Permission to Not, and other Ponderings

I'm a dabbler at heart - my enthusiasm for a project often comes from learning something new, whether it's a stitch sequence, an embellishment technique, or learning to work with a new tool or materials. So I always have unfinished projects sitting around - sometimes I go back to them and finish them, others got separated from their instructions during a move and are waiting to be reunited, and some will be frogged/unmade back to their components, because I lost interest or changed my plans.

When my mom died, I gave myself permission to not do things that weren't absolutely required. If I wasn't feeling it, I wouldn't do it, and if I started having negative "should" thoughts, I would remind myself that I was in mourning and it wasn't a necessary thing. If the thought of attending an event caused more stress than excitement, I didn't go. Which meant I didn't pick up a spindle or crochet hook for several months. I zoned out to a lot of tv, and instead of half paying attention while working on a shawl or other project, as I usually do, I just sat, often accompanied by one or both of my kitties. Originally, I thought a year would be more than sufficient, but I have continued it somewhat - since I'm not selling my projects, there's no external pressure to finish a project in a certain time frame, but I excel at putting pressure on myself. So any little thing to squash the "shoulds" from my inner monologue is a good thing.

One of the activities that fell by the wayside is medieval reenactment. I was involved for over twenty years, but for a number of reasons I'm not going to go into here, I'm no longer participating. I won't say never again, but not for now. There was definitely a readjustment period, because I'd been an active an enthusiastic participant for many years, so it was a part of my identity, and then it wasn't.

Recently I've attended a couple 18th century reenactment events and plan to increase my involvement next year. Last year I wore some of my medieval garb to an event, then when I decided to attend the same event this year, I grabbed some fabrics from my stash and (machine) sewed an outfit for it in a week. I think it looks decent unless you look closely at the seams - I'll write a separate post about the sewing. Some of my friends from college, where I started in medieval reenactment, also participate at this event, so it was easy to go, have people I know to talk with, and a "home base" (at one couple's merchanting booth). Of course I also did some exploring on my own, and conversed with people I didn't already know, but being rather shy, it's nice to not jump into the deep end completely alone. I plan on improving & adding to my garb in the next few months, so I have different outfits for different weather. I bought both of the American Duchess books (dressmaking & beauty), and while I don't currently have any plans to try the more intricate coiffures, I love reading about the research and experimentation they did to achieve the looks.

I recently started a job in town, close enough that I can easily walk to work (though I sometimes drive, if the weather is nasty, I'm planning to go out to lunch, etc.) Removing that commute has given me more time for whatever, and the stability of a permanent position (rather than temping, as I'd done for awhile), is allowing me the structure (of a regular schedule) to make plans for projects and events I want to accomplish next year. Plus space in my brain and schedule previously inhabited by job hunting and associated stressors - it was a huge relief to delete job search apps from my phone and unsubscribe from job board emails.

I want to acquire studio space in some fashion, because things are cramped at home and in my storage unit (which is a few miles away - my aunt & uncle helped me retrieve my belongings from PA shortly before Mom died.) In a perfect world I'd have my own place, and convert a room/floor to be studio space, but living in a small town means there are few options available, and none currently in my price range.

I'd like to revisit yarn dyeing, but that may have to wait until next spring, as I don't want to make a mess in the kitchen and I need to gather some dyeing-only supplies. In the past I used a secondhand slow cooker I bought to dye wool fiber, but I don't have it anymore. A couple friends and I tried microwave dyeing wool yarn, and that worked fine as well, but I'd rather have a dedicated microwave for the task, if that's the direction I decide to go. I've heard good things about people using steamer trays, and there's always solar dyeing for small batches. Lots to think about.