#SewcialDistancing: Stitching Community One Screen At a Time

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Episode Summary

Lisa talks about the ways that sewists and makers are coming together digitally rather than physically. Social Distancing remains in effect for many in the United States and across the globe as a result of COVID19 or coronovirus. Some are making virtual connections to reduce feelings of isolation in quarantine, while others are building upon digital networks that they already had. Tune in to hear about how sewing has changed in some ways and yet the joy in the craft persists with creative solutions.

Episode Notes

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Mentioned in Today’s Episode

Group Projects

Project Sew Zoom Room

Sew “Manly” by Julian Cordell

Sew Much Talent by Alethia Hudson

 

Instagram Challenges, Accounts, Hastags

#sewmaxibymothersday by CrumpetsTeaandSewing

#sewfreshsewclean13 by SewEu

#sewcialdistancing

#isewlated

#virtualfrocktails

 

Small Businesses Mentioned

Cultured Expressions

Three Little Birds

Ewe Fine Fiber Goods 

 

Church Mentioned

I have really enjoyed the virtual services at Imani Community Church

 

Sewing Projects to Try

Personalized Embroidered Kitchen Towels  and Fabric Napkins (to cut down on  paper towel use)

 

Read Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Lisa Woolfork: Hello, stitchers. Welcome to stitch, please. The official podcast of black women's stitch, the sewing group, where black lives matter. I'm your host Lisa wool fork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.
[00:00:39] Lisa Woolfork: Hello, stitchers and welcome to the stitch. Please podcast the official podcast of black women's stitch, the sewing group where black lives matter. I am Lisa coming to you from Charlottesville, Virginia. In a newly reconstituted podcast studio before my podcast studio was the, my son's [00:01:00] room that I was using while he was at college.
[00:01:03] Lisa Woolfork: And now thanks to the coronavirus and the shutting down of schools throughout the state of Virginia. He is at home and apparently he wants his room back and he wants to use his room like all the time. And I'm not used to that. I am not used to. Having to share this room with this child. So that's been fun.
[00:01:27] Lisa Woolfork: He's also like my new executive producer. I'm not really sure what an executive producer does, but this executive producer is a little mean. And he's like, look, mom, Can you go ahead and do your podcast so that I can do my homework and all my online learning stuff. Thanks. Thanks so much. I appreciate it.
[00:01:49] Lisa Woolfork: Yeah. He's like trying to put me on a schedule and like, okay, you can do your recording from this time to this time, because then I have to get back and do this lecture, da da, [00:02:00] da, da, da. So we are all adjusting to new, real. So I'm adjusting to, um, some of the expectations of my new executive producer. Um, so, but here we are and very, very glad to be here.
[00:02:13] Lisa Woolfork: Today's topic is hashtag social distancing and social is spelled S E w C I a L. There's another hashtag that I found also called, um, I isolated, I S E w L a T E D. So if you're interested in boosting your online or at least through Instagram, since I'm not very active on Twitter at all, um, check out those hashtags to find more information.
[00:02:41] Lisa Woolfork: But today what I'm gonna talk about are individual sewing group, sewing activities, stores, and projects that you can do during the time of social distancing. And I wanted. Talk about that, because I feel as though now that we are heading deeper, many of us heading [00:03:00] deeper into our, um, quarantine period or shelter in place or recommended stay at home orders, some have become more mandatory depending on where you're located, in which part of the country in the United States, as well as in which part of the.
[00:03:19] Lisa Woolfork: How severe the consequences might be for being out when you, um, have no quote, unquote need to be. And I think that the di the, the, the distinction these days between need and want, um, tend to be pretty porous. It seems, um, some folks, um, I think are still out and about doing what they would normally do, having picnics and doing all kinds of stuff.
[00:03:43] Lisa Woolfork: Apparently I've not witnessed that because I've not been outside. Um, but. I do think that, you know, everyone wants to flatten the curve, um, which is the phrase that we are using to describe making sure that the, the death toll [00:04:00] is not as high as it could be without any type of, um, modifications to our behavior.
[00:04:06] Lisa Woolfork: And this is like an unprecedented. Gesture for of public health or for public health. And so we really are all in it together because you know, this affects all of us. And I just think it's worth talking about now that we are at home, for those of us who are fortunate enough to be at home, that we do have the privilege and the luxury of being able to sew while we are here.
[00:04:32] Lisa Woolfork: And so I wanted to talk about a few things that people had been doing and people seemed to be enjoying doing during this. To get started. I wanted to talk a little bit about, um, at least the background, as I understand it, of the hashtag social distancing, the, I, I think it's important to realize that sewists like puns, especially puns, where you can use the words.
[00:04:55] Lisa Woolfork: Sew or sewing in different ways. [00:05:00] So, you know, so much fun, so classy. So this, so that spelling it S E w instead of S O um, my first experience with this was with, um, Two, actually two experience. The first one is from Naomi Johnson, who is the organizer of DC fr tails and, um, at the shop where she works, part-time the shop called three little birds.
