The New Abnormal

close up of load of homemade bread with raisins

I never really got the obsession with sourdough. Like, I like sourdough bread, but that was a lot of effort to make bread. Although, to be fair, I was researching how to can, wishfully dreaming of the day we have a walk-in pantry filled to the brim with foodstuffs. At the beginning of the lockdown, a lack of toilet paper was not our issue (blame my husband for stockpiling that whenever there’s a sale), but rather things like eggs and flour, hence the effort to learn how to can. Catastrophizing took over and I was thinking long term apocalyptic bunker life. I still would like to learn though. Nothing tastes better than homemade pasta sauce you made and canned yourself when the world is falling apart around you, am I right?

While everyone was feeding their starters, I was excessively watching and reading quilting tutorials. Scrolling through my Instagram feed to see all the beautiful fabric designs and modern patterns (when did quilting become so cool?). This all culminated in finally purchasing a sewing machine. I say finally because I’ve been wanting to invest in one for several years now to teach myself how to sew and make some of my own clothes. You see, I’m a knitter, and for some reason which used to be a mystery to me but no longer is, knitters and sewers overlap – at least in the online communities I lurk in. I started to pay attention to the patterns and fabrics I saw on my feed and the gears started to turn. I like the idea of making something unique to me and which fits my personality (and body) better than any big box fast fashion product.

I haven’t yet made anything I can wear (besides a really lopsided face mask) but I have made one very simple quilt top which I need to source the batting and backing fabric for, as well as learn how to bind. Which lead me down the path of hand quilting. Why do I do these things to myself? Do I really need another hobby? I am the slowest knitter as it is, what makes me think I can just jump into another hobby and have the time to learn, practice, and perfect it? The sheer audacity.

My biggest issue right now, besides the lack of space as our dining table is now the office, is sourcing materials. It’s gotten easier lately as the pressure on the postal service has eased up and all the mask making frenzy has died down a bit. There are always some things I will miss from home. A big box store where I know I can find absolutely everything I am looking for in one go. I’ve had to order from about five different local shops across the country to get (almost) everything to begin my quilting journey. I like supporting local, but that is still annoying especially as options are quite limited in comparison. I’m mostly just frustrated that I felt and still sometimes do feel totally cut off from things that I considered normal before. Oh, wait, this is the new normal, isn’t it? Shit.

The last couple months have been weird, but we found a routine in the weirdness which became comforting. We fell asleep to a lot of documentaries about WWII and the Russian Revolution. I played a lot of Stardew Valley as an escape from reality. I fell back into my cross stitch and rotated through my knitting WIPs (work in progresses for the uninitiated). We invested in some cast iron skillets and started experimenting with recipes. Still working to perfect our cast iron pizza – if you have any recipes or tips to pass one, please do. I also finally got some plant buddies to keep me company on our balcony while I knit and sample some craft beers in the sun (when it’s there).

The whole situation has forced us to embrace calming activities to fill our time and while this is not at all an ideal situation to be in or, like so many people, how we imagined our year to go, but having hobbies to disappear into helps a bit. It’s for sure given me plenty of things to write about!

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