Thursday, June 9, 2016

With Many a Winding Turn...

I love the song "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" by the Hollies. It says so much about living a generous and spiritual life, one filled with gratitude and a sense of community, of sharing. It's the life I aspire to live.

Aspire to live... The road is long, right? I really wish I embodied the uplifting aspect of this song because I'm feeling a little peckish about "my brother" right now. I have a lot of them. Family members with serious health issues relating to their advanced age (including combinations of colon cancer, strokes, dementia onset, hearing loss, vision loss, heart disease). None of them are able to drive anymore but want to continue living "independently", and that involves a lot of support. There's also a younger family member battling a serious disease. While I split duties with another relative for two of these elders, I'm primary for the rest.

The time required to help all these people adds up, but worse than that is the emotional toll. None of us wants to lose our independence or be ill. People deal with it differently. Some are angry, some are gracious, some are demanding. There is denial, depression, anxiety, and a whole host of other emotions. Two are in somewhat unsafe living conditions and they won't budge. One is hospitalized with no good return to home plan yet. One is so lonely, as his living friends all deal with their own health and family issues. I spend a full day with him once a week and am basically his only reliable visitor.

I am emotionally exhausted.

A dear friend reminds me that you have to put the oxygen on yourself first. My weaving and recovery groups are that lifeline.

In addition to the wonderful women in the Guild, I take classes and am in three study groups: Lace Weaves, Rep Weaves and Style Fusion.

I've taken two classes this year.

The first was Kelly Marshall's rep weave. I made this BEAUTIFUL table runner:

It matches my china and I really LOVE it and the weave structure. I just bought a TON more of yarn to make a runner for my daughter and placemats for a pal's wedding gift.

Here's what that same runner would look like if I used Kelly's color palate. This is really a versatile weave structure with only 4 shafts. The colors make all the difference.

I also too a 5 day Garment Construction Intensive class from Daryl Lancaster (click on the link if you want to read more about the class we had with her). She is a wonderful teacher and an excellent human being :) I made this jacket:

Sleeves not hemmed, no buttons and goofy smile... the fit is terrific when I'm actually standing up straight and all of the drag lines on the sleeves were gone once I finished everything off. I was the first person to test her shawl collar in a class. Her instructions were excellent. It's a great addition to her offerings.

The inside is AWESOME. I did a Hong Kong finish on all the seams in a washed out paisley poly print (I used the wrong side... the RS was kinda tacky). Not only did I make the jacket, but she helped me solve some fitting issues I've had for a long time. I am, apparently, long-waisted. I would know this if I could see my waist LOL!

For our lace study group, I made samples of a turned figure Swedish lace and placemats. No pictures today, but here's the draft of the samples:

I am having a TON of FUN with the style fusion group. I had been spending a lot of time working on a muslin for a blouse. I was informed I should probably unless I was bent on looking pregnant. Only your friends tell you that kind of truth.

As for the recovery group! Wow! We started the new group in January and while it's only around 14 of us, it is so very uplifting. I am always reminded of "each one teach one" at these meetings. We lift each other and as we move through the program as individuals, we pass on what we've learned to new people who join.

So life hasn't been all frustration and woe. There's been a good deal of light and fun mixed in and that's what I have to focus on.

It is as good as we make it, right?


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016: Quest for Joy

Retired or not, life is full of obligations. It's important not to let them define your life. There have to be those "other" things that fuel your engine. Otherwise, your life becomes about the duty and the joy gets pushed away from the center.

The biggest obligations in my life are supporting the day to day living requirements of my in-laws, spending time with my elderly uncle (which is actually fun most of the time) and continuing to clean out his storage units (not fun, but OH WELL).

I don't make Resolutions. I find that to be a self defeating term in my realm. I find when I don't have the kinds of goal below in-place and IN ACTION, the obligations overwhelm me and joy takes a back seat. So these are goals, some with plans. (Yeah, a project manager never really retires :)

  • Weaving
    • First up is a class Kelly Marshal and Rep Weaving. This is a new structure for me. There will be a post covering the class and project mid February. 
    • Weave lace samples for Samplers - Due March
    • Weave curtain for main bathroom window - Due June
    • Weave placemats for my daughter and niece - No due date
    • Weave yardage for April class - Due April
    • Develop plan for double weave grant application - Due April
  • Sewing
    • 5 day construction intensive class with Daryl Lancaster in April will kick this off. Since I'm an experienced sewist, I am "petitioning" Daryl to let me skip the standard jacket and move on to fitting existing patterns in my stash. I'll be bringing yardage for a vest.
    • Develop wardrobe plan after Daryl's class
  • Personal Growth
    • Get back into journaling, focusing on creativity, step work and spirituality, and gratitude
    • Support development of "No Matter What" Family Group
    • Plan a trip with the Husband. 
Seems like a small list. Once I hang the whiteboard, this will be what I look at every day. That helps me focus. 

Now I'm off to wind the warp for the Kelly Marshal class. I've been putting it off while I read everything I can get my hands on about Rep Weave. I finally feel like I understand her warping instructions well enough now so no more procrastination!