[00:05:24] Lisa Woolfork: They do a weekly selling gathering called social and it's spelled S E w C I a L. I also learned later about a. Um, organized by crystal Branton, who will be on our podcast next week, talking about her group, which is the black girl social club, which is a group she has on Facebook. So those are just two examples of using the word social.
[00:05:50] Lisa Woolfork: Spelling it S E w C I a L in advance of the need for social distancing. But I wanted to talk a bit about some individual, um, [00:06:00] acts of sewing that people have done to kind of generate community. And this is something I think is really great about social media or social media. S E w C I a. Who knows. Maybe I'll call the podcast that I guess I'll have to ask my executive producer what he thinks.
[00:06:17] Lisa Woolfork: I'm pretty sure he's not gonna care what I call it. okay. So, um, individual acts of sewing that people have been doing include, uh, classes and projects. Um, they include people, wanna sew something new. That's something that they thought that they could do during this time. And I guess a lot of it depends on what your sewing time and space looks like now, for some people, they seem to have like a lot of free time.
[00:06:45] Lisa Woolfork: And I I've been seeing a lot of folks talking about this as a Corona patient, um, of having free time to do things that they wouldn't normally do. Some people being very, very bored, uh, which is interesting. And then for other folks [00:07:00] whose work lives have just transitioned from going out to work every day to just going to their kitchen or living room or family room or basement to just work at home.
[00:07:12] Lisa Woolfork: The, the demands haven't decreased that much. Um, the at least I, I can only speak for myself, but I do believe this reflects, um, some other people's experiences as well. For me to the shift from. Teaching in person to teaching online has been a very big shift and I put as much work into, and maybe even more work into prepping my classes for online than I did for the, for meeting up with them in person.
[00:07:43] Lisa Woolfork: And so that definitely takes time. Sources and creativity to try to do this well and to continue to have a good experience for the students and a great experience with the class that I really like so much, so that I think is an important [00:08:00] consideration that when you transition somebody's work from.
[00:08:04] Lisa Woolfork: Doing it in one way to doing it in a completely different way. That takes a lot of time, energy, creativity, new resources, and training and stuff like that. So the time that people might have to sew might not even be more time than they've had in the past, or if it is more time, it's time. That's also, um, framed.
[00:08:24] Lisa Woolfork: By a different way of moving through the world and a different way of moving through their work life. At least that's how it feels for me. I know I felt really like tired and exhausted and overwhelmed and stressed and pressured and those kind of things, which makes my sewing time that much more valuable and precious.
[00:08:42] Lisa Woolfork: And so I wanna just kinda keep that in mind, as we talk about the need for social distancing, that we need to do that physically, we need to physically distant. We need to be physically distant from other people, but I think many people still have the need to interact and to build [00:09:00] community. And that's something that doesn't really change in times of crisis.
[00:09:04] Lisa Woolfork: And I would imagine that that's something that also increases. During time of CRI during times of crisis that you want to build connections with other people to make yourself feel less isolated, because feeling isolated and being isolated can make it very difficult to get through already difficult circumstances.
[00:09:22] Lisa Woolfork: So when I started thinking about the individual acts of sewing, of what people are doing to build community and to. Alone. I started to see some things online, as well as things that I participated in myself. One example of something that I did not do because I sadly missed it was the Belfast Ireland fr tails.
[00:09:42] Lisa Woolfork: So in Belfast they were doing, uh, D a fr tails. Event in fr tails events, I believe started in Australia and have spread all over the world. And Belfast was, they was gonna have one in Belfast, Ireland, and it was canceled because people aren't allowed to gather. [00:10:00] So they decided to transform their fr tails into a virtual.
[00:10:05] Lisa Woolfork: Fr tails and you all should totally go check out that ver hashtag virtual fr tails. So you can see the dresses, um, the FRS and outfits that people made. They're holding cocktails, they're wearing nice pieces. And that looks like a really fun thing to do. I. I did miss it, and I am a bit sad about it, but I won't miss looking through the hashtags and finding people who have made some really great pieces just for this event.
[00:10:32] Lisa Woolfork: And so I thought that was a nice way to kind of transition from the, the physical in person event. To something online that you can still cherish and appreciate as we move forward in these days of social distancing, other individual projects that people that some folks are gonna be participating in, or things that people are doing is trying to focus one sewing time.
[00:10:53] Lisa Woolfork: If you have undirect. To sewing time. That's not going to be, um, compromised, [00:11:00] compromised, or interfered with there's something you just wanna try differently. People are. I know some folks I, I asked, that's why I say, I know people have told me this. Um, because I asked like, what are you doing during this time of social distancing?
