A chance conversation with a friend recently reminded me that I haven’t written in such a long time. She was telling me that she really enjoyed reading my blog and why wasn’t I still doing it? Well, I guess life just happened. 2015 was quite a year. At this end of it, my overall impression is that it was a horrible year, worse than 2014, full of stress and anguish, but that is not a fair assessment. Plenty of good things happened, but they have tended to be overshadowed by the difficult days.
Let me get it out in the open at the outset. My father had a bout of pneumonia in the late spring and the cough just wouldn’t go away. When he went to the doctor at my mother’s insistence, she sent him for a scan (CT scan? I’m not entirely sure.) and they discovered a mass on one lung and several others in different spots. He was losing weight, had no appetite and no energy. After further tests, a biopsy was done on his lung in mid-August. A week later, we were sitting in a room at the Cancer Centre of Eastern Ontario with a radiation oncologist who told us that Dad had stage IV lung cancer that had spread to several other parts of his body, and that radiation could only manage some of the symptoms. What she didn’t say was that his days were very limited. Less than two weeks later, on September 2nd, he passed away after a couple of days in hospital.
This has been an incredibly stressful time. Because my parents didn’t want to worry anyone, I was the only family member who knew for quite some time. And I suppose that is only because I coincidentally had been at their home a fair bit during July when he was having tests done. I went with them to the hospital for the biopsy and to his first meeting with the oncologist. I encouraged them to let family in on what was happening, but they were reluctant to do so. And it wasn’t my news to tell. This dragged on in the case of my father’s only brother – he finally was told only the day before my father died and only because my sisters and I insisted. Mom hadn’t yet accepted that he was ill.
So I have been spending quite a bit of time with my mother, assisting her in handling the myriad of details that one must handle when someone passes away. This has not been without its challenges, but I believe it has all been taken care of at this point. Mom will soon have to make decisions as to her living arrangements, as they were living in our home and we will be returning to it shortly. She is certainly not well-equipped to live alone in a rural setting and has health issues that would best be served in a larger community.
Before all this happened, I was happily learning more and more about weaving. I took a number of workshops through the guild and expanded my repertoire, intending on spending the summer weaving like a maniac and stocking an Etsy shop. Yeah. Didn’t happen. But that is my focus for this winter…just a small postponement. A dyeing class in June was a lot of fun and has given me plenty of ideas for future projects. My guild activity has increased exponentially over the course of the year, as I accepted the position of studio manager. This was a joint position at first, but has become a solo responsibility. As our guild has over 200 members and an active workshop and social schedule, it is keeping me very busy.
I also undertook in May and June to knit a stunning laceweight, beaded shawl for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law. The wedding was on July 3. Welcome to the family, Kevan! My son and his new wife have relocated to Ontario from Alberta, which means that we have been able to spend more time with them.
Another highlight of the year was travelling to Millersville, PA, to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association’s weekend of workshops with several friends from the guild. We had an absolute blast and I learned an incredible amount studying with a renowned weaver, Inge Dam, from just north of Toronto. The class I took was incorporating a tablet woven band into woven fabric. Like this:
After wet-finishing the yardage, the holes close up and it simply becomes a integral part of the fabric. We also learned how to add a band to the edges of the fabric piece. I’m looking forward to playing with this technique to create some unique items.
Our youngest son has embarked on a creative career as well this year. He enrolled in a luthier course with Sergio DeJong, who studied under Larrivée. He turned our garage into a woodworking studio and has been fortunate enough to sell his first few guitars.
In the process, I am learning far more about guitar construction and wood than I ever thought possible (or wanted to know). An offhand comment has led him to start using some of his wood bits to make small weaving tools, such as shuttles. They sold very well at fibre festivals in the late summer and fall. My planned Etsy shop has been opened and, so far, only contains his work. But not for long!
At present, I’m working on learning Fiberworks, a computer programme for weavers. It also drives my new-to-me loom. (Okay, so not that new. I’ve had it for a year already.) My first project, a scarf, was finished just before Christmas and is awaiting many hours of fringe twisting to finish it.
There are the usual bumps in the road, but it is coming along surprisingly well. I hope to spend many happy hours throwing a shuttle on this loom.
I hope that this coming year is a quiet one, filled with lots of creativity. May 2016 be a good one for all of us.