Dear QE Friends and clients,
About a week ago, I started a blog intending to share my upcoming teaching and workshop schedule for 2020, in hopes that I might connect with some of you along the way. But, as you know, things started happening very quickly and continue to do so. Each day I waited, something else shifted. All of my April/May contracts have now been canceled. I remain hopeful for June onward, and I’ll send the remaining summer & fall events next time.
This is a spring we will never forget. But it will pass. How are you managing? I have been in self-isolation at home for about a week, since I got back from a “fruitful” PA SAQA 4-day quilt retreat, making it home just as the shut-down in my local area kicked in.
Here are two of the projects I worked on, both using Japanese vintage kimono silks sewn onto muslin foundation. The first is a pineapple log cabin pattern done in greens; each block has 36 pieces! I’ve completed 4 of the 9 (or 12?) blocks. The second is a small 5” block crazy quilt layout in pinks from mostly girls’ kimonos. It still needs a border.
While I am conscious of searching for a steady routine, I am also conscious of not hurrying. I take a walk everyday, do a little yoga, read a book, eat well, and get good sleep. Probably, like you, I am also speaking with friends on the phone, and I am cheered to sense a rising up of kindness and thoughtfulness everywhere amidst the chaos.
As a sewer for over 6 decades (like many of you!) I don’t have to remind myself that I know how to find things to do/make with my hands. We already know how to be “alone” with a project, and let the world slip away for a bit. There is solace in our intent. It’s an inside joke that we all have MORE than enough fabric and MORE than enough thread to last beyond our lifetimes, right?
Just in case you are not committed to a project yet, I would like to suggest two possible ideas:
1) Sew face masks for your hospital
Consider making some cloth masks, maybe for yourself or for a neighbor – or if you have yards and yards of ¼” elastic in your supply box, make some to donate online or to your local hospital. Hospitals worldwide are making pleas for them, and sewers are responding! Each one only takes about 15 minutes. Here is a link my friend sent me this morning with a pattern from Deaconess. The written instructions might be a little blurry, but if you scroll DOWN there is an excellent how-to video. I was inspired to go to my sewing room and root out some elastic. I found several yards of elastic and I’m going to try making some.
If you don’t have elastic, you can make your own ties with what you have. Another pattern and video tutorial for a different shape mask with string ties can be found at FreeSewing (that’s an image of their pattern at the top of this blog post). Here’s an article about best materials to use in making face masks. Finally, here’s an article from Forbes magazine with link after link of important information on how we can all find a way to use our skills to fight this pandemic.
2) Begin a daily sewing practice
If making a mask isn’t your thing, please make anything you want! I encourage you to find a daily practice with your needle and thread- even for 10-15 minutes at a regular time, whether by hand or with machine. I made the first of three pink flannel baby blankets for a friend’s grandbaby girl this week. I started with a simple pattern, and then just started hand stitching. I even stitched ¼” pink ribbon around the entire edge. Why? Because I didn’t have to hurry. Because it felt good to make one stitch at a time. I love handwork.
I will close by saying say that I hope you are all taking care of yourselves, limiting your outside possible exposure, and finding the help you need to keep things going. Don’t take risks or be afraid to ask for help. Something which helped me a lot was listening to a 22-minute talk on fear vs. self-love given by Elizabeth Gilbert for Insight Timer, available on their website or by downloading the app. You have to create an email account, but then everything there is free.
I’d be happy to hear from you via email or phone. The crocuses are blooming, the tulips are not far behind.