Projects of 2020: Masks, Masks, Masks!

It's been years since I shared what I was making on the blog here (so long I had to check the archives, November 5th, 2019 to be exact) so I thought now's as good a time as any to get back to it. I’ve been struggling with how to start back up posting, things that were once natural and easy often become quite difficult after taking a break from them. Rather than just dive back into the swing of things with “Everything is great! Look at this stuff I made!” I want to be honest with you all because it’s so easy to be having a hard time and look at Instagram and other social media platforms and think, am I the only one struggling? That's what I did and it feels awful.

Grainline Studio Life Lately Q1 2021 with Jen

My decline in posting started simply enough. I’ve always liked keeping a record of things I’ve made here on the blog so I can look back at them, but as we grew and I got busier, I just kept saying “I’ll blog this next week” and my posting became less and less frequent – but I was still posting. Then in fall 2019 my normal general and social anxiety that I was managing gave way to crippling anxiety and depression brought on by changes at work and a really bad case of pertussis, also known as whooping cough. It’s not just for kids! I caught this despite being up to date on my vaccine and I’d say I’ve never been so sick in my life, but I have a faulty immune system, so that’s not true, but it was close and not good. At all. 

Grainline Studio Life Lately Q1 2021 with Jen

The most common treatment for pertussis is Azithromycin of which I needed 3 courses over a month and a half. Unfortunately it has the side effect of depression and dark thoughts in a very small number of people, and by the end of the second pack/start of the third, that was me. I should have been hospitalized due to the whooping cough itself, but in my altered mental state I refused to go. Looking back it was a truly terrifying time. By the end of November I had stopped coughing but it took months to build my lung function back up to what it was after that. I’ve been a runner for a long time but I was not only unable to run, I was winded walking quickly, going up and down stairs, and constantly tired. I just started back running (very slowly) by the beginning of March 2020 when we all know what happened with Covid. I was absolutely terrified of it for my lungs after the Great Pertussis Battle of 2019, and for the rest of my high-risk family members. 2020 rolled on and was just brutal for so many reasons, so I just hunkered down, wrote hundreds and hundreds of postcards to voters to feel sane, and did what I could to keep the business going – which in a normal time would probably be considered the bare minimum, but in 2020 it felt like a Herculean effort to me.

I was lucky to get my first Covid vaccine (Team Pfizer!) in early March. Now that I’m 3 weeks out from being fully vaccinated I’m finally starting to feel the last of the fog lifting and I’m remembering what it feels like to be excited and motivated about things again. So you can see why it felt like a huge disservice to everyone to just dive back into posting like nothing happened this past year and everything was great.

As you might imagine, this was the single least creative time period of my entire life. So over the course of this week I'll be sharing a collection of blog posts highlighting some of the things I made during this spectacularly bad year, starting with these masks.

I've made SO MANY MASKS this past year. Masks for family, masks for friends, masks for neighbors. I liked to call it "getting in back into the mask factory" while I was working on them at home, While I'm happy to do anything I can to make love ones safe, oooh boy mask making is a tedious task.

You may remember a run on elastic early in the pandemic and I didn't have a stash so I made yards and yards and yards and yards of 1/4" straps. Shortly after the initial lockdown ended my cousin who's a cardiovascular surgeon sent my family a bunch of KN95 masks so we switched to those and haven't worn our cloth masks much since. 

Now that Jon and I are both fully vaccinated I'm working on replenishing our cloth mask stock using some new fabrics and elastic from Fancy Tiger Crafts. They have awesome elastic in a ton of colors that's really comfortable behind the ears. Jon is currently auditioning a few different versions pleated and contoured mask types. A friend has some Korean KN94 masks and I'd love to find a pattern for something like that to try out. Or maybe I should just buy some and save my sewing time and newfound motivation for something a little more fun!