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Covid Tools and Maybe Some Food for Thought

December 29th, 2020 Leave a comment Go to comments

Covid, and the need to consider risk where risk once seemed much less significant, has touched nearly every aspect of our lives here at Chez Noile.

Two small changes affect the way I sew every time I sit down to my machine.

A few years ago a favorite mechanic had a very odd accident when a small flake of metal flicked into his eye, seemingly out of nowhere. He was doing nothing untoward, but wasn’t wearing safety goggles while mucking about with metal tools.  He was hospitalized for five days and blinded in the eye. The accident changed his life.

Not long afterward, also out of nowhere, a needle broke while i was sewing, and pinged off my eyeball. (Yes, you read that right — it flicked off my eyeball, not my eyelid.) I was doing nothing odd, and sewing nothing complicated, thick or questionable. Apparently, it was just that needle’s time to die.  Amazingly, apart from a stinging sensation, no damage was done to my eye. (Well, a tiny amount of damage was done, but it wasn’t serious and mended quickly.)

At that point, figuring there was a message here somewhere, I added safety goggles to my sewing kit, and tried, not always successfully, to wear them whenever I sewed. Then came Covid, and the realization that it’s not just Covid that’s the issue, but getting medical care at all. And the risk is no longer just the immediate risk to eyes or whatever.

The last place I want to be in the middle of a pandemic is in a hospital, or in an ER. Front-line workers don’t need the extra caseload, and I don’t need the exposure. So I wear the goggles religiously now, and hope that’s enough to protect my eyes. In many, many decades of sewing, no broken needle had ever come near my eyes, and it will probably never happen again. But it only takes once.

And these circumstances made me also consider a much more common accident I’ve experienced over the years — driving a needle into a nail or finger that I was using to help feed fabric under the presser foot. I’ve never gone all the way through the nail — I really do sew cautiously, honest! — but sometimes that helpful finger ends up between the needle and the foot, and . . . oops.  And where there’s oops there can also be infection and/or serious damage.

That’s what the bamboo device is for. Now I use it to guide anything going near the needle. The big surprise? It’s far more precise and effective than my poor beleaguered fingers ever were. (It’s also a fine corner-turner, too, and wonderfully helpful if you want to evenly feed anything with loft — think thick polarfleece or corduroy — under the foot and over the feed dogs!)

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