Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Stay at home, shelter in place, hunker down...

...or whatever you choose to call this time of being dormant. Suggested and/or forced, yes. But necessary. It's almost impossible to comprehend what's going on. How could we have been participating in our daily "normal" lives as the new year began ... and three months later be in this situation?

I don't have an answer to that and neither does anyone else, no matter how loudly one says it.

So we get on with our lives as best we can, knowing that many are much worse off and others are in different, more fortunate circumstances.

My daily routine is much the same as always up to a point: get up; write morning pages and have coffee; walk a mile or two around town; weave my daily bit on the tapestry diary; get ready for the rest of the day. By then it's about 11 or noon... if noon, I have lunch and then go to the studio. If 11, I pack lunch and then go to the studio. Once there, that's when the routine changes.

Here's the April tapestry diary feather of hope, a guinea feather.
Since early March it's been quite difficult for me to concentrate on anything at the studio. I have three tapestries underway but all have come to a standstill in the last two weeks. I've been making cloth masks to give to family and friends. I've used several online examples to work from, with the best tutorial for my reference being the one shown through the Northeast Georgia Medical Center site here.

This is one hand-off of masks for a friend: tied to the kitchen door, sealed in a ziplock bag, inside another plastic bag. Text friend to say it's there, ready for pickup.

Although most of my stash is yarn, I had a small amount of fabrics and even some elastic to work with. At first, I fought with my old Singer sewing machine through the construction of about five masks. The machine's foot feed doesn't work consistently and that's a PIA, big time. The back stitch also doesn't work so I had to turn the work around to sew in reverse in some places for seam security. I did a lot of cussing and shouting for a few days while doing those.

Then I remembered an impulse purchase I'd made at a fabric store about a decade ago... a little sewing machine called a "Sew Mini" by Janome. It was less than $100 when I bought it and I tried it out a few times at home, then put it away thinking I'd use it for stitching on paper (I was doing some bookmaking at the time), but never did. Once I remembered I had it, thought I'd give it a try. And, it works the way I need it to!

So, even though there is only one speed (no fast stitching along straight lines here), it has been able to handle the several layers of fabric, plus the pleating of the masks. And it goes in reverse! Thank you, little Mini, for your hard work in the past week. I can truly say that was one impulse buy that I (now) don't regret!

 I even resorted to sewing my own bias tapes once I ran out of those in my stash.

I'm off to the studio to make a few more masks today and these will probably be the last ones I sew since I'm running out of supplies. I will be back to the tapestry looms after that.

May your lives be healthy and safe.

May we all come out of this awful time as better people, if that's possible.