Updates and Articles

So, I would like to have posted the May Burda preview/review post by now, but, alas, quarantine life is complex and full of unexpected surprises. In this age of social distancing, it is becoming increasingly clear that having functioning technology is critical to survival (I mean this in a very literal sense in this case), so I had to prioritize playing tech support to my family over blog writing and other personal pursuits this past week. Thus, here I am, April half over, feeling very behind. I am still working on my May Burda post (hopefully will have that up later this week) and my Kibbe types spring patterns roundup post (hopefully will have that up later this month), but in the meantime I wanted to share a few cool things I found and ponder the larger implications of quarantine life.

First, Some Cool Stuff:

  • I thought this article on Tor.com about the implications of needlework in fantasy writing was a really interesting read. While this article certainly doesn’t sum up all of the fantasy stories that use needlework in interesting, magical, or subversive ways, it certainly does make a nice defense of the craft in a “it’s not just women’s work” sort of way. Obviously, everyone here knows this, but I think it’s interesting to look at it from a higher literary analysis perspective, and see how it is treated in several stories. Also, the fact that Tamora Pierce’s work gets a huge shout out is a bonus, because I’ve been reading her since I was 11 and I’m still obsessed.
  • Burda has this cool notebook for sale on their German site. If you like plain paper notebooks for sketching or planning out sewing projects, this one has a pretty sassy cover, so it could be really fun.
  • Burda Germany also has these awesome Vintage Cover Postcards. I refrained from getting the Vintage Cover Posters (in blue, green, yellow, and pink) because (1) they are expensive and (2) I don’t have the wall space. But framing this set of 10 postcards and doing one of those wall collage artwork arrangements would be so cute! Of course, the price would add up with the frames, but, it would still be really pretty.

Secondly, What I’ve Been Doing in Quarantine:

Unfortunately, the very unexciting answer is work. I’ve been putting in a lot of hours at my job getting everything situated to deal with necessary remote delivery of educational resources. Granted, I am well aware that it is much better than the alternative (which would be sitting on the phone getting busy signals from unemployment due to un-work… a very charged topic that I really don’t want to get into right now). I think we all know a lot of people in difficult situations, be it from unemployment, or mental stress, or being in the situation of having an essential job that puts them out and about in the public sphere. Any way you slice it, times are rough, and I think everyone is really stressed out right now, for one reason or another.

So, my “extra 2 hours a day” from not commuting hasn’t really been an extra 2 hours a day. I’ve been working a lot of hours the past month, and it has been emotionally and physically exhausting. This week things are almost feeling normal-ish in terms of workload, so we shall see if that amounts to more sewing time or not. Despite desperately needing to sew some new work tops before all this happened, I can’t muster the excitement or energy to work on those sorts of projects right now. I am finally back to reading sewing blogs (after 6 weeks of not having time to do do much of anything for myself), and I did sew some masks a few weeks ago and was able to give them away to friends who are non-medical essential workers:

A collection of fabric face masks.

And I’ve been on a bit of a cleaning spree; I’ve completely reorganized my sewing magazines:

A collection of sewing magazines.

Yes… I have a lot of sewing pattern magazines.

Vintage Burda Magazines from the 1970s and 1990s.

There was a time where I’d been stocking up on vintage Burda’s from Ebay… it’s almost what we might consider a problem. But, I figure as long as they all fit on the shelf… it’s ok for now.

Shelf with magazine holders.

And I’ve re-worked my sewing book organization:

Though now I’ve got to figure out a better solution for thread storage…

I’ve got some ideas about creating a more compact and better organized thread system… though it may take a while to get it all sorted out. It’ll be my next work in progress before I move on to organizing other sewing notions.

Finally, Where I’m at Now:

Anyway, at this point I’m trying to find the motivation to actually get to sewing. I’m enjoying re-working my sewing space, yet the desire to create is very absent. I have been binge-watching CosTube (historical and fantasy costumers on YouTube) like there’s no tomorrow, and I’ve been trying to catch up on some Bluprint classes, so I feel like I’m still wanting to think about sewing. And I’m reading a lot of sewing books? So obviously some aspect of my brain is very much set to “sewing mode.” Yet, when I go to the sewing room I feel uninspired. Though sometimes I wonder – maybe it’s guilt? I did “enjoy” sewing the face masks, in a meditative sort of way. Though it is hard to fully find joy in the task. I mean, you can’t really divorce the action from the need and that can be a bit… overwhelming. Regardless, after equipping my family, I gave away the rest of the masks I sewed just before face coverings became a mandatory requirement in much of the area where I live. Then the inquiries about buying masks came in and it no longer felt like… well I don’t suppose we can call mask-sewing “fun” but perhaps the term “pragmatic” or “philanthropic” or “therapeutic” would be correct here. It’s funny because I’ve done a fair amount of commissioned work in my time, but for some reason this request feels different. It’s almost like, no matter what I do, there is guilt attached to it now because I “should be” doing something else. And it’s hard to say what is the most important thing in our current climate. Is it doing good things for others? Is it taking care of your own mental and physical health? How informed should we be on the current situation at all times? How many news sources can we stand to listen to before we go insane?

