Ah…Sweet Freedom!

So yesterday I woke up and was right to sewing.  I was on a mission to sew as many masks as I could.  I wanted to be done sewing masks.  Seriously, after making 400, I was ready to be done.  The place that Karl works at had put out a call for 300 masks.  I knew I wanted to be as helpful as I could because they had given N95 masks to the local hospitals….they wanted the homemade cloth masks more for employee personal use.  I also wanted to be helpful because if I can keep the other employees there safe, then that means Karl might be safer too….So what’s a girl to do??

Saddle up and SEW!!

I had made 60 the week before for them and thought I’d keep sewing …if they ended up with enough, I’d find a different home for the masks.  So over the weekend I did make a few masks but mostly just sewed a bit more on a batch I had going….

By 1pm, my batch of 50 was done.  Adding that to the 40 I had done downstairs meant on Tuesday I could send 90 masks with Karl.  I was so happy with that number.  So I messaged Karl on Messenger and told him I had 90 masks.  Could he check with the powers that be at work and see if they needed all of them or if they needed even more than that.

He did and HALLELUJAH!!  They didn’t need even one of my masks.  ZERO!!  Their call for 300 masks had been filled!!  I was happy.  I was dancing.  I picked Rosie up and kissed her!  Seriously, I was so happy.  I could be done making masks.

Now lots of people might wonder if I was crabby that I had gone on to make 90 more masks and Karl’s work didn’t need them.  I wasn’t one stitch bothered by that.  Through all of this I’ve wanted to put a basket at the local convenience store (the main business here in town) and let people take one if they wanted one.  I contacted the owner and asked how she felt about that and she was happy to be a distribution site.  So…I sent 40 masks to her and she said she’d let me know if they run out.  They are all free of charge…just trying to keep my town safe.

I’m going to wait it out a bit with my 50 masks and see if I hear of an immediate need.  If I do, I have masks to fill it.  I also have about 40 more cut out in the sewing room that I will work on as leader and enders.  If someone needs some I can quickly finish those up….but unless something changes that I don’t know about right now, I’m not cutting anymore out.

The local hospital did ask for gowns, but I don’t think I’m going to make them.  I don’t have fabric chunks big enough for gowns….I don’t have fabric for cuffs.  If the girls tell me they need some, I’ll figure it out and find a way to make some but for now, I’m not going to.

I hope through all of this, hospitals and nursing homes decide to buy more reusable items and hire an extra person in laundry instead of anything happening like this again.  Just think of how many problems wouldn’t even have become problems if they would have reusable masks and gowns instead and not had so much disposable PPE.

So what did I do with my time after mask sewing slowed???

I started in on a little tidying in the sewing room.  Since mask making started, I haven’t put anything away.  I didn’t take time.

My cutting area was stacked with stuff…stuff from mystery quilts…fabric I had pulled if I needed to make masks.  UGH…it was time to clean.


My Singer 99 is under that pile of fabric.  When I was mask making I used solids for the ties.  Part of it was in an effort to use it up…part of it was that it was easy to use it for ties as it was easy to find a matching color.


This is an old ice box and it’s home to my solid fabric.  Before COVID-19 I couldn’t have fit another piece of fabric in there if I tried.  No joke it all, it was piled to the top on both sides and there seriously was no way more would fit.  In fact, if I opened the doors, fabric would tumble out.  Now I can see exactly what I have.  MUCH better.


A little bit went into a charity quilt box but most of it, I used up.

Then I started working on the Quiltville Quilt Along.  I really want to get caught up….

Later I was downstairs and got blog posts written before supper.  That night I watched television and cross stitched.  I can’t tell you how happy I was not to be working on masks late into the evening.

That was Monday…Tuesday was my first day I felt free to do whatever.  So I started out with this…It’s a Bernina 830.  It’s in wonderful condition.  It had been gifted to me and then I gifted it to someone before I checked it over…well, it didn’t work so I told the person to bring it back and I’d look at it.

