Covid Casualty…

Happy New Year everyone! I’m really hoping things get better in the world, but I’m a realist. Change may happen, but it is going to be slow…

Meanwhile… I got on the scale a week or so ago, and I sort of freaked out. I won’t mention the number, because many of you will say, wow, I’d love to be that weight, but the number isn’t what’s important. I’ve put on a decent amount of weight since I stopped going anywhere some nine months ago. I have done a lot of wonderful things in the studio since the quarantine began, no complaints there, and I’ve done remarkably well staying home, having my daughter here, and accomplishing a lot that I’m proud of. But I haven’t left the house. Except for a couple weeks ago, when my daughter and I got in the car, drove 3 hours to Maryland to a funeral home, didn’t get out of the car, but pulled in behind the hearse, and followed it to the cemetery. We stood well away from everyone by the gravesite. Watched as they buried my beloved step dad, waved to my mom from afar and drove back to NJ. That’s the extent of my outdoor activity in almost 10 months.

I’m eating well, sleeping well, creating well, and my body is starting to rebel. Because I’m not taking care of it. I’m not active and not moving. I don’t get out of my pajamas all day, I’m wearing really comfy clothing, and I saw this headline in the paper this morning.

Yeah, this is a thing, and I’ve got it.

So again, the number on the scale isn’t what’s important. And the fact that I can’t fit in half the gorgeous clothing in my closet that I’ve made over the last number of years, isn’t what’s so important. Though it is really pissing me off. I love my clothes, especially the handwoven ones.

The most important thing is the way I feel, and I feel like I’m bloated and out of shape and very very old. Which is ridiculous. I am home all the time. There is no reason I can’t take an hour or two a day and do some kind of thing to get me moving. I have never been one to exercise formally. Any routine I develop gets altered quickly because I’m always on the road. But I’m not now, and don’t plan to be for a long time.

My beloved friends encouraged me to just get out and walk. So I did. I mentioned that in my last post. And I’ve kept walking Every morning I’m forced to get out of my pajamas and put on real clothing, and I go outside. I look at the light, the trees, the birds, (geese are already flying north, huh…). I look at the new restaurant in town opening Monday, Dim Sum meets Cajun. The menu is entertaining if nothing else. Take out only. This morning I ran into a very very old friend and we had a lovely chat from opposite sides of the street. I got to breathe fresh air, and get the joints working. I’ve started walking over the viaduct, which gets my heart pumping.

When I woke up this morning, there was a new video from someone I subscribe to on YouTube, Yoga with Adriene. Apparently she is starting a 30 day series, today was day 1, after her short intro yesterday. I stopped doing yoga when the yoga studio in town closed in March and never reopened. One of the first Covid Casualties. I realized I am seriously out of shape.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fit into my clothes again, but I can make new ones, and alter some of the ones that are alterable. And some of them will get cut up into other things. I finally finished this sweater, which I started probably early last year. I’ve always loved this pattern, and finally found the perfect yarn for it. The pattern is by C2Knits, Greta, and the yarn is 70% Merino and 30% Mulberry Silk, Cascade Yarns Venezia Sport, color 197 (which I’m sure was discontinued because I bought these skeins on clearance).

But I’m starting to feel remotely like a human being again, not feeling so old and creaky. And winter air is crisp and cold and delicious. I’m still not going out anywhere, but I’m moving my body, and venturing out past my street, staying well away from anyone I meet on the path, but it is beginning to make a difference.

Meanwhile, my daughter and I took the holidays off from filming/editing my YouTube videos. We have three in the can, waiting for edits and closed captioning, and will resume posting next Friday. There is a two parter on darts coming up next. So I took the hiatus to get my dye pots going, I have a lot of yarn that needs dyeing and creating color in winter is so rewarding.

I have a nice little system going, when I get back from my morning walk. First I take the dried yarns that were hanging overnight and skein them.

Then I put the dyed yarns that were sitting in the dyebath over night in the sink for the first rinse. They will get rinsed three times in total, the last rinse will have Synthrapol to restore the PH balance.

I start the next dyebath. The yarns will sit overnight in a large Visions Corning glass pot on a heating pad. The yarns are all cellulose, with an occasional silk thrown in, and I’m using Fiber Reactive Dyes, mostly from Pro Chemical.

Meanwhile I put the yarns I skeined up the day before in to soak in dye activator, they will sit in that bucket overnight.

