe I should have left more room for future entries?

I know this pandemic is not even close to being over but I had to draw (sorry for the pun) the line somewhere so I chose to end it at the end of 2020.

As you can see, things got a little bunched up at the bottom due to my poor planning but that’s kind of how my last few months have been.

I did start in the middle and go towards the outside so I had to go back and add where everything started for me.

I think I shared some of these before as I was working on the quilt.

This is one of my favorites!

Then it felt like I needed to tell more of our story with words more than with pictures. I did NOT get better at embroidering the words but they’re all there.

Then this happened and besides being sick, I was feeling all the things – fear and anger. So much anger. Moving from overseas is stressful enough and trying to manage a move where nothing was working how it should was overwhelming. Then there was an election and arguments and disagreements over wearing masks. We had serious culture shock and felt like we had landed in a place that we could no longer recognize as our home country. We’re still trying to find our way.

With this quilt story, I just called it like I saw it. I had to do something with all my anger, so I kept sewing. When I look at this I remember the feeling of sitting and crying in my car in the parking lot of the Hospital ER waiting for my husband. He developed pneumonia and they wouldn’t let me in with him. We were both scared.

I thank God every day that he got better even though he still has a lingering cough 7 weeks later. As of today, the number of deaths from Covid-19 here in the US alone are over 365,000 so I know our outcome could have been very different.

I thought about putting more things on the quilt like the numbers of deaths or how many cases there are but then decided to just tell highlights of my story. I’m ready to put this quilt together and then I plan to hand quilt it with white thread. I still have a lot of time on my hands.

I keep wondering if there will be more that I need to tell about this pandemic. I sincerely hope there isn’t. I pray that we can all get the vaccines and the virus will eventually be eradicated and we won’t lose any more loved ones to this virus. Let’s hope so.

Updates on the Coronavirus quilt

I wanted to share some more of the embroidery pictures from the back of my Coronavirus quilt.  You might remember that I’m creating a pictorial backing for my quilt as a way to document our lives during this pandemic.


As you can see, my “expert” stitching gives it a real homespun quality.  (That’s what I tell myself anyway.)


I’ve discovered how hard it is to draw people and then make it simple enough to stitch around.






I have about five or six more images that I want to add but I’m happy that it’s coming along so quickly.

I recently packed up my sewing machine and am in the process of getting my sewing room ready to move.  We’re about 2 months away from the end of my husband’s contract here.  With everything that’s been going on, he’s having a hard time finding a follow on position.  I’ve lost count of how many interviews he’s had and of those, how many of the positions they’ve decided not to fill at the last minute.  Things are a little stressful but this project has been a nice distraction.

Obviously, I’ll have more to add to my story when we find out what the next chapter of our lives will be and luckily, this project is very portable!

More of the story…

I think I mentioned before that I wanted to create a pictorial version of my life during this pandemic on the back of my Coronavirus quilt.

Well, despite my inexperience with embroidery, I jumped right in.  Now, I’m not going for perfection here.  I just want to record a little history and tell my story in my own way.  (Please keep that in mind when you see my goofy pictures.)


I started by drawing out what I wanted it to look like.  I think the scale is off a bit here but it’s something to go on.


Then I got some embroidery floss or thread, whatever you call it.  I tried to go with colors that I used on the quilt front.  This was a little hard since I didn’t have it with me at the craft store and if you pick something up there – you bought it.  I have no idea how much I’ll need for this project.


I started in the middle of the quilt by folding and ironing to create some lines to work with.

Then I’ve just followed my plan.  Working out from the middle on the easy pictures first!


It’s a little slow going but ….well, I have plenty of time these days.


Here’s how the whole thing looks so far.  This is definitely flexing my artistic muscles these days.  I usually draw the picture on a piece of paper first (so I can erase if needed) and then I trace the drawing onto the fabric with a pencil and sew over the pencil lines.  I’m hoping I can gently wash this before I layer the quilt and quilt it to get the pencil lines off (and any blood from finger pricks – yes, that happened already).


My Coronavirus Quilt-top Finish!


It’s hard to believe that I worked on this quilt for something like 9 weeks while we’ve been staying home and social distancing.  It’s also hard to believe I didn’t buy any fabrics but just used what I had in my stash.

Thanks to Bonnie Hunter for doing this free Unity quilt along on her Quiltville website!  It was fun and I had no idea how it would turn out. It was definitely something to look forward to each week.

Let me fill you in on some of the steps since I last shared:

I left you at week 6 and was excited to do the red and white half square triangles.  Those triangles turned into big pinwheel blocks that were added all around the quilt.


These pinwheel blocks also had some blue and aqua squares which I was able to dig out of my scrap bins.

And then this last and final week I took a look at the blocks and realized that I didn’t have enough aqua fabric and maybe not enough blue.  So I just decided to finish it my own way.

little stars

I made smaller versions of the blocks from the last part and decided to use them as corner blocks.  They’re cute!

