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Sewing my way through COVID-19

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Photo: Kim Hart Macneill

My sewing machine stayed in its box for about a decade until COVID-19 hit our region. In my 20s, I sewed and knit a lot, but over the years, I grew busier and my hobbies fell by the wayside. As the pandemic heralded a slower life closer to home, my old pastimes began to call.

I’m not alone. Instagram and Facebook are packed with images of new home bakers showing off their sourdough, novice gardeners asking for advice, and returning sewers, like me, highlighting their latest creations.

It started when I saw a number of other countries’ health authorities suggesting wearing fabric face masks. Due to the state of emergency in Nova Scotia, a quick jaunt to Fabricville wasn’t in the cards, so I made my first attempts using a pillow case that lost its mate. My prototypes were passable, crooked stitching and all. By the time I grew confident in my skills, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, recommended wearing fabric masks in areas where social distancing is difficult.

Weeks of lockdown were solitary and at times lonely, but cutting, pinning, and sewing masks occupies my hands and my mind. I start with whole cloth and finish with masks. This simple task offers a tangible finish, unlike this uncertain period of our lives.

Several weeks into my project, I posted the pattern I’d adapted from a few others on our website and learned I wasn’t alone in my return to sewing. The step-by-step blog post was one of our most read posts this year. Find it here.

This edition of East Coast Living was largely written before COVID-19. Lately, our lives have been dominated with difficult news, and I hope you’ll find a brief escape in these pages.

In this issue, we visit a historic cottage in Chance Harbour, N.S. that’s been a summer getaway for the Sobey family since 1943. We discover hobby artist Erin Hodge and how her painting is both an escape and a connection to this unique moment in time. The List focuses on DIY as we talk to interior consultant Jonathan Legate about the changes in design trends he’s witnessed over the last decade and learn to tune up your bike at home. Our Eating In sections reminds us that we can fire up the grill for any meal and introduces mead, a historic beverage that’s making a come back.

In April, we welcomed intern Olivia Malley to our team, albeit remotely. A new grad from the University of King’s College journalism program, Olivia gets the last word in this issue with a profile of Rachel Morouney, a potter from Port Elgin, N.B. We wish her well as she starts her career.

We’d love to see what projects you’re working on this summer. Tag us in your shared photos on Facebook and Twitter and tell us why it matters to you.

East Coast Living