[00:11:09] Lisa Woolfork: And some folks are like, I am jamming to denic and sewing. And I have been so grateful for D nice and Questlove and ACE, 2009th wonder and all these DJs that have come through and made these amazing. Live streaming jam sessions. It's really been wonderful. And I'm so spoiled by these DJ sessions. Now y'all that?
[00:11:31] Lisa Woolfork: It's hard for me to even listen to just a regular album or a playlist on Spotify, because I want the DJ to be there, to keep me hype. You know, like I feel , I really do like that part a lot. That does make me feel like I'm really involved in something as if I'm in a club full of people, instead of just in my song room with my fuzzy slippers and cozy leisure wear on.
[00:11:52] Lisa Woolfork: And so that has been a lot of fun, but I think it's also another, another illustration of how one individual person in this case, the [00:12:00] DJs can kind of come out and build community for. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people. And this is something that I do wanna talk about in the next segment about group activities that people have started to do, but think about what you might want to do in terms of your own sewing.
[00:12:16] Lisa Woolfork: Um, up during this time. And for me, um, I just wanna reflect on some of the things that I've heard from other people say, this is a chance to finish projects that they've started start to, to do for UFOs to try things they've never made before. Say, if someone's doing a lot of apparel, this is a chance perhaps to do some quilting.
[00:12:36] Lisa Woolfork: I know for example, that the social justice sewing academy has their own block of the month club going now. And not only do they have a block every month, sometimes they have two blocks in the month. And so they have varying degrees of. Cult for these blocks. And so you can go to the social justice sewing academy website, and you can download their blocks for free and make a really cool quilt I've already [00:13:00] made.
[00:13:01] Lisa Woolfork: Let's see, I did the January block. I did the February block, Latifa Seir designed that one. And then I did the two. Do two March block. I did one March block and then they have another March block that's paper piece. And I haven't done that one yet. And it is currently April. So I have to see what the April block is and start to get caught up.
[00:13:22] Lisa Woolfork: So that's something that I am looking forward to doing. Cause I love paper. I love paper piecing. So I'm pretty excited to be able to do. other folks wanna take the time to do something that's a bit more complicated or more complex. And for some folks that will indeed be paper piecing because it does have a bit of a learning curve to it.
[00:13:42] Lisa Woolfork: Other folks wanted to spend time learning how to make brass and lingerie a. And I thought that was another really great example, too. Just basically carve out some time to do something a little bit differently. And that's something that one of the creativities, um, of sewing allows us to do. So when we come back, [00:14:00] I'm gonna talk about some of the group activities that people can do with hashtag so social distancing.
[00:14:06] Lisa Woolfork: So stay tuned. We'll be right back.
[00:14:16] Lisa Woolfork: Here it's ditch, please. The official podcast of black women's ditch. We talk a lot about sewing, but if you want to see and not just hear about some of the things we've been discussing, feel free to join us on the socials. You can find us at stitch, please. On Facebook and you can also find us on Instagram at black women's stitch.
[00:14:39] Lisa Woolfork: You can find photos of projects that we've been working on. Really interesting social commentary and on Thursdays at 3:00 PM Eastern standard time, you can join black women's stitch for a live Instagram chat. Every Thursday at 3:00 PM. So find us on the socials. Follow up with [00:15:00] us. We are happy to hear your direct messages.
[00:15:02] Lisa Woolfork: You can reach out to us at the black woman's stitch page on Instagram, and we'll help you get your stitch together.
[00:15:15] Lisa Woolfork: Welcome back to stitch, please. The official podcast of black women's stitch. We're talking today about hashtag social distancing. And I talked in the previous segment about individual activities that people were doing, um, individual sewing projects that people were doing. And now I wanna turn to some of the group.
[00:15:34] Lisa Woolfork: Projects that I've seen people be involved in. And some that I'm trying to be involved with myself. One of the first ones I thought was pretty compelling is one that I did last year. And that was hashtag so fresh. So clean 13, and this is organized by so EU and or so you, and it's a challenge, a self-guided self-paced challenge that asks you to [00:16:00] sew 13 pieces for yourself.
[00:16:04] Lisa Woolfork: I thought that was a pretty simple, uh, requirement and there's a certain timeframe and I will try to put a link to the challenge in the show notes. Well, I can actually just do that. I don't think it's, it'll be that hard to do, but the hashtag is so fresh. So clean 13. Um, I did it last year. I had a really great time.
[00:16:26] Lisa Woolfork: And so this. Individual sewing, of course, but that you're participating in a larger group activity and that's a lot of fun. Another one that's also from last year, it's back again, and that's hosted by crumpets and crumpets tea and sewing. And it's called hashtag sew Maxy by mother's day. And the so maxi by mother's day is asking people to make a max.
[00:16:53] Lisa Woolfork: And time for mother's day, which will be a nice thing you can wear to brunch or to your living room, depending on where you'll be [00:17:00] holding mother's day, or you can have brunch in your living room. This reminds me of just a little, one quick point that I wanted to bring out. I know there's some folks who might wonder is it worth sewing?
