Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘sewing

Custom Masks

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Way back in April, when Cyndie was down at her parent’s place in Florida, she started sewing face masks to share with others. When the state of Minnesota mandated wearing facemasks in the workplace, I began putting Cyndie’s designs to a full day’s test. I wear glasses almost the entire time I am at work, so a mask fit that minimized fogging became a priority for me.

The earliest version I wore became uncomfortable behind my ears so I lobbied for styles that didn’t wrap around the back of my tender lobes. I figured the neck gaiter would be super convenient and I already wear a lot of Buff® headgear, so I convinced Cyndie to sew added protection into one of mine. I have read that relying on the material in most conventional neck gaiters alone is actually worse than not wearing any face-covering at all because the porous fabric will shred exhaled breath into greater amounts of aerosolized particles that, because of the small size, float around longer.

We also cut up another old Buff® to experiment with adding strips sewn to the front covering which then wrap around the back of my neck, instead of around the ears.

To eliminate needing to pull it over my head, we tried cutting the gaiter and adding several kinds of hook & loop sewn into the fabric. That allows me to wrap it around the back of my neck to secure the mask.

Yesterday, Cyndie accommodated my desire to try another customization. I want to keep all the advancements she has made with extra filter fabric in front and removable inserts for washing, but give another try to a more relaxed loop around my ears.

Earloops, if they aren’t under too strong an elastic pull, are less confining than having the gaiter material all the way around my head. After weeks of the prior versions, I’m interested in returning to the simpler design.

It was a cloudy, blustery November day outside, which made an indoor sewing project that much more inviting. I was able to contribute a tiny bit of my own labor by cutting out fabric using the patterns Cyndie made for the style I prefer.

Thanks to her ingenuity, I already had enough masks that I could wear a different one each day, and every mask is unique. I have a wonderful collection of prototypes.

Today, I have two more custom masks from which to choose.



Written by johnwhays

November 16, 2020 at 7:00 am

Bad Day

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This is the saga of Cyndie’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Really. It was the kind of day that no one deserves when they are already under the strain of grief from the recent death of their father and having just spent the prior day unexpectedly moving furniture and mopping basement floors after flooding rains.

It’s doubly frustrating when the trees outside keep toppling over from the abuses of wind and heavy rain.

We lost another oak tree near the backside of the house sometime in the last two days.

To soothe the pangs of angst banging around in Cyndie’s head, she opted for a craft project to occupy her time and talents, one that would create useful masks in benefit to others. Unfortunately, a problem developed with the bobbin and threading mechanism of her sewing machine which consumed hours, wasted yards of thread, and produced results opposite from soothing angst.

Next, she tried baking, also a love of hers which normally produces oodles of good feelings.

Walking the dog took too long for the tray of parmesan cheese toasts that were in the oven and the results were burned just enough that they couldn’t be salvaged. The delicious smell lingered long after the acrid tasting morsels had been discarded, providing an unwelcome reminder of what was lost.

Luckily, the two loaves of bread she followed up with came out perfect and tasted delicious. She offered a warm slice for me to test. Then, she took Delilah for a jaunt and I stepped outside to finish a chore. When I came back into the air-conditioned house, I found she had returned Delilah to the coolness indoors while she stayed outside to pick wild raspberries.

That is when I spotted the still-warm loaf she had just cut test slices from was now moved just to the very edge of the counter and there were delicate bites missing along the full length of one side.

Each attempt to get the better of her angst ended up providing nothing of the sort.

It had all the makings of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad type of day.

I’m thinking she might benefit from exorcising her demons by way of wielding a chainsaw toward a bunch of oak branches and cutting them to bits.

Take that you terrible, horrible, no good, eff of a day of failing sewing machines and baking disasters.



Written by johnwhays

July 1, 2020 at 6:00 am