Here’s what’s wrong with it…when I push the foot feed, the machine doesn’t go.  It makes no sound at all.  The light comes on though so I think the cord is okay.  I think the problem is the foot control.  So…I thought about ordering a foot and seeing if that’s the problem.  Anyone have a different idea?  I also thought about seeing if Spencer (Kayla’s husband who is an electrician) would look at it before I ordered one.


It’s a nice machine with all the accessories so I want to get it going again.  I checked ebay and I think I can get a new foot pedal of it for about $50ish.  I hope that’s all I need to do the trick.  Hmm.  What would you do?

My next plan for Tuesday, get the next step done on this….I’ve really like to get caught up.  This is Quiltville’s Unity Sew Along.  I got the first border on….


…and then the second border on.


Finally finished with step number 2.  I’m happy to have it that far.


When I started this in these colors, I started it because it was easy.  I had scraps in the 2 1/2″ bucket that were left over from the mystery.  My new problem, I really have VERY FEW batiks in turquoise and neutral.  Hmm.

I ended up contacting Carolyn at Forest Mills to see if they were doing mail orders.  I’m hoping so.

Today I’m going to work on step #3 for the Sew Along.  I’d so like to be caught up…and then I’m cleaning in the sewing room.  It’s time my friends.  My sewing room needs some good cleaning.  What are you up to today??

I am enjoying some sweet freedom from sewing masks.  YAHOO!!

29 thoughts on “Ah…Sweet Freedom!

  1. LaNan Eldridge

    I too have been making masks. But Tuesday I decided to clean and organize my room. It’s such a good feeling to have that done so now I have space to lay out the charity quilt and get that done. However, I got an order to make 32 more masks! My neighbor offered to cut so I’m thinking I’m taking her up on that!! Then onto my ordinal plan! While I cleaned I watched ‘call the midwife’ season seven..got three more episodes to go. Such a good series. Enjoy your Wednesday!

  2. Lynn Walker

    The foot pedal stopped working on my (Janice) Janome so a friend took it and cleaned up some contacts inside it (sorry, I haven’t a clue what that actually means). Well, it works fine now. If you’re savvy perhaps you could try that yourself, if not Spencer may understand. Bye

  3. The Joyful Quilter

    Today, I’m planning digging in my garden. My friend gave me a bunch of plants yesterday and I need to get them in the ground. Enjoy your FREE sewing, Jo!! When I get back inside, I’ll be working on my niece’s baby quilt. I want to have the top done for Saturday’s (virtual) baby shower.

  4. Cindy Rindels

    I had something similar happen after I had my Viking for a long time. The solution was to replace the reo-stat switch in the pedal. Evidently that the on/off for electricity to the pedal. Hopefully it just needs cleaned like Janice. I dont remember it being expensive to fix. Mine was completely burned out…lead food I guess :D Enjoy your day everyone!

  5. Stearns Carol

    I pushed myself to finish Unity row 2 and then when I saw row 3 I balked. Making 144 tiny flying geese does not sound like fun to me. I ‘m thinking of making it an hourglass row and I can cut those on my accuquilt in no time. Still thinking. You got a lot down and $50 isnt’ much for a Bernina that will sew.

  6. Judy in MO

    I totally understand wanting to be done with mask making. I haven’t made that many, but tired of the mindless sewing and the mess associated with it.

  7. Donna

    I understand about the mask making…every day the kids ask me if I’m making more masks for Nikki’s work – I finally said no, unless she needs more. My dd is a corrections officer and her group is assigned to the section that houses the virus patients. :-( I guess someone has to do it. Anyway, because of her work, they have to be all one color, really boring but there you go. So I sent white ones – that’s all I had of just one color.