[00:17:13] Lisa Woolfork: Garments for yourself during the time and the age of social distancing, when you can't go places and you can't go out and stunt and you can't, um, put on your fancy dress and wear your outfits to church at Easter or to different social events and stuff. And I believe the answer to that question is absolutely.
[00:17:33] Lisa Woolfork: Yes for me. That's what the answer is. The answer is yes. You want to put on your, um, put on your nice clothes. I am still trying to make this jumper. I'm gonna work on it today. I promise it's the south shore romper. I really wanna make it. Um, I've seen stunning versions from friends and. To folks that I really, whose work I really admire.
[00:17:54] Lisa Woolfork: And I am going to make that even if no one sees it, but me and the fact that I see [00:18:00] it is good enough. And so I'm super excited about that. So don't feel like you can't. Do nice things for yourself unless somebody else sees it. I don't know. I just something to think about. So I'm certainly, I will probably participate.
[00:18:15] Lisa Woolfork: I did, since I did the so fresh, thir so fresh, so clean 13 last year, and I did not do the so maxi. Um, for mother's day, last year I might switch, I might not do the so fresh, so clean 13 this year, and instead do the so maxi, but both of these are really great challenges that people are working on. In addition, um, people have found really wonderful ways to build community around this time of isolation.
[00:18:43] Lisa Woolfork: And one of those is through. Things like using the technologies like zoom and Facebook live and Instagram live. So Julian Cordell, um, has a group called, so manly, M a N L Y. And it's welcome to, it's not just for men who, so it's [00:19:00] for anyone who so is men's wear. And so, um, I spoke with Julian and he said that he, well, he mentioned this on my, on one of my Instagram lives, that he does a Facebook live regularly in his group.
[00:19:12] Lisa Woolfork: So if you apply to join. So manly group, you get to be in contact with Julian, um, as he talks about different issues and projects and techniques, um, in his so manly group. So I think that, that sounds like a lot of fun. Um, in addition, so much talent Athia Hudson, she has a group called so much talent, and I know she does regular challenges every month.
[00:19:35] Lisa Woolfork: I believe last. They sew bras. And I'm not sure what the challenge for April is yet, but if you go to her page so much talent, you will see what the calendar is. And there's lots of great groups online. Cut. So where is another great one? Um, that Naomi Johnson, as I mentioned earlier, is involved in as well as all of the sewing, not all, but many of the sewing shops [00:20:00] have sewing.
[00:20:02] Lisa Woolfork: That are doing activities online or doing tutorials and things like that. So that's another great example of something that you can do as a group. One more thing that I thought was pretty exciting was a virtual. So along where people all work together on a singular project or all sit down together and so.
[00:20:21] Lisa Woolfork: Something, anything just get together and sew and project. So, which is a, a brainchild of Monica from that. So Monica, um, has recently branched out into Atlanta and Nikki from sewing. My style helps to work with Monica on that project. And most recently I believe that April edition of project, so was something they called the zoom room.
[00:20:44] Lisa Woolfork: And so this was a zoom. Based project sew, where everybody was sewing in their own sewing rooms, living rooms, dining room tables, kitchen tables, but we're also all connected. And that is pretty exciting because it's kind of [00:21:00] like doing a sewing project, like with your friends. It reminds me of like, when my mother in the summertime.
[00:21:05] Lisa Woolfork: Because she was an elementary school teacher. She had the summers off and she, and my cousin, who is her cousin, actually also my cousin, but her age, my mother's age, um, would get together in the summer. And they would sew in the summer. And so we would be outside playing and they would be inside sewing our clothes for the.
[00:21:24] Lisa Woolfork: Fall for the school year. And so I think it's really fun to get together and sit down and sew with friends and family. And in this time it's not possible to really do that unless you happen to have a relative who lives in your house, who also sews and you all could do that together. Uh, but. For me, I would have to connect through zoom through FaceTime through, um, another digital, medium, or another digital platform.
[00:21:51] Lisa Woolfork: And so that's something I thought was really great too, about sewing in hashtag social distancing, because if you're like [00:22:00] me and your work has transitioned to zoom or to your laptop or to your phone or whatever. Then you associate your phone and laptop with labor, with work, with work that you have to perform for a certain reason or a task that's being extracted from you by a larger institution and to have happy hour, which I'm gonna talk about in a second to have a sewing, to have a, so along to have a group chat, to have something like that through zoom.
[00:22:31] Lisa Woolfork: Rather than just having it be work related. I find that very encouraging. It really does make me feel like, okay, this is that this, this, this platform is not just for work. It's also something that I can do for fun. And I can see people that I like and I can, um, you know, let my hair down. And it's not just, you know, having to be a certain.
