November 2018

Hiking uphill in the Gory Stolowe National Forest

At the beginning of November I was able to reclaim my studio space.  I am thrilled to have a dedicated space for my Making again. I assumed that I’d be flying through projects now that there was no barrier to beginning.  But, reviewing the month I see that my progress was nearly nonexistent.  In fact, if we count all the mending that was added to my pile, as well as a couple of alteration projects, it’s probably more accurate to say that I lost ground this month.

I’d like to believe that my meager output was simply because of time I spent setting up my room.  It’s handy to believe that.  But, if I scratch the surface of that explanation just the slightest bit, I can see the truth underneath.  The projects that have been waiting for me in my studio this month are a bit tedious.  It’s more measuring and calculating than it is free-form creation. Also, each one is tinged with a sizable portion of self-doubt.  They will require navigating new technical waters.  Each time I sit down to work I will probably make mistakes.  Most likely, multiple mistakes.  That’s what really kept me out of my studio in November.

Recognizing that is helpful, though.  It points me toward the changes I need to make.  The first is to require myself to walk into my studio every day.  I’m discovering that this is more critical than I’d imagined.  When my supplies were inhabiting a corner in my bedroom I saw them.  I didn’t have to go to a separate room to remember all the pieces that are suspended mid-creation.  Now I have to make the effort to go be among my Making.

Beyond simply reminding myself what’s there, there is power in walking in the room. Once there, I get the itch to begin, even a tricky project.  Magically, once I get started it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.  In fact, I often struggle to pull myself away once I’m immersed.  Even the parts I was dreading aren’t actually awful.  They feel more like an interesting puzzle than an unsolvable problem.  Simply showing up has taught me that it wasn’t the doing that kept me out of my studio in November, but it was the anticipation of the struggle. 

The second change I’m making is to set aside a little time each week to work on projects that feel like play.  There are too many technical projects that I want to complete right now to find time for it every day.  But, somewhere in the week I can make a little time to simply play at creativity. 

Fosythe trousers with inserted zipper

Unhurried Wardrobe

In the whole month I managed only to install one zipper.  Now, in my defense, it was into a pair of pants that, strictly speaking, aren’t designed to have a zipper installed in them.  And, I did have to do it twice.  That, of course, required painstakingly ripping out all the stitches of my first attempt.  There are a lot of stitches that go into a fully installed zipper. 

Certainly, I’d anticipated making more progress than that.  And, my severely limited winter wardrobe was truly hoping for some augmentation.  I know my making time will be even more limited in December.  But, I expect the bulk of it to be spent making as many warm pieces of clothing as I can manage.  The weather is making this feel quite compelling.

Black, white and grey quilt—basted and partially hand-quilted

Quilting

This quilt resides, patiently folded, in the drawer under my bed.  The idea is that I’ll pull it out for a half an hour or so every night.  The reality is that most nights the evening hours are filled with family demands and I’m often coming to bed too late, and already exhausted.  In the midst of that reality, though, I was able to pull it out for a couple of stitching sessions this month.  Each time I got to sit with it was so rewarding.  Hand quilting a quilt of this size is a mammoth undertaking.  Just wrangling it in my lap is a job.  But it’s thrilling to see the stitches inch gradually outward.

Green knit cardigan in progress

Knitting

My green cardigan has once again consumed my knitting attention.  Second sleeve complete, I’m down to only the button-band before this thing becomes a fully functioning sweater.  That is a bit crazy to me.  Also, I’m a little bit terrified about picking up the stitches for the button band.  But, there have been a myriad of things that intimidated me in this project.  Learning to begin anyway has been one of its greatest gifts.

Visible mending on a sweater

Mending

I mended a sweater and two stuffed animals in November. Those stuffed animals in particular felt like a significant victory.  They’ve been perched atop my mending pile for ages.  I was glad to get them back to their compatriots.  Even with their departure, things are starting to pile up again.  I can see a substantial mending session in my near future.

National building in Warsaw, Poland decorated for Independence Day November 11, 2018

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