  8. Robin

    I hear ya girl! I have 70 masks cut, stacked and ready to sew but last night I couldn’t take it any longer, I stopped sewing early and cleaned my sewing room. Today my daughter is coming in to help and we are going to finish masks. I don’t want to be stingy with my time but I wanted to get so much done under quarantine and I’ve haven’t done any of it. That was so nice of you to send masks to the store. My first thought was that I would do that too, but then I realized it would probably produce more orders. No, I’m not doing that, yet. Give me a day or two doing my own thing and maybe I will. When you get your sewing room tidied up I would love a virtual tour. I love your cabinet for solids and would love to see more of your room.

  9. Rita

    I hear what everyone is saying that’s what I did yesterday, cleaned up my
    Piles of fabric from sewing masks . Today I need to run the vacuume
    My floor is growing snips of fabric I did discover I didn’t need to put all those pleats in the mask I started putting only y 2 in and they still worked fine and it made it faster. Happy sewing & relaxing everyone !

  10. Peg Dowling

    There’s a Bernina Lovers Facebook group that is very helpful. I’ve read if a machine hasn’t been used in a while it may take a few hours for it to power on. Don’t buy that foot pedal until you ask on the site. Good luck.

  11. Colleen

    I have made 100 masks. I have 2 t-shirt flimsys waiting on mailorders to come. Making a baby quilt now to add to the flimsy pile Maybe I will do the rug that I have wanted to make!

  12. Jeanne Mcardle

    Dear Jo
    If you have 20 masks to spare would love to receive them. In return will send package of goodies to you. Remember me Jeanne Mcardle Tucson AZ
    2121 South Pantano Rd 16
    Tucson AZ 85710
    Xx

  13. Norene Shearer

    The Bernina 830 Record foot feeds have a reputation for burning up. Later 830’s had the designation on the machine as being “Record Electronic” and fixed that problem. I have one of each type.

  14. Joyce in Washington

    Jo, I’m right there with you on mask burnout. Shipped off 50 yesterday. Today is organizing and finding the room day. :) Maybe you could email guilds in your area … or even a little further away … to see if anyone has the same sewing machine and could lend you the foot pedal just for a test. I’d sure loan you one if I had it. Better than spending the money and finding out that wasn’t the problem. It would be a good reason for a drive, at least when it is safe to do so.

  15. Sylvia

    My friend has an older style Bernina and it seems to forget how to turn on. She plugs it in and leaves it plugged in and turned on for a couple of hours and then it works again. I looked up the theory as to why this happens and found this
    The hypothesis that makes the most sense is that this syndrome is caused by electrolytic capacitors in the power supply. These are charge-storing devices constructed of aluminum foil and an electrolyte paste, and their operation depends on an insulating layer of aluminum oxide. When not used for a long time, the electrolyte paste slowly dissolves the oxide. When voltage is re-applied, the capacitor is initially “leaky” (allows current to flow when it shouldn’t), but the voltage causes the oxide layer to re-grow, and the device “heals itself”. Operationally, the power supply probably starts out producing voltages too low to operate the machine, but as the capacitors recover, the voltage eventually reaches the threshold which lets the machine start functioning.
    This is a tutorial on what to do if your Bernina 210 220 230 240 430 440 630 635 640 sewing machine will not turn on.
    Hope this works for you

  16. Kristy S

    My 1980s Bernina Record was having similar issues. First, we replaced the motor brushes (found under the motor housing on the back) for about $8. That worked for a while.

    When I just took her in for a service check up (after 5 years of neglect), the technician suggested replacing the pedal circuit board for $150. She works like she’s brand new now!

  17. Kathy Henderson

    Hi Jo! I had a problem with my Bernina’s foot pedal last year and took it in for service. I talked to the technician who told me he’s been working on Berninas for about 30 years – even trained in Switzerland where they are from. He said Berninas have had a long history of problems with foot pedals. They made changes at some point and they are a little better now but not perfect. If yours is an older model, which it sounds like it is, then I would go ahead and get the new pedal.

