What a difference being healthy can make.... A week in bed can really warp your world view. March in Maine is a pretty hard time to begin with, grey and brown, cold, interminable. And the one time of the year I come down with colds.... I had the good company of our terrier mutt Lark, but even she got bored with me. Look at that face. Doesn't she look annoyed? (actually she just doesn't love the camera....)
The aforementioned cold laid me pretty low for a week. I appear to have germinated it in Savannah while I was attending the annual Modern Quilt Guild extravaganza, QuiltCon. If you are unfamiliar with this event I encourage you to search the hashtag in whichever social media you traffic. Instagram will yield the most visuals, but even a simple Google search will open a colorful gift box of inspiration. I have attended for three years now and have greatly enjoyed each trip. I had great good plans to post here about the visuals I absorbed, to share some inspiration I felt deeply in my bones upon entering the convention hall. And perhaps I still will, but I got sucked under the tide of this beastly cold and lost a full ten days in a feverish stupor. As I resurface I find all sorts of posts and images circulating, and feel a bit behind the curve. Now that feeling may subside, and I may find myself entranced all over again by the amazing quilting I saw produced by this community, and need to share it. I reserve that right. That first Thursday morning in Savannah at the beginning of Quiltcon, just over two weeks ago, feels like an eternity ago. Probably because that damn cold felt like it took away one of my proverbial nine lives, and I lost some distinct time to my fevered fugue state. While I was laying there, sweating and trying hard not to cough up a lung, various thoughts occurred to me. Well, actually honestly I think they popped into my head when I was able to rouse myself to standing, and grind up the old brain gears again. That rousing coincided nicely with the opening of the registration for my 2017 retreats- Slow Stitching and Slow Fashion.
Watching you lovely people sign up to join myself and Cal Patch, Katrina Rodabaugh, Jessica Lewis Stevens, Chawne Kimber, Heather Jones and Kim Eichler-Messmer explore the world of Slow textile pursuit was incredibly gratifying. It was the silver lining in my grey storm clouds that truly kept me going for a couple of days. Thank you to everyone who has signed up, and to those who are still to come, I look forward to meeting you all this Summer.... At this writing there is still plenty of room to join us for Slow Fashion. Slow Stitching is down to two remaining spots.
I cannot lie, the actions being perpetrated in our name by elected officials lately has been extremely discouraging to me. Being sick only magnified my isolation, and feelings of helplessness in the worst way. So when I started to see the response to my call to Slow Stitch activity flood in, well, it did my heart much good! That's right, it mended my wounded heart, and gave me the hope and faith to dig myself out of that cold....!
Laying there half lucid, I allowed myself to do some wallowing. I mean, that's what you do when you're sick right? You see the worst in situations, you feel powerless and lost and cut off, alone in your disabled state. Alone with Lark, but still alone. So I had my own little pity party. What am I doing with my life? Where am I going, with these Slow Stitching ideas? What does this really mean to me, or to anyone else....? Laying there in a forced Slow state, I had to physically live through these admonitions I share with people. I had to slow down, I had no choice, I couldn't do much but hydrate and sleep. I was Sloooooow.... Now I won't lie, I am not good at just being. I need a purpose, a direction, a plan, a vision, somewhere to go, damnit! This meant I had to fight my inner nature to just lay there, and heal. But you know, once I gave in to it, it became truly cathartic. I have begun to see on a very elemental level, how much I need this slowing down, and how good it is for me as a human being. A switch was flicked.
I do feel like I have been pretty much running non-stop for the past thirty years. And I'm tired. It's not that I don't feel like I have anything to show for all that forward motion, but I do feel like there is something else that I would rather be doing right about now. I don't want to sound like a broken record with all the Slow, but I do want you to know that this is a journey I am embarking on, and I do not know the way, so I am feeling my way along. As is my wont, I will be sharing this with you, and I hope some take sustenance from my ramblings. Once I felt good enough to get out of bed I had some moments of anxiety about how to get started on this path, but then I pulled out some stitching, and it felt right. These Park blocks you see here? They brought me out of my funk. Just the simple act of stitching, using some needle turned applique to attach colorful shapes to Essex Linen squares, grounded me, reminded me of the things I consider important. Making. Using your hands, your skill, your experience, your enthusiasm to create something. Stopping and noticing what is going on right now, right under your nose, while you're thinking you should be 'doing' something..... It was instinctual to be doing, but the doing, the Making, was so quiet and considered, so simple and tactile, and analog, I was soothed. Just about anything is better when you're Making.....
I am creeping out of this ten-day cold, reaching for some clarity, some action, and a path out of illness... I am on the mend, so why not do some mending?
One of my Named patterns Inari Tee dresses needed some reinforcement at the split hem seams. I've had this roll of Twill tape forever, it is so handy, I don't know what I will do when it finally runs out. Two small pieces cut, edges pressed under, glue-sticked into place and then stitched down. My dress is whole again.....
When the weather finally warms up, which we all know it will, my dress will be back in rotation. This is probably my fourth Inari, this one made from some Khadi cloth I bought at AVFKW three years ago that I was nervous to cut into until I had just the right pattern.
How many pieces of fabric do we all have like that? Why are we doing that to ourselves...? What are we waiting for? The way I see it, if we are thoughtful, mindful, and slow about our projects, we will do all this beautiful cloth the honor it is due. Dontcha think....?
More thoughts on Slow clothing are percolating. Stay tuned.