Gifts from Afar

It’s amazing, this year my “gifts” all came from “afar,” from western WI, Oregon, and as far away as Australia.

Four days or so before Christmas, I found a slip in my mailbox telling me I had a package to pick up at the post office. I went over that afternoon, and found it was from Jill Lynch in Australia. Jill is a member of the Complex Weavers Double Harness Study Group that I chair. I stood in the post office wondering why? What was I forgetting?

Well what could I do, since there were no other customers, but open it up right there! Inside I found a beautiful card, thanking me for sending her a copy of “Damast,” a book I had bought when I purchased a portion of weaver Nastche Milan’s weaving library. I already had a copy of that booklet, but added it to my purchase knowing someday someone would come along to pass it along to. (Nastche, your copy is now with Jill in Australia!)

There were two “packages” in the box, and opening the first, I found a “Weavers Interest Group Calendar,” with a page for each month and each page has two color photos of beautiful woven pieces by members of the group. By the way, Jill Lynch is on the cover, front row, far left. It’s a wonderful idea for private weaving groups or guilds.

Opening the second “package” I found a beautiful handspun, handwoven twill scarf, woven by Barbara Sanders (in the group). It’s a really lovely piece, and following instructions of the local postmaster (woman), I put it on and wore it for the rest of my afternoon out. It was a cold, cold day, and I don’t think I really noticed, just felt wonderful wearing this beautiful gift from weavers in Australia. Thank you, Jill (and Barbara), I’ll be thinking of you both everytime I wear it.

Earlier in December, LaVonne Stucky, who I know from the Tasha Tudor Yahoo group “Take Peace,” wrote on Facebook that she was making needle-felted angels. I asked her if she would make a couple for me, and a few days later they were in my mailbox! Upon opening the package, they immediately were hung from the fireplace mantle in my weaving studio where I can admire them each time I’m working there.

The last day of the Fall Northwoods Art Tour, Mary Nysted stopped by. She had seen in my brochure that I have Glimakra looms, and wanted to inquire if I was interested in purchasing a small Toika loom she had from her former weaving business, which she closed in 1992, the year I moved up here. Oh yes, I was interested. We arranged that she would bring it when she would be in the area at Christmas.

On Tuesday, Dec. 29th, the loom arrived. It’s a 27″ Toika “Laila,” has 6 shafts and 6 treadles, and is countermarche. Mary only used it a few times, and it’s been in storage for the past 17 years or so, which accounts for the “new” look of the wood.

Since the loom had been in her car for a few days (out in the icy cold), and was moved into a dry house with a woodburner, I’m giving it a few days for the wood to acclimate. I can, however, straighten out the string heddles, tighten wing nuts, and in another four days or so, use a wood hammer to tighten up the pegs for more stability. I can also plan a first project and warp for this loom.

I think it will be a wonderful loom for sampling and for smaller projects. It’s a nice addition to my weaving studio, and I just need to do a little rearranging tomorrow to make a place for it.

My other “Gift” this year was family, my children, all here at Christmas. This meant a lot to me as it may be the last time for awhile. Next year both daughters will be in college, and my son is talking about joining a branch of the military after graduation next June. They all mean so much to me, and are now growing up and going out into the world. I’m so proud of each of them, and the time is coming for them to make their own lives away from home. Letting go is difficult, but the goal was always for each of them to be independent, and to lead good lives.

But, I can’t look back too often, I must look forward and begin to create a new life for myself. What do I want, where do I want to live, what other responsibilities do I have, where do I want to go with my weaving? All questions to quietly ponder on this New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year, and may 2010 be all you hope it will be.

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