    Kathy in California

  18. Janice Russell

    I just finished making masks too. Made about 200 of them, and I am exhausted. Shut down my production last evening and today I’m sort of out of touch from being tired. The people here all insisted on paying for them even though I had said no. I used up all my scraps of material and my elastic and borrowed more from a good friend. Elastic is hard to get. I have 140 yds. coming from China on a very slow boat.
    My foot control on My White machine quit and I ordered a new one also. It was about $50. Works beautifully now. After 8 years of solid sewing, I don’t blame if for being worn out. My White machine is such a good one and I really love it,

  19. Christa Jackson

    I have my mom’s old Bernina 830. It too developed a foot pedal issue. It would only sew very quickly, no speed control so to speak!. I took it in and it was repaired with a new foot control circuit board. This was expensive, $92 part and $85 labor. This was in July 2001! But, it is a good machine and maybe there is someone who can fix it for less. This was done at a large sewing center in Sacramento, Ca, I don’t know where the circuit board is located. It’s probably in the machine and not the pedal. Good luck and I love your blog. I did childcare with a good friend for 28 years!

  20. Tilda

    Hi Jo—-Re: foot pedal. Take the backing off the pedal and observe how contact is made when you depress the pedal. Chances are that the main screw type needs to be forwarded and the little brass one screwed up next to it to keep it in place. My son-in-law just fixed mine that way. Mat.

  21. JudyBe

    I have one of those mechanical Bernina 830’s and it did have a known problem with something going out in the peddle. Replacement parts were mailed to us, but this was back in 70’s or 80’s. Starting your trouble shooting there sounds logical.

  22. Margaret Morton

    When my elderly 830 started having foot issues, the Bernina tech opened it up and found it was full of lint. Said his wife’s machine had had the same issue. He cleaned it out and it’s been fine ever since.

    There are two foot pedals for those early 830’s and they are not interchangeable. If you decide to buy a replacement foot, be sure it’s the “right” one.

    Good luck-these are great machines and I wouldn’t trade mine for anything.

  23. Margaret

    When my elderly 830 started having foot pedal issues, I took it to a Bernina tech who found it full of lint. Said the same thing happened in his wife’s machine. He cleaned it out, and all has been well ever since.

    There are a couple of versions of the 830 foot pedal from the 70’s; if you order a replacement, be sure it’s the correct one.

    Good luck-these are great machines.

  24. Amy Tavio

    I think a lot of us are feeling mask burnout. But, every time I feel like quitting, I think of our doctors,nurses, CNAs and hospital cleaning staff, etc and the burnout they must be experiencing on top of the worry of exposing their families or staying in hotel rooms so they won’t. And, I’m reminded to be grateful that I have the luxury of choice to sew and help and so I continue, while I pray each mask spares at least one heartbreaking life lost and takes us one step closer to the end of this nightmare.

  25. mpv61

    I would definitely have Spencer look at the foot pedal.

    I’m early on in mask-making. I’m making them for personal use and for extended family, and I got really overwhelmed with the different options. Now I’ve finally figured out my method (a mix of various things I’ve seen), so I’ve done 8 and need to keep going to send out to family.

    At some point, my sewing room needs a lot of putting-away, cleaning, and maybe some kind of method to stop it getting crapped up so frequently. Is magic real? I think it needs magic. :)

  26. Bobbiesews in CA

    Wow are you motivated or what !!!!! Great job on the masks. I love your sharing about the watching . All this time we have makes it a perfect time for sewing & watching.

  27. Aileen Goetsch

    Hi Jo, I’m commenting to congratulate you for preserving and helping to get through this mess. Thank you for your donation of time effort, and money. I have been making masks also and understand that it gets boring after a hundred or so. I am donating the ones that I make to Visions Home Health and Hospice in Idaho. My daughter and husband both work there and they are struggling to make masks for the patients and staff. The commercial ones are being sold to the hospital and emergency services. So my suggestion is that you check the web for Hospice companies, nursing homes, and other long term care facilities and donate the extra ones there. They seem to have been forgotten in the scramble.
    Thanks again. Aileen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *