A number of people have been sharing their hits and misses from 2016 (me included). The braver ones go on to share their reflections on the past year, and their plans for the new. I really enjoy reading these posts as it hard to get perspective on the trails and tribulations, joys and pleasures, without a little distance.
Firstly a huge, and heartfelt thank you every one who has read the blog, commented on my posts, offered advice and help (especially knitting help, but also tailoring and fitting help).
As a child I understood community as being family-based (especially cousins) plus my local neighbourhood. As I aged my community was work based, plus people I knew through my political interests. Now my community is as much a virtual one as any other. This doesn’t diminish my real life relationships – in fact I meet up with bloggers and sewing people whenever I get the chance. But the rich and important relationships I have made through sewing are of a fundamentally different quality to some of the relationships one has in the course of everyday life. The supportive understanding, with just a tiny bit of helpful challenge, has enriched my life in so many ways. In a sentence we “get” each other, don’t we? – how we struggle, learn, share, encourage those with less skill and win praise for our achievements.
I follow lots of blogs and comment whenever I can, and I appreciate more than I can say all those who stop by to say something here. I like to think I am hosting a virtual party! I wish I could do this in real life more often but I do it when I can – food, drink, a warm welcome – but even virtually I hope you will discuss, debate and share. The comments are the best part of this blog and I know many of you enjoy reading what others think. Dozens read but never comment, which is also fine. But if you do find time to say hello from time to time, please do. It means so much.
A new focus
I wrote an impassioned post about having too many clothes, and I am still feeling the truth of that. I really enjoy making clothes but I have a huge wardrobe that suits my lifestyle, and it would probably last me for the rest of my life.
As a result I have decided to do a SWAP (11 coordinated garments) for my son Gus this year. One of my main motivations for sewing is the learning that it involves, so learning more about men’s fitting and construction is a positive aspect of my apparently “selfless sewing”.
This year we did some doll-making workshops, and hat making, and indigo dying, as well as pattern cutting. I absolutely loved learning new techniques and extending my sewing skills (mainly hand sewing with the dolls and hats).
This year my friend Bukky had a little girl. She looks alot like my Ted doll!
I learnt how to crochet a hat in the doll making class, and it brought back to me that I did actually know how to do it but I had forgotten. And then a chance conversation with a woman I see at the bus stop led me to consider her advice that crochet is a lot easier on public transport than knitting. So perhaps something new to try in 2016?
But knitting has proved to be the most interesting new interest for me, so thank you to everyone who helped me overcome my fear of actually making a garment. The dressmaking background has definitely helped, but mainly I had to overcome my fear of failure. As I watched my two year old grandson learn to talk this year I realised that everything worth doing takes considerable practise, and you make lots of mistakes along the way. Kit would repeat himself many times until we understood what he meant. And many skills just require perseverance. With the knitting I now believe I can make just about anything I would like to wear. So I expect 2017 may have more knitwear in it. I like knitting and love wearing soft, cuddly knitted jerseys.
Family, aging and death
Growing older is a privilege. My dear old Mum is now in her late 80s and cannot walk anymore. She needs help to get about, but her mind, hearing and sight are good. We go up North once a month and spend a day or two with her. She still goes out to the shops, loves being taken to restaurants and enjoys a full life, but restricted mobility creates dependence which is not easy. Let’s try to stay active, engaged and as helpful to others as we can, but when we need help let’s just accept it gladly.
My dear ex-husband John died this year, never experiencing the joy of retirement and slowing down a little. He hated the dependency that his illness brought with it, and fought to the bitter end to avoid the reality of his condition. And to protect us all from his pain, fears and loss of control. His death was a giant blow for our family and I feel like I lost a leg. He was such an important person for my kids even though they are all over 25. Neither I nor Nick nor Jo can possibly supply the unique style of love, care and support he offered the children. But we will try.
I am also thinking of my own aging. I am not intending to quit my job for another five or six years. But with Nick retired and our holiday/weekend home complete, I am changing gear. I was never a one for staying up late, going to clubs, or listening to rock music. But I love meeting new people, making friends and having conversations. This year we will be spending more time in the country, breathing fresh air and just enjoying nature. I expect our centre of gravity will begin to shift a little in the coming months. Being a grandparent continues to be my greatest joy, and I find spending time with the little ones to be a real pleasure and such fun.
I will share my 2017 sewing and knitting plans, and some of my life plans, in a future post. Thank you again for reading and responding.