[00:22:55] Lisa Woolfork: For work performance. Not that I don't like people that I work [00:23:00] with and I certainly like my students. So, but you see what I'm saying? Like there's a difference of doing this in a way that's actually social based rather than, um, teaching based or work based or reading based or something like that. And so I wanted to mention.
[00:23:13] Lisa Woolfork: Some things that you could do. If you wanted to try to build your own of these things and you can get a zoom account, these things are free. Um, there are certain limitations on them for a free account, but you can, you know, you could always get started small. You could pull friends together through, um, FaceTime.
[00:23:30] Lisa Woolfork: And I think you can put more than one group of people on FaceTime perhaps, but there's ways to use the technology that we have to build something good and supportive in your life around sewing as well. I find, for example, a platform that we use in black women's stitch is called Marco polo and it's free.
[00:23:48] Lisa Woolfork: and it's a great video messaging service. And so I'm noticing more people getting on the platform because people that I'm friends with and I have them in my contacts in my phone book are [00:24:00] now popping up as Marco polo contacts. And so that's pretty interesting to see like, oh wait, wow, Patrick's on here now.
[00:24:07] Lisa Woolfork: Oh, huh. That's interesting. Martha's on here now. You know, that kind of thing. And it's a nice way to stay in touch with people. You leave a message for them. Like just record a video message and then they record you one in exchange. But for me, I found it very helpful with sewing to be able to show somebody, this is where I'm stuck.
[00:24:25] Lisa Woolfork: This is what I'm doing. Can you help me? And someone will say, oh yeah, I see what you've done here. You need to go back and do blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, and the, and to get actual concrete help, um, around these questions is, um, I believe really important. And I'm grateful for these technologies that allow that to happen much more easily than maybe even sending photos or emails back and forth.
[00:24:51] Lisa Woolfork: And so Marco polo is something that I really enjoy using, and we have had a good time with that in, in, in black women's stitch. one fun [00:25:00] thing that I also wanted to mention before I transitioned to some of the things that stores have done differently, as well as a few projects you might wanna do in the age of social distancing, um, is about using zoom for virtual happy hour.
[00:25:16] Lisa Woolfork: Um, my friends and I have a virtual happy hour, we meet up once a week and have cocktails and talk and just laugh and. It's it really is making me feel better about zoom overall. Cuz usually zoom means meetings. Zoom means class zoom means work and now zoom can mean fun time with my friends. Zoom means sewing advice.
[00:25:41] Lisa Woolfork: Zoom means, um, laughter and just hilarity and levity, which is something I think everybody needs more of. So if you wanted to start something like that, get a zoom account. Pull some of your friends on there, depending on, I mean, you can have a lot on there. I recently in the [00:26:00] last couple weeks have attended church services, um, at Imani church in Oakland, California, I'm in Virginia and my friends invited me to attend the zoom services and y'all.
[00:26:12] Lisa Woolfork: Oh, it was really just what I needed. It was just so wonderful and so beautiful. And, um, there was hundreds of people on and just to see all the faces and some people don't see their faces, um, to listen to the music and the, the mess. And all of it, it was just really very great. And it was really affirming.
[00:26:35] Lisa Woolfork: And it was one of those examples, as I was saying that I think about zoom as something that is work related and normally that's, that's only what it would be. Um, but in this context to think about it in the context of a religious experience or a religious service, it was incredibly meaningful.
[00:26:53] Lisa Woolfork: Absolutely was so meaningful. And so, and it was a way to kind of intervene in, um, the [00:27:00] feelings of being removed from a church community. I thought it was a good and responsible way to create, to maintain physical distance while also. Getting the experience that people want from various religious traditions.
[00:27:17] Lisa Woolfork: I think there's many of us who are not able to go to temple, not able to go to the mosque, not able to go to church. So all of this is going to all of this requires some creative thinking. Um, and for those who have a particular spiritual or religious tradition, we know that you know, that the, the notions of worship or praise or the idea of an eternal being.
[00:27:42] Lisa Woolfork: Don't change because you can't get to a building, you know? And so that was something that really did feel. It really felt very good to me, um, in these last few weeks. And so it was a nice way to somehow reclaim zoom from the clutches of work, [00:28:00] um, and to use it in a way that I found very affirming and just, just made me feel really good in a time when, um, those kind of good feelings might be a bit spare.
[00:28:10] Lisa Woolfork: Um, and so sewing is a wonderful way to restore those good feelings and for some people, um, religious services, Can be a good way for that as well. And it's nice to know that there are options like these social options, um, through technology like zoom, um, that allows people to access those great feelings.
[00:28:33] Lisa Woolfork: You're listening to the stitch please podcast. And I'm talking about hashtag social distancing. And when we come back, we'll talk a bit more about what stores are doing differently these days in order to manage social distancing, as well as a few projects that you might wanna sew in this time. Stay.
