And, 6 months later …

We are back in lockdown. Here in Wales we are on day 14 of a “sharp firebreak” of 17 days. Yesterday, England went into lockdown for a month

If you told me 6 months ago I would spend the time sowing masks – I don’t think I would have believed you! I am not the kind of sewer who is happy making the same thing day in day out – but that is what was called for, and that is what I did. I am probably a better seam-mistress for it – but don’t ask me to alter your clothes …. trust me when I say I am not that good at “proper sewing”

I also took the time to have a really good clear out in the studio plus a re-paint and re-arrange. I am truly happy with the way it is now. Somehow the work-flow is much improved – although I still have huge capacity for it to look like a tornado has passed through after a few hours of working!

My friend Jane has recently leant me an embellishing machine (Sometimes known as needle punch or felting machine) I have never used one before and I am so excited to be giving it a go.

What can I tell you? …. I find it really easy to break a needle – fortunately the one Jane has leant me has 5 needles and you can replace the needles individually – I imagine that this is better than a machine where you have to replace the whole unit every time one needle breaks – so far, in three “goes” on the embellisher I have broken 5 needles! However, I replaced them all with some that describe themselves as “strong”. Fingers crossed that will make a difference! The possibilities seem endless. I imagine that I will use it as a way to create backgrounds for working free machine embroidery on – but who knows.

The only downside that I can see – is that having spent a month getting rid of a vast amount of “stuff” from the studio that I will never use, (for example postage size fragments of material left over from cutting out masks), I keep thinking;- I could have embellished that!

I also could not resist trying to create a little vessel – very happy with my first attempt!

6 weeks or is it 7?

I thought perhaps being in lock down would spur me to write here at least once a week, and yet I see that it is 3 weeks since I sat here, possibly because if a textile blog is about “show and tell” I have nothing to show you!

There is a piece of work rumbling around in the back of my mind, but it is very dark, and I think it may need to be created before I can move to lighter things, it is possibly a piece that once made will go and sit in the back of a cupboard, it will probably be uncomfortable.

So – if I have not been in the studio – where has my attention been? mostly on food – I am determined to come out of this a few pounds lighter – which is a strong possibility as there is no popping to the shop 4 doors away, so, digestive biscuits and crisps have become a memory and chocolate has not passed our lips in an age, apart from a small Easter egg thoughtfully left by a friend.

Being “sheltered” means I cannot go out at all. The supermarkets have my name, and kindly send me emails telling me I now have a priority spot as I am a vulnerable person – sadly, there are still no priority spots with one supermarket, although the second does have a few – yes here in this part of West Wales we only have two supermarkets that deliver to your door.

Friends have been wonderful, and my cupboard doors are pinned with lists. Lists for various shops should anyone be going to them, lists for a couple of friends who regularly do bits of shopping for us, lists of how much I owe the said friends for shopping, so that I can put it in their banks when it totals a sensible amount – none of my friends want to handle “money”.

I bounce between a sort of weird cushioned contentment, when I am really OK and despair. I see the faces of the doctors and nurses gaunt and bruised, the numbers of deaths, rising daily, the complete stupidity of some people unconcerned about the lock down and flouting the rules at every turn. I am fearful, fearful for myself for those I love and for my community. I feel paralysed. The sewing group in the village are amazing, making masks, hats, wash bags and scrubs for the NHS – I could do this, and yet I find myself unable to complete even a simple mask. 

I do wonder how we will come out of this. Will life return to how it was “before”? As a nation, as a world – will we have learnt anything, will we do anything differently. How will the world be for my children and my grandchildren? All thoughts that make my heart clench.

Meanwhile I make my shopping lists, do my exercise, make contact with friends and family and think;- I really, really should go and make a mask …. or two.