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I’m to report back for teacher pre-planning in 2 weeks.  I’m okay with that.  The school year start for kids  has been postponed by 3 additional weeks while we figure out things in case we have to teach on a digital platform.  Okay.  But…

With today’s COVID-19 number higher than what forced the schools to close in mid-March, why are we even having this conversation about F2F instruction ramping back up in 5 weeks?

I have to be totally selfish here. My husband is considered part of the high risk category due to his cancer diagnosis. I have high blood pressure. We’re both under age 60, which is in our favor according to COVID-19 stats. However,  I don’t need to bring anything home to him – or my elderly parents.

If they want me to work from school 8 hours per day to prove that I’m working, I’m fine with that.  When we left at the end of May, we were under the impression that each classroom would have about 15 kids in it. This scenario with masks or partitions and frequent cleaning is doable.  This is assuming the kids stay with the same group the entire day. This is what has worked in daycare facilities. My reality: we’re expecting 25-30 kids in each classroom.

Our administration talks like things are going to be business as usual. Kids are going to eat together in the cafeteria, go to the bathroom in groups, go to specials en masse  and have ASP.  Hand sanitizer stations  will be placed throughout the building and social distancing whenever possible will be observed.  Masks are “expected” for adults and “strongly encouraged” for kids.  Water fountains will be turned off. Snack/drink machines be will disabled.

Don’t even get me thinking about what the library is going to look like. I’ve visited both public library systems in my area that have reopened and talked to my library colleagues about concerns for reopening. As long as I don’t have classes, I’m okay. Students will be there only a few minutes for book exchange. Older ones can self-checkout and I can train “library helpers” for each class to handle small group check-out. Any lessons will be taken to classrooms. This, of course, is assuming that I have a full-time parapro next year who can watch the library while I go to the classrooms to deliver instruction.

Frankly, I don’t see how it’s going to work with business as usual while the virus rages unchecked.

For now, I’ll wear gloves and a mask while I’m at work. I’ve been stocking cleaning supplies for the past few months. I have wipes and disinfectant spray for the library only. My mission is to keep the library space clean, disinfected and the library staff safe.

After 9/11, I had no problem getting back on an airplane. I’m not scared to live my life. However, my circumstances are very different this time.

Decision:  the moment I feel my family’s health is in jeopardy because I returned to work is the moment I request a LOA. If that is not possible, then I will ask to be released from my contract. It’s simply not worth it.

If you want to continue to have the privilege of fondling fabric in person, then you need to spend some money at your local sewing and quilt shops. That’s the only way these independent shops can continue to stay in business.  Just think – your favorite shop might not be there the next time you plan a shopping trip.

Case in point:  There are no quilt shops along my route from Smyrna to Blue Ridge, GA. Wait what? Yep, it’s true. There used to be quilt shops in Jasper, Ellijay and Blue Ridge that I would stop at on my way to visit friends in Blue Ridge.  No more!

Five years ago, I had at least six different quilt shops within a 20 minute drive of my home. Yes, I was spoiled! Now, there are TWO.  One closed due to the owner’s retirement, while the remaining shops simply closed their doors.  I imagine we’ll eventually be down to one full-service quilt shop on my side of town. This stinks, by the way!

Yes, new quilt shops have opened; however, they are far north and south of the city.  With traffic, you really have to plan for a half a day just to go visit a couple of shops. Today, I went to The Cotton Farm in Roswell where I picked out the background fabric needed for the upcoming virtual Lori Holt Quilter’s Cottage SAL.  I purchased all she had, but still needed two yards, so I drove 30 minutes out of my way to a shop that also carries Riley Blake fabrics. My thinking was they might have the extra yardage I needed.

Not today.! There was a line of  quilters outside the store waiting to get in. This shop strictly adheres to a set customer limit inside the shop at any given time. I went to Subway, got lunch and walked back over to the shop. Fifteen minutes later and the line still hadn’t moved. At this point, I went home and promptly ordered the 2 yards of fabric from Fat Quarter Shop. I may very well have to wait a 2-3  weeks to get my fabric, but at least it’s been ordered.

Upon checking my email, I also discovered that a shop in my area was starting up a Lori Holt Club and would be doing an in-person Quilter’s Cottage SAL. Today’s excursion made me realize I’m still not comfortable with the idea of attending a sew-in with a bunch of people I don’t know, so I’ll be doing the virtual Quilter’s Cottage SAL with the Fat Quarter Shop.

 

 

 

 

Depending on model, your machine came with a few or a lot of accessories.  Sure, all of those doodads are fun to have, but what do you really need? I’ve done a lot of sewing during my shelter-in-place. I rotated through all of my machines: Elna Carina, Singer 99, Singer 221/222, Janome 8900, Janome MOD 50, and the ElnaSTAR.  As it turns out, most of my sewing was done on the ElnaSTAR (pictured in the website header).  While I adore  my Singer Featherweights, this little Elna became my go-to machine simply because it’s equally as portable, but has the extra stitches and features that I prefer.  The bulk of my sewing involves piecing quilt blocks, machine applique and some home dec (pillows, curtains, kitchen accessories and small bags).

Here are my *essential* sewing machine accessories:

  • all purpose foot
  • zipper foot
  • 1/4″ foot
  • open toe foot
  • open toe walking foot with left and right guides
  • adjustable darning/free motion foot
  • extra spool pin/base
  • standard (zigzag) needle plate
  • straight stitch needle plate
  • screwdriver
  • lint brush
  • extra bobbins
  • extension table
  • carry case

If you will be sewing clothing or a lot of home dec, consider adding a cording/piping foot, invisible zipper foot, sliding guide foot and a teflon foot.

Notes:
Janome 8900 is set up exclusively for machine quilting.
Janome MOD 50 is an excellent machine, but no straight stitch plate is currently available.

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