[00:28:55] Lisa Woolfork: Hello stitchers. We have a limited edition opportunity for you to support the stitch [00:29:00] please podcast and the black women's stitch project as a whole, and get some more fabric in your collection. These are mystery fabric boxes of fabrics that have been divided into woven and knit there's boxes that that are stuffed with black and white fabrics.
[00:29:15] Lisa Woolfork: There's boxes of Chevron fabrics. There's boxes of fabrics called I. Adventure or nature or something like that. Um, and these are completely full of fabric. These are medium flat rate S PS boxes that can be sent directly to you for $30. And that shipping is included. So if you're interested in building your stash or, um, taking a chance of some really cool fabrics, Let me know you can DM me on Instagram at black women's ditch, or you can send me an email at black women's ditch, gmail.com.
[00:29:48] Lisa Woolfork: And we will send you a mystery box of very cool fabrics, $30 shipping and insurance included. And that'll help you get your stitch together too. Thanks.[00:30:00]
[00:30:06] Lisa Woolfork: A welcome back to the stitch police podcast. Thanks for joining us. We are talking today about hashtag social distancing. How does one remain connected and social while. Being physically separated. And why, how does someone kind of keep their Sojo going? How do you, um, build so in community, when you might be physically isolated or restricted from physical movement, I wanted to talk in this last segment pretty briefly about two things that I have noticed, um, one about stores and small businesses and some of the solutions that they are creating in this time.
[00:30:41] Lisa Woolfork: And then a couple of projects. That you might wanna do. And one that I certainly have done that I have found very helpful. The first one is I wanted to give a shout out to those small businesses that are reinventing themselves, reimagining themselves during this time of crisis. Um, my local, um, sewing store, which is actually also a [00:31:00] yawn shop called U E w E fine fiber goods.
[00:31:03] Lisa Woolfork: They, um, They sell yarn and knitting materials on one side, and then they sell sewing materials and they have genomic machines. On the other side, I purchased my cover stitch machine from this store last year and I needed, um, some Gman thread and I did not. Want to go to Joanne's. And so I called and I said, do you have no, I think I emailed, I said, I need two each of this number thread, because I have a Guin thread cabinet.
[00:31:33] Lisa Woolfork: And one of the things I do is I look at it to see what's empty. And then I just, you know, refill the cabinet over and over. And I've been doing that for more than a decade. And so I said, I need these numbers. And they were like, yep, we have them. They emailed me an invoice. I paid online and I drove by there, which it's less than five minutes from my house.
[00:31:52] Lisa Woolfork: And. Popped my head in the door. And there was a bag there with my thread in it, and it was practically curbside pickup. [00:32:00] It was just the easiest thing and no, um, you know, no social distance, no social distancing measures were broken during this transaction. Um, she was way in the back of the store when I got there and I just popped the door open and right by the door was the bag with people's materials.
[00:32:17] Lisa Woolfork: I don't know how long she's gonna continue to do that. But hopefully she will for a considerable time because I, you know, would much rather support a small local business than, um, a big, uh, conglomerate. Uh, the next thing I think is very interesting is from, um, Lisa, she, Lisa Shepherd, Stewart, who, um, Owns cultured expressions.
[00:32:38] Lisa Woolfork: And she too has been doing, um, she's in railway, New Jersey and she's been doing some really interesting things. She's always done these really cool virtual tours where you can, she will take you around the shop with her, with a camera, with her phone, um, and showing you images of things that are available and you can kind of basically shop with her, [00:33:00] um, on the phone or on FaceTime.
[00:33:02] Lisa Woolfork: Through some kind of digital medium. And I thought that was another way to preserve social distancing while also helping people to get the supplies they need, um, for sewing, which might be, you know, an important therapeutic release for other people. So for many people. And so I thought this idea of the virtual tour that cultured expressions is doing was really smart.
[00:33:22] Lisa Woolfork: And I just wanted to give a shout out to that. We noticed that some of the. Stores are doing things as well. Um, Joanne fabrics in particular seems to have refashioned itself as an essential business by, um, becoming somehow the mask making headquarters in the United States where you can get materials from Joanne's Joanne's is donating materials.
[00:33:44] Lisa Woolfork: Um, lots of people are turning to, um, Joanne's for that. I am not gonna talk about masks right now. I did talk about them. Um, in an episode two weeks ago about making masks question mark. Um, there might be a time when I come and talk about them again, [00:34:00] coming up in the future. Um, because so much of course has changed since the mask making episode that I aired a couple of weeks ago.
[00:34:08] Lisa Woolfork: Um, but I have heard from quite a few people who are. Sewing masks because they see this as a stressful, um, activity. I personally found it stressful. I did end up making. maybe a dozen masks, maybe more from my family and mailed it to different parts of the country so that everybody would have something, but it was not, it, it just felt very stressful to do.
