I am making things – getting out and learning to operate Brother knitting machines.
Recently I was at home for a week thinking about Covid lock downs – “Les confinements” as they were called here in France. What reminded me ? Well having avoided it until summer 2022, I finally caught Covid.
But back in March 2020, here in France, the usual Amazon processing warehouses were almost shut down and the delivery times for online orders stretched to months. And I was busy making visors at home at the beginning because supplies were not arriving in time. PPE purchases from China weren’t enough.
Yes during lock down there were shortages of personal protective gear, PPE. In the UK, thousands of Design Technology (DT) teachers went into their schools and made visors using; 3D printers, laser cutters and even craft tools to cut polypropylene by hand. In other words PPE was needed even for surgeries in such great cities as Manchester “ Call for Teachers and Engineers to help Greater Manchester NHS – 3D print face shields.
Many independent 3D printer workshops also took up the challenge in France. And if you didn’t have access to one, then why not make them by hand? With a couple of mates I did that in Villefranche du Périgord. That said, JeanMarie was a wooden puppet maker who could draw a straight steady line with a knife without any rulers.
So of course, manufacturers were needed locally. I believe in small industries.
I’m happy to see there is a bit of an upsurge in local cottage industries, a trend for artisan clothing, mills re-opening taking in small amounts of wool to spin from local eco farms, but using modern technology. Places I hear about in the South West UK, Fernhill Farm, Rampisham Hill Mill. In this area of France, Ferme de Pouzatel pour angora mohair (regarde ici), La Filature de Bardine for getting your wool spun
So for my part, just recently, in July 2022, I have remembered that I have four Brother machines and I think two can work. Additionally, I have a ribber, missing a bracket and that is on order. One of the machines the electronic Brother 950 I saved from the dump by simply by changing one electronic capacitor component on it.
So I have a sample and lots of paperwork and I am ready (almost) to start making a prototype. I am just waiting for that piece for the ribber, custom fines withstanding I might afford it and start making what I am not buying. And be glad for that international online ordering system.