Social distancing helped me rediscover an old hobby

'I meticulously measured and cut the fabric, receding into a cat-like arch I've tried to rid myself of'

No matter how old I am, I tend to preoccupy myself with an insane amount of tasks to dodge boredom.

Time is never wasted in my book — I've always been out doing something. Throughout my academic career, I loaded my schedule with rigorous coursework and extracurriculars so there is not a moment to spare. 

These days, I'm not so busy. I have a lot of free time on my hands because of social distancing — I'm stuck at home with nothing to do, without my friends and a proper schedule. 

So, I did what every other person I see on social media has done — I picked up a hobby. But mine is not new, I've been sewing since I was a kid. However, I can safely say my art is a bit more refined now. 

I started sewing when I was 11. My passion was sparked through YouTube. I would watch hours of content by Tammy Hallam on how to make plushies and other cute projects. These little animals and foods made of felt were inspiring to me. I did not just want to watch her make them, I wanted to do it myself. 

I ran to Michael's and bought up practically the entire aisle, shoving multicolored fabric into my cart and signing up for the only rewards system I've ever actually used. 

I would sit hunched over at my desk, flipping between tabs on my computer and cutting felt to fit templates. No matter how wonky they looked, I was proud of my work. I would give them to my family and friends as gifts or keep them for myself. 

Boxes would fill with my creations and the more videos I watched, the more my knowledge expanded. 

I eagerly learned the difference between a straight stitch and a back stitch. I was at the edge of my seat when Aiko from HappyFriendsShoppe made a jewelry box out of felt. I learned how to make bows, scrunchies and pillows. 

In high school, I even had a business where I sold my homemade scrunchies to my classmates. 

Then, sewing turned into embroidery. I started to stitch on my jeans, T-shirts or any surface I did not mind potentially tearing holes through. More YouTube viewing ensued. 

Fast forward to today, and I feel like I am back where I used to be. 

For three days straight, I hand-sewed masks for myself and my parents. I meticulously measured and cut the fabric, receding into a cat-like arch I've tried to rid myself of. 

Then, my dad ventured into our attic to take down my sewing machine so I could make some more masks to send to my other family members. The untouched material shoved in the corner of my closet for nearly two years finally made a comeback. 

Afterward, I scoured Amazon and other shopping sites for any semblance of a craft. I finally found an embroidery pack of two designs, one of which I breezed through in five hours. I am waiting for a rainy day to do the other one. 

I am back on YouTube, Pinterest and now Instagram, looking for new tutorials and inspiration to craft. When I found an embroidery design of K.K. Slider from "Animal Crossing," I made it my mission to figure out how to do it. 

I am happy I rediscovered my favorite hobby. Even though my fingers are numb from stitching and my back aches as a result of my seated position, I enjoy every second of it. 

When I finished the first mask, I said to my mom, "Aren't you glad your daughter is crafty?"

She answered, "Of course, it's who you are." 

With the hustle and bustle of my daily life, I lost touch with the things that brought me joy. I would look online at other people doing it, but never took the time to make it happen for myself. 

Now, I can and I will. 

If you have the time and ability to rediscover an old hobby, do it. 

Trust me, it's worth it. 


Reach the reporter at omunson@asu.edu and follow @munson_olivia on Twitter. 

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