Endings and beginnings…

2017 is on its way out, and though it wasn’t as traumatic as 2016, it represented its own challenges.  I thought about why this holiday season was tougher than last year, my husband had only been gone about 6 months before we gathered with family for Christmas, but last year, I was numb, in denial, my husband who traveled extensively for work was going to walk in the door at any moment, wasn’t he?  Family and friends kept me surrounded and safe, but this year was the beginning of taking charge of my life, by myself, with the help of paid contractors and technical support, and recognizing that my husband wasn’t ever going to come back and I had to figure it out alone.  The numbness is gone, replaced by a new energy and to be truly honest, a complete exhaustion.

Everything in my life has to be reevaluated.  And that includes my business.  I don’t have to be on the road constantly, and that proved out by all the crap that happened to my house while I was on the road, in spite of having it crawling with contractors, like the hot water heater exploding while I was in California.  Fortunately a contractor and my son caught the malfunction before any damage happened, but I am solely responsible for this piece of property my husband and I built together and it is tiring.  I keep feeling like at some point, it should run like a well oiled machine, but so far… NOT!

What to keep and what to toss is a huge issue.  My husband was a bit of a hoarder and I will take responsibility for the hoards of textile raw materials and equipment stored in my studio and attic, my excuse at the moment for not even wanting to go up in the attic is that it is 15 degrees outside.  

What to apply to and what to let go has been a huge decision.  Requests for proposals for 2019 conferences are rolling in and I just can’t.  The thought of starting the application process and actually attending yet another conference is too much for me to even think about right now.  I am so done.  The travel, the packing, the prep, the hours, the grueling pace, the 150 pounds of luggage, I’m done. I’ve been doing this since the mid 80’s.  I would ultimately like to just go out on the road a couple times a year, do my 5 day garment construction retreats, and then hibernate.  I have so much to keep me busy and absolutely no time to enjoy the things I love.  Even this, my down time, is filled with stuff to prep and rework before this horrifically busy teaching/workshop season starts in the spring.  I think if I can get through this year, I’ll have won the right to sit back and play.  We all know I’m being delusional, but let me have my vision of the future for just this brief moment.

Most of the house has been repainted and reorganized for my needs, and I adore it.  If there has been one outstanding gift this year, it is that my home is now my safe space.  It is calming and uncluttered (except the parts I can’t see like the attic) and for that I’m very very grateful.  Thank you to all the contractors that made this happen.  

My holidays were simple, the kids and I went to relatives.  First time ever I wasn’t home Christmas day.  It felt good.  The food was wonderful, my sister an awesome hostess and I passed through a difficult holiday largely intact.  Everyone around me is sick, so I expect I’m next, but usually one recovers and I have things to entertain me. And a six pack of Puffs tissues laced with Vicks.  The best. 

One evening at my sister’s, we all sat around the table decorating gingerbread houses.  It was a blast. May all your gingerbread houses start out with a classic weave structure.  In this case a basket weave or log cabin.  

The week before Christmas I headed up the 2 hour drive over the river and up the parkway to Newtown CT, home of the Taunton Press, and the Threads Magazine holiday party.  It was fun to play with all the editors and other contributors that I only know through emails.  I have another six page article due January 20th, this one on bound buttonholes, and all the step out samples and finished garment are due before I head off on an adventure with Peters Valley to Cuba the end of the month.  No pressure.

My annual Christmas towels came off the loom the week before Christmas.  I know relatives and friends are probably getting tired of getting dishtowels from me, but too bad.  Re-gift them.  It is what you are getting.  The draft came from Handwoven Magazine Sept/Oct 2017.

And I actually managed to put a warp on my empty loom, once I pulled the towel warp off, and this one was a challenge.  But I’m happy with it, and it will be fun to weave off, colors changing with every advance of the cloth.  The warp is 10 yards long, mixed fibers, all cellulose, and the weft is a rayon linen combination.  I have no idea what it will be because I never think that far ahead. I started out with two handpainted warps, (painted by me of course) two handpainted skeins (also painted by me) that were wound circularly on a warping board into 10 yard warps with the colors lining up, a hand dyed cotton tape, and a solid commercial rayon bouclé.  

Enjoy the photos.  Especially the one where the dog decided she would be helpful.


Have a great new year dear readers, filled with lots of fibery things, and for those of you who don’t weave or knit or spin or sew or work with any kind of fiber, maybe this is the year!