Then I made a bunch more of the half square triangles and used them as an all-around border.


I also added a plain background border to fill the space between the saw-tooth border and the quilt since my corner blocks were 4″.  There was a lot of math involved and math is not my thing so I’m really thrilled that it came together!


(There were a few extra parts. Whoops!)

This thing is big!  Mine measures 82″ x 90″ so it was challenging to find a place to take a good photo.

Now, I’m finishing up a few other projects and can’t wait to get started embroidering my quarantine activities on the backing of this quilt.  Wish me luck on that!

Coronavirus Quilt update

I’ve finished a few more weeks of clues on my Coronavirus Quilt (Bonnie Hunter’s Unity Quilt-along) and I’m really loving it!


Every week, I wonder if I’m going to run out of fabrics.  I’ve pulled out every scrap of red, blue and aqua that I could find in my sewing room.  I don’t have much dark blue and aqua blue left but I still have plenty of red.

I got lucky this past week because the clue was to make red and white/cream half square triangles that we’ll use next week I guess.


So here are my 272 red and white/cream half square triangles.  Yay!

I did have to dig into the ugly fabrics to get a nice mix.


But it’s been cut into small pieces and in the end, all you’ll see is something beautiful.

Isn’t that how life is sometimes – you have to make something beautiful out of something ugly?

Believe it or not, I also finished hand quilting the Homemade quilt.



It’s a little hard to see with the light thread but it mostly adds texture.  I want to bind it with the dark brown fabric that I used for the churn dash background but I’m a couple inches short!  I went online to order more and now – I wait.  Things are taking longer these days so it will probably be here mid June (frown- y face here).

I’m also back to hand quilting the borders of my Beauteous quilt but I’m running out of steam on that one and I did something to bruise my left hand so hand quilting is a little painful now.  I’ll get to it eventually.

Stay well my friends!

Stay Home Sewing

I haven’t been good about blogging during this pandemic but I feel like I’ve been busier than ever!  There’s extra cleaning and cooking and the grocery shopping – don’t get me started on grocery shopping!  Shopping for only two of us has become like planning a WWII military campaign.  I.. am.. not.. kidding.  There are apps and charts and color coded teams.  And now, someone is selling t-shirts based on our color coded teams!

So we’re only allowed to go on base every two weeks to go to the PX, commissary and get our mail at the mail room – and we get three days to do all this shopping.  We’re divided into color teams and we have to go on our color days.  As you can imagine, it’s difficult.  Of course we have the German stores and that’s where I’ve been doing much of my shopping but there are just some things we can only get on base. I won’t whine too much because we’re healthy and have plenty of food but it’s definitly taking up a big chunk of my life!

When I’m not cleaning or planning my shopping, I have gotten some sewing in.

I’m so thrilled that Bonnie Hunter has offered us a fun sewing project!  On her Quiltville blog she’s having a Unity Quilt-along.  I just finished organizing and cutting my scraps into usable pieces so I thought, why not?

This is a medallion quilt so we’re building it from the center out which is fun (and also, I’m thinking I can quit anytime and it’ll be a cute small quilt – we’ll see how long my fabric lasts)!


Here was the first week.  Pretty easy.  So Bonnie Hunter is calling it the Unity Quilt but I’m calling it My Coronavirus Quilt because: 1. it looks like coronavirus to me and 2.  I want it to be my scrapbook, my reminder of this time in my life.


Here was the second week.  It got a lot harder and took me most of the week to finish.

So this week we’re adding a border of stars.

tiny stars

These stars are so cute!  We need 36 of them and I’m thrilled that I already had all these blue squares cut up in my scraps and a ton of little red and aqua squares.  However, it’s Friday and I only have 5 made.

corona3 (2)

I’ll catch up eventually.

But do you want to hear something funny?  Our Base shopping group colors are Red, White and Blue.  Of course.

Last night, someone organized a shopping group color t-shirt order on Facebook which I thought was hilarious.  I sent the pictures of the shirts to both my kids since they’ve had to listen to  my complaining and BOTH of them asked what was to keep someone from buying all the shirt colors and shopping whenever they wanted.  Hmmmm.

Anyway, I won’t be able to look at this quilt without also remembering our shopping group colors.  Go white team!

I also have finished 2 baby quilt tops.

baby quiltbaby quilt2

Someone asked me to make a gender neutral baby quilt in grey and I used the fabrics for two different layouts.


And my hand quilting is coming along.  We’ve had some warm weather here in Germany so I’m sewing as fast as I can.  I don’t want to be sweating under this quilt as summer arrives.  I’m over halfway done on the Homemade quilt and want to share it soon with my thoughts on using the felt quilting templates.

Homemade quilt

Take care and stay safe everyone!