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!