And I wind new skeins for the following day. The whole process takes less than two hours, depending on how many interruptions there are. Like the morning I discovered the pond had emptied when lovingly gazing out at the waterfall while winding skeins. What a two day ordeal, finally had to get the pond guy to come and do a temporary rebuild of my waterfall, just to get me through until spring.

And finally I take the rinsed skeins and hang them to dry, so they can drip into the sink. They will be dry by morning.

And finally, I’ve started on a task, which I mentioned in my last post I think, which is 12 years overdue. I have been writing this blog now for over 12 years, more than 800 posts, and though I’ve instituted some plug-in back ups, I’ve been reading too much about hacked sites, major sites, to trust that my content will always be available. I think when I read that the McCall’s pattern printing service in Kansas, the only one of its kind in the US, was hacked a few months ago and can no longer access its data base to print patterns, I was sort of appalled. Independents who use their printing facilities are out of luck.

So post by post, working backwards, I’ve copied and pasted into word docs which get backed up each night into the cloud. I couldn’t restore a site from that but the content is mine and safe. I’ve been working feverishly on this, and have managed to work backwards to the middle of 2010.

What I didn’t expect is how haunting those posts would be. A lot happened in the world and in my life over the last 12 years. My kids grew up, my daughter did four years in college in Massachusetts. My son did boot camp and two deployments to the middle east. Hurricane Irene hit and devastated my town, and a year later Hurricane Sandy hit and devastated NJ. My husband was diagnosed with inoperable esophageal cancer and died nine months later.

All of it is documented there. Along with the design and execution of probably more than a hundred handwoven garments, scarves, garments from commercial fabrics, Knitted sweaters and socks, accessories, art works, watercolor painting, felted works, my entire creative life paralleling my personal life is all there. Some of the posts are hilarious, and some have made me cry into my wine. I haven’t read them all, I’m too busy copying and pasting them, but there are a few that caught my eye and I’m a bit overwhelmed.

There are a few take aways…

I will probably never again wear many of those garments I created and photographed on myself. There are a lot of them.

My life was entirely too crazy and bizarre. I seemed chronically tired and stressed and just moving on autopilot from one gig to the next. For 12 years. And that’s after I swore I’d never be in that place again after I went through my own bout with cancer 20 years ago.

And I can’t spell for shit. I’m noticing that the new version of Word Press has spell check. I don’t remember that. Because when I cut and paste each post into a Word Docx, Spellcheck just pops right up with all the errors I’ve made. Oops…

And I made some incredible amazing work, and am very very proud of all that I accomplished.

My daughter is planning to learn Adobe InDesign and reformat all of my written monographs into proper book form, still PDF’s but updating them into something that does justice to my brand, as she says. She is so funny. I’d like her to start with creating PDF’s of my blog posts, maybe a year at a time, so I can read them sequentially, laid out in a consistent format, and really curl up and read about my adventures. It will be the perfect thing to practice on.

When I started this blog, it was more of an exercise to see if I could, I already journaled almost nightly, but the blog gave me a way to add images and links and remember things I couldn’t in a regular journal. It has done that and more.

And so as I start this new year, I’ve spent the better part of last week looking back, really far back, and I’m pretty OK with what I see, and determined to treat myself more kindly in the future, to take care of me first, and if I never get on a plane again, except to travel somewhere exotic on a vacation, that will be OK too. I have my studio, my YouTube channel The Weaver Sews, I can still teach and reach students, and one day maybe have private students come to me. But getting out and walking every day, doing some yoga every day, and putting me first is kind of looking like a nice start to this new year.

Stay tuned everyone, I love you, stay safe, and look ahead to the future.

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January 3, 2021 12:27 am

What a fabulous read today. Here’s to another good/OK/not-bad year ahead.

Lynne Macco
January 3, 2021 6:08 am

Great way to enter 2021. What do you use to hang the dyed skeins over the sink? A better New Year to you and yours. ~Lynne

Peggy Bowman
Peggy Bowman
January 3, 2021 8:09 am

A happier, kinder, safer and a productive (I’d say more productive, but that’s hard to imagine from you and Bri!!) new year to you and your family. Love you!!

Patsie Fear
Patsie Fear
January 3, 2021 9:00 am

I too have not ventured out that often but am working as usual in the home and with the animals but that only takes an hour and a half at most. During the summer it was easy to exercise by working on the garden but now it is winter not so. I have several things that I should finish and make into something but they are kind of one offs instead of something to make something else. My relationship with food has never been good, I would take a pill 3 times a day if it provided me with the… Read more »

Martha C Cronkhite
Martha C Cronkhite
January 3, 2021 9:01 am

You are such an inspiration!

