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Jan 4, 2021

Good-bye, 2020!

Friends, another year has ended and it's time formally to bid it farewell.

I'm confident that few of us were sorry to see 2020 go. While every year is different from every other, 2020 takes the cake.  Will 2021 bring relief from the tumult of a global pandemic, social and political turmoil, and economic despair?  We shall see.

I am fortunate that nobody in my family got sick, though my brother is an ER doctor and hence on the front lines and my SIL also works in healthcare and has a lot of patient contact.  (They have both recently received the vaccine which is a good thing, I hope).  My mom normally spends a week every month with them and the grandchildren (who are now 4); they live just on the other side of town.  From March through August she remained with us.  Finally we decided that it was worth the risk for her to go visit them and see the kids (plus, frankly, we needed a break).  So far, everything has been fine and we're all grateful for that.  Michael has been able to work from home, which is also fortunate: we have been minimally impacted by the pandemic, relatively speaking.  Also, we're both introverted homebodies: we don't seek a lot of outside, in-person social contact.

To be honest, this past year is a bit of blur.  I'm glad I have my blog posts to remind me what I was up to.  As far as quarantining, we continue to avoid having people over whenever we can and we try to avoid indoor spaces most of the time. We get groceries delivered but we go into supermarkets and drug stores when we need to.  I swing by the Chelsea Flea Market almost every weekend; it feels safe since it's outdoors and everyone wears a mask.  We don't go to restaurants, neither indoor nor outdoor, but we get take-out from a few favorite places roughly once a week.  I've gone fabric shopping in the Garment District a few times but mostly I've purchased fabric (and a few choice vintage patterns) on eBay and sewn from my stash.  I am fortunate to have a large stock of fabric, patterns, notions -- and sewing machines! -- on hand.

I sewed a lot of masks in 2020.

My city-run gym closed in March and hasn't yet reopened to the public so I haven't been able to swim.  As exercise is important to me, I've substituted running (which I've been doing on and off for forty years), indoor exercise, biking, and good old-fashioned walking.  I wear a bandana over my mouth when I'm exercising outside--I don't worry a lot about outdoor transmission though I do try to keep my distance from others.  I've seen a couple of friends outside, always masked.  Otherwise it's Zoom or Facetime for socializing.  Compared to many people, we've had it easy.  It's nice to have loved ones around. 

The biggest loss in 2020 was our chihuahua Willy.  In November of 2019 he was diagnosed with lymphoma and, frankly, we weren't sure he'd survive through January of 2020.  We decided we weren't going to put him through any extreme (to us) medical interventions: he was already an older dog (12+) and had heart problems for which we gave him medications (both he and Freddy have enlarged hearts, an issue common among older small-breed dogs).  


Miraculously, Willy was pretty much normal through September 2020.  We monitored his various tumors, which grew very slowly.  He likely had what is known as indolent lymphoma, which progresses slowly.  Finally, late one night at the end of September he was having trouble breathing and was clearly in distress.  We took him to the emergency vet and decided, after a consult, that his prospects were poor.  Of course it was hard to say goodbye but Willy had a lovely life and brought a great deal of joy to many, many people.  He never missed a meal or a dog walk, right up to his final day: it all happened fast, with a minimum of suffering.  He was a sweet little dog and a very good sport!

Dozing in the morning sun.  Freddy, who's now 15, is hanging in there.

On other fronts, all things considered, I sewed a lot in 2020.  I made dozens of masks for family and a few friends and neighbors.  Some of my sewing projects were exclusive to Threads Magazine, so I haven't shared them here, but I was excited to win a men's suit repurposing challenge which you should be able to read about here.

I'll probably skip an annual Best and Worst sewing project list: I liked everything.  I'm happy to have made Michael his faux fur coat at long last, since I'd purchased the fur and lining 3+ years ago and it just sat.  He has been wearing the coat a lot now that the weather has gotten colder.

In closing, compared to so many people whose lives have been disrupted, we've been fortunate.

So here's hoping for better things ahead.  I feel blessed to have sewing to keep me engaged, creatively challenged, and connected to others.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Happy memories on Fire Island


  1. Happy New Year, Peter! I enjoy following your IG posts, and especially joining you on your trips to the Chelsea Market.

  2. Happy new year! thank you for your posts during all of 2020. they helped provide so much inspiration and entertainment during the year. Sorry to read about the loss of Willy -- my condolences :(

    Looking forward to where 2021 leads you!

  3. Happy New Year Peter. I am so glad to hear that your mum is well; this pandemic is making it hard for many of us to look after our parents.

