Happy Monday (and happy February), everybody! We’re thrilled to welcome Sonya Philip back to MDK from a very productive sabbatical. (She’s written a whole book, which will come out this spring—more about that exciting news, later.) Sonya’s columns will share thoughts on life, love, and the handmade wardrobe, and occasionally feature guests from her two worlds of sewing and knitting. It’s so good to have you back, Sonya!
—Ann and Kay
That really was the longest January. The promise of a fresh page on a calendar weighed down by upheaval and the terrible year that was 2020. We still find ourselves in the grip of a pandemic, with news of hotspots, second waves and variants. Ordinary life remains upside down, back to front and looks like it will remain so for many months to come.
Tea Leaves Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre in AVFKW Toasted; Shirt no. 1 and Pants no. 1
It is stressful to live a developing situation. Wanting to know what comes next is something for which we are hardwired. This is clear from the vast array of prognostication techniques, reading everything from palms to tea leaves. Heck, even knitting a swatch is a way to foretell a future outcome. The internet is all about immediacy. We no longer wait for a newspaper delivery or the evening news. All the information is available instantly. So when it isn’t, we stare at devices and scroll.
Stopover by Mary Jane Mucklestone modified as a cardigan in Álafoss Lopi Lighti and Noro Kureyon; Shirt no. 2 and Chaparral Overalls
Finding the balance between staying informed without getting overwhelmed is tricky and by no means am I there yet. How do you take a step back, especially when you crave answers? One way to be marginally OK with all the uncertainty is to find something else to focus on, things to distract you, if only for a short time. Sometimes that meant more screens, such as my many hours logged on the game Animal Crossing.
Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston in handspun yarn; Joan Fuller by Ellen Mason in Beaverslide Dry Goods Merino Mohair 90/10; modified Dress no. 1 and Pants no. 1
What about knitting I hear you wonder? It is a uniquely soothing and meditative pastime, but I had nothing but a sock on my needles and starting anything new seemed unusually daunting. With low making mojo, I turned to my mending basket to find things I could potentially finish in one sitting. Darning holes provided the crafting fix I needed to refocus my eyes and spend time away from the news. By using bright bits of leftover yarn, I can smile down at the colorful addition to my socks when I put them on.
Wainwright by Bristol Ivy in Jill Draper Makes Stuff Empire; modified Dress no. 1 and Pants no. 2
This is the kind of maintenance I would usually find any excuse to put off, clear by the many things in said basket waiting for their stitch in time. Mending of course extends the life of what we wear, which has many eco-friendly benefits. But right now, repairing things is a way to bring a small bit of order to the chaos. Fixing a rip or patching a hole, it’s simple and most importantly, it’s manageable.