So yeah. A lot of people have said this is the time to “take stock” but I think it’s hard to do that when you feel you are in the middle of a whirlwind. I think maybe I’m finally getting to a place where I can start to take a breath and sort things out, but it is difficult. Here and there I feel inklings of inspiration, but I have to figure out if or when I’ll have the energy to pursue them. In the meantime, I suppose I shall keep on keepin’ on, because I’m not sure what else there is to do at this point.

16 thoughts on “Updates and Articles

  1. I think you’re doing a good job and that you should prioritize your mental health. I think it’s ok if you sew or don’t and if you sew masks or don’t. I also think limiting how much news you watch is wise. These are just my opinions, obviously, but I think it’s good to be gentle with yourself. It sounds like you are already working pretty hard at work. It’s ok if you don’t have the bandwidth to sew things—masks or otherwise after all that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Things are strange right now and in these unprecedented times its not always clear what is the right thing to do.
    My logic has been to make sure I’m covering the basics – doing my job as best I can from home, – eating, exercising and sleeping, – staying in contact with a limited list of close family and friends, – keeping basically informed without having too much time watching the news, – after that I have jobs in my home/garden and relaxation activities. At one point I had an enormous to do list but I backed it off quite a lot because I was adding unnecessary pressure to myself for no real reason other than wanting to show I was making good use of my time. I am sewing for myself now, but there was a big gap where I got very stuck for a while. I’ve decided to sew for pleasure, self care, making clothing for me. (Homemade masks are not currently recommended in the UK so I’ve not made any.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreed. Because we’re stuck indoors I kept giving myself long to do lists about cleaning and sorting out the house which was stressing me out more on top of already being stressed out about the situation. So now I’m getting up each morning and doing what I feel like doing even if it’s just sitting there and staring into space. However I have used the time to sew family and friends some masks and I do feel much better wearing one when I go to a large supermarket. Medical people don’t wear them for nothing so the argument we shouldn’t wear them was a bit lost on me.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I hear you. I gave away probably 80% of my scrap and stash quilting prints to a friend making masks and had no intention of making my own, because the medical advice was that it probably did more harm than good and I’m quite fine with distancing and hand washing (to the point where my phone doesn’t want to recognize my fingerprint these days–is that just me?). But now the medical advice has changed and yet 80% of my scrap and stash quilting cottons are still gone, so I spent yesterday making up a few masks for me and my kid with what’s left. And yeah, I’m still working full time (from home; I feel lucky too) and spending some time on distance volunteering stuff so I don’t have whacks of free time.

    It feels right now like you either have tons of free time and don’t know what to do with it, or you are busier than ever, with not much in between.


  4. Crazy times. Be kind to yourself… Your sewing mojo will surely come back when it needs to. Personally, I really appreciate this Update post! I enjoy even more blog updates from people I follow – it feels less confining to read or see what others are up to. (and I always look forward to your Burda previews and Kibbe posts!)

    As you say, keep on keepin’ on! ♥


  5. I’m right there with you on all those points. It’s been overwhelming and frustrating and with the uncertainty becoming the only thing that’s certain, it’s hard. No matter what we’re doing it feels like we should be doing something else. The only consolation is that everyone else is facing that too so we’re not alone even though we’re all apart. It definitely helps to share, so thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think this is an unprecedented situation for all of us. Feelings, energy and motivation changes unpredictably. I’ve sewn a lot of masks too (92) and then I decided I’d done enough. If more are needed later, I can resume. Projects such as yours to organize and take stock are also very worthwhile! In sewing I think we conflate productivity with worth.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. For sure. Another way to think about it is to remember you’re saving time and effort and money by being organized and having a good stock on what you have and what you need for any project

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I used the Mimi G tutorial from YouTube – it was one of the first patterns I saw. I’m going to switch to another pattern that is being requested by my local hospital; I’ll post about that if/when I get around to making them.


      1. thank-you for the information. I am also using different patterns. No specific one for a specific hospital. I am making them without filters. My first pattern had a pocket but I did not like it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. In the UK several voluntary community groups are making scrubs for NHS staff who are struggling to get them. This seems an excellent initiative and efforts are being made to target them to where they are most needed. I would agree with all the above comments and best of all, just keep on keeping on. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hang in there! I know how you feel – I’m working full time and taking care of my toddler and feeling guilty about spending my very limited sewing time on clothes rather than making masks or scrubs. But if I didn’t have that one coronavirus free outlet I’d be in an even worse state of anxiety so I’m still doing it. And I second the recommendation to cut back on news consumption. Sending virtual hugs (if you want them!)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Your own mental and physical health has to come first! There’s a reason we’re told to put our own oxygen masks on first, and similarly there should be no guilt around keeping ourselves sane rather than stressing about helping others in this weird time.

    I’m not having any anxiety over the health threat, but that is probably because of my anxiety over lost business and income for the rest of the year. My home is in disarray due to having additional people working at home, and I can’t get into my sewing room to do any actual sewing. Complaining about these things reeks of privilege and so I try not to dwell or get frustrated. I’ve been keeping busy with things I normally do not enjoy, like pulling weeds in the garden or looking up recipes for the few odd items left in the pantry. And I can always fall back on sewing blogs (thank you!) and magazines. My April Burdastyle arrived yesterday!

    If you come up with a good way to organize thread, please share. I’ve tried clear boxes and wall racks, but due to the many shapes and sizes of the spools, I can never find one solution for all the thread.

    Liked by 1 person

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