Episode 19 of the podcast is now live.
As we live through unusual times, I’ve noticed several things about my making.
There is definitely a retreat to familiar.
In my knitting I am embracing patterns that I know work for me, like Louleigh’s simple Socks with holes in or Andi Satterlund’s Crumb cardigan, which is an updated version of her Miette cardigan of old. I also find myself seeking out comfortably familiar yarns whose performance I know and enjoy, like Rosa Pomar’s Mondim wool and the delicious woollen spun yarns by Uist Wool.
In my sewing, I’m working with tried and tested patterns too but tweaking them very slightly to create the semblance of more variety without the need for much brain power. Like a top version of the Trapeze Dress and a variety of shirts based on the Francine Top, both patterns by Merchant & Mills.
Sewing during this time, much like knitting, is partly an act of relaxation and partly a way to continue to support companies that I want to survive the economic fall-out of this pandemic. Obviously, like many people I am watching the pennies though, so I share some thoughts on fabric efficiency, something that makes both economic and environmental sense.
As measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 kick in, there has been a lack of and lag in goods and services, which are having an indirect impact on my making, or rather they are making me even more aware than usual of the usefulness of what we often dismiss as waste.
They are also stirring me to get a move on with some of the practical re-making/recycling projects that I had planned for sometime but always got set aside as there was a more interesting or elegant make to work on, like converting some useless pillows into functional cushion pads.
This type of re-making project is timely a reminder that making involves more than just skill and execution. It also involves developing the judgment and self-kindness to know when and where corners can or need to be cut as done is better than perfect, a useful reminder for somebody with perfectionist tendencies.
I also share some resources that speak to curiosity and experimentation, which are fascinating and inspiring but also reassuring evidence of how many people are grappling with concerns about the environmental impact of human activity.
The first is The Sustainability Programme by the London Alternative Photographic Collective (Instagram: @londonaltphoto). This artist led research and training programme centres on four themes (Recycle, Remove, Repurpose, Remake). It explores a range of issues related to the environmental impact of darkroom practices and experiments with alternative materials, including herbal developers.
The other gem is Materiom (Instagram: @materiom_), an open source recipe book of natural materials. It shares recipes for materials based on local, abundantly available biomass (often in the form of waste materials) aimed at the lay man rather than specialised laboratory scientists with the view to encouraging a more regenerative circular economy. One recipe in particular has piqued my interest and has me wondering about its viability for a natural version of Jelly Shoes…