I created more paintings in February, not yet photographed, lots of them getting ready for an art market in downtown Garland scheduled for April. Of course art festivals and other outdoor markets were cancelled due to the new coronavirus which as affected us worldwide. So. Now if I paint, it’s just for me and a fun thing to do.

I began sewing masks for the family, and burdened as I am with vascular dementia, it has really been a challenge! I printed out some patterns from the many helpful sites online.

I have a great sewing machine which has been under its dust cover for years. I think the last time I used it was 8 years ago, so there were a few things that were a bit of a struggle. The first day I spent three hours trying to thread the machine, and then I recalled that I had an instruction book that came with it. It even includes a threader mechanism for the needle which I used to not have to use. Done.

Then there’s that bobbin thing. There was one in the machine which was fine (all black thread by the way) for the first few days, and when it ran out (darn it) I had to find another one. I am amazed at all the supplies I accumulated when I was regularly sewing, and I found another black one already wound. I see that I have a cute little bobbin threader which, when I’m not in a hurry, I will check out using that. I shudder to think I may have to rewind any bobbins any time soon. Anyway, getting the replacement bobbin to work correctly took another couple of hours.

Engineering is a hard thing for me. When I began making the masks, I sewed the lining materials incorrectly– in other words, turning the mask inside out revealed the wrong side up! Sometimes I sewed the wrong sides together, not to mention looking for the seam ripper for more than an hour.
And once the machine needle CAME OUT. I got it back in, in the right configuration and this time I used pliers to tighten the set screw. Little things like that are quite frustrating…especially when my little dog is barking every time someone else walks down the hall outside my room. I found myself screaming at poor little Louie.

I know my stress levels affect Louie, and he even barked in his sleep that night.

The patterns for the masks are simple — for a normal person, that is. I have had to discard several false starts, having sewed linings to the front instead of the back, not constructing the mask in the proper sequence of steps, making the ties too short. You name it, I have done all of this wrong before I did it right.

I did this for weeks. Only now am I making anything that could be passed on to others, but certainly in no great quantity. I might get two good ones done in a day, unless I have to spend an hour or two looking for something. To have everything handy means having piles of things on a table next to me.

For example, I have lost the following things in no specific order:

The pattern
Specific scissors
A fabric pen
Fabric adhesive
Pipe cleaners (for the nose fitting)
Pencils
My phone

…and then lose them again the next day.

To take a break, I have created some decorator pillows. I am amazed at the beautiful fabrics and trimmings I have found. I used to do fabric hangings and mixed-media panels. When I find each thing I add that to my “I’d like to do that” list. I have rugs that need finishing from my hooked-rug stash. I have enough fabric to make another quilt or two. I have batting, pillow-stuffing cotton, various colors of bias tape, ribbons and of course, yarn. And thread.

It pays to hoard! I have found elastic, cords of various kinds, velcro, fabric paint, and a box of fabric markers I forgot about after ordering a set. It’s amazing to me that I did not remember exactly all the sewing materials and accessories in stock. The only good thing was that when I put them away years ago, they were stored in a somewhat organized fashion.

I fear we will be in this virus problem for a long time, so I will keep making masks as long as I have supplies. And until art markets open up again. Maybe next year? Come on, vaccine!

I hope we will all be prepared next time this happens.

I just received notice that a festival is back on for mid-June. So should I switch gears?

Andrea

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