Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Lockdown Sampler Progress


I can't believe I'm saying this but I feel like I've been really busy lately. Of course I haven't been busy, I think my perception of what constitutes busy has certainly changed, but the days have been rushing by here. Which is fine - better that than the days dragging. I have been very happily occupied with a sewing project for the last couple of weeks and thought it was time I shared my progress with you.


You may remember last week that I showed you the beginning of my Lockdown Sampler. It's my way of recording and remembering these strange days and I am enjoying it very much, not to mention how good hand sewing is for my mental health. An hour or two a day spent sewing, with the radio or a podcast on in the background, is such a luxury and I am appreciating every second of it.

I began by dividing my piece of linen into a grid, making squares that were approximately 3 x 3 cm, and cross stitching on the letters. This isn't going to evolve as organically as a holiday diary - I am working with the alphabet here so it's already got some structure - but I don't necessarily know what I'm going to stitch for each letter yet.


A was for alcohol. I sewed red wine because it's my usual choice. It's become a bit of a national joke here in the UK that everyone's alcohol consumption has increased since lockdown started. With the lack of structure and every day feeling the same, I can definitely fall into a bit of a trap of thinking it's the weekend all the time, and have had to create new routines as all our usual ones are absent. A glass of wine in the kitchen with John is one of the ways I punctuate my day, marking the end of homeschool, chores, dog walks etc, and the beginning of a more relaxed time of day.


B is for banana bread, another lockdown cliche. I've definitely been baking more than usual and have made multiple loaves of this. No-one likes brown bananas in this house so I often have a couple lying around. C is for clapping, for our key workers. What did we do at 8pm on a Thursday night before? 


D is for decorating and DIY. We smashed through that home maintenance list when lockdown first started, partly because we wanted to make use of the amazing gift of time that we'd been given, and partly as a distraction from the stress. But as the weeks have gone by, and we've settled into more of a routine with homeschool, it's waned. E is for exercise. I've illustrated this with a weight as it was easier than trying to draw a person exercising in a 3 cm gap. I am definitely doing much more exercise now than I have done in years for one simple reason: time. I started doing the PE with Joe workouts on YouTube with the children back when they first started in March, and have done them every single day since. I like the routine. I've also started doing Yoga with Adriene which I highly recommend. John and I are doing her 30 day course. I can't quite believe that he's doing this with me, but he's got a yoga mat and everything! 


F is for flour because we've all become pretty obsessed with being able to buy it in the shops. I don't know if it's the same in other countries, but as soon as lockdown started, toilet paper, pasta, cans of chopped tomatoes and flour all sold out straight away and pretty much stayed sold out, although it feels like it's returned to normal now. With the flour, I can only assume that everyone is baking at home more, and perhaps people were worried they wouldn't be able to buy bread. I hope all that flour sitting in kitchen cupboards around the UK gets used.

G is for gardening. Our garden has become my happy place over the last seven weeks and I've lavished it with attention. I am so thankful that we are lucky enough to have a garden, and especially to have that safe outdoor space for Bella and Angus.


H is for home school. Of all the things I'll be glad to see the back of when this is over, home school is top of the list. I feel like I should qualify that a little: Angus's school have really done their utmost to make the home learning situation as fun and accessible as possible, and it's not them, it's him and us and this whole situation. He struggles to concentrate and stay engaged and misses the social side of learning so much. Bella's homework at secondary school is largely online anyway, plus she is an extremely self-motivated child, so I feel that her home learning is a much less stressful experience. But it's hard on everyone, children, parents and teachers (many of whom are working full time from home, planning lessons, marking, emailing parents, while also looking after their own children at the same time).


I is for isolation, for which I've sewn a mask. I often think about how quickly so much of our vocabulary changed back in March when lockdown started. I remember that my phone began to automatically suggest the word "isolating" after I'd typed "self". Suddenly social distancing became a term we were all struggling to understand and implement, and the news was full of words like quarantine, pandemic, key workers, containment and furlough.  