[00:34:38] Lisa Woolfork: Um, and it's also something that I find. Problematic. I feel like people should, not that we, that we should not be distracted from the fact that this is a huge failure of our medical establishment to provide essential workers, nurses, doctors, clinicians, um, with [00:35:00] P PPE to save their lives. To protect them and keep them healthy.
[00:35:04] Lisa Woolfork: There is no way that two layers of quilting cotton is going to do what an actual N 95 mask is going to do. And the idea that now the CDC has recently recommended that everybody wear one when they're out and about, um, the same concerns I had in the previous episode about this, about more people being out in the streets now, because they have a flimsy.
[00:35:27] Lisa Woolfork: Bandana tied around their face or a t-shirt pulled up to their chin or are wearing a fabric mask made of two layers of cotton fabric and maybe a vacuum cleaner bag in the middle or dryer sheet or air conditioning filter or whatever. That this is not a replacement for social distancing. And so all of that kind of anxiety was going into the constructions of the masks for me as I was making mask after mask after mask.
[00:35:54] Lisa Woolfork: And of course, everybody who knows me knows that I love to sew, but I am not gonna be. I, [00:36:00] I do not love sewing these masks. I still have a couple more that I am gonna make. Um, because I have friends who reach out to me directly, but I'm also for a particular, um, for a particular, um, Type of mask that they were needing.
[00:36:14] Lisa Woolfork: But for, I mean, there are so many people y'all who are making masks now and who love making them, they are selling them. They are, um, which I feel much different about than I did before. Now that everybody has to have them. I'm, I'm much more kind of flexible on the notion of selling them. I, my personal opinion was if the country was gonna require everybody to have them, they should provide.
[00:36:40] Lisa Woolfork: You know, that just seems like basic to me, but, um, if everyone needs them in terms of as a, as a preventative measure, then sure. If you can't sew, then you can buy one, no big deal. And so that's, that's kind of where I am on that. Um, and good Lord. Why do I wanna go on [00:37:00] that tangent? Oh, it was about like, trying to find sewing as a restorative joyful practice and sewing for the pandemic is not part of the joyful practice, um, which I totally respect and totally understand the good news is that if you are in need of a masks or in need of a more than one mask, there are lots of people out there who are joyfully making.
[00:37:23] Lisa Woolfork: And so, um, you can certainly find someone from whom you can order a mask because they are everywhere. My fee, my feed is flooded with them. Um, so you won't have any shortage of finding it. And I wanna express gratitude to my friends who help me get to this point. I was certainly very. About the masks themselves and felt bad about not wanting to make them et cetera, et cetera.
[00:37:50] Lisa Woolfork: And this was a really important reframing to, um, give myself permission to not do these things. Um, if they were that stressful, [00:38:00] especially in the context of people, other folks who are out there doing them quite happily. And so that was really very helpful to me. So thanks friends. I wanna turn really quickly.
[00:38:12] Lisa Woolfork: In our last moments to a couple of projects that you might, that you might consider useful in this time of social distancing. I note that many of us are returned to, or at homes that are quite different than the ones we, um, had before the virus crisis began to land on us here in the United States in ways that they had had already landed in other countries around the world.
[00:38:35] Lisa Woolfork: Um, As I mentioned in the episode a few weeks ago, both of my kids are home. I have a young one who is in high school and an older one who is in college. Both of them are juniors, which is in the third year of their four year education in secondary school and college. And, um, this means that I no longer have a private podcast studio, everybody, as I said, um, I lost a private podcast studio, but gained an executive [00:39:00] produce.
[00:39:01] Lisa Woolfork: Yes, the executive producer, as I said, I'm not sure what they do. I thought they provided money for projects, but this one just seems to, um, provide an endless stream of complaints about me being in his room during the times that he also wants to be in there, but you know, we'll work on him, you know, it's training, people need training.
[00:39:18] Lisa Woolfork: And so, um, I totally do plan to, uh, train him, um, in this, in his new role. But one of the things I've noticed is that. I don't know if it's just me or it's because these are, um, teenage boys or boys who are in that kind of growth spurt or whatever. But these children eat like locusts. I mean, it's like I put food down, I set it aside and then they find it.
[00:39:43] Lisa Woolfork: And then they eat it. And I was like, wait, where did that come from? Like, oh, we found this downstairs. And I'm like, it was hidden from you. So, um, this notion of somehow like putting things away, so we don't have to shop so much and we can reduce our trips to the grocery store and stuff, all, all [00:40:00] that seems to be lost on them.
[00:40:01] Lisa Woolfork: So, um, I, another thing I'm trying to kind of reduce the. Reduce the paper products we are producing. And so one thing I was suggesting people think about and something that we've always done is cloth napkins. And those are really, you know, they're not that hard to make and I really enjoy making them. And once you make like a thousand, well, it feels like a thousand.
