Siege Diaries 4/17/2020


I am trying not to dwell on where I should be right now:  In Ann Arbor, Michigan, just about to head out to hear the Emerson Quartet play (among other things) the Shostakovich Quartet #5.  I own the Emerson’s complete set of Shostakovich’s quartets, and I expected this would be a real treat.  This was to be followed tomorrow evening in Columbus with a performance by a different quartet of the Shostakovich 11th quartet.  There would have been trips to Half Price Books, and Graeter’s for ice cream, and perhaps a dinner with friends.

All on hold.

This is not a post about music, though–although I may see if there is a performance of the Quartet #4 to watch this evening as I work on projects.  I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been having issues with creative pursuits beyond writing these posts and my very elementary viola exercises–in particular, I have been struggling with making anything.  But I think that may be starting to change.

A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for a challenge sponsored by an SCA artisan who makes his own parchment, called the “Shelter-in-Place Scribal Challenge.”  I was sent three small rectangles of handmade parchment;  the challenge is to use it to paint an illuminated letter.  Here in Ealdormere those of us participating have banded together into a “warband” and have each picked a letter.  We have chosen the theme of beasts.  I picked O for my letter, as I wanted to do a snowy owl.  This will be a bit of an homage to Rush, whose album Fly By Night features a snowy owl on a blue background.  I briefly considered using the same pose for the owl as on the album cover, but opted not to for artistic reasons.

Last night, while a group of five or six of us gathered remotely, I sketched out my letter. This weekend, I’ll paint it.  I’m excited to use the parchment–real parchment is always a treat for anyone who practices the scribal arts, and the pieces I was sent are lovely.  One of the other pieces will be used for a pencil sketch of the letter.

I also decided to do something about a bag full of quilted jacket fabric I purchased last fall–one piece in black with embroidered gold stars, the other red.  I have a pattern for a “letter jacket” style coat, and had all of the materials except for the zipper.  Amazon came to the rescue, and I received it today (well ahead of the May delivery date originally promised).  I trimmed the pattern during a teleconference this afternoon, and will likely cut it out this evening.  The pattern looks very simple, and with a little luck I will emerge in a couple of days with a new red, black, and gold jacket with stars on it.

And I’ve pivoted to making scrub caps instead of masks.  I finished up my 20 masks and dropped them off at the UPS store drop point earlier today, and after work, I cut out the scrub caps. There are fifteen of them now ready to stitch together. They’re much more the type of sewing I actually enjoy.  I found a pattern online that did not involve elastic (of which I have none);  there are also no fiddly ties to make and sew on.  The fabric I have is a cheerful red print, and the idea of making hats brings me more joy than making masks.

Meanwhile, in Taiwan, there is baseball.  The stadiums may be empty except for cutouts of fans and audio tapes of cheering, but it’s springtime, and at least in one place, the Boys of Summer are on the diamond.