So that's where I'm up to so far. I have a rough idea of what I want to sew for each letter but am struggling hugely with the letters O and U. If anyone has any good ideas for covid-19 related words that can, ideally, be easily rendered in embroidery thread in a one inch square, please let me know! 

26 comments:

  1. I'm thinking Utensil what with all of your baking and cooking?? Looking good. Jo xx

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  2. Online for o? Love the alphabet.

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  3. Uniform - a set of scrubs.
    Love the sampler.

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  4. Your sampler is wonderful. O for outside, ocean, obey, office(wfh).

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  5. It's brilliant, I shall enjoy seeing the rest of the alphabet take shape. CJ xx

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  6. Online ordering would come to mind for me for O - I hardly did any before lockdown but have had to send for basic things now that I would have bought in town like vitamins and face cream. Love the sampler idea - I have been keeping a note in my journal so I can look back and remember what a crazy time it has been - though like the war years for some I doubt I will forget.

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  7. Your holiday samplers are amazing and what a great idea to record this time in history too...you are very clever. I like the O for online shopping like maybe a computer screen for that. You have already done H for homework home schooling etc. Has it been raining? Umbrella. Unemployment...no idea how to draw that...did you make an upside down cake? Did you watch the movie Up. Have you played UNO card game. UFO - did you finish some craft projects. Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

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  8. Now this may be tricky, but I think for the U, it could be Us, i.e. a miniature family portrait.

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  9. I love your sampler... very creative way to commemorate this strang time.

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  10. Your sampler is beautiful! I'm glad you shared what each item stood for. I spent a few seconds trying to figure them out. This is such a great idea and a way to remember for years down the road how we all spent our time during this quarantine of 2020. And here in the U.S. it was the same, right away the toilet paper, flour and disinfecting wipes disappeared!

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  11. its absolutely lovely! so clever xx

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  12. The sampler is a great way to keep the memory of this special time alive, like your holiday diaries but different, of course.
    As for the flour and toilet paper, it was exactly the same here but went back to normal after a few weeks.

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  13. Love to follow this!
    Toilet paper quickly sold out here in the beginning but not flour - I guess we Danes normally bake quite a lot. A few times I had trouble finding organic flour so now I have a suscription for that (online).

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  14. O for Organising? lots of organising of households going on but also amazing organising of voluteers and community efforts in support of others and the NHS...

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  15. O is for "observe" - stitch a magnifying glass. or a pair of ๐Ÿ‘€ as we've all slowed down during this and have had time to take in our surroundings. U is for Utensil ๐Ÿฅ„๐Ÿดwhat with all the meals at home that have been prepared. So enjoying watching this progress along.

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  16. O = outside, making a window (?) This is such a great project

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  17. This is so creative and so beautifully done! I like the suggestions of Outside - it's been a boon for those of us who can get outside, and those who can't must be looking wistfully out and dreaming of the day they can emerge. And nature has become much more important in our lives as traffic and noise decrease. I like the suggestions of "Us" for U.
    It's baking powder that's out of stock in my area. Not even any cream of tartar to combine with bicarb of soda as a substitute.
    Like many other professions, I think teachers are being heroic, as are parents trying to homeschool and continue with working from home themselves. Interestingly the heroic people we have been depending on, such as social care assistants who continue to help the elderly, including wiping bottoms, are among the lowest paid in society. I hope that we will value and pay these professions more.
    Good for you doing PE with Joe. I did a couple and then pulled a muscle so have reverted to daily Pilates!

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  18. Your sampler is looking amazing. I think for me u would be Upset. Can't wait to see it finished. CNx

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  19. That is a clever sampler! I couldn't think of better suggestions for O or U. I like the suggestions - online and uniform. But you are creative and have probably have already thought of great ideas for all the letters. You do wonderful stitching!

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  20. I'm loving your sampler and look forward to seeing it progress. You are very talented and sadly I'm not so I can't think of any words for O and U but you have lots of excellent suggestions above. Stay Safe, Take Care ( know you're doing this!)

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  21. U for united maybe and O for oxygen.

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  22. U for unicorn. We could all do with some magic right now.

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  23. So creative, I love it and it will turn into a family heirloom I'm sure :-)

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