Fits and Starts

Back at the beginning of the year, I set some goals for myself. I’m doing pretty well at getting two blog posts done each month (even if I just squeak them in by writing the draft on the last day of the month and publishing it in on first day of the next month). I’m close to finishing the second of three fiber arts related challenges I’ve set for myself. But my other goal – completing six living history projects in 2021 – is going much less well.

Completed 18th century flame stitch pin ball kit and ring from PennyRiver.

How much less well? As of April 28th, I’ve completed one of the six projects. And I completed that *on* the 28th. Last year, I ordered and started an embroidered flame stitch pin ball kit from PennyRiver on Etsy. I’d finished the embroidery back in February, but it took me until early March to stitch it together and stuff it. I stalled (again) after that because I couldn’t figure out exactly how I wanted to attach the ribbon, and the last bit of sewing up was a pain. After letting it sit for another couple of weeks, I still didn’t know how I wanted to attach the ribbon (or how I’d do it without getting annoyed at the results). So I finally went with an easier and less frustrating solution – I ordered a pin ball ring, also from PennyRiver.

It was more expensive, and I had to wait a bit for it to be delivered, but it was overall a prettier, more satisfying solution. In about 20 minutes, I was able to slip the pin ball into the ring and stitch two bar tacks between them to make sure the pin ball didn’t slip out of the ring. But more importantly, I’m far happier with the final appearance than I would have been if I’d tried to sew the ribbon in place.

I used bar tacks and thread wrapped around the hanging loop to secure the ring to the pin ball.

I’m one project behind schedule (I’d planned it so that it could be roughly a project every two months), and am still not feeling terribly motivated. So I started pondering why that was the case. After all, I’ve been doing great at working on projects or doing fiber-related reading for much of 2021 so far. But I just couldn’t get motivated to work on living history related projects once they moved out of the abstract fiber arts that portions of them fall into. The pin ball held my attention as long as it was just an embroidery project, but it became less appealing when it was time to assemble and finish it. My embroidered pocket did the same – after I finished the embroidery, it sat for a while before I assembled the embroidery and the lining. I’ve still got to do the rest of the assembly steps. Why?

Then I figured it out. Covid claimed most of 2020’s events. Things still weren’t looking good by the end of January 2021 for events to really happen (or happen in ways I would feel safe attending). I’d decided a while ago that events shouldn’t be something I was doing until I’d been vaccinated. I was worried about getting sick, but I was more worried about going to an event, picking it up, and bringing it home to the rest of my household. So when it initially looked like it could be early summer before I’d have the opportunity to get vaccinated, I sort of started writing off doing events this year too. Which definitely reduced my motivation to start new projects related to living history stuff (or even just finish existing projects). Why bother working on something that no one will have a chance to admire up close in real time any time soon? And for more fitted items, what happens if my shape changes in ways that doesn’t accommodate whatever I’d made?

Events still seem sort of dicey, but are no longer in the Terrible Idea category. But I’m still really not sure about events happening for me in the first half of 2021 (or even at all this year). I’ve gotten vaccinated at this point, but I realized I need some other things to start back up for me before I’m ready for events. Including being able to go to the gym and get back up to event conditioning (cooking and other aspects of living history takes a surprising amount of physical strength). That’s just started at the end of this week, but I know I have a lot of ground to cover to get back to where I was in February 2020. I also need to be able to hang out with people and rebuild social skills I’ve lost over the last year. The people I live with might know that a certain noise means I’m not happy, but that’s not something everyone will understand. And most importantly, I need to find a way to be comfortable around more than a few people at a time again. Working on those things will take me a little while, but would gain me the opportunity to show things off to folks in a few months. I’m starting to feel bit more appeal in actually working on living history related projects. And I’ll have the time to do it without rushing, so I’ll feel better about the final results.

I should probably work on finishing the cap I started next. Or figuring out exactly what I want my SCA Landsknecht kit to look like.

A person what turns fluff into fiber. Or something.

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