Let’s Talk with Lois Winston

Guilt in the Time of Covid-19
By Lois Winston

As many of you know by now, I spent most of my professional life as a crafts designer, which explains Anastasia Pollack, the eponymous amateur sleuth of my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. Write what you know, right?

For several decades I designed fabric crafts for the craft book division of the McCall’s Pattern Company, creating projects for everything from appliquéd baby quilts to Christmas tree skirts to flowerpot dolls (Yes, that was a thing at one time.) I even worked as one of their editors.

A perk of being a designer in the crafts industry was the free craft supplies manufacturers constantly sent me, hoping to get their products featured in books and magazines. My craft closet is chockfull of yards upon yards of cotton fabrics as well as elastic, ribbons, bias tape, lace, and enough thread to circle the globe many times over.

If I were home, I’d be putting all those supplies and my sewing machine to good use making face masks for all the first responders, hospital personnel, and anyone else who needs one. But I’m not home. Since the second week in March I’ve been 800 miles away, taking care of my two little grandsons while my son and daughter-in-law work from home. And that’s where the guilt comes in. People are desperate for something I could supply if only I were home.

But I still had to make a face mask for when I return home. However, I’m staying in a house where the only sewing supplies consist of an emergency travel sewing kit I gave my son years ago when he went off to college. From the looks of it, I doubt he used it more than once—if that. And forget cotton fabric, elastic, or ribbons, let alone a sewing machine.

However, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. I cut the wide waistband off a pair of yoga pants sitting in the Goodwill pile and asked my son to buy some shoelaces on his next trip to the supermarket. I knew there was no point in asking him to buy elastic. No one has had any for weeks.

Anyway, the resulting mask, hand-stitched under less than ideal conditions, won’t win any fashion awards, but at least it will keep me safe until I get home, even if it does fog up my glasses. At least I don’t have to wear it while I’m driving, only during rest area pit stops and gas station fill-ups. Once I’m home, since I’ll have to self-quarantine for two weeks anyway, I’ll whip up some classier looking masks—for me and anyone else who needs one.

Meanwhile, I’ve had to set aside working on Anastasia’s latest adventure while I’m back in 24/7 childcare mode. I’ll get back to her once life returns to whatever our new normal will be. I’m sure she’s happy to have a break from all the murder and mayhem I drop at her feet.

How are you dealing with this crazy new world of ours? Are you doing a lot of yoga? Listening to Mozart? Whittling down that TBR pile? Stress-eating? Spending as much time as possible locked in the bathroom away from everyone else in the house?

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