On the road again…

Very reluctantly…

Back in March, after a 10 day teaching stint in Oregon at a couple of different venues, I had a really heavy teaching calendar ahead of me, clear into 2022 and beyond. I was so very tired and not in the daily way, like I can’t wait to crawl into bed tired, but in the bigger picture, wrestling with myself about when does this end? How far in advance should I keep booking, is this what I see myself doing when I’m 70?

Yeah, life is funny sometimes. I arrived home from that trip, barely, I believe I blogged that I was almost the only one on that red-eye flight returning home, and the world of course immediately shut down. NJ was one of the hardest hit early on, and it continues to be vulnerable, we are a dense state and people continue to be stupid about wearing masks and social distancing. We have crossed 20,000 dead.

So lots of things changed over the course of the last 10 months or so, about how I see myself moving forward. I’ve talked to a number of creative people in all types of mediums, and if nothing else, creative people are resourceful. In fact this past year has been one of the most creative of my career.

With my daughter’s help, I’ve completely changed the way I offer information, and if the quarantine taught me nothing else, it taught me what I don’t want to do moving forward. I’m done traveling for business. And even if I wanted to travel and continue my garment construction retreats, I’d have to completely redo the way I teach, since so much of the content I offered is now available digitally, and I don’t tend to teach in areas with really strong access to the internet.

My life is full dreaming up content and work to support the YouTube channel, The Weaver Sews, with more than 800 subscribers (please subscribe!) and I think something like 17 video installments at this point. We have a lot of content shot, which still needs to be edited, with closed captioning so it is accurate, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this whole process. I feel like I can say all I need to say on the subject and never have to say it again. It gives me great pleasure when someone emails me who is just beginning and wants to know how to deal with cutting into Handwoven fabrics, I can just send them on to the YouTube channel and know they will get all the information I can give with visuals, which I really can’t do in an email response.

That said, I’ll continue to give remote lectures, as long as guilds take advantage of this format. I’ve gotten into a good rhythm with those, clicking into the link, giving my talk and then getting on with my day. I may try to develop some more content, but that’s hard while I try to keep coming up with content for the YouTube channel. At the moment, I’m building two jackets simultaneously, to illustrate techniques, we just shot a sequence on piping. The one on the left is a commercial Harris Tweed with leather trim, and the one on the right is handwoven of course. There is so much content to share, so I’ll be at this for awhile.

So why did I title my post today, “On the road again…” Last month I lost my beloved step father. I probably mentioned that in the last post. My mom lives in Maryland in an upscale senior living facility, and with the death of my step-dad, it is of course necessary to move her to a smaller unit. She is 89 years old, and this is not something she can do on her own. My sister has taken on most of the task of assisting my mom with things she cannot do on her own, my step dad was computer savvy, my mom is not and will never be.

So I’m packing to go on the road again. I pulled the suitcases out of the closet where they were kind of buried because I haven’t used them since last March. I’m heading to Maryland in the morning, reluctantly, because I’ve really come to love my little bubble here, we eat well, I love my animals, I take morning walks now around town, fully masked, through the Greenway Canal path, and I’m looking forward to the little shoots that are just starting to pop up from the soil.

I’m making lists, but this time they aren’t on the computer like when I travel for business. Obviously my kindle (make sure it is charged), knitting, (make sure all the skeins are wound into balls), my laptop (there is a Zoom meeting with her attorney while I’m there, and she has no internet capability, so I have to provide that). I’ve pulled out all the boxes, packing materials, packing tape, and bubble wrap I have, and all of that’s now in the car. I have my suitcase on the floor with my yoga mat in it, want to continue my afternoon classes, and I’m packing comfy clothing that will allow me to pack her belongings, especially the kitchen, get her in the new unit by Friday and unpack everything. I’ve stayed quarantined, had my covid test, and am ready, but very reluctant. This has convinced me that traveling for business moving forward is out of the question.

And so I’m leaving my lovely competent daughter here, to fill orders, take care of all the animals, edit the next video for launch next Friday (I think it is on sewing seams…) and generally hold the fort. I’ve given her lists of what I want accomplished. The shelves of products like interfacings and tracing medium are getting low, and more has to be cut, labeled and bagged.

And then there is this super project, I know she can’t wait to dig her teeth into… A few weeks ago, my dearest fiber friend Candiss Cole, who lives out in the southwest, shipped me unannounced, a gigantic box of vintage patterns. Her whole collection from various relatives was not being used in a way she thought they should be, and she figured I’d love them. She was right. Though truth be told, I immediately thought, holy crap, where am I going to put all of these patterns!

Of course Brianna, organizer supreme, immediately ordered pattern boxes from the only remaining place we could find that carried them, Anniescatalog.com. She took all the boxes of patterns I already owned, and spent a long weekend sorting and combining by style, brand, number, and trying to date some of the earlier patterns. There were patterns by a company called Advance, which I understand stopped printing by the 70’s. I think I read they were exclusive for JC Penny. That’s where I went to buy the fabric for my first project.

There were patterns from the 40’s and 50’s as best we could determine. There were some real jaw droppers, and some real eye rollers. She was like a kid in a candy store. I looked at some of the patterns from the 60’s and 70’s and said, wow, I remember making that. I felt very old.

And so now they are all in boxes on the bed in the guest room, because we don’t have any guests coming, and each box will be carefully scanned into the data base I have, with keywords assigned to each pattern, which is a huge task, which I know once she gets into a rhythm, she will blow through. Half the data base already exists, she just has to add all the new entries, and re-catalog where they will live.

I’ll be back when my mom is settled. I’m looking forward to quality time with her. It has been a long time. I’m not looking forward to packing my clothes and essentials, and the long trip down. I’m really becoming a homebody. I’ll still have email access hopefully, there is supposed to be WIFI in the apartments. And Brianna will be here to carry on.

Meanwhile, stay safe everyone, continue to wear a mask, I don’t expect to get a vaccine until the summer, there just isn’t the supply. Subscribe to my YouTube channel, and enjoy the content. Stay tuned…