It’s hard to believe that we are already heading into the second half of the year. There was that brief period of pre-Covid early 2020 optimism, followed by the initial craziness of lockdown, and now what can only be described as an odd not quite post-lockdown hazy blur. Living in a region where things are starting to get “bad again” (I don’t think we ever really made things not-bad the first time through but that’s another discussion), it’s sort of this odd thing where time really is starting to feel really distorted. I’m sure part of this is the social media rabbit hole I fell down for most of June, part of it is coming out of the bug bite induced malaise of the previous month, and part of it is just grappling with everything that the world is facing right now. It feels like nothing has been happening, and it’s also like everything has been happening all at the same time. Times are weird. Time is weird. Everything is just… weird.
In other life news, I actually have done some sewing. It’s nothing exciting – just some non-mask sewing to aid the stay at home efforts of a New Yorker. Apparently the city gets really hot and gross during the summer, so I’ve made some nice lightweight cotton PJ shorts for my sister, which have already been shipped off and are currently being enjoyed in the muggy, thunderstorm-ridden apartments of New York. I’ve just used my TNT PJ pattern (Burda 06-2011-114) and cropped them down to short size. But they still do have pockets! I’ve also added a faux label (using the alphabet stitches on my machine) at the back of the waistband because apparently figuring out which direction the pockets go is not how most people want to reason through putting on pants. Who knew?
I’ve also made a decent amount of progress on my quilt project; I’m at the point of actually quilting the thing and let me tell you it is a pain in the butt. I’ll have more thoughts about quilt making after I finish the project, but for now I’ll leave you with a couple of sneak peak planning shots:
In sewing land I’ve also finally finished “furniture” assemblage for my updated sewing space. I’ve been taking lots of pictures throughout the process, so I’ll do a dedicated post for that soon. It’s not exactly pretty or Instagramable, but it’s a far sight more organized than it was before and it’s well on its way to being fully operational. I’ve got some stuff stored in there still that probably needs to go to long term storage and/or be donated but has sort of been stuck as is because of the lockdown. I’m basically at a point of being able to functionally use the space (which I really couldn’t do for a good 6 weeks of lockdown because of the total havoc wrecked by my reorganization efforts) but I don’t exactly feel “done” with the overall organization process yet. I still have a few things I want to tweak before I do more of a “reveal” but I will say that I’ve completely redone my pressing station setup and it is a revelation. I’ve bought a more-than-$20 iron for the first time ever and although I had a few scary moments thinking it might catch fire and burn down my house, we are now getting along quite well. This too I shall review more thoroughly after I’ve had more time to play with it, but, man, I should have made this investment years ago.
Next up in sewing plans is continuing my organizational efforts, finishing my quilt, and making more masks. My initial batches have gotten people through for now, but I think I need to make some fit tweaks and fabric adjustments for the next round of mask making. And after wrestling with a quilt… well, dealing with tiny scraps of fabric is going to feel like a nice reprieve.
In non-sewing news, I’d like to say that I have been reading all of the wonderful resources that the BLM social media movement has been pointing out to me over the past month, but, I haven’t. I haven’t really been reading much of anything aside from posts on social media. I think Instagram has undergone quite a change for me over the past month. It used to be a place where I could sort of zone out and scroll through the pretty pictures, but now it is no longer that. I find myself reading much more and listening much more intently to what is being shared there. I don’t think this is a bad thing (I’ve learned a lot this past month and for that I am very grateful), but it does take up a different sort of energy than it did before. I’m going to try to be more mindful of how my energy is directed this next month and try to be more intentional in my social media consumption. I don’t want to stop listening, but I do want to be able to learn from sources that aren’t just social media, and based on my weird lockdown energy levels (and lack of commute audio-booking time) I’m going to have to be more intentional in my efforts to diversify my sources of information. It’s definitely a goal for July.
Finally, here are some interesting things going on in the sewing sphere that I thought would be worth sharing:
This article in the Physics of Fluids journal did an interesting visualization of how far coughs could travel using various face mask types. Again, the big takeaway is that fit is critical for blocking the spread of droplets, but also that homemade cotton masks can do a pretty decent job of minimizing the distance of spread of a sneeze or cough. Bonus – this article has some really cool pictures to demonstrate their results!
I’ve not really talked about this much here, but Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) is apparently no longer shutting down completely as it has been sold by NBC to TN Marketing. Others have already speculated on what this means:
I think it’s going to be a case of having to wait and see. I’m pondering if TN Marketing is just going to combine National Sewing/Quilting Circle platforms with Craftsy/Bluprint or if they will keep everything separate, how much they are going to charge us, and if they will fix the truly awful app that NBC bungled so badly after breaking some of the best features from the original Craftsy app and platform. It’ll also be interesting to see if NBC retains any of their original Bluprint content and just sells the original Craftsy materials to TN Marketing or if it ports everything over. Time will tell and ultimately there’s not much we can do about this shift aside from waiting to see of whatever changes that happen continue to be worth it to anyone who had previously been a customer of the platform.
Finally, I think this video by Cathy Hay is worth a watch for anyone who is grappling with how to process their thoughts and emotions in the wake of recent events:
To provide a bit of context, Cathy Hay is a dress historian who is on a mission to re-create “The Peacock Dress” – a beautiful Worth gown that has extensive peacock feather embroidery. In this video she unpacks the history of this dress and what, at it’s core, it really represents, what is implied in pursuing a re-creation of the gown, and how to move forward in an educated and thoughtful way. While I have to admit I’ve completely fallen down the rabbit hole of CosTube (costumers on YouTube), I think that Cathy’s analysis would be really interesting and relevant to anyone interested in sewing and textiles.
June didn’t feel like a very productive month for me, but I feel like I’m in a much different headspace heading into July. I can’t say I celebrated much this July 4th – it feels like a really hollow time to be celebrating anything about this country, but I will admit that I did spend quite a bit of my holiday weekend watching Hamilton on Disney+. I’ve been enamored with this show since it came out (I’d never seen it in person but like most Hamilfans I can sing along word-for-word with the original cast album), but I have to admit I haven’t really listened to it a lot since the 2016 election. I’ve had a hard time reconciling the show’s underlying optimism with my growing sense of pessimism over the past four years. While the show points out flaws of this country’s founding, it also celebrates the imperfect work-in-progress nature of independence. Certain things hit differently now compared to how they felt four years ago, but I think it is undeniable how many of the issues presented in the musical are the same issues we are dealing with today. While that is extremely discouraging on many levels, in some sense it also provides comfort that hopefully, on some level, people will pursue doing what is right and fighting for true independence, freedom, and justice.
Anyway, so much for a quick update, but hopefully the next round of sewing related things will be a bit more interesting!