I worked on a sewing project last night in the office/library/tai chi/work room. The floor was covered with fabric when I woke this morning. The last thing I did before going to bed was sew together the hood the wrong-way-round. Oops.
The thing I’m making? Eqos’s sleeveless hood/duster thing (assembly instructions here). Now, I read in the comments, that this is one of Eqos’s more complicated designs. Alas. And for all of that, frankly, I’m not sure it’s going to fit me, even though I’m working with substantially wider fabric.
No matter. I tend to view these kinds of projects as learning experiences rather than as necessarily garments for me to wear. If you want to be a great tailor, apprentice yourself to a tailor for a few years. If you want to be a moderately competent tailor—make a few dozen things in a relatively short time. And this is what I’m after, not necessarily perfection but something between competence and mastery. I know it will take a while to get there. I’m prepared to wait. And this is another form of concurrent sigilization, too; I don’t know if my painting or my drawing or my druidic work with Fimo or my bookbinding or my pop-up book engineering or my game mapping is going to matter, either to me or to my students. I do know that I have to make a bunch of stuff to find out.
Once the fabric was cleared out of the way, I set to work. First off, twenty push-ups is becoming easy. I have a set plan on when I’m going to bump up to forty, but first I want to feel like I’m better than competent at twenty. My push-ups are good, but—when is this never true?—a little fast. I’d like to be able to do twenty push-ups with good form and at the right speed before I bump up.
And then qi gong. My, it’s nicer to do this in a space that’s a little more orgnaized. For the first time in a while, I can look around and see various projects in various stages of completion. I have three things I want to try to finish this week and early next week before I start another project (like this duster-cloak, although admittedly I’m making that for a specific event, so I have reasons to do that first). But back to qi gong. One of the things that I’ve appreciated in the last few days, being at my parents, is that I’ve had the time to do my tai chi reasonably well, but not the space. It rained for several days. And here, I have the capacity to stretch up to the ceiling and lengthen my arms and my spine. It feels good. Yet along with that absence from this space for a few days comes some mental breathing room. I can look around and see, for the first time, what needs completing and what needs to be done to get it completed. Today, I can say that qi gong had positive mental benefits that I can see and feel immediately. I like that.
And then the form. I only did the form twice. I don’t think I did a full half-hour, although I was close. Far better, really, than I’ve had in weeks. My joints have been creaking a bit the last few weeks and maybe I’ve gone easy on them. Today, movements were smooth and non-creaky. I think that crawling around the floor, squatting and stepping up and moving around to work on projects at home has actually been keeping me more active than I’ve been at school in the last few weeks. The result? A gradually-easier experience doing tai chi. Nice.
Update: Let me add—an old post of Deb Castellano’s surfaced in my feed today, on the allure of glamour work in the apocalypse, and the importance of remembering who the enemy is. I’ve just seen Inside Out, the new Pixar movie, which strikes me as unusual because there’s no villain; it’s very much a story about the internal life of the mind, in more ways than one. Go read Deb’s reminder about glamour, and then check out this interactive tool from the New York Times about how where you live affects how much better or worse you’re likely to do than your parents depending on what your income level was at birth and whether you’re a boy or girl. And remember what you’re working for.