  4. Awww, so sorry to hear about Willy. It's so hard to lose them. I am glad you and your family are well.

  5. Happy New Year! I'm glad your family is well and sorry for the loss of Willy. I hope 2021 will be full of new opportunities!
    I've missed your posts.

    -Will C.

  6. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you! Your blog remains one of my favorites and I'm always intrigued by your sewing adventures. THANK YOU. Thank you, as you shine pretty bright in my sewing world!!! .... And my condolences about Willy. He was blessed to have had you and Michael to love him.

  7. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours
    Love the Singer fabric shirt
    Sorry for the passing of Willie. Sounds like he had a wonderful life spent with great humans

    I have been following your blog and noted that you had a YouTube video out on a Bernina 930.

    I have a question about your Bernina 930. Is #5 a blanket stitch or A stretch stitch? I have been doing some research and can’t get confirmation, and the dealers are just wanting to sell you another machine, so I would appreciate it if you see this if you could answer that to the best of your ability. Thank you for your time

    1. On the red (stretch) stitches, it's a stretch stitch. On the green (iow, when the green light is lit) it's some kind of zigzag: doesn't look like a blanket stitch but since I never use it it's possible the cam isn't working right on mine. Hope that helps! You should download the manual at the Bernina site, I believe it's free, and it will explain everything.

    2. Thanks
      Appears feedback on this stitch is not a blanket stitch.
      Have manual too.
      Enjoy your blog.

  8. Tell me you kissed the spot atop his head.

  9. The suit is really spectacular and looks great on your model. I'm sorry to hear about Willy and hope Freddy doesn't get too lonely and sad. I certainly admire your skill at tailoring and sewing. Happy New Year and we'll all hope for a better in 2021.

  10. Here's to Willy - who, as you've explained, had a lovely life and a swift transition. Wishing you peace and health - and, natch, all the creativity, in 2021.

  11. Hello and Happy 2021! I wanted to introduce myself. I am an avid sewer as well, with a background in fashion design (I now work in PR). I arrived for the bed jackets and stayed for the... everything! I am so happy to have happened upon your creativity, relentless spirit, and style in such trying times. You are wonderful!

  12. Happy New Year and I love all your creations especially the! Be safe with your fur babies and enjoy 2021~

  13. Happy, healthy 2021 to you, Michael, Sonia and Freddy.
    So sorry to hear about dear old Willy. He was a lucky boy to have landed with you and Michael.
    Congrats on the suit re-purposing win. Love the lining!!

  14. So sorry to hear about Willy. I lost an older grand-chihuahua last summer, and it still hurts. It's obvious that Willy was blessed to have a loving home. I always enjoy reading about your latest sewing exploits, and look forward to seeing your 2021 creations.

  15. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved pet, it's so hard to say goodbye :( I lost one of my cats this year, Buddy, and it sometimes feels as though it will never stop hurting. But we try to do our best by them at the end of their lives and minimize their suffering. My condolences to you both.

  16. So sorry to hear of your precious Willy crossing The Rainbow Bridge. My little Riley, who showed up as as a 1 year old stray in 2019 and became my constant "helper" and companion, passed unexpectedly of a heart defect in September. Riley especially like to help me make masks and tested the elastic ear straps. My precious Casey, an affectionate and loyal orange tabby, was diagnosed with feline kidney disease in August 2019, fought bravely to have a normal life. She stopped eating in July 2020 and the vet said the end was near. With the help of appetite, special food and a strong will, she lost her battle at the end of September--a month to the day her sister Riley passed. Both were active and and happy up until their final day. No doubt Willy is the most fashionable canine at the other side of The Rainbow Bridge; he learned fashion and style from the BEST.

  17. You have my deepest sympathies on the loss of Willy, I know what it like to lose a beloved pet and it is never easy. 2020 was a rough year for many people who have lost loved ones. No exception here. My mom just passed after a 2 month battle with Covid 19, the loss is devastating especially when your mom is your best friend. Here is to better things in this new year of 2021.

  18. I'm so sorry about Willy. I always liked that video of the your dogs running on the treadmill!

  19. Sorry for your loss of little Willy. We lost our chihuahua, Beau in much the same fashion in 2020. So glad that you and your family have been able to avoid COVID. We have as well. We are fortunate to be able to be fairly isolated, though my son is away at college. Here is hoping for a better 2021.

  20. I hope 2021 brings you all the best. My condolences to you and Michael on the loss of Willy. No way around it, it just hurts. Take care.


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