[00:40:21] Lisa Woolfork: Once you make a set of them, You can, you know, you'll have them for quite a while. We're using some napkins that I know I made when these kids were in elementary school. I know these are 10 year old napkins and they're good for other things, wiping down tables and surfaces with disinfecting liquids. Um, you can use 'em for cleanup.
[00:40:37] Lisa Woolfork: And so I'm really trying to cut back on our paper towel, use these children. Think that I am made of paper towels, they love paper towels, and I buy the selective size that allows you to take a full size sheet, which I guess could be like a 12 by 12, for example. And it's cut. And as a, into a six by 12, you can tear them off into smaller sizes.[00:41:00]
[00:41:00] Lisa Woolfork: They don't care. They just rip off a yard of paper towels to dry their very small hands. And after so much of this, I was like, I am not going back to Costco. I am not buying more paper towels. These are meant to be for disposable things. We can wash things now. And so what I, what we did was we, I purchased, um, a actually so nice, actually my executive producer, he purchased it with his little money.
[00:41:24] Lisa Woolfork: He'd saved. Wait, I think I paid him back. So. I purchased a set of six, um, bath towels, I think from bed bath and beyond not bath towels, goodness, kitchen towels. And it's the kitchen towels. Like they're not bar MOS. They're a little bit thicker than that. And so what I did was I took, and I'll, I'll include a photo of this.
[00:41:43] Lisa Woolfork: I put a piece of. Black grow grain ribbon and stitched that along the bottom. Um, and then I, then I embroidered their name on it, but I did it actually backwards. I hooped, um, uh, maybe it's like a two inch wide piece of grow [00:42:00] grain ribbon in my embroidery hoop. On my machine and I programmed their names into it.
[00:42:06] Lisa Woolfork: And then I stitched their name on the ribbon. I removed the ribbon from the embroidery hoop and sewed that ribbon onto the hem of the kitchen towel. And now at everybody's place at the kitchen table, everyone has their kitchen towel with their name on it. What I then had to do was remove. The paper towels from the kitchen.
[00:42:31] Lisa Woolfork: And I just put them under the sink, but they tend not to look down there. Um, but I'm sure if they thought there was food under there, they'd be looking, but there. They were, um, that, that has really helped to cut down on some of the paper towel consumption and you know, us having to buy them so often. in this case out of sight equals outta mind, completely worked.
[00:42:58] Lisa Woolfork: And it's really helped to [00:43:00] reduce the paper towel consumption and they're using the cloth napkins and the, um, their own towels to dry their hands after they wash them, cuz they have to wash them a lot. And so that was really helpful for me and just my own peace of mind because I. Frustrated by that. And so there's a lot of recalibration that's gonna be required as people's living circumstances, change like living with, you know, kids again, or bringing your college age, kids home, um, you know, or your teenagers, or even younger ones being home all the time.
[00:43:32] Lisa Woolfork: I think it's just gonna require a new way of just being. And so for me, that. The paper towel thing is just a small little nuisance distraction thing. Um, that I certainly took more seriously than anybody else in the entire family. Nobody else cared about this paper towel issue more than I did, but.
[00:43:51] Lisa Woolfork: Because I cared about it and because I sewed, I could do a little something about it. Um, and it really has helped me personally. And [00:44:00] you know, like they say, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. So we gonna get some happiness around here, at least for me. . And on that happy note, this concludes our episode on hashtag social distancing for the stitch, please podcast.
[00:44:14] Lisa Woolfork: Thanks so much for joining. And don't forget about the IG live tomorrow at 3:00 PM. Eastern standard.
[00:44:24] Lisa Woolfork: Thank you for joining us for this week's episode of the stitch, please podcast the official podcast of black women's stitch, the sewing group, where black lives matter. There are a variety of ways that you can support the program and you're doing it right now. By listening to the pro, by listening to the podcast, it does help us grow.
[00:44:44] Lisa Woolfork: Another way to do that is to rate the podcast, review it, subscribe to it. All of these things are ways that you can support the podcast without having to spend any money at all. If you would like to spend some money to support us, there are ways to do that as well. [00:45:00] You can make direct donations to our Patreon site for monthly contributions as well as one time contributions to PayPal cash app or Venmo.
[00:45:09] Lisa Woolfork: And finally, we have another cute, very adorable way for you to support the black women's stitch project. It's a pin, a P I N enamel lapel pin. That's very cute. It's about two inches wide and one and a half inch tall. And it's of the black women's stitch logo. And that is $15 with free shipping to the us.
[00:45:33] Lisa Woolfork: And so if you drop $15 in the, a PayPal, Venmo or cash app accounts, and then send me your email. No, not email. You send me your mailing address to my email either at black women's stitch@gmail.com or you send me a direct message on the black womens ditch Instagram page, we will put the pin in the mail to you.
[00:45:57] Lisa Woolfork: Um, again, free shipping. [00:46:00] $15 for the pin and all of this goes to support the black women's stitch project. Thank you again for joining us this week. Come back next week and we will help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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