Melissa Weaver Dunning
January 3, 2021 9:21 am

Oh, I hear you about needing exercise! I started the quarantine with a new daily yoga practise, but it aggravated a torn meniscus and when my husband had his knee replacement in May my focus was on his recovery. And somehow regular exercise didn’t return… until now! 5 walks in 6 days is a good start, and maybe I’ll try chair yoga…

January 3, 2021 10:53 am

Oh those COVID pounds are killing me too. But if you have not contracted it yet, it is another blessing! One month pretty much completely wiped up and I’ve started weaving again so it’s a good thing! Happy New Year!

Judi Leatherberry
Judi Leatherberry
January 3, 2021 12:05 pm

Wonderful read today! I think I’ll try my hand at dyeing some yarn…thank you for the inspiration! AND, my resolution for this year is to do more weaving–also thanks to your inspiring blog posts.

Here’s to 2021 being MUCH better than 2020!!

Karen A
Karen A
January 3, 2021 12:14 pm

Thanks for all your posts and videos! It has been so educational watching your videos, thank you hardly suffices. Must be something going through old blogs, like reading old diaries! May 2021 be filled with joy and beauty – and seeing one another in person!

Marya Bolyanatz
Marya Bolyanatz
January 3, 2021 12:26 pm

I’m so glad you found Yoga with Adrienne. I did her 30 day challenge last year and then continued doing yoga with her until the fall. I’ve started again and today will be day 2.

Rose Sires
Rose Sires
January 3, 2021 1:54 pm

I have a question, what type of dye activator do you use on your fiber? You have quite a system going there for your dying! I never thought of using a heating pad. Does the dye actually exhaust with only that? I’ve always use a crockpot or steamed in a turkey roaster or sunshine. Your system seems so much easier!!
Rose on Whidbey

Nancy Weber
Nancy Weber
January 3, 2021 2:36 pm

What a great way to start the new year. And, to go back and re-live 12 years, exciting years, exhausting, but fruitful years — way awesome! Your combined works of art over the years is phenomenal and you should be totally proud of your accomplishments! Happy New Year! Hugs, Nancy

Elizabeth Bryan
January 3, 2021 3:44 pm

I love Yoga with Adrienne! She has already gotten me through a few covid months although I then stopped – oops. I need to get back to that too. We are forcing ourselves out for walks as well – forcing bc the dog died and it is so easy to skip when there is no one staring at you to go out. Love reading about your routine. You are always so incredibly organized and I aspire to that. I feel like a few hours a days is a great place to start so I will try it xo Thanks for… Read more »

Pat Sole
Pat Sole
January 3, 2021 6:01 pm

Happy New Year!

Meg Wilson
January 3, 2021 8:19 pm

Oh, Daryl, I get it!! For all the productivity that technology offers us, there is a downside. Spectrum made us Roadrunner users third-class customers, abandoning support for our email to a clunky system on their website. So, I am converting years of use of our new home domaine, I have 9700 emails stuck in a system that is slow as molasses, and hundreds of websites to update so that I don’t ever have to use Spectrum again. Fortunately I trust Apple enough not to mess up weavergamp! I am warping really luscious, sparkly yarns to make a shawl.… Read more »

Julie Kornblum
January 4, 2021 10:31 am

Bravo! Your blog is always a pleasure to read. If I may share a tidbit…
My husband and I got together online with our next door neighbors and a few friends on New Year’s Eve. Our neighbor, Helene, shared that she had had a telemedicine appointment with her doctor. The doctor had asked how everything was with her, (as they do). Helene said everything was fine except that she’s gained 20 pounds, and the doctor said, “Honey, we all have…”

Alice Sharick
Alice Sharick
January 4, 2021 11:45 am

Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2021 is better than 2020 was. Your blog today is inspiring. I wish I was that organized! I was walking almost daily back in the spring, but gave it up when it got hot and never started up again. I do still take horseback riding lessons twice a week, weather permitting. But that’s not enough. Especially with all the Christmas goodies, ugh! Good luck with your backup project. And take care of yourself!

Sharon Allworth
Sharon Allworth
January 4, 2021 5:10 pm

Happy New Year! Thanks for this blogpost – good stuff, not-so-good stuff. So sorry to hear about your beloved step-dad. I lost my daughter a while back. These deaths give us pause.

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