Stay tuned…

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Nancy Weber
Nancy Weber
December 28, 2017 12:01 pm

Wow! Awesome! And, I would recognize it as your work across a room. Beautiful. It will be fun to see what it will be when it grows up and decides what it will be. The gingerbread house with pickles gave me quite a chuckle this morning, thanks. Sending you a Happy New Year greeting and it way OK to change direction with your life. You’ve been on the road for so long, take a year off to reflect. Hugs,

Maurine Adrezin
December 28, 2017 12:16 pm

Wonderful blog. It was great having you teach our Guild this year after not seeing you for a number of years. May this year be a healthy, happy and creative 2018.

Ruth Ellen
Ruth Ellen
December 28, 2017 12:26 pm

Great Post! We should all re-evaluate on a regular basis…. although I’m a fine one to talk~ This new fabric is GORGEOUS – I can’t wait to see how it turns out and what it turns out to be. Above all, I wish you the best for 2018 (health, joy, love and creativity), no matter how that manifests. And, I hope to see you in 2018…

Carmella Crandell
Carmella Crandell
December 28, 2017 12:42 pm

Such beautiful work! So glad to read this post as you have been in my thoughts this year. Your strength and grace under extreme pressure has held me up this year because I know it is possible through your example. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May and had a lumpectomy in June. Before I could even start my radiation treatments my husband was diagnosed with a Non-Hodkins Lymphoma, diffuse large B cell, and began the journey through chemo, fevers, abdominal abscess, drainage tube and now in January, a surgery to fix a hole in his intestine with a… Read more »

December 28, 2017 12:46 pm

The house looks great….so much lighter in feeling than before.Still working on that process here. It sort of feels like shedding an old outgrown skin.

Love the cloth. The warp reminds me of the Northern Lights.

Judith Larsen
Judith Larsen
December 28, 2017 2:06 pm

Thanks for the wonderful update which is close to home for me. Andy (husband) passed in September and I’ve made it this far without too much trama. But realization is getting to me as well as the amount of sorting I need to do. (You met Andy on one of your travels when he cooked a huge breakfast for all of us after a Midwest. One of many people who enjoyed your company.)
Hope 2018 is terrific for you and you achieve the balance in your life that you desire. Love your new warp and dog.

Ann Marie Miller
Ann Marie Miller
December 28, 2017 4:46 pm

Daryl, remind yourself repeatedly of your vision to slow down. It’s worthy of regular reminders. I’m jealous of Cuba with PV. Can’t even afford to take a class this summer. Just too pricey. The warp is gorgeous and you remind me that I can’t use my bad back as an excuse for not tackling a big job. Best to you in the new year. You continue to be an inspiration.

December 28, 2017 5:02 pm

I am glad to hear you are re-evaluating. We all love and appreciate what you have done for us individually and as a fiber community. REALLY. But you have been feathering a nest that you really like, and making it exactly the place you want to be, all set up to do what you want to do. I say – go for it! Live up to your current commitments – and then enjoy YOUR life. You deserve it, as we all do. So for this new year, I wish you joy.

December 28, 2017 5:22 pm

Your warps always look so awesome on the loom. How you keep everything so straight while warping. I love reading about all your projects and how you do things. I find it very informative.

I was wondering how you wash your towels after to take them off the loom. I have to wash mine a gazillion times before they actually suck up water. I feel bad when I give towels away because they are useless at first.

Judy Sheppard
Judy Sheppard
December 28, 2017 7:12 pm

Hi Daryl, I am glad you had a lovely Christmas and I hope you have a Happy, Safe, Healthy and Peaceful New Year. Do remember you are allowed to be kind to yourself, take whatever time you need to decide what you want to do when you grow up ggg Your warp is lovely and the resultant material is looking very interesting. I do have a question and it is something I probably should know, but the gray matter doesn’t work all that well these days!! In the photos of your new warp, the 6th photo from the top of… Read more »

Mary Ehrlich
December 28, 2017 10:06 pm

Happy New Year dear friend.

elizabeth streeter
elizabeth streeter
December 29, 2017 12:18 am

Enjoy 2018 your way weather it is travelling or staying at home working on your own work and recharging or just doing nothing till you feel you want to when the fingers get itchy to be among the fibre .enjoy whatever life now brings you

Maureen Cooksley
December 29, 2017 5:08 am

When you so casually throw out the comment “I warped the loom” as though it is nothing, I had the mental image of you having some magic technique and hey presto, no problem! As a continual baby in weaving I always find warping a (n enjoyable) trauma. It has been great to see an expert at work and find it’s the same for everyone. Have a peaceful and enjoyable new year, whatever you decide to do.

December 29, 2017 10:29 am

Having lost my husband after a long illness, I too am feeling more than I expected. You deserve to follow what makes you happiest. I wish you creativity and calmness. Thank you for all of your inspiring posts. I have set a goal to learn to weave within the next year. Hope you reach your goals.

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