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Shiny Things

I took a rare peek at the blog this morning. Just looking at stats, comments and old posts. I spotted this draft from exactly a year ago. So much has changed since then, but the heart of it is unchanged.

Thinking today about the things that make me happy. Not the transitory, shiny things that cause fleeting excitement, but the dig-your-roots-in, soul-filling things that are necessary for contentment.

Fresh coffee. Houseplants to tend. Clean sheets on the bed. Sunshine in the studio. Texts from the friends’ group that ebb and flow, pushing and pulling in turn to move each of us through our days. Even wandering through the house after my guy has left for work, turning off lights and setting things straight from the night before. Beginning again.

It is the time of starts. False starts sometimes, but I don’t mind. I signed up for a new weaving series, despite not finishing last year’s, because I need weaving in ways I’m struggling to define. I signed up for a 6-month quilting group of solid fabrics because color theory still escapes my logical comprehension and remains stubbornly fixed in the unreliably intuitive. I’m already a month behind because of the holidays, but it’s not a race.

It’s also the dark time of the year, when creativity is warring with a desire to burrow in against the weather. Rain and wind. A 36-hour power outage setting time on an entirely different cadence until the lights come back on with the same suddenness that they went out and the world snaps back into it’s normal pace. Inspired by the cold to cast on a new pair of mitts during the last darkening and chill hours and to keep them close this past week, adding a few rows at time before I wander off to start something else.

In the studio (and garage and storage shed) several looms that showed up in a flurry this fall are waiting for attention and homes. Mostly 4-shaft table looms (4 or 5 Rasmussen and similar) but some need refurbishing. Wood dowels make for crazy twisted heddle bars over time, reeds need scouring and a couple thousand string heddles need to be ordered or made. There’s the early 60’s Leclerc Medico that needs a quick modification to make the best use of the matching stand. A Leclerc Artisat floor loom that needs a good cleaning. An 8-shaft table loom missing the entire beater bar assembly. A graceful 4-shaft table loom of mysterious origin that will take some math to put back together.

I have a sweet little person in the house most days. Sticky 10-month-old fingers, digging in the houseplants and pulling on pant legs. Tickles and diapers and dreading the doorbell at naptime once again. Less studio time, more gummy grins. I’m tired at the end of the day.

That sticky little 10-month-old is now 21 months. Clever, independent, mischievous and full of love. Snuggles and snacks, but only one day a week. I’m still tired at the end of that day.

The “extra” looms were nearly all fixed and sold. I have one left in the garage to list, one in the shed to repair and the beautiful mystery loom to reassemble.

The dark is here again, but (knock on wood) the power has stayed on. The mitts were never finished. I didn’t get the sizing right and recently frogged the (nearly done) pair. I’ll try again. I always do. And the dark has turned the corner so if I stay in the studio (with the most daylight in our home) it won’t slow me down.

Most of my longarm quilting the past year has been for friends, but I did finish a few things. (The “wall of shame” is gone, sort of. Sixty three is down to about 20. Equal parts finished & purged.) I’ve signed up for a color class, fabric club and a weaving series. Because I can’t help myself.

It was a year full of very real life. Painful days and grace found at every turn. Struggles and victories. Losing and winning. I joked we no longer had to “practice gratitude”. We have NAILED it.

With not a shiny thing in sight.

 

 

Sometimes you (I) just have to face the truth

Sixty three. SIXTY THREE.

That would be the number of started projects I had. Not planned projects like pattern & fabric pairings, kits, or even orphan quilt blocks without a plan. Just the WIP, the stuff that already made it through one serious round of purging last fall.2017-01-17-08-46-24

I know what the number is because a couple weeks ago I pulled together every (neatly sorted) bin or bag of quilting, sewing and knitting and quickly photographed each and every project. I had a simple plan: print and tape the photos on the wall next to my design wall. And then FOCUS.

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But I had to count the photos three times.

Once the shock passed I realized a few truths:

  • Even allowing for the realities of being multi-craftual, it’s overwhelming.
  • Even allowing that some are simple mending or finishing, it’s still overwhelming.
  • To believe that being organized (each craft in it’s own tidy storage bin) was getting it under control is classic magical thinking. Cue the unicorns and rainbows all you want, it still wasn’t done.

So after yet another round of getting real (sort of) and letting go (a bit), I got it down to 49. I could have given up a couple more, but I like the symmetry on the wall. Then again, I always eat my M&Ms in color-matched pairs so there may be some underlying issues.

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There it is. My wall of shame and washi tape. And you know what? I also discovered one more truth:

While I never set out to bury myself in half-done projects, there’s a ton of work already done. Good, creative, skilled work that I deserve to give myself credit for. And perhaps that reminder is the most important of all.

I got this.

PS: If you’re even remotely surprised to see a post here, you’re not alone. I’m giving blogging another go and intentionally skipping the sincere but pointless excuses. It’s damned boring.

 

 

 

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